The impact of gendered scripts on chlamydia and safe-sex on young Australian men and women’s performance of gender and sexual responsibility
Over the last decade, young Australian’s rates of chlamydia infection have been steadily increasing with notable differences between young men and women (Kirby Institute, 2018). We explore the impact of gendered scripts on chlamydia and safe-sex on young heterosexual men and women’s performance of gender and sexual responsibility. We examine findings from a Foucauldian discourse analysis (FDA) of key Australian public health websites, alongside in-depth interviews, and qualitative survey responses of students from an Australian university. The FDA identified gendered scripts in public health resources that generally avoided focussing on men in favour of encouraging women to take responsibility for couple’s safe-sex behaviour. Interviews revealed heteronormative gendered scripts framed many sexual practices with stronger focus on unwanted pregnancy than STIs, disproportionate targeting of women for STI testing by doctors and more open discussions on sexual health among women. Interviews also highlighted the absence of a normative ‘formula’ – or script – for safe-sex discussions.
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