Like a Girl: Representations of girls in the School Journal 1960-2009

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dc.contributor.advisor Marsh, S en Cater, Emily en 2011-07-21T20:35:58Z en 2011 en
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dc.description Full text is available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland only. en
dc.description.abstract This thesis explores the representation of girls in fiction in the School Journal from 1960 to 2009. The School Journal has been distributed to all primary schools in New Zealand since 1907 and is used to support a range of curriculum areas, especially literacy. Formerly published by the government, now published by a state-owned enterprise, the Journal is an ideal text through which to examine official messages children in New Zealand have received about being a girl. Previous studies on gender in institutional children's texts have suggested that girls are disadvantaged by their representations in these texts, making the representation of girls an important area on which to focus. This thesis focuses on the representation of girls in a range of categories: family structure, women's occupations, character traits, activities and risk and rescue. These are some of the categories seen as significant in previous studies on gender representation in children's texts. Content analysis is used to gather data on these variables alongside considerations of contextualised quantitative data. This information is also discussed through close readings of individual stories throughout my sample. The text of the Journal is viewed through a new historicist lens where stories are read as not only being shaped by the period in which they were written, but also helping to shape those time periods through their potential influence on their readers. According to the variables against which the Journal was assessed, in the areas that could be compared against historical data (family structure and women's occupations) the Journal has underrepresented social change. In the areas of character traits and activities, the Journal has consistently avoided showing girls according to specifically feminine or masculine stereotypes, although in individual stories more stereotyping was evident in the 1960s. Archival editorial correspondence has revealed editors conscious of conventional stereotypes and trying to avoid these while being reliant on their contributors' material and tackling the complex task of making the Journal relate to a wide range of backgrounds. Consequently, any straightforward reading of the Journal as simply mirroring institutional ideas on gender, or merely reflecting society, is problematic. en
dc.relation.ispartof Masters Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.rights Restricted Item. Available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland. en
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dc.title Like a Girl: Representations of girls in the School Journal 1960-2009 en
dc.type Thesis en The University of Auckland en Masters en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en
pubs.elements-id 215030 en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2011-07-22 en

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