Tag Archives: Gender equality

“Where’s My Manhood?” and Other Questions About Nothingness

3 Sep

Alaridpost2At the Rhetorics & Feminism’s conference at Stanford, in 2013, I and my (now) girlfriend led a roundtable discussion in which we expressed our interest in feminisms. We were interested in what that word means and what it implies, what its focus is in our current theoretical ‘moment’ – what that paradigm looks like and how it can be articulated.
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Hybrid Masculinities and Sexual Aesthetics

1 Sep

Sociology professor Tristan Bridges was interviewed earlier this summer as part of The Society Pages Office Hours podcast:

Tristan is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at The College at Brockport, State University of New York. Tristan researches and blogs on issues related to gender, sexuality, inequality, and space at Inequality by (Interior) Design and Feminist Reflections, the newest Community Page at The Society Pages. We discuss Tristan’s recently published article “A Very ”Gay” Straight?: Hybrid Masculinities, Sexual Aesthetics, and the Changing Relationship between Masculinity and Homophobia,” that is part of his larger book project tentatively entitled “Othering Other Men: Transformations in Gender and Politics among Men.”

You can list to the podcast on the Office Hours website.

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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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.

The Marathon and Gender Equality

19 May

By Richard Smith from Bowen Island, Canada (Chicago Marathon – the start) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons.

April marked the first installment of the Boston Marathon after the horrible terrorist acts of 2013. Although the world-renowned event will forever be linked to these atrocities, there are also acts of positive social change linked to its. Most famously, the 1967 Boston Marathon saw Kathrine Switzer become the first woman to enter the race as a numbered runner (there had actually been other women run the race unofficially before) by registering as “KV Switzer”. Her run and the attempt by a race official to remove her from the race show how sports can become an arena of progressive social change. Moreover, the history of marathon running over the past half century can also serve as a teaching tool to challenge myths about the supposed fundamental differences between men and women.

[This article first appeared at SociologyLens]

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Throwing like a Girl? The Case for Gender Similarity in Sports

12 May

Source: Nathan Rupert (SD) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Finally, it’s almost summer. And as the weather gets better, more and more social life in my neighborhood shifts outside to the street. As I was sitting at my desk the other day, I noticed two kids playing in the street, a boy of maybe 10 years and a girl, maybe 8. The boy was practicing his basketball skills, dribbling the ball between his legs, moving backwards, sidewards, spinning around, all while keeping perfect control over the ball. The girl on the other hand was listening to music and practicing dance moves from the latest music video (needless to say, both kids were far more skillful in their respective activity than I ever will be). Then something interesting happened: The kids started teaching each other their respective activities. And while the boy did quite a good job of learning the girl’s dance moves, the girl struggled when it came to dribbling the basketball: Whereas before as she was dancing, she was able to move extremely smoothly and elegantly, now her body became stiff. Her eyes fixated on the ball so as not to lose control, her upper body moved up and down parallel to her hand awkwardly and in a very choppy way; and she kept losing the ball repeatedly after every dozen or so dribbles. Is this little anecdote proof then that girls are just naturally less adept at ball games than boys [spoiler alert: it’s not]?

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Masculinities 101 Week in Review

28 Mar

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

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Shifting Hegemonic Masculinity? Gay Male Athletes and Discourses of Masculinity

5 Mar

By mariselise derivative work: Steffaville [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

The NBA has its first openly gay player in Jason Collins, and the NFL will follow soon, as former college player Michael Sam is expected to join a team this summer.  This might indicate that we are seeing a radical shift in society’s stereotypes about gay men. At the same time, it remains to be seen, as Dave Zirin asks at The Nation whether gay male athletes like Sam can help shift our definitions of masculinity more broadly or whether they might paradoxically reinforce gender norms and notions of hyper-masculinity at the same time.

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A Global Meeting in New Delhi

17 Feb

I spent the first week of February in a crowded hotel conference room in New Dehli.  Some of the people in the room represented small organizations with only a small handful of staff members and some of them represented UN agencies with multi-billion dollar budgets.  We came from all over the world but we all came for one purpose:  to talk about men, boys, and gender justice.  The organizations that people in that room represented range from a Centre for Men and Masculinities Studies in Bangladesh to a Caribbean network of gender equality activists and practitioners called CariMan and many more in between.  People in that room ran programs that strive to broaden young boys’ notions of masculinity, encourage more involved fatherhood, and change cultural norms around sexuality to name only a few.  We came together not only over the concept that a more gender equitable world benefits all people but also over the basic idea that we can all do something to help move toward that world.

The four days I spent in that conference room were divided into two separate meetings.  The first was a steering committee meeting for MenEngage, a global alliance of NGOs that work with men and boys to promote gender equality.  The second was a planning meeting for a global symposium to be held in New Delhi in November addressing the global work with men and boys on issues of gender justice.

In both meetings I was impressed by the depth and breadth of work being done, but at the end of each day I was also reminded of just how much more is needed.  Just outside the doors of the hotel stood one of the largest cities in the world.  The Delhi metropolitan is home to around 22 million people and every time I left the hotel the sheer numbers of people reminded just how hard work to change cultural norms can be.  Most of the work being done to change cultural norms around masculinity happens at an institutional level (school, workplace, or organization. e.g.) or at a community level (places of worship, civic centers, e.g.) and even the most well-funded programs are lucky to reach a few hundred or a few thousand people.

The Centre for Health and Social Justice, a local NGO and our host in New Delhi, does tremendous work with men and boys but how can the change that they make be measured in a city of 22 million?  While these questions may seem fatalistic and the numbers may feel insurmountable, I am asking them because they illustrate the challenge we have ahead of us.  If we hope to create measurable change, we need more men and boys doing this work on all levels

I look forward to posting more about the 2014 Global Symposium in November as it approaches and will keep our readers filled on the call for abstracts, the program as it develops, registration information, and, of course, lessons learned in the process.

The elusive gay male soccer player in Germany – Homophobia and Solidarity

5 Feb

“Fans against Homophobia” display in the stadium of German soccer club Mainz 05, celebrating the 5 year anniversary of their LG(BT?)-fan club. [Source: http://www.meenzelmaenner.de/resources/_wsb_500x276_Choreo5.jpg%5D

In 2013, NBA player Jason Collins made headlines when he became the first active openly gay male* athlete in one of the major 4 men’s team sports in the US. A similar story made headlines this winter in Germany, when recently retired soccer player Thomas Hitzlsperger – who formerly played in the German Bundesliga, Italian Serie A and English Premier League as well as for the German national team – came out as gay in an interview with the newspaper Die Zeit, becoming the first openly gay male soccer player in Germany. Similar to Collins, Hitzlsperger tied his outing to the political project of starting a discussion about homophobia and notions of masculinity in soccer. And paralleling Collins’ story, Hitzlsperger’s outing raises the question of whether we will witness a transformation of the gender politics in big-time German professional sports.

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