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.

Continue reading

Transnational Marriages

3 Aug
a girl in waiting

Photo Credit: David Lazar. A girl in waiting.

by Preyanka S. Chowdhury


I am a citizen of the third world, a member of a nation where men reign supreme and women considered a shadow behind them. I am a woman. I am inferior to man and destined to stay at home, raise children and care for my husband. He is the center of my world after all, and his command is my calling.

This is the life of millions of women in under-developed countries. Denied opportunities and suppressed. Unable to seek self-development and barred from any form of free thinking. But why is it only in the under-developed nations that we see this over-bearing intensity of the patriarchal society? While a woman in the first world seeks equal rights, her counterpart in Bangladesh, seeks the permission of her father or husband to allow her to participate in society. Continue reading

Masculinity is Killing Trans Women

1 Aug

by Anthony J. Williams


Transgender Pride Flag

Masculinity is killing trans women, and more specifically, trans women of color. The concepts of masculinities and femininities are not themselves killing trans women or gender nonconforming people. It is instead the reproduction of toxic masculinities by folks who feel “threatened” by transgender women. This is not just an observation, but a statement that is proving more and more true with each murder of trans women. However, reported statistics do not accurately reflect the actual number of trans women killed each year.


Continue reading

Book Review: Contesting Intersex: The Dubious Diagnosis

20 Jul

book review

The question of intersex is one that challenges not only the medical community, but our entire society, encouraging us to see gender and sex (and even sexuality) as more complicated and nuanced than we might regularly imagine. The very existence of intersex bodies demands a decoupling of gender from bodies, and a dismantling of essentialist, binary views. Georgiann Davis’s new book, Contesting Intersex: The Dubious Diagnosis (2015, NYU Press), explores the role of language, medicine, and gender structures in shaping the experiences of intersex people (alternatively, people diagnosed with disorders—or differences—of sex development, DSD).

In particular, she studies the linguistic shift from ‘intersex’ (or hermaphrodite, and variations of these terms) to the new diagnosis common within medical circles, ‘DSD.’ Her key argument, amply demonstrated by interviews with members of the intersex community, doctors, activists, scholars, and parents, is that the language used to describe intersex bodies has important ramifications for the lived experiences of intersex people.

There are several important findings to support this argument. She shows historically that the medical community was primed to accept this terminological shift, at least in part to reassert their power over intersex bodies. John Money, a doctor famous for his claims that ‘nurture’ would always win over ‘nature’ in gender identity, sullied the medical community’s relationship to ‘intersex.’ Money lost credibility after encouraging parents of a male child to raise him as a girl after a botched circumcision left him mutilated. “She” eventually committed suicide, and the suicide was taken as evidence that his innate male gender could not be replaced by feminine gender socialization. This seemingly mismanaged case of sex-gender identity, along with increasing pressure on the medical community by feminist and intersex activists, meant that doctors’ authority over the diagnosis was publicly questioned. When the new diagnostic term ‘DSD’ was proposed, doctors jumped at the chance for a fresh start.

Allowing the medical community to determine the public understanding of ‘intersex’ or ‘DSD’ has important ramifications. For example, the medical community perpetuates biologized understandings of sex, gender, and the body. These understandings are used to justify medically unnecessary surgeries to “normalize” the genitalia (often at the expense of sexual sensation, and almost always at the expense of the patient’s sense of autonomy and self-determination). When coaching parents on how to raise their intersex child, doctors often encourage enforcing gendered expectations—discouraging girls from tomboy behaviors, and encouraging boys into more vigorous activities. In particularly upsetting passages, Davis exposes doctors’ sexual expectations of intersex women in particular, surgically shaping women’s bodies for penile-vaginal penetration.

Davis also documents that the language shapes intersex individuals’ experiences, beyond surgical intervention. Based on her interviews with intersex people, she finds that those who embrace the ‘DSD’ terminology have a more positive relationship with their doctors and parents—in Davis’s terms, they have better access to biological citizenship than those who use the more politicized term, ‘intersex’—but have a more troubled sense of self. She explains that this is likely due, at least in part, to the stigmatizing effect of seeing oneself as ‘disordered.’ In contrast, those who utilized ‘intersex’ had a more positive sense of self and a better relationship to their gender identity and sexuality, but often found themselves at odds with doctors. The terminology is a source of trouble within the intersex community as well, leading some activists to be at odds with one other over wording, something that concerns Davis because in-fighting may take away from more important battles.

Ultimately, this book is an important read for gender and sexuality scholars, as well as medical sociologists. Davis deftly challenges binary categories and the power of medical diagnoses. Her writing is engaging and, at times, personal—she shares her own experience as an intersex person, describing intimate conversations with her parents, problematic medical episodes, and her activist-academic desires. The book would also work well in advanced undergraduate classes or graduate seminars on gender, sexuality, and bodies, but I would highly recommend implementing it in classes aimed at non-sociology majors. For example, I’d love to see this on syllabi for medical sociology classes, which are frequented by pre-med students, who are an important but likely overlooked audience for this book. As teachers, we can also be activists, shaping the minds of our students who, in this case, will be the next generation of doctors encountering intersex bodies.



Amanda Kennedy is a contributor and founding editor of Masculinities 101.

If ‘Orange is the New Black’ Upset You, You Need to Know about Real Prisons

11 Jul

A Southern chain gang (1903)–the racist history of today’s prison conditions (source: Wikimedia Commons)


If you’re anything like me, this summer you were counting down the days to Netflix’s release of the new Orange is the New Black season. If you’re anything like me, you devoured the season in two days and have been thinking and reading about it ever since. There has been an awful lot written about this season. If you’re so inclined, check out this piece, and this one, and this one, and this one (these are full of spoilers, fyi). My post, today, will not actually be about the show. There will be no spoilers, so please keep reading. Continue reading

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