It is twenty years since the publication of Raewyn Connell's highly influential text The Men and the Boys. This book, building on feminist and pro-feminist perspectives of gender formation, was written over a ten-year period from the late 1980s to the late 1990s. It was published five years after the release of the groundbreaking text Masculinities (1995) and tackled multiple issues concerning boys and men. While providing an important platform and summary of where the research from the social science and humanities on men and masculinities stood in the year 2000, the book also contained a theoretical framework for understanding men and masculinities as part of gender relations. Importantly, the future direction of the field was outlined, and suggestions were made as to likely future agendas. These subjects included investigating the implications of globalization and its different characteristics on gender formation, the role of men's bodies, the impact of the media and culture in men's lives, sexuality, education, health, politics, change, violence, and peace. In recent years, questions about the lives and experiences of men and boys continue to raise remarkable media interest, public concern, and controversy on a global scale. Global changes in practices of knowledge have ensured that across the humanities and social sciences, research in the field of masculinities (of all ages) has continued to flourish and expand.
Revisiting Raewyn Connell's Pivotal Text
Victoria Cann, Sebastián Madrid, Kopano Ratele, Anna Tarrant, Michael R.M. Ward, and Raewyn Connell
Cinthia Torres Toledo and Marília Pinto de Carvalho
Black working-class boys are the group with the most significant difficulties in their schooling process. In dialogue with Raewyn Connell, we seek to analyze how the collective conceptions of peer groups have influenced the school engagement of Brazilian boys. We conducted an ethnographic research with students around the age of 14 at an urban state school in the periphery of the city of São Paulo. We analyzed the hierarchization process between two groups of boys, demonstrating the existence of a collective notion of masculinity that works against engagement with the school. Well-known to the Anglophone academic literature, this association is rather uncommon in the Brazilian literature. We have therefore attempted to describe and analyze here the challenges faced by Black working-class Brazilian boys to establish more positive educational trajectories.
Meghan Bellerose, Maryama Diaw, Jessie Pinchoff, Beth Kangwana, and Karen Austrian
COVID-19 containment measures have left adolescent girls in Nairobi, Kenya vulnerable to negative educational, economic, and secondary health outcomes that threaten their safe transitions into adulthood. In June 2020, the Population Council conducted phone-based surveys with 856 girls aged between 10 and 19 in 5 informal settlements who had been surveyed prior to COVID-19 as part of five longitudinal studies. We performed bivariate and multivariable logistic regression analyses to assess the relationship between COVID-19 outcomes and potential protective or risk factors. We found that younger girls are experiencing high levels of food insecurity and difficulty learning from home during school closures, while many older girls face the immediate risk of dropping out of school permanently and have been forgoing needed health services.
The study of masculinity in South Africa scarcely existed in 1990. A minor interest in gender was focused on women and inequality. South Africa was emerging from four decades of apartheid. It was into this environment that Raewyn Connell's ideas were introduced, adopted and adapted. Raewyn herself made a number of trips to South Africa in the 1990s and 2000s and found a ready reception for her theories about masculinity. South Africa was in transition feeling its way from white minority rule and authoritarianism toward democracy and a commitment to ending poverty, inequality, racism, and the oppression of women. In this article, I describe how Raewyn's idea energized scholarship, created a new research interest in men and masculinity, and contributed to gender activism.
Olga Zdravomyslova and Elena Onegina
In this article we analyse ten structured interviews with girls aged 15 to 19 from Moscow and St. Petersburg. We look at how the girls are dealing with the fundamentally new and dangerous situation created by the coronavirus pandemic and note that they are looking for a social and psychological space for themselves in which they can create and experience stability and safety. They are more concerned about security than ever before, while being, at the same time, very sensitive to restrictions on their freedom and agency. Girls’ clear desire for privacy, fuelled by the pandemic's increasingly rapid invasion of their digital space, reinforces their urge towards agency and their understanding of freedom as autonomy.
