Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

Adieu (for now)

June 7, 2011

Well, if you’ve been checking out Critical Masculinities zealously over the last months I’d like to apologise. I’ve been woeful with the updates and whatnot. If it’s your first time here – welcome!

I’ve decided that I will formalise the de facto state that CM is in – time for a hiatus.

I’ve got a bunch of other stuff going on in my life at the moment that means that this blog is well and truly low down on the list of priorities. Not to say that I’m not into gender and sexual politics around masculine identity. I’m just doing it in a more RL platform.

so thanks for all the comments (except for the MRA haters) and the feedback, and if you have any burning questions you can still email me.

It’s been fun.

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Masculinity in the Academy; masculinity studies.

September 27, 2010

A few days ago Leah McLaren wrote an article in the Globe and Mail on ‘masculinity studies’ in the Academy. Now because I’m a lazy blogger at the moment, it took me a few days to notice related links popping up in my feed. Specifically I noticed an excellent Gender Across Borders post, and one from fellow masculinities blogger Ultimo167.

What I’m doing here is adding my two cents of opinion on McLaren’s article – I highly recommend you read the GAB post & Ultimo’s as they come from quite different perspectives. McLaren’s article, wittily entitled “Man, don’t feel like a womyn” (you can already see where this is going) is a somewhat polemic op ed piece that does I think reflect some pretty common attitudes towards the growing academic fields of studies that critically evaluate masculinity.

As someone who did gender studies at university (not women’s studies),  and because I am influenced by my own maleness to look in that direction I’m pretty comfortable saying that I come from a pro ‘masculinity studies’ perspective. I’d also like to think that I recognise the complexities of being a man interested in gender equality and how gender/sex/etc based oppression works, I’ve written about it a bit before (here and here for example, but it’s an unsurprisingly common refrain here). I reckon that involving men and male voices (in appropriate ways) is vital to working meaningfully towards a better gender balance/world/queer utopia/etc, and excluding male voices and perspectives is rarely good.

Leah McLaren has a decidedly us/them seeming conception of gender, rather than my own warm fuzzy third wave/pomo/queer/wanker perspective. Also , I gotta say, if the following statement is anything to go by, McLaren’s understanding of this particular part of the academy seems dated and surprisingly narrow;

The whole point of women’s studies, so we were taught in Feminist and Critical Thinking 101, is to bring academic focus to women’s perspective in history and literature… Now that the bulk of that ideological work is largely done, however, academia remains bogged down in identity politics. (In the real world, by contrast, feminism still has far to go – just look at the recent finding that Canadian women make 63 per cent of what men do.)

As an extension of women’s studies, the study of masculinity is illogical. After all, couldn’t most academic inquiry throughout history be classified as men’s studies?

Yep. I think that McLaren has really missed the point of masculinity studies, it’s not a companion piece to feminist analysis, it’s not about continuing a discussion based around us/them but rather a recognition that menfolk have important roles to play in advancing gender equity and the goals of feminism too.

Reading: Odds & ends

August 11, 2010

This Q & A with Grant Stoddard, a ‘sexpert’ who wrote a book and might be getting a tv show (the man project) has some interesting stuff to say about masculinity and sexuality and how the twain can be limiting for guys.

This blog post by the polymathic (?) Stephen Fry. of particular interest is the “part 2” where he talks about being the right kind of homosexual man. (Thanks Rob)

 This  nifty little video round up of the generally pathetic state of masculine expression in advertising is worth a watch too (thanks Nio)

And this nifty article on the demise of the American action star (and it’s possible revival?) – Hello Expendables. (thanks for the heads up Dane)

Reading: A muslim perspective on performing masculinity.

June 9, 2010

Jehanzeb Dar has written a great (longish) post reflecting on performative masculinity, and has some great things to say about masculinity in a muslim perspective, especially about growing up as a young muslim from a south asian background in a predominantly white part of America. Check it out here.

An Introduction.

October 2, 2009

I guess that a first post on a blog is unavoidably one of introduction and explanation.

I’m not sure what precisely ‘Critical Masculinity’ will turn into, or where the  focus will primarily lie, but for now I imagine it to be an exploration into issues around gender, its construction and operation in society, in relation to specific examples of masculine identities & performances.

My interests in this stem from my broader interest in the meaning and operation of gender and sexuality in culture, and specifically understandings of masculinity, and the lack of (what I would call) positive models of masculine identity in the culture with which I am familiar. Particularly I am interested in promoting non-normative & marginalised understandings of masculine identity. Broadly speaking my ideological underpinnings in this area could be characterised as pro-feminist.

But more on this later, I think this will serve as sufficient introduction.

Coming Soon

October 2, 2009