The SAGE Handbook of Gender and Education brings together leading scholars on gender and education to provide an up-to-date and broad-ranging guide to the field. It is a comprehensive overview of different theoretical positions on equity issues in schools. The contributions cover all sectors of education from early years to higher education; curriculum subjects; methodological and theoretical perspectives; and gender identities in education. Each chapter reviews, synthesises, and provides a critical interrogation of key contemporary themes in education. This approach ensures that the book will be an indispensable source of reference for a wide range of readers: students, academics and practitioners.

Constructing Femininity/Constructing Femininities

Constructing femininity/constructing femininities

‘Femininities’ is a deeply contentious term, particularly in its application to males as well as females. Specifically in relation to the school context, it has been argued (Skelton and Francis, 2002; Paechter 2006) that we should acknowledge that girls can behave in masculine and boys in feminine ways, rather than pigeonholing children into one or other grouping and failing to recognize and name the behaviour we actually see. In this chapter, however, I will follow more traditional practice and focus on the femininities constructed and practised by girls in school. I will use ‘femininities’ as ways of ‘doing girl’ (West and Zimmerman, 1987), as the variety of forms of girlhood that are constructed and taken up in the context of ...

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