Author(s)Gyða Margrét Pétursdóttir
Social sciences (General)
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AbstractFemininity is socially constructed and takes different shapes in different social contexts. The article discusses emphasized femininity, a concept related to Connell‘s hegemonic masculinity, in the labour market and private life. The opposite of emphasized femininity is pariah femininity. Both concepts relate differently to the aura of gender equality. The aura of gender equality describes the social process, or phenomena, in which men and women convince themselves that equality reigns despite practical evidence indicating otherwise The analysis is based on an extensive qualitative research project addressing three sectors in the labour market: The City of Reykjavík workplaces, software firms, and fast-food restaurants, a supermarket and a gas station. Interviews were carried out among 48 employees and participant observations were conducted at 11 workplaces. The following question is posed: How does emphasized femininity facilitate women’s subordination? The results show that emphasized femininity is one of the prerequisites for staying within the aura of gender equality while pariah femininity contaminates the relationship between hegemonic masculinity and emphasized femininity and is therefore viewed dimly but is nevertheless able to facilitate real gender equality.