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Boys in Chairs – Navigating our Sex, Sexuality and Sex Appeal in Attendant Care Programs

17 Dec

The other day I had a friend over for dinner.  Seeing as my 30th birthday is fast approaching (5 more days, what debauchery can I do while still under the guise of my 20s?) he brought over a cheeky birthday card (quite literally, a guy with nice bum cheeks on the front).  It’s awesome that all my friends are so accepting of my delicious dirtiness – I am honoured to be THAT friend…HAHAHAHAHAHA!   After we had laughed at it, he asked me where he should put it.  He wanted to leave it out, but didn’t want me to ‘get in trouble’ with my attendants.  We both reasoned that I am an adult, and should be able to do what I want.  While this is true, I couldn’t help feeling awkward about it when it came to my attendants.

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Irish Men Talking Drugs – Alcohol, Puke and the Twelve Pubs

3 Dec
From Wikimedia Commons

Source: Wikimedia Commons

People talk about drugs all the time, most often unbeknownst to themselves.   I’d wager however that if you were to ask a random person, whether they think they talk about drugs very often, they would most likely reply “no” or “not much”. My generalization is based on my own professional experiences delivering drug education and prevention programs with young people and adults. I talk to people on a daily basis about drugs, all types of drugs. In Ireland, as in many other places, illicit drug use carries huge stigma. When I begin a drug conversation, no matter whether it is with a young person or adult, invariably when I say drug … they think illicit. This reveals much about drug(s) as a social construct, and as word that is hugely value laden. Drug talk in Ireland is taboo, especially when talking about personal drug use or family drug use, and even more so when such drug use is illicit.

However, Irish people generally have no problem talking about a stranger’s illicit drug use. Nor for that matter do they have any difficulty in talking about alcohol, in fact many revel in it. It’s a regular occurrence to hear Irish people talk about being on a night out and how much alcohol they drank, and how drunk they were. Irish people have an exhaustive list of weird and wonderful words and phrases for being drunk – “hammered”, “squiffy”, “pissed”, “blotto-ed”, “skuttered”, “gee-eyed”, “bo-jangled”, “twisted”, “bolloxed”, “three sheets to the wind”, “langered”, “ossafied”, “lamped” and the list goes on! This is drug talk, yet very few Irish would consider it as such. This is because very few Irish would include alcohol in their construct of a drug.

My own PhD research is interested in Irish men’s views on men’s recreational use of illicit drugs, and how illicit recreational drug use contributes to the construction, display or maintenance of specific masculinities.

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The Masculinities of Mario Dubsky

24 Oct

Detail of Good Friday Shadow _ Dubsky

I first discovered the work of Mario Dubsky in my final year of Art College, some 12 years ago. I was working on a series of paintings that explored bats and bat mythology. One day I was searching for some inspiration in the college library and came across a book of drawings by Dubsky[1]. At the time I looked upon his work with merely a visual art lens, enjoying his use of line and tone to create dark shadowy forms. The first drawing that grabbed my attention was ‘Good Friday Shadow’, which depicts a man naked but for an open shawl or shirt across his shoulders, arms out stretched in cruciform. It was the initial resemblance created by the out stretched arms and drooping shawl or shirt to that of the wings of a bat or vampiric creature that stirred my curiosity in Dubsky’s work.   Many of his drawings proved useful references to my own paintings at that time. Now at the early stages of a new series of painted works many years on, I have rediscovered Dubsky’s drawings and have been looking upon them with a masculinities lens.

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Black, Queer and in Vogue

22 Oct

Colorlines’ ongoing series Life Cycles of Inequity explores facets of the Black male experience in the US. This article and photo series by Kai Wright and Gerard Gaskin (first published in September 2014 on colorlines.com) take us inside the culture of house balls, underground events where gay and transgender men and women, mostly African American and Latino, come together to see and be seen. The images come from Gaskin’s 2013 book ‘Legendary. Inside the House Ballroom Scene’.

Gerard Gaskin: “Legendary. Inside the House Ballroom Scene”.

Hip-hop is not the only place where young black artists deeply influence mainstream culture and entertainment—and do so without recognition or pay. Pop artists have for decades appropriated the style, dance and sound generated inside the black and Latino LGBTQ community’s house ballroom scene. From Madonna’s 1990 “Vogue” to the Scissor Sisters’ 2012 “Let’s Have a Kiki,” the creative teams of Top 40 performers have consistently mined the scene for inspiration.

