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Teachers' views of teenage sexual morality

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Deborah ChambersORCiD


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This paper examines the discourses of morality drawn on by secondary school teachers in England to describe their attitudes to pupils' developing sexual identities. Although teachers recognized their own formative role in the sexual socialization of pupils and identified homophobic attitudes among boys, they were ambivalent about how far they could intervene in homophobic bulling in school. However, they failed even to recognize the widespread misogynistic bullying of girls by boys as a problem. Teachers expressed anxieties about girls' ownership of sexual knowledge and sexual agency while perceiving boys to be sexually immature and less 'responsible'. We explore possible reasons for teachers' neglect of misogynistic bullying and their labelling of girls as sexually precocious. We argue that the discourses shaping teachers' attitudes to sexual morality and sex education were largely embedded in a form of liberal individualism that impeded them from confronting the structurally reproduced relations of gender domination

Publication metadata

Author(s): Chambers D, Van Loon J, Tincknell E

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Journal of Sociology of Education

Year: 2004

Volume: 25

Issue: 5

Pages: 563-576

ISSN (print): 0142-5692

ISSN (electronic): 1465-3346

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/0142569042000252053


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