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Browsing by Subject "gender norms"

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  • Tähkä, Inka (2022)
    Youth mental health has become a central topic of public discourse. However, the significance of social structures, such as gender norms, for emotional wellbeing remains understudied in Finland. Previous research on men’s mental health has shown that conformity to traditional masculinity ideals can cause men to undermine their health or lessen their likelihood to seek help. However, these studies often lack the perspective of men’s agency in reproducing and challenging these ideals. To address this gap in research, the first objective of this thesis was to examine what kind of masculinity discourses young Finnish men produce. By analysing these discourses, I studied how young men view the gendered expectations to be connected to their presumed mental health. My second objective was to analyse what kind of reactions young Finnish men have to the public mental health discourses. Thus, the context of this study is within the broader mental health and gender discourses in Finland. The study was conducted applying a thematic discursive approach to the open answers in a large questionnaire data about young men’s mental health gathered by Nyyti ry and the Family Federation of Finland in November 2020. Thematisation served mainly as a tool to organise the data, while the discursive approach allowed me to examine how the masculinity and mental health discourses in the data were constructed, and to analyse the ideas and practices within these discourses that shape social reality. Young men produced three lines of masculinity discourses, which highlight how the traditional hegemonic masculinity ideals remain strong in Finnish society, upheld with narrow representations of masculinity. These ideals were portrayed as restricting, limiting the actions of young men, and to create gendered conditions of opportunity to show weakness, ask for help, and talk about mental health. As a reaction to the public mental health discourses, young men produced critical discursive reactions, illustrating how the prevailing mental health discourses are insufficient in quality and quantity, too individualised, and seen as discriminatory towards men. This research indicates a need to address the structural, gendered expectations in order to widen the positions available for men in society and to find useful solutions to support the mental health of young men.
  • Pihlaja, Henrietta (2019)
    This research is focused on the schooling experiences of non-binary transgender people. The aim of the study is to produce information on how gender variation has been taken into consideration while the 1994 and 2004 reforms of the Finnish national core curriculums for basic education were in effect. Based on these data, the aim is to speculate how gender variation is considered in schools today. The analysis was focused on how interviewees created subjectivity in their narratives and how (gender normative forms of) the hidden curriculum appears in these narratives. The results can be used to help develop the school institution into a more sensitive direction, and to be aware of different genders and the dynamics between them. The theoretical base examines the concepts of non-binary transgender and gender variation. Secondly it provides an overview of the power of gender norms. Thirdly the theoretical base introduces some of the relevant topics of the Finnish national core curriculums for basic education established in the years 1994 and 2004. It then offers some information on the invisible power of the hidden curriculum. The final section of the theoreti-cal base addresses discourses, discursive practices and subjectivities, which are essential in the analysis of gender norms, the hidden curriculum and the interviews. The research was conducted by interviewing seven non-binary transgender adults. They had attended basic education while the 1994 and/or 2004 Finnish national core curriculums were in effect. The interviews were conducted using an adaptation of the autobiographical narrative interview method. The data were analyzed with a data-based discourse analysis. The results were construed using a critical feminist perspective. The analysis produced three hegemonic discourses: outsider, gender normative school, and non-normative gender. Based on these discourses, the results showed six strong subjectivity positions: an outsider and different, an illegitimate woman or a man, nonexistent, agender or feminine-masculine, an agonist against norms, and a victim. The presence of the (gender normative) hidden curriculum occurred especially when the interviewees spoke about the support and safety of school, school control and teaching/learning situations, students’ responsibilities, and school environmental issues. The findings of this research indicate that non-binary transgender people must form a self-image mostly with-out any existing discourses. They become positioned as oppressed or as agonists against oppression. The control of the hidden curriculum was proved strong and very gender normative. Based on that, there is a major paradox between actual school policies and the national core curriculums. The findings would imply that the situation may not be any better nowadays despite the core curriculum reforms. The knowledge of gender variations and gender sensitivity must increase in the future. It is also necessary to offer teachers support and information on how they should meet and treat students of any gender.