Guest Post: Leslie Ginsparg Klein on Dress Codes and Uniforms as a Socialization Tool

Leslie Ginsparg Klein is the academic dean of Women’s Institute of Torah Seminary – Maalot Baltimore.

My daughter, an elementary school student, started wearing a uniform this year. As a parent, I’m thrilled. Uniforms mean less laundry, less time spent picking out clothes, and less fighting over why tutus are not an appropriate clothing choice in the dead of winter. My daughter is happy to wear a uniform as well. For her it marks the transition from being a little girl to a big girl. She loves her uniform, for now. I can’t help but wonder if she’ll grow to resent it. I remember myself, as a high school student, hating my uniform. I found the scratchy sweaters and polyester pleated skirts chafing, both literally and figuratively. Those sentiments seemed to have only increased over time. The news is full of reports of students protesting and even suing their schools over dress codes.

In my just-published JHCY article, “No Candy Store, No Pizza Shops, No Maxi-Skirts, No Makeup’: Socializing Orthodox Jewish Girls Through Schooling,” I discuss the way that uniforms and dress codes have been used to socialize Orthodox Jewish girls into appropriate gender roles. The dress codes conform to a combination of the traditional Jewish laws of modesty and social conception of what constitutes appropriate dress. Orthodox girls’ schools require girls to wear skirts and dresses (no pants) that cover the knees, sleeves that cover the elbows, and necklines that don’t dip below the collarbone. Students are expected to adhere to these standards both inside and outside of school. School leaders use uniforms and dress codes to enforce the dress and behaviors that are expected in their community.

However, school leaders have acknowledged that uniforms and dress codes can have an educational downside. An administrator at an Orthodox girls’ high school admitted to me that while rules succeeded in creating an environment where all students adhered to the religious community’s standards of modesty, school leaders forfeited an opportunity to engage with students on the issue and educate them on the reasons for and ideology behind dressing modestly.

Orthodox girls’ schools are not unique in using dress codes and uniforms to socialize students. These rules are a way for any public or private school leader to inform students of appropriate dress and behavior, and to exhibit social and cultural control. For example, when school leaders forbid students from wearing gang colors, they are declaring violent behavior socially inappropriate. In this case, dress codes are designed to preclude students from importing street rivalries into the school building, thereby allowing teachers and administrators to retain control of the school environment. Similarly, other clothing is restricted because school leaders perceive it as too informal for the school environment, or too sexually provocative.

Whether in Jewish or secular schools, dress code rules tend to have a strong gendered component. Within the Orthodox Jewish world, dress code policies are tightly intertwined with the laws of modesty, which are generally directed toward women. Similarly, dress codes issued by public and private schools, although seemingly directed towards both boys and girls, generally only focus on girls’ dress. For example, a California junior high school in 1982 restricted students from wearing tube tops, bikini tops and short skirts. Dress codes in the 1990s, although again presented as gender neutral, began targeting boys’ dress as well. School designed these regulations to prevent the gang-related clothing typically worn by males. This gendered element is oftentimes the source of student protest. More recently, students have protested that these gender specific rules are discriminatory against transgendered students and are inconsiderate of more fluid conceptions of gender.

These protests don’t typically take place in Orthodox girls’ schools. The parent body is a self-selecting population which generally supports the schools in socializing students into community norms. Though students have complained about increasingly strict dress codes, they generally choose to remain within the boundaries of the community. But as the Orthodox community becomes increasingly influenced by general American society, protests against dress codes and the accompanying gender socialization may become more common.

Black Women and Girls’ Lives Matter

Hiphop Literacies: Black Women and Girls’ Lives Matter
The Ohio State University
Frank B. Hale Jr. Black Cultural Center, Main Campus
March 30-31, 2016

Call For Papers/Proposals/Performers:

The purpose of the Hiphop Literacies conference is to bring together scholars, educators, activists, students, artists, and community members to dialogue on pressing social problems.  This year our working conference theme is Black Women and Girls’ Lives Matter.  Participants of the Hiphop Literacies Conference join a community of those concerned with African American/Black, Brown and urban literacies, who are interested in challenging the sociopolitical arrangement of the relations between institutions, languages, identities, and power through engagement with local narratives of inequality and lived experience in order to critique a global system of oppression. Literacies scholars who foreground the lives of Hiphop generation youth see Hiphop as providing a framework to ground work in classrooms and communities in democratic ideals.

This movement converges with critical education/literacies and the current BlackLivesMatter modern civil rights movement “created in 2012 after Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman, was acquitted for his crime, and dead 17-year old Trayvon was post-humously placed on trial for his own murder.” (http://blacklivesmatter.com/about/). BlackLivesMatter converges with other efforts to address the legacies of slavery that still oppress Black people in the United States of America: state-sanctioned killing of Black people, state-sanctioned poverty, hatred and oppression of queer people, the prison industrial complex, school-to-prison-pipeline, ineffective schooling and more.  This year’s conference illuminates issues in the struggle to engender the fight for racial justice, so that the needs of girls and women are fully addressed as we continue the fight to dismantle institutional racism and promote healing for collective empowerment of Black and Brown communities. 

