• Anne Arani Hove
  • Clara Aurore Violeta Ravn
4. term, Psychology, Master (Master Programme)
The purpose of this thesis is to explore participants' ambivalence in meaning-making surrounding social situations containing mansplaining, reactions hereto and how this reflects changes in society throughout the #MeToo era. This is sought to be answered based on the analysis of eleven qualitative vignette-based interviews with unfinished stories using an explorative approach. The vignette stories included mansplaining scenarios in a gender-flipped design. The focus on ambivalence was chosen after listening trough the interviews and comparing nine participants in their 20s with one participant in her 40s and one participant in her 80s. To analyse these responses an analysis process, inspired by Bartlett, was developed with a focus on single case analysis as well as aggregate analysis. The aim was to make it possible to look both at individual differences and similarities between participants' responses, thereby looking at each participant separately as well as in comparison to the other participants.
The relevant research literature is presented. This literature is primarily focused on the phenomenon of mansplaining and the societal and personal effects of the #MeToo movement. Furthermore, research on the role of humour in online activity and the function of laughter. In addition to this, literature on experiences of fear in relation to the #MeToo movement is presented. This is followed by a brief presentation of intersectionality and Queer Theory as a feminist theory framework for the #MeToo movement. Theoretical perspectives include aspects of Zygmunt Bauman's theory on Liquid Modernity, George Herbert Mead's theory of the self and Gordon Allport’s theory on categorisations, prejudgements and the function of groups. These theoretical and research perspectives are used to discuss the findings from the analysis.
In the analysis excerpts from the interviews are presented and shown in relation to different topics that the participants showed ambivalence toward. This includes responses surrounding masculinity and femininity, the participants’ own utterances of prejudgements, and the meaning-making while finishing the unfinished vignette stories about mansplaining scenarios. The participants’ use of humour and laughter is further used to highlight passages that show ambivalence, as well as the participants’ own utterances about a new post-#MeToo discourse. Furthermore, three examples were chosen and presented using a model based on Mead's theory of self in society. This showed how the participants navigated their ambivalent attitudes and slowly solved the ambivalence after hearing their own utterances out loud. Generally, the younger participants seemed to show ambivalence while navigating between pre- and post-#MeToo discourse surrounding these topics. The responses of the two participants in an older age group are presented as well, showing how these responses differ from the younger participants, specifically showing less to no ambivalence. The younger participants also showed resistance towards categorisations surrounding topics such as gender, gender norms, and stereotypes, as well as a heightened sensitivity to issues of consent and agency. It is discussed how this is in accordance with a post-#MeToo discourse and feminist theory framework, specifically intersectionality and Queer Theory. A careful approach to utterances about these topics and created ambivalence when in contrast to learned categorisations, which in part was mentioned by the participants themselves. Bauman’s theoretical perspective is used to show how the lack of static categories, and therefore increased liquidity, leads to an increase in uncertainty and anxiety on a societal level.
It is discussed how the ambivalence on the individual level relates to these broader changes in society. In addition to this Allport’s theory is used as a perspective to discuss these societal changes in relation to the need for categorisation in meaning-making. It is concluded that a change in meaning-making, in accordance with post-#MeToo discourse, can be observed in the younger participants. In addition to this, the participants’ resistance towards categorisations appears to fit feminist theories’ aim to deconstruct categories, as well as Bauman’s perspective on an increasingly liquid and category free society. Lastly, how Allport's theory on the function for categorisations and prejudgements fits the inner tensions and resulting ambivalence of the participants, when navigating a lack of categorisations and avoiding stereotyping. The results are argued to be of relevance in both practical and research capacity, although more studies are needed.
Publication date30 May 2022
Number of pages101
ID: 471664316