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Shara Crookston and Monica Klonowski

Abstract

In this article, we argue that Teen Vogue has evolved to encompass aspects of intersectional, feminist activism that is particularly evident in the 2017 “Voices” section of the magazine. This evolution challenges previous research that has found that, historically, teen magazines focus heavily on heteronormativity, ideals of beauty, and consumerism. Our analysis of the content of this section of Teen Vogue in 2017 demonstrates that teen magazines can be reimagined as legitimate sources of intersectional activist feminist information for readers. Despite these positive changes, however, Teen Vogue continues to advertise clothing brands that many adolescent girl readers are likely unable to afford, thereby reinforcing superficial postfeminist notions of empowerment.

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“Isn't That a Girl Problem?”

Boys, Bodies, and the Discourse of Denial

Michael Kehler and Chris Borduas

Abstract

Revisions to Health and Physical Education (HPE) curriculums across Canada have prompted a conservative response denouncing the explicit and robust language used to address sexualities and young bodies. In this paper, we question the (in)visibility of male bodies and a prevailing discourse of denial, while situating the discussion alongside an evolving Canadian curriculum. Drawing on a national study, we examine narratives of adolescent boys to demonstrate how they make sense of locker-room interactions and bodily negotiations among their male peers. We introduce a discourse of denial to illustrate the ways in which adolescent male bodies and body image issues specifically have been misunderstood as a “girl problem” in schools. We argue that a limiting narrative of male bodies ignores the marginalization of boys facing shaming and homophobia in schools. We conclude by calling for a (re)consideration of male bodily practices while proposing changes that would more fully acknowledge adolescent male bodies in schools.

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Making Masculinities on the Street

Exploring Street Boys’ Everyday Relationships on the Streets of Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo

Thandie Hlabana, Lorraine van Blerk, and Janine Hunter

Abstract

Raewyn Connell's seminal texts, including Masculinities (1995), The Men and the Boys (2000), and others have contributed to a nuanced understanding of masculinities as both contextual and relational, including gendered power relations, division of labor, emotional relations, and symbolism. This article seeks to extend Connell's approach by using this nuanced lens of masculinities to examine the lives of boys living on the streets of a city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The article highlights the experiences of everyday relationships over three years for 19 street boys, aged 13–18, and the role of city spaces in their lives. It suggests that the spatiality and temporality of street boys’ relationships shape their masculine practices and identities, as played out in their everyday interactions with each other and with girls, women, and men as part of their daily survival. A mosaic of street masculinities emerges, that is both fluid and complex, shedding light on previously unexplored masculinities in an understudied group and part of the world.

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Method-ological Mapping of Girlhood Studies

The Academic Landscapes of Girlhood

Halle Singh

Abstract

In this article, I report on a mapping project of the methods used in articles in Girlhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal since its inception. By reviewing all articles published in this journal from June 2008 to December 2020, I investigate and visually map the methodological tools used in the production of knowledge with, for, and about girls and girlhood. Alongside visual representations of this data, I also seek to reinvigorate conversations about the importance of epistemological and methodological rigor in studies of girls and girlhood.

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Kathrine Vitus and Nathalie Perregaard

Abstract

We explore the experience and meaning of being in an arranged male adult friendship for 7–10-year-old boys from single-mother families; we look at this from the perspective of the boys, their mothers, and their adult friends. In analyzing empirical material from a two-year fieldwork study, we draw on methodology and concepts from phenomenology. We propose that boy–adult friendships provide boys with a realization of masculine embodiment and reflect hierarchical masculinity, but that the presence of the male body is essential. We discuss how the analysis contributes to the literature on adult–child friendships, particularly between boys and male nonrelative adults, and to that on masculinity and boyhood studies, exploring boys’ embodiment from a phenomenological perspective.

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Heather Fitzsimmons Frey and Jenna Kerekes

Abstract

By embodying movement vocabulary and physical culture drills drawn from a 1911 textbook of physical exercises, in this girl-centred research project we examined how Alberta girls (aged 7 to 22) during the COVID-19 pandemic challenged ideas about Alberta settler girls who lived 100 years ago. Using performance-based historiography as a methodology, participants explored what embodying physical culture movement vocabulary could reveal about archives, past girls, and themselves. Debriefing led to insights concerning relevant social issues, such as gender equity, and current experiences like a growing appreciation for pre-pandemic community-oriented life. In asking provocative questions about the past, these girls demonstrated their potential to shift perceptions of how historically located and contemporary girls are imagined.

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Johanna Kingsman

Abstract

Formal rites of passage (ROP) processes are largely lacking within Western culture. This scarcity is seen to be detrimental to adolescent boys’ masculine identity formation. With schools bearing increased responsibility for the well-being of students, and as a way of addressing the apparent cultural deficiency, interest in school-based ROP programs has expanded. This scoping review adopted a systematic methodology to refine an initial accumulation of 708 articles. Nine key articles investigating the impact of school-based ROP programs for adolescent boys were examined. The ROP programs were analyzed according to rationale, design, and impact, with each program focusing on three major domains of impact—community, responsibility, and identity. The review found that adolescent boys’ participation in ROP programs may enhance community engagement, build responsible citizenship, and improve self-perception through the development of positive masculine identity.

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Claudia Mitchell

Sometimes the evolution of an open call issue of Girlhood Studies results in something of a girls studies reader unto itself. Since this issue is packed full of criss-crossing themes based on work in several countries—Canada, Iceland, India and the US—there is just no room for editorial commentary. In its inclusion of works on intersectional feminisms and feminist and Indigenous-led critique to school-based and intergenerational interventions and the power of the visual, this issue is something of such a reader.

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What's a Girl to Do?

The Pleasures and Pressures of the Girls’ Night Out

Thalia Thereza Assan

Nicholls, Emily. 2019. Negotiating Femininities in the Neoliberal Night-Time Economy: Too Much of a Girl? London: Palgrave Macmillan.

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When Princesses Become Dragons

Critical Literacy, Damsel, and Confronting Rape Culture in English Classrooms

Shelby Boehm, Kathleen Colantonio-Yurko, Kathleen Olmstead, and Henry “Cody” Miller

Abstract

In this article we offer curricular suggestions for teaching Elana K. Arnold's young adult title Damsel, a subverted fairytale rewrite, using a critical literacy framework. In doing so, we outline how English curriculum has often upheld oppressive systems that harm women, and how our teaching can challenge such systems. We situate this work through the retelling of a fairytale trope given the ubiquity of such stories in secondary students’ lives. Our writings have teaching implications for both secondary English language arts classrooms and higher education fields such as English, folklore, mythology, and gender studies. We end by noting the limitations of such teaching.