University of Oulu

Huuki, T., Kyrölä, K., & Pihkala, S. (2022). What else can a crush become: Working with arts-methods to address sexual harassment in pre-teen romantic relationship cultures. Gender and Education, 34(5), 577–592.

What else can a crush become : working with arts-methods to address sexual harassment in pre-teen romantic relationship cultures

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Author: Huuki, Tuija1; Kyrölä, Kata2,3; Pihkala, Suvi1
Organizations: 1Faculty of Education, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Faculty of Arts, Psychology and Theology, Åbo Akademi University, Oulu, Finland
3Department of Communication, Culture and Media, Institute of Education, University College London, London, UK
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.8 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Informa, 2022
Publish Date: 2023-03-06


This article focuses on a study in which feminist new materialist and arts-based methodologies were employed to explore how three girls address their experiences of sexual harassment as part of ‘crushes’ with boys in fourth and fifth grade. The study stems from longitudinal research on how Finnish children from pre-school to pre-teen years are caught up in entanglements of power in the formation of romantic relationship cultures. Such entanglements often escape articulation and are therefore difficult to study using more traditional research methods. During the arts-based process, the girls began to negotiate consent and self-determination in new ways through collecting, crafting, and making a booklet and a YouTube video. Conceptualising the changes as minor gestures [Manning, Erin. 2016. The Minor Gesture. Durham, NC: Duke University Press] that gradually transform girls’ somatic archives [Paasonen, Susanna. 2013. “Grains of Resonance: Affect, Pornography and Visual Sensation.” Somatechnics 3 (2): 351–368. doi:10.3366/soma.2013.0102], we argue that arts-methods can empower children to relate differently to each other, refuse harassment and assert their desires.

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Series: Gender and education
ISSN: 0954-0253
ISSN-E: 1360-0516
ISSN-L: 0954-0253
Volume: 34
Issue: 5
Pages: 577 - 592
DOI: 10.1080/09540253.2021.1989384
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 516 Educational sciences
Funding: This work was supported by the Academy of Finland (project number 295000) for Tuija Huuki and (project number 322612) for Suvi Pihkala and the Kone Foundation for Kata Kyrölä.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 322612
Detailed Information: 322612 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
295000 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2021 The Author(s). This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.