Mobilizing Metaphor: Considering Complexities, Contradictions, and Contexts in Adolescent Girls’ and Young Women’s Sexual Agency

  title={Mobilizing Metaphor: Considering Complexities, Contradictions, and Contexts in Adolescent Girls’ and Young Women’s Sexual Agency},
  author={Deborah L. Tolman and Steph M. Anderson and Kimberly Belmonte},
  journal={Sex Roles},
With clarity and elegance, Bay-Cheng (2015) has provided a solid articulation of how neoliberalism has infiltrated the sexual lives of many girls and young women. Without question, research in the U.S. and the Anglophone West, as well as current trends in popular culture and the media in these locales, warrant recognizing neoliberal sexual agency and understanding the variety of ways it interacts with the slut/prude/virgin continuum. While some research has evidenced the salience of neoliberal… 

Living in Metaphors, Trapped in a Matrix: The Ramifications of Neoliberal Ideology for Young Women’s Sexuality

By proposing that gendered sexual norms dictating young women’s sexuality (i.e., the Virgin-Slut Continuum) are now joined by neoliberal scripts for sexual agency (i.e., the Agency Line), my hope was

Latina Girls, Sexual Agency, and the Contradictions of Neoliberalism

This article contributes to the literature on adolescent girls’ sexual subjectivities using individual interviews conducted with 30 working-class, Latina teenagers. Latina girls’ accounts of their

Relationality, religion and resistance: teenage girlhood and sexual agency in Tanzania

  • K. Pincock
  • Sociology
    Culture, health & sexuality
  • 2019
This paper counters prevailing narratives on teenage girls’ sexual agency in developing countries as inherently lacking, requiring external recuperation in the form of education and ‘empowerment’, and explores the implications of a relational framing for interventions which seek to genuinely expand girls‘ sexual agency.

Agency Is Everywhere, but Agency Is Not Enough: A Conceptual Analysis of Young Women’s Sexual Agency

It is argued that the dominant perspective of sexual agency as an outward performance of an internal attribute both underestimates its presence and overestimates its potency, insinuating that individual will is enough to fend off sexual vulnerability forged by social injustice.

Constructing risk and responsibility: a gender, race, and class analysis of news representations of adolescent sexuality

Abstract Teen sexuality has been portrayed as dangerous (i.e., risk of pregnancy, STIs, sexual victimization for girls) yet pervasive in a growing post-feminist culture of sexualization. Adolescents

Regulation and Resistance: Negotiation of Premarital Sexuality in the Context of Migrant and Refugee Women

Identifying migrant and refugee women’s experiences and constructions of premarital sexuality is essential for culturally safe sexual health practice, health promotion, and health education.

‘Frexting’: exploring homosociality among girls who share intimate images

ABSTRACT This paper presents an examination of ‘frexting’ (‘friend’ + ‘sexting’), which is defined as the exchange of personally-produced intimate images among friends. It draws upon accounts of

Breaking up and hooking up: A young woman’s experience of “sexual empowerment”

With the rise of neoliberalism, postfeminism and “hookup culture,” young women face both challenges and opportunities when constructing themselves as sexual subjects. This paper explores the

Young Women’s Reflections of Viewing a Sexual Image for the First Time

Women are surrounded by sexualized imagery as well as cultural narratives that dictate their sexual behavior. These diverse cultural narratives include: women are sexually passive, women should

‘You Can Spot Them A Mile Off’: Young Women’s Negotiations of Class and the Sexual Culture of Shame

In contemporary Western society, young women are caught between the competing discourses of the slut/virgin dichotomy and the more recent imperatives of a sexualised culture. Drawing on data from



The Agency Line: A Neoliberal Metric for Appraising Young Women’s Sexuality

Young women’s sexuality traditionally has been marked along a gendered moralist continuum of sexual activity, ranging from virtuous (virgins) to licentious (sluts). However, this one-dimensional

Female Adolescents, Sexual Empowerment and Desire: A Missing Discourse of Gender Inequity

In this commentary, I offer a response to Lamb & Peterson (2011). I base these comments on the feminist scholarship on adolescent girls’ healthy sexuality that Lamb (2010a) critiqued in the first of

Technologies of Sexiness: Theorizing Women’s Engagement in the Sexualization of Culture

‘Raunch’ culture and ‘porno-chic’ are examples of a dramatic rise in the re-sexualization of women’s bodies. Wrapped in discourses of individualism, consumerism and empowerment, and often excluding

Recovering Empowerment: De-personalizing and Re-politicizing Adolescent Female Sexuality

In a 2010 issue of Sex Roles and in a recent jointly authored work, Lamb and Peterson (2011) introduced and grappled with some of the most complex debates surrounding adolescent female sexuality. In

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The subject of girls’ sexual empowerment is a fertile area for feminist debate. While most feminists are committed to the promotion of diverse and egalitarian sexual possibilities for girls (and

Schizoid subjectivities?

Drawing on three case studies from two UK ethnographic research projects in urban and rural working-class communities, this article explores young teen girls’ negotiation of increasingly

Empowerment/Sexism: Figuring Female Sexual Agency in Contemporary Advertising

This article argues that there has been a significant shift in advertising representations of women in recent years, such that rather than being presented as passive objects of the male gaze, young

Media ‘Sluts’: ‘Tween’ Girls’ Negotiations of Postfeminist Sexual Subjectivities in Popular Culture

In recent years ‘tween’1 girls in Anglo-American societies have emerged from relative obscurity to become the focus of public and academic scrutiny. The gaze directed at them is a particularized and

III. Wanting and Not Wanting Sex: The Missing Discourse of Ambivalence

In her classic paper on ‘the missing discourse of desire’, Michelle Fine (1988) documented that the official discourse in sex education in public schools seldom acknowledged girls’ sexual desire.

The Aftermath of Feminism: Gender, Culture and Social Change

In this trenchant inquiry into the state of feminism, Angela McRobbie breaks open the politics of sexual equality and 'affirmative feminism' and sets down a new theory of gender power. Challenging