This article investigates social and cultural aspects of \"teenage life\" among south Asian girls in Britain, particularly their experiences of relationships with boys and the extent to which they become involved in sexual activities. In-depth interviews were carried out with teenage girls and young women from Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi backgrounds and a comparative group of white British girls, in four schools and one college in the South and West Health Authority Region. Asian teenage girls conformed to different behavioural norms than their white peers. They were influenced by cultural traditions, religious obligations, family loyalties and community expectations. Few Asian girls became involved in relationships or sexual activities. However, once removed from the parental home, the influence of parents and their Asian community, their social and sexual behaviour changes; they experience an independence which often involves relationships and sexual activities. In contrast, white teenage girls experienced a different set of pressures which came from peers and boyfriends and accepted involvement with boys and sexual activity.
Ethnic and Racial Studies (1999) 22 867-891 [DOI: 10.1080/014198799329297]