This study explores the part played by the Boy Scouts of America, from 1900 to 1940, in the campaign to protect middle-class boys from feminine influences implicated in the "boy problem." At the turn of the twentieth century, a wave of fixation on male identity swept over the middle-class, due to social and cultural changes brought on by the processes of industrialization, and the women's movement. At the same time, juvenile delinquency was on the rise in the cities, as more parents spent their days in offices and factories. As it was defined, the "boy problem" refers to "gang" activity characterized by loitering, mischief-making, minor crimes, and generally poor manners. A growing group of professional child experts used the "boy problem" rampant in the cities as a cautionary tale for middle-class parents. In addition, these experts argued that the cause of the "boy problem" was the almost exclusive access women had to boys in this era. The Boy Scout organization capitalized on the anxiety related to feminine influence, masculine identity, the growing "boy problem," and the middle-class consumer culture to market masculinity through art and literature. The result is the most enduring boys' organization in history.
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 49/04M, Masters Abstracts International|
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