11.6.17

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN TRADITIONAL BECOMES TRANSGRESSIVE?

When you deny coherent beliefs of any kind, you get incoherence.  Perhaps in the whacky world of gender studies, that's a feature.  Consider a few recent studies of the phenomenon of hegemonic masculinity, as brought to my attention by the good folks at Real Peer Review.

It's probably no surprise that Boys Life would go on the Index.  There's even a journal, Boyhood Studies (just wait until that seeps into the elementary education curriculum) for people to rack up publications.
Hegemonic masculinity is a fluid concept that varies according to historical period and social and cultural location. While much has been written about hegemonic masculinity as experienced by adult men, research is lacking on hegemonic masculinity in boyhood from an historical perspective. Using a quantitative content analysis of images on the covers of Boy’s Life magazine, this study finds three distinct historically specific images of hegemonic American boyhood masculinity: boys who serve their country as patriotic scouts in uniform; boys who admire celebrities, particularly professional athletes; and a branded boyhood in which boys wear brand name products while engaging in sports activities.
A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, reverent.  Way too bourgeois.  Can't have that.

Then, it's no longer men being banished to the cellar, out of sight of women and children.  Now, those are improper safe spaces.  The rot gets into Communication Studies, oh, wait, that has "Studies," never mind, by way of Television & New Media.
Male exclusive spaces enable and dismiss discussion of misogynist violence, as they did during the 2017 U.S. presidential election. In the decade and a half prior, men-only, homosocial, domestic “man caves” became a cultural trend. Given man caves’ popularity and potential to enable patriarchal oppression, we ask: what do man caves suggest about masculinity’s vitality in an era wherein patriarchy reigns, but challenges to hegemonic masculinity are evident? To answer, we textually analyze Man Caves, DIY (Do-It-Yourself) cable channel’s renovation reality show. From a feminist perspective, we examine how Man Caves constructs “neo-orthodox masculinity,” our term for masculinity that recovers and challenges old forms of masculine capital. Through mutually contradictory themes, Man Caves makes over masculinity in ways that respond to feminism as a movement to end patriarchy. We conclude by considering how feminist anger, hope, and activism may exploit the vulnerabilities that neo-orthodox masculinity highlights.
Neo-orthodox, post-feminist, homosocial. The use of any one of those expressions is cause for ending a date or breaking off a relationship then, there, once and for all.

Maybe, though, there's fratricide in the culture-studies establishment.  There's more to feminist geography than missing matriarchs telling glacier stories; here's Gender, Place & Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography (in case the main title wasn't clue enough that traditional philosophy or sociology might not be welcome.)
This article offers a critique of the concept of hyper-masculinity and a more nuanced, place contingent, critical way to think about masculinity. I use the concept of hyper-masculinity to highlight a conceptual problem between essentialist and de-essentialized notions of gender. Constructionist notions of masculinity (and gender) do not escape the essentialist problem; however, by critiquing and offering a placed conceptualization of hyper-masculinity based on Seattle’s gay leather community, I push the boundaries of masculinity and gender to arrive at a more nuanced, embodied, place-based and contingent understanding of hyper-masculinity thereby side-stepping debates that essentialist/constructionist. Through participant-observations and ethnographic interviews with men who practice hyper-masculinity within the gay leather community in Seattle, USA, I interrogate hyper-masculinity within the community to demonstrate how it reinforces and subverts heterosexual gender roles and homonormativity.
Silly me, here I thought "interrogate" was NKVD envy.  Leathers and whips are involved, but it transpires that it's a play-session in a Seattle flat, not a conveyor in Sukhanovka.

Remind me again, why should normals contribute to higher education's fund raising, let alone encourage their legislatures to appropriate money for their state-supported institutions?

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