Young masculinities, purity and danger: disparities in framings of boys and girls in policy discourses of sexualisation

Clark, Jessica and Duschinsky, R (2018) Young masculinities, purity and danger: disparities in framings of boys and girls in policy discourses of sexualisation. Sexualities - Special Issue. ISSN 1363-4607

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One of the reasons why it is ‘hard to explain’ the lack of attention to boys in discourses in sexualisation is that approached head-on, it appears that the focus on girls has no logic and is merely accidental. One might point to the research that is beginning to emerge on the increased visibility of the male body in visual cultures (e.g. Gill, 2009) and to boys’ fashion and embodiment (e.g. Vandenbosch and Eggermont, 2013). However, we propose that the tendency towards a problematisation of girls’ fashion and deportment and the invisibility of boys within policy and media discourses on ‘sexualisation’ is a systemic effect of constructions of gender and sexual subjectivity. In our society, we argue, signifiers of feminine purity operate as a form of symbolic capital, a construction that is not attributed to boys and which is integral scaffolding for the depiction of a subject as threatened by sexualisation. To illustrate our theorising regarding the ‘sexualisation of boys’, we shall examine an apparent exception to the rule: the Papadopoulos Review (2010), which explicitly attends to the sexualisation of boys and ends up re-emphasising rather than analysing the gendered and classed discourses of sexualisation. The Papadopolous Review indicates a moment at which a problematisation of the sexualisation of boys could have been triggered – since attention to both boys and girls was specifically part of the remit of the review – but was not, for specific sociological reasons to do with which subjects are assessed against the criterion of innocence.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Femininity, innocence, masculinity, policy, sexualisation
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Business & Applied Social Science > Department of Applied Social Sciences
Depositing User: David Upson-Dale
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2018 14:22
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2018 14:22

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