Janet Montefiore points out, in "The Fourth Form Girls Go Camping: Sexual Identity and Ambivalence in Girls' School Stories" (in Still, Judith and Worton, Michael [eds.], Textuality and Sexuality: Reading Theories and Practices, Manchester University Press, Manchester, 1993, pp173-192), that:
Between 1920 and 1940, the heyday of the girls' school
story, girls' boarding schools did notoriously model their educational
practices and beliefs (compulsory team games, prefects, the honour of the
school, the stiff upper lip etc) on those of the boys' public schools whose
role was to educate the officer elite who administered the British Empire.
The links between imperialist patriotism, militarism and a public school
ethos of judicious emotional reserve have since 1970 been much explored
by historians, who have theorised and debated the historical connexions
between the myth of the cricket-playing honourable schoolboy, the actual
practices of schools, and the needs of an imperialist state . . .
But however good at cricket, however admirable a prefect a girl might be, she would never be told "Go out and govern New South Wales!"; she would at best be a memsahib, enjoying her husband's class privilege but not his power to rule. Excluded from the heroic imperialist destiny, the world of the girls' school was, in terms of the power it enabled women to exercise, a closed circuit: the only way in which women could continue to exercise unquestioned authority after leaving school was to re-enter it as teachers, whose function was to reproduce the ethos of the public school. (pp186-7)
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