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Constructing Alternative Femininity: The Gender Identity of “Bad Girls” in Taiwan

The Well-Being, Peer Cultures and Rights of Children

ISBN: 978-1-78052-074-2, eISBN: 978-1-78052-075-9

Publication date: 5 August 2011


Purpose – Recent research on the gender culture and femininity of adolescent girls found that girls construct their gender identity in various ways that are intertwined with race, ethnicity, social class, and sexual orientation. However, these existing studies focused on either general schoolgirls (see Ali, S. (2003). To be a girl: Culture and class in schools. Gender and Education, 15(3), 269–283; Bettie (2003); Weiler, J. D. (2000). Codes and contradictions: Race, gender identity and schooling. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press; Renold, E. (2005). Girls, boys and junior sexualities: Exploring children's gender and sexual relations in the primary school. London: Routledge) or delinquent girls in a gang (see Miller, J. (1998). Gender and victimization risk among young women in gangs. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 35, 429–453; Miller (2001); Joe-Laidler & Hunt (2001); Schalet, A., Hunt, G., & Joe-Laidler, K. (2003). Respectability and autonomy: The articulation and meaning of sexuality among the girls in the gang. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 32, 108–143; Messerschmidt (1995); Messerschmidt, J. W. (1997). Crime as structured action: Gender, race, class, and crime in the making. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage), and only a few studies paid attention to girls who showed overt oppositional behaviors at school.

Methods – The research uses qualitative methods and explores the gender identity of two adolescent girls in a junior high school in Taiwan, who are regarded as problem or “bad” girls by the school faculty.

Results – The two girls both manifested “ladette” culture (Jackson, 2006). On the one hand, they showed masculine behaviors such as fighting, troublemaking, disobeying school regulations, and using drugs and alcohol. On the other hand, they deliberately emphasized their femininity and sexual maturity in the way they dressed, talked, and behaved.



Lin, Y.-H. (2011), "Constructing Alternative Femininity: The Gender Identity of “Bad Girls” in Taiwan", Bass, L.E. and Kinney, D.A. (Ed.) The Well-Being, Peer Cultures and Rights of Children (Sociological Studies of Children and Youth, Vol. 14), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 159-179.



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