Young People’s Gender and Identity Work in a Swedish Internet Community

  • Malin Sveningsson Elm
Part of the IFIP — The International Federation for Information Processing book series (IFIPAICT, volume 262)


One of the most popular Swedish online meeting places is the community portal Lunarstorm, which is visited above all by young people. During the last years, media has described how teenage girls have been contacted at Lunarstorm and lured into sexual activities. This in turn has led to further discussions on the way teenagers present themselves online. The adolescence is a time to explore identity and to find out who one really is. The way to an independent identity goes through experimenting, and it is important to find places where this can be done away from the surveillance of the adult generation. Here, online meeting places may have an important part to fill. This paper is a presentation of a research project (2005–2007) that sets out to study what role Lunarstorm plays in the identity work of young Swedes. It presents the methodological and theoretical points of departure, and summarizes the main findings of the project.


Romantic Relationship Gender Identity Identity Work Teenage Girl Meeting Place 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. 1.
    S. Cohen, Folk devils and moral panics: the creation of the mods and rockers, MacGibbon &Kee, 1972.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    U. Boëthius, “Ungdomar, medier och moraliska paniker,” Ungdomar i skilda sfärer5, J. Fornäs, et al., eds., Bruno Östlings förlag Symposion, 1993, pp. 257-284.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    B. Skeggs, Att bli respektabel, Daidalos, 1997.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    S.M. Thiel, “IM me,” Girl wide web. Girls, the Internet, and the negotiating of identity, S. R. Mazzarella, ed., Peter Lang, 2005, pp. 179-202.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    H. Bertilsdotter, “Att fetischera det “normala”. Bisexualitet utifrån några unga måns berättelser,” Sexualitetens omvandlingar. Politisk lesbiskhet, unga kristna och machokulturer, T. P. Johansson & Lalander, ed., Daidalos, 2003, pp. 239-270.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    K. Drotner, At skabe sig — selv. Ungdom, aestetik, paedagogik, Gyldendal, 1991/1996.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    G.H. Mead, Mind, Self, and Society, University of Chicago Press, 1934.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    E. Goffman, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, Penguin books, 1959/1990.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    A. Giddens, Modernity and self-identity. Self and society in the late modern age, Polity Press, 1991.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    H. Ganetz, “Butiken, hemmet och kvinnligheten som maskerad. Drivplatser och platser för kvinnligt skapande,” Unga stilar och uttrycksformer, J. Fornäs, et al., eds., Bruno Östlings förlag Symposion, 1992, pp. 203-240.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    A. Göthlund, Bilder av tonårsflickor. Om estetik och identitetsarbete, Linköping studies in Art and Science, 1997.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    J. Andréasson, “Brudar, bärs och bögar — maskulinitet och sexualitet i en enkönad miljö,” Sexualitetens omvandlingar. Politisk lesbiskhet, unga kristna och machokulturer, T. Johansson and P. Lalander, eds., Daidalos, 2003, pp. 25-46.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    N. Hammarén, “Horor, players och de Andra. Killar och sexualitet i det nya Sverige,” Sexualitetens omvandlingar. Politisk lesbiskhet, unga kristna och machokulturer, T. Johansson and P. Lalander, eds., Daidalos, 2003, pp. 95-124.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    L.A. Lewis, “Being Discovered: The Emergence of Female Address on MTV,” Sound and Vision: The Music Video Reader, L. Grossberg, et al., eds., Routledge, 1993, pp. 129-152.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    L. Cherny and E. Reba Weise, eds., Wired women: gender and new realities in cyberspace, Seal Press, 1996.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    S. Herring, “Gender and democracy in computer-mediated communication,” Electronic Journal of Communication, vol. 3, no. 2, 1993.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    S. Herring, “Gender Differences in Computer-Mediated Communication: Bringing Familiar Baggage to the New Frontier,” Proc. American Library Association annual convention, June 27, 1994.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    S.R. Stern, “Adolescent girls’ expression on web home pages. Spirited, sombre and self-conscious sites.,” Convergence, vol. 5, no. 4, 1999, pp. 22–41.