This article reads Hollinghurst’s The Folding Star through a synthesis of Freud’s theories of transference and the death drive and Jean Laplanche’s theory of infantile masochism. My reading traces the role of masochism in the formation of the gay male subject and in this way contributes towards an understanding of the repressed masochism which is central to psychic life, and more specifically to an understanding of its role within masculinity and gay masculinities. Through this reading I attempt to shed light on the problems of such an identity both for the subject and for a relationality at work within Hollinghurst’s novel which is consistently dependent upon a melancholic preservation of heterosexual masculinity.
Masochism in Alan Hollinghurst's "The Folding Star"
Introducing a Special Issue on Boyish Temporalities
Diederik F. Janssen
Pioneering cultural historian Johan Huizinga’s short chapter on puerilism, featured in his interwar essay In the Shadow of Tomorrow, famously highlighted what he considered the mutual “contamination of play and seriousness in modern life.” “Puerilism we shall call the attitude of a community whose behaviour is more immature than the state of its intellectual and critical faculties would warrant, which instead of making the boy into the man adapts its conduct to that of the adolescent age” (Huizinga, 1935 [1936, p. 170]). The puerilist condition degrades the serious to the superficial, true and ritual play to boundless childishness. It is a dangerous and decadent symptom, a “bastardization of culture,” a semi-seriousness and appetite for the sensational and the trivial appealing to obedient masses and small minds. Modern man becomes a slave to his comforts. “In his world full of wonders man is like a child in a fairy tale. He can travel through the air, speak to another hemisphere, have a continent delivered in his home by radio. He presses a button and life comes to him. Will such a life give him maturity?”
Postwar American Melodrama and the Crisis of Queer Juvenility
This essay analyzes the cinematic genre convention of the “sensation scene” as a vehicle for the representation of queer crises in American juvenility during the postwar era. Through popular cinema, post-WWII America organized and communicated concerns about the production of “fit” masculine and heterosexual juveniles who would be capable of carrying out the postwar expansion of American democratic and capitalist ideologies. The sensation scene was deployed by popular films to mark queer and racialized masculinities in an aesthetic system that mirrored institutional efforts to prevent “unfit” juveniles from accessing the benefits of full social and political participation. Today, the genre device continues to structure popular film representations of and common thinking about the relative value of young, male American lives.
"Shaped Like an Anchor"
Trans Sailors and Cultures of Resistance
Looking to queer and trans cultural texts from DIY zines to classic queer literature to contemporary experimental cinema, this article considers how sailors represent boyhood as a trangressive embodiment that reworks masculinities and processes of representation. By locating the youthful transmasculine body as a representational norm, queer/trans films like Maggots and Men (2009) create spaces through which sailors reshape meanings assigned to maleness, boys, and men. A linked analysis of Micah Bazant’s self-published Timtum (1999) and James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room (1956) raises further questions about the signs and codes of sailors and postadolescent boyhood in opening up new embodiments for gender non-conforming adults. Investigating how trans sailors become icons of youthful nostalgia and queer masculinities, this paper also questions correlations between sailors and Whiteness, boyhood, colonialism, migration and race.
Adolescent Masculinity in an Age of Decreased Homohysteria
Adolescent masculinity in the 1980s was marked by the need to distance oneself from the specter of “the fag.” In this homohysteric culture, compulsory heterosexuality and high rates of anti-gay sentiment necessitated that adolescent boys distance themselves from anything associated with femininity. It was this zeitgeist that brought Connell’s hegemonic masculinity theory to the vanguard of masculine studies. However, homohysteria has diminished among adolescents today. Accordingly, in this article, I foreground research extracts from multiple ethnographies on groups of 16-year-old adolescent boys in order to contextualize the repeated and consistent data I find throughout both the United States and the United Kingdom. In explaining how the diminishment of homohysteria promotes a “One-Direction” culture of inclusive and highly feminized masculinities, I suggest that new social theories are required.
Boys in Education in Europe
Theoretical Reflections and the Case of Early School Leaving
Elli Scambor and Victor Seidler
The paper discusses the phenomenon of the “boy crisis” in education by following trajectories which seek to describe the situation of boys at school in different countries across Europe in its complexity. The current study of the Role of Men in Gender Equality (Scambor, Wojnicka & Bergmann, eds., 2012) offers an international comparison of the situation of boys and outlines major trends related to gender disparities in education across Europe. An in-depth analysis of male early school leavers leads to a deeper understanding of boys and men as heterogeneous social groups. Relations between so called “costs” and “privileges” in education show considerable varieties due to differences between boys, with educational careers being strongly influenced by social class, “race,” and ethnicities as well as migration backgrounds.
