Governing the souls of young women: exploring the perspectives of mothers on parenting in the age of sexualisation

Journal article


Howard, Chris, Hallam, Jenny and Brady, Katie 2014. Governing the souls of young women: exploring the perspectives of mothers on parenting in the age of sexualisation. Journal of Gender Studies. https://doi.org/10.1080/09589236.2014.952714
AuthorsHoward, Chris, Hallam, Jenny and Brady, Katie
Abstract

The sexualisation of young women has emerged as a growing concern within contemporary western cultures. This has provoked adult anxieties that young women are growing up too fast by adopting inappropriate sexual practices and subjectivies. Psychological discourses have dominated which position sexualisation as a corrupting force that infects the ‘true self’ of young women, so they develop in abnormal ways. This in turn allows psychological practices to govern how to parent against sexualisation within families. To explore this further, six mothers each with daughters aged between eight and twelve years old took part in one to one semi-structured interviews designed to explore how they conceptualised and parented against the early sexualisation of young women. A Foucauldian inspired discourse analysis was employed, which suggested that the mothers talk was situated within a psychological discourse. This enabled sexualisation to be positioned as a corrupting force that disrupted the natural development of young women through deviant bodily practices (e.g. consuming sexualised goods), which prevented them from becoming their ‘true self’. Through the disciplinary gaze of psychology, class inequalities were reproduced where working class families were construed as ‘chavs’ who were bad parents and a site of contagion for sexualisation

The sexualisation of young women has emerged as a growing concern within contemporary western cultures. This has provoked adult anxieties that young women are growing up too fast by adopting inappropriate sexual practices and subjectivies. Psychological discourses have dominated which position sexualisation as a corrupting force that infects the ‘true self’ of young women, so they develop in abnormal ways. This in turn allows psychological practices to govern how to parent against sexualisation within families. To explore this further, six mothers each with daughters aged between eight and twelve years old took part in one to one semi-structured interviews designed to explore how they conceptualised and parented against the early sexualisation of young women. A Foucauldian inspired discourse analysis was employed, which suggested that the mothers talk was situated within a psychological discourse. This enabled sexualisation to be positioned as a corrupting force that disrupted the natural development of young women through deviant bodily practices (e.g. consuming sexualised goods), which prevented them from becoming their ‘true self’. Through the disciplinary gaze of psychology, class inequalities were reproduced where working class families were construed as ‘chavs’ who were bad parents and a site of contagion for sexualisation

KeywordsChav; Psychology; Power; Mothers; Foucauldian discourse analysis; Sexualisation
Year2014
JournalJournal of Gender Studies
PublisherTaylor & Francis
ISSN9589236
14653869
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/09589236.2014.952714
Web address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/10545/621195
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
hdl:10545/621195
Publication dates15 Sep 2014
Publication process dates
Deposited20 Dec 2016, 09:05
Accepted30 Jul 2014
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ContributorsUniversity of Derby
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