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Cormac Ó Beaglaoich, Mark Kiss, Clíodhna Ní Bheaglaoich, and Todd G. Morrison

ABSTRACT

Ó Beaglaoich and associates (2013, 2015a, 2015b) report that the Gender Role Conflict Scale for Adolescents (GRCS-A, Blazina et al. 2005) may not be suitable for use with Irish boys. Therefore, the purpose of the current study was to develop a culturally appropriate measure of gender role conflict (GRC). The resultant 26-item scale was entitled the Gender Role Conflict Scale for Irish Adolescents (GRCS-IA). It had satisfactory scale score reliability and a unidimensional factor structure. Evidence of convergent validity was adduced through statistically significant correlations between participants’ gender role conflict and indices of psychological functioning (i.e., self-esteem and state as well as trait anxiety). The divergent validity of the GRCS-IA also was demonstrated (i.e., participants’ gender role conflict did not correlate significantly with their endorsement of masculine norms). Limitations of the current study are outlined and directions for future research are discussed.

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Diederik F. Janssen

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Jay Mechling

ABSTRACT

Close bonding in male friendship groups in adolescence (ages 12–28) provides the foundation for altruistic behavior in the group, from routine selflessness to the ultimate sacrifice of life for the others. This article draws on ethnographic evidence from two settings—troops of Boy Scouts in California and US military units living and fighting together in the Middle East. In both settings, close bonding of the male adolescents has significant homoerotic elements, which suggests that there are significant erotic elements in male adolescent altruism, including the eroticization of pain and suffering (non-pathological masochism). If these links prove true, this has policy implications for the integration of adolescent girls and young women into previously all-male organizations, such as the Boy Scouts and the military.

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Factors in the Development of Spatial Cognition in Boys and Girls

Assessing the Impacts of Biology and Navigational Experience

Mariah G. Schug

ABSTRACT

Spatial cognition represents one of the best-established sex differences in cognitive science. There is a pervasive tendency for males to outperform females on multiple spatial reasoning tasks. While prenatal hormones may provide a foundation for these differences, childhood experience also plays an important role. The current article examines how biological factors may interact with environmental and cultural factors. Of particular interest is the cross-cultural literature in which children’s naturalistic experiences exploring their environments can be linked to the development of spatial skills. Based on the examined research, children who gain more navigational experience tend to perform better on spatial tasks. Because boys typically have greater opportunities to explore and navigate, this difference in experience may contribute to the observed sex differences in spatial performance.

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James Marten

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Martin Woodside

ABSTRACT

The nineteenth-century dime novel was a significant component of adolescent culture. Dime novel Westerns prefigured emerging ideas of adolescence to inform cultural constructions of American boyhood. These texts articulated and responded to prevailing notions of proper and improper boyhood by imagining the frontier as a space of and for youth. Scholars have addressed many subversive elements of the dime novel, while largely ignoring how this literature interrogated hierarchies and categories of age. The present analysis explores that gap, highlighting the Western dime novel as a critical site for negotiating ideas of American boyhood in the late nineteenth century.

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Jay Mechling

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Back in Time Yet of His Time

Marty McFly as a 1980s Teenage Boy Role Model

Daniel Smith-Rowsey

ABSTRACT

In a world of overprotected, overscheduled children, parents look to the past, and even to Hollywood, for insight about how children were raised before minimal risk equated to serious hazard. The most recent corpus of films to feature minors who grew up without our current preoccupation with child safety was the somewhat well-established canon of 1980s teen films, but this canon tends to exclude the original Back to the Future film. While Back to the Future is hardly a neglected text, extant studies have elided its exploration and indeed exploitation of adolescent themes as well as its affinity with contemporary films about teenagerhood. I contend that when we look back for recent cues on coping through boyhood without so-called helicopter parents, and we consider the likes of Jeff Spicoli, Lloyd Dobler, and Ferris Bueller, we can find further valuable lessons by including Marty McFly.

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“I Am Trying” to Perform Like an Ideal Boy

The Construction of Boyhood through Corporal Punishment and Educational Discipline in Taare Zameen Par

Natasha Anand

ABSTRACT

In this article I examine boyhood as presented through the figure of an eight-year-old boy, Ishaan, in the Hindi film Taare Zameen Par (2007). In the current era of India’s globalization, how does the particular politics of hegemonic masculinity inform the very foundations underlying the family and school as punitive structures? By positing the analytical perspectives of childhood studies and the performativity of identity against Foucauldian inflected terminology, I argue that Ishaan enacts the dual role of both victim and agent in a film that mediates between two forms of harsh regulatory practices—corporal punishment and educational discipline. The climactic reorientation of an ideal boyhood gradually unfolds against the backdrop of the performances of other contrasting masculinities installed through the figures of the boy’s father, brother, fellow-students, and school-teachers. By drawing such interconnections, I see the film as contesting the ways in which domestic and academic institutions affect contemporary masculine subject formation.

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Introduction

Cinemas of Boyhood Part II

Timothy Shary