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Towards an ethics of sexuality – alternative feminist figurations and a (boy) child: a close reading of a prize-winning sex education manual from the early twentieth century
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Child and Youth Studies.
2018 (English)In: Gender and Education, ISSN 0954-0253, E-ISSN 1360-0516Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Sex education has been a major concern that has run in parallel with the creation of the modern concept of childhood (innocence) in Western societies. When priests opposed sex education for children, teachers and physicians advocated the need for education. In Sweden, in the early twentieth century, two female physicians wrote a prize-winning manual about sex education. In this paper, I present a close reading of the manual with a focus on how the (boy) child and (mother) woman were presented. The analysis aims to read the manual in three ways pointing to how it communicated resistance to otherings of the female body: (i) one reading focusing on how the female and (boy) male bodies were imagined, (ii) a second reading informed by Freudian theory and, (iii) a third reading guided by contemporary feminist studies which highlight, among other topics, the importance of investing in a representation of femininity defined by women. I will show how the authors gave an alternative interpretation of the mother–child-father relationship compared to Freud, and that they did so by writing their bodies into the text. The analysis shows how a striving towards an ethics of sexuality, including gender equality, have been part of the sex education genre for many years, and can serve as an inspiration today.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
Keywords [en]
Sex education, feminist reading, boyish innocence, female body, Freudian theory, mother-child-father relationship
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Educational Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-154737DOI: 10.1080/09540253.2018.1440282OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-154737DiVA, id: diva2:1195095
Available from: 2018-04-04 Created: 2018-04-04 Last updated: 2018-09-07

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