“Like, pissing yourself is not a particularly attractive quality, let’s be honest” : learning to contain through youth, adulthood, disability and sexuality
- Publisher: SAGE Publications
In this article, we (re)conceptualise containment in the context of youth, gender, disability, crip sex/uality and pleasure. We begin by exploring eugenic histories of containment and trace the ways in which the anomalous embodiment of disabled people (Shildrick, 2009) remains vigorously policed within current neo-eugenic discourse. Drawing upon data from two corresponding research studies, we bring the lived experiences of disabled young people to the fore. We explore their stories of performing, enacting and realising containment: containing the posited unruliness of the leaky impaired body; containment as a form of (gendered) labour (Liddiard, 2013a); containment as a marker of normalisation and sexualisation, and thus a necessary component for ableist adulthood (Slater, 2015). Thus, we theorise crip embodiment as permeable, porous and thus problematic in the context of the impossibly bound compulsory (sexually) able adult body (McRuer, 2006). We suggest that the implicit learning of containment is therefore required of disabled young people, particularly women, to counter infantilising and desexualising discourse and cross the 'border zone of youth' (Lesko, 2012) and achieve normative neoliberal adulthood. Crucially, however, we examine the meaning of what we argue are important moments of messiness: the precarious localities of leakage which disrupt containment and thus the 'reality' of the 'able' 'adult' body. We conclude by considering the ways in which these bodily ways of being contour both material experiences of pleasure and the right(s) to obtain it.