Respektabla frisörer : Femininitet och (yrkes)identitet bland tjejer i gymnasieskolans frisörutbildning

Sammanfattning: The aim of this thesis is to contribute with knowledge on how adolescent girls in VET for hairdressers in Swedish Upper Secondary School negotiate and perform (vocational) identities from a class- and gender perspective with special focus on femininity. This is done through ethnographical fieldwork where 18 female students and their vocational teachers were observed for four months. Theoretically the study is inspired by feminist poststructuralist theory together with theory of how working-class women act to become respectable, since class and gender must be fused together to produce an accurate representation of power relations. The results show how the girls position themselves as beauty experts and this expertise involves transforming people to appear in accordance with gendered- and classed beauty norms.  To be recognized as a hairdresser-girl the students are supposed to look nice and feminine. The hairdresser’s body and image are described as a trade-mark to be used to look profesional. Moreover, through cleaning-tasks the girls are expected to act as hardworking respectable subjects and to make the practice respectable. The hairdresser student is also positioned as a female  entrepreneur, that is constructed through two different discourses. One depicts the vocation as a glamorous profession to love. The other as hard work, low wages, and a craft that requires many hours of education. The meanings of men's absence in VET for hairdressers are also explored. The girls maintain the men’s privileged positions through stories which describe male hairdressers as more skillful. A school class consisiting of girls only is described as problematic where conflicts and ‘drama’ were explained by gender, and caused by the absence of boys. One conclusion of the thesis is that traditionally feminine coded performances, such as careing, being nice, and doing good is reshaped in a neoliberal time where notions of a competitive, strong, and self-governing girl is the one that has become the ideal hairdresser. The position of a self-governing girl neglects issues of class and gender, since discourses of Girl Power position girls in a way that the individual subject owns their success, and that we are living in an equal society.

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