Gendered sexuality and HIV in youth narratives : competing factors affecting sexual attitudes of secondary school students in Urban Iringa, Tanzania

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http://hdl.handle.net/10138/17243
Title: Gendered sexuality and HIV in youth narratives : competing factors affecting sexual attitudes of secondary school students in Urban Iringa, Tanzania
Author: Kinnunen, Eija-Riitta
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economic and Political Studies
Date: 2010-06-28
Language: en
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/17243
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: Development Studies
Kehitysmaatutkimus
U-landsforskning
Abstract: This research aims at analysing how secondary school age youth construct gendered sexuality in their HIV stories in Iringa, Tanzania. Youth attitudes were analysed from 43 stories which were written by secondary school students in the Iringa urban municipality. Based on previous studies in Sub Saharan Africa, five factors were defined to affect youth attitudes on gendered sexuality. The strongest factor is seen to be the modern urban culture which directs young people to make individualistic life choices. Related to this, urban markets combined with media define youth sexual attraction in terms of being fashionable. Especially young women lack income opportunities in urban settings and due to economic pressure turn to transactional sexual relationships. On the contrary, traditional community values demand youth to follow traditional gender specific lifestyles and forms of sexuality. In addition to this, the Christian approach defines pre-marital abstinence and fidelity in the marriage as acceptable forms of sexuality. As a fifth factor, the threat of HIV and stigma challenge partner selections in urban settings. Young people rarely test for HIV and often guess the HIV status of their partners. Additionally, the stigma attached to HIV creates fear between dating partners. According to the stories, Tanzanian youth face pressures to participate in the modern urban dating culture but at the same time are still affected by traditional gender specific expectations promoted by the adults. Youth are challenged to balance between them, and some of the young people struggle in between. Regarding young women, adult society seems to maintain traditional and Christian expectations and encourage them to avoid sexual activities and maintain their respectability. However in order to gain popularity among peers young women have to participate in modern dating practices. Additionally, many young women are forced to establish sexual relationships in urban settings in order to survive economically, and in these relationships men have power to set conditions. Stories expressed empathy towards girls who practised sex survival but moralized the behaviour of girls who established sexual relationships in order to gain luxury goods seeing this as damaging a girls´ reputation. In a few of the stories sex for luxury was seen as a necessary route for young women to participate in modern partner markets. Young men were described as victims attracted by beautiful young women. These stories reproduce the traditional view of young men as being naturally weak regarding sex. In addition, the stories indicated that because young women search for money in urban relationships, handsome but poor young men fail to successfully conquer the most beautiful women. Besides this, the stories challenged the traditional expectation that a rich man should establish multiple relationships in order to increase his honour in the community. The HIV threat has created grounds to criticize them. Youth assessed them as causing a lot of suffering and chaos in the families. The HIV stigma was present in different forms in the stories. The community members observed a person´s physical symptoms and visits to an HIV treatment centre, suspected the person as being infected and gossiped about him/her. The infected was in a few cases excluded from the family or was avoided and seen as a threat. HIV infection was seen as a person´s own fault or seen as a result of moral decay. Only a few stories expressed an understanding attitude and saw social, cultural and economic factors as being behind HIV transmissions.
Description: Endast sammandrag. Inbundna avhandlingar kan sökas i Helka-databasen (http://www.helsinki.fi/helka). Elektroniska kopior av avhandlingar finns antingen öppet på nätet eller endast tillgängliga i bibliotekets avhandlingsterminaler.Only abstract. Paper copies of master’s theses are listed in the Helka database (http://www.helsinki.fi/helka). Electronic copies of master’s theses are either available as open access or only on thesis terminals in the Helsinki University Library.Vain tiivistelmä. Sidottujen gradujen saatavuuden voit tarkistaa Helka-tietokannasta (http://www.helsinki.fi/helka). Digitaaliset gradut voivat olla luettavissa avoimesti verkossa tai rajoitetusti kirjaston opinnäytekioskeilla.
Subject: youth sexuality
sexual attitudes
traditional sexual practices
transactional sex
concurrent sex
HIV stigma
Sub Saharan Africa
urbanization
modernity


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