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Light, Love and Desire

The New Wave of Finnish Girls' Literature

Myry Voipio

This article examines four works of contemporary Finnish girls' literature. The main focus is on the analysis of various aspects of sexuality represented in the novels in relation to these two questions: How do they depict adolescent female sexuality in comparison to the generic conventions and the history of girls' literature? Do the representations expand, change, preserve and/or challenge the genre? The noticeable change is that the desire and love depicted in contemporary Finnish girls' literature can be lesbian and bisexual. However, although these representations of sexuality challenge some generic limits, the genre characteristics of girls' literature seem to have remained relatively unchanged.

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Veronika Honkasalo

This article examines multiculturalism and gender equality in the light of ethnicity, gender, and agency so as to illustrate how gender equality is used as a marker of Finnishness in various youth work contexts. The data presented consists of interviews with youth workers (n=42) and ethnographic fieldwork carried out from 2003 to 2005. The results illustrate that questions related to multiculturalism have enhanced the visibility of gender equality in youth work. The identification of gender-based inequality is connected, in particular, to girls from migrant backgrounds whose education and well-being are of social concern. Youth work itself is often seen as gender-neutral and equality-based. However, this illusion of gender equality reflects more the ideals of equality which are not being concretized in the practices of youth work. Equality in this context is defined as a purely quantitative concept: the solution to any possible inequalities is, therefore, that everyone should be treated in the same way.

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Aino Tormulainen

Karoliina Ojanen, Heta Mulari, and Sanna Aaltonen, eds. 2011. Entäs tytöt: Johdatus tyttötutkimukseen [But what about girls: Introduction to girls’ studies]. Nuorisotutkimusverkosto/Nuorisotutkimusseura, julkaisuja 113. Tampere: Vastapaino.

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Ann-Helén Andersson

Maria Margareta Österholm. 2012. Ett flicklaboratorium i valda bitar: Skeva flickor i svenskspråkig prosa från 1980-2005 [A girl laboratory in chosen parts: Skeva girls in Swedish and Finland Swedish literature from 1980 to 2005]. Stockholm: Rosenlarv Förlag.

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Elina Oinas

In this article I explore the concept of the rebellious girl by examining the cases of three different girls: an HIV activist in South Africa; a young feminist in Finland; and a topless on-line protester in post-revolution Tunisia. Although their contexts and messages vary greatly, there are marked similarities between and amongst them. I suggest that, in general, the media, political movements, and research agendas often appear to have difficulty taking girls' protests seriously. The rebellious girl is ridiculed, shunned, shamed, and disciplined. The protests explored here can, however, be read as important visual interruptions that attempt to invoke an epistemic mutiny that does not beg for inclusion on preexisting terms but, rather, challenges the boundaries of acceptable bodily integrity. They also gesture towards the social in a way that demands recognition, acceptance, and support, not a simplified acceptance based on the notion of neoliberal individual freedom.

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Nordic Girls' Studies

Current Themes and Theoretical Approaches

Claudia Mitchell and Jacqueline Reid-Walsh

This special issue of Girlhood Studies is the first one to have been devoted to the study of girls living in a specific geographical region. Here we focus on girls in the Nordic countries. What makes this set of essays particularly fascinating is that they address issues concerning girls who are located in countries whose advanced social services and democratic beliefs and practices are admired around the world. The rest of the world believes that the Nordic countries, Sweden, Iceland, Norway, Finland and Denmark, have achieved much of what girls in other countries in both the Global North and Global South are still working and fighting for. Interestingly, in their call for papers the guest editors Bodil Formark and Annelie Bränström Öhman, both located at Umeå University in Sweden, cite Finish sociologist Elina Oinas (2011) who queries whether Nordic girls do in fact belong to that exclusive group of “girls who won the lottery.” In the articles in this issue, the contributors interrogate some of the assumptions the rest of the world makes about the lives of girls living in Nordic countries, and the different notions of freedom that have an impact on them.

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Bodil Formark and Annelie Bränström Öhman

While we have been working on this themed issue the political talk about The Girl has entered a new phase in a global shift manifested both by the establishment of the International Day of the Girl and through the launching of various campaigns on themes such as: Give Girls an Education and Eradicate World Poverty. The necessity for such initiatives was cruelly illustrated by the violent attack on Pakistani girls’ rights activist Malala Yousafzai on her way home from school on 9 October 2012. Such blatant discrimination makes it difficult for us not to feel that we live in a privileged part of the world. The five Nordic nation states—Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden—are indeed often perceived by outsiders, too, as progressive countries that have come very far in achieving gender equality. However, although Nordic girlhood may appear in stark contrast to that of the millions of disadvantaged girls in the world, there are complexities and ambivalences beneath the surface of Nordic progressiveness that a reductive, comparative, and linear, framework fails to take into account.

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Heta Mulari

space. Jasmin and Olivia live in eastern Helsinki, Finland, and use the metro every day when they travel to school, pursue their hobbies, or meet friends. As part of the city, the metro can be seen, as media scholar Myria Georgiou puts it, as

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Claudia Mitchell

network,” Heta Mulari, in “Emotional Encounters and Young Feminine Choreographies in the Helsinki Metro,” investigates how they “make meaning” of these encounters. In a move from Finland to Scotland, Fiona G. Menzies and Ninetta Santoro in “Farmers Don

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Solveig Roth and Dagny Stuedahl

-understanding, can be discussed, We can draw on Veronika Honkasalo's (2013) study of youth workers in Finland to understand how learning trajectories in multi-ethnic classrooms can be supported. Her study approached multiculturalism and gender equality in the light