This exploratory article draws critical insights from Raewyn Connell's The Men and the Boys (2000) to unpack the gendered nature of neoliberal right-wing populist governance in India and America. Connell's prescient work targeted towards forging new theoretical inroads in masculinity studies research, on its conception, continues to provide a vital heuristic model to make better sense of the present condition. This article first situates right-wing populist governance in India and America within the rubric of global neoliberal capitalism. It then unpacks Narendra Modi and Donald Trump's carefully calibrated populist imaging, drawing attention to the surrounding gendered discourses rooted in local and culturally idealized perceptions of hegemonic masculinity. Narendra Modi and Donald Trump's public figuration falls in the “cult of strongman leader stereotype”, characterized by risk-taking translated into perceived virility. Social media and its affordances further prop up their perceived masculine public personas, while affectively inscribing traditional inscriptions of heteronormative masculinity, such as ideas of dominance, as aspirational. Through preliminary research, this article then considers the effects of political masculinities on adolescent masculinities. In conclusion, this article stresses the theoretical relevance of Connell's important work twenty years later.
Impacts of COVID-19 on Adolescent Girls in Humanitarian Contexts
Sarah Baird, Sarah Alheiwidi, Rebecca Dutton, Khadija Mitu, Erin Oakley, Tassew Woldehanna, and Nicola Jones
The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown has shattered the everyday lives of young people, limiting peer interactions and disrupting privacy, with potential for long-term detrimental impacts. This study uses rapid virtual quantitative and qualitative surveys undertaken from April to July 2020 with over 4,800 adolescents affected by displacement in Bangladesh and Jordan to explore adolescent girls’ experiences of social isolation and lack of privacy. Our mixed-methods findings suggest that the pandemic and policy response has caused sharp restrictions on privacy and substantially limited interactions with peers, with larger impacts on girls, particularly those with disabilities. For girls, digital exclusion exacerbates these gender differences. Given that privacy and peer interactions are paramount during adolescence, age-, gender-, and disability-responsive programming is essential to ensure future wellbeing.
Teen Girls’ Online Dating Relationships during COVID-19
Alanna Goldstein and Sarah Flicker
We conducted three online focus groups [n = 25] with teen girls in Canada in May and June 2020 to explore their dating and relationship experiences during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the strict public health measures limiting physical contact, participants reported connecting primarily online with possible dating partners and others. While facilitating platforms, like Snapchat, were already part of these teen girls’ dating and relationships repertoire, many participants reflected on the limitations and drawbacks of being able to connect only virtually. Results suggest the need to better attend to the impacts that COVID-19 restrictions are having on teen girls’ dating relationships, as well as to the larger impacts that the deterioration of these relationships might be having on their mental and emotional health.
Early Twentieth Century Girls Scrapbooking Their Lives
Leslie Midkiff DeBauche
The American high school seniors I discuss in this article graduated between 1915 and 1922, tumultuous years that included World War I, the influenza pandemic of 1918 to 1919, and the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment. During such extraordinary times, these girls did a most ordinary thing; they made scrapbooks to commemorate their high school years.
Black Girls as Creators, Subjects, and Witnesses
Erin M. Stephens and Jamaica Gilmer
The bus was full of excited chatter as it pulled up in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (known universally as The Met) on Fifth Avenue on a cold morning in January. Thirteen girls, along with invited loved ones, had traveled for nine-and-a-half hours from Durham, NC, to view their art displayed in the exhibit, “Pens, Lens, and Soul: The Story of The Beautiful Project” (hereafter, “Pens, Lens, and Soul”). First, the girls filed off the bus to take a photograph on the steps of The Met. As their family and friends waited to disembark, they laughed and shivered while posing for numerous photographs and videos on the cold steps. As they stood at the bottom of the steps of the grand prestigious museum, the impressiveness of their accomplishment was just beginning to dawn on many of them. As she walked around the exhibit one of the artists would comment, “I feel surprised because I didn’t realize it was this big of a thing and I was here and it’s a thing, it’s a big thing … we are capable of doing anything.”