*Note* This scheduling program was not designed by folks who do a lot with APA Style and unfortunately it defaults to listing authors in alphabetical order. We cannot fix this for this online schedule, but the author orders are posted in the order submitted in the printed program available via pdf here.
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Saturday, March 7 • 2:25pm - 3:25pm
Girls of Color and Vulnerability in Sex Ed Classrooms: A Discussion

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The idea for this discussion comes out of an experience we have had in the sex ed classroom with girls of color. We would like this discussion to focus on the negotiations, difficulties, and vulnerabilities present in the sex ed classroom when girls of color are asked to talk about sex and around difficult topics such as consent and coercion. Some of the contradictions that we would like to discuss is the pull for girls to see themselves as strong, proud, and in control of their own decisions, a position supported by growing autonomy in adolescence, and thus deny weakness and vulnerability. Also, this position may need to be reinforced by girls when they pick up on messages from the culture about being at risk (for pregnancy) and/or hyper-sexual (a stereotype). In teaching the sex ed class, we were struck with how difficult it was for the girls to discuss sexual risks and dangers relating to consent and coercion. We observed that this vulnerability (that all girls share) may need to be denied by two other kinds of talk: 1) that boys are equally in danger; and 2) that girls of color need to be “respectable”, in their own words, so if they act in a way that shows they don’t respect themselves, they get what is coming to them. We understand vulnerability to be multiply determined and to be experienced consciously as well as unconsciously. We also understand the students to be constructing who they are and what they feel through multiple identity positions within the specific context of their school, country, ethnicity, race, and gender. Isom’s (2012) qualitative work with youth of color showed femaleness constructed as “strong, multitudinous and varied, yet sexualized by a male gaze and silent in the face of it”.


Tangela Roberts

University of Massachusetts Boston

Saturday March 7, 2015 2:25pm - 3:25pm PST
Gold Rush A