Response Essay, MLA, 5 Sources (2 from the articles given, 2 from the films, and 1 from JSTOR)

timer Asked: Sep 27th, 2018

Question Description

Articles: Buttler (1988) , Williams (2002)
Films: "Ma Vie en Rose" Berliner(1997) , "Bliss" Oguz (2010)

Papers are meant to assess the student’s ability to make connections between the various anthropological concepts and themes discussed in the course and the role of cinema in conveying these ideas. Each paper must be at least three (3) pages in length and include one additional textual source from a peer-reviewed journal (JSTOR is probably your best bet). ONLINE OR PRINT MAGAZINES OR NEWSPAPERS ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE SOURCES, neither are blogs, dictionary entries, encyclopedias, or Wikipedia.

Read the assigned article(s). Watch the assigned films. Select an additional source from a peer-reviewed journal that expands on the major theme of the week. Write a response analyzing how all of these sources are connected. Each response and analysis paper should address the following and will be graded based on the following major points. You should also structure your paper following these points as well:
• Give a brief summary of the films covered in the topical section of the course being addressed. Note the major plot points. DO NOT copy summaries from websites. By brief, I mean ONE paragraph for BOTH films.
• Give a brief introduction of the major theme(s) covered in the topical section of the course being addressed. Here you will utilize the assigned article(s) as the groundwork for this introduction. Use your additional source to further emphasize how film can be a vehicle for anthropological concepts. If you do not understand how the assigned readings tie into the week’s theme you are missing something and need to review until you comprehend the connections between sources and topics. Basically use this (one to two sentences) as your introduction to the next section. Be clear and specific, for example: “The assigned and selected articles for this week discuss different aspects of how race and ethnicity, and how they are dealt with in different cultural contexts, can affect the quality of life of a person. Furthermore, the films illustrate these points by showing the viewer how various directors have perceived racial and ethnic injustices in their personal experiences.”
• Analyze and discuss how the films illustrate these themes. Note how certain aspects of the films plot, acting, or film techniques were used to emphasize points that relate back to the theme(s) of the week as you learned about them from the articles (including the one you chose). Ask yourself questions like: what specific line, scene, or plot point from the film illustrates or demonstrates a specific quote, concept, or idea from the article(s) or vice versa? Does the film expand upon aspects of the article(s) or vice versa? Does the film contradict something you read? BE SPECIFIC in your examples and analysis. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PORTION OF YOUR PAPER AND IS WHERE MOST OF THE POINTS WILL COME FROM.
• Conclude your discussion with a critique centered around how susccessful the films were in illustrating the section’s themes and concepts. Have a work cited page.
• Proper format, grammar, and spelling. This should be in nine hundred words . Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . . JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact . The Johns Hopkins University Press is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Theatre Journal. This content downloaded from on Tue, 25 Feb 2014 02:36:25 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions This content downloaded from on Tue, 25 Feb 2014 02:36:25 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions This content downloaded from on Tue, 25 Feb 2014 02:36:25 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions This content downloaded from on Tue, 25 Feb 2014 02:36:25 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions This content downloaded from on Tue, 25 Feb 2014 02:36:25 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions This content downloaded from on Tue, 25 Feb 2014 02:36:25 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions This content downloaded from on Tue, 25 Feb 2014 02:36:25 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions This content downloaded from on Tue, 25 Feb 2014 02:36:25 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions This content downloaded from on Tue, 25 Feb 2014 02:36:25 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions This content downloaded from on Tue, 25 Feb 2014 02:36:25 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions This content downloaded from on Tue, 25 Feb 2014 02:36:25 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions This content downloaded from on Tue, 25 Feb 2014 02:36:25 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions This content downloaded from on Tue, 25 Feb 2014 02:36:25 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions This content downloaded from on Tue, 25 Feb 2014 02:36:25 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
Trying on Gender, Gender Regimes, and the Process of Becoming Women Author(s): L. Susan Williams Reviewed work(s): Source: Gender and Society, Vol. 16, No. 1 (Feb., 2002), pp. 29-52 Published by: Sage Publications, Inc. Stable URL: . Accessed: 31/10/2011 02:08 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact Sage Publications, Inc. is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Gender and Society. TRYINGON GENDER, GENDER REGIMES, AND THE PROCESS OF BECOMING WOMEN L. SUSANWILLIAMS Kansas State University This article uses two concepts-trying on gender and local gender regime-to examine adolescent genderingprocessesfor 26 girls from two northeasterncommunities.Based on afour-year study,the authorfoundthat theprocess of becominga womanis muchmoreprovisionalthanpreviouslythought. Adolescentgirls resist, experiment,andpractice gender in a trying-onprocess; gender,race, and class structuresin the communitiesmutuallyreinforceparticularkindsoffemininities. Thisarticle describes thegenderregimeof each communityand examineshow thegender regimesdifferentiallyshape theprocess of tryingon gender as these girls make the transitionto womanhood. Opheliadied because she could not grow. She became the object of others'lives and lost her true subjectiveself. -Mary Pipher (1994, 292) In herbookRevivingOphelia,MaryPipher(1994) used the allegoricalreference to Ophelia from Shakespeare'sHamlet to vividly describe adolescence as a time when almostall girls, like Ophelia,lose theirmarvelouslycompetentandoptimistic preadolescentselves, become fragmented,andeventuallysubmitto the demandsof adultfemininity.Similarly,CarolGilligan(GilliganandBrown 1992) writesabout "thefall"for girls, a time of stress,depression,anddropin self-esteem.The workof Pipher,Gilligan, and othersdrawsattentionto adolescence as a criticaltime in the lives of girls and to attendantsocial consequences, such as pregnancy(Thompson 1995), addiction(Johnston,O'Malley,andBachman1997), depressionandsuicide AUTHOR'SNOTE:Thisresearchwasfunded by the National Science Foundation,Division of Social, Behavioral, and Economic Research,No. SBR-9505164, withoutwhose support this study could not havefully developed. The author also wishes to expressappreciationto the remarkableyoung women who participatedin this study and to thefollowing people for invaluablecommentsand support:Idee Winfield,MyraMarxFerree,R. W.Connell,Julia McQuillan,Paul Ciccantel,ElizabethCauble,Janice Dinkel, Dana Britton,and KimberR. Williams,and also to Gender& Society's anonymousreviewers and to editors ChristineBose and Beth Schneiderfor theirfaith and persistence in makingthis article possible. REPRINTREQUESTS:L. Susan Williams,Kansas State University,204 WatersHall, Manhattan,KS 66506; e-mail: GENDER& SOCIETY, Vol.16No. 1,February 2002 29-52 ? 