Saturday, October 30, 2010

The military is the best example for how violence is built into masculinity

trigger warning for discussion of rape and sexual assault.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

daddy & papa (New Trailer)

I mentioned in class this documentary. I found it very worth watching

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The War Between the Sexes

Since I watched Venus Boys a few weeks ago, the words of one of the interviewees has been fermenting in my mind: "There really is a war between the sexes." Ze (not sure how the interviewee identifies gender-wise) was talking about the priveleges ze was noticing since being able to pass as a man, I think including being privy to anti-woman comments that ze wouldn't have heard in earlier days when being viewed as a woman.

I have started taking to heart the anti-woman comments I've heard lately...I guess I have always thought of "misogyny" as a mistrust of women, a condescion to women, or simple but often humor-ridden discrimination. I don't think I wanted to believe that I was up against an actual "hatred" of women.

One example of these comments was a joke that a guy friend of mine made. We were at dinner with friends and a woman who was there, whom we had both just met, made a comment that pissed him off--a joke about his paisanos being bigheaded and irritated. He got onto her about it, and later he told me..."You know what I was thinking...I didn't say it, but I was thinking 'You know what's wrong with her? She must not be getting f*&%^d right," and explained, "Her boyfriend must not be doing her if she were with a [insert his nationality]...maybe she wouldn't be so bitchy"
I was pretty sure he didn't see anything wrong with getting even by making a joke about her sexuality. Not her nationality, or her sense of humor, but her sexuality...which had absolutely nothing to do with any of our conversation at dinner that night. I was also pretty sure he was just softening the joke for me by adding on humor about the sexual prowess of his countrymen. What his joke showed me was that slights to a woman based on her sexuality were fair game, and that it was natural that he should go there because after all, women are mostly sex objects who might happen to have other interests and roles in life like student, mother, etc.

Maybe I'm leaping to assumptions there, but the joke reeked of hatred for women. Because it implied that since she wasn't "getting -- right," the only thing that would straighten her out was a good --. The joke was repulsive because it carried the threat of rape to put her back in her place, to show her she better not make a joke that offended him like that again.

What is most frustrating about the incident, is that I'm not sure I could even begin to have this conversation with my friend, or whether it would be worth it. If he has been socialized to view women this way, over years and years and years, how many conversations will I have to have to make a dent on his brain? And will he even be able to let down his guard long enough to actually look introspectively on his views of women and how they might be harmful...especially if all the men he comes into contact with hold the same views.

It has opened my eyes to the threat and real hatred that actually lies behind many rape jokes and other male-entitlement behaviors...It is disturbing to think that so many men can function in a world where they commodify women as sex objects and view them with a truly destructive level of disrespect. It was also a wakeup call to me to the fact that women, myself included, internalize this commodification and don't do much to fight the way we are treated on the individual level...sometimes it seems like way too much effort to speak up when I am so clearly in enemy territory.

So what is my level of responsibility to other women, and men, who may very well fall victim to my woman-hating friends some day? After all, acquaintance rape and other forms of physical and emotional abuse are pretty common occurences, and our friends and loved ones are perpetrators. Should we as feminists be holding each to a higher standard...quit letting each other slide on the "it's not your fault--it's internalized oppression" card. I let myself slide with this card a lot and let it explain my not-so-heroic behavior while on dates, while walking down the street, or going about any random daily business where I interact with men...while out at the club, and in the bedroom. It's a hard question for me when I feel like speaking up and fighting back comes with high social costs, and I don't have a lot of contact with fellow feminists who don't make me feel judged by simply dismissing my asshole friends or partners by saying "He's an asshole...why do you have anything to do with him?"

So I guess that's why Theories of Masculinity is awesome, since it provides literature and a space to seriously examine the hows and whys of misogeny...also a shout out and thank you to Men Against Rape for taking on this sort of work!

