Knowledge is power! What do you want to know? Read SPARK Research Blogs to learn about the latest research on sexualization and other ways that girls and marginalized young people’s bodies are watched, objectified, and controlled to keep social inequities in place—and how they resist. Answer those questions with your group by doing the research. Partner with researchers from CUNY to produce new knowledge.

SPARK Research! Blogs

In order to ensure that the SPARK mission has always been grounded in empirical research, we launched a monthly Research Blog in 2011. A lot of time, research done in universities is not accessible to people—either the articles are super expensive or written in a way that is hard to understand. SPARK Research! Blogs make it possible for anyone to learn about the latest research.

In each blog, we report on one new groundbreaking study about sexualization, body image, or other related topics, and we “translate” that research for general audience, especially for young people. Each blogger brings her own perspective and experience to the research she is explaining to show how research questions and research findings come from and have implications in the real world.

There is a growing archive that you can use to support your cause, understand sexualization and other ways that we are made to feel vulnerable, uncomfortable or STRONG in our bodies, and make changes in your school, community, online and on the ground. The blogs explain the background, methods, and results of the study in a personal and relatable tone, which helps bring the research alive and make it relevant to girls’ and young people’s lives. Our blogging team has grown from our sole initial blogger, Christin Bowman, to include Steph Anderson, Jennifer Chmielewski, Kim Belmonte, Marisa Ragonese, and Allison Cabana, graduate students in Critical Social Psychology and members of the SexGenLab@CUNY.

Check out the latest blog and find dozens of others on the [SexGenLab@CUNY website].

SPARK Research! PAR Projects


Knowledge is power! And YOU can create knowledge about how girls and young people experience and deal with your bodies—about sexuality, gender, and race, body competence, body image, sexual violence and positive sexuality. SPARK Research! is a Participatory Action Research (PAR) initiative where girls, young people and adult allies, in community-based organizations, schools, clubs, or other groups, can work with researchers from City University of New York to research and document both the ways that your bodies are watched, controlled or treated like objects and the ways that you do and want to fight back. What do you want people to know about girls’ and young people’s bodies from your perspective?

SPARK Research Publications

From the beginning we have worked with the SPARKteam to develop research projects and write about the intergenerational activism we’ve done for academic journals and book chapters.

  • Edell, Dana, Tasfia Shawlin & Nicosie Christophe (In Print). “This Is Not A Safe Space”: SPARKing Change Through Activist Theater. In Youth Sexualities: Public Feelings and Contemporary Cultural Politics, Ed. Susan Talburt. New York: Praeger.
  • Edell, Dana. & Lyn Mikel Brown, with Celeste Montaño (2016). Bridges, Ladders, Sparks & Glue: Celebrating and Problematizing “Girl-Driven” Intergenerational Feminist Activism. Special 15th Anniversary Issue, Feminist Media Studies: ‘An Intergenerational Feminist Media Studies,’ 16(4): 693-709.
  • Brown, Lyn Mikel, Dana Edell, Montgomery Jones, Georgia Luckhurst & Joneka Percentie (2016). “I Love Beyoncé, But I Struggle With Beyoncé”: Girl Activists Talk Music and Feminism. In. J. Warwick and A. Adrian, eds., Voicing Girlhood in Popular Music: Performance, Authority, Authenticity. New York: Routledge.
  • Castro Baker, Amy, Lyn Mikel Brown, & Marisa Ragonese (2015). Confronting Barriers to Critical Discussions About Sexualization with Adolescent Girls. Social Work.
  • Tolman, Deborah, Lyn Mikel Brown & Christine Bowman (2013). “Hey, media, back off and get off my body!”: SPARK is taking sexy back. In Harper, K., Katsulis, Y., Lopez, V. & Gillis, G.S., (Eds.), Girls’ Sexuality and the Media, New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing,
  • Edell, Dana, Lyn Mikel Brown, & Deborah Tolman (2013). Embodying Sexualization: When Theory Meets Practice in Intergenerational Feminist Activism. Feminist Theory, 14: 275-284.
  • Brown, Lyn Mikel (2011). “We’re Taking Back Sexy: Girl Bloggers SPARKing a Movement and Enabling Healthy Sexuality,” Girlhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 4, 47-69.
  • Society for Research on Adolescence, 2016: Doing a PAR project at Little Red School House/Elizabeth Irwin (LREI) School with Ileana Jimenez,
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