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Becoming a Man

Trajectories of Young Gay Men in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Wendell Ferrari and Marcos Nascimento

This paper seeks to analyze the affective-sexual trajectories of young gay men in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Based on qualitative research with 15 young, urban, low-income gay men aged between 19 and 24, carried out in 2019, this article shows the learning of masculinity and its consequences on the men’s sex lives. As a result, we argue that these young men have been brought up for the exaltation of heterosexuality and being a real man since boyhood; that the pedagogies of masculinity produce hierarchies among gay masculinities; and that the connection with other social markers, such as race, social class, religion, sexual preferences related to being active or passive, and gender expressions, upholds the notion of hegemonic masculinity. Regarding those who escape this pattern, these young men reveal several vulnerabilities and multiple violent acts during their trajectories.

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Anne Watson, Michael Kehler, and Joseph Derrick Nelson

Scholes, Laura. 2018. Boys, Masculinities and Reading: Gender Identity and Literacy as Social Practice. New York: Routledge

Villavicencio, A. (2021). Am I My Brother’s Keeper? Educational Opportunities and Outcomes for Black and Brown Boys. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

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Michael R.M. Ward

I took over as editor of BHS in January 2019. In that time, we have put out three regular issues, which have contained a large variety of work focusing on gender issues concerning boys and young men, and three special issues on more specific topics, such as boyhood and belonging and the work of one of the leading masculinities scholars of the past 30 years, Raewyn Connell. These two recent special issues (13.2 and 14.1) contained work from established and emerging scholars focusing on the twentieth anniversary of Connell’s seminal text, The Men and the Boys. Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, they have been very well received, and articles in this collection are among the most read in the journal’s history.

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“Isn’t That a Girl Problem?”

Boys, Bodies, and the Discourse of Denial

Michael Kehler and Chris Borduas

Revisions to Health and Physical Education (HPE) curriculums across Canada have prompted a conservative response denouncing the explicit and robust language used to address sexualities and young bodies. In this paper, we question the (in)visibility of male bodies and a prevailing discourse of denial, while situating the discussion alongside an evolving Canadian curriculum. Drawing on a national study, we examine narratives of adolescent boys to demonstrate how they make sense of locker-room interactions and bodily negotiations among their male peers. We introduce a discourse of denial to illustrate the ways in which adolescent male bodies and body image issues specifically have been misunderstood as a “girl problem” in schools. We argue that a limiting narrative of male bodies ignores the marginalization of boys facing shaming and homophobia in schools. We conclude by calling for a (re)consideration of male bodily practices while proposing changes that would more fully acknowledge adolescent male bodies in schools.

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Making Masculinities on the Street

Exploring Street Boys’ Everyday Relationships on the Streets of Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo

Thandie Hlabana, Lorraine van Blerk, and Janine Hunter

Raewyn Connell’s seminal texts, including Masculinities (1995), The Men and the Boys (2000), and others have contributed to a nuanced understanding of masculinities as both contextual and relational, including gendered power relations, division of labor, emotional relations, and symbolism. This article seeks to extend Connell’s approach by using this nuanced lens of masculinities to examine the lives of boys living on the streets of a city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The article highlights the experiences of everyday relationships over three years for 19 street boys, aged 13–18, and the role of city spaces in their lives. It suggests that the spatiality and temporality of street boys’ relationships shape their masculine practices and identities, as played out in their everyday interactions with each other and with girls, women, and men as part of their daily survival. A mosaic of street masculinities emerges, that is both fluid and complex, shedding light on previously unexplored masculinities in an understudied group and part of the world.

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Kathrine Vitus and Nathalie Perregaard

We explore the experience and meaning of being in an arranged male adult friendship for 7–10-year-old boys from single-mother families; we look at this from the perspective of the boys, their mothers, and their adult friends. In analyzing empirical material from a two-year fieldwork study, we draw on methodology and concepts from phenomenology. We propose that boy–adult friendships provide boys with a realization of masculine embodiment and reflect hierarchical masculinity, but that the presence of the male body is essential. We discuss how the analysis contributes to the literature on adult–child friendships, particularly between boys and male nonrelative adults, and to that on masculinity and boyhood studies, exploring boys’ embodiment from a phenomenological perspective.

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Johanna Kingsman

Formal rites of passage (ROP) processes are largely lacking within Western culture. This scarcity is seen to be detrimental to adolescent boys’ masculine identity formation. With schools bearing increased responsibility for the well-being of students, and as a way of addressing the apparent cultural deficiency, interest in school-based ROP programs has expanded. This scoping review adopted a systematic methodology to refine an initial accumulation of 708 articles. Nine key articles investigating the impact of school-based ROP programs for adolescent boys were examined. The ROP programs were analyzed according to rationale, design, and impact, with each program focusing on three major domains of impact—community, responsibility, and identity. The review found that adolescent boys’ participation in ROP programs may enhance community engagement, build responsible citizenship, and improve self-perception through the development of positive masculine identity.

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Andrew J. Ball and Aleksandr Rybin

The cover of this issue of Screen Bodies features the digital work “Crypto Queen” by restlessperson (Aleksandr Rybin), which the artist has minted as an NFT. We spoke with Rybin about the subject matter of his work, connections between digital and analog art, and the future of NFTs. His work is available on KnownOrigin.

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Affective Anachronisms, Fateful Becomings

Otaku Movement and the Joan of Arc Effect in Type-Moon's Transhistorical Anime Ecology

David John Boyd

Abstract

This article examines the temporal and phenomenological philosophies of Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, and Paolo Virno, specifically in relation to the transmedia franchises of the Japanese game studio, Type-Moon. Against linear, national, and majoritarian grand narratives of the historical, the otaku artists, writers, and developers responsible for the Fate series postulate whether it is possible to harness the intense and affective forces described by Jay Lampert as “the Joan of Arc effect” in the blink of an eye or in the palm of your hand. Through a philosophical and formal analysis of three spinoff series from the Fate franchise, this article investigates how Type-Moon's deployment of the “anime machine” encourages its viewers and users to see and feel the abundance of flowing “nomadic memories” or counter-historical visions from the perspective of minor populations. Through this highly embodied and tactile experience of transhistorical (un)becomings, Type-Moon's series offer a deterritorialized, post-national world-image of the otaku database which mediates between the overloading affects of becoming-woman and the digitally encoded logic of transversal through the frames, windows, interfaces, devices, platforms, and bodies that constitute Type-Moon's vibrant anime ecology.

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Alexa, Affect, and the Algorithmic Imaginary

Addressing Privacy and Security Concerns Through Emotional Advertising

Linda Kopitz

Abstract

As millions of customers across the world invite digital voice assistants into their homes, the public debate has increasingly centered on security and privacy concerns connected to the use of the device. Drawing on Tania Bucher's work at the intersection between technology and everyday experience, this article proposes an understanding of an algorithmic imaginary of Alexa-enabled devices as explicitly nonthreatening in its ordinariness, positive potential, and gendered presence. As a case study, this article uses commercials for Alexa-enabled devices as a starting point: Instead of foregrounding the functionality and thereby the algorithmic intelligence underlying the voice assistant, these commercials focus on an affective potential as a narrative strategy to address privacy and security concerns. By connecting everyday interactions with emotional and empowering narratives, the way Alexa is portrayed as an embodied object functions as a balance to the equally public and publicized understanding of digital voice assistants as threats.