Masculinity, Inequality, and the 2016 Presidential Election

13 Jan

By Tristan Bridges, The College of Brockport-SUNY, and C.J. Pascoe, University of Oregon

Shock, surprise, handwringing, sadness, recrimination, and analysis by social commentators, academics, activists, and politicians themselves followed the 2016 presidential election. Certainly there have been no shortage of explanations as to how a rich white man with no political experience, multiple failed businesses and marriages, who is on trial for sexual assault, whose recent claim to fame involves starring on a reality television series, and whose supporters feature bumper stickers reading things like “Trump that Bitch” will become the 45th president of the United States. As many of these commentaries have pointed out, this election is the perfect storm of intersecting inequalities: inequalities of class, race, gender, sexuality, religion, nation among others. Indeed, the anger that fueled this election reflects the conservative and populist movements across the globe in recent years.

Sociological research and theory on masculinity and gender inequality explain, in part, the success of a man who uses “locker room talk,” regularly objectifies women, calls them “nasty,” and looms over them in a way that is recognized as dangerous by survivors of violent relationships or sexual harassment. The easy answer is that men are voting for the continuation of an unequal gender system that privileges them.

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Misogyny, Racism, Sexism, and Capitalism Rule Everything Around Me

6 Jan

ouwc9khri9g-william-stittA Black femme writer and sex worker by the name of suprihmbé writes: “we deserve your money and then some for birthing your babies, for putting up with your abuse, your violence, your terror. But most of all, we deserve to live.”

It might seem more than obvious that women deserve to live, but the often-violent actions of men proves this is not always the case. There is a sense of entitlement that many men feel we have over women, one that is quite frightening. suprihmbé highlights how we, as a society, expect constant emotional labor, sexual labor, and any form of labor we can squeeze out of women for little to no compensation. The expectations that suprihmbé explores are rooted in a system that we like to conveniently “forget” exists: “Mr. Scream”: Misogyny, Racism, Sexism, and Capitalism Rule Everything Around Me. Building on the phrase popularized many years ago, “Cash Rules Everything Around Me” (C.R.E.A.M.), we have to examine how capitalism’s misogyny, racism, and sexism touch everything we do, even holiday shopping.

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Trump’s America: Will “we” be fine? Depends on who is “we”. Depends on what “we” do.

18 Nov


Dear White Men,

This is on us. And now it’s up to us to undo it. I keep hearing us say: “we’ll be fine.” We may be shocked, devastated, disappointed, outraged but we also keep telling ourselves “we’ll” be fine. Sure, “we” will. But not all will, and not all are. If you are saying “we will be fine”, think hard about who that “we” is. Because many are not part of the “we” that will be fine. Our friends of color, our Native American friends, our Muslim friends and Latino friends, our LGBTQ friends and the women in our lives are not fine. And they are more than devastated and shocked. They are afraid of what is to come. And they will be, and already are, under attack. If you’ve ever questioned the existence of the concept of privilege, being able to say “we’ll be fine” is painful proof of its existence: Continue reading

In Defense of Masculinity

2 Nov


When a nonbinary trans woman named Lauren told her fellow audience members that she felt “like masculinity wasted so much of [her] life,” there was a definitive weight to her words. The conversation began as part of a post-show panel following director Eric Ting’s well-executed #LoveHateOthello at California Shakespeare Theatre. I was one of the panelists for “The Construction of Gender: The Impact of Toxic Masculinity in Society,” a free civic dialogue with folks in the community and theatre-goers. Sikander Iqbal (cis heterosexual man of color), Ariel Luckey (cis heterosexual white man), Michal “MJ” Jones (non-binary Black trans person) and I brought our very different, but complementary voices to discuss masculinities with a small audience after the Saturday matinée of this theatrical production of Othello. Eric Ting, Cal Shakes’ artistic director, moderated the conversation.

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Call for Masculinities Syllabi

12 Oct



My name is Heidi Rademacher and I am a program director at Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities at Stony Brook University. We are in the process of developing the first MA program in masculinities studies.  As this will be a brand new program, we are reaching out to scholars around the world with backgrounds in teaching courses related to masculinities.  We are particularly interested in collecting syllabi from courses taught on masculinities in the social sciences and humanities.  We would love to hear from you and receive and suggestions you might impart to support us in this new venture.

Thank you.

Best Regards,


Heidi Rademacher

Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities

Stony Brook University

On Rape as a Symptom

5 Oct

This post is reblogged with permission from And The Pursuit of Feminism.

