Imagining gendered adulthood: Anxiety, ambivalence, avoidance and anticipation

Gordon, Tuula; Holland, Janet; Lahelma, Elina and Thomson, Rachel (2005). Imagining gendered adulthood: Anxiety, ambivalence, avoidance and anticipation. European Journal of Women's Studies, 12(1) pp. 83–103.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1350506805048857

Abstract

In this article, the authors draw on two qualitative, longitudinal studies of young people’s transitions to adulthood and how they construct these transitions over time in social, cultural and material terms. The authors focus on the hopes, anxieties and imagined futures of young women. They discuss the individualization thesis, and the contradiction for female individualization between expectations of equality and the reality of inequality between the genders. The debate is moved beyond ‘pitiful girls’ and ‘can-do girls’ by exploring how young women in the UK and Finland anticipate and try to avoid being locked into the lives of adult women.

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