Children and young people negotiating gender in context

Holford, Naomi (2021). Children and young people negotiating gender in context. In: Cooper, Victoria and Holford, Naomi eds. Exploring childhood and youth. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 35–48.


This chapter explores some of the pains and pleasures. The first section considers what is meant by gender. It then looks at some of the ways gendered norms are experienced and enacted in school, including experiences of violence. The chapter also explores how young people negotiate peer cultures of gender online. Gendered expectations are not uniform; different parts of the world, different societies, different cultures, and even different schools have different constructions of gender. Many forms of gendered behaviour and difference are frequently considered to be rooted in biology; and certainly biology does have an impact, particularly during and after puberty. Gender is very much embodied; it is experienced within and through the body, through the body’s interaction with objects and spaces. The chapter also considers how young people negotiate gendered identities and relationships in online contexts while emphasising that these interact closely with offline experiences and the two cannot be separated.

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