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Open Access Religion, class and schooled sexuality among Minangkabau teenage girls

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Religion, class and schooled sexuality among Minangkabau teenage girls

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This paper examines the meanings attached to sexuality and femininity by Minangkabau teenage girls in schools in West Sumatra, Indonesia. Schools in West Sumatra communicate a hegemonic, normative understanding of womanhood, and a moral consciousness of the female sexual body, to students. Different types of schools – academic, vocational and Islamic senior high schools – have a different ‘curriculum of the body’ (Lesko 1988) and differently discipline bodies and shape sexuality. School girls articulate their understanding of and practise their sexuality in ways that are characteristic of their class, gender and religiosity, mediated by their schools.The schools articulate a religiously-ordained and gendered social order, and impose social control. The different types of school render girls chaste and virtuous to varying degrees. Through everyday practices, this curriculum effects girls’ embodied experience of sexuality. Minangkabau teenage girls have a highly developed sense of their own sexuality, but, far from experiencing a sexual revolution as a result of globalization, most have developed a sexual awareness that is weighted with cultural and religious burdens. Minang female adolescent sexuality is a moral sexuality based on Islam and adat.

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