Document Type


Type of Article

Research-based article


Through an exploration of urban middle school girls’ Discourse, this study sought to investigate how at risk females defined their gendered identity. Based on an analysis of spoken and written Discourse in a Third Space writing group, we discovered that at risk girls’ notions of patriarchal dating roles, which were predicated upon ideas of physical attractiveness and “datability,” drove much of their perspectives about gender. This study reveals girls’ strong desire to conform and adhere to dating roles with boys despite their depiction of relationships as tumultuous, necessary, exciting, and inevitably painful. Implications for educators pertain to the importance of using Discourse as a tool to help understand and define gender struggles for at risk adolescent girls and the need for pedagogy that would encourage girls to safely work through the invisible constraints of gender.



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