Becoming intelligible woman: Gender, disability and resistance at the border zone of youth

SLATER, Jen, ÁGÚSTSDÓTTIR, Embla and HARALDSDÓTTIR, Freyja (2018). Becoming intelligible woman: Gender, disability and resistance at the border zone of youth. Feminism and Psychology, 28 (3), 409-426.

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This paper considers young disabled women navigating ableist and heteronormative constructs of adult womanhood. We consider adult womanhood at the embodied intersection of gender, sexuality and dis/ability (categories themselves mediated by race, class, coloniality etc.). For young disabled women, questions of gender and sexuality were more often than not denied. Gendered and sexual identities were therefore politically and strategically used to claim 'adult' and 'woman'. Yet, such identities often felt restricted to binary gendered frameworks. Already positioned through ableism as non-normative, to exist outside of heteronormativity felt dangerous, risking paternalism and non-consensual bodily intervention. Drawing on the cases of Ashley X and Marie Adams, we argue that these dangers are often more severe for those with labels of intellectual impairment and/or considered to have the most 'severe' impairments. Adulthood needs to be understood, not as a natural state of development (the endpoint of youth), but as a heteronormative and ableist socio-cultural-political construct, as well as a complex site of negotiation, conflict and resistance, which (differently) restricts how young people are able to become in the world. We fill a gap in scholarship by exploring the intersection of critical disability studies, crip theory, and youth studies from a feminist perspective.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: youth, adulthood, disability, queer, crip
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Institute of Education
Departments - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities > Department of Education, Childhood and Inclusion
Identification Number:
Page Range: 409-426
Depositing User: Tig Slater
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2018 14:07
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 05:09

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