Why Young, Black Men Can’t Work

13 Aug

Photo byKai Wright.

The great folks at Colorlines are currently running an extensive, brilliant and insightful series on Black Men: Life Cycles of Inequity. While Monday’s re-post discussed the challenges faced by African American students in schools, today’s article focuses on the labor market. By Kai Wright, first published at Colorlines.com, June 25 2014.

The first thing you notice about Dorian Moody is how easily he laughs. He punctuates conversation on just about any topic with a shy smile and a disarming chuckle. It comes out as a self-mocking accent when he describes his initial boredom with high school. “My mother was like, you can’t fail,” he says with a smirk. “Alright, so I’m gonna give you Ds!” It takes the edge off of his raw pride when he describes his later academic revival, which began after his whole family sat him down and warned he’d be “a nobody” if he kept screwing around. And it softens his chiding response when I comment on the peaceful, spring vibe of his Irvington, N.J., neighborhood, on the western edge of Newark. “Well, go up to that corner and see what the Bloods think of that.”

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Race, Disability and the School-to-Prison Pipeline

11 Aug

It should not need to take the death of yet another unarmed African American man at the hands of law enforcement to remind us that looking at the intersections of race and masculinity is crucially important. Here at Masculinities 101, we have talked about the challenges face by young men of color and the flaws with policies supposedly designed for them.

Photo by Julianne Hing/Colorlines

The great folks at Colorlines are currently running an extensive, brilliant and insightful series on Black Men: Life Cycles of Inequity. Today’s post addresses the issue of implicit biases in schools. By Julianne Hing, first published at Colorlines May 13 2014.

Enikia Ford-Morthel speaks of Amo (a pseudonym) with the fondness of an auntie talking about a beloved nephew. She recalls watching Amo at his fifth-grade graduation from Cox Academy in Oakland two years ago. The memory of him walking across the stage still fills her with emotion. “He looked so cute in his little white suit, with his jewelry on,” Ford-Morthel says of his graduation. “I just cried.”

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“don’t invent me” or “my dick is terrifying!”: Constructing the Male homunculus

4 Aug

 

thinker

 

  reflections, lessons, thoughts, frustrations, and ramblings as after-effects of the Steubenville Rape swirl

we’ve all heard about it. the “Steubenville Rape Scandal“, as it has been called (among other things), was/is everywhere. everyone was/is talking about it. and it should be talked about. but we wonder how rape should be discussed, characterized, disseminated. it seems a lot of people are unhappy about the type of attention the incident received, for a number of reasons. but the media lens seldom focuses on the truly hidden places. what should be talked about? how should it be talked about? when, why, and where should it be talked about? it’s tricky. we don’t have all the answers to all of these questions. we have some good theories and the beginnings of answers to them, sure – but definitive answers? no. not really. Continue reading

Lessons Learned at Genital Autonomy 2014

30 Jul GA14bannerV3r1e

GA14bannerV3r1eThis past weekend, I was able to attend the 13th International Symposium on Genital Autonomy and Children’s Rights. The conference, sponsored and organized by the Sexpo Foundation, Intact America, the National Organization of Circumcision Resource Centers, and Genital Autonomy International, hosted speakers from the US, Canada, Liberia, Australia, Israel, Germany, Belgium, England, and Denmark. A mix of academic and activist presentations, with films and experiential sessions, the symposium focused on the importance of children’s right to bodily integrity. Though most of the presenters focused on male circumcision (in both its religious/ritual and medical instantiations), a few also connected to issues of female circumcision and intersex genital surgeries. Though the viewpoints of individual presenters varied somewhat, the take home message of the conference was that genital surgeries on infants and children—regardless of cultural, religious, aesthetic and hygienic justifications—contravene the rights of children and are therefore in violation of international human rights principles.
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Disabling women or grasping at straw men?

