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ERIC Number: EJ1133584
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0159-6306
Young Children, Gender and the Heterosexual Matrix
Paechter, Carrie
Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, v38 n2 p277-291 2017
In this paper I consider the adult focus of current mainstream gender theory. I relate this to how the concept of the heterosexual matrix originates in a social contract which excludes children from civil society. I argue that this exclusion is problematic both for theoretical reasons and from the perspective of children themselves. I start by discussing the nature of the heterosexual matrix and its foundations. I consider the implications for participation which arise from being named as a child, how that affects children's attempts to claim participation in civil society, and how this is related to children's naming of themselves as gendered. I then briefly consider the possibility that, because of their exclusion, children might also be considered to be exempt from the heterosexual matrix. However, I argue, there is considerable evidence that children are actively sexual beings who also work hard to claim inclusion in local practices of heterosexuality. I end by suggesting that there are three key reasons for this: that the discourses of normative sexuality provide children with a language to express sexual feelings; that self-insertion in the heterosexual matrix is a way for children to claim rights to participation; and that taking up heterosexual formations is a means whereby children can experience the power of naming themselves as part of the social world.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A