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.

Volunteer and Internship Opportunities: Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center

4 Jul

The Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center is seeking individuals interested in volunteer and internship opportunities who would be able to work within the Syringe Exchange & Outreach Services Unit.  General volunteer responsibilities include conducting syringe exchange, community outreach, and providing harm reduction education and counseling to the communities about subjects such as HIV, Hepatitis C and overdose prevention and care services.  Training will be provided to all volunteers and interns on these subjects.

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Pick-Up Artists & Anti-Pick-Up Artists: Promises of Sexist Gender Ideologies Denied

2 Jul

["White Ribbon". Source: MesserWoland [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons]

In response to the horrific murders at UC Santa Barbara in late May, many commentators have pointed out the perpetrator’s connection to so-called Anti-Pickup Artist online communities and to the misogynist and racist motivations of the shooting. Whereas the Pick-Up Artist fad has received some media attention and academic study in the past, the so-called Anti-Pick-Up artist scene has received much less attention – with notable exceptions well worth reading – and has probably been completely off the radar even for those of us studying gender. Even though the name suggests an oppositional stance on the idea of PickUp artistry, in reality, these Anti-Pick-Up Artists share in the very same gender ideology as those being drawn to Pick-Up Artist message boards and websites. Add in the frustration with the ineffectiveness of the Pick-Up Artists’ tips and strategies, and the Anti-Pick-Up Artist scene reveals itself as promoting an equally – if not more – toxic gender ideology.

[This article first appeared at SociologyLens]

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Summer camp: what’s (trans)gender got to do with it?

30 Jun

As we reach the beginning of July, summer is in full swing. Adults are taking vacations to escape the heat while many children are looking forward to another kind of getaway: summer camp. For children who attend camp, this parent-free space is a place for making new friends and developing new skills. For children who are transgender or gender nonconforming (TGNC), however, camp can be an alienating or even impossible experience.* Although the American Camp Association has urged camps to be prepared to enroll and support transgender and gender nonconforming campers, summer camps continue to engage in gender segregation and stereotyping that can alienate TGNC children. Camp also often creates a situation of anxiety where TGNC kids and their parents worry about disclosing or hiding the child’s gender identity to staff, roommates, and peers.

http://www.slate.com/content/dam/slate/blogs/behold/2013/07/15/10.jpg.CROP.original-original.jpg

Photo by Lindsay Morris

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The International Conference on Masculinities: Engaging Men and Boys, for Gender Equality

29 Jun CSMM

CSMMOn March 6-8, 2015, the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities (CSMM) will host the first International Conference on Masculinities: Engaging Boys and Men for Gender Equality, in New York City. Timed to immediately precede the meeting of the Commission of the Status of Women (CSW) at the United Nations (March 9-27, 2015), this conference will bring together more than 500 activists, practitioners, and academic researchers from all over the world who are working to engage men and boys in fulfilling the Platform for Action adopted by the CSW twenty years ago at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. The conference will review the success of programs to engage men and boys, share research-in-progress, discuss new and possible policy initiatives, and chart research needs for the future.
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Wear Your Beliefs

25 Jun

 

Image

I’m writing this blog post in my favorite coffee shop, wearing my favorite t-shirt. It was a gift from a friend of mine, but that’s not why it is my favorite. It’s my favorite because it says “This is what a feminist looks like,” allowing me to wear my ethics out into the world, and I feel like I make a tiny dent in misogynist culture every time I wear it. Wearing this shirt declares that feminism is for everybody and that men have a stake in feminism and gender equality, without having to actually say anything at all. I receive compliments pretty much every time I wear this shirt, and occasionally get into really wonderful conversations as well. Continue reading

Crafting heroes and villains: the making and ‘unbreaking’ of men in popular culture

23 Jun
'Superman Dies'

‘Superman Dies’

Sometime last week I got to thinking about Superman. It was actually a Facebook post of the image included here that peaked my interest (it’s been tweaked courtesy of a friend). I thought to myself, here you have this comic book character who’s not only superhuman he’s super(hetero)masculine. He possesses otherworldly strength and mental abilities but, just to keep things in perspective, he has that one weakness; he’s a he who happens to be white, straight, good looking and dashing (even in tights); he’s iconic; and he’s all-American. I‘d say that Superman is the superhero of all superheroes and, technically, he’s physically disabled. Think about it, he was this non-normative ‘super other’ forced to conceal his identity behind an unassuming, awkward and, let’s face it, emasculated figure of a man. Yes, his identity had to be hidden so that he could get on with his job of protecting the planet but also because of the haters and naysayers, the people so committed to the status quo that their own discomfort with the unfamiliar and unknown is perceived as a threat to the livelihood of all humankind. A little dramatic, yes, but not so far off. In real life people tend to shy away from difference and change because it’s often beyond control. It doesn’t help that doomsday imagery of dystopic futures floods the news media and gets into our heads. Enter the superhero/villain narrative, it’s good versus evil at it’s best and it helps us cope. An interesting interpretation of this narrative, according to my husband, is M. Night Shyamalan’s film Unbreakable. Admittedly, I hadn’t seen the film so I had no idea it was written as a superhero/villain story. It also came as a surprise to find out it was an ‘origin’ story with more of an interest in the mundane, human aspects of its characters.

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