Reading Gender Relations and Sexuality: Preteens Speak Out

By Moffatt, Lyndsay; Norton, Bonny | Canadian Journal of Education, July 2008 | Go to article overview

Reading Gender Relations and Sexuality: Preteens Speak Out


Moffatt, Lyndsay, Norton, Bonny, Canadian Journal of Education


Recent research has documented the persistence of unequal gender relations and homophobia in young people's lives. Feminist post-structural theories of gender and socio-cultural theories of learning suggest educators need to understand students' constructions of gender relations, masculine/feminine desires, and sexuality if they hope to challenge these behaviors. In this article, we examine a diverse group of 47 preteens' constructions of gender relations, masculine/feminine desires, and sexuality, using a survey, a story from the popular comic Archie, and individual interviews. We round that although participants produced feminist and patriarchal constructions of gender relations, they constructed masculine and feminine sexuality as uniformly heterosexual.

Key words: popular culture, feminism, adolescents, discourse analysis

Des recherches recentes indiquent la persistance de relations inegales entre les hommes et les femmes et de l'homophobie chez les jeunes. Des theories d'apprentissage poststructuralistes feministes au sujet du genre ainsi que des theories socioculturelles donnent a penser que les pedagogues ont besoin de comprendre les constructions que se font les eleves des relations entre les sexes, des desirs masculins et feminins et de la sexualite s'ils esperent remettre en question ces comportements. Dans cet article, les auteures analysent, a l'aide d'un sondage, d'une histoire tiree de la bande dessinee Archie et d'entrevues individuelles, un eventail diversifie de 47 constructions que se font des preadolescents des relations entre les sexes, des desirs masculins et feminins et de la sexualite. Elles ont decouvert que les participants ont produit des constructions feministes et patriarcales des relations entre les sexes, mais heterosexuelles de la sexualite masculine et feminine.

Mots cles : culture populaire, feminisme, adolescents, analyse des discours

**********

Students throughout Australia, North America, and the United Kingdom report that unequal gender relations and homophobic harassment are a part of their daily lives inside and outside school. Research has documented these kinds of relations and abuses from elementary school through post-secondary school (Bochenek & Brown, 2001; Martino & Pallotta-Chiarolli, 2003; Murnen & Smolak, 2000; Pellegrini, 2002; Renold, 2002; Timmerman, 2003). Recent scholarship suggests that anti-oppression curricula/pedagogy will not effect any real change in terms of gender equity or the place of gay, lesbian, bisexual, or queer (GLBQ) people in the world unless educators begin with a clear understanding of young people's ideas about gender relations, masculine/feminine desires, and sexuality (Butler, 1990; Davies, 1993, 2000; Fenstermaker, West, & Zimmerman, 2002; Kelly, 1997; Lave & Wenger, 1991; Paechter, 2003a, 2003b; Walkerdine, 1987).

This study is part of a larger program of research that seeks to understand current relationships between literacy, identity, and power (Norton Peirce & Stein, 1995; Norton 2001, December/January, 2002, 2003; Norton & Vanderheyden, 2004). In this particular study, we examined a group of fifth, sixth, and seventh graders' engagement with the popular comic book series Archie. Elsewhere we have attempted to understand why students engage with texts like Archie (Norton, 2003); how texts like this might function as a means to promote social interaction between language learners and target language speakers (Norton & Vanderheyden, 2004); and how a feminist reading teacher might approach texts like Archie comics (Moffatt & Norton, 2005). In this article, we seek to use Archie comics as a vehicle to explore preteens' construc-tions of gender relations, masculine/feminine desires, and sexuality. We ask: What can young readers of Archie comics tell us about their constructions of gender relations, masculine/feminine desires, and sexuality?

THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

Feminist post-structural theories of gender and socio-cultural theories of learning suggest that current gender relations and attitudes towards homosexuality are by no means natural, inevitable, or static.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Reading Gender Relations and Sexuality: Preteens Speak Out
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.