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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 159491 Find in a Library
Title: Structure of Sexual Relations (From The Sociology of Crime and Deviance: Selected Issues, P 163-173, 1995, Susan Caffrey and Gary Mundy, eds. -- See NCJ-159484)
Author(s): S Lees
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 11
Sponsoring Agency: Greenwich University Press
Kent, DA1 1PF, England
Sale Source: Greenwich University Press
Unit 42, Dartford Trade Park
Hawley Road
Kent, DA1 1PF,
United Kingdom
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: Based largely on interviews with adolescent girls in Great Britain, this chapter shows how femininity and masculinity are socially constituted and reconstituted through social practices rather than being biologically determined.
Abstract: For the adolescent girls interviewed, feminine identity rests to a great extent on their sexual reputation. The only terms for active female sexuality are derogatory. Otherwise, girls are categorized as passive objects. The terms on which their dilemmas are managed are always socially organized and largely socially determined. Defining girls in terms of their sexual reputation rather than their attributes and potentialities is a crucial mechanism for ensuring their subordination to boys. The lack of specific content of the term "slag" applied to a girl means that she is in a permanent state of vulnerability for the way she dresses and speaks, for being too friendly to boys or not friendly enough. The terms of abuse for adolescent girls are so taken for granted that the girls themselves do not often question or challenge them; they use the terms of abuse themselves to judge other girls. The only security against abuse and a bad reputation is for girls to confine themselves to the "protection" of one partner. Yet such a resolution involves dependency and loss of autonomy.
Main Term(s): Juveniles
Index Term(s): Adolescent females; Cultural influences; Female sex roles; Sex discrimination
Note: Extracts from "Sugar and Spice: Sexuality and Adolescent Girls," (Penguin Books, 1993), P 29-33; 48-51; 52-53; 57-63.
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