Two days ago I read an interesting post at Crip Confessions. The post was titled “But Won’t You be Ashamed? or Cripping Pasties”. A little background is needed. The author is going to the 2016 AVN Expo and Awards in Las Vegas. Essentially she is attending the “Oscars of Porn”. What struck me as thought provoking was the following paragraph:
Much talk of clothes and the like have provoked side conversations coming up, including one that included the title query. I have been very open about my plan to wear pasties and frolic. I explained this to an acquaintance, and one of their first questions to me was “Won’t you be ashamed?” They were baffled I would have the audacity to wear pasties generally, and especially among porn stars – who include those with medically sculpted bodies toward social beauty, rather than away like my medically enhanced body.
This post, authored by Tal Peretz- a regular contributor to Maculinities 101, is a revised take on the authorial appendix in Some Men: Feminist Allies and the Movement to End Violence Against Women, co-authored with Michael Messner and Max Greenberg
Looking back on my entry into feminism while writing this book, it was very clear to me that I grew up during a period when feminism was less of a public discussion. I don’t remember ever hearing the word “feminism” until taking my first women’s studies class, in my second year of college in 2002. On the one hand, I’m glad I managed to avoid the stereotypes that circulate about feminism and feminists; on the other, I also had very little knowledge or awareness about gender inequality or gender-based violence. I had experienced more than my share of what James Messerschmidt calls “masculinity challenges,” including some male-on-male violence that was clearly about gender policing, but because I receive male, white, cisgendered, straight, and many other forms of privilege, I was effectively shielded from having personal knowledge about structural oppression. Continue reading
By Lyndol Descant
For me, crushes have turned out to be like a mind-trap or the ultimate carrot-and-stick scenario, ever dangling just out of reach but there to see; to entice.
Let me explain.
In the past my crushes have gotten me out of bed in the morning; the excitement, the thrill, the belief, or maybe it was hope, that he would eventually realize how wonderful I am and see that I deserve his love. And when he does, I will know for sure too. I will know with certainty that I too deserve good things.
But that never happened. It couldn’t. It can’t.
Romantic relationships are never as clean and easy as they are in our imaginations which, incidentally, don’t tend to indulge the realities of life; the complicated, messy, fleshed-out-by-difference-of-opinion and diversity-of-interest, realities of life.
Once I had a year-long crush on a peer who, one day, approached me, suggesting that we get coffee. What did I do? I ran in the opposite direction (literally and figuratively), yelling “thanks anyway”… over my shoulder.
DESCRIPTION: Nudies is a compilation of found footage that represents one’s intuitive relationship to gender over time. By looking at what we were looking at, we start to define our relationships to larger systems as reactive and changing. Through this metamorphosis, the subconscious mind reflects most honestly the inner struggles and accomplishments that can’t be defined or pinpointed by waves.
Meredith Degyansky, often under the alias of The Work Intern, is an artist/administrative aide that creates systems for paying off our debt, systems for redefining and valuing our labor, and systems that connect us to one another usually through food and conversations about sadness. www.theworkintern.org
Aaron, before and now
By Aaron Sternlicht
I’ve never taken my shirt off at the beach. I’m barely comfortable looking at myself naked in front of a mirror; how would you expect me to be comfortable in front of another human being. I’ve been overweight for most of my life. At the age of 25 I found myself having to buy size 44 pants because I could no longer fit into my 42’s. I was incredibly insecure, self-conscious, had low self-esteem and had a tremendous amount of anxiety and depression that stemmed from my obesity. Tipping the scale at 280 pounds at 5 foot 10 inches, I had reached my breaking point. I had enough and was ready to finally do something about my problem. It was the first time in my life that I was determined to take back control of my body. I started to eat less, eat healthier and joined a gym. In less than a year I lost over 100 pounds. It has been over three years since I started my weight loss journey. I’ve maintained my goal weight and today healthy nutrition and regular exercise are staples in my life. In fact, physical fitness has become somewhat of a passion of mine.
But I still won’t be taking my shirt off at the beach.
Your weekly essential catch-up on all things men and masculinities-related here:
TODAY, Feminism & the Archive roundtable at the CUNY Graduate Center that will bring together a variety of perspectives on feminism and the archive, broadly conceived. Participants will speak about their work about and in the archive as archivists, scholars, and feminists, as well as how archival research allows us to consider and re-conceive of feminist genealogies and genres. Work to be discussed includes autobiographical accounts of the 1970s and 80s that explore how and why various feminist expressions were used by U.S. feminists writers to mobilize subjects, identities, and communities as well as archival analysis of the genealogy of queer theory in 1980s feminism through representations of sexuality in visual culture.
This week on Soc Images, Man Up, Ladies! draws attention to a Glamour magazine article suggesting that women should exhibit masculine characteristic (through dress mainly) in order to succeed in the specific parts of the workforce. Also featured is a piece that considers the compatibility factors of homogamy, when couples are “more likely than not to match on a whole host of characteristics: age, income, education level, race, religion…” within the context of dating sites like OKCupid.
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.
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.
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.
Source: Wiki media commons
We live in visually hegemonic times. Everything about who we are and what we do is poured into an image. A look or a lifestyle is constructed and given a distinct yet recognizable aesthetic language and practice all its own. Gender ideals are heavily produced and circulated through visual imagery. Even though such images pull meaning from a variety of popular (forward thinking?) discourses, gender in the old fashioned sense persists: women are generally constructed as bodies and men constructed as minds, and so the story goes. The presence of women in mainstream visual culture as bodies to be scrutinized and desired has been disproportionate to men, but this is changing. By far the most visible account of masculinity is unemotional, self-determined, willfully independent and, above all, performance-driven. Sound familiar? In theory, the visual realm is a space where identity is more easily contestable and the either/or ties that bind categories of identification are rendered diminishable. Images allow us to challenge and re-imagine the universal logic associated with mainstream norms and beliefs in ways that pure text cannot. At the same time, they make it possible to disseminate this logic in a given form more widely. Mainstream media and culture do tend to favor a very limited view of many things, especially gender. And we, as an audience, tend to be easily persuaded by what we see, especially when it’s all around us. I’m not letting the cat out of the bag here, I realize, but what if visual culture is breathing new life into the age-old exemplars of masculinity?