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Coming of Age as a Villain

What Every Boy Needs to Know in a Misandric World

Paul Nathanson and Katherine K. Young

Once upon a time, coming of age as a man was simple to define. Not necessarily simple to achieve, but simple to define. A man was a male adult—someone whom other male adults had certified in a ritual context, a rite of passage, as qualified to take on responsibilities not only for his own family but also for the larger community or nation.

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Miniature Bride or Little Girl Religious

First Communion Clothing in Post-war Spanish Culture and Society

Jessamy Harvey

The tradition of religious clothing for children is relatively unexplored: this article develops the premise that debates about the links between the sacred and the market go deeper than concern about consumption, and bring to the surface issues of identity. Through exploring the historical development of the First Communion, not as religious ritual but as Catholic consumer culture, the article turns to analyse girls' communicant dress in Spain between the 1940s and 1960s which were the early decades of a dictatorial Regime (1939 to 1975) marked by an ideology of National-Catholicism. General Francisco Franco y Bahamonde, leader of the military rebellion against the elected government in 1936, ruled Spain until his death. One of my aims is to correct a tendency to make the little girl dressed in bridal wear the most visible sign because to do so disregards the cultural practice of wearing clothing to perform piety, signal a vocation or express gratitude for religious intercession.

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Chutes, Not Ladders

The Control and Confinement of Boys of Color through School Discipline

Pavithra Nagarajan

This article explores how a single-sex school for boys of color intentionally and unintentionally (re)defines masculinity through rules and rituals. The school’s mission posits that boys become men through developing three skills: selfregulation, self-awareness, and self-reflection. Drawing from qualitative research data, I examine how disciplinary practices prioritize boys’ ability to control their bodies and image, or “self-regulate.” When boys fail to self-regulate, they enter the punitive system. School staff describe self-regulation as integral to out-of-school success, but these practices may inadvertently reproduce negative labeling and control of black bodies. This article argues for school cultural practices that affirm, rather than deny, the benefits of boyhood.

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Danai S. Mupotsa

Becoming-girl-woman-bride refers to the various positions and transformations of the bride. The girl and the bride as related in becoming-bride are the site of intense sociocultural investment and anxiety played out in the central role the bride takes in the wedding ritual. I draw from autoethnographic material, interviews, and bridal magazines, specifically those in circulation in South Africa that include representations of black women as brides. I conclude this article with an argument about the black femme as a so-called girly line of flight that produces our image of common sense, albeit with a different relation to visibility. Moving from the premise that common sense is overwhelmed by the visual sense, I position the black femme in relation to the image of common sense and I offer a reading of how images produce a range of simultaneous identifications and disidentifications, particularly in relation to the image of the ideal bride.

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Jay Mechling

Despite a nearly two decades’ long war on high school and college hazing, the traditional practice of paddling male pledges on the buttocks persists as a physical and psychological test of worthiness for membership in certain all-male organizations. In its elements of nudity, homoeroticim, and stylized sadomasochism, this ritual condenses a great many of the psychological processes essential to male bonding in groups. An application of Freud’s insights in his 1919 essay, “A Child Is Being Beaten,” to the puzzle of posterior paddling reveals a complex psychological process by which the pledge is feminized by the paddling, represses the feminine part of his self, and is initiated into the status of a brother among other heterosexual males.

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Puerilities/Masculinities

Introducing a Special Issue on Boyish Temporalities

Diederik F. Janssen

Pioneering cultural historian Johan Huizinga’s short chapter on puerilism, featured in his interwar essay In the Shadow of Tomorrow, famously highlighted what he considered the mutual “contamination of play and seriousness in modern life.” “Puerilism we shall call the attitude of a community whose behaviour is more immature than the state of its intellectual and critical faculties would warrant, which instead of making the boy into the man adapts its conduct to that of the adolescent age” (Huizinga, 1935 [1936, p. 170]). The puerilist condition degrades the serious to the superficial, true and ritual play to boundless childishness. It is a dangerous and decadent symptom, a “bastardization of culture,” a semi-seriousness and appetite for the sensational and the trivial appealing to obedient masses and small minds. Modern man becomes a slave to his comforts. “In his world full of wonders man is like a child in a fairy tale. He can travel through the air, speak to another hemisphere, have a continent delivered in his home by radio. He presses a button and life comes to him. Will such a life give him maturity?”

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Michael Atkinson and Michael Kehler

There has been a dramatic rise in public, and particularly the media, attention directed at concerns regarding childhood obesity, and body shape/contents/images more broadly. Yet amidst the torrential call for increased attention on so-called “body epidemics” amongst youth in Canada and elsewhere, links between youth masculinities and bodily health (or simply, appearance) are largely unquestioned. Whilst there is a well-established literature on the relationship between, for example, body image and marginalized femininities, qualitative studies regarding boys and their body images (and how they are influenced within school settings) remain few and far between. In this paper, we offer insight into the dangerous and unsettled spaces of high school locker-rooms and other “gym zones” as contexts in which particular boys face ritual (and indeed, systematic) bullying and humiliation because their bodies (and their male selves) simply do not “measure up.” We draw on education, masculinities, health, and the sociology of bodies literature to examine how masculinity is policed by boys within gym settings as part of formal/informal institutional regimes of biopedagogy. Here, Foucault’s (1967) notion of heterotopia is drawn heavily upon in order to contextualize physical education class as a negotiated and resisted liminal zone for young boys on the fringes of accepted masculinities in school spaces.

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A Call to Action

Creativity and Black Girlhood

Crystal Leigh Endsley

govern the format of SOLHOT meetings to organize her text. The “Acts of Recognition…[acknowledging] who walks with us” (Brown 2013: 64) is a ritual to signal to the participants that their work is sacred and that it moves through and with time during

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Jay Mechling

nudity and sex play among adolescent boys takes place in the play frame (or, occasionally, the ritual frame if couched as an initiation onto the male group) that the participants understand as not meaning what the behavior would mean in another frame

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Becoming a Gentleman

Adolescence, Chivalry, and Turn-of-the-Century Youth Movements

Kent Baxter

adolescence, one of the motifs Keen identifies with the early strands of medieval chivalry is the coming-of-age ritual: “Delivery of arms,” Keen notes, “which is what dubbing seems originally to mean, is commonly associated, in the early ‘pre-chivalric’ texts