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Masculinity

I am done with the intensive grading for this term and will begin prepping for the Summer session. I’m thinking about this term and one thing that I noticed in two of my classes–students really want to engage in discussions about gender norms and the tired gender tropes. But, they also want to have lengthy discussions about masculinity.

Discussions about hegemonic masculinity seemed to open up a whole new world of analysis for some of the students. Today (yes, even in 2011) there are still assumptions that gender = women. When the students realize that we are talking about a gender continuum some minds are blown. And, that we will discuss masculinity even confounds more of them. Consequently, I have been thinking more about masculinity. Hell, I just graded many papers exploring masculinity.

I’ve noted previously on my blog that I’m really tired and fed up with the ways in which pop culture portrays men and masculinity as a caricature or stereotype. Yes, let’s make men the butt of jokes. No, let’s not. But, what I have noticed with the student papers and office hours is that they really want to re-think masculinity. They want the continuum to provide a more rich offering for what constitutes masculinity and they also want to better understand men. And, I have to say as a feminist scholar, I’m quite impressed with this interest. I think it’s great for their personal discovery and intellectual engagement.

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