Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Disabled Masculinity

   At the intersection of gender and disability we find a conflict between masculinity and disability.  Masculinity is defined by power, autonomy, aggression and domination.  This definition is at odds with our concept of the disabled, who are viewed as helpless and weak.  

  The link I have provided is to a short film about the work of the incredible Key West artist, Eric Anfinson.  

In Eric's words, "Art is everything and sometimes simply an essence. It is the tool that I use and that uses me in return. It is my best and most critical friend. But these words mean nothing by themselves, the work, the active process, is what matters most."   

     I feel that being in touch with men with disabilities is important in the study of masculinity.  Anifinson's work helps those he meets transcend the physical.  Eric's passions and feelings are clear within his artwork.  His perception of the male and female forms, as seen through his artwork, embodies his power and autonomy as well as his sensitivity.     It is easy to see beyond Eric's physical limitations once you have had the opportunity to see into his soul.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I noticed no one had posted anything about this yet and I personally think it's really important to our course and our history. On Sunday marked the first time and openly gay player played in the NBA. Jason Collins, who came out last year, was picked up by the Brooklyn Nets and played on Sunday. This sort of event puts real pressure, not only on the NBA, but all professional sports in our country (recently Michael Sam, a 2014 NFL prospect, came out as well). Sports are riddled with gender stereotypes and expectations and gay men are often thought of as less than masculine in our society. Mixing these two "worlds" and having these men be their true selves is such an enormous step towards acceptance and equality for our society. It forces people to open up their definitions of masculinity as well as their expectations of gay men. There have been quite a few male athletes that have come out after their professional careers ended and many outspoken Allies within the sport (one of my personal favorites being Brendon Ayanbadejo who was very outspoken on LGBT issues while being a part of the Super Bowl winning Baltimore Ravens). There is true courage in these men for coming out while their careers are on the line and in such a public eye. I'm glad to be able to see this happen in my life, especially as a supporter of equality and as a sports fan.  Here is an article on Jason Collins recent game and about the NBA's responsibility to push towards equality.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The article I chose is titled "What Honest Abe's Appetite Tells Us About His Life" published by NPR on February 17th, 2014. The reason I am blogging about this article is because it is fascinating to learn that  Lincoln put on a blue apron after a day's work at his law office and helped his wife cook dinner. Also, there are other stories about him cooking for the family after his mother died and cooking for his brothers as they journeyed down to New Orleans on a flatboat. Who knew the 16th President of the United States participated in domestic duties that are attributed historically to women? He is a representation of breaking the model of masculinity by his egalitarian sharing of domestic duties with his wife.

Another interesting story that the article mentions is that during one of their famous debates that catapult Lincoln into the national spotlight and the presidency was how Lincoln grew tired of the constant false praises from Senator Douglas. So, to make him stop, Lincoln told a story from his childhood. He talked about how he once shared gingerbread cookies his mother made with a neighboring boy, who then told him that "there's nobody who likes gingerbread as much as I do, and nobody who gets as little as I do." So Lincoln was contrasting that to how he doesn't get much flattery, and here Douglas was heaping it on him, you know, falsely," Eighmey says.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

"The Perfect Man"

'Tis the season for LOVE!
Wandering through the red and pink covered aisles of the Valentine's Day section at Target you can find a decent array of cute stuffed animals, loads of chocolate, and the occasional - - Wait, what is that? "The Perfect Man" you say?
According to this the perfect man is sweet, decadently rich, and "Just how a man ought to be!"

I thought this also related to this week's class discussion on the male body and whether or not male bodies are objectified, and how much are they objectified in association with the female form.

I can tell you one thing is for sure, I did not see any half naked chocolate models of women in the store. Main reason? It would be deemed as "inappropriate" and would cause an outrage. I can hear it now, women worried about their children being subjected to naked chocolate women. How is this any different? Why can a man be displayed on a pedestal in the form of chocolate, half naked? We should be equally outraged that this is happening. To add to the nudity unrealistic-ness... How about what the box actually says?!

We need to stop putting messages like these out into the world through all media sources, and stop buying into it, or it will not end. Consumerism is what feeds this junk.

Let's go back to the crappy cardboard Valentine's cards, and the Hersey Kisses!

Lacey Poulson (WST 3621 W059)

Friday, February 7, 2014

BAM Festival

Being a Man

Grayson Perry

I read a recent article about the Being a Man festival and it's something that I am familiar with, but definitely needs to be shared more. Last weekend began the soon to be annual festival and it seems to be a celebration of expanding the common notion of masculinity.

I thought this article was great because it does two things to the idea of masculinity that I believe needs to be done.
1) It keeps the idea of masculinity: Too often I see people wanting to tear down the "walls" of masculinity and femininity. I think that instead of letting the words dictate who you are or how you're treated we should instead embrace them and make the word fit you, not the other way around.
2) The festival takes masculinity and expands upon it. Being masculine isn't being strong or tough, it can be soft, gentle, nurturing, even cute. By expanding masculinity to fit the person instead of pigeonholing the person inside the socially accepted concept of masculinity we paint a more accurate picture of our society.

Like Ziauddin Yousafzai says in the article, "...all girls should be educated but, equally important, that all boys must be educated to believe that girls should be educated"(Addams). I don't enjoy living in a world where masculine is a negative term. A world where "...95% of the prison population remains male" and "...75% of suicides are men, mostly under the age of 35" (Adams).  Any way to make people more comfortable and curb those numbers, the better.

Features, Rex. Grayson Perry. 2014. The Guardian. Web. 7 Feb. 2014.

Adams, Tim. "Being a Man festival explores what it means to be male." The Observer. The Guardian., 1 Feb. 
          2014. Web. 7 Feb. 2014.