Sexualization: A state of injury

Duschinsky, Robbie (2013) Sexualization: A state of injury. Theory & Psychology, 23 (3). pp. 351-370. ISSN 0959-3543

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I shall contend that avowedly feminist media and policy discussions of “sexualization” in the UK have risked inadvertently problematizing not sexism but propriety. As a result, these discourses on sexualization have contributed to what Wendy Brown has called a “state of injury”: a situation in which representations of wound or threat are mobilized within identity politics on behalf of a dominated group in society, and this strategy backfires by supporting social and state institutions in regulating and normalizing precisely this very group. Rather than challenging the sexist division of unmarried women into pure and impure, innocent children and whores, I shall show, using the Papadopoulos Review, that feminist discourses on “sexualization” have risked tacitly affirming this division, situating the sexuality and desires of young women as deviations from their true essence. Moreover, a further unintended consequence has been to provide support to a neo-liberal political agenda in the UK, which contrasts the innocence that should be the property of unsexualized girls with the self-reliance that should characterize adult citizens and can only be hindered by welfare state protections.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: feminism, identity politics, sexualization, Wendy Brown
Subjects: C800 Psychology
L300 Sociology
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing
Depositing User: Becky Skoyles
Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2013 08:14
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2019 22:45

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