2002SociologistsforWomenin Society 29 30 GENDER & SOCIETY / February 2002 (CommonwealthFund 1997), violence (ChesneyLind and Sheldon 1998), eating disorders(Steiner Adair 1990), low self-esteem (Orenstein 1994), and failure to bond (Gilligan and Brown 1992). As scholarssoughtto understandwhy some girls aremoresuccessfulthanothers in the transitionfrom adolescence to adulthood,researchfocused on contextsthat shapeadolescentgirls'lives. Difficultiesassociatedwith adolescencearenow more often attributedto social factors such as "poverty,family stresses, and societal ambivalencetowardyouth ratherthan to some inevitable, internalprocess or to characteristicsof adolescentsthemselves"(Phillips 1998, 5). However,much less is known about how girls negotiatethe gender orderand, in turn,how gendering shapes girls' transition into womanhood. This article focuses on adolescent genderingprocesses, as describedby girls themselves,and identifiesmultiplecontexts in the gender orderthatinfluence such processes. In their 1987 article,"DoingGender,"WestandZimmermanfocused on the process of how individuals"dogender"as a "routine,methodical,andrecurringaccomplishment"(p. 126). Gender scholars today typically employ the doing-gender frameworkto demonstratesituationsin which actorssocially achieveandcontinue to managea genderedidentity(Gagne and Tewksbury1998; Gallas 1997; Herbert 1998; Lytle and Bakken 1997; Martinand Jurik 1996; Ponticelli 1999; Spitzer, Henderson,andZivian1999;Thorne1993;Walzer1996).Theseandothersuchstudies havecontributedvaluablyto ourreconceptualizationof genderingas a process. Early in this project, my colleague' and I struggledto describe the gendering processeswe witnessedamongadolescentgirls. Theyexperimentedwith whatthey thoughtto be "womanly"ways butin a moretemporaryandnonthreateningfashion thanpast studiessuggest. At age 13, the girls sometimesself-identifiedas children, though definitively as girl-children,clearly supportingThorne's (1993) study of genderedplay in middle school. Nevertheless,theirtenuousaffiliationwith childhood insulatedthemfrommanydemandsof an adultversionof doing gender.At the same time, theiridentificationas girl-childrenencouragedthemto experimentwith whatthey consideredwomen's ways of doing gender.Forexample,the girls in this studyconsidered,talked,andlaughedaboutdieting anddatingandthenpostponed enacting such activitiesfor a more grown-uptime. Havingjust finished the eighth grade, the girls looked forwardto high school with both anticipationand trepidation. "It'slike I know somethingbig is going to happen,butI don't know whatit is," Emily said anxiously.Then,in the next instant,Emily andherfriendchatteredhappily abouttripsto the beach or summersoftball.It was as if they were peeringinto some futuremirror,often with growinguneasiness,but as yet were not full participantsin what they saw. It is this process of anticipating,experimenting,retreating, and resistingthatI referto as tryingon gender. The trying-onprocess is relatedto, but distinctfrom, doing gender.Doing gender is an apt metaphorin generalbut fails to capturegenderingas developmental and contextual.Genderinginvolves multiplephases and contingencies.For example, mostgenderscholarsagreethatgenderingbegins atthe momentof birth,butwe do not talk aboutbabies doing gender.Doing genderimplies action and outcome; Williams / TRYING ON GENDER 31 actors accomplish gender.Thus, doing gender may begin very early, but day-old babies do not initiate the process. Development involves change and transitions, and the trying-on-genderconcept capturesone intervalof gendering:the experimentationandtentativenessthatoccursatthe criticaltransitionfromgirlto woman. The concept of tryingon genderalso createstheoreticalspace for contextin the genderingprocess. By conceiving adolescent gendering as tentative,social contexts (such as race and class) and contingencies that shape genderedexperiences (such as controlover adolescents)can be identified. Some studiesexplicitly addresscontext (e.g., Ferreeand Roth 1998; Ridgeway et al. 1998), but social interactionis the salient focus in the doing-genderframework.In a respectfulcritique,Rismanexplainedthatthe doing-genderperspective does not sufficientlyaddressthe intersectionof "institutionalgenderstratification, situationalexpectations,andgenderedselves" (1998,23-24) andthat"evenif individuals are capable of change . . . the influence of gendered institutions and interactionalcontexts persists"(1998, 30). Risman's work identifies the need to address the intersection of process and structure,and this article explores that dynamicby situatingtrying-ongenderinteractionswithin specific local contexts. The questionis, How do we specify ways thatgenderedstructuresshapethe process of tryingon gender?I adoptConnell's (1987) concept of gender regimeto accomplish this goal. Connell points out that gender relations are not simply a "shapelessheap of data"(1987, 16) but constitutea social structure.Connelldefines gender regimeas the "structuralinventoryof a particularinstitution"(p. 99) thatrepresents"thestate of play in genderrelationsin a given institution"(p. 120). This definitionof gender regimehighlightsthe time- andplace-specific aspectsof genderandthe fluidity of genderstructure.But, how do we applythe theory?How can we systematicallycapture the complexity of situations, conditions, and contexts implied? I argue for using place-in this case the community-to specify how a local gender regime shapes the process of tryingon gender. Attaching social meanings to place has experienced a resurgenceas feminist geographersuse sociospatial theories to elaborateon both "the diversity and the solidarityof sisterhood"(Rose 1993, 132). Diversitytakes manyforms. Forexample, muchattentionis given to urbanareas;however,one in fourAmericanslives in a town with a populationof 2,500 or less (Williams 2001). Scholarsalso increasingly recognize the racialandethnic diversityof youth, even withina culture.Currently,the ethnicdistributionof Americanyouth is about68 percentwhite, 15 percent Black, 13 percentHispanic,4 percentAsian, and 1 percentAmericanIndian (Montemayer2000), and demographersprojectthat the white populationwill be reducedto about50 percentby midcentury.Such issues of diversityand place differences inevitablyaffect adolescents as they develop into genderedindividuals. Attentionto genderedmeanings of space have allowed scholarsto move away from the determinismof a universal patriarchy(Acker 1989; Smith 1983) and towardviewing gender relationsas specific to particularplaces and times (Bondi 1993; Foord and Gregson 1986; Massey 1994; Rosaldo 1980; Walby 1989). 32 GENDER & SOCIETY / February 2002 Researchershave specified ways in which both class and gender define social arrangementsin such disparateplaces as urbanSenegal (Heath 1990); ruralSri Lanka (Wickramasinghe1993); Australia(Fincher 1992); Greece (Vaiou 1989); and in cities as disparateas Tampa,Florida (Hewitt 1991), and Madrid, Spain (RodriguezMoya and Diaz Mufioz 1991). Feminist geographersprovide strong evidence thatgenderrelationsare "fluid,mutable,and specific to certaincircumstances or contexts"(Hanson 1992) but have not yet developed systematic measures of place-specific effects on genderprocesses. The concept of genderregime providesa frameworkto identifygendermeaningsthatareattachedto specific locations. Some variationin genderrelationsis tied to economic structureandopportunities. Other differences are rooted in local culture and values. Local gender regimescapturemeaningfuldifferencesin ways communitiesorganizegenderrelations and reveal how structureintersectswith process to shape the experience of adolescentgirls. I argue that a local gender regime exerts influence on individualinhabitants, regardlessof theirown social class or theirpersonalgenderbeliefs. The influenceis revealedin how adolescentgirls try on genderandeventuallyadoptgendernorms. Inthis study,the datadescribelife for adolescentteens fromtwo communities,a 20minutedrive apart,each constitutinga distinctlocal genderregime. DATAAND METHOD Participantsin this study are 26 young women from two communitiesin New England,referredto in this articleas Greenvilleand Rolling Rock. The first interview took place in 1992 when the girls were about 13 years of age. I maintained contact with most of the girls through follow-up interviews (1993, 1994) and telephone conversations (as recent as 1998), constituting a qualitative repeatobservationmodel. The originalsampleconsistedof 30 girls selectedrandomlyfromlists of eighthgrade students in the two communities;after obtaining participantand parental consent, 14 girls from Greenvilleand 12 from Rolling Rock remainedin the sample. All but3 were self-identifiedas white, 1 was AfricanAmericanandwhite, 1 was Spanishandunknown,andthe 3rdwas Chinese-born.Using parents'educationand occupationas indicators,10 of the Greenvillegirls were describedas middle-class and 4 as working-class;3 Rolling Rock girls were middle-class and 9 were from working-classfamilies. Initially,each girl participatedin aboutfive hoursof semistructuredinterviews conductedovertwo sessions. Issues coveredincludedautonomy,control,influence of significantothers,friendships,dating,and goals. The girls also completed two open-endedvignettes(i.e., stories)andthe EatingDisorderInventory(EDI), which has been used to measuregirls' concern with dieting as well as body image, selfesteem, and efficacy (StunkardandMessick 1985). Researchquestionswere open and general,andtranscribednarrativesandnotes were organizedaroundemerging Williams / TRYING ON GENDER 33 themes (Becker 1993; Strauss and Corbin 1990). The primary categories that emergedincludeattractiveness,attachmentto men, andcomplianceandcontrol,all issues knownto be associatedwith genderstereotyping.Also notedwere inconsistencies between gender ideologies and behavior,resistanceto gender norms, and contradictions in managing gender identity. Follow-up interviews provided updatedactivitiesandconcerns,events duringthe past year,andchanges in gender attitudes. These data are uniquein thatthe girls show, in their own words, how they constructgender.Overwhelmingly,theirconstructionof genderis basedon a whiteculture;dimensions of race and ethnicity were virtuallyinvisible or unspoken.2Two primaryfindingsemerged.First,the girls go througha processof trialandretrialas