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Style, stance, and social meaning in mock white girl

  • Tyanna Slobe (a1)

Abstract

Mock white girl (MWG) performances parody a linguistic and embodied style associated with contemporary middle class white girls in the United States. The article identifies bundles of semiotic resources in the stylization of the white girl persona—for example, creaky voice, uptalk, blondeness, and Starbucks—in three genres of MWG: Savior, Shit white girls say, and Teenage girl problems. While semiotic variables used to index the white girl persona are consistent across performances, there is significant variation in performers’ ideological stances relative to the mocked figure of personhood: white girls in the US are not ‘heard’ in any one way by all social actors. Contextualizing MWG performances through analysis of stance reveals critical variation in how the white girl is interpreted, evaluated, and produced as a meaningful social entity by diverse segments of the population. (Gender, mock, race, parody, persona, stance, style)*

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Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Tyanna Slobe, University of California Los Angeles, Department of Anthropology, Haines Hall 375 Portola Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USAtyanna@ucla.edu

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*

I am deeply in debt to my MA thesis committee, Kira Hall, Deepti Misri, and Mia Thomas-Ruzic for helping me begin this project at the University of Colorado Boulder. I am thankful for input and cheerleading along the way from Norma Mendoza-Denton, Candy Goodwin, Erin Debenport, Angie Reyes, Elaine Chun, Lyn Mikel Brown, and Rachel Flamenbaum. Earlier versions of the manuscript benefited from generous feedback and support from the International Gender and Language Association and UCLA's Center for the Study of Women. Special thanks to Sun-Ah Jun and Connor Mayer for ToBI help, and to Devin Bunten, Bill Cotter, Joe Fruehwald, Carrie Ann Morgan, and Nandi Sims for editing advice. Working with Jenny Cheshire and two anonymous reviewers through Language in Society has been genuinely fun, and I appreciate your guidance in helping me to make this a stronger article.

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Style, stance, and social meaning in mock white girl

  • Tyanna Slobe (a1)

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