Recent posts

Pizza, Teenage Boys, And Masculinity

A year-long District of Columbia program called the “Men of Strength” club—MOST Club—entices high school boys into discussions about masculinity and gender roles by offering pizza at lunch-time meetings. It’s a bit devious, perhaps, but there are worse ways to go about things. Facilitator Kedrick Griffin spends an hour every week at each of various school around the district, hoping “to challenge traditional masculinity and push his young charges to respect their female peers.” Recognizing that sexist behaviors are rewarded by other teenage males, Griffin tries to persuade the guys in his group to think about how harassment, for example, feels from the girl’s perspective, and to learn to deconstruct hegemonic masculinity. Some topics go over better than others; many students, for instance, are still reluctant to accept gay men as masculine enough and as deserving of rights. Continue Reading →

Performing Masculinity And The “Act Like A Man” Box

I’ve been researching and writing about masculinity recently (as my current dissertation chapter is on masculinity in fairy tales), and Charlie Glickman’s blogging has been really thought-provoking for me, both intellectually and personally. Starting with his post on the performance of masculinity and proceeding to his post about selectively performing masculinity by choosing attributes from the “act like a man box,” I’ve been thinking about why masculinity has such a pervasive, compelling presence–and what we can do about its negative aspects. By viewing masculinity as a set of traits contained within the “act like a man box,” Glickman has helped give us a language for discussing men’s behavior that is not, as much feminist language is, either very theoretical and abstract or condemning. And yes, a lot of masculine behavior should be condemned as violent, aggressive, misogynist, homophobic. But only using critical language ends conversations rather than starting them; telling a dude off for being a dude shuts down dialogue, and doesn’t give him a way to constructively participate in the effort to fix what’s wrong with hegemonic masculinity. Continue Reading →

Deconstructing Predatory Male Sexuality

So, that guy who was hitting on you in an unwanted way? Kinda creepy, right? Or not, as Clarisse Thorn would have it, in her post asking us to analyze the reasons for demonizing men who express their sexual needs. She asked us to think about what the word “creep” really means; why it’s such a terrible, stigmatizing act for a man to express his sexuality; and why it almost always comes across as predatory, or at best creepy or weird. Continue Reading →

Morehouse College Dress Code Prohibits Men From Wearing Dresses

I had a elementary school teacher in the 1980s who would share stories of how she and her teaching colleagues, in the 70s, would wear pants to work in protest of the school’s dress code. They would be sent home to change out of their pants before they could return to work. As much as women have made strides in the types of clothes that they can wear to work and in public spaces, men’s choices have not expanded to the same degree. Continue Reading →