RELG 271 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Pedophilia, Physical Attractiveness, Sexualization

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RELG 271
Lecture 8 — Feb 5
Sex & Childhood
Learning Cell:
-Not being graded on the essay on Feb 10, but must come with it done to discuss thesis and
arguments
Childhood Vulnerability
-Acute vulnerability
-Fragility of childhood does not dissipate quickly — they are very dependent on support in
order to learn how to navigate through this world (metaphorically and literally)
-Utter dependence
-Long maturing process
-Lacking in control
-Potentially obscured in the family or family-like institutions but exposed without them —
reliance on adult advocacy
-Need belonging — the child has many problems if they are alone
-Belonging is problematic — child becomes obscured by social groups. The family
obscures the child (Nessbaum’s childhood captivity)
-Reliance on adult advocacy
-Tension between who is making decisions for the child — questioning their agency
-Deeply impacted by the decisions made by parents
Four components of Sexualization
-How is sexual desire played out in society?
-Components of sexualization can be understood singularly, but also work together to
create a sex appeal (ex. desirability)
1. Sex appeals singled out
2. Physical attractiveness equated to being sexy
-To speak of someone’s beauty is to speak of someone’s desirability sexually
3. Sexual objectification
4. Sexuality inappropriately imposed
-All it takes is one of these to be present = system of sexualization
-Ex. childhood images, childhood toys etc.
Difference in gender for sexualization — sexualization of girls rather than boys
-Woolf’s beauty myth: women have fought for equality (pursue a public life…), but as much of
these feminist advancements have happened, male domination has advanced due to the
notions of beauty
-Men still control what is beautiful and what counts as beautiful
-Men are in control of a woman’s confidence
-Woolf explores how this myth has advanced from childhood
Beauty pageants: judging girls in adult ways — major problem
-When sexuality is used in advertising and sexualized images of children are a part of that, we
are confused of what is right and wrong in sex
-Culture is catering to pedophilia
Negative Consequences
-Cognitive and emotional difficulties imposed by sexualization
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