By now, you have heard about the Stanford rape case, the shortened sentencing, seen the rapist’s face, seen that men are valued over women in such a disgusting, blatant way.

So I’m not going to talk about Stanford rape case. I’m going to talk about rape as a symptom–not a cause–of oppression against women. Continue reading

Call for Papers – American Men’s Studies Association

20 Sep


The Call for Proposals for AMSA XXV is now open. As AMSA celebrates a quarter of a century milestone, it especially invites presentations exploring what has been accomplished in masculinities studies and what’s next for the critical and interdisciplinary study of men and masculinities. AMSA invites proposals from a range of disciplines and professional fields. Conference sessions may take the form of individual presentations, thematic panels, applied workshops, posters, performance pieces and artwork. Interdisciplinary teams of presenters or interdisciplinary panels are strongly encourages to send joint or linked proposals. The Conference Committee also invites proposals for pre-conference workshops of three hours. The deadline for submissions is October 14, 2016. Continue reading

The Masculine “Compass” Model of Sexual Identity Development…Applicable to All? None?

14 Sep

wall-276741.jpgBy Kolbe Franklin.

In recent years the rhetoric of “born this way,” as a model for understanding sexual orientation, has become normalized in public discourse. From Lady Gaga’s famed song, to polls that indicate that most Americans today feel that homosexuality is biological, sexual orientation is largely understood as an intrinsic, core identity. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this perspective is only gaining more support. A 2015 Gallup poll shows that from 1978 to 2015 the percent of adults who claim that homosexuality is something a person is born with increased from 13% to 51% (Jones 2015).

This view has been gaining social, as well as academic, momentum since the 1980s when scientific findings from a variety of disciplines appeared to give legitimacy to the notion that sexual identity was innate, stable, and foundational to a person’s identity. This model, defined as biological essentialism, maintains that same-sex sexual identity has roots in either a person’s genes, brain, or exposure to prenatal hormones. Based on these biological factors, as gay children develop, their same-sex sexuality manifests in a linear fashion, beginning with “‘feelings of differentness’ and progressing through gender atypicality, nascent same-sex attractions, and experimental same-sex behavior” (Diamond 2007: 142). It is assumed that this path ends with the adoption of a gay, lesbian, or bisexual identity, after which, no further changes in identity will occur. Notably, this model positions individuals with same-sex sexual attractions and behaviors as specific “types” of people. Continue reading

Masculinity & Work-Family Policy

7 Sep

Photo Credit: Road Fun

By Erin K. Anderson.

A few weeks ago several news outlets, including the New York Times, reported on a recent preliminary study conducted by three economists on the costs and benefits of using a work-family policy available to employees (Equal But Inequitable: Who Benefits from Gender-Neutral Tenure Clock Stopping Policies?).  Heather Antecol, Kelly Bedard, and Jenna Stearns, claim that academic men are more likely to utilize “stop the clock” policies in order to gain an additional year in which to conduct, write, and publish research, and in turn increase their chances of receiving tenure.  Women who extend their tenure clock at these same schools, however, are more likely to suffer professionally and fail to receive tenure in their first academic jobs.

This study, and others that examine similar patterns of work-family policy use, might lead us to conclude that “gender neutral” policies are beneficial for men’s careers, but harmful for women’s.  Women who use family friendly policies might really be better able to juggle the demands of work and family, but men who use the policies are able to put additional effort into their workplace success and use the time to get ahead. This is probably due to the fact that the wives of these academic men are still the primary caregivers.  Much of the recent discussion about this research contends that gender neutral policies don’t even the playing field, rather they offer an advantage to men. Continue reading

Only Fags Bottom: Recreating toxic masculinities in queer communities

31 Aug

Photo Credit: Swagger Like Us

By Anthony J. Williams.

No fats, no femmes; Masc4Masc; sane only; clean only; no Blacks; Latin papis++; discreet; daddies; bears; twinks; PnP; top; bottom; vers.

If you’ve frequented #TheApps—geosocial networking applications often used for men to find partners to have sex with—like Grindr, Jack’d, Scruff, you may be familiar with the phrases I listed. However, in a world where “yasss kween” is appropriated by everyone and #TheApps are featured on primetime television (see: How to Get Away with Murder), terms like “top,” “bottom,” and “versatile” are gaining mainstream notoriety. Vocabulary that was once shared among the queer community has now taken on broader recognition.

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