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The Men Who Stare at Beer

1 Oct
by ClayDarcy

by ClayDarcy

Train-watching (aka ‘railfanning’) men and plane-watching men are synonymous with England, men who (allegedly) stare at goats synonymous with America; however, in Ireland if one looks in the right places you can find the men who stare at beer! I recently witnessed an animated conversation between two men that sparked my attention and got me thinking about these beer gazers. The conversation I witnessed brought to my mind a quintessential image associated with old Irish pubs: a lone man sitting at the bar or small table staring into a cold pint of beer or stout.   Usually this man is silent and still, occasionally he might throw a comment or two to the bar man or fellow beer gazer … if he feels obliged or inclined.

The conversation I witnessed went a little like this:

First Man (FM): Why didn’t you go out the other night?
Second Man (SM): Because I had no one to go out with.
FM: What do you mean?
SM: It would have been too late by the time I got to the pub and there wouldn’t have been anyone there I would have known.
FM: Could you not have rang someone and said “Hey are you coming down for a pint?” Or what about ya man Andy? Would he not have been there?
SM: It was too late. It would have been last orders by the time I got there.
FM: Are you telling me that you wouldn’t go into a pub by yourself for a pint?
SM: No, I wouldn’t go into a pub by myself, I would have to meet people there. You can’t just go in by yourself … on your own … I’d have to be meeting others, you know?
FM: WHAT? [total disbelief]… A real man can walk into a pub by himself get a pint and read a paper or just sit at the bar or whatever – A REAL MAN!

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#GamerGate and the Politics of Resentment (Part 2)

24 Sep

(This is Part 2 of an article series that explores a case of harassment in online gaming known as #GamerGate. Please read Part 1 of this post here. Part 2 argues that the sexist harassment campaign is rooted in resentment against current changes in the gaming industry.)

In the early days of the harassment campaign against Zoe Quinn – indie game developer, critic, and cyborg – before the campaign was given its name, a number of editorials were written on a curiously specific theme: the cultural category of “gamer,” and how those who play games relate to it. On Kotaku, Luke Plunkett wrote of the “Death of An Identity.” “Gaming is a hobby I’ve had (on and off) for most of my life,” wrote Emma M. Woolley in The Globe and Mail, “but I’ve never called myself a gamer.  One reason is that while playing video games is something I enjoy, it doesn’t define who I am; another is that I don’t identify with many people who do call themselves gamers.” The “gamer” label has been a problem for games writers for some time; never literally describing everyone who plays any kind of games (which is to say, almost everyone), it’s traditionally been used to exclude casual games, mobile platforms, or certain genres. In its most nativist form, “gamer” (often appended by the modifier “real”) is a term used to denote a class of consumers that cares about gaming more than anyone else, competes more fiercely than anyone else, and is thus deserving of special attention from the industry and the press that covers it. In academic circles, there have been attempts to expand the category of “gamer” to better represent the variety of players out there. These editorials were taking the opposite tack: if this is what “real gamers” really want “gamer” to mean–young white men with disposable income who respond to academic criticism with death threats–then fuck ’em. Let them have it. “‘Gamer’ isn’t just a dated demographic label that most people increasingly prefer not to use,” wrote Leigh Alexander for Gamasutra. “Gamers are over. That’s why they’re so mad.”

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#GamerGate and the Politics of Resentment (Part 1)

22 Sep

In an earlier post on Masculinities 101, I detailed the emergence of a specific masculine identity emerging in and around videogame culture. This masculinist gamer contingent is reflexively hostile towards criticism, and in recent years has been making headlines detailing their attempts to harass and silence women in the wider videogame community. Somewhere in the middle of that list was Zoe Quinn, indie game developer, critic, and cyborg. Quinn, along with co-writer Patrick Lindsey and musician Isaac Shankler, is the developer of  Depression Quest, an interactive fiction game exploring the experience of depression. After a year of availability on the web, Quinn was beset by an online harassment campaign when she brought the game to the Steam service, an online digital distribution platform for PC games. Recently, newfound attacks on Quinn have snowballed into a “scandal” known as GamerGate.

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Out of Prison, but Not Free

17 Sep

Colorlines is running an extensive, brilliant and insightful series on Black Men: Life Cycles of Inequity. This video, produced by filmmaker André Robert Lee focuses on the adjustments of Black men after exiting prison. Colorlines’ Kai Wright writes:

They’ve all served many years in Louisiana’s infamous Angola penitentary. The state incarcerates a greater share of its residents than any government in the world, and the overwhelming majority of those prisoners are black men. The same is true nationally—one study estimated there are 65 million people with criminal records in the country. The men André spoke with described the emotional scarring those millions of people are carrying around with them—the myriad not-so-obvious readjustments they are still trying to make as they reenter society, with their families, lovers, friends and coworkers. We invite you to hear what they have to say, and to share it with your networks.

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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Disabling women or grasping at straw men?

27 Jul
Source: Wikimedia Commons

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.

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Practice Your Responses

24 Jul

Masculine socialization encourages guys to behave in certain ways, and discourages us from other behaviors. This has been well understood since Bob Brannon described “the male sex role” in 1976: No sissy stuff (reject femininity), be a big wheel (achieve at all costs), be a sturdy oak (disregard emotions to be tough and independent), and give ’em hell (value aggression, violence, and risk-taking). This type of masculinity not only constrains men’s ability to live their lives fully, it also negatively affects men’s health – and while ideas about masculinity have shifted some since then, it is still pretty easy to see how masculine socialization contributes to the subordination and victimization of women.

If Brannon were writing his article today, I have a feeling one of his key phrases would be “Bros before hos.” Part of what masculinities scholar Michael Kimmel calls “The Bro Code,” this phrase discourages guys from intervening in other guys’ sexist behavior, and can make it really difficult to speak up when sexism or sexual violence are happening (in many violent gang-rapes, there are guys around who don’t participate, but also don’t do anything to intervene). Even smaller things like saying that you don’t find sexist jokes funny, or calling out street harassment, can be difficult if you don’t have any sense of how to do it – but they can also be among the most important ways men can show support for women’s equality.

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The International Conference on Masculinities: Engaging Men and Boys, for Gender Equality

29 Jun

CSMM

This call for papers has been updated and the updated version may be found here.

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