New to Berghahn Journals in 2020: The Journal of Bodies, Sexualities, and Masculinities
Re-Theorising Contemporary Tomboyism in the Schizoid Space of Innocent/Heterosexualized Young Femininities
This article critically explores the seduction of contemporary tomboyism for young tweenage girls within neo-liberal postfeminist times and an increasingly commodified (hetero)sexualised girlhood culture. A central aim of the article is to contextualize the persistence of the tomboy discourse and girls' appropriation of tomboyism within competing schizoid discourses of presumed innocence and compulsory normative (hetero)sexuality. Drawing on past and current predominantly UK based ethnographic research mapping girls' relationship to tomboyism, the first half of the article considers how to theorise girls' fluid appropriation of 'being a bit tomboy' within a discursive terrain of multiple femininities and fashion feminism. The second half of the article revisits a case study of one eleven-year-old self-identified tomboy, Eric/a, to re-think conceptualisations of girls' sustained appropriation of 'tomboy' as more than some licensed mimicry of masculinity when it is taken-up as a performative politics of subverting emphasized (hetero)sexualized femininities. The article concludes with a call for future theorizations of girlhood (for example, tomboyism) that foreground the intersection of gender, sex, sexuality, age and time and their socio-cultural and contextual contingency.
Anti-corporate, Anti-militarist and Martyrdom Masculinities
Manal Hamzeh and Heather Sykes
This article examines the masculinities of Ultras football fans during and after the January 25th Egyptian revolution, within the interlocking systems of power of neoliberalism, militarism and Islamism. The Ultras' anti-corporate masculinities were strengthened through protests against satellite TV and the Egyptian Football Association, while they also developed anti-militarist masculinities as they protested business elites, Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and Central Security Forces. The Ultras developed martyrdom masculinities due to their shock over the Port Said stadium massacre and subsequent retribution protests. The Ultras may be reiterating hegemonic masculinities operating within the same patriarchal logic of the three regimes. Their grief and shock may be limiting their self-reflexivity and capacity to build coalitions.
The Critical Role of Schools in Boys' Emotional Development
Michael Reichert, Joseph Nelson, Janet Heed, Roland Yang and Wyatt Benson
Restrictions on boys’ capacities to process and to show emotion, however detrimental for their development, constitutes a key lesson of the masculinity curriculum learned in schools. To explore what schools can do to offer support for boys’ resistance to this curriculum, a series of studies has been conducted at a suburban independent school outside Philadelphia, PA. The present study uses a mixed-method design, including teachers, university-based researchers and students on the research team, to examine how boys’ participation in a peer counseling program influenced their sense of self and self-expression. A survey, focus groups, interviews, and observations supported the usefulness of the intervention for boys. The following qualitative themes emerged: (1) The constraining effect of the school’s masculinity culture on boys’ emotional development; (2) the value of a “safe space” in overcoming this culture and in promoting boys’ learning and connection; (3) boys’ ready development of new skills, especially in relation to emotional experiences, when invited to do so; (4) the deepening and broadening of boys’ friendships resulting from their self-disclosure and mutual support.
Theorizing Boys’ Literacies and Boys’ Literatures in Contemporary Times
Garth Stahl and Cynthia Brock
This special issue of Boyhood Studies, entitled “Contemporary Boys’ Literacies and Boys’ Literatures,” is composed of international cutting-edge research focused on boys’ formal and informal literacy practices, boys’ engagements with a variety of texts, as well as gender-focused/gender-critical teaching practices in the literacy classroom. The articles interrogate how boys are positioned and how they position themselves within their acquisition of literacy skills. The research presented highlights the diversity and complexity of boys’ literacy practices. The scholars contend that how we define literacy is undergoing change alongside significant alterations to traditional cultural practices associated with boyhood. We see attention drawn to how these literacy practices operate in relation to the formation of boys’ masculinities in terms of how they do boyhood in contemporary times.
Postwar reconciliation and the gender of inter-national encounters
This article confronts the grammar of liberal reconciliation discourses with the gendered practices of post-war encounters. After violence that is considered national, meetings between people of different nationalities, and the reconciliation of which they are seen to be a vanguard, tend to be considered as morally good in and of themselves. This article subjects such liberal reconciliation discourse to a double ethnographic intervention: first, by privileging the practice of non-elite inter-national encounters over abstract notions of reconciliation, and, second, by tracing the particular gendered subject positions of sameness that shaped and were shaped by such encounters. The article explores how, after the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, men who met across former frontlines evoked “normal life” through mutual recognition of performative competence of motifs of hegemonizing masculinities.
Boys, Masculinity and Historical Memory in War Comics 1945–1995
This article maintains that as a genre war comics are a valuable and neglected source for understanding constructions of ideal masculinity in the post-war West. While its main focus is the depiction of heroic manliness in one of the most commercially successful American war comics, G.I. Joe, comparisons are made with Britain’s Commando Comics and the German pictorial war magazine Landser, which concentrated mainly on the Second World War and also enjoyed wide popularity. The article suggests that while mainly addressing an adolescent readership, over time these comics came to direct their political and moral messages not only to boys but also to increasing numbers of older men who had started reading these comics when they were boys themselves. In particular, it argues that war comics strategically deployed notions of “boyishness” in their story lines, exploiting both the negative and positive connotations of the word to make readers question the egotism and immorality of contemporary society.
Three Fandom Autoethnographies
Tamar Rapoport and Efrat Noy
This article advocates autoethnography as a critical feminist methodology for using personal testimony to investigate women’s experience and performance of fandom The article’s centerpiece is an analysis of the personal testimonies of three women—researcher-fans of different ages—of a fan-owned club Hapoel Katamon Jerusalem. In addition to revealing women’s gendered-based experiences and the different ways in which women acquire and perform fandom, their personal stories prove valuable for exposing the gendered regime of the football field. Moreover, they reveal how women who are not fluent in the hegemonic language of fandom make their way in the fandom field as they seek their own voice and position in it. The analysis suggests that women’s participation can disrupt the hegemonic masculinity of fandom and challenge its established boundaries, thereby problematizing accepted definitions of the authentic fan.
An Essay Exploring Dominant Values and Representations of the Driver in Driverless Technology
This article presents two representations of masculinity based on media images found in television and online promotion related to motor vehicles. The dominant image in much advertising is the bursting, thrusting power of what I refer to as “combustion” masculinity, identified as active engagement and connected with significant road trauma. The less visible, fluid power found in professional driving that I refer to as “hydraulic” masculinity draws on precision and awareness of the surroundings rather than aggressive force. Social analysis of electric and driverless vehicle promotion and media discussion indicate that moving to electric and fully automated driving requires overcoming the essential contradiction of combustion power, as it is associated with cars and freedom. Alternative modes and images of being mobile must be highlighted in order to challenge the combustion image. Fundamentally, activity should be ascribed to all mobile persons, and policy and mobility systems should be designed to maximize mobility for all.
Linguistic Anthropological Notes
Diederik F. Janssen
This article proposes a linguistic anthropological approach to the notion BOY, drawing attention to diverse research methods including etymology, onomasiology, corpus analysis, semantics, discourse analysis, sociolinguistics, and comparative ethnolinguistics. As a popular and flexible lexical device, BOY may function as an operator on the received nature of manhood (by rendering it contingent on the discourse and narrative of development), but also as a possible aid in its ever-imminent bankruptcy by disengaging its stylistics from essentialist understandings of both gender and life phase. BOY, thus, lies at the heart of discussions about masculinity as it relates to performativity, language, and discourse, but, in important ways, it also exceeds and contests the confinements of gender/masculinity research.