Visions of manhood: Socialization to masculinity and the Boys and Girls Club of America



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The Boys and Girls Club of America has been a staple in many towns, as well as in many children’s lives across in the United States. From the beginning of the organization, its mission has been to provide an alternative environment for child and adolescent alike to engage and learn from one another. This can be seen in the array of programs and activities that are offered to its members, but to what extent do organizations like the Boys and Girls Club of America shape gender development, specifically masculinity. This is a qualitative study that utilizes participant and non-participant observations, informants, and ethnographic style interviews to examine how the Boys and Girls Club of America is a socializing institution that is separate from the schools and family. The data source for this study comes from boys from ages ten to fifteen, who are predominantly African-American and Hispanic, and are members of a local Boys and Girls Club of America.
The objective of this paper is to understand how non-traditional socializing institutions influence gender development, specifically the development of masculinity. There are three key questions that are asked to evaluate this process. First, how do pre and early adolescent boys of color conceptualize their transition into manhood? Second, what role does the Boys and Girls Club of America play in the construction of masculinity? Finally, how does a local definition of hegemonic masculinity create differential outcomes for the boys of the Inspire club?



Socialization, Gender, Masculinity, The Boys and Girls Club of America