Julie Bettie Women Without Class Analysis

1441 Words6 Pages
In her ethnography account Women without Class, Julie Bettie explores the relationship that class along with race and gender work to shape the experiences of both Mexican American girls and white working class students. In her work, Bettie finds that class cannot only intersect to impact the school experiences of both working class and middle class girls, but also their transition to adulthood and their future outcomes. Thus, Bettie explores how working class girls are able to deal with their class differences by performing symbolic boundaries on their styles, rejecting the school peer hierarchy and by performing whiteness to be upwardly mobile. In women without class, Bettie describes the symbolic boundaries that both las chicas and the preps…show more content…
Betty mentions that more than style preferences, the girl’s behavior represented group membership for them. In other words, each group was aware that their style was in opposition and try to maintain their symbolic boundaries as an important tool for distinction. Most important, Bettie points out that their style preferences became to represent a categorical definition for the school personal. This category being the assumption that the preps were innocent and pure, while las chicas mature and low class. Thus, Betty claims that rather of seeing their style as markers of class distinction, the school personal saw las chicas’s performance as evidence of their heterosexual interest. Although, Betty mentions that both las chicas and the preps were sexually active, only las chicas were seen as too sexually active. In other words, their performances became to be reduced as sexual and racial differences, but not on differences in class. According to Betty, this impacted las Chicas, not only in their educational setting, but also on their class futures. For instance, Betty claims that since the school personal saw las chicas’s performance as oversexualized, they placed them on…show more content…
However, she claims that because class was invisible in the girls ‘social life, the school blame their sexualized style, their rejection of prep’s values and their lack of school success for their class differences. Most important, Bettie claims that the lack of cultural capital also affected the working class girls because it intersected with their race and gender to influence their class futures. For example, Bettie argues how upwardly mobile girls had to performed whiteness and the school sanctioned femininity just to possessed the prep’s dominant cultural capital. At the same time, girls who didn’t possessed cultural capital were victims of generalizations and stereotypes that affected their class outcomes. As a result, many of the working class girls were destined to follow rough paths or the same low paying jobs as their
Open Document