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Thinking through moments of sexual refusal in Looking for Alibrandi and The Rage in Placid Lake

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This paper explores two scenarios in which young women refuse the sexual advances of young men in the films Looking for Alibrandi and The Rage in Placid Lake. The paper highlights the heteronormative nature of education around refusing sex, which reinstates gendered stereotypes of masculine as active and feminine as passive. Acknowledging sex education literature over the past ten years which has highlighted that ambiguity, confusion and uncertainty are often absent in the teaching of sex education, the paper examines key moments in films and the feelings they convey, suggesting that such instances offer significant potential for building young people’s affective sexual literacies. By exploring and critiquing the justifications for sex given by the young men, and by considering the Catholic Josie in Looking for Alibrandi alongside the secular Gemma in The Rage in Placid Lake, the multiplicity of reasons for young women’s decisions to abstain from sex are highlighted. Noting the absence of ethical engagements in such moments, it is suggested that thinking through them may be beneficial in enabling conversations regarding negotiation in sexual encounters.
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Keywords: Film; feelings; heteronormativity; sexuality education; teenagers

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Humanities, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia

Publication date: March 3, 2016

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