In contemporary United States culture, young people may face contradictory gender-related pressures. Changing gender norms resulting from social movements in the latter half of the twentieth century (e.g., sexual revolution, feminism) collide with traditional expectations, such as female virginity until marriage. This study used cross-gender focus groups to examine young people’s gendered experiences in the wake of social change. Data were collected with 35 millennials (ages 18-27) in Pennsylvania who self-identified as having traditional views about relationships and sexuality. Participants articulated current traditional expectations, which included educational and career responsibilities for women as well as behavioral expectations that participants associated with hyper-masculinity. Such expectations were often paradoxical and frequently contrasted with lived experiences. Participants coped with conflicting pressures by keeping secrets and leading double lives. These findings may help educators and clinicians recognize the complex social reality millennials face and assist them in balancing conflicting pressures.
Gender and Sexuality, Feminist Studies, Masculinity Studies, Sociology, Focus Group
The authors express great appreciation to Kristen Blinne, Ph.D., Anuja Madan, Ph.D., Valerie Padilla Carroll, Ph.D., Tushabe, Ph.D., and the Intellectual Circle at Kansas State University for their reviews and contributions to this article.
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Recommended APA Citation
Towne, A., Ruggles, E., Crane, B., & Root, M. (2019). Does She Want You to Open the Door? New Realities for Traditional Gendered Sexuality. The Qualitative Report, 24(10), 2486-2505. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2019.3810