they constructgender for themselves. Second, there are clear differences in how girls in each communitytry on and do gender. TRYING ON GENDER AS PROCESS Tryingon gender is a segment or phase of the more generaldoing-genderprocess, andthese dataillustratethreecharacteristicsof the trying-onprocess for adolescent girls: tryingon as tenuous(andrelativelyunstable),tryingon as resistance, andtryingon as exaggerated(or subordinated)femininity(Connell 1987). The trying-on processbecomes even morevisible when changesacrossthe four-yearstudy are examined. Tryingon as Tenuous Tryingon gender,distinct from doing gender,is often playful, fun loving, and irreverent.After Kyla's first interview(1992), I offered her and her friendAnne a soda or snack.The girls talkedaboutdietingwhile eatingfrenchfries, thenlaughed at themselves:"Lookat us-yeah, we're really seriousaboutdieting!,"continuing to enjoy the moment.Later,Dena, when askedaboutconcernsin herlife, saidwith a shrug, "Well,I probablyshould be dieting more ... but oh well!" And Heather, when askedaboutpopularity,said, "Yeah,guys don't really go for the big girls, but then they [boys] are stupid." Here we see the girls tryingon gender.They understooddietingas a fact of adult womanhood,one which doubtless has consequences for their future,but for that momentthey were exempt.They could tryon this attitudefor size, muchlike a little girl tries on her mother'shigh-heeled shoes and then puts them aside when they become uncomfortableor inconvenient.At age 13, most of the girls seemed uninterestedin dietingandbody-imageissues. In fact, the EDI identifiedonly 3 of the 26 responsesthatsuggestedpreoccupationwith weight. This is surprisingconsidering researchthat indicates dieting is the norm among young adolescent girls. In this small sample,we foundno evidence of an epidemicobsession with thinness.When pressedaboutdieting issues, manyexpressedfutureconcerns,"I shouldbe dieting 34 GENDER& SOCIETYI February2002 more,"or "Yeah,probably,next year."They were awareof dietingexpectationsbut often postponedthe event. It is well establishedthat adolescentsoften want more freedom to experiment with grown-uproles, and this wished-for independencewas evident in trying on gender.However,at 13, these girls werejust as likely to suggest thatthey were not yet readyfor adultroles. Janellevolunteered,unabashed,thatshe sometimessucks her thumb,and Christaadmitted,"I really don't want to drive. I'm scared."Girls assertedindependencebut also exhibiteduncertaintyand ambivalence,as demonstratedin the examples below: Christa(1992, aboutbecoming a teenager):You don't play with toys any more. You're foryourYoutalkaboutthestuffyouusedto,butyou'remoreresponsible grown-up. self. Youdon'tneedyourmomanddadaround-well,notall thetime. Alissa (1992, aboutfeeling grown-up):Well... I'm always confused,ask my friends... we'rejust growingup and we try-sometimes we're not dolls, doing the rightthing, but we'll keep maturing... we're learningevery day. The girls expressa rangeof emotionsandexperiencesaboutgrowingup. Theyhave specific ideas aboutwhat maturitymeans, but they also express ambivalenceand arenot certainthatgrowingup is always good. Alissa articulatesthe sentimentthat they want to experimentand learn without standardsof perfection.The trying-on process demonstrates the uncertainty with which adolescent girls approach womanhood. The process of tryingon genderis particularlyvisible at transitions,andpreparing to enterthebold new worldof high school was at once exciting,provocative,terrifying. The girls describedit as "theend of one life andthe beginningof another," andthe new one was full of uncertaintyandtrials.The girls understoodthatbecoming a teenager,and especially enteringhigh school, was a threshold: Christa(1993,discussing1992):Beforethefirstdayof school,I wasthrowingup.I was so nervous,I just knew I was going to get lost the firstday of school, andI'd neversee my friendsagain ... I was prettydependent. After the girls' freshman year in high school, they generally demonstrated less uncertaintyaboutthemselvesandtheirrole as young teenagewomen. Forexample, the girls become less dependenton parents'influence, as illustratedby Emily at age 15: I'dhaveto tell themthatwasn't of boyfriend): Emily(1994,aboutparents'disapproval theirdecision.I knowI'mnotanadult,butI'mnotakideither.Theydon'trealizethat. I need to have a life. Independence was mostly anticipated and valued. However, as Holly, age 15, illus- trates,maturityfor young womenbecomes conflictedwiththe demandsof an idealtype femininity,which includes passivity: Williams/ TRYINGON GENDER 35 Holly (1994): Freshmanyearwas an opportunityto change,to developmy new self... so when I came to high school, I just changed my whole attitudeand I just became my own person.I, well, I becamemorequietanddidn'tspeakuntilI was spokento. I kept my mouthshutbecauseI was a big mouth.Andit worked-people likedthata lot better. The girls try on gender by hesitating then exploring (Alissa's confusion), anticipating and reacting (Christa's high school "butterflies"), and observing and making choices (Holly's and Emily's self-imposed changes). The instances are strongly gendered. Holly discovers that a "loud mouth" has negative consequences. Christa represents a very common thread among these early-teenage girls-they value attachment to close friends, and the prospect of separation is very painful. The girls view the transition to high school, and ultimately to adult womanhood, as a threat to that intimacy and discover ways to resist gender conventions, as demonstrated in the next section. Trying on as Resistance Trying on gender includes various ways in which girls refuse gender-typical demands. Many of the girls in this study expressed resistance, in varying degrees, to their ideas of gender-traditional norms: Nikki(1992): I wantto show people thateven thoughI am female andI'm overweightthat I still have a say andI could still be just as good as anybodyelse ... I want a tattoo.I want a rose with little leaves and a stem with prickers,and I want a rosebudon my ankle. Heather (1992): Yeah,I'm overweight.But then my friendsare wicked skinny,so I say, "shutup, I don't want to hear it, because you guys are wicked skinny." As illustrated earlier, the girls at age 13 actively resisted the thinness norm. They also experimented with what they interpreted as masculine roles. For example, although they expressed some ambivalence, most would ask a guy to dance. Lily represents an even more overt resistance to the "feminine": Lily (1992): I want to be a cop or somethinglike that.Like, it's not feminine to be in the army,but that wouldn't keep me from doing it. Alice provides an interesting display of masculine traits (fighting, aggression) but also describes characteristically feminine norms such as hair pulling and protecting the face. Alice (1993): Girls fight all the time, aboutboys mostly, calling each othernames. There was this big fight downtown... all girls in a big pile. Theyputvaselineon theirface so you can'tscratchtheirface.Theylike to use yourhairto pullyou downandpunchyou. Another common theme of resistance revealed in the trying-on-gender process is an active denial that gender is relevant at all, as illustrated by Lara and Nicole: 36 GENDER & SOCIETY / February 2002 Lara(1992):Boysandgirlsareequal.Boysarestronger andfaster,so that'swhytheyget moreattentionin sports,butthatdoesn'tmeanthey'rebetterin therealworld. Nicole(1992):Justbecauseboysarebetteratmathdoesn'tmeanthey'rebetterpersonsgirlsarebetterat otherthings,likeEnglish-butwe'reequalas people. The trying-onprocess includes resistance.Nikki and Heatherforcefully resist the wafer-womanideal, and the who-asks-whom-to-dancescenario elicits assertivenessfrommost of the girls. Lily andAlice arequiteawareof genderedexpectations about "cop and army"careers,resourcesreservedfor boys, and fighting as somethingmasculinethatthey can do too. As LaraandNicole attest,young women find many opportunitiesto reaffirmtheir idea that they are not (or should not be) judged on the basis of theirgender.Resistanceis evidentas theytest boundariesand assertthemselves into male-definedterritories. Tryingon as EmphasizedFemininity Althoughresistanceoccurs at manylevels, the trying-onprocess generallypromotes certainstereotypicalgenderstandards.Threeconsistentthemesemergefrom the data-attractiveness, attachment to men, and compliance-that represent selected culturallyprescribedfeminine ideals. These traitsdo not representa total femininity but are used to demonstratehow the trying-onprocess adopts gender normativebehaviorsthatoften result in an emphasizedfemininity. Attractiveness.Although the girls at age 13 were less personally engaged in body issues thanthe literaturepredicts,entryinto high school dramaticallyheightened the role of appearance.The following passages are from the second roundof interviews,afterthey had completedtheir first high school year. Lee(1993,appeared verythin,lovely):Afterthatguycalledme"fatandugly,"I couldn't get it out of my mind.I look at myselfandI see all the thingsthatI havethatare bad... likemy thighsor something,orI wishI wastalleror skinnier. If I was