Recontextualising ‘Big Spender’
socialising the selling of female sexuality in a middle school drama programme
Keywords:language socialisation, sexualisation of girls, complex systems models, intertextuality, middle school
The main focus of this paper is to show how the rehearsal of ‘Big Spender’ in an American middle school drama programme is embedded in larger social contexts, and thereby contributes to what the American Psychological Association identifies as the ‘sexualization of girls’ in today’s world. More specifically, I use complex and ecosystems models in order to illuminate the multilayered way in which the recontextualised use of macro-level cultural texts like ‘Big Spender’ can contribute to the sexualisation of girls in meso-level, formal education-based communities of practice as well as in micro-level, face-to-face social interactions. Data presented here were collected and analysed by combining (a) ethnographically-based language socialisation field research conducted at one middle school and (b) discourse and multimodal examinations of ‘Big Spender’-related texts. Based on this multilayered analysis I show how schools and teachers can and do contribute to the language socialisation of sexual objectification and subordination of schoolgirls.
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