DC Super Hero Girls (DCSHG) is a trans-media franchise that includes not just screen media texts but a wide array of themed merchandise aimed at a multi-generational market. I argue here that key components of the franchise present a queered version of girlhood that critiques femininity as a gender role while presenting femaleness as encompassing a variety of signifiers, acts, and presentations that can be read as queer (particularly by the so-called big girls in the audience). This is evident in the representation of queer relationships that exist in the sexualized zone of the canonical material, allowing the DCSHG characters to inhabit a liminal proto-queer space between homosocial/gender non-conforming and lesbian that is considered more appropriate for young girls. I examine the way in which the DC Super Hero Girls franchise rejects and reforms familiar elements of comics, super heroism, and princess culture to create that space for girls.
Super Hero Girls Together
Lucy I. Baker
Fainting, Homosociality, and Elite Male Culture in Middle English Romance
Rachel E. Moss
and to promote homosocial bonding. Mador does not faint in spite of his knightly qualities of hardiness, strength, and prowess: he faints because of them, and his swooning is literary shorthand for the nobility this fast-paced poem does not have the
A Study of Inclusive Masculinities among High School Cross-Country Runners
Luis Morales and Edward Caffyn-Parsons
, middle-class, cross-country team from a traditionally conservative county. We find that the participants display consistent gay-friendly attitudes and varying homosocial behaviors including holding hands, hugging, cuddling, and emotional disclosure. By
Subversive Virtual Fraternity in the Israeli Men's Magazine Blazer
Steven Fraiberg and Danny Kaplan
This article examines the reconstruction of a virtual Israeli male fraternity in Israel's only men's lifestyle magazine, Blazer. Modeled after the global 'new lad' magazine format, the Blazer text engages its readers by forging a homosocial joking relationship. Focusing on a satire dedicated to Israel's Independence Day, this study delineates a series of parodic discursive practices employed by the narrators to deconstruct and appropriate traditional Zionist myths on which Israel was founded. The Blazer text thus mobilizes a key cultural trope known as the anti-freier frame (to avoid being a 'sucker'), implemented as a set of manipulations to outsmart the system. The Blazer text rearticulates the relationship between self and society based on a local version of the 'yuppie' value system. We argue that while this frame appears to reject collectivist values, it serves as a critical lens for connecting yuppie masculinity with its Sabra predecessor, thereby consolidating a modified form of national solidarity.
Erica L. Fraser
With the onset of the Cold War and a new nuclear world order, Soviet physicists found themselves at the nexus of scientific research and weapons development. This article investigates the subjectivity of these physicists as an issue of masculinity. Influenced by Connell's models of subordinated, complicit, and hegemonic masculinity, the article finds that the stories nuclear physicists tell about their research in the 1950s are inconsistent and shifting, with the narrators simultaneously remembering unfreedom and privilege. They tell of being conscripted to military work against their will but then enjoying (and deserving) the resulting power, all while maintaining strong homosocial networks in the laboratory predicated on excluding women. Evidence from personal narratives provides unique insight into these multiple masculinities and the way the authors position themselves as (masculinized) Cold War subjects.
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.
The Homoerotics of Male Nursing in Dickens's Fiction
Eve Sedgwick's Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire (1985) has had a hugely enabling impact on gay, lesbian and queer studies, and its two chapters on Dickens do the initially useful work of recognising the existence of alternative sexualities within his work. Yet, Sedgwick insists that Dickens always offers such representations from an inherently homophobic perspective. Though recognising a debt to Sedgwick, this article is strongly committed to demonstrating the fallacy of her influential paradigm that the homoerotic emerges most strongly in Dickens's work through violence. Sedgwickian readings privilege the cultural currency of sexual violence, built up through contemporary modes such as flagellatory pornography. However, other, gentler ways of touching also had highly erotic connotations during the period of Dickens's career. This paper focuses on the Victorian sexualisation of nursing, arguing that Dickens deploys the eroticising of nurse/patient roles in Martin Chuzzlewit and Great Expectations to develop more affirmative, tender strategies for articulating desire between men.
Youth Masculinity and Postfeminism in Contemporary Hollywood, an Analysis of Superbad
Victoria Cann and Erica Horton
This article explores the representation of youth masculinity in contemporary Hollywood comedy. By focusing on the intersection of gender and generation, it emphasizes the importance of relationality in a consideration of representations of boyhood. Using Superbad as a case study, this article reveals the nuanced ways in which the crisis of masculinity is represented in popular culture in a postfeminist context. Foregrounding issues of homosociality in coming-of-age narratives, it emphasizes the tensions between generational expectations and performances of gender. Themes of loss and nostalgia are explored through analysis of the juxtaposition of adult and adolescent male characters in Superbad, providing insight into and understanding of the complexities of boyhood. Superbad is contextualized in relation to teen comedy more broadly, highlighting the important cultural space that contemporary Hollywood comedies play in (re)constructing discourses of masculinity.
'Sportsex' in Victorian Britain
Thomas Hughes's idealised vision of life at Rugby public school is one of the best-known novels in the English language. It was regarded from the outset as a founding text of 'muscular Christianity'. Contrary to the intentions of its author, it helped to inaugurate the cult of 'manly' athleticism that swept through the English public schools in the second half of the nineteenth-century. I argue that the novel reveals tensions around gender and sexuality that were in play among public schoolboys during the second half of the nineteenth century. These tensions exploded into full public view in the trial of Oscar Wilde in 1895 and were instrumental in helping to establish a structure of homophobia within homosocial settings that has lasted through to the present day.
Some Research Perspectives
Adam White and Stefan Robinson
Sport has traditionally been tasked with the social function of developing masculinity among boys and men in Western society ( Connell 2008 ; Mangan 2000 ). Through its homosocial and hypermasculine structure, sport was useful for the construction