How to Loose a Guy in 10 Days

My favorite types of movies are romantic comedies. As I was thinking about romantic comedies that relate to this class the movie, “How to Lose a guy in 10 days,” popped into my head; the film starring Kate Hudson and Mathew McConaughey. Since I will be discussing a different film related to masculinity for the film review, I figured that I would post a short review about this movie and its relation to masculinity.
How to Lose a Guy in 10 days is about a woman who works for a magazine called Composure. She is sick and tired about writing the same stuff, so she assigned herself the “How to” beat. Her story is How to Lose a guy in 10 days. In the movie, she dates a guy doing all of the “wrong” things in order to complete her “How to” article. McConaughey is a successful businessman who thinks he can make any woman fall in love with him in just 10 days; however, the two individuals are not aware of each other’s motives.
This film relates to our “Theories of Masculinity” class in several ways. Masculinity has many different meanings and you can define masculinity in several ways. When I think of a masculine guy I think of someone who is tough, smart, confident, and a guy who is able to get what he wants. I realize that my opinions of masculinity are very narrow-minded, but by taking this class I’ve learned that masculinity is much more that just a macho guy. I also think this movie portrays guys in a very narrow-minded mindset. This movie portrays to viewers that guys are in fact able to get what they want, even when it comes to women. I think that Hudson gives McConaughey a real run for his money by doing exactly the opposite of what a guy wants. This movie proves that women have the same amount of power in a relationship as men.

Early Comic Books and their Subjection of Women

Anybody who gets to know me knows one thing about me: I'm a geek. I read comics, watch anime, and play video games. Since I have identified as a feminist though I have enjoyed my geek media with a feminist eye. I came across this article this morning through a link that one of my friends on Facebook posted. While comic books are a new form of media that I've been getting myself into, there are some things about them I know to steer away from. There is no denying that during the 70s and 80s comic books depicted women as the weaker gender who always needs to be saved (while wearing some garment that was unnecessarily revealing). Comics during this time frame also depicted men as the heroes needing way too many muscles and the other men in the comics as being chauvinistic and woman-crazy. The comic book featured in this article speaks loudly to these horrible "credentials". While I know nothing about the comic book series Lois Lane I can get an idea what it might be about. Lois Lane gets herself into compromising situations (sometimes with other busty, curvy women dressed in as little fabric as possible) and needs to be saved by her boyfriend, Superman. Now I love my comics and my anime. I just try to do my best and ignore the pieces that give a bad name to these franchises.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Jackson Katz on Linda McMahon

So, Linda McMahon co-managed WWE with her husband Vince McMahon, and she is now currently running for CT state Senate. Jackson Katz wrote about the problematic nature of her involvement with WWE for the Huffington Post titled "
Linda McMahon Smacks Down Women
" where he states:

Make no mistake about it: until Linda McMahon decided to run as a Republican for the United States Senate, she was one-half of one of the most culturally destructive, and blatantly misogynistic, business partnerships in the history of popular entertainment. Under Linda and her husband Vince McMahon's leadership, the WWE has featured some of the most brutal, violent and hateful depictions of women in all of media culture over the past twenty years.

I'm sure we'll hear more from Katz in reference to wrestling and how it celebrates and glamorizes violence when we watch Wrestling for Manhood, but I'm mostly interested in comparing his criticisms of McMahon to Mick Foley's heavily involvement in anti-violence work, and if Katz has written about such? I did a quick Google search earlier and came up empty, so I'll keep an eye out.

Yale Frat Pledges Chant “No Means Yes, Yes Means Anal”

The Society Pages blog has recently been publishing quite a few stories on the overlap between frat culture, rape culture, the clearly unhealthy conditioning of masculinities, and the cultural insensitivity that has been evident in the practices of some of the institutions that are indubitably conditioning our future leaders. Reading these articles fills me with concern regarding how these behaviors could ever, ever be deemed acceptable, even just as an effort to fit into a very exclusive "boys' club," and I do hope these incidents are more isolated than I believe they are.

