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Thinking about Men and Masculinity From Advancing Sexuality Studies: a short course on sexuality theory and research methodologies.

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Presentation on theme: "Thinking about Men and Masculinity From Advancing Sexuality Studies: a short course on sexuality theory and research methodologies."— Presentation transcript:

1 Thinking about Men and Masculinity From Advancing Sexuality Studies: a short course on sexuality theory and research methodologies

2 2 Schedule Learning ActivityTime allowed Introduction, schedule, module aims 5 mins Session 1. Contemporary understandings of men, masculinity and sexuality Part 1: Role theory, the individual, and masculine socialisation Small group discussions and feedback Part 2: Hegemonic masculinity Small group discussions and feedback Part 3: Masculinity and sexuality Small group discussions and feedback 90 mins 15 Session 2. Raising boys Reading Discussion 60 mins 20 40

3 3 Schedule (cont.) Learning ActivityTime allowed Session 3. Changing masculinities Mini-lecture: Objectification, commodification and anxiety Small group analysis of images, text and video Large group discussion 75 mins Session 4. Mens sexual futures Panel discussion 45 mins Conclusion5 mins Total time: 280 mins (4.5 hrs)

4 4 Module aims To: Provide an overview of contemporary sociological thinking about masculinity, men and mens sexuality Provide a theoretical account of the ways in which ideas about masculinity are currently changing and explore some of the effects of these changes for men

5 5 Participants will: Develop a broad understanding of how masculinity has been conceptualised in gender and sexuality theory Explore the impact of contemporary social and cultural processes related to globalisation and consumerism on practices of masculinity Analyse contemporary debates in the field of masculinities related to sexuality and discuss possible future issues facing men at local, national and global scales

6 6 Session 1. Contemporary understandings of men, masculinity and sexuality

7 7 Role theory, the individual and masculine socialisation Men as problem: Elevated negative health outcomes overall Educational performance; workforce participation Violence, accidents and risk-taking Sexual difficulties Suicide ideation and completion Drug and alcohol use Specific difficulties for Indigenous, social class, racial or minority ethnic populations

8 8 Traditional (Western?) masculinity: –Strong (physically and mentally) –Rational –In control/self-control –Objective –Unemotional –Patriarchal

9 9 Metrosexual: –Young –Urban –Fashion conscious –Body conscious –Heterosexual

10 10 Retrosexual:Technosexual:

11 11 The male body/masculinity: –If all one needs to be masculine is a male body, then any action by any male body can be understood as masculine –The body is not as reliable in defining the sexes as male and female as we are led to believe

12 12 Sex roles and gender socialisation: –A sex role includes a number of normative expectations about how one should behave as male or female –Masculinity and femininity are socially constructed categories that elaborate upon natural sex differences –Masculinity is institutionalised in social structures such as the family, schooling, mass media and religion, where boys are socialised to become masculine

13 13 Connells (1995) critique of sex role and gender socialisation: –Gender inequalities are explained in terms of biology –Difference is understood as deviation from the normative mode of masculinity or femininity –Gender roles are vague –Incapable of theorising change in gender relations –The individual subject is entirely the product of social structure –Supports the status quo by ignoring power relations

14 14 Small group discussion Discuss one of the following questions: –Can you think of examples where sex role theory, or socialisation theory is used to explain gender relations in your own community? –How are boys and men understood to become masculine or have masculinity in your community? Is it the result of biology ( born male) or culture ( learning masculinity)? –Are all men equally masculine in your community? How are differences in masculine behaviour or self-presentation explained? (10 mins) Feedback (5 mins)

15 15 Hegemonic masculinity

16 16 Gender is hard work – not about socialisation There are multiple, competing masculinit ies Masculinities are configurations of practice within gender relations, a structure that includes large-scale institutions and economic relations as well as face-to-face relationships and sexuality. Masculinity is institutionalized in this structure, as well as being an aspect of individual character and personality (Connell 2000: 29)

17 17 Hegemonic masculinity: –Dominant definitions of masculinity are embedded in social institutions such as the state, education, and the family –Male power is not simply held by individual men but is institutionalised in social structures and ideologies that support the gender order in favour of men –Hegemony is not the same as dominance; different definitions and practices of masculinity may supplant others as hegemonic

18 18 Hegemonic masculinity (cont.): –Masculinity is contested –It may be that very few men might occupy the hegemonic position –It may be practically impossible to define what hegemonic masculinity objectively is –Men are not only organised hierarchically in relation to women, but also to each other in relations of marginalisation and subordination –All men receive a patriarchal dividend, even if they are excluded from the dominant definitions of masculinity

19 19 Hegemonic masculinity (cont.): –Allows for resistance on the part of men who are subordinated or marginalised by the hegemonic form For example, gay men have a subordinate relationship to hegemonic models of masculinity in most societies, but have exercised social power to resist their marginalisation and claim a legitimate social and political space –Is consistent with feminist analyses of patriarchy –Demands a focus on practices rather than personality or behaviour

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21 21 Small group discussion Discuss one of the following questions: –What challenges are facing young men in your community today? How might these be related to masculinity? –How are men in your community described by health and education officials, media commentators, and men themselves? –Are definitions of masculinity changing in response to wider changes in your community? (10 mins) Feedback (5 mins)

22 22 Masculinity and sexuality Can masculinity theory make sense of these dynamics? –The hegemonic masculinity framework subsumes desire with its emphasis on gender relations –What might a privileging of sexuality theory offer to such an analysis? –Sexuality is a field in which definitions of masculinity and experiences of men are rapidly changing

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24 24 Phallic Passivity –Traditional cultural definitions of masculinity equate femininity with passivity and objectification, while masculinity is associated with activity –Mens authority in knowledge-making practices rests on their capacity to objectify others while remaining invisible or disembodied –Men are meant to be uninterested in such superficial and feminine things like appearance or emotions –Men who are overly focused on their appearance can be accused of being weak or homosexual

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29 29 Heteronormativity? –Homosociality: relations between heterosexual men regulated by fear of homosexuality –But are gay men and straight men so different? –Changes to mens embodiment and sexual practices challenging traditional notions of heterosexual masculinity –What sustains heteronormativity if definitions of masculinity (and relations between men) are not based on homosexuality as the Other?

