WGS350H1 Lecture Notes - Hegemonic Masculinity, Masculinity, Femininity
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Lecture 3 - Terrorized and Terrorizing Masculinity
January 22, 2013
Film: This Is England
•In the 70s and 80s, derogatory terms were being thrown around even on primetime television;
it was very anti-foreign.
•Skinhead movement was an anti-establishment group. They had politics but it was very messed
up and skewed. Some skinheads saw the problems lied in the foreigners and some skinheads did
•People of color became a threat because of the recession and the lack of jobs. People resented
POCs because they "took up jobs" that "rightly belonged to white people".
•Masculinity is complex. Boys are not born to be violent; there is history and complexity.
Violence in men is complex.
•Hooks looks at the problem of boyhood and masculinity lovingly. Hooks wants to say that we
don't know how to love boys. This is a systemic thing, we let boys cry longer. We don't hold
their hands when they're suffering. We don't do the cooing that we may do with girls, rendering
them developing softer. We recreate masculinity in our actual parenting.
•Hooks says that it traumatizes boys.
•"Men don't cry" - this is what boys hear and they get shamed for having feelings.
•To emerge out of masculine culture, to end up as someone like Woody, is an achievement.
•If we don't start being gentler and softer with masculinity, we'll keep reproducing it over and
•These reproductions are very subtle. They begin at such a young age in such subtle ways that
reproduces masculine culture.
•Vulnerability allows you to enter into power dynamics. Within the film, the boys who were
vulnerable became racists because it gave them power.
•There is a constant compensation of lack. The most masculine and powerful end up being the
most vulnerable. Hegemonic masculinity is a fantasy.
•Teenage boys are the most unloved group because they are just cast aside with the notion of
"boys will be boys".
•Masculinity is about identification of authority.
•Paradox surrounding race and racism: racism works both as fetish and hate. Sometimes when
you like a certain part of a culture, you think it doesn't make you racist. But it's not as simple as
that, race has a sort of double-edged sword.
•Beck states that everybody is affected by race. Everyone's identity and everyday is affected by
race. Combo wanted to pigeonhole Milky as English or Jamaican even though he was an English
Jamaican. There is a tendency to think that only people of race are affected by it, but race affects
Film Discussion Questions:
Does Shaun's mother have a responsibility in his involvement with the group. What would
•During the scene where the mother walks in on Shaun getting his head shaved and then
leaving, maybe she leaves because she believes that the group can offer Shaun the protection that
she cannot give him.
•It is believed that boys need to be around men in order to be masculine, and if boys aren't
around male figures, they'll become "sissies" etc.
•Femininity is often regarded as the problem.
•The last scene with Shaun and his mother was important because at that moment she learns
something. She figured out that it is okay to be tender with her 12 year old son. There isn't a
radical shift but there is a metaphorical aspect to this scene.
Working Class Dimensions of the Film
•The film allows us to feel for this kind of community.
•The skinheads are born out of this frustration of the working class community.
•This film shows us that when you are more privileged, you don't need to be racist. You can be
racially blind when you have money.
•When you are impoverished and you're fighting over the same pie, racism comes out. We don't
think enough of poverty and working class cultures.
•The UK has a complex history about class. Mobility is difficult because you are marked by the
way you speak.
•Racist nationalism groups therefore become appealing.
•There is a way in which money mitigates things. Money does many things in quesitons of race