"Emo" Culture and Gender Norms in Late Adolescents and Young Adults
Noah N. Allooh, Christina M. Rummell, and Ronald F. Levant
The present study examined the extent to which youth who endorse emo subculture reject the traditional masculine norm of restrictive emotionality. It also examined the relationships between endorsement and rejection of emo subculture and traditional masculine and feminine norms and masculine gender role conflict. In Study 1 (N = 13) three focus groups were conducted to create the mixed methods Emo Culture Questionnaire (ECQ). In Study 2 (N = 164) exploratory factor analysis of the quantitative part of the ECQ resulted in a 15-item, 4-factor scale; however, due to low reliabilities, only two scales were used in the analyses. Three hypotheses were mostly supported. The endorsement of emo subculture by men was negatively associated with their Restrictive Emotionality subscale scores of both the Male Role Norms Inventory-Revised (MRNI-R) and Gender Role Conflict Scale (GRCS). The endorsement of emo subculture by women was negatively associated with their MRNI-R Restrictive Emotionality scores but was not positively associated their Femininity Ideology Scale (FIS) Emotionality scores. Negative views of the emo subculture by both men and women were positively correlated with their MRNI-R Restrictive Emotionality scores. An exploratory question found that the endorsement of emo subculture had significant negative correlations with three additional MRNI-R subscales and the total scale for men and with five MRNI-R subscales and the total scale for women. In addition, the endorsement of emo subculture had significant negative correlations with two FIS subscales, and with two additional GRCS subscales and the total scale for men. Qualitative results from the ECQ indicated that while the label “emo” may not function as a personal identifier, the music, fashion, and behavior thus identified remain popular.
Parents, Sons, and Globalization in Tanzania
Implications for Adolescent Health
Marni Sommer, Samuel Likindikoko, and Sylvia Kaaya
As the global youth population grows exponentially across Africa, there is increasing recognition of the risky health behaviors impeding boys’ healthy transitions through puberty. This study in Tanzania sought to capture boys’ voiced experiences of transitioning through adolescence, and the masculinity norms shaping boys’ engagement in risky behaviors. A critical finding was the gap in parent-son communication around pubertal body changes and avoidance of risk behaviors. Findings also suggest influences from globalization and modernization are changing boys’ pubertal experiences and introducing new challenges for parents attempting to provide guidance. Given evidence from high-income countries indicating parents can serve as protective factors for young people during the transition through adolescence, additional research is needed to understand current parent-son dynamics and potential interventions.
Boys and Education in the Global South
Emerging Vulnerabilities and New Opportunities for Promoting Changes in Gender Norms
Gary Barker, Ravi Verma, John Crownover, Marcio Segundo, Vanessa Fonseca, Juan Manuel Contreras, Brian Heilman, and Peter Pawlak
This article presents a review of global data on boys' education in the Global South and recent findings on the influence of boys' educational attainment on their attitudes and behaviors in terms of gender equality. The article also presents three examples—from Brazil, the Balkans, and India—on evaluated, school-based approaches for engaging boys and girls in reducing gender-based violence and promoting greater support for gender equality. Recommendations are provided for how to integrate such processes into the public education system in such a way that provides benefits for both boys and girls in a relational approach.
Boys, Bullying and Biopedagogies in Physical Education
Michael Atkinson and Michael Kehler
There has been a dramatic rise in public, and particularly the media, attention directed at concerns regarding childhood obesity, and body shape/contents/images more broadly. Yet amidst the torrential call for increased attention on so-called “body epidemics” amongst youth in Canada and elsewhere, links between youth masculinities and bodily health (or simply, appearance) are largely unquestioned. Whilst there is a well-established literature on the relationship between, for example, body image and marginalized femininities, qualitative studies regarding boys and their body images (and how they are influenced within school settings) remain few and far between. In this paper, we offer insight into the dangerous and unsettled spaces of high school locker-rooms and other “gym zones” as contexts in which particular boys face ritual (and indeed, systematic) bullying and humiliation because their bodies (and their male selves) simply do not “measure up.” We draw on education, masculinities, health, and the sociology of bodies literature to examine how masculinity is policed by boys within gym settings as part of formal/informal institutional regimes of biopedagogy. Here, Foucault’s (1967) notion of heterotopia is drawn heavily upon in order to contextualize physical education class as a negotiated and resisted liminal zone for young boys on the fringes of accepted masculinities in school spaces.