Don't let the bastards see you sweat: Masculinity, public and private space, and the volunteer firehouse

Careen Mackay Yarnal, Lorraine Dowler, Susan Hutchinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this paper we examine the ways that traditional definitions of masculinity are challenged within the domestic space of the volunteer firehouse. Our aim is to blur the dichotomies of public-private, masculine - feminine, heroic-weak, and moral-immoral. By examining practices associated with being a volunteer firefighter we present deeper and expanded notions of what it means to be a man in this context. Volunteer firefighters create a private space within the firehouse that offers escape from the public demands of masculinity. It is within this space that they can receive and give comfort and experience bonding, friendship, and a deep sense of belonging by embracing emotions normally off limits to men, including self-disclosure, familiarity, and affection. Although acknowledging the masculine hegemony that constructs men's involvement in firefighting and the firehouse, we also highlight the emotional work done by men as they engage in their public and private firefighting roles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)685-699
Number of pages15
JournalEnvironment and Planning A
Volume36
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)

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