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Finding the ‘Dude’ in My Disability: How being both Queer and Crippled has Re-constructed my Maleness and Masculinity

20 Oct

Everybody thinks they know what it means to be a man.   We all think we know that being a man means being strong, powerful and having an unforgiving sensuality that just won’t quit.   We all know that being a man means you are the provider, the breadwinner, and you are self-reliant and sufficient, right?   (I mean, c’mon, hasn’t every action/romantic comedy male lead been written this way for the past 50 years?   Also, if I were to see a man like that in real-life, I would automatically fall to my knees. Do with that image what you like.)   Imagine that, try as hard as you might, you were unable to meet the male milestones? How then would this shape who you are, and who everyone else thinks you should be?

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NUDIES

17 Oct

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.

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BIO: 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

A Positionality: Feminism and the ‘man (outside)’

13 Oct

feminism and standpoint

the most striking categories or patterns to emerge from my reading in feminist standpoint, lately, are the concepts of dualism and the Self. the reason i choose to focus, here, on two of these is because they are inexplicably interlocked and, as Sandra Harding states in her introduction to The Feminist Standpoint Theory Reader, “claims of any sort only have meaning in some particular cultural context – that is, relative to some set of cultural practices through which the meaning of the claim is learned and subsequently understood. claims thus have meaning ‘relative’ to that context of practices” (Harding, 2004). what is the Self, if not a claim to being – a grand declaration? if, as Harding states, all claims are “necessarily socially located…and thus permeated by local values and interests” (Harding, 2004), then the Self, for females (and males), is always already located within a hetero-patriarchal framework that doesn’t allow for an “adequate representation of the world from the standpoint of women [or men]” (Allison Jaggar, 1983). Continue reading

The Eye of the Beholder

25 Aug

Whether you love it or loathe it, social media is omnipresent and every day millions of people upload millions of photographs to their social media pages for the visual consumption of friends, family and complete strangers.  John Berger (1972: 2) states that ‘every image embodies a way of seeing’.  Images posted on social media reveal much about those who made them, particularly how they view the world around them.  Unfortunately social media, through the types of images displayed there, can be used to reinforce dysmorphic ideas about our bodies and problematic views on gender and gender “normativity”.  Recently, I have been thinking about the types of visual representations of men and women that communicate dysmorphic or problematic messages, and specifically how others see [interpret] these representations.  What does a self-made image of a man or woman posted on a social media site mean to others who view them?  And to what degree can they impact on the spectator?  Do such images hold meaning for the spectator, are they more than a fleeting visual curiosity or distraction?  If such images do hold meaning; what meaning exactly?  I know of course the simple answer to these questions is – it depends!  Depends on the image and depends on who the spectator is.  None-the-less, I find this an interesting line of inquiry.
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“don’t invent me” or “my dick is terrifying!”: Constructing the Male homunculus

4 Aug

 

thinker

 

  reflections, lessons, thoughts, frustrations, and ramblings as after-effects of the Steubenville Rape swirl

we’ve all heard about it. the “Steubenville Rape Scandal“, as it has been called (among other things), was/is everywhere. everyone was/is talking about it. and it should be talked about. but we wonder how rape should be discussed, characterized, disseminated. it seems a lot of people are unhappy about the type of attention the incident received, for a number of reasons. but the media lens seldom focuses on the truly hidden places. what should be talked about? how should it be talked about? when, why, and where should it be talked about? it’s tricky. we don’t have all the answers to all of these questions. we have some good theories and the beginnings of answers to them, sure – but definitive answers? no. not really. Continue reading

Lessons Learned at Genital Autonomy 2014

30 Jul

GA14bannerV3r1eThis past weekend, I was able to attend the 13th International Symposium on Genital Autonomy and Children’s Rights. The conference, sponsored and organized by the Sexpo Foundation, Intact America, the National Organization of Circumcision Resource Centers, and Genital Autonomy International, hosted speakers from the US, Canada, Liberia, Australia, Israel, Germany, Belgium, England, and Denmark. A mix of academic and activist presentations, with films and experiential sessions, the symposium focused on the importance of children’s right to bodily integrity. Though most of the presenters focused on male circumcision (in both its religious/ritual and medical instantiations), a few also connected to issues of female circumcision and intersex genital surgeries. Though the viewpoints of individual presenters varied somewhat, the take home message of the conference was that genital surgeries on infants and children—regardless of cultural, religious, aesthetic and hygienic justifications—contravene the rights of children and are therefore in violation of international human rights principles.
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