Black Masculinity

Throughout all the different ideas that have been discussed on Masculinity, I have made the mistake of lumping all men into the same "masculine category". After watching the movie on Black Masculinity in class last week I see that I should not have done this. One of the main concepts I am understanding is that men are automatically able to be seen as leaders in society, but it never occurred to me that this is not always so for the African American man (and that definitely means its harder for the African woman also). This movie had many responses towards black masculinity and they were things such as, "Black masculinity isn't a privilege, it is earned", and "the black man has to work twice as hard to receive the same status as a white man". I realize now I should never assume that all groups of people (men) should be lumped into a single category. There are obviously numerous types of categories for different groups, even men.
Interestingly enough in another class I am taking, (Sex, Gender, and Philosophy)we are reading Black Sexual Politics. Today actually we discussed the oppression of African Americans and the stereotypes they must endure today that can date all the way back to slavery. One stereotype of black men is "the Buck". Which is another way (dating back to slavery) of saying that the African American man is "big, strong, and stupid". It is a way that made it justified to treat black men as subordinates to the white man. Now I have begun to wonder, and I honestly think I already know the answer, but does society still hold this viewpoint towards the black man and really the black community as a whole?? I think YES! It is no wonder the African American men (and women to, not to leave them out just because they are women) must work so hard to overcome these ideologies in order to achieve the same "masculine status" as a white man. And it is also not surprising that some of theses men turn to a life of violence and crime, because all they are really trying to do is achieve a status for themselves, and unfortunately our society is not treating these men (at least not consistently) as equals. It gives me even more of a reason to question what real masculinity is... From my viewpoint no man or woman should ever have to work twice as hard to achieve the same things as another man or woman. I hope the rest of society will soon discover that as well.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

“You must be gay.” (On the bullying of pro-feminist men.)

The other day I was involved in a conversation about what men can do to stop rape. One of the participants was a young university student who is articulate, energetic, funny, and charismatic. He is also gay, and he doesn’t care who knows it. And that’s a real strength when it comes to doing men’s anti-violence work. Because when we men do this work, other people – mostly men – often either make the assumption that we are gay, or they try to level “gay” at us as an accusation.

I speak out against rape. I speak out against all forms of violence against women. And I often encounter “You must be gay.” It is almost never said in a positive way.
When I was in university these attacks were quite visible. I lived in a student residence. One morning I awoke to find the words BILL PATRICK SUCKS COCK! spray-painted on the wall outside my room. (This was in retaliation for my pro-feminist activism on campus.) Two close male friends of mine came over to support me. These friends, who happened to be gay themselves, humorously declared: “Well, if theyreally wanted it to be an insult, they needed to write: ‘Bill Patrick sucks cock... badly!’”

I am certainly not the first pro-feminist man to be called “gay” as a form of attack, and I unfortunately won’t be the last. But I would like to take a moment to address the phenomenon of why those of us who speak out against men’s violence are so often called “gay” – and to talk a little bit about how we can respond to this supposed slur.
The two most damning insults that we level at men in North American society are that they are either woman-like or that they are gay. (Actually, this is only true for white men. There are plenty of other vicious names that we sometimes call men who don’t happen to be white.) But the most hurtful way to attack a white guy is to go after his masculinity. We call him a woman, a girl, effeminate. And – with the profound ignorance that always accompanies bigotry – we confuse the issue of sexual orientation with the issue of gender identity, and, in a further attempt to bring this man’s masculinity into question, we call him “gay.”

(The presumption gay men are never masculine is of course absurd, and it quickly vaporizes when one learns even the most basic truths about our gay communities.)

But why do we try to attack the masculinity of a man who speaks out against violence against women? Because he is calling into question some of the basic tenets of what comprises traditional masculinity – the very notion of what it means to be a man. He is taking on the antiquated ideas that “boys will be boys” regardless of the consequences, that men are innately violent, that men are naturally sexually aggressive, and that men should be able to dominate women. To speak about respect, about mutuality, about collaboration, and about consent is to speak about a new way of being for men that honours the humanity of women. To many unenlightened men, this is a huge threat, and they will lash out however they can. And the most common way that they do so is to call the speaker “gay.” This can be a very effective way of silencing some men who would like to speak out against men’s violence – but who feel hindered from doing so for fear of being thought of as gay.

So just how can we respond to “You must be gay!” and ensure that it does not silence the voices of those men and boys who would like to speak up for gender justice? Here are a few possibilities:

Don’t deny it. Unless you think that to do so would put you in immediate physical danger, do not deny the suggestion that you are gay. When you respond to the allegation that you are gay with a denial, you collude with the accuser in his implication that there is something wrong with being gay. You abandon your gay brothers, and you endorse the notion that gay men should not be listened to on these issues. The reality is that what you have been saying has made this person nervous. Consider letting him continue to sit in the ambiguity of not knowing whether you are gay or not.

Ask him why it matters. Whether a man who is speaking about new roles for men is gay or not is irrelevant. If the questioner/attacker’s supposition is that gay men have nothing useful to say about relations between men and women, refute this. And add that just as with heterosexual situations, people in same-sex contexts must also negotiate issues of power, mutuality, respect, and consent.

Examine and heal your own pain. If the attacker's implication that you are not “manly” enough hurts you, this is a wound that needs to be healed. The truth is that anyone who identifies as a man is de factomanly enough, and anyone who has brought you shame around these issues was wrong to do so. Whether we are masculine, feminine, neither, or somewhere in between, we who identify as men are all manly enough!

Cleanse yourself of homophobia. If being called “gay” causes uncomfortable feelings to emerge within you, this is another wound that needs to be healed. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being gay. And there is nothing wrong with other people thinking that you might be gay. If being called “gay” makes you feel bad, then you probably have more work to do on this issue.

Address what is going unsaid. When a man who speaks out against rape gets called “gay,” something really, really horrible has just been implied about straight men – that all straight men endorse rape. When you get called “gay” for criticizing men who get women drunk in order to assault them, the person who called you “gay” just called all straight guys rapists. And that’s not o.k. Point out this implication.

Resist being bullied. Understand that someone calling you “gay” for speaking out is quite possibly an attempt to bully you into conforming to regressive gender norms about men and women. Resist the bully! Don’t let him control you!
And, finally, one possible response is simply to be gracious:

Just say: “Thank you.”

Saturday, October 23, 2010

"Man Up"

I find the turn of phrase "man up"to be pretty cringeworthy, and I also find most things that come out of Angle's mouth to be cringe-inducing as well, so imagine my face when I saw this debate footage. Instances of women using this phrase introduce a whole new level of internalized sexism. If telling someone to man up is tantamount to telling them to "toughen up," are women not tough? Must men always be tough? I'm sure you all can think of many more problematic aspects to this phrase, it's use by women, and especially its use by a politician with such extreme anti-woman views.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

"It Gets Better"

In light of yesterday being Anti-gay bullying awareness day and of our conversation about it in class last night I found this article about the It Gets Better project which is a Youtube video project started by columnist Dan Savage. It features videos from adults to gay, lesbian and transgender teenagers with one clear message "It gets better". I think these videos will be a great comfort to teenagers who have to endure bullying, so that they know they're not alone and that it does eventually get better.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Barack & Curtis: Manhood, Power, and Respect

short documentary film examining the contrasting styles of manhood exhibited by Presidential Candidate Barack Obama and Rapper/Mogul Curtis Jackson, aka 50 Cent.

Be sure to read the director's statement, too. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

5 Things Society Expects of Men

As I was searching on YouTube, for videos about masculinity, I came across this great video of “5 Things Society Expects of Men.” Since this class primarially relates to masculinity, I though this short video is very humourous, yet appropiate. These are 5 things that women expect from men. The talk head asked the questions to a male to see if these expectations are fair and accurate.
One of the five things that society expects from men is that: men need to make more money, which is “the essence of being a man, making money.” The man said that is is almost true. In today’s society, families are living more of an egalitatian lifestyle. Therefore, it is not always the men who are the breadwinners.
The second expectation is “Win, Win, Win. You have to be competitive and win at all times.” The man said that this is very true. That what is masculine is to WIN! However, the video states that if the man doesn’t have a naturally competitive nature, it doesn’t make him nessecerily less of a man. Following that is: Men should be physically strong. The man says its not about physically strong, its all about being mentally strong. The fourth expectation is that in order to be a man you need to know how to fix stuff. Lastly, to classify a true man, you must be able to give a women pleasure.
In conclusion women may have several unrealistic expectations from men. I recommend watching this video on five things that society expects from men.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Inviting Husbands, Fathers and Sons to Help End Domestic Violence

Inviting Husbands, Fathers and Sons to Help End Domestic Violence

When he proclaimed October to be National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, President Obama said, “Ending domestic violence requires a collaborative effort involving every part of our society.”  He couldn’t be more right.
I remember a time when domestic violence wasn’t discussed much in public, and when it was perfectly acceptable to joke about it.  In those days, if there was a serious public conversation about abuse, only women were inclined to join it. 
Today, I am so proud that men work alongside us, in every facet of our work.  This October, the men who run sports teams, businesses, media outlets, foundations and community centers are just as likely as the women who run them to be taking part in National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
The inclusion of men is also evidence of our steadfast focus on prevention.  To end abuse we must teach the next generation that violence is always wrong.  Boys listen to their role models, so we all need to encourage men to teach boys to reject violence against girls and women in all its forms. There are tools to do that here.  Today, any man who wants to help stop domestic violence is welcomed and supported.
October is an important month for those of us who work to end domestic and sexual violence.  People are paying attention to the issue.  At a time when four women are murdered each day in this country by current or former husbands or boyfriends, when rape and sexual assault plague college campuses, when teen girls think his jealous rage is a form of love, when adolescents think violence is a normal part of dating, we have a lot of work still to do. 
We are so proud to be able to do that work with an Administration that is truly committed to stopping domestic violence ¬ and to know that, as we go forward, we will have millions of men with an unwavering dedication to this cause at our side.
For information and resources about domestic and sexual violence, please  For more information about the Violence Against Women Act, please
Esta Soler is the President of the Family Violence Prevention Fund

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Animal House trailer: have things changed much at all?

The "bromance" has been branded as though it's a new era for the twenty-something dude film, but National Lampoon's Animal House (1978) and many other movies of that time profited on the same raunchy humor and adventurous pursuit of women. The only real difference, in my eyes, is that this is the focus is on a larger fraternal organization, rather than one single male bond. Any thoughts?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Bitch Magazine: Policing Masculinity

Interesting post from Bitch Magazine about female politicians policing masculinity in male politicians. I do find it interesting that all of the women lean more to the right, which may have something to do with their deeply rooted belief of traditional gender roles? But then I remember it's politics, and personally I think they could all (left, right, everyone in between) "step up their game" but that's besides the point, really. It made me think of how many times I've made such statements, like "man up!" or "wow, that takes balls" whether it's in response to a male or female friend/family/relative.


So yesterday morning I took my son to get a haircut. Normally when he was younger and not to long away i found myself never wanting to go the barbershop. In NY everytime a girl walks into a barbershop its like time freezes and you feel your skin burning from how hard they are looking at you and not necessarily your face ;)... So this time around i said screw it i'm going in! The minute a woman walks in the topics change and the attitude of the barbers seems to have a flip on switch of decency and respect( which is great when you think about it) But it had me wondering the following? Is the barbershop a place for woman? When was the last time you saw a woman as the barber? Well i came across this article of a woman in NJ who has retired from being a barber after 50 years. Even though i'm aware that this is a blog for Theorizing masculinity. My real question is what is going on behind those doors before a woman walks in?

Just for kicks i figure i would attach a picture of my little one and his new haircut :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fairvilla Event

Cristina Calandruccio asked me to promote this event in all of my classes. Not really a masculinities topic, but tangentially related, I suppose. It should be fun.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


So I got to see this play in the Student Union becuase i happen to do all my studying there. This play was completely amazing, made me both cry and laugh. They tackle on hard racial issues and also gender ones. The link is the youtube clip of them. there website is also


Sunday, October 10, 2010

man of the house

I had a conversation with my friend about this song. I hate it! I think its kinda silly, really outdated. But it was on Fantasia's latest CD. I'm definitely a Fantasia fan, but these lyrics provoke a conversation about gender roles and empowerment.

Was wondering if anybody had any thoughts on these LYRICS...

If we dont got it I’ll go get it (it ain’t a thang)
And if it’s broken I’ll fix it (I dont complain)
But now see it’s gettin’ a little out of hand,
Cook, cleaning, providing taking care of little man
You want to talk about who’s wearing the pants
Baby well I dont understand

[Chorus 2x:]
(If you gone) be the man,
Then be the man,
Cause if you can’t
Baby I can,
I can and I will so
Figure it out
Which one of us gone be the man of the house

(yeah, hey)
Boy, I just don’t get it
(You ain’t supposed to act like a little boy)
Just cause I’m independent
You walk around with your chest out
Like you the one
But if I don’t do it
Then it won’t get done
I’m a good woman
But I’m not dumb
You gone be the man or my son

[Chorus 2x:]
(If you gone) be the man,
Then be the man,
Cause if you can’t
Baby I can,
I can and I will so
Figure it out
Which one of us gone be the man of the house

And I’m sick and tired of
Being the boss for us
(being the boss for us)
No this ain’t the kind of love
It’s supposed to be
You want to be
King of the castle
(ohhhh, you want to be)
You want to be captain
You gone have to work a little bit harder for that to happen

[Chorus 4x:]
(If you gone) be the man,
Then be the man,
Cause if you cant
Baby I can,
I can and I will so
Figure it out
Which one of us gone be the man of the house

Men Growing Up to be Boys

This article may be a little old, but I thought it was interesting and still very relevant.

Mens Story Project

I came across this website and found it intresting and thought i should share.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Venus Boyz

During the opening scene of Venus Boyz, the audience immediately can see what Judith Butler says when she writes about gender being performative. Bridge Markland tells the cab driver, "I play man, but I also play woman." The interesting discourse between ze and the cab driver, when he asks if ze "plays husband or boyfriend" further reminds us that society believes in binaries and traditional gender roles, while others believe gender can be fluid and is a broad spectrum with more than male/female. Bridge also states that ze believes doing drag is political for hir, which honestly is something I never thought of. Sure, I always enjoyed drag and found it to be funny but also amazing to see people playing with gender in that way, but political? After viewing Venus Boyz, I definitely see it that way -- subverting gender roles, making people think, bordering between the feminine man and masculine woman and everything in between is absolutely making a political statement.

Halfway through the film, Judith Halberstam discusses the butch/femme dichotomy, and how some folks can turn it on or off. In her essay "Transgender Butch: Butch/FTM Border Wars and the Masculine Continuum", she writes that "masculinity is [seen] as a limited resource, available to only afew in ever-decreasing quantities. Or else, we see masculinity as a set of protocols that should be agreed upon in advance." Halberstam continues by saying "there are a variety of gender-outlaw bodies under the sign of nonnormative masculinities and femininities." I think Venus Boyz accurately displays that: many of the people interviewed stated that they fall somewhere in between, or even outside, the wide, ever-expanding spectrum of gender, and some folks don't consider themselves either masculine or feminine -- like Storme Weather, and don't feel the need to categorize themselves. Society constantly wants to place people in two checkboxes -- male or female -- and it leaves little space for the in between. This documentary proves that gender (and the performance) doesn't have to be either/or, that it can be fluid or a constant state of flux or neither or both all at once.

Eradicate Masculinity: One Pakistani Muslim-American Man's Perspective

An interesting read...thoughts?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Metal and Masculinity: Pt. 2

Here's the second part of "Metal: A Headbanger's Journey" about gender and sexuality. I would like to examine a couple points in this documentary and expand on them a bit.

Sam: "And of course the big debate perhaps is that groupies are percieved as being objectified and powerless--"

Pamela: "That is so lame! Because they're exactly where they want to be. Women who are hanging out with bands are not dragged and coerced into the bands' bedrooms or back stage or buses or anything. They want to be there. They make every effort in the world to get where they can be with these bands, and they're doing exactly what they want to do."

The assumption that groupies are objectifies and powerless is, in and of itself, a sexist sentiment. It assumes women aren't sexual beings, don't want to be sexualized, that they all aspire to the ideal of the proverbial virgin. If anything, the people being objectified as sexual objects in this relationship are the male performers. They're the ones who are the sexual trophy, they're the ones being conquered by these women. To assume that this can't happen is also a sexist sentiment. It assumes that all men want lots of sex, which may not always be the case.

"And then finally you start realizing, shit, this is a job too. You know? It's a business. It's not just constant partying."
"When I got off the road and I decided I was done, it took me a long time to be able to embrace a woman, with any integrity at all; they were all pigs. And you start to, you know, it, a lot of these guys, you know, are still headfucked about it. You know what I mean? A lot of these guys still try to live that lifestyle because they don't know anything else. But, you know, you become a product of that environment."

Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe (first quote above) seems to have been horribly impacted by the "sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll" philosophy. His name is associated not only with the band, but with sex tapes and multiple accusations of assault on sex workers. It would be hard to argue this has no relationship to the lifestyle he maintained in his band. Having a 24/7 all-you-can-eat buffet of women may have made it very difficult for him to mature and adapt to normal society, and in a way he was a victim of that lifestyle. Much like how women sex workers may start stereotyping all men as pigs, heavy metal artists who were contantly exposed to sexually driven women may have lost respect for all women. With such a loss of respect comes consequences.

I wouldn't go so far as to suggest that heavy metal and rock 'n' roll are the devil's music, and bad for everyone, and should be banned. Absolutely not. But I would suggest that, when it comes to the sex part of "sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll", all parties have a responsibility to consider the gender consequences of their actions. Treating men as sexual objects is playing into patriarchy in just the same way as the objectification of women is.

"When we get on stage, people give us a great deal of respect, which is fantastic. But, um, I've been in bands before Girlschool, but I've been on stage, people asking me if I'm 'tuning the guitar for the guitarist' or, you know, that sort of patronizing comment. 'Cause they don't expect a female to get up and play guitar. But, you know, that's the way it's always been."

That's one thing that metalheads pride themselves in, is that they're equal-opportunity, and show a great deal of respect for people who participate but are not the mainstream. This doesn't just apply to women; when non-whites begin participating, the community is enthusiastic and embracing, and shows a great deal of respect toward them. At the same time, there's always the risk of tokenizing them.

When I suggest metal is a "celebration of masculinity" one of the first things opponents do is point to females in bands. They completely disregard the fact that these women are respected specifically because they perform as men, that they demonstrate and embody masculinity. If they don't embody masculinity, if they speak of women's issues and the experience of girls, if they demonstrate any sort of femininity, they are rejected, in the same way nü metal and hardcore bands are. Take for instance the band Kittie, who frequently speak directly to female listeners in their lyrics. Like Slipknot, this band is not taken very seriously in by metal purists, and often rejected from the genre entirely. While they don't get called "pussies" or "fag music" like a male band might, you might hear someone say "they don't count."

"They tried to put me a little bit more into the, you know, female sexy image, but without power. And I didn't like that. And the people at the record company said, 'Get rid of the black leather. That's number one. Be more of a girl.' And I said, 'Oh no no no no no I can't, you know, I can't do it. And I don't want to do it. I definitely want to, you know, be myself.'"

So while fans love to see women "wearing the pants" in metal, that's not to say they haven't faced resistance in the scene. Record labels know that sex sells, so the assumption is that, if you have a female artist, you need to sexualize them to make bank. Even the members of Kittie feel pressured to look good in order to be successful. This is a conflict male performers don't really have to deal with. But for the women in metal, they find themselves more successful when they resist being turned into sexual objected, and, I would argue, would fail or be rejected if they gave in.

Sam: "Is having kind of a tough persona on stage, is that important to you"

Angela: "Yeah, yeah. Because I am tough on stage. You know? I feel very strong on stage, and I want to give that to the people in front of that stage. If you can just have a lot of strength and power, and want to give it to these people and they take a bit of that home."

Even though they are women on the stage, in a way they are still participating in homosociality, in that they emulate masculinity for a masculine audience (regardless whether the audience members are male or female). The main goal is to share that masculinity, that power, that rebellion, that freedom, with the audience. It doesn't matter what the sex of the performer is.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Venus Boyz.

Wow, what a fascinating movie Venus Boyz is! This film vividly portrays female masculinity in a way that many people can relate to. The individuals in the movie believe that they lived as either a man or women in there past time. I think that this movie gives people a different perspective on the transgender world. Transgender individuals are people who do not conform to culturally defined traditional gender roles associated with their sex. This movie makes me realize that it’s perfectly ok to go against the norm. Not everyone fits into the heterosexual or homosexual category and this movie proves that it’s ok.

After watching the movie, I was looking up several film reviews from the movie to see what other viewers thought of Venus Boyz. Here is a film review from The New York Times. I thought it was interesting to read what they had to say.

In addition, this movie relates to topics in which we have discussed in class. It relates to many of the discussions from Men's Lives. The movie reminds me of the discussion article that I lead the class with from article 8 of Men's Lives, The Act-Like-a-Man Box. From an extremely young age boys are told to "Act like a man." They are taught to hide their feelings, appear tough, and most of all never be caught crying. The author explains in the article that this set of expectations is like a box. The book states that it's a "24 hour a day, seven day a week box that society tells boys they must fit themselves into." Venus Boyz reminds me of this article because the people in this movie do not fit into the "Act-Like-a-Man" box category.