In a 2010 issue of Sex Roles and in a recent jointly authored work, Lamb and Peterson (2011) introduced and grappled with some of the most complex debates surrounding adolescent female sexuality. In response to the questions they pose regarding the constitution of young women’s sexual empowerment, this commentary revisits the fundamental principles of empowerment theory and practice. Empowerment is popularly equated with individualized concepts of self-efficacy and agency. However, collective efforts to develop critical consciousness and to address systemic bias and inequality were originally regarded as essential components of empowerment. I recall these broader, politicized aspects of empowerment as a way of advocating for: (1) a collective approach to supporting young women’s sexual well-being through intergenerational alliances and safe spaces; and (2) a more thorough analysis of how contextual factors, including non-sexual ones, shape young women’s sexual choices and lives.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 29, 2011
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