Masculinities 101 Week in Review

28 Mar

Missed important reads on gender equity and masculinities this week? We’ve got you covered…

In the news:

The NY Times Magazine recently published an article describing new scientific research into bisexuality, specifically male bisexuality. Culturally, we have long been wary of bisexuality (“they’re greedy,” “they can’t make up their minds”) and even more doubtful about bisexual men (“they’re really gay and too afraid to admit it”). This new research is an attempt by bisexual activists to disprove these biased ways of thinking. I think there are a lot of interesting questions to be raised here: First, what is the relationship between bisexuality and masculinity? Second, can sexuality be “proved” using traditional experimental methods? And third, politically, should we rely on “scientific evidence” to justify our sexuality(ies), when science has so long been used against sexual minorities?

The Nuclear Security Summit met this week at the Hague, and women were barred from serving lunches to delegates. Ostensibly aiming for a “uniform” staff, the caterer chose only male staff, over the age of 25. Women are typically used in subordinate roles like serving, but some have noted their absence in this particular event with some concern—perhaps that the choice was made to keep the male delegates from being distracted. In an attempt to clarify the situation, the caterer pointed out that his first plan had been to have an all-female catering staff in short dresses. So, where world leaders are concerned, there should either be overtly sexualized women, or none at all?

Recently there has been a wave of male sports stars coming out of the closet. This week, an interesting hoax: rumors flooded social media suggesting that Jeff Gordon, NASCAR driver, was in a documented homosexual relationship with another race car driver. Many readers were duped by the article, and the comments section contained homophobic rhetoric as well as support. The author of the original hoax article implies that NASCAR fans would immediately reject Gordon (or other NASCAR drivers) for being gay. Is there room for homosexuality in NASCAR?

Also, Maryland Senate Bill 212, the Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2014, just passed, banning discrimination against transgender people. It should be signed into law in the upcoming weeks.


Interesting reads:

New research confirms that women in academia suffer from “imposter syndrome,” which boils down to feeling like a fraud. While both men and women can suffer from these feelings, women are more susceptible; for example, studies show that female undergraduates often graduate with lower self-confidence than they entered college with, while male grads have a boost in confidence. This article suggests some of the reasons behind this trend, and even some things that women can do to support one another. What can men do, as gender equality activists, to help tackle this problem?

In this insightful piece at the Huffington Post, Amanda Chatel discusses feminist men, and the benefits of dating them! She describes, in practical terms, what feminist and egalitarian heterosexual relationships might look like—how they manage power imbalances in their home (and bedroom), support one another, and raise children. (An interesting read given this upcoming talk sponsored by the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities.)

Debenham’s, a clothing store, recently released a clothing guide for men, describing their bodies in terms of vegetables (much like women’s bodies may be described as “pear-shaped,” for example). Check out the comments section for readers’ comments and critiques of this new campaign.

If you’re into art and activism, here’s a post on transgender artists who are challenging art communities and social gender norms through their work.

And this week in our blog, a practical post by Tal Peretz on activism around gender-based violence, along with an insightful, intersectional analysis (by Markus Gerke) of President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” Campaign, an attempt to increase opportunities for black and Latino men. (President Obama has talked more than most government official on gender issues; see this older post by Cheryl Llewellyn.)


Other news:

The American Men’s Studies Association Conference is happening this week in Tacoma, Washington. Masculinities 101 editors, Markus Gerke and Cliff Leek, are presenting, and will be tweeting from the conference. Check out our twitter account for their updates.

Do you have more suggestions on recent interesting and insightful articles, videos, features or research on men, masculinities or gender? Please share them in the comment section.

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