We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Respect Yourself, Protect Yourself

Latina Girls and Sexual Identity

Lorena Garcia

Publication Year: 2012

While Latina girls have high teen birth rates and are at increasing risk for contracting sexually transmitted infections, their sexual lives are much more complex than the negative stereotypes of them as “helpless” or “risky” (or worse) suggest. In Respect Yourself, Protect Yourself, Lorena Garcia examines how Latina girls negotiate their emerging sexual identities and attempt to create positive sexual experiences for themselves. Through a focus on their sexual agency, Garcia demonstrates that Latina girls' experiences with sexism, racism, homophobia and socioeconomic marginality inform how they engage and begin to rework their meanings and processes of gender and sexuality, emphasizing how Latina youth themselves understand their sexuality, particularly how they conceptualize and approach sexual safety and pleasure. At a time of controversy over the appropriate role of sex education in schools, Respect Yourself, Protect Yourself, provides a rare look and an important understanding of the sexual lives of a traditionally marginalized group.

Published by: NYU Press


pdf iconDownload PDF


pdf iconDownload PDF
p. vii

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. ix-xi

I am deeply grateful to the young Latinas and mothers who participated in this study. This book would not have been possible without their willingness to share very personal aspects of their lives. I hope that I have done some justice to their words and experiences. I am also very appreciative of the Chicago community organizations...

read more

1. Introduction: Studying the “Other” Girls

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 1-18

I walked eighteen-year-old Alicia to the reception area of the Chi-Town Health Teen Center after we wrapped up our first interview. I had met the high school senior two weeks earlier when she came in for an appointment to obtain birth control pills. We chatted about our weekend plans as we made our way toward the door...

read more

2. “She’s Old School Like That”: Mother and Daughter Sex Talks

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 19-56

I was wrapping up my first interview with Carmen, the mother of seventeenyear- old Minerva, when Carmen’s sister unexpectedly stopped by for a visit on her way home from running errands. Carmen introduced us, reminding her sister that I was doing interviews with Latina girls and their mothers. Taking off her winter hat and gloves as...

read more

3. The Sexual (Mis)Education of Latina Girls

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 57-82

For our first scheduled interview, I met Samantha, who had characterized her mother as “old-school Puerto Rican,” at Centro Adelante, where she was organizing poster-size diagrams for a presentation she was preparing on safe sex.1 The professionally printed diagrams illustrated female and male reproductive organs and different...

read more

4. “Handlin’ Your Business”: Sexual Respectability and Peers

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 83-114

The cool air inside Las Palmitas, a small Latino-owned grocery store in the West Town community, offered us a welcome relief from the muggy weather outside. Hearing the bell attached to the door jingle, a middleaged Latino man near the register looked up from the newspaper he was reading to greet us. Centro Adelante youth often strolled to Las Palmitas, only a couple blocks away, to buy...

read more

5. Playing Lil’ Games: Partners and Safe-Sex Strategies

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 115-146

Stephanie was an hour late for our second scheduled interview. As I waited for her in the lobby of Hogar del Pueblo, I began to worry that she had changed her mind about participating in the study after our initial interview. I checked my cell phone again to make sure I had not missed her call and decided to head home. As...

read more

6. Conclusion

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 147-160

As winter gave way to spring in April 2004, the energy level among the young people at Hogar del Pueblo picked up in anticipation of not only warmer days but also the upcoming graduation, prom, and other end-of-the-school year celebrations. During a two-week period that month, Stephanie, who had tracked down emergency contraception...

Appendix A: Profile of Research Participants

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 161-164

Appendix B: Methodological Notes

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 165-170


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 171-188


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 189-208


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 209-218

About the Author

pdf iconDownload PDF
p. 219

E-ISBN-13: 9780814733189
E-ISBN-10: 0814733166
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814733165

Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2012

OCLC Number: 811147326
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Respect Yourself, Protect Yourself

Research Areas


UPCC logo

Subject Headings

  • Hispanic American teenage girls -- United States -- Psychology.
  • Self-perception in adolescence -- United States.
  • Gender identity -- United States.
  • Sex instruction for girls -- United States.
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access