By Deborah L. Tolman
Be attractive yet now not sexual. do not be a prude yet do not be a slut. those are the cultural messages that barrage teenage ladies. In videos and magazines, in track and recommendation columns, ladies are portrayed because the item or the sufferer of somebody else's desire--but nearly by no means as an individual with applicable sexual emotions of her personal. What teenage women make of those contradictory messages, and what they make in their awakening sexuality--so far-off from and but so vulnerable to cultural stereotypes--emerges for the 1st time in frank and complicated type in Deborah Tolman's Dilemmas of wish. a different investigate the area of adolescent sexuality, this booklet deals an intimate and infrequently annoying, occasionally inspiring, photo of the way teenage women adventure, comprehend, and reply to their sexual emotions, and of the way society mediates, shapes, and distorts this adventure. In huge interviews, we pay attention as genuine adolescent girls--both city and suburban--speak candidly in their interest and confusion, their excitement and sadness, their fears, defiance, or capitulation within the face of a probably imperishable double average that smiles upon burgeoning sexuality in boys but frowns, even panics, at its identical in ladies. As a vibrant evocation of women negotiating the most vexing problems with formative years, and as a considerate, richly educated exam of the dilemmas those women face, this readable and revealing booklet starts the severe paintings of knowing the sexuality of younger girls in all its own, social, and emotional value. (20021101)
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Extra info for Dilemmas of Desire: Teenage Girls Talk about Sexuality
Another approach is to be ambivalent about desire. Neither denying themselves desire nor embracing it unequivocally, these girls err on the side of danger, without completely sacriﬁcing pleasure, living in constant fear that they are crossing into territory that leaves them completely vulnerable and without any recourse to protection. Chapter 5 covers girls who describe a sense of entitlement to their sexual desire. Some of them describe openly engaging in a micropolitics of their own desire. Yet with rare exception, these girls also identify and deal with their desire as a personal dilemma; their solution is to create safe spaces for sexual desire within their social and relational circumstances.
Inez describes a body that is present yet 22 getting beyond “it just happened” not feeling; a self that is not there, that does not act but is acted upon, that does not contribute or even “notice”; a body that is “limp” rather than alive or engaged. From this perspective, Inez’s story is about how she disappears when she has sex for the ﬁrst time—literally and ﬁguratively. ” In this story, there is no hint that her own sexual desire was part of her ﬁrst experience of sexual intercourse. Inez’s story illustrates how, by disallowing female sexual desire, we manufacture danger and risk by throwing a roadblock in the pathway of girls’ psychosocial development, psychological health, and ability to form authentic relationships.
Almost all of the suburban participants attended. After discussing conﬁdentiality, a concept they were familiar with from their family-life education classes and took seriously, they asked me what I meant by desire, why I was doing this study, why they in particular had been selected, what I planned to do with the information they gave me. In contrast, the group meeting at the urban school was a complete ﬂop. Most of the girls who agreed to be in the study said they would come to the group, but fewer than half actually came, and no one wanted to ask any questions.