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Passive, Heterosexual and Female: Constructing Appropriate Childhoods in the ‘Sexualisation of Childhood’ Debate

Clark, Jessica (2013) 'Passive, Heterosexual and Female: Constructing Appropriate Childhoods in the ‘Sexualisation of Childhood’ Debate.' Sociological Research Online, 18 (2). pp. 172-180. ISSN 1360-7804

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Abstract

The proliferation of debates surrounding the sexualisation of childhood in the late 20th and early 21st century has led to the commission of a range of investigations into the role of sex and consumer culture in the lives of children and young people. This paper sets out to analyse the dominant ‘sexual scripts’ embedded within four international examples of such reports. It finds that a broad-brush approach to sexualisation appears to render all fashion, consumption, nudity and seemingly embodiment itself, as ‘sexualised’ and therefore inherently problematic. In what is overwhelmingly a negative reading of contemporary media and consumer cultures, the concepts of gender and sexuality remain un-problematised. Within these official discourses girls are constructed as vulnerable and passive whilst boys are ignored, presumably viewed as either unaffected or unimportant. Sexuality as an issue is palpable by its absence and throughout there is a lack of attention to the voices of children in an international debate which should place them at the centre of enquiry. The paper concludes by urging more in-depth consideration of value positions, lacunae and definitions of key concepts in such reports and consultation processes since such critiques have the potential to inform policy making and the gendered and embodied worlds we seek to explore.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 09 Jul 2021 10:30
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 14:07
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/25944

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