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“Stumbling Upon Feminism”

Teenage Girls’ Forays into Digital and School-Based Feminisms

Crystal Kim and Jessica Ringrose

Abstract

In this article, we discuss a case study of a feminist society in a girls’ secondary school in England, highlighting how teenage girls use social media to combat sexism. Considering the recent growth of feminist societies in UK schools, there is still a lack of research documenting how young feminists use social media’s feminist content and connections. Addressing this gap, we draw on interviews and social media analyses to examine how girls navigate feminisms online and in school. Despite their multifaceted use of social media, the girls in our research undervalued digital feminism as valid or valued, in large part because of dismissive teacher and peer responses. We conclude by suggesting that schools need to cultivate social media as a legitimate pedagogical space by developing informed adult support for youth engagement with social justice-oriented online content.

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Jessica Prioletta

Abstract

In this article, I explore how the beliefs of preschool teachers that equality is the norm in their classrooms shape play periods in ways that may work to disadvantage girls. I argue that equality discourses mask the gender power children must negotiate in their play and that this leaves girls with fewer choices when they are accessing the play environment. With research grounded in fieldwork carried out in four public schools in a Canadian metropolis, I illustrate how liberal notions of equality reinforced the traditional gender binary in children’s play. Moreover, drawing on the work of Jane Roland Martin, I show that liberal understandings of equality work to sustain a male-centered education for all students in preschool. To explore ways to attend to such gender inequalities, I turn to Nel Noddings’s concept of an ethics of care and point to the need to challenge the gender binary in early learning.

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Authenticity and Aspiration

Exploring the CBBC Television Tween

Sarah Godfrey

Abstract

In this article, I argue that while the tween is understood as having transnational relevance and mobility, this is often emphasized in ways that overlook the national and cultural specificities of tween culture. I argue that the distinctive context of British television history augments the connections between national and transnational paradigms of tween culture in important ways. While authenticity, friendships, and honesty remain foregrounded in a number of Children’s British Broadcasting Corporation (CBBC) shows, these are constructed through a national discourse that connects to transnational models of the tween girl but also mobilizes a cultural specificity that is inextricable from the broadcasting context in which it is produced.

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“Be Prepared!” (But Not Too Prepared)

Scouting, Soldiering, and Boys’ Roles in World War I

Lucy Andrew

Abstract

This article examines the shifting representation of the ideal of masculinity and boys’ role in securing the future of the British Empire in Robert Baden-Powell’s Boy Scout movement from its inauguration in 1908 to the early years of World War I. In particular, it focuses on early Scout literature’s response to anxieties about physical deterioration, exacerbated by the 1904 Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Physical Deterioration. In Baden-Powell’s Scouting handbook, Scouting for Boys (1908), and in early editions of The Scout—the official magazine of the Scout movement—there was a strong emphasis on an idealized image of the male body, which implicitly prepared Boy Scouts for their future role as soldiers. The reality of war, however, forced Scouting literature to acknowledge the restrictions placed upon boys in wartime and to redefine the parameters of boys’ heroic role in defense of the empire accordingly.

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Becoming a Gentleman

Adolescence, Chivalry, and Turn-of-the-Century Youth Movements

Kent Baxter

Abstract

This article traces the intellectual and cultural history of the concept of chivalry, paying particular attention to its relationship with coming-of-age narratives, boyology, and theories of adolescent development. The concept of chivalry was central to the texts surrounding turn-of-the-twentieth-century youth movements, such as the Boy Scouts and the Knights of King Arthur. Chivalry, as it was constructed in these texts, became a way to contain cultural anxieties associated with a fear of modernity and, as a code of behavior, provided a path for youths to come of age, therefore containing concerns about the newly conceived and characteristically unstable developmental stage of adolescence.

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J. Cammaert Raval

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The Concept of Sentimental Boyhood

The Emotional Education of Boys in Mexico during the Early Porfiriato, 1876–1884

Carlos Zúñiga Nieto

Abstract

This article explores the popularization of the concept of sentimental boyhood during the anticolonial insurrections in the Ten Years’ War (1868–1878) and the Caste War (1847–1901) in Cuba and the Yucatán Peninsula in the early 1870s. The concept was popularized as childhood advocates articulated a uniquely Mexican emotional standard in the process of child-rearing, promoting the individual cultivation of honor, the management of anger, and the use of fear as discipline. Beginning in the 1870s, Mexican educators popularized theories of boyhood drawing on European notions of boyhood, including work by Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi. While educators promoted Rousseau’s and Pestalozzi’s “sentimental notions of boyhood” in rural Yucatán, pedagogues in Mexico City advocated the use of fear to instill obedience among boys.

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Christopher Pittard

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The Doll “InbeTween”

Online Doll Videos and the Intertextuality of Tween Girl Culture

Jessica E. Johnston

Abstract

Over the last 10 years, girls on YouTube have been creating stop-motion videos with their American Girl dolls. Many of these girls began producing videos when they were tweens and have continued participating in the American Girl YouTube (AGTube) community into their late adolescence and early adulthood. In this article, I explore the intertextuality of tween girl culture as it is performed and reflected on by teen (13 to 18) and young adult (19 to 24) girls in their online doll videos. Through an examination of their AGTube channels, I show how girl producers negotiate their experiences and desires as teens and young adults within the tween culture of American Girl. I argue that AGTube functions as an audience-generated paratext of American Girl, and demonstrate how teen and young adult girls interact with and challenge the marketplace boundaries of tween girl culture in digital spaces.

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Diederik F. Janssen