All Boys Together: Homing in on Homosociality
Looking at homosocial spaces historically, we see that sexuality (or at least sexual desire) could not always be identified, and in some cases was actively overlooked where it was economically advantageous.
As part of the 2013 ‘Girls & Boys‘ season of public talks at London’s Bishopsgate Institute — a valuable London institution dedicated to community education — I was invited to give a talk on homosociality to a mixed audience that filled the venue’s library. I used the opportunity to look at how homosociality was experienced (or imagined) historically in sports, the military, media and other all-male preserves. The talk also opened up conversation about how homosociality was still used in advertising to sell particular kinds of products, and who was (and was not) included in this kind of advertising and imagery.
The talk was based on the holdings of Lesbian and Gay Newsmedia Archive (LAGNA), held in the Bishopsgate collections. LAGNA also wrote a up a fun tongue-in-cheek blog about the talk.
“All boys together? Nudge nudge. The belief that all male institutions are breeding grounds for homosexuality, has been a constant one. But what does go on behind the doors of the executive boardroom or the communal changing room? Is homosexuality the elephant in the room? The serpent in the grass? Or is it all just homosexual wish fulfilment fantasy?”
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