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Chapter 'Spice Girls', Nice girls, Girlies, and Tomboy gender discourses, girl's culture and femininities in the primary classroom

SOCC38H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 'Spice Girls', Nice girls, Girlies, and Tomboy gender discourses, girl's culture and femininities in the primary classroom: Girl Power, Participant Observation, Tomboy


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOCC38H3
Professor
Ann Mullen
Chapter
'Spice Girls', Nice girls, Girlies, and Tomboy gender discourses, girl's culture and femininities in the primary classroom

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SOCC38
'Spice Girls', 'Nice girls', 'Girlies', and 'Tomboys': gender discourses, girl's culture and femininities
in the primary classroom (Reay)
Introduction
Explores how particular group of primary-aged girls is positioned, primarily in relation to dominant
discourse of femininity but also in relation to those of masculinity
Indicate some ways in which the new orthodoxy, namely that girls are doing better than boys, does
not tell us whole story about gender relations in primary classrooms
The Research Study
1 year study. Participant observation. Interview. Group work activities.
Complied their own questionnaires so they that could interview each other.
Gender Discourses
Power both located in structural advantage of individuals and also exercised partly through
construction of discourses
Important to recognize there are many competing gender discourses, some if which have more
power and potency than others for particular groups of girls
Influenced by social class. Gender discourse are taken up differentially by different ethnic groupings
Girls can position themselves differently in relation to gender discourses according to peer group
context they find themselves in
Lack of powerful public discourses for girls, leaving them caught between schooling which denies
difference and compulsory heterosexuality which is fundamentally invested in producing it
Substantial evidence of continuities in which, at least for the girls in this research, conformist
discourses continue to exert more power than transgressive or transformative ones
Masculinities in the Classroom: setting the context
Working class, inner-city peer group in which dominant local forms of masculinity were sometimes
difficult to negotiate. Found low priority given to academic work among other boys problematic.
Clear that it was still better to be a boy
Association of normativity with white, middle class masculinity that seems most difficult for girls to
challenge effectively
Both girls and boys were aware of discourses which position girls as more mature and educationally
focused than boys and regularly drew on them to make sense of gender differences in classroom.
Unspoken acceptance of white, middle class masculinity as ideal that all those others are expected
to measure themselves against
Erosion of both male and class power bases
Popular discourse may make extent to which white, middle class male advantages in both sphere of
education and beyond continue to be sustained
In order to gain approval and acceptance of dominant male peers, endeavoured to become active
subjects in a sexist discourse which objectified girls
Sugar and Spice and all things nice?
4 groups of girls - nice girls, girlies, spice girls, and tomboys
Girlies and nice girls description generally seen as derogatory. Limited and limiting discourse of
conventional femininity
'nice girls' seen by everyone as hard working and well behaved, exemplify the constraints of a
gendered and classed discourse which afforded them the benefits of culture, taste, and cleverness
but little freedom
Begun to develop intense preoccupation with academic success
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