The Journal of Gender Research: Open issue

Forside Tidsskrift for kjønnsforskning 4-23

This year's final issue is an open issue. Nevertheless, the articles have common features as they deal with the consequences of political regulation, historically and in the present, and lived experiences in major and important social institutions, such as schools and the military. Read about transgender students' experience of participating in physical education and about gender-mixed teams among Norwegian border soldiers. You can also read about women donating eggs and their understandings of gender, body and motherhood, as well as how women's opportunities for birth control were drastically curtailed during the Second World War.

DOI: 10.18261/issn.1891-1781


«I thought the less I moved, the less visible my body would be»: Experiences of eight transgender students in physical education

By Runa Næss Korshavn, Stine Helena Bang Svendsen, Jan Erik Ingebrigtsen, and Emilie Skiphamn Holten

This study explores how transgender students experience participating in physical education classes in Norway. We seek to understand the barriers in physical education, and factors that enables participation in spite of these. The study draws upon eight retrospective interviews with participants aged 17 to 25, who identify as transgender at the time of the interviews. In this present analysis of the former studentsʼ narratives, we use a bodily phenomenological approach and Judith Butlerʼs concept of heteronormativity to understand how the subject articulates the studentsʼ lived experiences. All participants have experiences with attributed gender as a structuring principle in education and as a basis for how they are expected to behave and perform in class. The narratives highlight how transgender students engage in physical classes and view themselves in the context of peers, body and gender. It becomes notable that perceiving oneself as dissimilar and set apart as a transgender person affects how one perceives participating in physical education. Hence, the feeling of «being on display» carries weight when transgender students negotiate their involvement in physical education classes. It also becomes apparent that participating in physical education classes is perceived as an arena where oneʼs transgender identity is exposed and might be revealed. Additionally, physical touch is portrayed as uncomfortable and presents an additional risk of feeling exposed and at risk of unveiling oneʼs transgender identity. Finally, the gendered changing rooms introduces an additional barrier and areis presented as unsettling among the transgender students.

In closing, this analysis uncovers the process in which the transgender students embody the expectations of others, leading them to adopt an external outlook regarding their own bodies in how they carry and perceive themselves during physical education classes. Finally, questions are raised about what consequences the study should have for inclusion in physical education.

Keywords: school, physical education, transgender, exclusion, exposure, cisnormativity

Egg donation: Ambivalent narratives of gender, body and motherhood

By Guro Korsnes Kristensen and Merete Lie

In 2020, after many years of political debates, the Norwegian Parliament voted in favor of legalizing egg donation. For certain women to receive donated eggs, other women have to donate their eggs. This article investigates how women who are within the age range for potential egg donation reflect about this possibility. More specifically, it explores how these womenʼs understandings of gender, body and motherhood are reflected in their attitudes to egg donation and interprets these understandings in the light of feminist literature on reproduction and reproductive technologies. The empirical basis for the article is qualitative interviews with twenty women. The analysis reveals the presence of ambiguous attitudes. Most informants were positive towards egg donation being allowed and felt a certain sense of responsibility towards women who need to receive eggs in order to become pregnant. At the same time, few of them could imagine themselves as an actual donor because they regarded the decision to donate eggs as too big and serious of a step to take themselves. This suggests that even though assistive reproductive technologies have led to big changes in terms of who can give birth to babies, how this can be done, and within which relationships, women still perceive the egg cell and the potential for biological motherhood it represents as too important and personal to be easily divorced from the body it originates from.

Keywords: Egg donation, egg cell, gender, body, motherhood, reproduction, reproductive technologies

Dangerous birth control: Closure and liquidation of birth control clinics during the Second World War

By Astri Andresen and Kari Tove Elvbakken

There were 12 birth control clinics in Norway when, in April 1940, German troops invaded the country. The clinics informed about and offered contraceptives for sale. They also offered health control of newborns, toddlers, and pregnant women. The clinics were organized as share-holding companies with the labor womenʼs movement as shareholders. A year after the invasion, the Nazi authorities closed the birth control clinics, confiscated their belongings, and – eventually – gave them to NS-approved pro-natalist organizations. After the closure, the authorities started to liquidate the share-holding companies. The closure of the clinics resembled actions taken in Germany after the Nazi – takeover in 1933, but to restrict access to information and means of birth-control had considerable support from Norwegian conservative circles outside the Nazi Party. We explore the closure and liquidation of the birth control clinics and their transformation into NS-approved health stations and discuss the extent to which these measures impacted birth control policies after the war. We identify lines of political conflicts over womenʼs rights to birth control and emphasize the role of the labor womenʼs movement. The article provides new knowledge about the conflicts over birth control and shows that labor womenʼs organizations led the battle until the new womenʼs movement took up the fight around 1970. Until then, claims for control were a class issue, although exceptional feminists who crossed the class border existed.

Key words: Birth control, birth control clinics, labor womenʼs movement, population policy, second world war

Here but no further: Gender-Mixed Teams among Norwegian Border Soldiers

By Dag Ellingsen, Ulla-Britt Lilleaas, and Johanna Hjertquist

For the last 15 years, Norwegian conscripts have lived and worked together in gender-mixed teams and rooms. Both soldiers and officers hold the opinion that gender-mixed teams are to be preferred compared to all-male teams. Our qualitative interviews and quantitative data tell us that some gendered conditions have to be fulfilled in order for the teams to function: The women should be in a minority, and women in leading positions have a hard time getting accepted. Some homosocial expressions such as bro spirit should be tolerated according to some male soldiers. The conditions are often justified by the need to avoid conflicts or putting female soldiers in an exposed position. We describe and analyze these conditions and limitations, using the concepts the flexible gender and homosociality to describe more or less conscious strategies among female and male soldiers. The strategies are used in order to cope with the social intimity associated with living in gender-mixed teams.

Keywords: Gender equality, military, sexual harassment, teams, work environment, homosociality, contact theory, work environment

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