Edited By Elizabeth J. Meyer and Dennis Carlson
8. Becoming a Responsible Boy: Contesting Masculinity in Rural Zimbabwe
Becoming a Responsible Boy
Contesting Masculinity in Rural Zimbabwe
Gender issues in Zimbabwe have been predominantly construed as girl issues, particularly in the education sector. Boys and issues of masculinity are viewed as the cause of gender inequality. Often, this results in an early closure of how masculinities are constructed. Consequently, boys are excluded from programs that are designed to bring about gender equality.
This chapter examines how hegemonic, patriarchal ideas of masculinity are challenged by young, rural, high school boys in a context that is impacted by forces of colonization, rurality, and globalization in Zimbabwe. Drawing on the concept of multiple masculinities (Connell, 1995, 2009) and also theories about globalization, this chapter provides insights into the specific conditions of postcoloniality in Zimbabwe under which rural, high school boys come to understand and to constitute themselves in ways that are often overshadowed in current debates and discussions about gender equity in the Global South.
The chapter concludes by arguing that responsibility is central to boys’ understanding and practice of masculinity, contrary to dominant public discourse about gender inequity in Zimbabwe. In a way, the chapter provides an entry point for educators committed to building a deeper understanding of and knowledge about masculinities as a basis for working with students to bring about gender justice in schools outside of neocolonial and the familiar recuperative masculinity frames of reference.
As a principal for eight...
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