Gendering the Boy Scouts: Examining Hegemonic Masculinity at a Co-Ed Backpacking Camp

Samantha Pentecost

Abstract


Masculinity has been studied in various outdoor settings, including the industries of ecotourism, outdoor education, and forestry. However, few studies have examined how physical space contributes to the construction of hegemonic masculinity in organizations associated with nature and the outdoors. This study relies on nine in-depth interviews conducted with outdoor educators and sixteen hours of ethnographic research completed at Mountain View Scout Camp, a backpacking program for youth operated by the Boy Scouts of America. Findings indicate that Mountain View is gendered both through its organizational aesthetics, which valorize a hegemonically masculine ideal, and via sta members’ conception of nature as feminine and forestry work and tools as masculine. Results also suggest that men employed at Mountain View will occasionally embody a hybrid masculine gender performance by utilizing non-hegemonic traits of masculinity such as pro-feminist ideas. However, these episodic masculine performances also serve to subtly reproduce gender inequalities by accepting only a speci c type of woman and rewarding men for super cial allyship.


Keywords


hegemonic masculinity; hybrid masculinity; organizational aesthetics; forestry; outdoor education

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.15273/jue.v10i2.10350

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The JUE is a peer-reviewed online journal that publishes original ethnographic research by undergraduates working in a variety of disciplines. Submissions are welcomed. Contact the Editor, Martha Radice.

ISSN 2369-8721