DET NYE OG DEN UNGE NORSKE KVINNEN: diskurser, representasjoner og resepsjoner om ung kvinnelighet 1957-77 og i 2009
2011 (Norwegian)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Det Nye and the young Norwegian woman : Discourses, representations and receptions of young femininity in 1957-1977 and 2009 (English)
Adolescent girlhood has been a marginalised field in twentieth- and twenty-first-century sociology, social history and women’s history. This dissertation is about feminine adolescence in Norway from 1957 to 1977 – and further in 2009. This study analyses discourses and representations of girlhood and proper girlhood, as well as the mediation and reception of such discourses and representations. More specifically, I examine adolescent girlhood from two intertwining perspectives. First, I analyze the textual representation of adolescent girlhood in Det Nye, the oldest young women’s magazine in Norway. Second, I explore the reception of the magazine’s discourses and representations of young femininity by interviewing girls and women about the magazine.
The dissertation consists of four articles. Two of the articles are textual analyses of Det Nye’s regular columns and sections. In the first article, I analyze the question-and-answer column, “Beate.” For over 20 years, Norwegian girls asked Beate for advice about love, romance and sexuality. My focus is on the discursive change in her answers, and the way they moved from essentialist and rigid arguments in 1950s and 1960s to a more gender-equal perspective in the1970s.
The second article addresses representations of proper girlhood in 1958 by way of an analysis of a series of so-called real-life stories in Det Nye in 1958. These stories are presented as if they are real stories written by the girls in the stories. In these stories, “proper girlhood” is defined by respectability, (sexual) innocence, cheerfulness, and the ability and willingness to be a good housewife.
In the third article, the focus is on Norwegian women who came of age in the ideological landscape of the 1950s and 1960s and who tried to establish what they perceived to be good lives for themselves. The purpose of the article is to examine how these women experienced sexuality and housewifery, especially in relation to how they perceived their possibilities for shaping their own lives. In other words, I confronted today’s elder women, most of them previous housewives, with the discourses and representations that came up in the textual analysis of old issues of Det Nye. The oral history interviews showed that most of these women adjusted to the housewife landscape that was characteristic of Norway in those years. Most of them chose the life path they were “supposed to” choose, and they naturalised their choices. With the exception of one woman in my material, these women were no strong agents of change, at least in relation the division of labour. They married in their early twenties, after which they generally retreated from the labour market to become full-time mothers and housewives for many years. The rising discourse of feminism seems to have played a very small role in the lives of these women in 1950s and 1960s.
In the last article, I ask today’s girls about ideal girlhood as portrayed in girls’ magazines, the girls’ own ideas about ideal girlhood, and about the practice of reading magazines for young women. I interviewed 18 girls between 13 and 17 years of age in focus groups, and the results show that girls’ magazines function as an arena for learning and education, providing guidelines about make-up, fashion, education, jobs and labour marked. Magazines are not read, however, only because of the information they offer. They are also read for their own sake – for the “brainless enjoyment” as one of my informants put it. Finally, the magazines also have a trait that appeals to girls with a hectic lifestyle – namely, their “putdownability.”
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet , 2011. , 77 p.
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2011:17
young femininity, girlhood, discourse analysis, representation, housewife
ung kvinnelighet, diskursanalyse, representasjon, husmor
Research subject Sociology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-7181ISBN: 978-91-7063-349-2OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-7181DiVA: diva2:402921
2011-04-15, Auditorium B, Høgskolen i Lillehammer, Lillehammer, Norge, 13:15 (Norwegian)
Rudberg, Monica, professor
Fauske, Halvor, professorGuldvik, Ingrid, FørsteamanuensisBekkengen, Lisbeth, universitetslektor
List of papers