27 Jul
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The cheap shots just keep coming and a popular target these days is Hillary Clinton. All the talk of a possible 2016 presidential campaign is sending her opponents into a frenzy. As if being called too unattractive to be in the public wasn’t enough now she’s accused of being incapable of holding a conversation let alone office because of a tumble she took some years ago. Republican father-figure Karl Rove and America’s angriest rich guy Rush Limbaugh have been spinning tales about the state of Clinton’s health amidst demanding that she address rumors of a sustained brain injury. To add insult to ‘alleged’ injury, Clinton’s recent People magazine cover has become fodder for media speculation about her aging body and apparent need for a walker. Oh, and there’s more. Thanks to Drudge Report there was some pretty unforgiving online images of Clinton’s head photoshopped onto the body of a visibly old, half naked woman à la 16th century oil painting style. The lady-berating doesn’t end there.

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Practice Your Responses

24 Jul

Masculine socialization encourages guys to behave in certain ways, and discourages us from other behaviors. This has been well understood since Bob Brannon described “the male sex role” in 1976: No sissy stuff (reject femininity), be a big wheel (achieve at all costs), be a sturdy oak (disregard emotions to be tough and independent), and give ‘em hell (value aggression, violence, and risk-taking). This type of masculinity not only constrains men’s ability to live their lives fully, it also negatively affects men’s health – and while ideas about masculinity have shifted some since then, it is still pretty easy to see how masculine socialization contributes to the subordination and victimization of women.

If Brannon were writing his article today, I have a feeling one of his key phrases would be “Bros before hos.” Part of what masculinities scholar Michael Kimmel calls “The Bro Code,” this phrase discourages guys from intervening in other guys’ sexist behavior, and can make it really difficult to speak up when sexism or sexual violence are happening (in many violent gang-rapes, there are guys around who don’t participate, but also don’t do anything to intervene). Even smaller things like saying that you don’t find sexist jokes funny, or calling out street harassment, can be difficult if you don’t have any sense of how to do it – but they can also be among the most important ways men can show support for women’s equality.

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Week in Review, July 13-19

18 Jul

This week, around the web…

A new study from Oregon State University found that teen girls and young women negatively evaluate other girls and women who post sexy social media pictures. The girls and women surveyed rated women in sexy photos as less attractive, less socially attractive, and less competent. One psychology researcher quoted suggests encouraging girls to use profile photos that depict their likes, rather than their looks. Certainly we want our young girls to value themselves deeply, and not suffer from sexualization, but what does it say about our culture that we believe sexiness and competence are incompatible? And what does this tell us about gender policing?

In a related vein, this HuffPost piece suggests that the world is still a difficult place for girls to navigate. We teach them to speak up and be confident, and yet when they do that in the “real world” they are penalized. Women who are seen as confident are also seen as less likeable. Some researchers suggest teaching girls “gender judo”—“the art of combining masculine competence and feminine warmth in order to remain both likeable and respected.” Again, rather than asking women to control their own behavior, what kind of cultural and structural solutions could we implement? And speaking of annoying gender imbalances, here’s a post continuing the conversation on “mansplaining.”

Last week, we shared a link discussing Dungeons & Dragons new support for gender nonconformity. Well, it appears that Marvel is also shaking things up—the next character to play Thor will be female! Although some of these changes may seem small, the author explains: “OK, this is silly, but then, in comics and games, the audiences are growing and diversifying, yet the gender imbalance in both both [sic] characters and writers in only very gradually improving. So gender-swapped reboots may be the safest way for publishers to improve the ratio.” So, calling all game writers and programmers…where my ladies at?

Interestingly, although we’ve begun to see some softening of rigid gender roles and expectations in notioriously conservative places like the Catholic Church, a recent study of materials produced by the Mormon Church shows that little has changed in gender perceptions in the last 40 years.

For your reading enjoyment, a couple of interesting posts: on boyhood and masculine values, as well as this one on the new Old Spice “Mandroid” commercials—what’s your take on these?

This week, in the news…

Two important trans-news tidbits. First, Chelsea Manning was denied her request to transfer to a civilian prison for gender transition treatments. This is raising questions about the type and quality of care she might receive, and at what point transfer to a women’s facility becomes necessary, specifically because “Manning’s treatment request was the first by a transgender military inmate, and it set up a dilemma for the department of how to treat a soldier for a diagnosed disorder without violating long-standing military policy.” As some readers may know, the problems facing trans men and women in prisons are overwhelming. Perhaps this Manning’s case will bring some publicity to an issue that often gets swept under the rug. Second, Finland’s discriminatory policies toward transgender people have been brought into the public eye. The European Court of Human Rights is backing the Finnish government’s policy to force a trans woman to divorce her current partner to complete her gender transition and update national IDs. She is being asked to choose between her life partner and having her gender identity officially recognized.

