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Constructing Pathways to Responsible Manhood

Controlling Images and Meaning Making Through the Use of Counter-narratives

Mellie Torres, Alejandro E. Carrión, and Roberto Martínez

Abstract

Recent studies have focused on challenging deficit narratives and discourses perpetuating the criminalization of Latino men and boys. But even with this emerging literature, mainstream counter-narratives of young Latino boys and their attitudes towards manhood and masculinity stand in stark contrast to the dangerous and animalistic portrayals of Latino boys and men in the media and society. Utilizing a mixed-methods approach, the authors draw on the notion of counter-storytelling to explore how Latino boys try to reframe masculinity, manhood, and what they label as ‘responsible manhood.’ Counter-storytelling and narratives provide a platform from which to challenge the discourse, narratives, and imaginaries guiding the conceptualization of machismo. In their counter-narratives, Latino boys critiqued how they are raced, gendered, and Othered in derogatory ways.

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Michael R. M. Ward

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James Joyce's “The Sisters”

Implied Pederasty and Interpreting the Inexpressible

Barry Ryan

Abstract

The topic of pederasty in “The Sisters” has attracted extensive commentary. In this discussion, the boy's confusion, growing up at the crux of two views of masculinity, has not been explored. Moreover, Father Flynn's nostalgic view of boyhood, and his dependency on the company of the boy, also warrants exploration. Furthermore, little has been made of the boy's antagonistic relationship with Father Flynn's sisters, as there is evidence in the story that the boy is considered corruptive. It is my contention that pederasty is not the larger issue, as in another context, this could be contested. Rather, the boundary between the boy and adults is constructed across two opposing ideals of masculinity, obliterating any possibility of contestation. Subsequently, sentient and reflexive aspects of the boy's characterization deviate from how children are viewed by adult characters in Dubliners.

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Negotiating Identities

Being “Boy,” Being “Filipino,” Being “Other”

Victoria Cann

Abstract

In this article I explore the nuanced performances of masculinity enacted by a 14-year-old boy named “Tom.” Tom, a boy of Filipino descent, complicated much of what was the case with other (non-Filipino) young male participants in my study when it came to masculinity. Rather than simply (re)producing hegemonic masculinity, I show in this article how Tom played with his masculinity and countered potential accusations of homosexuality through acts of self-exoticization and self-feminization (removing others’ power to do so). I explore the role that Tom's Filipino heritage and London background plays in his performance of masculinity, arguing that in the overwhelmingly white context of Norfolk (UK), it serves to anchor his hegemonic masculinity through connotations of “toughness” and “urbanness.” It is therefore in Tom's emphasis of his diasporic “Otherness” that his gender transgressions can be consolidated.

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A New Kind of Monster, Cowboy, and Crusader?

Gender Hegemony and Flows of Masculinities in Pixar Animated Films

Elizabeth Al-Jbouri and Shauna Pomerantz

Abstract

Representations of boys and men in Disney films often escape notice due to presumed gender neutrality. Considering this omission, we explore masculinities in films from Disney's lucrative subsidiary Pixar to determine how masculinities are represented and have and/or have not disrupted dominant gender norms as constructed for young boys’ viewership. Using Raewyn Connell's theory of gender hegemony and related critiques, we suggest that while Pixar films strive to provide their male characters with a feminist spin, they also continue to reify hegemonic masculinities through sharp contrasts to femininities and by privileging heterosexuality. Using a feminist textual analysis that includes the Toy Story franchise, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, and Coco, we suggest that Pixar films, while offering audiences a “new man,” continue to reinforce hegemonic masculinities in subtle ways that require critical examination to move from presumed gender neutrality to an understanding of continued, though shifting, gender hegemony.

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Reading Raewyn

Reflections on a Lifelong Inspiration

Sara Delamont

It has been 20 years since Raewyn Connell published The Men and the Boys (2000a), which can be seen as the foundational text of boyhood studies. This journal is a good place to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of that book, and there are two special issues coming in the winter of 2020 and spring of 2021. Connell's work has been part of my academic thinking about education and gender for 47 years. I have chosen to situate my appreciation for The Men and the Boys in the context of that 47-year time frame. The Men and the Boys, which we are celebrating in the next issue of Boyhood Studies, came late in my engagement with Connell's work. It is important to understand that Connell's work has spanned three scholarly developments: the rise of women's studies, men's studies, and boyhood studies.

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“Why Do We Ask Them About Their Gender, If We Then Go on to Do Nothing with It?”

Constructions of Masculinity in Youth Justice in England and Wales

Eric Baumgartner

Abstract

Boys and young men continue to make up 81 percent of the Youth Justice System (YJS) in England and Wales, yet dominant discourses on young people who have been identified as having offended largely neglect to examine the potential role of masculinity in offending and interventions. This article aims to fill the gap of research in this area by exploring the role masculinity may play as understood by practitioners. It concludes that practitioners closely link “localized forms of hegemonic masculinity” to offending behavior of boys and young men.

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Michael R. M. Ward and Thomas Thurnell-Read

Abstract

This special issue of Boyhood Studies considers how a group of international scholars have engaged with the concepts of boyhood and belonging as a complex personal and powerful process. In different ways, the authors highlight how belonging is an ongoing negotiation within one's surroundings. The international research presented here compels us to conceptualize belonging and boyhood as something that is not only infused with individuals and collective histories, but also interwoven within different conceptions of place and space. These places and spaces are experienced in multiple ways within different social contexts. We contend that this special issue is positioned at an important time in studies of boys and young men. As boys and young men experience their transition into adulthood with increased precarity, it is time we take theories of boyhood and belonging seriously. These theories can open up new spaces and provide critical insights into young lives.

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Chong-ro

A Space of Belonging for Young Gay Men in Seoul

Elias Alexander

Abstract

For young men navigating a sexual identity that lies on the periphery of culturally understood and politically acceptable discourses, places where one expresses such identities becomes necessary to foster a sense of belonging. Gay districts have existed as bastions of open self-expression, providing a sense of belonging in restrictive societal contexts. This is particularly true in South Korea. Through direct ethnographic engagement, this article analyzes the ways in which Chong-ro, one of Seoul's gay districts, reinforces identity to create a sense of belonging. Through methods of participant observations and semi-structured interviews with self-identified gay men, qualitative data was collected and analyzed. This article attempts to show how these places help formulate relationships that affirm young gay men's understanding of self, community, and belonging.

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“I Don't Want to Spend My Life under a Toilet Seat”

Aspiration, Belonging, and Responsible Masculinities in the Lives of White, Working-Class Boys in a Youth Inclusion Program at the YMCA

Ross Wignall

Abstract

Working with a cohort of boys aged 14–18 and classed as not in employment, education, or training (NEET) at the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) in the UK city of Brighton and Hove, this article follows their progress as they engage with instructors and other pupils at the YMCA, using qualitative modes of inquiry to explore their reactions, feelings, and attitudes. As I demonstrate, their aspirations and sense of emergent manhood is often predicated on new relationships generated in the YMCA spaces rooted in a culture of caring and responsible masculinity founded on implicit Christian values. Through interviews with young men and the people around them, I probe some of the tensions in this process, showing how persistent attachments to places and spaces beyond the YMCA can create feelings of ambivalence and, in some cases, a sense of alienation and marginality even as they begin to feel that they belong.