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ERIC Number: EJ947939
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Dec
Pages: 37
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 77
ISSN: ISSN-0044-118X
"Girls Are Worse": Drama Queens, Ghetto Girls, Tomboys, and the Meaning of Girl Fights
Waldron, Linda M.
Youth & Society, v43 n4 p1298-1334 Dec 2011
This article uses a race-class-gender intersectional approach to analyze qualitative interviews with girls at two public high schools to better understand a common perception that "girls are worse" when it comes to school fights. Several different understandings of why girls fight emerged from the data. On one hand, girls' perception of face-to-face verbal fights seemed to uphold a normative hegemonic feminine ideology. Girls fought because they were overly emotional and dramatic, or they fought over boys, adhering to a heterosexual script that is consistent with normative femininity. Yet on the other hand, sometimes girls who engaged in fights were also seen as transgressing this hegemonic ideology. They fought because they were "tomboys" or "gay girls," this latter perception reinforcing a type of homophobic name-calling that was pervasive at the school. Finally, girls who were involved in strictly face-to-face physical fights were often constructed as "ghetto girls," which highlighted racist stereotypes about violence in these schools. In contrast, girls themselves who had admitted to being in a face-to-face fight seemed to offer an alternative understanding of fighting. They explained fighting as a site of situated agency, where fighting was justifiable in certain contexts, especially when used as an avenue for self-defense or to gain power and respect among their cohorts. (Contains 5 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A