This week, on Masculinities 101…

Clay Darcy wrote about the gender dynamics of selfies, where unsurprisingly both men and women live up and reproduced gender stereotypes in the photos.
And, we reposted Garry Gilfoy’s HoffPost piece on the father-son archetype. Gilfoy explains its role in therapy, and how breakdowns in the father-son relationship have intense effects on men’s lives. Briefly, he discusses some of the Celebrate Manhood weekend retreats in which he has been involved.

The Father-Son Archetype in Therapy By Garry Gilfoy

17 Jul
Source: aperfectworld.org

Source: aperfectworld.org

 

Original post from Huffington Post

By Garry Gilfoy

I was recently asked to deliver professional learning to some counselors and psychotherapists on the topic of “men’s issues.” I left my son’s football game to do so and found a gathering of about 60 people. Perhaps 10 of these were men, all but one or two of them, sat on the periphery of the very large room.

I started by reading a poem called Rain From Nowhere by Murray Hartin. It speaks of a man with a young family. We catch him on the day he intends to end his life. After years of drought, he can’t see any way to hold on to the farm, which has been in his family for generations. That same day, he receives a letter from his father telling him of the tough times he’d had on the farm and how important it was to hang in there for his wife and children.

Everything will be all right, assures his dad. It’s a heartbreaking poem. I can’t read it — even to myself — without tears rolling down my cheeks. The whole room cried with me. When I composed myself again, I asked these therapists what it was about the poem that moved them. It was, predictably, the father-son relationship.

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Doing Selfies!

15 Jul
source: theimpactnews.com

source: theimpactnews.com

Everyone seems to be taking selfies these days – politicians, celebrities, sporting icons, ordinary Joe Soaps and even academics! However, selfies are not new phenomena. Humans have been making self-portraits for hundreds of years, yet contemporary selfies do represent something new. Having a background within the visual arts, my initial interest in selfies lay within their visual quality and aesthetic value. However, my interest in selfies has begun to shift from their visual merit to the degree to which they function as gender depictions.

Selfies are a treasure trove to the sociologist on so many levels. Selfies are first off an identity depiction, used to by the self-portraitist to capture a moment in time and/or to communicate a specific meaning or message. They reveal something of the growing complexity and intertwining of technology and social media in many people’s lives, and how technology is being used to fulfil various types of social interaction and communication. On another level, selfies are for many individuals a medium for communicating messages about their identity and provide a means of identity construction. In this way selfies are gender displays. Selfies illustrate how gender is socially constructed. For example, an individual might create and publicly display a self-portrait via social media that explicitly adheres to normative gender stereotypes, thus the selfie process becomes a gender performance. Continue reading

Week in Review: July 6-12

13 Jul

Masculinities 101 went on a short break this week. Please check back next week for new content and blogs, including an entry from regular contributor, Clay Darcy, on selfies!

In the meantime, check out a few interesting masculinities related articles from around the web:

Bryn Donovan writes about the effects of gendered names and publishing poetry in this piece from thehairpin.com. (Un)surprisingly, she finds that using a male pseudonym made publishing her work easier.

In sports news, Prince Fielder, a first baseman for the Texas Rangers, appeared on the cover of ESPN The Magazine. This article from the Daily Beast reminds us that athletic bodies come in all shapes and sizes despite the public shock over Fielder’s lack of a six pack.

The game, Dungeons and Dragons, now embraces gender nonconformity! This piece from polygon.com explains the new rules, which allow characters to break out of traditional sex/gender/sexualities boxes.

Trigger warning: This eye opening piece on upworthy.com reveals that while many men will not admit that they have committed sexual assault or rape, some will answer “yes” to a set of questions asking about coercive or abusive behaviors. Read more about the reported studies here.

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