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Female paths to adulthood in a country of ‘genderless gender’

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In this article the life history of a young Finnish woman, Salla, is explored along with reflections of her best friend and other peers. The analysis is conducted from the perspective of Finland as a country of ‘genderless gender’, where mute or hidden gendering and sexualisation converge with the gender-neutral rhetoric about the individual self. Structural and individual understandings of ambivalence are used to analyse Salla's tensions when she tries to realise her own expectations and those of the Finnish context. Ambivalence appears in relation to education, in relation to heterosexual partnerships, career and family as well as in relation to Finland as a country of genderless gender with a myth of gender equality. The article draws from an ethnographically grounded longitudinal life historical study on young people's paths to adulthood.
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Keywords: achievement; equality; femininities; longitudinal research; transitions

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Behavioural Sciences,University of Helsinki, PL Box 900014 Helsinki, Finland

Publication date: January 1, 2012

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