Source: The Mercury, 30 August, 1999, p.3


No sex please, we're only 16

By BRONWYN HURRELL 
in Sydney 
 
YOUNG women are developing 
more conservative outlooks with 
almost half of them believing 16 is 
too young to have sex, new 
research shows. 
 
   And despite a trend towards 
independence, many young women 
still admit to dressing to impress 
men. 
 
   A telephone survey conducted of 
16 to 28-year-old women by B 
magazine has revealed a 
conservative pen-portrait of 1990s 
women. The women's magazine 
directed at 20-30 year-olds found: 
 
* About 60% like to make 
themselves look nice to impress 
men. 
 
* More than 60% believe they will 
be married within 10 years. 
 
* Almost half believe 16 is too 
young to have sex. 
 
   The results suggested women 
were more conservative than 
women in the 1970s and 1980s. 
 
   And it pointed to AIDS and other 
sexually transmitted diseases for 
reasons behind the move towards 
"traditional" values. 
 
   While 43% supported a woman's 
right to have an abortion if there 
was not enough money to raise a 
child, 48% said 16 was too young 
for sex. 
 
   But a leading researcher into 
women's social lives disputed the 
findings, saying they probably 
only represented a specific type of 
young woman. 
 
   Dr Charlotte de Crespigny, a 
health researcher who studies 
young women's social lives, said 
there was more often "mixed 
responses" to these issues. 
 
   "What might look like conserva-
tism is actually a reaction to 
continuing inequality or environ-
mental threats young women are 
trying to contend with while they 
still play out their new roles as 
independent human beings," she 
said. 
 
   "They're still having to deal with 
inequality in their social lives, 
particularly in places like hotels 
because of sexual harassment." 
 
   Dr de Crespigny said a different 
young women's culture had 
emerged in the l990s "and I 
definitely wouldn't say it is 
conservative". 
 
   She said the popularity of "pub 
crawls" among women suggested 
they were not becoming more 
socially conservative. 
 
   "Younger women are definitely 
talking about being single, 
exploring their social lives 
themselves," she said. 
 
   "I think they certainly believe in 
themselves as equal beings with 
males, but often the environment 
doesn't allow that to be."


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