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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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On Teaching Inequality, Privilege, and Masculinities

13 Jan

With the Spring semester about to begin, I am deep in “course prep” mode. This semester I will be teaching American Society, a staple in the sociology department. I generally teach this class as a course on inequality, specifically debunking the myth that our society is a classless, egalitarian society. I divide the course into four segments on class, race, gender, and sexuality, with the final component of each segment working to tie these categories together and introduce students to the theory of intersectionality. We explore how science, medicine, family, religion, popular culture, media, education, and public policies (like marriage, health care, and immigration law) both create and propagate inequality. And we talk about whether institutions like these, which are often used to preserve the status quo, can instead be used to fight inequality. By the end of the semester, students are able to explain how social identity categories operate in the United States, and accurately link these categories to existing problems of inequality. It is my favorite course to teach, and generally students seem to enjoy the provocative discussions that emerge out of the readings and lectures.

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The Challenges of Teaching Feminism as a Male-Identified Teacher

16 Dec

(Source: Canadian2006 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0/r GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons.

Our own Cliff Leek has recently talked about the tension, struggles and challenges of being an ally to movements of the marginalized. Those of us located on the ‘privilege’ side of different axes of inequality and oppression (like race, class and gender) face the challenge of how to become (and stay) active and effective allies without reinforcing the very inequalities we are trying to fight, and trying to speak truth to power without claiming to speak for the movements we are aligned with. As Mia McKenzie points out in her critique of the term ‘ally’: “actions count; labels don’t”. In other words: We don’t become ‘allies’ just by some act of will or by declaring us as such. Instead, being an ally means a continuous process of becoming one. This call for action and constant reflection has, of course, implications for those of us who are male-identified but teach about gender in the classroom. We face unique challenges that we need to find pedagogical answers to if we are to stay true our feminist and anti-racist commitments.

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Lessons for the Development of Allies

4 Dec
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Source: Wikimedia Commons

There is a great deal of debate in feminist circles regarding the role of men in the feminist movement.  Should men be leading feminist organizations?  Where should organizations seeking to engage men and boys in gender equity work draw their funding?  Should men’s organizations even exist or should men only engage with feminism within the context of women-led organizations?  In the end, much of this debate centers on the question of what the perfect male ally to the feminist movement should look like.  But, before we get to the question of what that man would look like, or if such a thing is even possible, perhaps we should talk about how male “allies” to the feminist movement come to exist in the first place.***

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Introductions: Thoughts on accountable scholarship

27 Nov


Hi, pull up a seat and join me. You know those pictures of ancient buildings, where all you see are the foundations? Much like this one, where there is a foundation, there is always opportunity to create something new. That is what my first two posts are about. But since I’m big on understanding context and this is my first post, let me tell you a bit about who I am and where all this comes from.

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Men’s Group Projects: an introduction

13 Nov

As an introduction to my future posts here at Masculinities 101, this post will be a little different from most of what you see on activist and academic blogs.  I am not thinking of my contributions as a blog, so much as an attempt at solving one specific problem. I have been researching men’s feminist activism for about ten years now. I have been involved in such activism for even longer (the picture is me with NOMAS Boston in 2006). I keep running into one major, and easily remedied, concern for the groups I work with, research, and read about. My posts on this blog will be a small and humble attempt to fix that problem, and I want to start by telling a story.

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