The Fart Bush: Conducting Group Interviews With Young Athletes

by Michela Musto

I’m sitting outside the Sun Valley Aquatics Center on a Friday evening, interviewing Cody, Jon, and Elijah, three nine and ten-year-old boys. Halfway through the interview, Jon runs to a bush about 20 yards away. A minute later, Cody also jumps up and tells us “I’m gonna go get Jon.” The two boys come back laughing. Cody stops laughing long enough to explain, “He farted! I got mad so he went over there [to fart again].” For the rest of the interview, the boys take turns leaving the interview to go visit what they call “the fart bush.”Musto_image Continue reading

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Filed under Adolescence/Children, Qualitative Methodology, Sport/Leisure

How Resisting Rabbis Can Be A Religious Duty

by Tanya Zion-Waldoks

Maya (37), an accomplished professional and mother of two, married the love of her life. She met Avi in college and they got engaged soon after moving in together. As most Jewish Israelis do, they fretted about the guest list, DJ and catering but didn’t give a second thought to the content or consequences of their wedding ceremony. Simply doing “what our grandparents did,” their wedding was officiated by a rabbi from the ultra-Orthodox controlled Rabbinate and automatically registered by the State (there is no civil marriage or civil divorce in Israel – each citizen is bound to the laws of their religious affiliation).Zion-Waldoks_image2

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Filed under Family, Law, Religion

Why Feminist Spirituality Is Best Called ‘Lived Religion’

by Kristin Aune

How do feminists in the United Kingdom view spirituality and religion? What are their religious and spiritual attitudes, beliefs, and practices? What role do spirituality and religion play in feminists’ lives? To find out, I interviewed thirty feminists in England, Scotland, and Wales, feminists I contacted because they were part of a survey project on the resurgence of feminism in Britain (here).Aune_image1_February 2015

Feminists’ approaches to religion and spirituality display three characteristics: they are de-churched, are relational, and emphasize practice. ‘De-churched’ means disconnection from church: two-thirds of my interviewees had engaged with church during childhoods, but by adulthood none did. ‘De-churching’ doesn’t necessarily mean loss of faith, first because some remained Christian, practicing their faith through acts of kindness and praying to God but without needing to attend church, and second, because many of those who had been connected with church as childhood were only so vicariously – for instance, attending church-run schools without ever believing themselves. Continue reading

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Filed under Collective Action & Social Movements, Religion

Gender and Acceptance of Lesbian Women and Gay Men in Small Town, USA

by Emily Kazyak

Kazyak_imageWhen I talk about my research on rural gay men and lesbian women in the Midwest, people are often surprised that so many of the people I interviewed described being out and accepted in their small town communities (here). As a scholar committed to highlighting the diversity among LGBTQ people, it is important to me to share these findings since they go against widely held stereotypes about what rural life in the Midwest is like for gays and lesbians. Yet equally important to me is to also address how acceptance in small towns is not necessarily universal. Rather, as feminist intersectional scholars would predict, acceptance is shaped by factors such as race, class, and gender. In other words, not every gay or lesbian person experiences acceptance in rural communities. Continue reading

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Filed under Sexualities, Space & Place

Cosmopolitan Masculinities and Gender Omnivorousness: Transformations in Gender and Inequality*

by Tristan Bridges
Originally posted at Feminist Reflections here


Image credit: Lands’ End’s Winter 2015 Men’s clothing catalog.

Image credit: Lands’ End’s Winter 2015 Men’s clothing catalog.

The advertisement depicted here comes out of a Lands’ End catalog I received in the mail last week. The text reads: “New blue collar shirts white collar guys will love.” It’s a subtle message and surely, some will think I am making too much of it. But, it is one small piece of a larger cultural process taking place–in this case, how class inequality gets commodified and sold back to young, straight, white men as evidence of their masculine credibility and cosmopolitan taste in gender performance and display. This is one configuration of hybrid masculinity in practice. It allows for a form of what I call “practiced indifference” whereby young, straight, white men are able to appear relaxed, content, and at ease with an increasingly varied range of gender performances.

What we think of as “masculine” is something that shifts over time and from place to place. Historical and cross-cultural research shows that just about anything you might think of as essentially “masculine” has been—at one time or another, in one place or another—thought of as anything but. This is part of what makes studying masculinity so exciting to me: it’s an unstable object of inquiry and there are lots of moving parts. Michael Kimmel sums up a really important finding from his historical research on masculinity with a simple statement: “[D]efinitions of masculinity are historically reactive to changing definitions of femininity” (here: 123). We don’t often think of those in power as capable of being “pushed around.” But the historical relationship between masculinity and femininity suggests precisely this pattern. Continue reading

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Filed under Inequality, Masculinities

Is Islam An Innately Patriarchal Religion?

by Pamela J. Prickett
Photo by Antonio Melina/Agencia Brasil, via Wikimedia Commons.

Photo by Antonio Melina/Agencia Brasil, via Wikimedia Commons.

Islam is one of the only global religious traditions (along with Orthodox Judaism) in which men attend worship services in far greater numbers than women. Search for images of mosques around the world, and what you find are pictures of men filling prayer spaces. Women participants are smaller in number and often in separate, smaller spaces. Such gender differences in the mosque contribute to public perceptions of Islam as a men-dominated religion. And, yet, it is Muslim women worldwide who are more likely to describe themselves as religious and to say they believe in God, according to a 2006 study. Why this contradiction?

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Filed under Religion

Researching Violence and Asking People to Describe Traumatic Experiences

by Doug Meyer

“How did you get them to talk about these awful experiences?” That’s sometimes the first question my students ask me about my research, which involved interviewing 47 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people about violence they had experienced. Depending on my mood, I answer this question in a variety of ways, but my answer typically boils down to some version of “very carefully.” When I first began interviewing, I was surprised by the amount of information people shared with me – a stranger. I attribute this openness in part to the particular person I become when conducting interviews: warm, nice, sensitive, and constantly giving positive reinforcement (nodding “yes,” and saying “I see,” or “that makes sense” are particular favorites of mine). The persona an interviewer takes on obviously reflects the situation; not to say that I am a jerk in other areas of my life, but how I behave during an interview is in some ways very different from my behavior in other contexts. Continue reading

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Filed under Family, Sexualities, Transgender, Violence