“Dying to be women”: explorations and implications of narrative parameters of female youth sexuality in Zimbabwe
This article considers how socio-cultural ideologies and practices can act as social technologies that help produce specific sexual practices and identities in young women. It identifies young women’s libidinal economics as one contributing factor responsible for prescriptive gender roles in Southern Africa, and in this context, Zimbabwe. Understanding the contexts and structures of socio-sexual ideologies circulating among young women as part of their formal and informal sexual education might help address the root cause and understand the core conditions that exacerbate young women’s sexual vulnerability Therefore youth-related programming may need to develop ways of assisting young people to develop intellectual, social and psychological skills in order for them to take full advantage of their youth. In revising prerequisites of womanhood and adulthood, there is need for a critical pedagogy which incorporates “deviance” as a concept which empowers young women to question and challenge rather than reinstate and reinforce normative pressures and essentialist perspectives of entering adulthood and “doing gender”.
Keywords: HIV and AIDS, libidinal economics, sexual cultures, sexual vulnerabilities