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    S.R. Stern, “Expressions of identity online: prominent features and gender differences in adolescents’ world wide home pages,” Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, vol. 48, no. 2, 2004, pp. 218–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    A.D. Grisso and D. Weiss, “What are gURLs talking about? Adolescent girls’ construction of sexual identity on,” Girl Wide Web. Girls, the Internet, and the Negotiation of Identity, S. R. Mazzarella, ed., Peter Lang, 2005, pp. 31-50.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    J. Butler, Gender Trouble. Feminism and the subversion of identity, Routledge, 1990.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    E. Goffman, Gender Advertisements, Macmillan, 1976.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    R.W. Connell, Masculinites, University of California Press, 1995.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    F. Ambjörnsson, I en klass för sig. Genus och sexualitet bland gymnasietjejer, Ordfront, 2004.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    H. Østbye, et al., Metodbok for medievetenskap, Liber, 2003.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    A. Strauss and J. Corbin, Basics of Qualitative Research. Grounded Theory Procedures and Techniques, SAGE, 1990.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    B. Davies, Hur pojkar och flickor gör kön, Liber, 2003.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    S. Frosh, et al., Young masculinities, Palgrave, 2002.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    M. Svahn, Den liderliga kvinnan och den omanlige mannen. Skällsord, stereotyper och könskonstruktioner, Carlsson, 1999.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    V. Walkerdine, School Girl Fictions, Verso, 1990.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    M. Sveningsson Elm, “Young men’s gender-and identity work in a Swedish Web community,” AoIR Internet Annual Volume 4, M. Consalvo and C. Haythornthwaite, eds., Peter Lang, 2006.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    M. Bäckman, Kön och känsla. Samlevnadsundervisning och ungdomars tankar om sexualitet, Makadam, 2003.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    SCB, Undersökningarna av levnadsförhållanden., 2003.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    M. Sveningsson Elm, “Young people’s presentations of relationships in a Swedish Internet community,” YOUNG, vol. 15, no. 2, 2007.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    M. Sveningsson Elm, “Doing and undoing gender in a Swedish Internet community,” Cyberfeminism in Northern lights. Gender and digital media in a Nordic context, M. Sveningsson Elm and J. Sundén, eds., Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    M. Sveningsson Elm, Young people’s exposure of bodies in a Swedish Internet community, submitted.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    M. Sveningsson Elm, “Att visa sin kropp på Nätet. Om ungdomars självpresentationer på Lunarstorm.,” LOCUS, no. 1, 2006.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    M. Sveningsson Elm, “Exploring and negotiating femininity: Young women’s production of style in a Swedish internet community.,” Book Exploring and negotiating femininity: Young women’s production of style in a Swedish internet community., Series Exploring and negotiating femininity: Young women’s production of style in a Swedish internet community., ed., Editor ed.∧eds., 2007, pp.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    M. Sveningsson Elm, “Taking the girls’ room online: Similarities and differences between traditional girls room and computer-mediated ones,” Proc. INTER: A European Cultural Studies Conference in Sweden, ACSIS, 2007.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    E. Dunkels, “Nätkulturer — vad gör barn och unga på; Internet?,” Tidskrift för lärarutbildning och forskning, no. 1-2, 2005, pp. 41–49.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    A. Enochsson, “Ett annat sätt att umgås: yngre tonåringar i virtuella gemenskaper,” Tidskrift för lärarutbildning och forskning, no. 1–2, 2005, pp. 81–99.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    D. Boyd, “Sexing the Internet: Reflections on the role of identification in online communities,” Proc. Sexualities, Medias, Technologies, 2001.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    D. Sevick Bortree, “Presentation of self on the web: an ethnographic study of teenage girls’ weblogs,” Education, Communication & Information, vol. 5, no. 1, 2005, pp. 25–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    D. Boyd and J. Heer, “Profiles as conversation: Networked identity performance on Friendster,” Proc. Hawai’i International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-39), Persistent Conversation Track., IEEE Computer Society, 2006.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Malin Sveningsson Elm
    • 1
  1. 1.Karlstad UniversitySweden

Personalised recommendations