SOCC38H3 Study Guide - Final Guide: Postfeminism, These Girls, Gender Identity
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SOCC38 GENDER AND EDUCATION FINAL STUDY GUIDE
POSTFEMINISM (Pomerantz et al.)
-Denition: Postfeminism is the simultaneous incorporation, revision and depoliticization of
many of the central goals of second wave feminism. Postfeminism constructs feminism as
irrelevant in girls’ lives because the battle for fender equality has been won. Assumption of
gender equality has made outcries of gender injustice appear to be unfounded and
implausible. Postfeminism enables girls and women to internalize the narrative of the self-
determined subject who does not require support. Promoting the image of independent girls
who are compliant with the new global economy. Girls are constructed as having unlimited
choice but only on condition that “feminism fades away”.
-Signicance: Postfeminism is a powerful tactic that e5aces structural oppression in order to
convince girls—as well as boys—that girls can “have it all”. This provides a powerful framework
through which to analyze gender as it has a5ected by broader socio-cultural forces that
cultivate a seemingly coherent way of thinking about girls.
-Example: Through “successful girls” we can see how girls are now academically superior to
boys and are, therefore, beyond the need for feminist intervention in schools.
THE DISCOURSE OF “GIRL POWER” (Pomerantz et al.)
-Denition: Girl power originated with a “new” kind of girl in the early 1990s who was
“assertive, dynamic, and unbound from the constraints of passive femininity”. These ideas
re=ect the ideologies of white, middle-class individualism and personal responsibility. British
pop group, Spice Girls, who has made Girl Power a house hold expression. Girl Power is about
self-reliance, ambition, and independence. Re=ecting the ideologies of individualism and
-Signicance: The discourse of girl power has contributed signi@cantly to the belief that girls
now live beyond sexism. Girl power constructs a world where social inequalities are
nonexistent. Girls are not presented with any conceptualization of the need for political change
despite many ongoing structural inequalities that dramatically shape their lives.
-Example: In Girls Run the power, a girl named McLovin states that she can get boys to help
her get what she needs and to do what she needs. This is the sexual power that the ‘girl
power’ discourse has.
GENDER DISCOURSES (Reay, Pomerantz et al.)
-Denition: Discourses are systems of thoughts as opposed of ideas, beliefs and practices that
systematically construct our identity. Gender discourses are the ways in which children come
to view themselves and each other. They learn to position themselves in certain contexts
which can be in=uenced by social class, race, ethnicity, gender, and etc. Largely in=uenced by
Foucault who was interested in how discourse helps to legitimate power. How these issues are
maintained, really helps with discourses that help to maintain the truth. Foucault suggests that
discourses are never stable and are discontinuous segments that take on multiple and various
-Signicance: There are many competing gender discourses, where some discourses hold
more power than others. For particular groups of children, their race and class can a5ect these
-Example: Boys and Girls assume di5erent positions depending on whether they are in single-
or minded-sex contexts.
Discourse: How we think and communicate about people, things, the social organization of society,
and the relationships among and between all three. Emerging from social institutions, shaping how
we are able to think and know any point in time/
DOMINANT DISCOURSES OF FEMININITY (Reay)
-Denition: A system of thoughts and attitudes that systematically structure people.
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SOCC38 GENDER AND EDUCATION FINAL STUDY GUIDE
-Signicance: These dominant courses in=uence females to believe that they are powerful
and have achieved feminism. As a result, because of these discourses developed, it
subordinates the girls to the boys. All of these discourses still indirectly make boys the better
gender. This is seen when tomboys/girls claim that being a boy is better. This creates
hierarchies between boys and girls.
-Example: Girls highly stressed academic achievement, while boys were seen as
underachieving. Boys are seen as failing and often need help, eventually this contributes to
girls being disregarded and boys are placed at the top of the hierarchy.
ORGANIZED SPORTS AS A “GENDERED INSTITUTION” (Messner)
-Denition: An institution constructed by gender relations. It’s structures and values re=ect
dominant conceptions of masculinity and femininity.
-Signicance: Gender is seen as salient, where women and men are seen in di5erent views.
The views in gendered institutions are already constructed and distributed to boys and girls on
what society deems those qualities to be.
-Example: In Messner’s article, there is an assumption that boys will be at the same athletic
capability as other boys whereas, girls would not be.
ORGANIZED SPORTS AS A “GENDERING INSTITUTION” (Messner)
-Denition: Similar to gender institutions, gendering institutions helps to construct the current
gender order. Segregates boys and girls and creates a sort of stereotypical bias.
-Signicance: They uphold and reinforce normative constructions of gender, actively
producing gendered individuals/di5erences.
-Example: Boys do not arrive at school as “blank slates”, they arrive with already “gendering”
identities due to early developmental experiences and previous socializations. Gendering
institutions work to advance their identities. This can be related to the concept of ‘Gendered
Transgression Zone’ which is made up of non-stereotypical behaviours and practices that a
male or female engages in. When masculine and feminine behaviours intersect, that’s when
issues concerning acceptance occurs. If a female wishes to engage in sports that are seen as
male dominated, there is a great change that she will be marginalized or masculinized.
Therefore, organized sports as a “gendering institution” can contribute to the GTZ.
GENDER AS AN ACTIVE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION (Messner, Morris)
-Denition: Gender is taken away from the view that pre-established gender di5erences
directly or indirectly cause academic di5erences. Society and culture creates gender roles and
these roles are prescribed as ideal or appropriate behaviour for a person in that speci@c
-Signicance: Gender as an active social construction help boys and girls shape their identity
based on the di5erent social interactions that they go through. This reframes the discussion,
taking it away from the view that pre-established gender di5erences directly or indirectly
cause academic di5erences. Di5erent behaviours are actively used by boys and girls in the
performance of gender.
-Example: The perspective of seeing boys as more susceptible to harmful neighbourhood
conditions, peer in=uence and poor classroom behaviour. These views see that gender
di5erences as pre-determined and static causes of education-related behaviour and
GENDER COMPLEMENTARITY (Hamilton)
-Denition: A gender-traditional model of economic security pairing a career oriented man
with a @nancially dependent woman. Heterosexuality is assumed, as is the class privilege
necessary to live on a one-worker salary. Gender complementarity is the most concentrated in
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