Grill Guys and Drive-Thru Girls: Discourses of Gender in Young People’s Part-Time Work

  • Lindsay C. Sheppard
  • Rebecca Raby
  • Wolfgang Lehmann
  • Riley Easterbrook
Keywords: young people; gender; work; part-time jobs; inequality


We engage with poststructural feminism to examine how 32 young workers in Ontario and British Columbia perceived, replicated, navigated, and challenged gendered discourses. We discuss three related emerging themes. First, girls positioned themselves and other girls who work as “go-getters,” resonating with “can-do” girlhood narratives. Second, many participants engaged in and embraced gender-typical work, while others raised critical, feminist concerns. Third, some participants experienced diversions from gender-typical work, and their reflections both reproduced and challenged dominant gender norms. We demonstrate that contradictory discourses of gender, gender inequality, and growing up shape young people’s early work experiences in multiple ways.

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