Rebel Girls? Unplanned pregnancy and colonialism in highlands Papua, Indonesia

Leslie Butt, Jenny Munro

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    In highlands Papua, Indonesia, rapid social change under a colonial system of governance has created novel sexual opportunities for young indigenous women. Recent scholarship has viewed similar youthful sexual practices that challenge the status quo as expressions of personal agency. By looking at how young women and their families cope with unplanned pregnancies, we suggest that a more viable analytic approach would be to view sexuality, pregnancy and childbirth as a single unit of analysis. From this perspective, young women's experiences are primarily ones of constraint. Case studies offer insights into the ways a political context of colonial domination limits options and choices for young women who have children born out of wedlock. In particular, this paper describes how the 'settler gaze' - omnipresent colonial norms and judgments - creates regulatory effects in the realm of reproduction.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)585-598
    JournalCulture, Health and Sexuality
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


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