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Hegemonic Masculinity and “Badness”

How Young Women Bargain with Patriarchy “On Road”

Clare Choak

Abstract

The relationship between masculinity, crime, and violence has a long history, whereby hegemonic masculinity is utilized as a resource to create and sustain tough reputations “on road”, where everyday lives are played out on urban streets. Within the context of road culture—of which gangs are part—this is particularly significant given the hypermasculine focus. This paper considers Raewyn Connell's (1995; 1997; 2000) work on hegemonic masculinity and emphasized femininity and develops it in new directions by exploring how these hegemonic identities are inscribed on women's bodies. In the English context, the dominant discourse around young women “on road” is of that of passivity, as they are victims first and offenders second. An underexplored area is their role as perceived “honorary men” when adopting behavior associated with hegemonic masculinity, therefore how they bargain with patriarchy within these spaces is explored.

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“Let Us Be Giants”

Masculinity Nostalgia and Military Edutainment in South Asian War Comics

Tehmina Pirzada

Abstract

Since 2003, a budding collection of English-language war comics dealing with military conflicts between India and Pakistan have become part of the comic book repertoire in both countries. This article focuses on two such comics, Siachen (2012) and Haider (2015). Drawing upon Raewyn Connell's theorization of hegemonic masculinity, the article analyzes how the masculine role models depicted in Haider and Siachen vehemently deny the horrific emotional and physical costs of warfare. By examining hegemonic masculinity in the comics through masculinity nostalgia, and through close reading of the characters’ physical appearances and their shared military camaraderie, this article establishes how the comics endorse militancy and warfare for the purpose of entertainment and education, thereby serving as military propaganda, regardless of the creators’ personal intent.

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Masculinity, Fun, and Social Change

Reflections on The Men and the Boys

C.J. Pascoe

Abstract

Raewyn Connell's theorizing in The Men and the Boys shaped my analysis of young men's engagements with masculinity, and my thinking about gender inequality more generally. The claims about relationships between global inequalities and gender relations in that text shifted my focus away from types of boys—gay boys, straight boys, nerdy boys, popular boys—to a focus on gender relations among boys themselves, processes by which boys both robbed others of precious indicators of masculinity and attempted to claim said indicators for themselves. This shift highlights the centrality of interaction, practice, and institutions to gender inequality among American teenagers. The essay concludes by discussing how Connell's focus on global inequalities provided a foundation from which to argue that many of the same gendered dynamics we see among American teenagers—what I came to call masculinity contests—are also deeply woven into political discourses and practices.

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Michael J. Richardson

Abstract

I have carried Connell's work with me as I have embarked on a career within human geography with specialist interest in gender and generation. Although my empirical lens has shifted and expanded in different ways and at different times, those same theoretical underpinnings have remained in place. I found myself returning to Connell's work on The Men and The Boys in my most recent academic work, namely through a “young dads and lads” project. Particularly noteworthy are the ways in which these young men move (and are moved by others) in between “boyhood,” “manhood,” and back again. Connell's work helps me understand how processes of childhood socialization gendered these boys, and how as young men they are gendered still through processes of fatherhood. I am left questioning what is left behind when boys become men. I also am left needing to thank Raewyn for my lectureship—perhaps these reflections will go some way toward doing so.

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Still Just Hegemonic After All These Years?

“Worst Thing S/He Thinks About Me” Predicts Attitudinal Risk Factors for High School Healthy Relationships Program

Jessica J. Eckstein and Erika Sabovik

Abstract

Men and boys are commonly viewed as perpetrators and/or facilitators of relational violence, but this biological essentializing oversimplifies “masculinity” as “bad.” Connell illustrated the complex roles of bodies, structural order maintenance, and “pupils as agents, school as setting” (Connell 2000: 161) in shaping masculinity processes. Our study examined these factors by examining how peer perceptions of gendered identity threats relate to beliefs negatively affecting power relations. Students (N = 87; n = 36 males, 51 females) from four classes at two high schools in Connecticut provided pre- and post-test data for a Sexual Violence Prevention Program. Results show unhealthy attitudes related to peer perceptions as a basis for violence scenarios. We discuss primary-prevention curricular implications by addressing masculinities as social relationships involved in adolescents facilitating healthy relational practices.

