By Deborah L. Tolman
Be attractive yet no longer sexual. do not be a prude yet do not be a slut. those are the cultural messages that barrage teenage women. In videos and magazines, in song and suggestion columns, women are portrayed because the item or the sufferer of somebody else's desire--but nearly by no means as an individual with appropriate sexual emotions of her personal. What teenage ladies make of those contradictory messages, and what they make in their awakening sexuality--so far-off from and but so prone to cultural stereotypes--emerges for the 1st time in frank and complicated type in Deborah Tolman's Dilemmas of wish. a different inspect the area of adolescent sexuality, this ebook deals an intimate and infrequently anxious, occasionally inspiring, photograph of ways teenage ladies event, comprehend, and reply to their sexual emotions, and of the way society mediates, shapes, and distorts this event. In wide interviews, we hear as real adolescent girls--both city and suburban--speak candidly in their interest and confusion, their excitement and unhappiness, their fears, defiance, or capitulation within the face of a probably imperishable double normal that smiles upon burgeoning sexuality in boys but frowns, even panics, at its similar in women. As a vibrant evocation of women negotiating the most vexing problems with early life, and as a considerate, richly proficient exam of the dilemmas those ladies face, this readable and revealing publication 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 resources for Dilemmas of Desire: Teenage Girls Talk about Sexuality
Because it is clear from this study and from other studies of female adolescent sexuality that all girls are denied safe spaces for their own sexual feelings, my primary goal in organizing the girls’ narratives was to highlight their commonality as girls coming of age in a patriarchal society. I report the results of this analysis in the next section of this chapter and in Chapters 3, 4, and 5. ” She formulates the erotic as “the sensual—those physical, emotional, and psychic expressions of what is deepest and strongest and richest within each of us .
Sexual stories ﬂow through this power. The power to tell a story, or indeed not to tell a story, under the conditions of one’s own choosing, is part of the political process” (p. 26). Before moving on to the girls’ stories of desire, I voices of desire 49 want to emphasize that their personal stories serve to refract the larger societal denial of and ambivalence about female sexuality. Most girls were not conscious of this political dimension of their desire, but the ones who were embraced what they realized was their hard-won sexual subjectivity deﬁantly and ﬁercely.
7 Thus, thinking about heterosexuality as an institution includes but is not limited to the idea of heterosexuality as a sexual orientation, that is, as simply desiring the opposite sex. What is most compelling about Rich’s theory is that she showed how heterosexuality is “a political institution which disempowers women” (p. 182). She revealed this institution as an institution by naming and connecting what appear to be separate features of society, thereby identifying its invisible contours. By linking these various features of social life, she showed how the institution of heterosexuality functions by being nowhere in particular and at the same time embedded in every aspect of society and social life.
Dilemmas of Desire: Teenage Girls Talk about Sexuality by Deborah L. Tolman