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'You can spot them a mile off' - Young women's negotiations of class and the sexual culture of shame

Williams, Helen (2021) 'You can spot them a mile off' - Young women's negotiations of class and the sexual culture of shame. Sexuality and Culture. ISSN 1095-5143

Item Type: Article


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 qualitative interviews with young people, I identify a relationship between social class and susceptibility to sexual stigma. The practice of slut-shaming works locally to bolster the social capital of some girls at the expense of others, often those of perceived lower status. I find that middle class women are afforded sexual liberty, particularly if they display agentic practice. In contrast, working class women occupy more precarious positions of sexual respectability which depend on narratives of relationships and love to ameliorate the potential for slut-shaming.

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Depositing User: Helen Williams


Item ID: 13298
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ISSN: 1095-5143
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Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Helen Williams: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2021 09:11
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2021 09:15


Author: Helen Williams ORCID iD

University Divisions

Faculty of Education and Society > School of Social Sciences


Social Sciences > Sociology
Social Sciences > Working with Young People

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