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Salud mental

Print version ISSN 0185-3325


GUTIERREZ, Rafael  and  VEGA, Leticia. Symbolic violence of women's sexual exploitation at a students' party. Salud Ment [online]. 2014, vol.37, n.4, pp.341-348. ISSN 0185-3325.

The article analyzes a wild students' party that is part of a twenty-five-year old tradition of helping to finance students' graduation and other activities, in which young men and women participate in a theatrical re-enactment of sexual exploitation. The aim is to describe how symbolic violence can reproduce sexual exploitation in an emotionally gratifying way and how this transmutation is experienced by victims. The information reported is based on field work conducted in a student community at a higher education school in the conurbated area of Mexico City. Observations of the preparation, implementation and wild post-celebration were carried out in this community. In this context, several students between the ages of 17 and 23, including five women, participated in a focus group (two sessions) and in-depth interviews (three sessions) to describe the most significant dimensions of the celebration. The five students were invited to participate through an explanatory letter requesting their voluntary consent. A content analysis of the observation records and a literal transcription of the focus groups and interviews were conducted. The results indicate that the celebration, which includes a theatrical representation of sexual exploitation, includes some real components: concealment, abduction, auction, erotic dancing and sexual harassment. These elements are experienced with displeasure but relived by the informants and other participants as an exciting, rewarding moment. These results are explained by Bourdieu's theory of symbolic violence. We conclude that the celebration is a gratifying affirmation of the sexist beliefs and practices that legitimize the sexual exploitation of women and tacit acceptance of their abuse, which are often concealed, but recognized as a venerable tradition.

Keywords : Symbolic violence; sexual exploitation; youth society.

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