Heather(1993,earlierdismissedbodyimagesandboys'opinionsas "stupid"): I'dhavemorefriends.Youhaveto be thinandyouneedto havegoodclothes thinner, to be popular.I thinkwe all wantto be liked. I evenlookat to showpeoplethatweightdoesn'tmatter): Nikki(1993,earlierproclaimed I feel guilty I don't like them. think are that are and who gross, they overweight boys aboutit, butI do that.So I can'tblamepeoplefor notlikingme. AndI knowthey blameme forbeingfat-I do too. Here young women struggle with an image problemthat they had earlierplayed down or dismissed.Duringthe trying-onprocess,girls begin to adjusttheirevaluation of gender characteristicsand of themselves in terms of lived experiences. These girls beganto adoptfeminine standardsof thinnessand attractivenessandto base theirown worthrelativeto those standards. Williams / TRYING ON GENDER 37 Attachmentto boys. Tryingon gender,for girls, alwaysincludesothers-family, friends,teachers,role models. As they enteredhigh school, they expressedconcern aboutlosing touch with friendsor the closeness they experiencedas a group.Much of this anticipatedloss comes when the girls turnattentionto boys. Tryingon gender includes defining the value of attachmentto a boy: Nicole(1992,adviceto a newcomeratschool):Don'ttakeFrench.Don'tusea lunchbox. Don'thangaroundwithallgirls,trytogetsomeguysinthegroup[author's emphasis]. Emily(1993,aboutsports):Guysget the good stuff.Theyhavewholeuniforms,hats, shirtswiththeirnameon them,socks,stirrups... girlsget a shirtanda hat.I think I playedoncewithabunchof guys,andit'sexcitingjust toplay that'sabigdifference. [author's emphasis]. Jane(1994,in a newschool):Thefirstdayof school,I hadonthesenewshoesandwhite pantsanda blackandwhiteshirt.Theshoeshurtmyfeet,andI guessmyheelsstarted bleeding and it got on my pants.People startedmakingfun of me.... People would evenjab andpunchat me, andmy namebecamethewordeveryoneusedforbeing "uncool." I wouldhidein thebathroom untilmostpeopleweregone,so I couldwalk homesafe.Sometimes, I'dlike,go toMcDonald's, andsomeoneworkingtherewould talkto me,andI'dgo homethinking,"Wow,that'shealthy,I actuallytalkedto someone today."Anyway,you knowwhatsavedme? Josh.Joshnoticedme one day becauseI hadona reallycoolskirt,andwe startedtalkingandthendating.Joshwasa reallycool guy in school-not a jock or anything,butjustreallycool in a different way.Suddenly, everyonestartedkissinguptome.Everything changedfromthenon. These girls believe thatboys hold the key to success, whetherit is in overallpopularity (Nicole's advice to newcomers);access to resourcesand power (Emily and sports);or, as Jane explains, a sense of belonging. Mel commented frankly that "boyfriendsand self-esteem go handin hand."The girls experiencedthe trying-on process as a time when they experimentwith romanceand sexuality,which almost always implied a value for boys. At the same time, ties to boys almost always invoked ambivalence.The storycompletionexercises reflect the girls' perceptionsaboutrelationshipsand sexuality. One storyline began,"KerryandTaylor,suddenlyfindingthemselvesalone and in a passionateembrace.. ."The characterswere designed with names ambiguous enoughto be interpretedas eithera heterosexualcouple or as two boys or two girls. Only 1 of the 25 participantsquestioned the sex of the characters;virtually all assumedheterosexuality.Most of theirstoriesreflect a suspicionthatrelationships and sex are disappointingor even dangerous. Lara:Whensherefusessex,he dumpsher.Shewalksawayintothesunset."Ohwell,I guessI'mnotalone,"shethinks,as shewalksupthestairs. The story completions were particularlyrevealingaboutthe girls' ideas of sex and romance.Anothernarrativebegan, "Jill,age 14, suddenlydiscoveredshe was 38 GENDER & SOCIETY / February 2002 pregnant."Mel's excerptis representativeof a tragedythreadthatrunsthroughout the narratives: Mel:Jillrefusedto havesex withhim[afteranabortion]andit angeredhimso he left. Yearslatershefindssheis unableto havechildren. Herefused Holly:Shedecidedshecannotgo toherparents,so sheturnstoherboyfriend. to believeherandcallshera liar.Hesaysevenif sheis pregnant, it is nothis.Shehas anillegalabortionanddiesof a perforated uterus. Projectinginto the lives of fictional charactersclearly demonstratesthe tryingon process.The narratives,completedin 1992, illustratethe strainingtowardideals of romance and also perceived costs, even though most girls were not seriously involvedwith boys at the time. Lara's"Iguess I'm not alone"intimatesthatwomen share a common resignationto tragediesassociated with relationships.Mel, who earlierdescribedher boyfriendas critical to her self-esteem, projectsin her story the dangerof refusingsex. Holly's storywas unusualonly because the protagonist died;virtuallyall describedsex as dangerousandboys as untrustworthy. Yet,at one time or another,all the girls stated the importanceof attachmentto boys. These examples illustrate a very seductive trying-on process. Boys bring resources, belonging, and self-esteem, drawing young women into gender traps that also effect dangerand even destruction. Complianceand control.The resignationdescribedin the story completionsis the productof a gendersystem thatdemandscompliancefrom women; otherswill hold them accountablefor noncompliance.As the trying-onprocess interactswith structuralconstraints,it incorporatesseemingly harmlessincidentsthat condition girls to accept control from others: He won'tevenlet me leavethedrivewayuntilI'm Alexis:My dadis so overprotective. probably20. Mybrotherswill getby witha lot whentheyget older. Inschool,the Natalie:Inmyfamily,mybrothergetsoff so easy... andI getgrounded. orsometeacherspicktheboysmore;theythinktheboysaresupposedto be smarter thing.In sports,definitelyboys get favoredmore;girlsaren'tsupposedto be that athletic. andstuff.I Nicole:Well,of coursewe haveto worryaboutbirthcontrolandreputations Thenwe thinkguysshouldgetpregnant insteadso thattheycan'tlie aboutit anymore. couldbe thestudsandtheycouldbe thesluts. The trying-onprocess encouragesgender traditionsby justifying control over girls as protection(Alexis andherdad),as devaluationof girls (Natalieandsports), and as biological inevitability(Nicole and birthcontrol).These narrativesdemonstratehow tryingon gendercan at once demandcompliancefromgirls andyet hold women accountable.Tryingon gender,an initiallytentativeprocess,is approached with both experimentationand resistancebut eventuallylures girls into accepting traditionalfeminine ideals. Williams / TRYING ON GENDER 39 LOCAL GENDER REGIMES: TRYING ON GENDER IN GREENVILLE AND ROLLING ROCK GreenvilleandRolling Rock differin a numberof ways, includingmedianfamily income, tax structure,educationallevel, and availableyouth programs.Rolling Rock is an old mill town with primarily working-class or commuter families. Greenvilleis a small communitylargely defined by its large universityand large populationof professionals.Only about 8 percentof the Rolling Rock population have a college degree, but more than 25 percentof Greenvilleinhabitantshave at least a bachelor's degree. In Rolling Rock, 33 percent of high school graduates attenda four-yearcollege, while 62 percentof Greenville'shigh school seniorsdo so. The average teacher's salary in Greenville is $6,000 greaterthan in Rolling Rock, andthe statemasteryscores aresignificantlyhigherin Greenville.Both communities are predominantlywhite. The local milieu of Greenvilleis rural-cosmopolitan.The communityexhibitsa progressiveair associated with its highly professionalpopulationbut still retains manytraditionsof ruralNew England.An illustrationis the blue-ribbonschool system and its productionof merit scholars,combined with equal enthusiasmfor the local softball league. Rolling Rock is best characterizedas parochial. Compared with Greenville,Rolling Rock is less informedaboutcontemporaryissues such as multiculturalismanddisplaysfewer signs of cohesiveness.Rolling Rock has a minimumof community-organizedactivities,anda recenteffortto organizegirls' softball in the school systemfailed.In general,Greenvillesupportsa traditionalmiddleclass milieu, and Rolling Rock leans towardworking-class. Local genderregimesregulatethe ways girls tryon gender.In the two communities in this study, the intersectionof class and gender shapes gender norms and opportunities.The consequence of these two gender regimes is differentways of trying on and doing gender. Greenville Thelocal gender regime.The local genderregimein Greenvillereflects its class structurewhile maintainingfirmgenderconventions;class andgendersystems are interactiveandmutuallyreinforcing.Teenlife in Greenvilleis relativelystructured, due largelyto manysportsopportunities.As a result,girls aremorelikely to experiment with a wide rangeof venturessuch as soccer, softball,tennis, swimming,and even kayaking.Also, many activities such as glee club, theater,chess club, choir, andmathclub meancontactwith a varietyof otherteens, greaterchancesat leadership, and more exposureto role models in the community.Even summersarerelatively organized in Greenville. Activities are sponsoredby the town at minimal cost, and many teens attend sport camps. Several of the girls reportedfamilyorganized vacations