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Choice, Necessity, or Narcissism? A Feminist does Feminist Ethnography

Methodological Issues and Practices in Ethnography

ISBN: 978-0-76231-252-8, eISBN: 978-1-84950-374-7

ISSN: 1529-210X

Publication date: 16 December 2005


I am the oldest daughter from a family of five girls. I was born in the 1950s and had my first real encounters with feminism as a social movement during the second wave women's liberation movement in the United States in the 1970s. This movement had an important impact on me. Despite the appeal of the women's movement for me, I lived a powerfully gendered life. I had not been allowed to read The Lord of the rings series in school because I was a girl. I detested Barbie dolls and yet was sentenced to hours of play with them if I was to have any social life at all. I had to pretend that I neither liked nor was competent at math and science. My high school boyfriend was paying me a compliment when decades after high school he told me, “At least you never let on that you were smart. I always appreciated that about you.” When I attended the first day of a basic calculus class at a public university in 1981, the professor announced, “No female has ever passed a class with me.” In 1983, I was reprimanded by my elementary school principal for wearing slacks to teach. This was reminiscent of my childhood days when my parents finally, but only, allowed me to wear trousers to school on Fridays. In 1990, my 5-year-old daughter told me, “Well, mom, everyone knows boys are smarter than girls” (of course she has since changed her mind!).


Korth, B. (2005), "Choice, Necessity, or Narcissism? A Feminist does Feminist Ethnography", Troman, G., Jeffrey, B. and Walford, G. (Ed.) Methodological Issues and Practices in Ethnography (Studies in Educational Ethnography, Vol. 11), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 131-167.



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