Australian Journal of Education

Article Title

Starry eyes and subservient selves: Portraits of ‘well-rounded’ girlhood in the prospectuses of all-girl elite private schools


This article continues a discussion about the ways in which gender is constructed in the aesthetic presentation and impression management strategies of elite private schools. While before we focused on the construction and promotion of valorised masculinities in elite private boys school prospectuses (Gottschall, Wardman, Edgeworth, Hutchesson & Saltmarsh, 2010), we now extend that work by investigating the versions of femininity celebrated in the promotional materials of elite girls schools. We also contrast, compare and critique the subjectivities constructed by elite private girls schools in relation to the elite private boys schools. Drawing on feminist and post-structuralist theoretical frames and semiotic techniques, we consider how the text, layout and images of the prospectuses work to legitimate and/or disrupt hegemonic versions of ‘wellrounded’ femininity predicated on physical beauty, passivity and subservience.