This piece explores the background to writing Sartre, Self-Formation and Masculinities and explains the theoretical tools used in the book before examining some of the issues raised by Bergoffen and Flynn in their critical review-articles and responding to these. It provides a more fully fledged account of Sartre's relationship with psychoanalysis and states how the book combines psychology and biography through a masculinity-aware lens. Both commentators stimulate interesting insights into my own essay, and open up new avenues which I sketch out. The piece ends with a defence of the controversial question of Sartre changing towards the end of his life.
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.
Music, Victorian Masculinity and Dante Gabriel Rossetti
The masculinity of the Victorian painter-poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882) has always been a subject of intense interest for scholars of nineteenth-century British literature and art history. The question ‘how manly was Rossetti?’ resurfaces every so often, and answers have always been varied. Jay D. Sloan’s ‘Attempting “Spheral Change”: D.G. Rossetti, Victorian Masculinity and the Failure of Passion’ (2004) positions Rossetti as a nonconformist, a man who rejected gender norms and sought to express his manhood through a rhetoric of passion. Sloan’s argument provides a neat contrast to one provided by Herbert Sussman in Victorian Masculinities: Manhood and Masculine Poetics in Early Victorian Literature and Art (1995), in which Sussman argues that Rossetti crafted a ‘Bohemian’ model of manhood that, despite its veneer of otherness, allowed room for ‘masculine’ expressions of a normative nature.
Performing Gender in Algerian Manga
This article explores the way in which masculinity and femininity are constructed in Algerian manga, an emerging, understudied sub-genre within the field of Algerian graphic art. Through the exploration of youth-oriented publications of shōjo and shōnen manga, I will demonstrate how these new local works offer a privileged form of expression for and platform to address disaffected Algerian youths. The primary focus of this investigation will be the differences (or lack thereof) between ideals of gender performances as expressed in Algerian manga and ideals of gender identity in society at large. This article will demonstrate that, while some differences manifest a desire for change on the part of both artists and readers, they certainly do not constitute radical revisions of the popular Algerian notions of masculinity and femininity. Ultimately, this study will demonstrate the limits of manga as an imported genre within an Arab-Islamic context, oscillating between the promulgation of alternative social ideals and the reinforcement of social norms.
Pamela Bettis and Brandon Sternod
Scholars claim that the six films comprising the Star Wars epic are the United States’ most important modern myth. The films have meaning for contemporary lives and serve as reflections of the fears, anxieties, and hopes surrounding what many perceive to be a crisis of masculinity manifested in the current boy crisis. This article describes how the films explore possibilities for a different kind of boyhood and how they contribute to understanding competing explanations for the boy crisis.
This article explores the existential status of ten to fourteen year old boys through a full time, research council funded study of young masculinity and voice. Drawing on the ideas of writers who have suggested this period can be a melancholic one, the article interprets qualitative data derived from boy singers and “peer audience” groups in schools. It is found that the voice does contribute to existential difficulties for boys concerned as much about being “not child” as “not girl” but unable to attain adult masculinity. The period is one of great cultural difficulty for young males and many avoid the issues. Yet the boys who enjoyed using their voices were the less prone to melancholia.
Jennifer Anne Boittin, Christina Firpo and Emily Musil Church
This article looks at French Indochina, metropolitan France, and French West Africa from 1914 through 1946 to illustrate specific ways in which French colonial authority operated across the French empire. We look at how colonized people challenged the complex formal and informal hierarchies of race, class, and gender that French administrators and colonizers sought to impose upon them. We argue that both the French imperial prerogatives and colonized peoples' responses to them are revealed through directly comparing and contrasting various locales across the empire. Our case studies explore interracial families and single white women seeking compensation from the French in Indochina, black men de ning their masculinity, and Africans debating women's suffrage rights.
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 American Melodrama and the Crisis of Queer Juvenility
This essay analyzes the cinematic genre convention of the “sensation scene” as a vehicle for the representation of queer crises in American juvenility during the postwar era. Through popular cinema, post-WWII America organized and communicated concerns about the production of “fit” masculine and heterosexual juveniles who would be capable of carrying out the postwar expansion of American democratic and capitalist ideologies. The sensation scene was deployed by popular films to mark queer and racialized masculinities in an aesthetic system that mirrored institutional efforts to prevent “unfit” juveniles from accessing the benefits of full social and political participation. Today, the genre device continues to structure popular film representations of and common thinking about the relative value of young, male American lives.
James Franco's Psychosexual Artistic Explorations of Boyhood
In 2010, James Franco debuted his exhibition “The Dangerous Book Four Boys” at the Clocktower Gallery. He appropriated his title from the Igguldens’ guidebook The Dangerous Book for Boys (2006). This paper explores Franco’s representation of boyhood, focusing on his anxiety over traditional gender roles. Dangerous depicts boyhood as a homosocial and homoerotic realm in which women are both envied and elided. Franco’s vision of boyhood is premised upon a longing for both domestic structures and practices. The exhibit is organized around several small rough-hewn wooden structures resembling small houses. Inside the constructions, the films Destroy House and Castle depict young men destroying identical domiciles with axes, shotguns and blowtorches. Ironically, these violent depictions are safely contained within intact replicas of the very structures being destroyed in the films. These constructions are emblematic of Franco’s fraught relationship to masculinity, stereotypical gender roles and domesticity.