Sexuality, Gender and Schooling: Shifting Agendas in Social Learning

By Mary Jane Kehily | Go to book overview

Chapter 5

More Sugar? Teenage magazines, gender displays and sexual learning1

My Dreams Show Me My Sexuality

The strongest tradition that the girls observed in the school had to do with friendship. Any girl who had any intelligence and self-respect searched for the smartest, most beautiful and powerful girl who would have her. These two then made the following pact: they vowed to devote themselves to each other forever and to protect each other against all the machinations and treacheries of the others. If any girl was powerful enough and properly protected, one was the same as the other, she could be chosen for a second game, which was also nameless.

In this game, all the remaining girls in the class for one week had nothing to do, either in speech or in any other way, with the child who had been chosen. If at any time during the week of silence, silence reaching into nothingness, the child broke down crying or complained or ran to a teacher, she would no longer be worth the attention and respect of any other girls for the rest of her life. Her life in this school. If she did survive torture which seemed too mild to be called 'torture', torture by girls of girls, she could again enter the magic circle of power.

Kathy Acker (1995:47-8) Pussycat Fever

This chapter will look at the ways in which magazines aimed at an adolescent female market can be seen as a cultural resource for learning about issues of gender and sexuality. The chapter will explore the ways in which sexual issues are presented for young women through the magazine format. This is followed by an analysis of the ways in which young women and young men read, discuss and negotiate these media messages. Using ethnographic

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