ERIC Number: ED429674
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1998
Raising Their Voices: The Politics of Girls' Anger.
Brown, Lyn Mikel
Challenging conventional characterization of teenage girlhood as a wasteland of depression, low self-esteem, and passive victimhood, this book presents accounts of young girls showing how their voices are shaped and constrained by socioeconomic class. Based on a year-long study involving conversations with white adolescent girls from the working poor and the middle classes, the book demonstrates how girls adopt some expectations about gender but strenuously resist others, how they use traditionally feminine means to maintain their independence, and how they recognize and resist pressures to ignore their own needs and wishes. Working class girls are shown to be more willing to be openly angry than their middle-class peers, and yet more likely to denigrate themselves and attribute their failures to personal weakness. The book highlights how the two classes differ in the intensity of their anger, the issues that arouse the strongest feelings, and the manner in which they express these feelings. The book's preface discusses how women and girls who protest the realities of their experiences are likely to be accused of contributing to a "cult of victimization" or "culture of complaint." Accordingly, these misnomers of political resistance reveal the depth of cultural denial, the covering over of girls' and women's psychological realities, particularly when these realities are painted with strong feeling and vivid illustrations, as they are in the case of sexual harassment, physical violence, acquaintance rape, and incest. Chapters in the book are: (1) "Stones in the Road," dealing with the constraints of class, culture and race in female expressions of anger; (2) "Privileging Difference," explaining how social status has a profound effect on the evolution of this study; (3) "Mansfield: Living outside the Lines," a description of girls from a working class setting; (4) "Acadia: The Conventions of Imagination," a description of girls from a middle-class setting; (5) "Voice and Ventriloquation in Girls' Development," explaining a process whereby one voice speaks through another voice or voice type; (6) "Resisting Femininity," discussing girls' struggles with the idealization of what a woman is supposed to be in a given culture; (7) "The Madgirl in the Classroom," describing the differences between the constraints felt by the middle-class girls, and the working-class girls' openness to expressing their feelings; and (8) "Educating the Resistance," dealing with the battle over the interpretation of truth and reality as being feminine and defined in class, gender, and race. Contains 166 references. (AMC)
Descriptors: Anger, Early Adolescents, Emotional Adjustment, Emotional Response, Females, Femininity, Feminism, High Schools, Lower Class Students, Middle Class Culture, Middle Class Students, Resentment, Resistance (Psychology), Sex Bias, Sex Discrimination, Sex Role, Sex Stereotypes, Sexual Harassment, Social Development, Social Differences, Social Environment, Social Status, Whites, Working Class
Harvard University Press, 79 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138-1423; Tel: 800-448-2242 (Toll Free) (U.S. and Canada), 617-495-2480 (International); Fax: 800-962-4983 (Toll Free) (U.S.), 617-495-8924 (International); Web site: http://www.hup.harvard.edu ($24.95).
Publication Type: Books; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A