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'We're not living on planet lesbian': Constructions of male role models in debates about lesbian families

Clarke, Victoria; Kitzinger, Celia


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Dr Victoria Clarke
Associate Professor in Qualitative & Critical Psychology

Celia Kitzinger


The notion that children (especially boys) need male role models has been used in the past to attack lesbian parents in custody cases, and more recently in debates about donor insemination, adoption and fostering. We are interested in how lesbian parents and their supporters respond to arguments about the necessity of male role models. We analyse data from popular television talk shows and television documentaries using a discursive approach and identify common strategies used by lesbian parents to deal with the argument that their children are 'missing out' because of a deficit in their family structure. We then consider the responses of opponents of lesbian parenting to these strategies. What these responses reveal is that lesbian parents and their opponents construct and work with very different definitions of male role models. We show that the contributions both of opponents of lesbian parenting and of lesbian parents themselves to media debates attend to and sustain traditional understandings of gender and sexual development. Copyright © 2005 SAGE Publications (London).


Clarke, V., & Kitzinger, C. (2005). 'We're not living on planet lesbian': Constructions of male role models in debates about lesbian families. Sexualities, 8(2), 137-152.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Apr 1, 2005
Deposit Date Nov 23, 2010
Journal Sexualities
Print ISSN 1363-4607
Electronic ISSN 1461-7382
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Issue 2
Pages 137-152
Keywords lesbian parents, male role models, discourse analysis, talk shows
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : The final, definitive version of this paper has been published in Sexualities, 8/2, May 2005 by SAGE Publications Ltd. All rights reserved. © 2005 SAGE Publications Ltd


Male_Role_Models_final_to_be_submitted_version_Sexualities.doc (95 Kb)

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