The construction of sexual and gendered identities amongst coloured school girls.
This study aims to explore how young coloured girls, aged 16-17, give meaning to sexuality. Coloured girls’ are often marginalised in South African research and debate around gender and sexuality. This study focuses on coloured girls in two different social and economic contexts in Durban. The one context is Wentworth which remains a predominantly coloured working class area. The other is a middle class former white area in Glenwood Durban. The study draws on qualitative research using interview methods to focus on eight girls in these two areas. Three of the girls emerged from Glenwood whilst five others live in Wentworth. The aim of the study was to understand the ways in which class impacted on their meanings of sexuality. Gender, race and class are intertwined social constructs which assist in the formulation of sexual identities. This study investigated the similarities and differences between the two groups of coloured girls. They differed in relation to: their mindsets regarding everyday life, for example the girls from Glenwood interacted with boys from all four racial groups and had a better understanding of their different cultures. The girls from Wentworth found boys from racial groups other than coloured more attractive due to lack of knowledge of them. Thus the girls from Glenwood were open to multi-racial relationships whilst the girls from Wentworth were afraid to do so, as they would be subject to ridicule from the community. In Wentworth ones status is defined by clothing, cash and cars and in order for these young girls to be successful in this community they must affiliate themselves with boys/men who can provide such things; even if they come at a high price. In this study the girls were similar in that they all wanted to be independent, wanted to finish school, find good jobs, and buy their own cars, thus we see the feminine agency of coloured girls from two different socio-economic contexts.