The 'social processing chamber' of gender

Australian second-wave feminist perspectives on girls' socialisation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In the early 1970s, second-wave feminist theories of sex-role socialization provided a new way of understanding the experience of Australian girlhood. While part of a transnational feminist discourse, this chapter argues that critiques of girls’ socialization gained traction through activists’ often painstaking efforts to trace its origins and generate evidence of its effects at a local level. Three key themes are explored: feminists’ efforts to link girls’ socialization to a distinctive form of Australian sexism; the use of personal testimony to develop more individualized accounts of socialization; and the emphasis in early research studies on the gap between sex-role ideology and social realities. This process in turn brought greater specificity to claims about girls’ socialization while also revealing the limitations of this model.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA history of the girl
Subtitle of host publicationformation, education and identity
EditorsMary O’Dowd, June Purvis
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9783319692784
ISBN (Print)9783319692777
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Socialisation
  • Sex roles
  • Gender
  • Girlhood
  • Australia
  • Feminism

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