Materialising effects of difference in sex education: the ‘absurd’ banana penis

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This article scrutinises pedagogical practices undergone in sexuality education as recorded with two intergenerational groups of former Australian schoolgirls. It discusses the surprising widespread use of the plastic, white, circumcised banana penis in sexuality education experienced by the younger group. The normalisation of the white, circumcised, plastic, banana penis (without reference to the vulva and/or vagina) is telling about what bodies matter and how sex materialises. The banana penis, as uncritically modelled in sexuality education, effectively materialises difference as both sexist and racist. This paper considers diffractive thinking in classroom with these practices, with students, and ways pedagogical practice may bring about a renormalisation that moves from reiterating racist heteronormative hierarchies to a creative opening up of ways students (as sexed, gendered and raced) can come to safely and affirmatively negotiate differences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1065-1077
Number of pages13
JournalGender and Education
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2018


  • absurd
  • Banana penis
  • humour
  • inequity
  • materiality
  • sex education
  • sex toy

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