Feminist media discourses on 'sexualisation' have set out a critique of sexist cultural forms in contemporary society, using the figure of the 'girl' to show how women are socialised in harmful ways. This is an ingenious move - discussing the interplay between sexism and commercialism through discourse on minors can circumvent retorts to feminist claims about the harms of sexist culture that 'well, that's her choice'. Yet such discourses also necessarily render morally problematic any expression of sexuality or desire for the female subject under discussion, since the 'girl' is understood as prior to sexual consent. Debating sexism over the bodies of 'girls' therefore has had the unintended consequence of generating a replay of the 'sex wars', a debate between different feminist camps over whether consent can be meaningful. The terrain of debates on sexualisation has also facilitated coalitions between feminist discourses and a conservative policy agenda. © Sociological Research Online.