I got drunk and lost my virginity : young women's magazines and the management of sexual identity

Tait, Gordon (1996) I got drunk and lost my virginity : young women's magazines and the management of sexual identity. In Regulating Identities Conference, 3-4 October 1996, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane. (Unpublished)


It has often been argued that young woman’s magazine’s, like Cosmopolitan, Cleo Dolly and Seventeen, constitute a significant instrument in the patriarchal repression of young women - their hegemonic success lying in the fact that they appear to be sites wherein young women are ‘free’ from the elements of coercion so obviously in evidence within other terrains, such as the school and the family. This paper will suggest an alternative approach to these magazines. Rather than locating such texts within an overall model of repression and patriarchal domination, it will be argued here that they can be regarded as practical manuals which enrol young women to do specific kinds of work on themselves. In doing so, they form an effective link between the governmental imperatives aimed at constructing particular personas (such as, for example, ‘the sexually responsible young woman’), and the actual practices whereby these imperatives are operationalised. These manuals do not prevent young women from learning to ‘project a unique self’, they constitute a significant source of practices and techniques through which particular types of self are shaped.

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ID Code: 28937
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Gender, Women's magazines, Identity, Sex
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > CULTURAL STUDIES (200200) > Culture Gender Sexuality (200205)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Past > Schools > School of Cultural & Language Studies in Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 1996 [please consult the author]
Deposited On: 26 Nov 2009 21:44
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 14:12

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