"'Girls getting it together': a study of race, class and gender through the writings of young women"

Griffin, Jennifer Anne (1989). "'Girls getting it together': a study of race, class and gender through the writings of young women". PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000fc61

Abstract

This thesis attempts to examine the relationship between educational processes and class and gender reproduction. Such an investigation cannot avoid the ways in which racism and sexism affects the lives and schooling of young women.

A significant theme running through the study addresses structuring processes within schools, the organisation of family life and the social relations of female waged labour. The study attempts to analyse the complexity of female social experience by bringing together the writings of young women across class, racial and educational boundaries.

An unusual aspect of the study lies within the method of data collection. The writers who were drawn from a variety of class and ethnic backgrounds were encouraged to write about the material and emotional circumstances of their lives. The instances that are used within the study highlight the ways in which class, gender, racial and patriarchal relations produce contradiction, conflict and resistance.

The act of writing is not only seen as a way of examining specific experiences, it is also seen as a means of developing cultural literacy. Working class women, girls who have moderate learning difficulties and women from ethnic minorities seldom see definitions of their own specific social world portrayed within literature.

The act of writing is used to examine the material circumstances of women’s lives in relation to class and ethnic associations as well as in relation to male power relations.

Finally, the thesis emphasises the significance of writing as an educational and political strategy which can be used to examine both male and female forms of consciousness.

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