to premier spots such as "The Cape" and "The Vineyard." Thus, genderbecomes less salient, or at least more subtle, because it is somewhat 40 GENDER & SOCIETY / February 2002 diluted;more alternativesto stereotypicalgenderconventionsareavailable.At the same time, gender boundariesremain secure, as evidenced by earliercomments aboutdifferentialvalue and resourcesin sports,the classroom,and relationships. The large universityadjacentto Greenville High provides a virtualhotbed of resources such as the arts, speakers,academic opportunities,entertainment,and nationalsportsandpoliticalfigures.ManyGreenvilleHigh studentstakecoursesat the university,and virtuallyall attenduniversityevents. As a result, local women role models arerelativelyabundant:Younggirls regularlyobserve college professors, professionalspeakers,young women in a wide arrayof disciplines, and top athletes,includinga women'sbasketballteamthatregularlyattractsnationalattention. However ideal this image, though, gendered realities are apparent:The women's basketballteam, despite winning national titles, remains funded well below the level of the men's team.Genderdisparitiesin the universityareevidentas in leadershippositions,tenuretrackfaculty,andmath women areunderrepresented science and disciplines. Certainly,the higheraverageincome andprofessionalairof Greenvillecontributes to its lifestyle. However,it is importantto note that most of the activities are availableto all Greenvilleyouth, regardlessof their individualfamily's lifestyle. Sportsand camps are often subsidizedby the public school and local taxes. Many universityevents arefree, andeven family vacationsoften include a numberof the girls'friends.The class of the communityinteractswith genderedopportunitiesand genderedexpectationsin ways thataffecthow individualgirls tryon anddo gender, regardless of their own social class. The girls in Greenville filter experiences througha middle-classedgenderlens. The Greenvillegenderregimeprovidesmore opportunitiesfor girls, but it also invokes more control. "Be all you can be" is a watchword,but it parallelsa demandto do it in a gender-appropriate way. Tryingon gender in Greenville.Tryingon genderin Greenvillemeans working with the wide range of roles, activities, and leadershippositions; Greenvillegirls have manymodels to emulate.At the same time, they also face more occasions for comparisonandconflict. Because sportsheavily define who belongs, who is on the fringe, and who dates whom, competition among girls is often intense. Perhaps moreimportant,girls often directlycompetewith boys, andthey repeatedlyget the message thatboys and the masculineare of greatervalue:Boys get the good gym, the higher-paidcoaches andequipment,primetime on the court,andmoreattention in the classroom. One way girls deal with tensionbetweenrelativeprivilegeandmasculinebias is to compartmentalizegender(as they see it) fromotherpartsof theiridentity.It was quitecommonfor the Greenvillegirls to deny the relevanceof genderin theirlives. Recall the strong assertions:"Boys and girls are equal, period.""We'reequal as people."This is not to say they did not commenton differencesbetween boys and girls ("Guysarestronger,morepushy,andcan swearmore";"Cheerleadingis a girl thing";"Guys can't cry, girls have to"). Rather,acknowledgeddifferences were Williams / TRYING ON GENDER 41 generallydismissedas irrelevantto genderinequality,andsexism was passedoff as a feminist myth, or as a problemsolved long ago. Competition, especially with boys, shapes how girls in Greenville construct theirgenderedidentities.Lararemarkedaboutgetting an awardin gym class "even in competitionwith guys," and Alexis explainedthat her karateachievementwas special because the class includedboys. Alexis also explainedhow she told off a "sexist pig in my debateclass [who] thinksbecause I'm a girl I shouldn'tdo anything."Directcompetitionpushes girls to excel, butundertonesof masculinesuperioritymay set girls up for defeat. Alexis, who carriesa near-perfectgradepoint average,illustrates: Alexis:I feel likeI'vealwaysbeentheslowestin mymathclass.In7thgrade,I gota low butmyparents[insisted].... It's grade,andtheydidn'twantto putmeinpre-algebra just beenhardfor me ... if a teachersays,"Dothison the board,"I will notdo it becauseI thinkI'mgoingto getit wrong,andeverybodyis betterthanI am.I realize thatI'vecaughtup,butI stillhaveinmymind,"I'mbadin math,I'mbadin math,I'm badin math." Alexis demonstratesa genderquandaryuniqueto Greenvilleas comparedwith Rolling Rock. Girls in Greenvillehave many opportunitiesto jockey for recognition in a competitiveenvironment,but because they are in directrivalrywith boys, they also struggle with insecurity.They contend with fragile egos that are gender constructed,but because power differentialsbetween the masculineand the feminine are disguised by gender ideologies, they do not recognize it as such. Alexis does not acknowledge such power differentials, so she internalizes feelings of incompetence,and the strainspills over into other areasof life: Alexis:I didn'tevenlook,I glancedatthemathtestandI freakedout.I'mafraidthatI'll trytoohardandI'll totallyforgetabouttherestof mylife.I won'tgivemyselfanyoff time... whenI get stressedoutaboutmath,I don'tcareaboutanythinganymore. Gender,as the girls define it, is not consideredrelevantto theirinsecuritiesabout gradesandmath.Indeed,they seldom mentiongenderor boys or sex differencesin thatcontext.These contradictionsdemonstratethe compartmentalization; the girls' experiencesexclude genderedexplanations. The subject of sex and sexuality clearly differs in the two communities. Greenvillegirls did not talk openly about sex. Christa:AtWilliamsburg knows[aboutsexualencoun(aneighboring town),everybody tellseverybody. Inthisschool,nobodyis likethat.Theyhide ters]becauseeverybody it more.InWilliamsburg, theyhandoutcondoms.Thatwouldneverhappenhere. When the girls in Greenvillefirst talkedaboutrelationshipswith boys, they did so tentatively.After their freshmanyear in high school, they talkedaboutboys a lot, 42 GENDER& SOCIETY/February2002 butthey also conveyeda sense thatthey shouldhave an identityseparatefromtheir boyfriend. Emily(1994):I maynotalwaysbe withJohn.Butfornow,we needto be together.Last year I was "outof it"because I was so absorbedwith the relationship.Now I can see I needto be a personformyself. butnoteverything. moreclearly.It'simportant, The Greenvillegirls beganto build an idea of womanhoodthatis characteristic of the local genderregime.Women(as an ideal type) look good, makethemselves desirableto men, andgenerallychoose compliance.But women also are assertive, they can play sports,demandequalaccess andresources(even if they do not always get it), and they value competition.They understandthatcompetitionwith men is how women areoftenjudged, andtheybegin to practicethose contests.They dissociate their soccer selves with their gendered selves ("girls can do anything")but remainsusceptibleto internalizingfailure.Romanceandsex aredesirable,butfeelings are often unspoken;Emily's earlier statementabout not always being with John,in additionto the story-completionnarratives,suggests anunderlyingdistrust of boys thatencouragessome degreeof independence.At the same time, they also harborinsecurities,as demonstratedby Alexis and her math anxiety. Tryingon genderin Greenvilleelicits a specific kind of conundrum.Relatively abundantresources encourage participation and competition, and the young women's denial of gender inequality promotes a sense of immediate empowerment. Relative to Rolling Rock, the Greenville girls have many opportunitiesto exploregenderoptions.However,even as these young womenobservegenderinequities ("girlscan't ever get the good court";"Ms. [Smith] always favors the boys, she hatesus"),theyexplainthemawayas individualexceptions.Boys can play professional sports,so they get the good court.Yes, the coach is sexist, but if you performlike a boy, thenhe will treatyou like a boy. No one ever said, "I'm a girl, therefore I'm inferior,"but confidence is ultimately weakened because incidents are defined as separateand unconnectedto any broadercontext. Like a tight rubber band, the straining toward gender-traditionalexpectations becomes even more powerfulwhen contested.Greenvillegirls tryon andtest genderedwaters,but such opportunities do not automatically translate into less traditional gendered identities. Rolling Rock Thelocal gender regime.Rolling Rock's working-classmilieu accommodatesa genderregimethatconstructsthe kind of femininitythatreproducesits class structure. Opportunitiesfor girls in Rolling Rock are considerably fewer than in Greenville.High school sportsfor girls arelimitedto basketballand track,and virtuallyno communityprogramssupplementschool activities.Jamietold of an effort to organize a girls' softball team. After a confusing series of attemptsto get a Williams / TRYING ON GENDER 43 sponsor,coach, and resources(all initiatedby the girls themselves), the girls were told by the boys' softball coach, "It'stoo late now-that's your own fault."When askedaboutleisuretime, Rolling Rock girls uniformlyrespondedwith the plaintive "There'snothingto do here,trustme!"When