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ERIC Number: EJ805121
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jun-27
Pages: 1
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
The "Right" Sexuality for Girls
Lamb, Sharon
Chronicle of Higher Education, v54 n42 pB14 Jun 2008
Feminist researchers in psychology and education have been theorizing about the kind of sexuality girls ought to have. They are not afraid to investigate morality and what makes a good life. While they explore the meaning and cultural context of girls' sexual development, the good sexual life they describe may be an elusive ideal that, in the end, is not very helpful to girls in the real world. Feminist scholars often write about pleasure, voice, and desire, words that evoke a preciousness about girls' sexuality. Unlike boys' sexuality, generally ignored by researchers because it seems simple and straightforward, girls' sexuality is viewed by feminist scholars as a suppressed story that needs airing. What they seem to hope for most--after public-health hopes for safe sex--is that girls will learn to be subjects, not objects; to recognize feelings of desire; and to experience sexual pleasure. In this article, the author contends that setting up an elusive ideal can lead to false empowerment and isolation. She suggests that when telling teens about the kind of sexuality that they should have, it is necessary to be careful in guiding them toward something that is achievable. For instance, turning away from the subject/object dichotomy and the notion of authentic desire might lead teens and adults to develop ways of being sexual that are more individualized and satisfying than simply accepting what the culture and the media think is sexy, or an idealized alternative. An emphasis on mutuality could redefine shame, attaching it to the mistreatment of others, rather than to the violation of social expectations.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A