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31 31 How to include: –gay and homosexually active men … –Indigenous men … –ethnic minority men … –boys … –and intellectually disabled men … in research on men & masculinity in developing countries?

32 32 Non-Western masculinities –Understanding mens sexual activities and desires in order to prevent HIV/AIDS –Does standard gender theory or the hegemony/subordination model map onto other cultures the same way? –Does sexuality play a different part in the ordering of daily life elsewhere?

33 33 Summary The future of masculinities? –Challenging binaries that limit our understanding of gender and sexuality: man/woman, male/female, heterosexual/homosexual, subject/object –Engage the body and the practices of embodiment to capture lived experience as performative –Conceptualise resistance and agency in the context of social structure and discourse –Embrace Foucaults notion of power as productive, not simply repressive

34 34 Small group discussion Discuss one of the following questions: –Is there a discussion about male sexuality in your community? Which men and what practices are under scrutiny? –Is male sexuality described as a problem? For women? For men? –Are definitions and images of masculinity changing in your community? Are these changes related to sexuality? How are men responding to such changes? (10 mins) Feedback (5 mins)

35 35 Session 2. Raising boys

36 36 Reading and discussion Read the stories from Real boys voices (20 mins) Discuss the stories and ascertain the message that you think each boy is trying to give the reader (10 mins) Answer one of the following questions: (10 mins) –Whats wrong with boys? –Whats wrong with what happens to boys? –Whats right with boys that we would like to keep and build on? Report back (20 mins)

37 37 Session 3. Changing masculinities

38 38 Small group discussion Objectification: –Martha Nussbaum (1995: 257) defines objectification as: …treating as an object what is really not an object, what is, in fact, a human being –Denial of autonomy –Ownership –Denial of subjectivity Analyse the images provided –Is objectification present in these examples? –How does it function? (10 mins)

39 39 Group discussion In the larger group, discuss the following questions, drawing on examples: –Who are the viewers invited to gaze on mens bodies as an act of objectification? –What effects might this have for the way we think about men? –Is objectification only negative? (10 mins)

40 40 Small group discussion Commodification: –A type of objectification that specifically implies the assigning of a monetary value to something that has not previously or should not be valued in this way –Implies that something is available for buying and selling In small groups, analyse the images, texts and videos provided –How does commodification function in these examples? (10 mins)

41 41 Group discussion In the larger group, discuss the following questions, drawing on examples from the images: –What is being sold, explicitly and implicitly? –Where and how can this be bought? –What are the effects of commodification for the person or thing that is commodified? (10 mins)

42 42 Small group discussion Anxiety: –One of the effects of objectification and commodification is that masculinity is no longer a taken-for-granted category In small groups, consider the ways the images, texts and videos may produce anxiety –How might they achieve this? –What form might that anxiety take? (5 mins)

43 43 Group discussion Referring to the images, texts, and videos, discuss the following questions: –How do objectification and commodification create anxiety about masculinity? –Do objectification and commodification suggest solutions to mens worries about being masculine enough? –What is the relationship between desirability and masculinity? (10 mins)

44 44 Summary Are men better off? Is this equality with women but in a different way? What might the future hold for men? Will it be better or worse? (5 mins)

45 45 Session 4. Mens sexual futures

46 46 Panel discussion Each panellist will speak for between 5-10 minutes on one of the following topics: –IVF technology will eventually make men redundant –In the future, more men will live alone and not in traditional family units –More men are going to turn homosexual as it becomes more widely accepted –More men will lead more of their working lives as migrant workers Question and answer session between panellists and audience (50 mins)

47 47 Conclusion Covered wide range of issues; issues not covered include: –Men and violence Wars and civil unrest Rape and other forms of sexual violence The connection between sport and coercive sex –Mens health Mens reproductive health HIV/AIDS and the controversy over male circumcision Men doing sex work Men, pornography and sexual obsession Men as clients of sex workers Mens sexual difficulties… many areas for further study

48 48 Module created by: –Professor Gary W. Dowsett, Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society Short course developed by: –The Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia and –The International Association for the Study of Sexuality, Culture and Society (IASSCS) –With funding from The Ford Foundation Available under an Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share Alike licence from Creative Commons

49 49 Optional assessment exercise Reading Mills, C. Wright (1959/2000), Appendix on Intellectual Craftsmanship, in The Sociological Imagination, Oxford, Oxford University Press, pp Over a two-week period, each course participant should collect clippings and/or photographs/images from daily newspapers, magazines and websites, and establish a clippings file that addresses one of the themes raised in this module, such as: men being better fathers, mens bodies in advertising, objectification and commodification, homosexuality, Westernisation and globalisation of masculinity, etc. Each participant should then send this clipping file to the course coordinator, accompanied by a brief one-page explanation of what has been collected and outlining how it illustrates the theme the participant chose, and discussing issues these clippings raised for the participant for future thinking about masculinity and sexuality.


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