Risking It: Young Heterosexual Femininities in South African Context of HIV/AIDS

Reddy, Shakila and Dunne, Mairead (2007) Risking It: Young Heterosexual Femininities in South African Context of HIV/AIDS. Sexualities, 10 (2). pp. 159-172. ISSN 1363-460

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Abstract

This article explores gender power relations and the contradictions and confusions associated with sexual identity and normative (hetero-)sexual practices. Theories of `identity¿ and `performativity¿ are used to understand the relationships between young women's sexual identity constructions and sexual practices within the context of HIV/AIDS in South Africa. The discussion focuses on young women's accounts of their feminine identities with respect to issues of intimacy and romantic love; pregnancy, virginity and respect; desire, danger and disease; future marriage and family. It highlights the fragility and ambiguity in the processes of identity construction and performance of heterosexual femininity in an HIV/AIDS environment. Significantly, the dominant discourses of femininity through which these young women made sense of their sexual selves, stood in direct contradiction to their sexual safety. Given this, greater understanding of these identity processes would appear vital to successful strategies in the protection against HIV/AIDS in South Africa.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Education
Depositing User: Mairead Dunne
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 19:48
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2012 11:25
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/22260
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