Thursday, September 30, 2010

Use of religious power to seduce young men

Metal and Masculinity: Pt. 1

Here is a clip from Sam Dunn's documentary "Metal: A Headbanger's Journey" that explores gender and sexuality in heavy metal culture. If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend watching this documentary in full, but for the purposes of class, I'm just going to share the gender/sexuality parts with you.

I would like to examine a couple points in this documentary and expand on them a bit.

"Heavy metal has always traditionally been male-dominated. Fact. It was a boy's club, in the way that the music was very aggressive and wasn't particularly sympathetic towards getting a female audience. It wasn't excluding them deliberately, but it's the way it went."
Here, note that he is speaking of the unintentional isolation of women from the metal culture in the past tense. While women aren't anywhere near equally represented in the culture today, it's much better than it once was. In the '80s, perhaps 10% (Dee Snyder's estimation) of the audience was female (and many of them stood on the sidelines, "holding their boyfriends' jackets"), you now have closer to (in my estimation) 30% of the fanbase female. Even in some of the more abrasive genres, you're starting to see a lot more women at these shows fully participating. The last time I went to see Amon Amarth (death metal, gutteral vocals, viking warrior-themed), 1/3 of the audience, easily, was female, which I found very surprising. Many female-lead bands, such as Arch Enemy and Nightwish, have fan bases that are more predominantly female.

In the last 20-30 years, the shift in gender roles in our culture has made the masculine themes of heavy metal much more accessible to women. With more and more families composed of two working parents, and women playing a bigger role in the workplace as they fulfill their career aspirations, the strong music and "working-class ethos" of the metal culture are not as foreign to the female audience as they once were. Male fans are generally very welcoming of this shift, and, though they respond with surprise when they see a woman in a mosh pit or spewing growling vocals, they praise and encourage the participation, rather than shoving them out of the action or booing them off stage.

Whereas, it could be argued, emo music has feminized men and created a "crisis of masculinity", metal is starting to do the complete opposite, masculinizing women. But no one is calling this a "crisis of feminity" because if women are giving up their femininity and starting to act more like men, nothing of value is lost. I would also argue that metal isn't what's changing women in our culture; the changing fanbase is just a reflection of paradigm shifts in our culture. Similarly, with emo, I would argue that men in our culture are becoming more feminized for other reasons, and then gravitate toward emo, not the other way around.

"So strength is one of the elements [of metal], but also using tools very effectively is another part of that working-class, masculine ethos."

This was particularly interesting to me, and I had never thought of it this way before. Despite its rough outer appearance, heavy metal is extremely sophisticated musically. Performers should be able to play riffs, solos, improvise, etc. Back stage, they have a very tender, affectionate relationship with their instruments, and treat them almost as if they were their babies. If you are NOT able to achieve the high level of skill expected of a metal musician, you are ridiculed and feminized. Bands that call themselves metal, but aren't very good, are rejected by purist fans and sequestered to "lesser" genres such as hardcore, punk, and so-called nü metal. These genres are often ridiculed, assumed to be compensating, called gay, their fans called fags, and generally seen as outside of the masculine metal box. This isn't because the bands are considered "girly" or anything, however. It is because they lack skill, and are therefore seen as weaker, inferior. If they try to call themselves metal (or if anyone else tries to call them metal), they are put in their place quickly.

Note, that metalheads don't feminize/ridicule all musicians and fans of these genres necessarily. It is only when the fans and musicians attempt to catagorize these lesser musics as metal that the hostility shows. For example, no one at Metal Club would ridicule me for having Sum 41 or Linkin Park in my music library. They would, however, berate me if I tried to play their music at a club meeting as a means of claiming it as part of the genre.

"If you want to call it sexist, you could, but you'd be missing something. Masculine in Western culture means freedom. And women are always trying to tie them down and domesticate them, so that's part of the masculinity element"

Given this statement, it's easy to understand how metal became so obsessed with Satanism. Satan is not seen as an evil force (except perhaps in the roots of some of the earliest bands like Black Sabbath and Rainbow) so much as a great symbol of rebellion against an oppressive (in this context, feminine) God. In Viking metal, the phrase "The White Christ" doesn't imply purity; it implies cowardice and weakness. Satan is glorified as a rebel; case in point, Symphony X's "Paradise Lost" and the Norwegian black metal scene.

"Metal is probably the last bastion of real rebellion, real masculinity, real men getting together and basically beating their chests."

Notice that this member of Slipknot is saying this over clips of hardcore dancers "moshing" in a pit. The irony of this is that Slipknot is one of those nü metal bands that any metalhead worth his salt will tell you is pussy music, and that the kind of so-called "moshing" shown is a hardcore style of moshing (2-stepping, windmills, "hardcore dancing") that is not generally acceptable in purist metalhead circles. The dance style is more aimed at inflicting harm on others and deflecting self-injury, rather than real moshing which simulates diving into combat head-on, a style of dance that almost encourages you to get so rough that you hurt yourself. Indeed, I have seen people get injured and bloodied during mosh pits, only to later show off their wounds and receive high-fives and horn salutes for their brutality. The message here is that to really be masculine, you can't be afraid of pain. Interestingly, the message also seems to be that masculinity doesn't mean going out of your way to hurt others (unless of course your willing to sustain injury yourself).

And while I'm on the note of bashing Slipknot: he also says here, "Yeah, I love women and I'm totally respectful to them, but at the same time I'm a guy. I like hanging out with guys and doing dumb shit." I'm not really sure what he means when he says he respects women, since this statement is coming from a guy who dehumanizes his entire fanbase by calling them "maggots". He also equates masculinity with "doing dumb shit" which, honestly, isn't all that respectful of men either. If anything, it seems to me he confuses boyishness with masculinity. These are arguably not the same thing.

"I don't know how to explain it. I never questioned my sexuality at any point, and I was up there in lingerie! And my wife, then girlfriend, she was the one dressing me up half the time. I was going 'Okay, great, whatever. Stockings? Let's do it. It's gonna get more attention, it's gonna get me in trouble, let's do it. Gonna freak people out? Fuck yeah!'"

"What are you going to do if you want to rebel, as a man? You gonna get an even more severe suit than your dad? You know? You can't go that direction, but you can genderbend... so that being feminine is the most masculine thing that you can do in this world."

Tales of rebellion are part of the warrior stories that are central to the expression of masculinity. We live in a period of relative peace, in a world where we don't have to fight and kill on a regular basis to defend our home or feed our family. Themes of rebellion in metal are not always about fighting a righteous battle, such as in Iced Earth's "The Glorious Burden". In metal, musicians that dress in women's clothing and sing about Satan probably don't see themselves as oppressed, so much as they see themselves as having fun by picking a fight with cultural expectations. This can be seen in the attitudes expressed by glam metal and shock rock artists like Dee Snyder here.

When I talk about metal being a "celebration of masculinity", opponents often cite either token female artists, or glam metal. In a sort of reverse-psychology sort of way, being feminine is an expression of masculinity, in that it is an act of rebellion against gender norms, and also that a man must be very secure with his masculinity in order to emulate feminine characteristics.

"Heavy metal/rock 'n' roll is very masculine, very hetero. When a guy's up there in his skin-tight pair of leather pants and he's humping the air, they're not looking at it as, 'Awe man, he's shaking his dick at me!' They look at it as, 'Yeah man, yeah, fuck that chick. Whoa, man, I wish I was him; he must be getting laid!'"

Metal (today, at least) isn't overtly hostile toward homosexuality. When Rob Halford reunited with Judas Priest, he was welcomed with open arms. The gay guitarist in Dragonforce is sometimes teased for his sexuality, even on stage by other band members in front of a live audience, but the tone isn't any worse than any other homosocial interactions.

The phenomenon of males viewing other strutting males is another form of homosociality just like any other; there's nothing homosexual about it, as Dee Snyder confusedly seems to think ("Some doctors need to look into this. [laughs]"). I think, when compared to hip-hop, it's a much more healthy expression of masculinity, in that it never uses the commodification of women in order to achieve masculinity. If it does, it's very rare, and it's not in the same tone as hip-hop where men see women as "bitches and hoes". Listen to the lyrics of Mötley Crüe's "Girls, Girls, Girls" and you'll notice it's more about men taking pleasure in the female form, and even romance: "Girls, Girls, Girls / Long legs and burgundy lips... Dancin' down on Sunset Strip... Have you read the news / In the Soho Tribune / Ya know she did me / Well then she broke my heart."

Pro Wrestler Mick Foley Finds His Next Opponent: Sexual Violence

I saw Mick Foley (a.k.a. Pro Wrestler Cactus Jack) on my flight yesterday morning. I did not necessarily know who he was except that my plane neighbor was enamored. I looked him up on my phone and was like, "wow...interesting guy." He stuck out like a sore thumb in first class (not that *I* was in first class but I was in an early row so I saw him there;). Anyway, I posted his pic on FB because it was a random sighting and was then alerted to his wonderful work against sexual violence. Check this out (along with the title link...then look into him more if you don't know who he is). I am really interested in his simultaneous upholding and challenging of masculinity through his work. When we watch Wrestling with Manhood, it will also be useful to think about Foley, since the film is highly critical of pro-wrestling culture and its relationship to violence against women. He is now a prolific writer, an activist against sexual violence, and still films TNA wrestling (at Universal Studios in Otown). He basically bucks social expectation while challenging thinking about masculinity and violence against women. I'm envisioning a future Men Against Rape speaker possibility... :)

Venus Boyz Discussion

Respond to Venus Boyz in relation to any of the discussions, texts, or other films we have examined in this course. Think about how this film and/or its characters challenge(s), uphold(s), complicate(s), and/or provide(s) new insight (or not) into masculinity and gender as a construct or, as Judith Butler asserts, "performative"? How do you respond to the film's treatment of gender, trans issues, spectacle, etcetera? Does it marginalize or bring "other" to the center (or some variation)? Explore the Venus Boyz website (linked below) and respond to any component of the extended discussion on the website. You may or may not abide by these prompts, but I would like to see connections to other texts/discussions we have explored re: masculinity. 

Press Kit: including Interview with Director Gabriel Baur and interviews with performers (etcetera)

Venus Boys website (including quotes from Judith Halberstam I would like you to consider in your response): Click on "Topic" at bottom of screen then click on "Quotes from Halberstam".

You may choose one of the readings listed on our schedule for this week (I expect you to read at least one of them) and integrate this into your discussion. 

You should also respond to at least one classmate and engage in dialogue about the film. It should be evident you watched it and are making connections to the course as a whole, including various theoretical positions we have explored thus far. Your response should be a minimum of 250-words long. DO NOT SIMPLY INCLUDE YOUR OPINION OF THE FILM, but also connections and critical analysis. 

Hope you enjoyed it! Leandra

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Shad - "Keep Shining"

Here's an alternative view to what we saw in Beyond Beats and Rhymes.


I roll with clever broads
With goals like Federov
Seeking better jobs
instead of running scams like Set It Off
Some aren't the smartest but they know what they stand for
They don't let jams disrespect 'em on the dance floor
And though they never hit College like the Danforth
For damn sure they got each others back like a Jansport
Girls in a league of their own like Geena Davis
Nina Simone ladies, Tina Fey chicks
Christina Applegates and Bonita Applebaums
That don't mask and say, "nothing" when you ask what's wrong
That's what's up, they can laugh it up
And they don't pass the buck
Nothin's for certain, we all have to trust
I used to want to find the love of my life
Now I'm tryin' to live a life of love
It's not just a husband and wife thing
It's something that Christ brings
True beauty doesn't run from the light
Keep shining

And I've been known to talk about women
on a track or two
I talk to women, I just can't talk for women
That's for you
We need women for that
More women in rap
Even tracks like Kwali's Four Women
That's still only half the view of the world
There's no girls rappin' so we're only hearin' half the truth
What we have to lose? Too much
Half our youth aren't represented, the better halves of dudes
So we don't hear about your brain, just your brains
How you rock a fella, Stacey Dash dames
We just need your voice like an acapella
Something in the music's gotta change
A lot of things

It's funny how words like, "consciousness" and "positive music"
Can somehow start to feel hollow, it's
Become synonymous with polishing soft collagen lips
On the face of race politics
Well you can't be everything to everyone
So let me be anything to anyone
The world turns and there's clouds sometimes
But there's no such thing as a setting sun
It always keeps shining

My mom taught me where to keep my heart
My aunts taught me how to sing two parts
My sis taught me how to parallel park
Tried to teach me math but she's way too smart
My grandma in her 80′s is still sharp
My girl cousins an activism at art
They taught me there's no curls too tight
No mind to bright
No skin too dark to keep shining

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Rebranding Menstruation.

Since men menstruating as a thought experiment was such a hot button issue during last class, I was so pleased to stumble upon this blog post, which my friend Kate, a Women's Studies graduate student who is currently teaching an Intro class, posted on Facebook. It specifically references "If Men Could Menstruate" and works from the idea that women should be collectively empowered in their ability to menstruate, and use it as a means of uniting together against certain other ills, such as domestic violence, as with the "Some girls bleed more than once a month" ad. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Series of Questions

This ongoing body of work explores the power dynamics inherent in the questions asked of transgender, transsexual, genderqueer, gender-variant, and/or gender non-conforming people.
Many documentary photographic projects that deal with trans issues exploit the genders of their subjects, pointing to an "otherness" or inappropriately exoticizing their bodies. "A Series of Questions" seeks instead to make visible the transphobia and gender-baiting that can become part of everyday interactions and lives, forming a fuller picture of the various lived experiences. In so doing, this work contrasts with the dehumanizing approaches that predominate the images made of transgender and transsexual people, which often focus solely on their trans status or use them to further a specific point about social construction and gender.
The subjects, self-identified people of transgender, transsexual, genderqueer, gender-variant, or gender non-conforming experience, hold signs depicting questions that each has had posed to them personally-- some by strangers, others by loved ones, friends, or colleagues. Presented on white wooden boards, the questions are turned on the viewer, shifting the dynamics under which they were originally asked, and prompting the viewer to cast a reflective, self-critical eye upon him or herself, revealing how invasive this frame of reference can be.
As a greater number of subjects and questions are accumulated, a relentless conversation of questioning emerges. Presented together in democratic, square format, the images show how each question relates to the next, directing attention not on the backgrounds of the transgender and transsexual subjects, but on the dynamics at work in these conversations. I am interested in uncovering the typology of these questions, discovering what categories of questions emerge as the script of power dynamics and interrogation is flipped.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Skinny Bitch

I have just finished reading Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. This number 1 New York Times bestseller is "A no-nonsense, tough-love guide for savvy girls who want to stop eating crap and start looking fabulous." This is a humorous book that teaches women how to look and feel their best by avoiding “eating crap.”

It portrays descriptions of how animals are slaughtered and killed in the slaughterhouses. The book is aimed for young women and gives you pointers on how to become healthy by eliminating meat, dairy, fish, and poultry from your diet. It indirectly persuades you to try the vegan lifestyle.

After completing this book, it’s crazy to me how much emphasis and pressure is placed on women to look their best. It seems like women always have to look good, but its okay for men to be heavier to still be successful in society.

These are both really successful women who maintained a healthy lifestyle by following the suggestions they gave in the book. They guide women to help make intelligent and educated decisions about food.

Watch this short video where the TODAY Show interview the authors of Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

bathroom duty: a diary from the bowels of masculinity

hey ya'll,

hope everyone is having a good semester. i took this class a year ago, and i had a great experience. i hope the same can be said for all of you. anyways, i'm gonna plug my blog here: bathroom duty because i think it is relevant. i work in the bathroom at various local clubs, and am witness to some crazy aspects of masculinity. hope you enjoy reading.

"Delusions of Gender": The bad science of brain sexism

Books to go on the shortlist

More Links

Two blogs I read often that discuss trans issues are Questioning Transphobia and The Spectrum Cafe. I mentioned one in class last night so wanted to give you all a link. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Film Review Possibilities

There's so many amazing films to choose from to do our film review on, but I wanted to mention two that are lesser known that I think would also be great.

Soldier's Girl is based on a true story that deals with masculinity & the military as well as sexuality. It's an amazing film and I suggest everyone watch it (though very difficult to watch in many parts). I took an Art of Film class a few years ago and we watched this which amounted to some great class discussion.

Another one is La Mission, another one dealing with sexuality but also a lot to do with machismo and Latino masculinity. Bonus: this one is on Netflix instant viewing, if you have it.

bell hooks' Love for Black Men

Volunteer/SL opportunity

The Zebra Coalition is working on starting a hotline for GLBTQ youth in our area. They want it to be run 24/7 so lets try and help them out.

There is a mandatory trainnning session on Sept. 25th from 9am- 3pm. For more information click here

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Secret Lives of Boys and Girls

This is an interesting discussion regarding the "nature vs. nurture" sex/gender debate. Leandra

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Def Poetry - Mark Gonzales - As With Most Men

As with most men it is easier for me to give hugs than to accept them
Lest the truth be known that men
are nothing more than emotional sky-scrapers built with glass infrastructures spray painted the color of steel and nick named strength
Strange isn’t it?
what walking contradictions are we called men
Men are taught to colonize at the age of 5 through gangs like cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians
At the age of 8 we are given helmets, and told to hit each other in the head with it,
Bleed but do not bleed
Cut but do not cry
Be a man
Join the military
Die for your country
And if death comes to you look it in the eye and say
“bring it on motherfucker I fear nothing…but intimacy”
When it comes to intimacy men quiver like fault lines, crumble like cities
What walking contradictions are we called men.
Men sign peace accords while abusing their wives
Accept the Nobel Peace Prize while reducing health care
Pledge to rid the world of terrorism, while simultaneously denying government aid to any country that defends a woman’s right to choose
During the 1970s, the US government forcibly sterilized an estimated 50% of the indigenous population of America’s mid-west
Telling them the process was reversible
Can you say ‘biological terrorism’?
And in a global war against terror maybe testosterone is the real terrorist
And if so, how many of these star spangled singing, flag waving citizens
Would continue to do so if terror was not racialized
But gendered
Would the US military turns its guns on itself
For its sex crimes throughout South East Asia, Africa and the Americas?
Would MTV be firebombed for its objectification, hypersexualization of our womens of color’s bodies?
Would we stop looking towards the Muslim world for misogyny and instead turns our sights to Madrid, Montreal,
New York
Los Angeles
And now understand my sisters when they say “every woman has a story that’s been told a maximum of once or maybe less”
And that is why you will never hear me call a women slut, bitch or dyke
No matter what she does
‘Cuz I do not blame her
I blame the men who have emotionally and physically raped her
I blame these corporations whose images tell her they hate her
And I put my arms on her shoulder and tell her how grateful I am to God that she created her
Men take note this is how you give love
This is how you receive hugs
Press flesh to flesh
‘til breasts crumple
Like emotional origami


Just came across this and felt it was appropriate to share with the class. I found the text transcript on a blog and I think it's mostly accurate

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Just a Side Note for Week 3

This week's film like every other film in the Womans studies minor have enlightened me and always leave me wanting to know and learn more. But on a side note i'm not much of a music enthusiast with any specific genre but i did get in touch with my best friend and whom i like to call my Hip hop guru. The music that was seen on the video i like to think to consider are a subgroup of Hip Hop. I was very disappointed that he only had JadaKiss,Fat JOe and several other artisits but which only mostly represent main stream hip hop. Although they are artists that represent mainstream media which are affecting the higher % of boys and young men, there's another side of hip hop mostly what is called underground Hip hop which is more social conscious and oriented towards talking about issues that we see which is artists like Nas, Big L, Inmortal Technique.The youtube video is the song of Blu & Exile- Show me the Good life(excuse the language). And although they are what we consider mainstream the music brings out a message. This is what in my opinion is real music.

Sorry on the delay but i've been working on this post for a while, i wanted to point out a good song.I feel this song demonstrates what somne young men are struggling with. Hope you enjoy

I got a call from my girl last week
She telling me about that time of the month, and how it may not come
Dropped the phone right before she said i might have a sun
And i started asking God how come
I got dreams i aint reach yet, ends that aint meet yet
And when it comes to being a man, shit im barely getting my feet wet
Trying to hit reset, knee deep in debt
Trying to figure how you feed a mouth that aint got teeth yet
How the hell am i gonna show a child to be man
When im twenty two without a clue on how to take a stand
Against the system when its just us
Wanna show him justice, but last year i was just in cuffs
The fuck am i supposed to do when he's telling me dad i need some food
Im looking down at my stomach and mines is rumbling too
What could i tell him when he's twenty two
And he's asking me what the fuck was i thinking when mommy's tummy grew
Was i scared? was i getting prepared?
Or did i even think of leaving him without a father's care?
Should i tell him that its hell here and life aint fair?
Or should i try to make a change when he's pulling on my leg
And he keeps on telling me to....

(show me the good life)
Show me (4x)

Wont somebody show me, its a few things my popa never told me
Maybe cuz his stone is still rolling, no moss yet
Its a few things my momma never told me to mold me
But her soul is so golden the way she floss it
And i aint mad at they secrets though
Its a hard sell to tell a young child bout ya' deepest low
But i done seen through they weakness so
I understand a little bit on how defeats can slow
You so far down that your meekness grow
And everyday it get colder when the breezes blow
Grandmomma sat me down said you need to know
Boy you a little light in this world, let your heat just glow
Have patience, some things take time
It aint no limit to the goals you hold in ya' mind
Let the soul in you climb to you reach the gates of heaven
Like your chariot its carrying children who've gone blind
And you gone get them they sight back, when all they see is night black
Believe in every thing that you doing and just like that
Things'll happen for you, keep shinning them rays
Its bright enough to spread grace over a million graves
Of a million slaves, to bring honor to the elders
Who held us away from danger, when the danger would've killed us
They never failed us, let they souls have peace
And follow in they footsteps, you brothers to keep in this good life

(show me the good life)
Show me (4x)

Its so much i can show you, without rolling through beverly hills
Without money, cars, clothes or even ecstasy pills
I dont need weed to ease me when im stressing, fa'real
I just close my eyes and try to think how heaven feels
Just to feel good again, even though i know when i open them
Its back to the hood again where kids hold chrome with them
Just to feel protected cuz the videos are showing them
How to shoot fools and take they doe from them
Thats why i try to give my soul to them in lyrics i spit
They reject it cuz they stressing for material shit
They getting sick and tired of fighting over cereal gifts
Cuz they notice bitches go head over hills for the whips
And the chains, and the chips, and the range and the clips
And the guns, and the women and the fun
Living in cribs in the 'burbs, fuck the slums, they want funds
And they heard flipping birds is the ticket
They get it and they run with it
Some slip and fall, others pause, see the out come and call
On the Lord for some change cuz the game is too hard
To play straight by the rules, im trying to stay out the news
And make cake to buy food, fuck jewels
I think my soul glows bright enough, and fuck whips
I learn more when i ride the bus, and fuck gold
Its bad enough that we fight for bucks, and fuck hoes
Cuz in the end i need a wife to love
Plus heaven is the life for us, so God...

(show me the good life)
Show me (4x)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Bem Sex Role Inventory (BSRI)

Here is the link for the Bem Sex Role Inventory referred to in the Macho article from Week 3. This one is cool because it will score for you--which categories "seem" masculine, feminine, neutral? Who decided? This was created in 1971 (the inventory itself)--do you think it would measure differently if created today?

More about BSRI (lots of ads in the article but it's informative and accessible).

How did you score? Do you think it's accurate? Are these categories even measurable?

Ballet over Boxing / Film: Billy Elliot

Check out this film: Billy Elliot.

I haven't seen it yet (just ordered it on Netflix) but it looks great and relates to our Men Speak Out reading, "Straight Guys Can Dance, Too" by Jared Margulies (pgs. 40-42) and our class in general. Some web descriptions below:

Set against the background of the 1984 Miner's Strike, Billy Elliot is an 11 year old boy who stumbles out of the boxing ring and onto the ballet floor. He faces many trials and triumphs as he strives to conquer his family's set ways, inner conflict, and standing on his toes! Written by filmtwob

1984: In a northern England mining town, miners are on strike and the atmosphere is tense. Eleven-year old Billy Elliot, whose father and brother are participating in the strike, whose mother has died quite some time ago and whose grandmother is not completely aware of what's going on, doesn't like the brutal boxing lessons at school. Instead, he falls for the girls' ballet lessons. When his folks find out about this unusual love of his, Billy is in trouble. Being supported by the ballet teacher, Mrs. Wilkinson, he keeps on training secretly while the work situation as well as the problems at home get worse. Finally, Mrs. Wilkinson manages to get Billy an audition for the Royal Ballet School, but now he also has to open his heart to his family. Written by Julian Reischl

Against the background of an increasingly bitter miners' strike that his elder brother and father are involved in, young Billy Elliot finds he prefers joining in the girls' ballet class at the local hall to the boxing he's there for. The ballet mistress soon realises he has real potential, but no-one, least of all his family, is likely to go along with a lad doing dancing. Written by Jeremy Perkins

Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes

PBS Discussion Guide (info, insight, classroom guide)

How does the film relate to the notion of caveman masculinity, hegemonic masculinity, Butler's gender performance, or other theories we have examined thus far? 

Where does R&B play into all this? Is(n't) R&B a more positive reflection of masculinity/manhood in African-American contexts? Is R&B like emo where masculinity is concerned? Or is R&B such a different aesthetic that it doesn't touch rap (especially gangsta rap) culture sufficiently? 

The Spring Break groping/filming scenes are (in)tense. Where is the line between "reflecting culture" or "acting out" and straight up sexual assault? Who decides? What do you make of that behavior in the film as related to hip hop, popular culture, and/or masculinity?

So much to say about this film. Think about it as you read for next week's class and make connections. Of course we can talk about all of this all semester. Feel free to respond in any way, shape, or form...these questions are just food for thought. 


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My thoughts on the readings for week 3

As I was reading through this weeks stories in Men's Lives, about cultural constructions of masculinity, I really learned a lot about men. I've learned that it's not so easy to be a guy and all men are not created equal after all. This chapter is primarily about Asian men not being treated equally as other men in the United States. The next chapter that I read is titled "Boyhood." The articles in this chapter talk about how boys develop and the factors that shape boys lives. After reading all of the articles I now have a better understanding of men's lives and the "Theories of Masculinity."

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Just as a side not because we have been talking about the "caveman theory," John Tobia who is running for Florida House District 31 has said the following:
“If I ruled the country men would still be beating their women, and dragging them home by their blonde hair” –John Tobia

This is definitely a serious issue because not only is this man running, he is currently in the seat right now! He has said other things against women implying that they are not competent enough to vote and such but just this specific quote goes along with everything we talked about concerning the "caveman theory" and how it plays out in society.