pressed,they reportedgoing to either Roller Derby,a skatingrinkabout20 minutesaway,or CrystalLake, a nearbylowkey recreationarea. Girls at Rolling Rock experiencea much differentculturalmilieu thanteens at Greenville.The local high school has few organizedclubs and activities, and the majorroute to prestige for girls is cheerleading.While counselors at Greenville High focus on careers,counselingfor Rolling Rock High is contractedoutto a mental healthprovider.The clinic directorreportshavingseen morethanone-halfof the eighth-gradegirls for mentalhealthissues. The universityat Greenvilleis about20 minutesaway,the same distanceas RollerDerby,butnone of the participantsin this study reported going to university events; the girls at Rolling Rock seem far removedfrom the universitycultureand from any vision of enrollingthere.Virtually all of those few who statedcollege plansreportedjuniorcollege as theirgoal. While leisure opportunitiesare much less abundantand more loosely defined, structuredworkis very mucha partof life for teen girls in Rolling Rock. Most of the girls begin gender-traditionalwork early (10 to 12 years old), such as baby-sitting, andwhen age restrictionsallow,they enterminimum-wagejobs such as fastfood or clerking. When asked, their role models are usually a teacheror parent;most of their motherswork in either clerical or factory positions. The Rolling Rock girls acknowledge their limited options and seem to deal with gender within a more groundedstreet-smartphilosophy.They are more likely to convey, "my body, my choice" and often renouncethe idealistic for the practical. Tryingon gender in Rolling Rock. Trying on gender, for the girls at Rolling Rock,is closely linkedto sexualityandtraditionalgenderroles.They,like Greenville girls, tendto equategenderwith sexuality,andbecausefewer optionsareavailable, they act out sexuality more openly. Jamie:Yeah,sexis likethemaintopicof conversation. Ifoneof usis gettingit,thenwe all talk about it. Alice(age16,aboutgirlsonbirthcontrol):Nope,butmybestfriendhadanabortion inher toilet.(Aboutcondoms):I alwayshearboyssay,oh it givesyoua rash,orsomething (laughs).Theydon'tlikeit... andsaytheycan'tfeel nothing. Theseremarksstandin starkcontrastto the mostlyquietsubjectof sex in Greenville. At age 13, most of the Rolling Rock girls could namefouror five eighth-gradegirls pregnantor with babies. Jamie(aboutthe differencebetweengirlsandboys who "sleeparound"): Well,yeah, thereis a difference.It'slikeboysgetbrowniepointsorsomething.Butin theend,it doesn'tmattermuch,becausewe all do it. 44 GENDER & SOCIETY / February 2002 I asked Jamie why she thought sex seemed so important in Rolling Rock, and she explained, "Well, it's part of getting older, and going out with boys and stuff. Mostly I think it's because we're bored to death." Others are more idealistic and tend to link sex with romance and their future. Alice (about her boyfriend):Yeah, I do have sex with him now, and I don't regret it becauseI do love him, andI know he loves me very much.SometimesI thinkI waited too long ... he's going to be going away soon. Girls in this study reported strategies of getting, keeping, breaking up, or planning futures with boys. Heather(abouthow she would approacha guy she likes): I'd thinkof somethingto make him notice me. I'd tell him he's cool. I'd walk by him everyday,dress real nice, wear dressy clothes ... my mom's clothes ... skirts,but not heels. Holly: My boyfriendis reallypopular,andeveryonetells me I'm reallyluckyto havehim. Thatmakes me feel prettygood aboutmyself. Lily: Most girls get pregnantbecause they want to get marriedto theirboyfriends,and I thinktheyjust do it... like planningtheir life way aheadof time. Rolling Rock, with its fewer resources for girls in sports, structured activities, and community involvement, also offers fewer alternatives to gender stereotypes. Rolling Rock girls believe attracting boys requires an exaggerated femininity (Heather and clothes) and that identity is often tied to boys and boys' status (Holly and her popular boyfriend). Girls often equate sex with maturity (Lily's friends and pregnancy), and sex becomes a ploy for getting a guy, which they also equate with security. Their stories, often playful, center around sexuality: Jamie:I hungup the phoneandcalled him a bastard.Mom said, "What'sthe matter?"and I was like, "Mom,I sleptwith him andhe's ajerk."And she was thinkingthatI pitched a tent next to the kid ... she thoughtI rolled out a sleeping bag. Nicole (age 16):At my house... JaneandI pretendwe have these lesbiantendencies.We give each otherbackrubsandthose looks. My folks areso glad when a guy calls thatI can automaticallygo out. Wow, if they only knew. Jake (Nicole's boyfriend)sometimes sneaksin throughmy window at night. One nightwe had sex while Janewas in the bed with us (they both laugh). While we cannot know whether sex is more prevalent in Rolling Rock, the girls are certainly more open in talking about it, and they suggest that teenage sex is very common, even expected. Sexuality provides mechanisms for agency (e.g., Jamie, Nicole, and Jane manipulate parents) but also exacts cost. The overwhelming visibility of sexuality and attending circumstances in Rolling Rock such as abortion, pregnancy, and teen motherhood seems to limit other options and encourages traditional gender roles. The Rolling Rock milieu focuses on practical experiences and plans; it champions the streetwise mentality. The girls know sexual terms and experiences, some Williams / TRYING ON GENDER 45 well beyond what society dictates as appropriatefor their age. Most knew about birthcontrolbutconsideredit irrelevant.Alice talkedaboutherfriend'shome abortion, and Holly knew seven classmates with HIV. Rolling Rock, with its lower level of educationoverall and its emphasison the pragmatic,fosters a more groundedapproachto life. Rolling Rock girls, perhaps because they more often talk aboutcommon genderedexperiences,develop strong womanbonds. Nicole and Janedescribedthemselves as "wise beyond our years." Nicole and Jane had developed a Thelma-and-Louise-typepersonification.They describedtheir friendship: Nicole:Yeah,wehaveeachother... sometimesyousetyourselfupforheartache, butit's a heartache thatyoubothshare,so it's worthit. Jane:Weknowmorethaneveryoneelse. We'renotbetter,justourselves.Theyhaven't foundthemselvesyet... we lovemore. Nicole:We'reeasierto love. Jane:Welovemore,theydon'tknowhowto loveyet. Nicole: They don't want to. There's always a light inside everybody;it just depends if theywantit to showornot. Jane:Yeah,we'vemadea pact.If we havekidsandtheguydumpsus,thenwe'llalways be thereforeachother,andwe'll helpeachotherraisethekids. Nicole:Yeah,we'llbe like60 andtrippingoverouroxygentubes(bothlaugh),butwe'll be together. Nicole andJane'sdialogueexemplifiesthe groundedrealityin Rolling Rock. Their version of experimentingwith gender acknowledgesthe importanceof boys and sex, but they also recognize that they may be abandoned,and they make specific contingencyplans to deal with such circumstances. One might assume that these experiences would engendera feminist identity, but these girls do not accept the feminist label. Jamie's idea of a feminist is "a womanwho doesn't shave her armpits."Holly explains some issues she defines as "feminist:" Holly:I don'tknowwhy [women]takethe male'sname,butI thinkit's honorable.It doesn'tnecessarily meanthatoneis better,it'sjusthonoring thehusband. That'sall. Rolling Rock inspires a different kind of paradox from that identified in Greenville.On one hand,the girls are strong,assertive,well-grounded,and aware of realities that limit women's chances in the world. On the other hand, they are more likely to denounce feminist ideas and have lower aspirations.One possible explanationis the silencing factor.Alice's story illustrates. At age 14, Alice was one of the few in Rolling Rock who was vocal aboutgender inequalities. She noted that her brothernever had serious consequences for his delinquentacts, while she could get groundedweeks for "talkingback."At school, the "teachersalways favorthe boys just because they arejocks or flirt with them." Then, aftera series of events duringher freshmanyear in high school, the ax fell. 46 GENDER& SOCIETY/ February2002 Alice was suspendedfrom school duringa criticalexam periodfor talkingback to teachers. Alice: Yeah,talking.I havethis stubbornproblem... they'll say sit downandI haveto say "why"beforeI doit, andthatreallygetsthemmad.MymomsaysI havea realproblemwithauthority, whichI don'tthinkI do. I wouldn'tsayno to a policeman. Afterward,Alice was placed in a special educationclass; she felt she was labeled "dumb."