Full details available in the downloadable PDF. Abstracts due December 1, 2015.

CFP: International Girls Studies Association’s Inaugural Conference

The International Girls’ Studies Association are seeking submissions for our inaugural conference from April 7 – 9th 2016 at the University of East Anglia. The inaugural conference seeks to bring together researchers and students working on girls and girlhood in any part of the world and in any discipline or interdisciplinary field.

Girls’ Studies has become one of the most dynamic academic fields, encompassing a vast array of disciplines and interdisciplinary approaches. This conference aims to bring together scholars from across the world to explore experiences of girlhood, recent developments within the field, investigating new questions and revisiting historical issues.

We seek proposals that address some of the key issues in girls studies and we welcome both individual and panel presentations. Moreover, we are also keen to move beyond the traditional conference format and would encourage collaborative work, creative, visual, screenings and performance based work. We are also keen to invite proposals from individuals working in collaboration with girls, the community and partner organisations.

Topics may include (but are not limited to)
· Histories of girlhood
· Global girlhood(s)
· Intersectional girlhood
· Queer girls
· Representation of girlhood
· Intergenerational girlhoods
· Girlhood and consumption
· Mediated girlhoods
· Methodological approaches to girls’ studies
· Girls and feminism
· Girls and sport
· Girls and politics
· Girls and education
· Young femininities
· Body image
· Subcultures and girlhood
· Girls and digital media
· Girls and activism
· Girls and literature
· Girls and popular culture
· Girlhood during austerity
· Girls and sexuality
· Girls and health
· Neoliberal girlhoods
· Ethnographies of girlhood

Submissions:
Abstracts of 250 words, proposals for pre-constituted panels (250 words per panellist) and proposals for creative and alternative presentations (250 words) should be sent to igsa.2016@uea.ac.uk by 1st September 2015. All submissions should be accompanied by brief bio.

Any questions or queries can be sent to igsa.2016@uea.ac.uk.

CFP: Girls’ Economies: Work & Play Cultures

Call for Papers: Girls’ Economies: Work & Play Cultures

Edited by Miriam Forman-Brunell and Diana Anselmo-Sequeira
Foreword by Dr. Eileen Boris

We know more about the history of grownups’ labor than we do about girls’ work, especially in informal domains. We know more about adult women workers than about girlhood employment and work-themed amusements. We know more about girls’ consumption practices than about their production patterns. We know more about childhood and play than we do about how play informs girls’ work skills, sensibilities, and identities as workers. We know more about businessmen and women than about moneymaking girls.

Girls’ Economies: Work & Play Cultures brings into sharp focus the significance of girls’ distinctive labor practices that often overlap with leisured endeavors. By crossing the boundaries between work and play, the margins between girlhood and female adolescence, and the demarcations among various economies, the original essays in this collection traverse the scholarly borders separating the history of labor, play, and business history, women’s history and the history of childhood and adolescence.

This anthology sets out to provide historical, international, and interdisciplinary perspectives on the socio-cultural and economic nature of work in girls’ lived realities and in representations. To that end, we seek previously unpublished essays that examine girls’ often invisible economies (e.g., informal, formal, domestic, household, underground (black economy), plantation, sexual, and sharing economies, etc.) by investigating the distinctive nature of girls’ work patterns that often complicate the lines between manual, domestic, unremunerated play practices, and monetary rewards (e.g., handicrafts; household toys); manifest unique “work cultures” (e.g., DIY participatory cultures) and; employ specific forms of labor, such as the “emotional labor” of Girl Scouts and the “reproductive labor” of girls’ household chores that help to sustain households and enables other family members to engage in paid, productive labor.
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Journal of Popular Music Studies Special Issue on Girls and Popular Music

Guest editors: Sarah Dougher and Diane Pecknold
7,000-word articles due September 1, 2015

The Journal of Popular Music Studies invites submissions for a special issue on Girls and Popular Music. Beginning with the publication of Angela McRobbie’s work on the bedroom music culture of British girls, popular music has been a core aspect of the emergent field of girls’ studies. Conversely, attention to the musical practices of girls and to constructions of girlhood and female youth have revised our understandings of the ways popular music as a whole is produced and consumed. Kyra Gaunt’s discussion of the ways girls’ rhyming and chanting games reflect and reshape the same principles of black music-making as commercial hip-hop; Norma Coates’s suggestion that teenyboppers and groupies provided the foundational low Others against which rock culture secured its own credibility; and Gayle Wald’s interrogation of girlishness as a performative resource through which adult women’s position in popular music is established are only a few examples of critical role real and figurative girls play in shaping popular music and scholarly approaches to it.

