Interview with Amanda, 18, White British, middle class, Roman Catholic. Women, Risk and AIDS Project, Manchester, 1989. Anonymised version including fieldnotes (Ref: MAG19)
Anonymised transcript of an interview with Amanda, eighteen, who is at college and works in a bar. She enjoys horse riding and looking after animals, and having a good social life with her friends (which she feels has negatively impacted her academic work). She now has a car, which has had a positive impact on her sense of independence. Amanda comes from a middle-class background, but has lots of friends from working-class backgrounds in poorer areas of Manchester as well as more 'pretentious' ones from college. Her boyfriend of four weeks lives in Hulme with his flatmate, and regularly engages in alcohol and drug use. She has had quite a lot of sexual partners, more than her girlfriends, but doesn't agree with one-night stands and these sexual experiences have typically involved those that she has been friends with for a while first. Amanda expresses her own feminist thinking around equality and sexual reputation and pleasure, though there is sometimes conflict between her way of thinking and expressing her sexual identity and wider social norms and gendered expectations among her peers that leads her to question this, as well as her need for validation. She first had sex when she was fifteen and a half, and drunk. It was a while after this before she had had sex while sober, and she feels her views on sex have changed since her first time. She has found it difficult to say 'no' within heterosexual sexual experiences, and does not want to be known as a 'prick tease'. Amanda doesn't remember much of her Sex Education at school, but learnt about AIDS through programmes on TV and pamphlets that came through the door. She was using condoms, but now relies on the pill as her main method of birth control and protection and would continue to use condoms with a new sexual partner. Her friend was using the rhythm method to track her 'safe days', but this failed and resulted in pregnancy and a miscarriage, so Amanda is much more conscious and careful now. Amanda had learnt about contraception at school, namely the cap and the coil. However, she feels using the cap would ruin the 'heat of the moment' within sexual encounters. In terms of AIDS protection, she has considered using condoms or the withdrawal method. She would feel ok to ask a sexual partner to use a condom to avoid pregnancy, but would not feel as comfortable to ask them in the contect of AIDS protection, as there is stigma around AIDS and promiscuity. She thought that those at highest risk of AIDS would be homosexuals and needle-users, but now recognises that this risk is not confined to specific groups within society.
Women, Risk and Aids Project (WRAP, 1989-90)
The Reanimating Data Project
Greater Manchester, UK
CC BY-NC 4.0