Young girls' embodied experiences of femininity and social class

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Based on research with middle-upper class 12–13-year-old school girls, we discuss how femininities were embodied and discursively reconstructed in class-based ways. The data suggests the girls understood class antagonisms within the boundaries of neoliberal discourses of responsibilization, self-discipline, self-worth, and ‘proper’ conduct and choices. With social class stripped of any structural or structuring properties, instead imparted to the fleshy sinews of the (excessive) body, the data reveals how social class was made visible and manifest in various mechanisms of, and meanings about, inclusion, exclusion, pathology and normalization. Thus, in explicating the ways in which the school girls embodied middle-upper class femininity (as the epitome of localized and everyday neoliberalism) we highlight how, in turn, ‘others’ (‘chavs’) were pathologized and deemed in need of regulation, management and governance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)652-672
Number of pages21
JournalSociology-the Journal of the British Sociological Association
Issue number4
Early online date19 Feb 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


  • embodiment
  • feminity
  • intersectionality
  • neoliberalism
  • social class


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