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.” Continue reading
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).
by Emily Kazyak
When 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
by Tristan Bridges
Originally posted at Feminist Reflections here
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
by Pamela J. Prickett
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?
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