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Periodical article Periodical article
Title:Quietly queer(ing): the normative value of sutura and its potential for young women in urban Senegal
Author:Oudenhuijsen, Loes
Year:2021
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute (ISSN 0001-9720)
Volume:91
Issue:3
Pages:434-452
Language:English
Geographic term:Senegal
Subjects:women
lesbianism
culture
urban areas
External link:https://doi.org/10.1017/S0001972021000243
Abstract:Sutura (discretion, modesty) is a central element in Senegalese Wolof culture that, among other things, promotes feminine honour through chastity, silence with regard to discussing sexuality with elders, and refraining from articulating same-sex desires in general. Consequently, sutura is seen as limiting the space for non-normative sexualities. However, lesbiennes in Senegal strategically employ sutura to navigate this gender and sexual normativity, whereby they queer the initially heteronormative framework. This article explores how, at the frontiers of international sexual rights activism and its antithetical Islamic social code, young women open new avenues for thinking queer Africa. The article explores young women's diverse tactics to turn sutura from a heteronormative framework into a vehicle for queer expression. These women demonstrate the constant yet indeterminate possibilities to negotiate between normative expectations and queer lives.
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