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Respect Yourself, Protect Yourself

Respect Yourself, Protect Yourself: Latina Girls and Sexual Identity

Lorena Garcia
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 240
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  • Book Info
    Respect Yourself, Protect Yourself
    Book Description:

    While Latina girls have high teen birth rates and are at increasing risk for contracting sexually transmitted infections, their sexual lives are much more complex than the negative stereotypes of them as helpless or risky (or worse) suggest. In Respect Yourself, Protect Yourself, Lorena Garcia examines how Latina girls negotiate their emerging sexual identities and attempt to create positive sexual experiences for themselves. Through a focus on their sexual agency, Garcia demonstrates that Latina girls' experiences with sexism, racism, homophobia and socioeconomic marginality inform how they engage and begin to rework their meanings and processes of gender and sexuality, emphasizing how Latina youth themselves understand their sexuality, particularly how they conceptualize and approach sexual safety and pleasure. At a time of controversy over the appropriate role of sex education in schools, Respect Yourself, Protect Yourself, provides a rare look and an important understanding of the sexual lives of a traditionally marginalized group.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-3318-9
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. 1 Introduction: Studying the “Other” Girls
    (pp. 1-18)

    I walked eighteen-year-old Alicia to the reception area of the Chi-Town Health Teen Center after we wrapped up our first interview. I had met the high school senior two weeks earlier when she came in for an appointment to obtain birth control pills. We chatted about our weekend plans as we made our way toward the door, the previously busy waiting room, with its colorful flyers and posters, now empty. One hot-pink flyer shouted, “Come join our teen group!” Another bright-green flyer simply read, “Please ask for your brown bag at the front counter” (each bag contained twelve condoms). A...

  5. 2 “She’s Old School Like That”: Mother and Daughter Sex Talks
    (pp. 19-56)

    I was wrapping up my first interview with Carmen, the mother of seventeen-year-old Minerva, when Carmen’s sister unexpectedly stopped by for a visit on her way home from running errands. Carmen introduced us, reminding her sister that I was doing interviews with Latina girls and their mothers. Taking off her winter hat and gloves as she shook off the powdery snow from her boots on a welcome mat, the sister dismissively commented to Carmen, “¿Qué se gana uno con hablar de eso? Minerva ya hizo lo que hizo[What does one gain from talking about that? Minerva already did what...

  6. 3 The Sexual (Mis)Education of Latina Girls
    (pp. 57-82)

    For our first scheduled interview, I met Samantha, who had characterized her mother as “old-school Puerto Rican,” at Centro Adelante, where she was organizing poster-size diagrams for a presentation she was preparing on safe sex.¹ The professionally printed diagrams illustrated female and male reproductive organs and different birth control and safe-sex methods. Samantha, along with Carolyn, a young African American woman, had been training to be a peer health educator at the Chicago Committee on Youth Health (CCYH). Under the supervision of a CCYH youth coordinator, the two young women of color led an engaging one-hour workshop on safe sex...

  7. 4 “Handlin’ Your Business”: Sexual Respectability and Peers
    (pp. 83-114)

    The cool air inside Las Palmitas, a small Latino-owned grocery store in the West Town community, offered us a welcome relief from the muggy weather outside. Hearing the bell attached to the door jingle, a middle-aged Latino man near the register looked up from the newspaper he was reading to greet us. Centro Adelante youth often strolled to Las Palmitas, only a couple blocks away, to buy their snacks of choice, a small bag of potato chips and a can of pop. I had joined sixteen-year-old Irene and Asucena and fifteen-year-old Felix that afternoon to buy a snack. As we...

  8. 5 Playing Lil’ Games: Partners and Safe-Sex Strategies
    (pp. 115-146)

    Stephanie was an hour late for our second scheduled interview. As I waited for her in the lobby of Hogar del Pueblo, I began to worry that she had changed her mind about participating in the study after our initial interview. I checked my cell phone again to make sure I had not missed her call and decided to head home. As I walked down the street on that cold and blustery November afternoon, I spotted Stephanie and her friend hurriedly walking toward me. Greeting me with a wide smile, the charismatic young woman shook her head and exclaimed, “Girl,...

  9. 6 Conclusion
    (pp. 147-160)

    As winter gave way to spring in April 2004, the energy level among the young people at Hogar del Pueblo picked up in anticipation of not only warmer days but also the upcoming graduation, prom, and other end-of-the-school year celebrations. During a two-week period that month, Stephanie, who had tracked down emergency contraception with the help of her friend, did not stop by the community center. The talkative seventeen-year-old typically frequented the afterschool program at least three afternoons every week. When she returned in early May, it was as if she had never been absent at all, focusing on her...

  10. APPENDIX A: Profile of Research Participants
    (pp. 161-164)
  11. APPENDIX B: Methodological Notes
    (pp. 165-170)
  12. NOTES
    (pp. 171-188)
    (pp. 189-208)
  14. INDEX
    (pp. 209-218)
    (pp. 219-219)