Naked Bodies and Nasty Pictures: Decoding Sex Scripts in Preadolescence, Re-Examining Normative Nudity through Art Education

By Bey, Sharif | Studies in Art Education, Spring 2011 | Go to article overview

Naked Bodies and Nasty Pictures: Decoding Sex Scripts in Preadolescence, Re-Examining Normative Nudity through Art Education


Bey, Sharif, Studies in Art Education


In a scene from the 2007 comedy, Superbad (Apatow, 2007), the teenage Seth reluctantly reflects on his childhood obsession for drawing male genitalia. "For some reason, I don't know why, I'd just kinda sit around all day and draw pictures of dicks. . . I couldn't touch the pen to a piece of paper without it drawing the shape of a penis." Seth obsessively created images of penises and various contexts in which he could imaginatively explore interpretations of the penis. In his private practices of drawing, he personified and repetitiously arranged phallic images. Because of the extremely personal nature of these drawings, Seth carefully hid them away in his lunchbox. As with this characterization of a curious boy, Thome and Luria (1986) point out that drawing can serve a specific developmental need for young people who wish to explore their understandings about sex and gender on their own terms. Drawing can assist children in navigating gender constructs and serve to counter the repression of sexual curiosities, an experience common to many youth (Ivashkevlc 2009; Gagnon & Simon, 1984; Wilson, 1976). The two writers of Superbad, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, supposedly wrote this screenplay when they were only 13 years old and apparently drew on personal knowledge to parody this experience of many young boys (Koltnow, 2007). Young people may engage In a variety of artistic activities in order to relieve tensions generated by boredom, repression, and unfulfilled curiosities (Wilson & Wilson, 1981). Ivashkevlc (2009) suggests that image making is a practice "Interwoven with social and cultural discourses of childhood and gender, and embedded In children's peer interactions, daily activities and participation in popular culture" (p. 51).

I was not as discreet, nor was I as adventurous as Seth, but from about age 10 and throughout my middle school years, I created and exchanged dozens of secret sketches. Through sharing drawings of naked classmates and even teachers, I earned the favor of an elite group of boys. I imagine that my boyhood exposure to sexually explicit figures drawn onto park benches, picnic tables, school desks, and lockers informed my drawings and also gave me the opportunity to unofficially compare notes with anonymous yet equally curious youngsters who were more inclined to graffiti than to passing notes. It is apparent that young learners utilize drawing as a means of processing and organizing thoughts and representing the environment. As their perceptual awareness increases, they may venture to a great variety of subject matter (Lowenfeld & Brittain, 1987). In this case, as in many cases thereafter, I used drawing as a vehicle for negotiating notions of sex, sexuality, gender, and (social) power.

I knowingly created these drawings for several reasons. I sought to initiate an exchange about sex and the body with my peers; therefore, I created drawings in response to the drawings of my peers. On the other hand, I intended to earn the favor of friends who also suffered from boredom and seemingly felt empowered by sharing these images. According to Duncum and Smith-Shank (2001 ) sexualized nude images hold significance to préadolescent children for their"power to arouse sexually" but also for their "power to offend" (p. 1 00). While préadolescents may not find comfort in discussing with parents or other adults some of their assumptions, beliefs, or curiosities about sex, they playfully share their perceptions with each other through various forms (Duncum & Smith-5hanfe, 2001). Unfortunately, préadolescent children are also often not yet aware of the intention and power behind some images of the body they encounter and to which they respond.'

My younger brother and I discovered pornography when we were around 9 or 10 years old. We found a few hardcore magazines in an abandoned car in a nearby alleyway on our walk to the neighborhood park. I was awestruck by the photographs and additionally excited by the idea that I was experiencing that which I knew my parents would never approve. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Naked Bodies and Nasty Pictures: Decoding Sex Scripts in Preadolescence, Re-Examining Normative Nudity through Art Education
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.