“Coersive power is derived from the belief that someone has the ability to punish you or harm you physically and/or psychologically (Gamble, 2003)(p.206).”

Another Gossip Girl post!

After writing a previous post about Blair Waldorf, I continued to think about other ways that she exemplified gender communication. I thought about one extremely dramatic struggle for power that happened earlier this season between Blair and one of their new teachers, Rachel Carr. At Constance (their prep school), it’s expected for your teachers to let you slide on your homework during your senior year and to give out As. Rachel, the new English teacher, gives Blair a B on a paper. Blair decides to welcome Rachel to the school by explaining the unspoken rule to her. Instead, Rachel tells Blair that she grades based on what the students earn. Blair, being the manipulative, spoiled brat that she is, decides to get revenge on her new teacher.

In the next few episodes, there continues to be a power struggle between the two women. Blair uses her abilities to try and one up the new teacher while Rachel uses her established, official power as a teacher at Constance to basically ruin Blair’s future by preventing her from getting into her dream-school, Yale. This type of situation isn’t really covered in the classroom section of the book, so instead, we’ll take a look at the power dynamics of a family. Rachel has legitimate power that is established by the fact that she’s a teacher (Gamble, 2003). Blair would have more of a coersive power that could reflect negatively on Rachel (Gamble, 2003). Blair even stumbles upon a relationship between Rachel and her student, Dan, in the beginning stages and tries to get Rachel fired from her position(Gamble, 2003). Eventually, after they struggle with one another, they both lose. Blair doesn’t get into Yale because they don’t like that she’s hazed a teacher, and Rachel loses her job because she ends up in a relationship with her student.

Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.

McNally, A., & Rosenfeld, L. (Writers), & Allen, E. (Director). (2008). Carrnal Knowledge. Lasher, A. (Producer). Gossip Girl. New York, NY: CW Television.

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