Title

The Abstinence Only Until Marriage Program and Girl (Dis)empowerment

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

3-1-2017

Department

Education

Abstract

In this article I examine how a new immigrant girl from Jamaica participated in Abstinence Only Until Marriage (AOUM) classes at her school in New York City, and how her interpretation of the values taught in the classes shaped her aspirations for her future as well as the meaning of her past pregnancy. AOUM was a site in which the indirect and seductive power of the state motivated her to align her aspirations and method of attaining them with the neoliberal notion of success, and the neoconservative Christian notions related to family and sexuality in which, essentially, she did not believe. The finding shows that teaching sexuality as a personal matter only and separate from economic equality, and sexuality and reproductive rights does not contribute to the empowerment of girls. I conclude by suggesting that teaching sexuality as a public and political issue is an alternative method of empowerment.

DOI

10.3167/ghs.2017.100102

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