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Conditional Freedom

A Portrait of Young Men's Sense of Belonging to the Street in Maputo, Mozambique

Andrea Moreira

Abstract

Drawing on extensive fieldwork, this article explores how a group of young men construct their sense of belonging to a public space, namely, a market in the capital city of Mozambique, Maputo. The young men's occupancy of the market was a clever opportunistic move. While life in and around the market provided opportunities and resources that allowed them to “get by,” the way space was lived and experienced in everyday life by these young men made them particularly exposed to punitive systems of social control. Their experience of belonging to the street was ambiguous, as the freedom they searched for became conditional and they recurrently put themselves in a situation in which they became easy targets for police harassment and incarceration in state prisons. The article shows how these young men position themselves and negotiate their masculinities in an urban environment where they are identified as a threat to the social order.

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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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Claudia Mitchell

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Hopeful, Harmless, and Heroic

Figuring the Girl Activist as Global Savior

Jessica K. Taft

Abstract

There has been a notable increase in the public visibility of girl activists in the past ten years. In this article, I analyze media narratives about several individual girl activists to highlight key components of the newly desirable figure of the girl activist. After tracing the expansion of girl power discourses from an emphasis on individual empowerment to the invocation of girls as global saviors, I argue that girls are particularly desirable figures for public consumption because the encoding of girls as symbols of hope helps to resolve public anxieties about the future, while their more radical political views are managed through girlhood's association with harmlessness. Ultimately, the figure of the hopeful and harmless girl activist hero is simultaneously inspirational and demobilizing.

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The Inheritance of Activism

Does Social Capital Shape Women's Lives?

Supriya Baily, Gloria Wang, and Elisabeth Scotto-Lavino

Abstract

In the call for proposals for this special issue, activist networks were defined as virtual or in person communities devoted to social change. The impact for girls active in these networks has been shown to promote identity development and de-marginalization/empowerment/reclamation of political spaces where girls are marginalized, intergenerational collaboration among women, and community building among feminists. In this study, we seek to explore how women at different generational points reflect on and remember their engagement in social activism. Understanding how these generational shifts affect the impact of social capital on the lives of these women and the changes we might see as they mature into leaders will provide a platform to better understand the influence of belonging to such networks during girlhood.

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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 Girl-led Advocacy

Addressing Early and Forced Marriage in South Africa

Sadiyya Haffejee, Astrid Treffry-Goatley, Lisa Wiebesiek, and Nkonzo Mkhize

Abstract

Increasingly, researchers and policymakers recognize the ability of girls to effect social change in their daily lives. Scholars working across diverse settings also acknowledge the key influence of individual, family, and societal structures on such activism. Drawing on our work with girls in a participatory visual research project in a rural community in South Africa, we consider examples of partnership and collaboration between the adult research team and the young participants. We highlight their agency in mobilizing adults to partner and support community and policy change to address traditional practices of early and forced marriage in this setting. We conclude that collaborative engagement with adults as partners can support activism and advocacy led by girls in contexts of traditional leadership.

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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.