(Frommy own relationshipwith Alice, I detectedno sign of learninglimitations.) She became increasinglymore rebellious,and afteragain "talkingback," she was suspended from school for the remainderof the school year, which includedbeing barredfrom her class prom. Alice:I thoughttheyweregoingto sendmeto a schoolforkidsthathaveproblems,andI wasscared.I didn'tthinkI neededto dothat.I neverhita teacher-thatwouldmake mefeellikeI hadaproblem.Guysdostufflikethatallthetime,andtheydon'tgetsuspended.Thisonekid,he broughta [highvelocityair]gunto schoolandhe didn'tget [kickedout]. Alice droppedout of school when she turned16. When I last saw her, she was living with her boyfriendand had a baby.Her once-spiritedvoice soundedlistless. It appearedthat Alice was finally and effectively silenced. Otheryoung women relatedstories,althoughnot as extreme,of being disciplinedfor "talkingback,"or talkingtoo much, or for being too stubborn. The Rolling Rock girls, like those in Greenville,drew on their experiences of trying on gender to develop an idea of womanhood. Some of the qualities they attachedto being a womanparalleledthose at Greenville:They acceptednormsof looking good (althoughdetails might differ), attachmentto men, and compliance. For them, women are more assertive in attractinga man but less aggressive in demandingequalaccess to resources.The Rolling Rock girls havefew occasions to directlycompete with men, such as in sportsand the classroom,but they compete with other women (in both physical and emotional fights) for men as a resource. Pregnancyis seen as a directtie to a man, even though the expectationis that the relationshipmay not last. Sexuality is integratedinto their daily practices and affectswho they are,whatthey regularlydo, andwho they will be. Traditionsfoster more gender-typicalideals such as honoringthe husband.Independencefrom men is not encouragedas a goal but is acceptedas a potentialhazard. The Prom: Greenville and Rolling Rock As one final example, the eighth-gradeprom illustrateshow each community supportsa particularmilieu of trying-on-genderprocesses for adolescent girls. In Greenville,Janinesat before me dressed in just-rightcasual attirefor the preppy look so popularin thatcommunity.She had a Black Dog shirt(fromMartha'sVineyard),Dockerskhakishorts,andAdidastennis shoes. Janine,portrayinga vision of Williams / TRYING ON GENDER 47 middle-class appearance,was very shy and obviously nervous. She carefullytold me how she preparedfor the eighth-gradeprom (which had been the previous week), describingher outfitin detail. She concludedwith, "AndI hadpinknail polish. Usually I just wear clear, but I had pink for the prom." In contrast,one of the Rolling Rock girls, at her first interview,joked abouther eighth-gradeprom: Chris:Wow,you shouldhavebeenthere!Thisgirlcometo theprompregnant, andher waterbroke!Thenshestillwantedto getheryearbooksigned,buteveryoneelse was andno one wantedto be thefirstto signheryearbook. embarrassed, The two promstories-one centeredon pink nail polish andthe otheron a pregnantteen's waterbreaking-score the starkcontrastbetweentwo communities,20 minutes apart,in defining trying on gender for adolescentgirls. This is not to say thatteen pregnancyis acceptablein Rolling Rock, nordoes nail polish define what is importantin Greenville. There remains a deeper structureof gender identity glimpsed but for the most partuntouchedby empiricalanalysis;genderconstruction is deeply entrenchedin patriarchy.The girls in this study,like all girls, know thatthey aregirls aboutto be women. Like otherinstancesof tryingon genderillustratedin this study,pink nail polish is an externalgendermarker,butit is also a part of the deeperprocess-it is both reflective of and constitutiveof gender. There are no startingblocks of gender;rather,genderis constantlyconstituted. Nevertheless,each prom symbolizes genderedthresholdsthroughwhich girls pass as they constructideas aboutwomanhood,andthey reflectlocal variationin gender meanings.It is temptingto dismiss the incidentsas individualclass differences,and certainly class distinctions mark the two communities. It is instructiveto note, though,thatthese genderedexperienceswere commonto all the girls (andboys) at their respectiveproms, regardlessof whetherthey returnedto their colonial twostoryor to a working-classcottage.The local genderregimepreparesa compelling gender guide for all teens within its reach. CONCLUSIONS Segments of gender processes have distinct qualities, and the exact natureof processes and outcomes varies by gender regime. The trying-on-genderphase is particularlysalient for adolescent girls. Narrationsof girls in this study, ranging from when they were age 13 to age 16, demonstratethatearly adolescenceis a time when genderingis surprisinglymutableand open to a rangeof femininities.However, the window of opportunityfor shaping alternativesto the dominantemphasized femininitymay be fairlynarrow.In this study,the firstyearof high school was particularlyinfluentialin defining a limited version of womanhoodthat includes values of attractiveness,attachmentto men, and compliance. 48 GENDER & SOCIETY / February 2002 The trying-onphasemay be only one of manydistinctgenderingprocesses.Just as conceiving multiplefemininitiesand masculinitieshelps to understanda range of genderoutcomes,we can now seek to identify variousprocesses thatareunique to infanthoodor early adulthoodor postretirementgendering.Also, women may revisitthe trying-onprocess at othercriticalpoints of change, such as enteringcollege or the workforce, or at especially life-alteringjunctures such as long-term commitmentsor motherhoodor separation.Furtherresearchmay determinethat certaingenderattributesare more fundamentalthanothersand thus more resilient to negotiation.Certainly,girls in this study remainstronglygenderedindividuals regardlessof how they try on genderin each community,and for the most part,the gender orderremainsintact. Experiencesof girls in this studyreflectboththe "diversityandsolidarityof sisterhood"to which Rose (1993) refers. Most of the young women adoptedgender conventions recognized as feminine ideals-they were aware of thinness and attractivenessstandards,they valuedrelationshipswith men, and they understood expectationsof feminine passivity,even if they enactedthe rules somewhatdifferently.Forthe most part,these young womeneventuallyespouseda versionof white heterosexualfemininity.Even so, they did not do so uniformlyor withoutquestion or with the same consequences.This study clearly demonstratesthat not only are communitiesdefined by class characteristics(including both economic and culturalattributes);they are also identifiedby specific genderregimes that shape the ways adolescentgirls try on and adopt gender standards.Three structuraldimensions-gender, class, andrace-are mutuallyreinforcingandencourageparticular kinds of femininitiesand masculinities.The whiteness of the communitiesin this studyinvokedfemininitiesthat,for the most part,ignoredidentitieslinkedto other races and ethnicities. A fundamentalimplicationof this studyis thatnot only areplaces gendered,but space-definedstructureshave "structuralholes" thatallow for direction,intervention, and redirectionof genderingprocesses. Structuralholes can mean the difference between compliance to and changes in the gender order.The most obvious exampleemergingfromthese datais thatof sportsopportunitiesfor girls. Sportsa widerangeof organizedsportswithresources,structure,andcompetition-provide alternativesto a narrowlydefined femininity. With sports come time, attention, resources, skills, role models, and exposure to a variety of life situations, all of which nourisha broaderperspectiveof what women do. The sportsexampleis not new;otherstudieshaveassertedthatsportsactivitiesarehealthyoptionsfor girls. A largerpoint is underscoredby this study:The slate of sportsoptions widely available (notjust a limitednumberof choices for a limitednumberof girls) agitatesthe gender regime to accommodatea wider range of alternativesfor all girls in its boundaries,notjust for those individualgirls who actuallyparticipatein sports.Of course, sportsis only one example.Otherpotentialcontingenciesin the local gender regime include strongwomen role models for girls, especially in high-profile positions such as politics, anda wide rangeof programsand activitiesthatemphasize the contributions and participation of girls and women, particularly in Williams / TRYING ON GENDER 49 traditionallymasculinizedareassuch as mathandscience. The availabilityandvisibility of such initiativesultimatelyprovide greatergender space for girls. Structuralholes do not emergenaturally.Genderregimesareresistantto change, and change demandsmotivationand action. The girls in this study provide hope that collective resistance can change the gender regime. Individually,and sometimes in small groups, these young women challenge the gender order.Girls in Greenvillefight for equal resourcesand striveto excel in male-dominatedareasof sportsand disciplines. When Rolling Rock girls face what they perceive as unfair advantages,they talk back and fight and act out sexually. In both communities, social controlworksto keep girls "intheirplace."In Rolling Rock, girls aresilenced in the classroomandat home (even as they areactingout on the streets),anda working-class femininitydepresseshopes andaspirations.In Greenville,girls fail to recognize common bonds as women;they dismiss any perceivedgenderinequalityas individualdifferencesandinternalizeblameandguilt. Genderedsocial controlprecludes genderedcollective action. This study demonstratesthat girls go throughprovisionalphases of trying on genderand thatwe (as women, mothers,sisters, scholars,communities)can