Thursday, April 23, 2009

Judith Warner and Male Gender -Policing "Fags"

Judith Warner has an excellent post on the New York Times that should be read in full. 

An excerpt: 

It’s weird, isn’t it, that in an age in which the definition of acceptable girlhood has expanded, so that desirable femininity now encompasses school success and athleticism, the bounds of boyhood have remained so tightly constrained? And so staunchly defended: Boys avail themselves most frequently of epithets like “fag” to “police” one another’s behavior and bring it back to being sufficiently masculine when someone steps out of line, Barbara J. Risman, a sociologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago, found while conducting extensive interviews in a southeastern urban middle school in 2003 and 2004. “Boys were showing each other they were tough. They were afraid to do anything that might be called girlie,” she told me this week. “It was just like what I would have found if I had done this research 50 years ago. They were frozen in time.”

Thanks to the women's liberation educational led by Malena, Lucha has been increasingly turning towards gender issues.Thinking about definitions of "manhood" within a declining post-industrial economy, in which the blue-collar middle class and solid "masculine" union jobs are disappearing, the discourse of policing and enforcing an aggressive, narrow masculinity becomes even more important. 

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