Adult Rules / Youth Resistances (SCMS 2023 Proposed Panel)

deadline for submissions: 
August 1, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Michele Meek / Society for Cinema and Media Studies
contact email: 

Adult Rules / Youth Resistances

Age guidelines, parental consent restrictions, age of consent laws—youth are both protected and constrained in their actions through innumerable legislation, corporate policies, and parental decisions. This panel seeks to explore nuanced articulations of youth agency via media amidst the regulations created and enforced by adults.

By definition, children are a subjugated category of individuals in need of adults’ safeguarding. In 1989, the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child (which the U.S. still has not ratified) outlining 54 articles of rights for those under age 18, including Article 13 which states, “The child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child’s choice.” However, minors’ choices, access to healthcare and information, religious freedom, sexual knowledge and activity, bodily autonomy, and more are considerably constrained by adults’ policies and laws across the world.

In this panel, we will investigate some of the ways that youth are depicted in media as resisting/rebelling adults’ rules/laws and ways youth themselves use media to circumvent, bypass, or overcome constraints to assert their own ideas and decisions.

Themes explored might include, but are not limited to:

  • Film and television rating systems and youth
  • Children’s use and access to social media within or despite age restrictions
  • Limits on youth’s access to information and decisions about sex, sexualities, and gender identities in and through media
  • Cross-cultural differences and similarities across media regarding youth subjugation and agency
  • Depictions of youth subjected to conversion therapy
  • Youth and bodily autonomy in media
  • Depictions of youth contending with parental consent laws related to healthcare or other decisions
  • Youth media-making and activism

Interested panelists should submit an abstract of 250-300 words, a brief biography, bibliographic sources, and contact information to Michele Meek at by August 1.

Notifications will be sent out by Aug 6.


 Convention on the rights of the child. United Nations Office of the High Commissioner Human Rights. Retrieved July 11, 2022, from