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Timothy Laurie, Catherine Driscoll, Liam Grealy, Shawna Tang, and Grace Sharkey

Abstract

This critical commentary considers the significance of Connell's The Men and the Boys in the development of an affirmative feminist boys studies. In particular, the article asks: How can research on boys contribute to feminist research on childhood and youth, without either establishing a false equivalency with girls studies, or overstating the singularity of “the boy” across diverse cultural and historical contexts? Connell's four-tiered account of social relations—political, economic, emotional, and symbolic—provides an important corrective to reductionist approaches to both feminism and boyhood, and this article draws on The Men and the Boys to think through contrasting sites of identity formation around boys: online cultures of “incels” (involuntary celibates); transmasculinities and the biological diversity of the category “man”; and the social power excercised within an elite Australian boys school. The article concludes by identifying contemporary challenges emerging from the heuristic model offered in The Men and the Boys.

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The Unrealized Potential of Body-Reflexive Practices

Intimations of a New Materialism

Steve Garlick

Abstract

Raewyn Connell's work foregrounds bodies in a way that challenges the social-constructionist orientation that has dominated much of the critical research on masculinities. Yet, her concept of “body-reflexive practices” is one of the least explored aspects of her work. In this commentary, I argue that body-reflexive practices, as the concept is developed in The Men and the Boys, points in the direction of a potentially productive convergence between masculinity studies and new materialist theories. In its engagement with the nature of bodies underlying the cultural construction of gender, Connell's work maintains a relevance that has been largely unappreciated. This is especially the case for boys and young men as they develop masculinities in negotiation with their corporeal capacities.

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Marcus B. Weaver-Hightower

Abstract

In this short personal appreciation of The Men and the Boys, the author admires the ethnographic and writing skills Raewyn Connell displays—the craft and artistry that animates her insightful theories. From her prose's clarity to the deftness of her interviewing, Connell models how to empirically ground foundational social theory.

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Becoming a Super-Masculine “Cool Guy”

Reflexivity, Dominant and Hegemonic Masculinities, and Sexual Violence

James W. Messerschmidt

Abstract

In this article the author builds on the arguments articulated by Raewyn Connell in her seminal work The Men and the Boys (2000) by summarizing and analyzing a case study of an adolescent boy who was identified at school as a “wimp” and who eventually engaged in sexual violence. Such subordinated boys rarely are—if at all—discussed in childhood education, sociology, and feminist literatures on violence. The synopsis reveals the interrelationship among in-school bullying, reflexivity, embodiment, and the social construction of dominant and hegemonic masculinities through the commission of adolescent sexual violence. The analysis demonstrates the continued relevance of Connell's work, and the author builds on and expands on Connell's formulation through, in particular, an examination of reflexivity, dominant masculinities, different types of hegemonic masculinities, and intersectionality.

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Boyz2Men

Male Migrants’ Attitudes to Homosexuality and What Age Has To Do with It

Katarzyna Wojnicka

Abstract

The main goal of this article is to show how age distinguishes attitudes to non-heterosexuality among migrant men and boys living in Germany and Sweden. It will especially focus on discussing various perceptions and narratives regarding sexual diversity, the visibility of which is higher in the host countries, identified during three qualitative research projects with adult and young migrant men in Germany and Sweden. In the context of this particular Special Issue, the focus is put on verification of the validity of Connell's statement that homophobia is a crucial factor shaping men's and boys’ (hegemonic) masculinity negotiations, and hence, on investigation into the extent homophobia is still a significant part of men's narratives that shape the process of (self-) masculinity negotiations.