Puberty in Crisis: The Sociology of Early Sexual Development by Celia Roberts

By Celia Roberts

Puberty has lengthy been acknowledged as a tough and provoking procedure for people and households, however it is now additionally being broadly defined as in trouble. Reportedly happening prior and previous as each one decade of the twenty-first century passes, sexual improvement now heralds new varieties of temporal hassle within which sexuality, sex/gender and replica are all at stake. Many think that kids are becoming up too quickly and changing into sexual too early. Clinicians, mom and dad and academics all call for whatever needs to be performed. Does this out-of-time improvement point out that kid's futures are in danger or that we're getting into a brand new period of environmental and social perturbation? attractive with a various variety of up to date feminist and social theories at the physique, biology and intercourse, Celia Roberts urges us to refuse a discourse of main issue and to reconsider puberty as a mixture of organic, mental and social forces.

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Her answer is a qualified ‘yes’: Precociousness may be read as a type of strategic reaction – a ‘becoming adult’, becoming self-possessed – for a society that no longer has time for children. Perhaps precocious sexual development can be understood in a similar way. (2009: 41) Seaton’s note of caution is rather specific: she notes (as is discussed in detail in Chapter 4) that the scientific literature on sexual development mostly argues that it is only the early stages of puberty (breast and Puberty in crisis?

However, the onset of puberty (for example, as indicated in breast development and the growth of pubic hair) appears to be occurring ever earlier (although affected by body mass and ethnicity (Aksglaede et al. 2008; Kaplowitz et al. 2001). From the evidence available, Buckingham suggests that around one-third of seven-year-old girls are now showing pubertal characteristics, which means that they might, for biological reasons, be becoming aware of themselves as potentially sexual beings at an earlier age.

Should we be concerned about it as a biological phenomenon? How might feminists theorise the role of biological actors in early sexual development alongside consideration of social and psychological forces? And how can we resist articulations of girls’ sexual development as negative? My aim is to provide answers to these questions. As described in the following chapter, I do this through attending to findings, feelings and figurations; refusing to draw distinctions between bodies and discourses, I speak in terms of flows and foldings, conceptualising sexual development as an embodied temporal process.

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