Innocent, not ignorant: oral recall of sexual knowledge and conduct by early twentieth century north Queensland women

Colclough, Gillian (2010) Innocent, not ignorant: oral recall of sexual knowledge and conduct by early twentieth century north Queensland women. Journal of Australian Studies, 34 (1). pp. 79-93. ISSN 1444-3058

Abstract

Social changes during the early twentieth century inspired concern about the sexual knowledge and conduct of young people, particularly young women. While there are many records of the opinions of social activists involved with the so-called sex debates, open discussion on sexual topics aroused such discomfort that frank accounts are rare from ordinary people involved in the social transformations of the period. A small number of such accounts are held in the North Queensland Oral History Project at James Cook University, where the recordings of a group of elderly women, undertaken in the 1980s, show that these women entered adolescence and adulthood with little or no understanding of their bodies or the possible outcomes of sexual activity. Stories of ideas and experiences on these matters are particularly important to historians and highlight the need for oral history facilitators to provide settings that promote frank disclosure. In analysing the content and circumstances of the oral accounts concerned, this article supports prominent theories about the disclosure of socially sensitive subjects and provides insights into early twentieth century sexual knowledge and attitudes in North Queensland.


Statistics for USQ ePrint 18430
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Author's version not held.
Depositing User: Dr Gillian Colclough
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Learning and Teaching Support Unit
Date Deposited: 23 Feb 2011 07:15
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2014 05:25
Uncontrolled Keywords: sexual knowledge; oral history; North Queensland; women's studies
Fields of Research (FOR2008): 20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2002 Cultural Studies > 200205 Culture, Gender, Sexuality
21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210301 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History
21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210303 Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO2008): C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australia's Past
Identification Number or DOI: doi: 10.1080/14443050903522077
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/18430

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only