"I don't mind showing off a bit of my belly": pre-teen girls negotiating the discourse of fashion

Blanchard, Julie (2008) "I don't mind showing off a bit of my belly": pre-teen girls negotiating the discourse of fashion. In: UNSPECIFIED Inter-Disciplinary Press.

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This paper explores the relationship between gender, sexuality, age and fashion by drawing on focus groups with girls undertaken at an Essex secondary school. Drawing on Judith Butler's notion of performativity, the paper considers girls aged 11 to 12 and explores how particular gendered, sexualised and aged identities are constituted. Also drawing on Joanne Entwistle's model of fashion as situated bodily practice, which recognises both the discursive nature of fashion and its location on a material body, I demonstrate how girls' everyday practices of dressing and talk are implicated in the discursive constitution of identity. This paper argues that fashion and talk about fashion are part of constructing the possibilities and limitations for who a pre-teen girl can be. Identities are fluid and girls describe the taking up and moving through various identity categories, particularly in relation to different subcultural groups. However, despite this fluidity, identities are regulated by hetero-normative discourses and schools play a large part in this regulation. I maintain that although the popular media describes young girls as flaunting their bodies in ways inappropriate for their age, school girls actually embody the struggle to constitute themselves as properly heterosexual, feminine and fashionable, yet simultaneously restrained, virginal and covered up.

Item Type: Book Section
Members: University for the Creative Arts
Depositing User: ULCC Admin
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2016 12:56
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2016 12:56
URI: http://collections.crest.ac.uk/id/eprint/11475

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