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Title: 'Slugs and snails and puppy dogs' tails' : exploring the 'gender disappointment' experiences of mothers of boys who wanted a daughter : an interpretative phenomenological analysis
Author: Groenewald, Fiona M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5923 4987
Awarding Body: University of Roehampton
Current Institution: University of Roehampton
Date of Award: 2016
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Research shows that very little is known about the experience of ‘gender disappointment’ amongst parents in Western cultures, where there is not an explicit cultural bias that favours one sex of child over another as occurs in parts of Africa and Asia. This study explores the lived experience of nine White British women, residing in the UK, who profess to having struggled with ‘gender disappointment’; feelings of sadness about the sex of their children. The participants were mothers of sons only, who would have liked daughters. The transcripts from semi-structured interviews were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Four superordinate themes emerged: Alienation, Loss, Control and Commodification. The results indicate that ‘gender disappointment’ is a pervasive and multi-faceted phenomenon which left the participants feeling isolated from their families and society, grieving for something they could not have, and feeling out of control of their bodies, thoughts and emotions. These experiences were underpinned by a wider socially constructed phenomenon of the commodification and objectification of children, and the ethics of reproductive autonomy. Results are discussed in light of the cultural context, drawing on previous discourse on maternal ambivalence and gender stereotyping. It is proposed that the research will be of significance in improving the therapeutic services offered to mothers, and recommendations for future research are made.
Supervisor: Rizq, Rosemary ; Georgiou, George Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: gender disappointment ; western culture