Anger, Distance and Closeness

The rift in the social bond between fathers and sons, and mothers and daughters that came to characterise the childhood of the middle generation is also processed on an emotional level. The harsh critique conveyed in the interviews of their parents’ gendered division of work is infused with these feelings. The ambivalences we found in the eldest generation’s identification with the same-sex parent, to whose world they saw themselves as belonging, have in the middle generation become more of a disidentification or a negative identification. What emerges is a new generational pattern of feeling closer to or being more like the opposite- sex parent, but the character of these feelings and their consequences is different for women and men and reflects the asymmetries in the gender order they grew up in. The shift of identification with the same-sex to the opposite-sex parent is stronger and involves much more emotional conflict and temperature for the women than the men.

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