Girls' voices and social policy : an examination of the effect of social policy on girls' sexuality
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This thesis analyzes the effect social policy has on girls' sexuality, examining three policies in-depth that target adolescent sexuality: age-of-consent laws, parental notification and/or consent laws and sexual education policies. The analysis focuses on what affect these policies have on the adolescent female as she attempts to develop a healthy notion of her sexuality and gender. In order to determine how these policies construct sexuality and girlhood and how girls' react to these policies, this thesis includes an in-depth policy analysis looking at the history of the policy and the current language and effect. Discussion boards on which girls discuss sexuality and/or social policy are used throughout the analysis as a way to integrate the girls' reactions to sex-based social policies that are designed to "protect" them. Overall the research reveals that these particular policies promote normative gender stereotypes that influence the development of girls' sexuality. Further, girls express frustration with these types of social policies that define and control their sexuality differently than girls identify their own sexuality.