Lecture- October 22, 2013
(Fe)Male Bodies and Masculinities
Refers to male bodies
Not determined by male biology (i.e. .having a penis)
Culturally constructed- not something that is innate
o Being “ideal” man varies by class, race, historical time period, events of the time
Masculinity defined in relation to femininity
o Opposite of vs. like/similar to
o Polar opposite of femininity? Maybe on a scale?
What qualities/traits/characteristics do you consider masculine?
Tall and big
Masculinity does not adhere to male body
Otherwise, all acts performed would be masculine
Can women have masculine qualities?
Can men have feminine qualities?
Does it change who they are?
Prominent scholar on gender and masculinity
Argues masculinity exaggerates difference (race, class, sexuality)
o Performance of masculinity (especially in hegemonic form) establishes absolute
difference (ie. Opposite from female)
Fear of other men: homophobia and hegemonic masculinity
o Men fearing other men
o “troubling masculinity”- use of slurs such as “gay” and “fag”
Fear and shame to be different
o Forces people to be alike
o Difference used to set up systems of oppression
o What are the costs of this?
o Crisis of masculinity-
Raewynn Connell (is a trans-woman; born Robert William Connell)
“masculinities are configurations of practice within gender relations, a structure that includes
large-scale institutions and economic relations as well as face-to-face relationship and sexuality.
Masculinity is institutionalized in this structure, as well as being an aspect of individual character
and personality” Masculinity not constructed in relation to women and femininity but actually constructed in
relation to other men
o Particularly at intersections of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc.
The dominant form of masculinity in Western society
White, heterosexual, middle class, able-bodied
o Emotional reserve, physically active/strong
Embodies absolute opposite of female/feminine
o Masculinity shaped by institutions such as the state, education, religion, family
o Male power in institutionalized in social structures
o Ideologies that support the gender order in favour of men
o Hegemony does not equal dominance (pervasive ideology)
The ideology of this is powerful
Investments in maintaining imbalance of power and privilege
Not all men benefit equally
Men’s movement (starting in 90s)
o Responses or anticipations of crisis of masculinity
Robert Bly, Iron John: A book about men (1990)
Mythopoetic men’s movement
o Modernization has feminized men
o Homosociality and imagined tribe
Men who cannot be that ultimate “masculine man” but is approving of qualities of hegemonic