In recent years, however, the relationship between girlhood and popular music has undergone significant shifts. The rapidly changing sphere of media and media access is often characterized as a threat to girls, both in terms of morality and productivity, but at the same time it offers them newly visible roles in the music economy as child stars, amateur musicians, and YouTube personalities. New technologies such as mobile recording, social media, YouTube, and blogging as well as new institutional structures, such as digital music distribution, the formalized tween music industry, and the rise of girl-serving organizations based on musicking call for a re-examination of the ways girlhood and female youth are constructed and experienced through popular music.
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Guest Post: Sarah Emily Duff on Dangerous Girls

Sarah Emily Duff is a Researcher at WiSER, and holds a PhD from Birkbeck, University of London. Her research is on histories of childhood, sexuality, and medicine in nineteenth- and twentieth-century South Africa. Funded by a prestigious, five-year Research Career Advancement Fellowship from the National Research Foundation (NRF), her current project investigates histories of sex education in twentieth-century South Africa. Before joining WiSER, Sarah held an NRF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at Stellenbosch University, and lectured at Goldsmiths, University of London. She has published in the Journal of Southern African Studies, the South African Historical Journal, and the Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History, as well as in several edited collections. She has articles forthcoming in the Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth and Kronos. Her monograph, Changing Childhoods in the Cape Colony: Dutch Reformed Church Evangelicalism and Colonial Childhood, 1860-1895, will be published in 2014 by Palgrave Macmillan, in a new series on global histories of childhood.

In September 1901, a little more than six months before the conclusion of the South African War (1899-1902), John Fourie, a resident of Aberdeen in the rural eastern districts of the Cape Colony, noted in his diary:

Mrs. Niel P. Fouche and family (women and children only) had to appear before the Commandant this morning, because they did not open the door on Saturday night, when the Tommies were hammering at it. When Mrs F. asked who it was, they would not answer, and when they broke the door a little daughter of Mrs F. about 12 years of age through [sic] at them with an axe.

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Childhood and Gender in Time

CALL FOR PAPERS: Genesis on Childhood and Gender in Time

The journal Genesis. Rivista della Società Italiana delle Storiche calls for papers for a special issue dedicated to “childhood and gender in time.”

The nature of childhood and its significance as a separate phase of life are at the centre of a process of critical rethinking, which is generating new and challenging interdisciplinary research. We would like to explore the social construction of gender in childhood, from a transnational and interdisciplinary perspective, giving particular attention to the role of play, toys, and children’s literature. Our aim is to examine how gender norms and gender models have been formulated and propagated in different historical, geographical and cultural contexts, but also how those models have been appropriated, contested and possibly subverted. We are interested in the relationship between the effort of regulating children and the “agency” that children are able to express, particularly in the context of a children’s peer culture, in which play (broadly understood) has a central role.

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The History of the Girl

CFP: Congress of the International Committee of Historical Sciences, special theme: The History of the Girl
Jinan, China, August 23-29, 2015

The Congress of the International Committee of Historical Sciences will be held in Jinan, China from 23-29 August 2015. One of the Specialised Themes focuses on the History of the Girl. The aim of this session is to bring together scholars working in the field and to identify common themes and differences in the history of the girl across the world. In order to establish some cohesion for the discussion the focus will be on girls aged from early adolescence to the early 20s. Paper proposals are welcome on all periods of time as well as from as wide a geographical span as possible.

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Girls and Girlhood in Adaptations of Shakespeare

Call for Papers: Girls and Girlhood in Adaptations of Shakespeare
Special Issue of Borrowers and Lenders: The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation

The editors of Borrowers and Lenders: The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation, in conjunction with guest editor Deanne Williams, York University, extend a call for papers for B&L 9.2 (Fall 2014) on the topic of Girls and Girlhood in Adaptations of Shakespeare.

In 2012, the United Nations celebrated the first “Day of the Girl Child,” highlighting the treatment of girls and young women as the key moral issue of our time. As the advancement of girls becomes a global economic, medical, and social priority, literary scholars are turning their attention to cultural representations of and by girls and to historical and philosophical conceptions of girlhood. This special issue of Borrowers and Lenders initiates a scholarly conversation on girls and girlhood in adaptations of Shakespeare, seeking papers that address the process of adapting Shakespeare for girl actors, readers, patrons or audiences; adaptations of Shakespeare’s “girl” characters; and girls’ responses to and appropriations of Shakespeare. We encourage contributions that range from Shakespeare’s contemporaries and Restoration theatre to contemporary authors, playwrights, visual artists and directors, as well those that engage with newer or non-canonical literary genres such as online and Web 2.0 Shakespeares; fanfiction and the graphic novel; autobiography, memoirs and life writing; Shakespeare for children; and international, multicultural and postcolonial adaptations.

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