Parents and the Culture of Femininity
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Parents and the Culture of Femininity book
Analysis of pupils' construction of gender codes suggested that although they were continuing to make traditional subject choices and in general terms felt that some subjects were more suitable for one sex or the other, in some respects they were beginning to envisage change in their adult roles. A minority of middle-and working-class girls were anticipating joint responsibility with their partner for work and childcare. In their general attitudes towards gender equality, girls exhibited a greater capacity than boys to critique traditional gender codes. Interviews and observation highlighted some reasons for their decision to stick to female areas of the curriculum rather than venturing into masculine territory. Working-class girls often saw no alternative to routine office work and accepted, albeit unwillingly, the restrictions motherhood would inevitably place on their lives. A minority of girls were envisaging far more major structural changes in the division of domestic labour to enable them to fulfil a greater role in the world of paid employment. This chapter shifts the focus to parents' constructions of masculinity and femininity and questions whether they are likely to exert a progressive or a conservative influence with regard to girls' developing construction of femininity.