What I heard about sexualisation†: or, conversations with my inner Barbie.
Gender and Education, 24(3) pp. 311–316.
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This thinkpiece arises from personal reflection on researching ‘sexualisation’, on the individuals and issues encountered and on elements that were unspoken or more rarely voiced. It suggests that the discourse on sexualisation tends to construct an ‘other’ from which speakers distance themselves, variously defined as ‘bad’ mothers, sexualized girls, ‘unhealthy’ sexuality, undesirable or wrong values, an exploitative industry, and so on. The grip that ‘sexualisation’ has on the public imagination may be due less to the social problems it identifies, and more to how it serves as a repository of disavowed or unacknowledged parts of our (social) selves. Ethically and politically, the paper suggests, we should pay more attention to the relations between self and ‘other’ constituted in and through the debate about sexualisation.
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