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
Some Research Perspectives
Adam White and Stefan Robinson
A Degendered or Resegregated Future System of Automobility?
Dag Balkmar and Ulf Mellström
of motor vehicles more generally has historically been related to masculinity through associations with wild, untamable animals (i.e., anthropomorphization), as well as through the car’s associations with power, speed, driving pleasure, and technical
Adolescent African American Boys' Response to Gender Scripting
Lionel C. Howard
This article focuses on the ways in which a select group of adolescent African American males respond to gender scripts. Drawing on interview and focus group data, the article describes four different responses to messages they receive from peers and significant adults about socio-culturally appropriate behaviors and characteristics of masculinity: 1) adapting or modifying their presentations of self, 2) internalizing ascribed gender scripts, 3) resisting, and 4) remaining conflicted about an appropriate response. Narratives highlight the complexity of gender identity development and active participation of African American boys in the construction of a masculine identity that feels most authentic, as well as the role of agents of socialization on identity.
Charles Dickens’s examinations of sleep, dreaming, and sleep disorders illustrate a complicated negotiation between hegemonic ideals of masculinity that rest on notions of bodily control and mental acuity, but they also present an ambivalent (and sometimes adventurous) position open to expanding the definition of masculinity to include a desire to relinquish mental and physical control. Hegemonic masculine ideals are often in tension with one another, and Dickens explores the specific control–freedom contradiction in personal essays, namely “Night Walks” and “Lying Awake.” While the depiction of the bedroom as a space of male anxiety appears throughout Dickens’s work, he expresses this idea most clearly and directly in the above nonfiction texts. The nonfiction essay, over and against the fictional text, allows Dickens to write about sleep disorders and their relation to male anxiety in more personal and pragmatic terms, and to represent the issue in detail without having to be concerned about plot and characterization.
Guest Editor's Introduction
This introductory article explains the aims of the interdisciplinary conference “Masculinity and the Other” held at Balliol College, Oxford, August 29-30, 2007, at which all of the papers comprising this special issue of Thymos: Journal of Boyhood Studies were first presented. It points out the prominence which the notions of the “boy” and boyhood and the life-cycle enjoyed at the conference and seeks more generally to suggest the benefits a more fully integrated discussion of these topics might bring to the fields of masculinity and gender studies.
Representations of Ideal Manliness in Twentieth-Century English Boys’ Annuals
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.
Dueling in the Greek Capital, 1870–1918
Based on some forty duels that took place in Athens between 1870 and 1918, this article examines the different connotations middle-class dueling assumed in the political culture of the period. Drawing on newspaper articles, monographs, domestic codes of honor, legal texts, and published memoirs of duelists, it reveals the diversified character of male honor as value and emotion. Approaching dueling both as symbol and practice, the article argues that this ritualistic battle was imported to Greece against a background of fin de siècle political instability and passionate calls for territorial expansion and national integration. The duel gradually became a powerful way of influencing public opinion and the field of honor evolved into a theatrical stage for masculinity, emanating a distinct glamor: the glamor of a public figure who was prepared to lay down his life for his principles, his party, the proclamations he endorsed, and his “name.”
In the last decade, Franco-Moroccan directors have begun to explore culturally taboo and unrepresented sexual communities within Morocco. This article examines how two pioneering films, Abdellah Taïa’s Salvation Army and Nabil Ayouch’s Much Loved, contribute to an emerging cultural politics in the Arab-speaking world that is reframing marginalized or invisible sexualities. While these films address issues of sexual tourism, incest, and prostitution, among others, the focus of this article is on the films’ critiques of internalized homophobia, sexual tourism, and the sociopolitical power structures that occlude, marginalize, or shame those males outside of the heterosexual matrix. Analyzing the films’ portrayal of the semiotics of forbidden desire, internalized homophobia, and the circulation and spatialization of queer sexualities in Morocco, this article argues that Salvation Army and Much Loved complicate our understanding of Arab masculinities and add to a growing queer visibility that stretches from the Maghreb to the Gulf.
Adolescent masculinity in the 1980s was marked by the need to distance oneself from the specter of “the fag.” In this homohysteric culture, compulsory heterosexuality and high rates of anti-gay sentiment necessitated that adolescent boys distance themselves from anything associated with femininity. It was this zeitgeist that brought Connell’s hegemonic masculinity theory to the vanguard of masculine studies. However, homohysteria has diminished among adolescents today. Accordingly, in this article, I foreground research extracts from multiple ethnographies on groups of 16-year-old adolescent boys in order to contextualize the repeated and consistent data I find throughout both the United States and the United Kingdom. In explaining how the diminishment of homohysteria promotes a “One-Direction” culture of inclusive and highly feminized masculinities, I suggest that new social theories are required.
Jonathan A. Allan, Chris Haywood and Frank G. Karioris
Men’s prostate orgasms, cuckold culture, breastfeeding fathers, and erectile dysfunction technologies have epithetically signaled how men’s bodies, sexualities, and masculinities have exceeded the gender and sexual order of modernity. A proliferation of practices, discourses, and affects that appear to denaturalize and decenter Western epistemologies of the erotic have generated a number of sociocultural uncertainties around how we understand men and their bodies. Gender and sexual identities that have been veridically located within and on the body are becoming increasingly dispersed. Jeffrey Weeks (2007) suggests that the unifying ideologies about sexuality and gender, promulgated through traditional authorities of the church, the family, and conventional morality, have acted to stabilize the norms and values in place. He suggests that the ideological hold of such authorities has become broken “by decades of challenge and change and eroded by the dissolving powers of global flows, economic modernization, and cultural transformations, as well as by the will for change represented by the everyday choices of countless millions” (2007: 109). The impact of such shifts has been realized in the form of broader social and cultural realization and public reflexiveness about the ontological myths that have pervaded men’s identities and practices. In short, the mimetic connection between men’s bodies, identities, and practices has been fractured, resulting in increasing awareness of the heterogeneity of what it means to be a man. One of the impacts of this development has been attempts to nostalgically re-establish the old ontological certainties about men and reconstruct a truth of gender and sexuality. It is at this moment, in the slipstream of increasing media scrutiny, political concern, and broader social and cultural interrogation about what it means to be a man, that this journal locates itself.