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Chapter Becoming a Gendered Body: Practices of Preschools

SOCC38H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter Becoming a Gendered Body: Practices of Preschools: Hidden Curriculum, Signify, Erving Goffman

Course Code
Ann Mullen
Becoming a Gendered Body: Practices of Preschools

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Becoming a Gendered Body: Practices of Preschools
Social science research about bodies, often focuses on women's bodies, particularly the parts of
women's bodies that are most explicitly different from men's reproductive capacities and sexuality
On the whole, men and women sit, stand, gesture, walk, and throw differently. Women's bodies
confined, movements restricted
Some of these differences, particularly differences in motor skills seen in early childhood. On
average, men and women move differently. Differences may be consequential
Use bodies to construct our means of living, to take care of each other, to pleasure each other.
Disciplined body creates a context for social relations. Gendered bodies create particular contexts
for social relations as they signal, manage, and negotiate information about power and status.
Gender relations depend on successful gender presentation, monitoring, and interpretation of
Microsociological work suggests gender is something "done". "Gender performance" and "doing
gender" similar. Suggest that managed, adorned, fashioned, properly comported and moving bodies
establish gender and gender relations
Becomes deeply part of whom we are physically and psychologically. Gender becomes embedded in
body postures, musculature, and tensions in our bodies
Masculine gender partly a feel to one's body and that bodies are often a source of power for men.
Opposite purpose for women, sources of anxiety and tentativeness. Lack of confidence and agency
are embodied and stem from an inability to move confidently in space, to take up space to use one's
body to its fullest extent.
Gendering of body in childhood is foundation on which further gendering of body occurs throughout
life course. Gendering of children's bodies makes gender differences feel and appear natural, which
allows for such bodily differences to emerge throughout the life course
Hidden school curriculum of disciplining body is gendered and contributes to embodiment of gender
in childhood, making gendered bodies appear and feel natural
o Covert lessons that schools teach, and often means of social control.
Disciplining body serves curriculums that seek to shape mind and renders children physically ready
for cognitive learning
Further facilitates and encourages construction of bodily differences between genders and makes
physical differences appear and feel natural
Data and Method
Field observations of 5 preschool classrooms of 3-5 year olds.
Curriculum and routines of two preschools similar with2 exceptions.
o Some religious instructions in school B.
o some explicit rules that forbade violence actions at school. Rules usually directed at boys,
thought were not enforced consistently. School A. not explicit or clearly outlined for teachers or
Varied our observation techniques between unstructured field observation, in which observed
classroom in holistic manner and recorded everyday behavior, and more structured techniques, in
which we observed one part of classroom, one particular child, one particular teacher, or one set of
Focused on children's physicality- body movement, use of space, and physical contact among kids or
between kids and teachers
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