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crushed little stars

A Praxis-in-Process of Black Girlhood

Jordan Ealey

Abstract

This is a performative engagement with the theory and practice of Black girlhood. I begin with an excerpt from my play-in-process, crushed little stars, which is itself a meditation on the sad Black girl. I share this process of play not only to present play making as a powerful epistemological tool, but also to blur the boundaries between what constitutes theory as opposed to practice. I (re)imagine Black girl sociality as a site of restoration and healing against the racist, sexist, and ageist world with which Black girls are forced to contend. Accordingly, this project contributes to the diversification of girlhood studies, challenging the disciplinarity of the field by extending ethnographic and sociological perspectives to include the vantage point of performance and creative practice.

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Disney's Specific and Ambiguous Princess

A Discursive Analysis of Elena of Avalor

Diana Leon-Boys

Abstract

Bringing together discourses of Latina girlhood and ambiguity, in this article I interrogate Disney Junior's specific and ambiguous Latinidad in three key episodes from the first season of Elena of Avalor. This type of intersectional analysis is seldom found in Disney scholarship, despite the relative abundance of existing work on Disney-generated cultural production. By analyzing the ambiguity (Joseph 2018) and unambivalent structure of ambivalence (Valdivia 2020) present in Disney's deployment of animated Latina can-do girlhood (Harris 2004), in this article, I provide an intersectional approach to the study of Disney Junior animated content and Latina girlhood in contemporary popular culture. I argue that Elena of Avalor is the result of Disney's avowed and disavowed dedication to the construction of Latinidad and can-do girlhood. The result of this is a fluctuation and flexible navigation between specificity and ambiguity within one narrative franchise.

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Ensuring Failure?

The Impact of Class on Girls in Swedish Secure Care

Maria A. Vogel

Abstract

Historically, the regulation of girls through institutionalization has been guided by bourgeois norms of femininity, including virtue, domesticity, and motherhood. Using a Foucauldian perspective on the production of subjects in Swedish secure care, I investigate whether or not middle-class norms of femininity, centered today around self-regulation, still guide the regulation of working-class girls. By analyzing data from an ethnographic study, I show that even though secure care is repressive, it is also permeated with the aim of producing self-regulating subjects corresponding with discourses on ideal girlhood. However, since working-class girls are rarely made intelligible within such discourses, thereby making the position of self-regulatory subject inaccessible, the care system leaves them to shoulder the responsibility for resolving a situation that is shaped by structures beyond their control.

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“Girls Are Like Flowers; Boys Are Like footballs”

How Fathers Hope to Configure Their Sons’ Masculinity

Florencia Herrera

Abstract

To contribute to the discussion about how masculinity—understood as a configuration of gender practices (Connell 2000)—is reproduced, this paper analyzes fathers’ discourse about the gender of their sons and daughters. I carried out a qualitative longitudinal study in Chile during which 28 first-time fathers were interviewed before and after their child's birth or arrival (adoption). I suggest that these fathers see gender in essentialist, dichotomous, and hierarchical terms. They expect to shape their sons’ gender practices according to hegemonic masculinity (discouraging gender practices associated with femininity or homosexuality). In the study, no attempt to reformulate masculine gender practices was observed but, rather, an interest on the fathers’ part in maintaining the patriarchal gender order.

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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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Muslim Girlhood, Skam Fandom, and DIY Citizenship

Briony Hannell

Abstract

While fandom is a dominant girlhood trope, few accounts examine faith in the context of girls’ fandom. Addressing this gap, using a feminist poststructural analysis, I draw on interviews and participant observation to locate fan communities as a space in which Muslim girls can enact citizenship. Combining youth cultural studies, girlhood studies, and fan studies, I explore how Muslim fangirls of the Norwegian teen web-drama Skam (2015–2017) draw on their desire for recognition and their creativity as cultural producers to engage in participatory storytelling that challenges popular representations of Muslim girls. This process enables the production of communities rooted in shared interests, experiences, and identities. I suggest that fandom should be recognized for its capacity to generate new meanings of citizenship for minority youth.

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My Reflections on Connell

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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Myths of Age and Sexual Maturity

Defining Girlhood in India: A Transnational History of Sexuality Maturity Laws

Iris Chui Ping Kam

Ashwini Tambe. 2019. Defining Girlhood in India: A Transnational History of Sexuality Maturity Laws. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.