The Emergence of Sexualization as a Social Problem: 1981-2010

Robbie Duschinsky

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    28 Citations (Scopus)


    The article explores the history of how “sexualization” has come to be recognized as a social problem in the United States and Britain. It traces the “discursive coalition” which occurred between a number of conservative and feminist commentators, who for quite different reasons wished to justify measures to protect and regulate the practices of young women. A significant strand of feminist media narratives on sexualization have addressed young women as minors, threatened by contamination, and have proposed measures to regulate and nurture female sexuality and desire. In doing so, they have unintentionally offered support to right-wing discourses, which have used the issue to demand regulation of female sexuality and the dismantling of welfare state protections for adults. Underpinning this coalition has been an inadequate account of the sexual and commercial choice of young women, as either simply present or absent. In turn, this account has been organized by an image of young women themselves as either innocent or contaminated.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)137-156
    JournalSocial Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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