Analysis Of Bettie 's ' Mexican American And White Girls Essay

Analysis Of Bettie 's ' Mexican American And White Girls Essay

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In Bettie’s analysis of Mexican-American and white girls, she finds that race, gender and class are extremely crucial in the outcomes and futures of these girls. The unmentioned and hidden effects of class, race, and gender provide the explanation for much of the inequality seen between the white middle-class girls and Mexican-American working-class girls. Much of this inequality is itself perpetuated within the school system, both by the faculty and students.
Distinguishing features between the preps and las chicas are highlighted through symbolic boundaries. The most prominent symbolic boundaries between thee groups revolve around fashion, race, sexual activity, and academic involvement. The preps have a school-sanctioned fashion style. They wear light makeup and tones and wear conventional preppy, but non-revealing, clothing. They are involved in several school activities and highly prioritize academics. The preps are also sexually active, although largely hidden and unmentioned. Most preps would have abortions if they were to get pregnant. Las chicas, however, contrast the conventional fashion style as protest against school-sanctioned femininity. They wear prominent, dark makeup with bold colors and their clothing was skin-tight and revealing. Las chicas were not invested in academic success and read magazines in class. Although no more sexually active than the preps, las chicas would be criticized for their sexual activity. “[T]hey suffered the consequences of their sexual activity in ways that middle-class performers did not” because Mexican-American girls kept the babies that resulted from their sexual activity (Bettie 2003: 72).
Las chicas’ rowdy style led school personnel and the preps to believe that las chicas h...


... middle of paper ...


...o gain the cultural capital needed to be mobile. Without this cultural capital, many of the working-class girls would have had the same future as their parents and remained working class. Cultural capital becomes key for shaping class futures.
With the availability of middle class capital, a middle class future is opened. With the ability to understand one’s situation on a basis of race, class, and gender, comes a chance of mobility. The inequalities reinforced and reproduced by the schooling system is central in determining the life and class futures these girls have. If there were more opportunities for those students who don’t have the middle-class capital to gain it, or if simply the school system would no longer rely on middle-class sanctioning, there would be an immense growth in improved life outcomes for these girls. They would be able to move up in class.

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