Twentieth-century English boys’ annuals often defined masculinity against notions of the “otherness” of gender, race and class. The children’s annual, which developed as a popular literary form during the Victorian period, was designed to instruct and entertain. Dominant ideologies about gender, race and class were reproduced and reinforced for an uncritical readership. High production values meant that annuals became a form of “hard copy,” re-read by several generations. In boys’ annuals, mid-Victorian styles of masculinity were reiterated during the twentieth century. In these narratives, boy heroes demonstrated superiority to various groups of “others,” thereby modelling and inscribing an increasingly old-fashioned masculinity and preserving older ideologies. Exploring a neglected area of ideological history of gender, this article shows how boys’ annuals presented readers with notions of “masculinity” defined by comparison with “the other,” who might be indigenous, feminine or lower-class.
Representations of Ideal Manliness in Twentieth-Century English Boys’ Annuals
In 1988, Michelle Fine explored the ways in which damaging patriarchal discourses about sexuality affect adolescent girls, and hinder their development of sexual desire, subjectivities, and responsibility. In this article, I emphasize the durability and pliability of those discourses three decades later. While they have endured, they shift depending on context and the intersections of girls’ race, class, and gender identities. Calling on ethnographic research, I analyze the intersectional nuances in these sexual lessons for Latina girls in one (New) Latinx Diaspora town.
Analyses of Girls' Use of Violence
Girls who use violence are marginalized as the worst of the mean girls, disrupting conventional femininity codes and causing panic in the streets. Twenty two girls participated in a qualitative study in Nova Scotia about what it means to be a girl and use violence. Interpretations presented here suggest that their reasoning can be contextualized through an analysis of neoliberalism, racism, heterosexism and classism, as they navigate discourses of choice and experiences of constraint.
The present article discusses the importance of age in the construction of masculinities during the Hellenistic period. Focusing on the comedies of Menander, it aims to show how not only chronological or physical age, but also mental age, that is, maturity, modifies different concepts of masculinity, especially “ideal masculinity.” Other important factors in the construction of gender such as social and economic standing, class and education are also discussed. The relationship between fathers and sons is of particular interest and importance as it exemplifies how the masculinities represented in Menander were dynamic, not only developing but also changing between groups of different age and social importance.
Carrie A. Rentschler and Claudia Mitchell
Girlhood Studies scholars respond to an overwhelming portrayal of girls as either bad or needing rescue in, for example, mainstream films on mean girls, popular psychology texts on primarily light-skinned middle class girls’ plummeting self-esteem, and media panics about teen girl sexting. According to Sharon Mazzarella and Norma Pecora, “In response to public anxiety and cultural fascination,” in “academic studies of girls…the emphasis has shifted slightly so that the discourse is no longer linked primarily to crisis” (2007: 105). Still, in popular and policy discourse today, girls are often unfairly and inaccurately cast as either super agents or failing subjects.
Evoking Girlhood Self-Images Through Photographic Self-Study
Rosalind Hampton and Rachel Desjourdy
Photographic self-study can promote professional growth and deepen analysis of how girlhood experiences such as those related to ability, class, gender, and race are conditioned by and inform our multiple, shifting identities as women. This article presents excerpts from three women's experiences of photographic self-study, highlighting the possibilities of this method as a malleable, feminist approach to critical reflexive practice. Our stories demonstrate how a creative process of self-interpretation, self-representation, and self-knowing can draw oppressive categories of self-identification-carried from girlhood-to the surface and expose them to critique and deconstruction.
The Impact of Exclusionary Practices on the School Lives of African-American Males
This article focuses on findings from a subgroup of African-American male students as part of a broader qualitative dissertation research study, which explored how exclusion and marginalization in schools impact the lives of African-American students. The study focused on the perspectives of youth attending both middle and high schools in Michigan, and investigated how students who have experienced forms of exclusion in their K–12 schooling viewed their educational experiences. Key themes that emerged from the study were lack of care, lack of belonging, disrupted education, debilitating discipline, and persistence and resilience. These themes were analyzed in relation to their intersectionality with culture, ethnicity, race, class, and gender.
Theoretical Reflections and the Case of Early School Leaving
Elli Scambor and Victor Seidler
The paper discusses the phenomenon of the “boy crisis” in education by following trajectories which seek to describe the situation of boys at school in different countries across Europe in its complexity. The current study of the Role of Men in Gender Equality (Scambor, Wojnicka & Bergmann, eds., 2012) offers an international comparison of the situation of boys and outlines major trends related to gender disparities in education across Europe. An in-depth analysis of male early school leavers leads to a deeper understanding of boys and men as heterogeneous social groups. Relations between so called “costs” and “privileges” in education show considerable varieties due to differences between boys, with educational careers being strongly influenced by social class, “race,” and ethnicities as well as migration backgrounds.
Boys, Girls and the "Boy Crisis" in Preschool
Sally Campbell Galman and Christine A. Mallozzi
This paper employs data from from a multi-year, ethnographic study of children in a diverse public preschool to destabilize some of the claims of the “boy crisis” literature (Hoff-Somers, 2000). Focusing on fine-grained analyses of events in the study context, the authors illustrate the complexity of everyday interactions between female teachers and the male and female preschoolers in their classes, as well as between the male and female preschoolers themselves. These analyses suggest that a preschool environment where all teachers are female is as patriarchally and hegemonically saturated as any other context, as both boys and girls (and teachers) are subject to, and invariably take up, powerful cultural scripts reflected in children’s and other media in the larger cultural milieu. Further, we emphasize that preschool—arguably among the most “feminized” school environments—is more complex than “boy crisis” proponents present.
Dafna Lemish and Shiri Reznik
This study explores gender differences in the roles of humor in the lives of Israeli children. Thirty-four Jewish middle-class Israeli children, sixteen girls and eighteen boys, aged between eight to ten years, were interviewed in focus groups in which they discussed a variety of humorous video segments, jokes, and everyday humor. The analysis suggests that humor in interaction is a highly gendered process in this age group and is employed differently by boys and girls to perform their gendered identities. Girls engaged much less in sexist and aggressive humor and clearly used it to maintain their separateness from boys and younger children. We conclude that humor provides us with another avenue through which to unveil the complicated processes of gender construction in pre-adolescent childhood, while demonstrating at the same time the ambivalence and complexity involved in these processes.