Sex educating the modern girl: the formation of new knowledge in interwar Australia

Featherstone, Lisa (2010) Sex educating the modern girl: the formation of new knowledge in interwar Australia. Journal of Australian Studies, 34 4: 459-469. doi:10.1080/14443058.2010.519103


Author Featherstone, Lisa
Title Sex educating the modern girl: the formation of new knowledge in interwar Australia
Journal name Journal of Australian Studies   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1444-3058
1835-6419
Publication date 2010-12-01
Year available 2010
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/14443058.2010.519103
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 34
Issue 4
Start page 459
End page 469
Total pages 11
Place of publication Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Publisher Routledge
Language eng
Abstract This article explores the development of sex education for Australian girls in the 1920s. It shows that a new belief in the importance of informing girls about sex arose in this decade, both in Australia and elsewhere in the West. This belief marked a shift away from the Victorian notion that girlhood should be untainted by sexual knowledge. It was also allied to a growing faith in expert knowledge and modern rationality as a cure-all for social problems - including those associated with unwanted pregnancies and venereal disease. In spite of this, the actual sexual information imparted to girls was at best incomplete and at worst deliberately baffling. Ultimately sex education for girls in this period aimed to teach them how to control masculine sexual urges and the dangers of pre-marital sex. For all its rhetoric about the need for rational knowledge, it thus served a primarily moral agenda of little practical use to the girls concerned.
Keyword Sex education
Female sexuality
1920s Australia
Modernity
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry
 
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Created: Mon, 08 Aug 2016, 11:19:30 EST by Lucy O'Brien on behalf of School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry