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Week 3 Notes

by: Chelsey Smith

Week 3 Notes WS 268 106

Chelsey Smith

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About this Document

These are the class notes from the class on 09/30/15. The topics discussed were fag discourse (continued), heteronormativity, and gay men and friendship.
Men and Masculinities
Dr. Jason Whitesel
Class Notes
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This 9 page Class Notes was uploaded by Chelsey Smith on Thursday October 1, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to WS 268 106 at Pace University taught by Dr. Jason Whitesel in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 35 views. For similar materials see Men and Masculinities in Women and Gender studies at Pace University.

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Date Created: 10/01/15
Topics Discussed: -Fag discourse (discussion continued) -Heteronormativity -Gay men and Friendship Lazy? Read this section: We picked up where we left off last week on the discussion about fag discourse. The main problem with the fag discourse is that it escalates very quickly from jokes (not in good humor, but still…) to threats or hate crimes. This escalation is not a gradual process and the general attitude can be contagious. The idea of compulsory heterosexuality is that people feel the need to constantly prove their status as heterosexual. This is problematic because it enforces the belief that any other sexuality is lesser than heterosexual and often forces people to act in ways that they are ashamed of or than further knock down people who are of another sexual orientation. This can take place in the form of teasing others for being "fags" or just through general aggression or unwelcoming towards people who are either in the LGTBQ community or are perceived to be in the LGTBQ community. Doing gender is the idea that we, as people, feel the need to conform to these made-up perceptions of how we "should" act based upon our gender. Doing gender can take place in the form of wearing make-up, using gendered bathrooms, feeling like you aren't allowed to cry, wearing certain types of clothes, etc. Gay men have shaped the way friendships among men are viewed. For example, men (in the past couple of decades) have strayed away from having intimate relationships with other men out of fear of being viewed as gay. This goes back to the idea of compulsory heterosexuality. Men feel the need to prove their heterosexuality, so they might avoid hugging other men, talking about their emotions, or even tag phrases like "no homo" onto the end of their sentences. Friendships between gay men are often very political, in the sense that they provide a safe space and support for each other in accepting each other in ways that they might not feel accepted in their daily life. Class Discussion Broken Down: Fag Discourse The word fag exists on a continuum of escalating severity Oftentimes people who are afraid of being accused of being "fags" will put down others for being a "fag" This is a way of securing their status This can lead to conformity Escalates from "fag"….. To gay jokes…. To threats of violence….. To sexual orientation or gender identity hate crimes It is important think of how this kind of humor helps to mold adolescent identity Often people who are gender non-conformant, they are met with intimidating threats of violence This can really control the way in which this adolescents act Averting eye contact, always having to fear getting beat up, etc. This really can become a controlling category, meaning that this can control so many other aspects of everyday life Gender is a controlling category Sexual Orientation Hate Crimes Murders have occurred solely based on sexual orientation Mathew Shepard Some hate crimes are against heterosexuals thought to be gay Hate crimes are crimes of perception May not be homosexual, but perceived as such Hate crimes often are committed against people who don't know the perpetrators This is interesting because most crimes are committed against people who know each other Compulsory Heterosexuality An obligation to assure heterosexuality to prevent teasing Often includes having a girlfriend, putting down other people for the Masculinity get associated with boys assaulting girls This is a form of showing dominance Important to look at everyday media with a gender studies lens Can be very harmful to women These sexual "war stories" can be a form of bonding among men Ex. Story of taking a girl's virginity from the book A lot of this is very centric around male dominance Lack of comprehension sex education Without this, where is the information coming from? Each other, pornography, etc. These aren't reliable sources Sex education is not the gateway to promiscuity Media often sells sex as a fantasy, not as a reality Media is so hypersexualied and there aren't enough educational opportunities to balance this out Even (particularly female) anatomy often is discussed with slang or colloquial terms This can make it seem as if one's anatomy is shameful and not to be discussed Gender socialization influences sexual behavior This is problematic for everyone Girls shouldn't feel as if they can only be the passive recipients Guys shouldn't feel as if they have to always initiate sex Not all lesbians are split into "butch" or "fem" categories Etc. Male Homosociality An intense, but non-sexual male bond Have to have a women or a girlfriend in the mix as an intermediary Homophobia has done a huge service to male friendship Two men can't hug each other without being afraid of being accused of being homosexual Becoming 100% Straight Often sociologists tend to look at the underdogs in society This article actually focuses on "studying up" or looking at people who were using their privilege Heterosexism Assuming heterosexuality is the norm The backdrop that creates homophobia Heterosexual Privilege Taken-for-granted benefits afforded to heterosexuals based on their sexual orientation Ex. Marriage, taxation, being seen as the "norm", etc. Especially in all male environments Ex. Boy scouts, fraternities, etc. Often, privilege is invisible to those that have it Stigma can be a contagion in many ways Construction of heterosexuality in sports Sports are typically considered masculine, while homosexuality is often effeminized This creates an environment in which more feminine or feminized qualities are not welcome Homosexuality is seen as a threat to one's masculinity Athletics helps to act as a closet for some Impression management can have a toll on a person Sublimation of homoerotic desires into aggressive/violent accts to draw the line between oneself and the homosexual "other" Homophobia is associated with some level of homosexual arousal/desire and homophobic individual is either unaware of this or denies it Sexual Fluidity Heterosexuality and homosexuality are not all-or-nothing proposition Pressure to demonstrate signs of heterosexuality This goes back to the idea of compulsory heterosexuality Coming out is even more difficult for double minorities Ex. Black and gay Doing Gender *Heads up: The idea of "doing gender" is likely to be on the test Doing gender as an ongoing activity embedded in everyday interaction Gender, as an ingrained social construct, plays out in everyday interactions; it is not a set of inherent traits Messner extends this to "doing heterosexuality" Sexuality is much more than just sex acts or erotic response Doing heterosexuality is about activities done to avoid the social stigma of homosexuality, seen as taboo or shameful The politics of gay men's friendships Terms used to discuss this: Friendships with other gay men Friendships as surrogate families Fictive kin Urban clan Chosen family… Survivor perspective Stigma of being LGTBQ Bullying HIV/AIDs Survivor's guilt The existing, oppressive social order Pg. 298 for more info Responsibilities Education, legacy, on the side of social justice Why does the author regard friendship among gay men as "political"? What can gay friendships provide? Strength in numbers Creating safe spaces/safe havens Allow deviation from public propriety Provide for "being yourself" Confront the dominant culture together Permit self disclosure Answer lies in the hx of the gay rights movement Stonewall AIDs activism and caring across generations Family Models Nuclear family Look beyond this for that dominant model Domestic partnerships Transforms the idea of what family is Polyamory Communal living/cohabiting Modern family-- current tv show on the air? Historically 60s: civil rights movements 70s: free love Bleeding between friendships and relationships 80s: AIDs Restructured a hypermasculine way of acting and dressing Idea of casual, free love went away Politicians tried to keep homosexuality on the DL Male relationships became more monogamous Gender stereotypes of friendship Women can be more intimate without having their sexuality questioned Men are often dissuaded from intimacy due to fear of being accused of homosexuality Male-dominated Military metaphors "I've got your back" "I'm going to go above and beyond the call of duty" Loyalty as a virtue Non-sexual friendships between friends Women are "supposed to" cry and vent and open up to each other, but men aren't In many ways, this has taken the emotional outlet away from men, which has done a real disservice to them Classical Greece Love between men was a social reality If an adult man engaged in male-o-male intimacy with a younger man, this would be an expression of admirable masculinity Gender stereotypes made it so much more difficult for people of color Homonormativity Came out of the closet craving acceptance However, acceptance was not given equally Even within the LGTBQ community, white men fared much better than men of color People of color often were faced with a larger group of people who would oppose them This is mostly due to their double minority status Often this would embed itself in the form of self hatred among people of color in the LGTBQ community They would often prefer white partners to ones of other races, simply because white people had been idolized in most situations In a sense, they are falling in love with the very people who have been putting them down


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