Negotiating identities: Being “Boy”, being “Filipino”, being “Other”

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In this article I explore the nuanced performances of masculinity enacted by a 14-year-old boy named “Tom.” Tom, a boy of Filipino descent, complicated much of what was the case with other (non-Filipino) young male participants in my study when it came to masculinity. Rather than simply (re) producing hegemonic masculinity, I show in this article how Tom played with his masculinity and countered potential accusations of homosexuality through acts of self-exoticization and self-feminization (removing others’ power to do so). I explore the role that Tom’s Filipino heritage and London background plays in his performance of masculinity, arguing that in the overwhelmingly white context of Norfolk (UK), it serves to anchor his hegemonic masculinity through connotations of “toughness” and “urbanness.” It is therefore in Tom’s emphasis of his diasporic “Otherness” that his gender transgressions can be consolidated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23–42
Number of pages20
JournalBoyhood Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


  • Filipino
  • diaspora
  • race
  • masculinity
  • boyhood
  • gender

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