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Wild' girls? An exploration of 'ladette' cultures in secondary schools.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date1/07/2006
JournalGender and Education Journal
Journal number4
Volume18
Number of pages22
Pages339-360
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

'Laddish' attitudes and behaviours are central to current discourses on boys' 'underachievement', as they are seen by many people to impede the progress of some boys in school. Whilst the vast majority of concern about 'laddishness' has, to date, focused upon boys, according to media reports there are now good reasons to worry about girls. Anecdotes from teachers and reports in the media suggest that some schoolgirls are now acting 'laddishly', that they are 'ladettes'. This paper explores 'ladette' cultures in secondary schools, drawing upon interview data from100 pupils and 30 teachers. It tackles and discusses the following questions: (a) What does the term 'ladette' mean to pupils and teachers? (b) Do school-aged 'ladettes' 'exist' - and if so, what are they like inside and outside of school? (c) In what ways are 'ladettes' similar to, and different from, 'lads'? (d) Are teachers concerned about 'ladettes'? (e) Are 'ladette' behaviours on the increase?

Bibliographic note

This paper explores 'ladette' cultures in secondary schools, drawing upon interview data (generated during my ESRC Fellowship) from 100 pupils and 30 teachers. This is the first article published on 'ladettes' in school. The article was awarded an 'Outstanding Article Award' by the Gender and Education Association; it was one of five articles to be selected for the award from the 75 published in the journal Gender and Education during the 2005-2006. A version of the paper was presented at the British Educational Research Association Conference in 2004, and was the subject of considerable media interest. I was interviewed about it by local and national radio stations, and took part in a one-hour phone-in programme that was dedicated to it. Reports also featured in a number of local and national newspapers including: Sunday Telegraph, The Times, Times Educational Supplement, The Daily Mirror, and The Scotsman. RAE_import_type : Journal article RAE_uoa_type : Education