exert considerableinfluence at criticalthresholds.Just as important,place significantly shapes genderprocesses;we can conceptualizea genderregime thatencodes gender locally, overlappingwith other regimes, but also contributinguniquely to the genderingof adolescent girls. The sociological literatureon sex-segregatedcontexts such as women's colleges lends insight to other kinds of environmentsin which the genderorderis contested.The task remainsto furtherdevelop the study of structuralholes in local communitiesthat will enable and empowergirls. Including the voices of young women is vital to our research.We as gender scholarshave been remiss in failing to include adolescentwomen in ourdiscourse, andas such, we have failed to fully integrateage as a politicalconstruct.Recall that in trying on gender, the ideal of heterosexualromance replaces, or threatensto replace,intimacyamonggirls. Will we discovera similarmechanismin the doinggenderprocessthatalienatesadolescentgirls fromadultwomen?Justas white feminists must recognize theircomplicity in the hierarchyof power,we must also recognize the role of age in disempowering adolescents. In Revisioning Gender, Ferree,Lorber,and Hess assert,"Withouta groundingin the multiplesocial locations of gender,class, race,andethnicity,as well as bodies andsexualities,research andtheorieswill seem thinandunreal"(1999, xxxxiv). Withoutthe voices of young women who contributedto this study,this articlealso would seem thinandunreal. NOTES 1. JuliaMcQuillanwas a full partnerin the earlystages of this study,andI acknowledgehervaluable contributionsincludingthe adventof the termtryingon gender.Julia went on to otherprojects,while I continuedwith the currentstudy,incorporatingit into my dissertation. 50 GENDER & SOCIETY / February 2002 2. Occasionally, nonwhite culturalissues were raised. The girl who is Chinese-bornsometimes spoke of differencesbetweenAmericanandChinese standardsof education,andthe AfricanAmerican girl mentionedstories that her mother(who was African-born)told of life in Africa. However,overwhelmingly,theirconstructionof gender was based on the assumptionsof their white friends and the predominantlywhite community.The "whiteness"of the culturalmilieu in which all the girls live and constructgenderwas evidencedprimarilyby the notableabsenceof anymentionof raceor ethnicity,the lack of any identifiableritualstied to racialethnic traditions,and the absence of any community-based celebrationscenteredon race or ethnic customs. REFERENCES Acker,Joan. 1989. The problemwith patriarchy.Sociology 23:235-40. Becker, P. H. 1993. Common pitfalls in published grounded theory research. Qualitative Health Research3:254-60. Bondi, Liz. 1993. Genderandgeography:Crossingboundaries.Progressin HumanGeography17:24146. ChesneyLind, Meda, andRandallG. Sheldon. 1998. Girls,delinquency,andjuvenilejustice. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. CommonwealthFund. 1997. The CommonwealthFund surveyof the health of adolescent girls. Louis Harrisand Associates. New York:CommonwealthFund. Connell,R. W. 1987. Genderandpower: Society,theperson and sexualpolitics. Stanford,CA: Stanford UniversityPress. Ferree,MyraMarx,JudithLorber,and Beth B. Hess. 1999. Revisioninggender.ThousandOaks, CA: Sage. Ferree,MyraMarx,andSilke Roth. 1998. Gender,class, andthe interactionbetweensocial movements: A strikeof West Berlin day care workers.Gender & Society 12:626-48. Fincher,Ruth. 1992. Women,the state, and the life course in urbanAustralia.In Full circle: Geographies of womenover the life course, edited by Cindi Katz and Janice Monk. London:Routledge. Foord,J., and N. Gregson. 1986. Patriarchy:Towardsa reconceptualizaton.Antipode 18:186-211. Gagne, Patricia,and RichardTewksbury.1998. Conformitypressuresand gender resistance among transgenderedindividuals.Social Problems45:81-102. Gallas, Karen.1997. Bad boys and silent girls: Whatchildrenknow aboutlanguageandpower. Women and Language 20:63-71. Gilligan, Carol, and L. M. Brown. 1992. Meeting at the crossroads: Women'spsychology and girls' development.Cambridge,MA: HarvardUniversityPress. Hanson,Susan. 1992. Geographyandfeminism:Worldsin collision?AnnalsoftheAssociation ofAmerican Geographers82:569-86. Heath, Deborah. 1990. Class and gender:Social uses of space in urbanSenegal. Workingpaper217, WorkingPaperson Womenin InternationalDevelopment.MichiganStateUniversity,EastLansing. Herbert,Melissa S. 1998. Camouflageisn't onlyfor combat:Gendersexuality,and womenin the military.New York:New YorkUniversityPress. Hewitt,Nancy. 1991. Politicizing domesticity:Anglo, Black and Latinwomen in Tampa'sprogressive movements.In Differingrealities: Gender,class, race, and reformin the Progressiveera, edited by N. S. Dye and N. Frankel.Lexington:Universityof KentuckyPress. Johnston,L. D., P. O'Malley, and J. Bachman. 1997. The nationalsurveyresults of drug use from the Monitoringthe FutureStudy, 1975-1997. Ann Arbor:Universityof Michigan. Lytle,L. Jean,andLindaBakken. 1997. Adolescentfemale identitydevelopment.Sex Roles: A Journal of Research37:175-86. Williams / TRYING ON GENDER 51 Martin,SusanEhrlich,andNancy C. Jurik.1996. Doingjustice, doing gender: Womenin law and criminal justice occupations. ThousandOaks, CA: Sage. Massey, Doreen. 1994. Space, place and gender.Minneapolis:Universityof MinnesotaPress. Montemayer,Raymond.2000. Pathsto adulthood:Adolescent diversityin contemporaryAmerica.In Adolescent diversity in ethnic, economic, and cultural context, edited by RaymondMontemayer, GeraldR. Adams, and Thomas P. Gullotta.ThousandOaks, CA: Sage. Orenstein,Peggy. 1994. SchoolGirls: Youngwomen,self-esteem,and the confidencegap. In association with the AmericanAssociation of UniversityWomen.New York:Anchor Books. Phillips, Lynn. 1998. Thegirls report:Whatwe knowand need to knowabout growingupfemale. New York:National Council for Researchon Women. Pipher,M. 1994. RevivingOphelia:Savingtheselves of adolescentgirls. New York:BallantineBooks. Ponticelli, ChristyM. 1999. Craftingstories of sexual identificationreconstruction.Social Psychology Quarterly61:157-67. Ridgeway,Cecilia L., ElizabethHegerBoyle, KathyJ. Kuipers,and Dawn T. Robinson. 1998. How do statusbeliefs develop? The role of resourcesand interactionalexperience.AmericanSociological Review 63:331-50. Risman,BarbaraJ. 1998. Gendervertigo:Americanfamilies in transition.New Haven,CT: Yale University Press. RodriguezMoya, J. M., and J. M. Diaz Mufoz. 1991. Labourmarketsand gender in the autonomous communityof Madrid.Iberian Studies 20:113-34. Rosaldo, Michelle. 1980. The use and abuse of anthropology: Reflections on feminism and crossculturalunderstanding.Signs: Journal of Womenin Cultureand Society 5:389-417. Rose, Gillian. 1993. Feminismand geography.Cambridge,MA: Polity. Smith, Joan. 1983. Feminist analyses of gender: A mystique. In Women'snature:Rationalizationof inequality,edited by M. Lowe and R. Hubbard.New York:Pergamon. Spitzer,BrendaL., KatherineA. Henderson,andMarilynT.Zivian. 1999. Genderdifferencesin population versus media body sizes: A comparisonover four decades. Sex Roles: A Journal of Research 40:545-57. SteinerAdair,Catherine.1990. The body politic:Normalfemale adolescentdevelopmentandthe development of eating disorders.In Making connections: The relational worlds of adolescent girls at EmmaWillardSchool, editedby CarolGilligan,Nona P. Lyons, andTrudyJ. Hammer.Cambridge, MA: HarvardUniversityPress. Strauss,A., andJ. Corbin.1990. Basics of qualitativeresearch:Groundedtheoryproceduresand techniques. NewburyPark,CA: Sage. Stunkard,A., and S. Messick. 1985. The three-factoreating questionnaireto measuredietaryrestraint, disinhibitionand hunger.Journalof PsychosomaticResearch29:71-83. Thompson,Sharon.1995. Going all the way: Teenagegirls'tales of sex, romanceand pregnancy.New York:Hill and Wang. Thorne,Barrie. 1993. Genderplay: Girls and boys in school. New Brunswick,NJ: RutgersUniversity Press. Vaiou,D. 1989. Feministgeographyin Greece.Journalof Geographyin HigherEducation13:99-101. Walby,Sylvia. 1989. Theorizingpatriarchy.Sociology 23:213-34. Walzer,Susan. 1996. Thinking about the baby: Gender and division of infant care. Social Problems 43:219-35. West, Candace,and Don H. Zimmerman.1987. Doing gender.Gender & Society 1:125-51. Wickramasinghe,A. 1993. Women'sroles in ruralSri Lanka.In Differentplaces, differentvoices: Gender and developmentin Africa,Asia, and LatinAmerica,edited by J. H. Momsen and V. Kinnaird. London and New York:Routledge. Williams, L. Susan. 2001. City kids and countrycousins: Ruraland urbanyouth, deviance, and labor market ties. In Social awakenings: Adolescents' behavior as adulthood approaches, edited by RobertT. Michael. New York:Russell Sage Foundation. 52 GENDER & SOCIETY / February 2002 L. Susan Williamsis an assistantprofessorof sociology at KansasState University.She heads a Healthy Places initiativefor girls and advises the Kansas JuvenileJusticeAuthority.Publications includea chapterin Social Awakenings:Adolescents'Behavioras AdulthoodApproaches and aforthcomingarticle, "TheProphecyof Place," in the AmericanJournalof Economics and Sociology.

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