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I äran att vara kvinna: Genussyn och dess användning inom new age
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences.
2014 (Swedish)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
Selling Femininity : Gender Stereotypes and Their Uses in New Age (English)
Abstract [en]

New Age has often been described as a religion pertaining to women and studies has shown that women do indeed constitute the vast majority. A reversal of hierarchy between feminine and masculine attributes and values, common in a modern western society, has also been shown to occur.

This study looks at how the feminine is visible in written text and pictures depicting people, more specifically in the periodical magazine Free that has a circulation of circa 25,000. The main bulk of the magazine is advertisements, and one reoccurring part is the article Frimodigt where several of the magazine’s advertisers take part in a short interview. Twelve of these interviews have been analyzed, along with depictions of 518 people from three issues.

The theoretical framework that has been applied to the outcome of my analysis has been social constructivism, with particular emphasis on the paper Doing gender by the professors of sociology Candace West and Don Zimmerman.

My findings indicate that the feminine, indeed, is thought of as very positive and sometimes contrasted with the masculine. This is not, however, reflected in the visual depictions of people since there doesn’t seem to be any difference between how men and women are portrayed. What sets them apart is how often they are portrayed where women, on average, is depicted 70 % of the time. The invocation of feminine traits in Frimodigt shows that gender roles and norms can be used in marketing by attributing these positive traits to the product being marketed.

Furthermore, this indicates that the very act of taking part in this material as a believer can be seen as a feminine act that can make women be more feminine, and men to come in contact with, and develop, their feminine side. Another consequence is that New Age might be seen as very attractive to women because of their appraisal of femininity and the fact that the religion seems to be dominated and ruled by women, in stark contrast to more patriarchal religions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 41 p.
Keyword [en]
New age, social constructivism, doing gender, gender, gender roles, femininity
Keyword [sv]
New age, socialkonstruktivism, doing gender, genus, kvinnligt, könsroller
National Category
Religious Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-35986OAI: diva2:733061
Subject / course
Religious Studies
Educational program
Lärarprogrammet, inriktning mot verksamhet i grundskolans senare år och gymnasiet
Available from: 2014-08-04 Created: 2014-07-07 Last updated: 2014-08-04Bibliographically approved

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