Heteronormativity and Developing Masculinities at a Primary School in South Africa
This article explores the development of heteronormativity and the construction of masculinities at a township primary school in South Africa. In this study, boys and girls chastise homosexuality yet maintain their male-to-male and female-to-female social bonds. Homosocial or male-to-male social bonds have a bearing on the construction of male identity. It is argued that homosocial relationships serve as a means through which certain boys negotiate and exhibit their masculinity in a process of identity formation in which heterosexuality is a key component. Qualitative data from focus groups and diary research with Grade 7 students (male and female) in a primary school are used. Boys engage in a number of games and acquire resources for themselves; hence, as a social unit, they portray themselves as heteronormative. Their solidarity plays a role in maintaining their power in relationships even though privately some of them expressed preference for more flexible constructions of masculinity.