This thesis entails an autoethnographic research into what it means to be a woman in a male-dominated society. A total of 20 women, including my mother, participated in this study. They answered questions about different aspects of being a woman through Whatsapp messages, voice memos or photos of their handwritten answers. In addition, 6 of my mother's diaries have been analyzed, to also view intergenerational transmission of gender roles. The data is connected and analyzed through repetitive themes and theory. All data has been used to make sense of being a woman, what contributes to it and how it is affected. Theory regarding gender performativity, bodily appropriation, normalization of sexual objectification and rape culture are central. It is concluded from this research that being a woman is a process consisting of many contrasting characteristics. On the one hand, being a woman consists of dealing with obstacles that stem from male dominance such as sexual objectification and harassment. On the other hand, being a woman shows strength to deal with all these obstacles, and to find freedom in overcoming those struggles.

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Maja Hertoghs, Samira van Bohemen
Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Mookhoek, L. (2021, June 18). The Female Gaze. Sociology. Retrieved from