Heteronormativity and Developing Masculinities at a Primary School in South Africa

Keywords: heteronormativity; homosocial; masculinities; South Africa; boys

Abstract

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.

Author Biography

Luckmore Chimanzi, University of Pretoria

Department of Sociology

PhD student

Published
2019-12-31
How to Cite
Chimanzi, L. (2019). Heteronormativity and Developing Masculinities at a Primary School in South Africa. Gender Questions, 7(1), 18 pages. https://doi.org/10.25159/2412-8457/3750
Section
Articles