Multilingual gendered identities: female undergraduate students in London talk about heritage languages
gender, identity, multilingualism, femininities, heritage languages, higher education | England - London; Higher education institution; English as a second language; Gender; Multiculturalism; gendered identity; subject positions; multilingualism; femininities; heritage language; higher education.
In this article I explore how a group of female university students, mostly British Asian and in their late teens and earlytwenties, perform femininities in talk about heritage languages. I argue that analysis of this talk reveals ways in which the participants enact “culturally intelligible” gendered subject positions. This frequently involves negotiating the norms of “heteronormativity,” constituting femininity in terms of marriage, motherhood, and maintenance of heritage culture and language, and “girl power,” constituting femininity in terms of youth, sassiness, glamour, and individualism. For these young women, I ask whether higher education can become a site in which they have the opportunities to explore these identifications and examine other ways of imagining the self and what their stories suggest about “doing being” a young British Asian woman in London.