Faculty Publications

Title

Making 'good girls': Sexual agency in the sexuality education of low-income black girls

Document Type

Article

Keywords

Gender, Race, Sex education, Urban youth

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Culture, Health and Sexuality

Volume

12

Issue

1

First Page

59

Last Page

72

Abstract

Critics argue that abstinence-only programmes reinforce gender inequality when they contain discourses that equate being a 'good girl' with sexual restraint. Yet they too often overlook how racial and class inequalities shape discourses about girls' sexual agency. This ethnography extends gender scholarship by analysing the racialised, classed and gendered dynamics of an abstinence-only programme for low-income black girls. It finds that black adults viewed the girls as sexually vulnerable because of racism and class inequality. They tried to mediate this vulnerability by transforming girls into sexual agents. They did so, though, by exaggerating the gendered discourses of the official sexuality education curricula that framed girls as victims and their sexual restraint as a matter of morality. Thus, the programme reinforced gender inequality while trying to disrupt race and class inequalities. © 2009 Taylor & Francis.

Original Publication Date

1-1-2010

DOI of published version

10.1080/13691050903272583

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