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Exploring girl power : gender, literacy and the textual practices of young women attending an elite school

Charles, Claire 2007, Exploring girl power : gender, literacy and the textual practices of young women attending an elite school, English teaching : practice and critique, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 72-88.

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Title Exploring girl power : gender, literacy and the textual practices of young women attending an elite school
Author(s) Charles, Claire
Journal name English teaching : practice and critique
Volume number 6
Issue number 2
Start page 72
End page 88
Publisher School of Education, University of Waikato
Place of publication Hamilton, N. Z.
Publication date 2007-09
ISSN 1175-8708
Keyword(s) gender
discourses of femininity/sexuality
girl power
literacy
textual practices
Summary Popular discourses concerning the relationship between gender and academic literacies have suggested that boys are lacking in particular, school-based literacy competencies compared with girls. Such discourses construct “gender” according to a binary framework and they obscure the way in which literacy and textual practices operate as a site in which gendered identities are constituted and negotiated by young people in multiple sites including schooling, which academic inquiry has often emphasized. In this paper I consider the school-based textual practices of young women attending an elite school, in order to explore how these practices construct “femininities”. Feminist education researchers have shown how young women negotiate discourses of feminine passivity and heterosexuality through their reading and writing practices. Yet discourses of girlhood and femininity have undergone important transformations in times of ‘girl power’ in which young women are increasingly constructed as successful, autonomous and sexually agentic. Thus young women’s reading and writing practices may well operate as a space in which new discourses around girlhood and femininity are constituted. Throughout the paper, I utilize the notion of “performativity”, understood through the work of Judith Butler, to show how textual practices variously inscribe and negotiate discourses of gender. Thus the importance of textual work in inscribing and challenging notions of gender is asserted. I argue that critical literacy is just as important, but perhaps no more guaranteed, within elite girls’ education as it is within boys’ education.
Notes Reproduced with the kind permission of the copyright owner.
Language eng
Field of Research 130308 Gender, Sexuality and Education
Socio Economic Objective 970113 Expanding Knowledge in Education
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2007, The Authors
Free to Read? Yes
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30037179

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Education
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.