1. READ: Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, “Gosh Boy George, You Must Be Awfully Secure in Your Masculinity!” (PDF) from Constructing Masculinity
2. READ: Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, “Minority Men, Misery, and The marketplace of Ideas” from Constructing Masculinity
3. About the Bloggers (bio) due in course blog
Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick – “Gosh Boy George, You Must Be Awfully Secure in Your Masculinity!” from Constructing Masculinity
Culture Club – “Karma Chameleon”
Axiom #1: “Sometimes Masculinity Has Got Nothing To Do With It”
“As a woman, I am a consumer of masculinities but I am not more so than men are; and, like men, I as a woman am also a producer of masculinities and a performer of them” (p. 13).
For men, it is clear what castration signifies (a threat to their physical masculinity), but what castration means for women is ambiguous and complicated.
Axiom #2: “Masculinity and Femininity are in Many Respects Orthogonal to Each Other”
Orthogonal: “instead of being at opposite poles of the same axis they’re actually in different perpendicular dimensions and therefore are independently variable” (p. 15-16).
“…not only are some people more masculine or more feminine than others, but some people are just plain more gender-y than others-whether the gender they manifest be masculine, feminine, both, or ‘and then some’” (p. 16).
Axiom #3: “Masculinity and Femininity are Threshold Effects”
“What emerged over time, however, as I learned to read myself and to read other women’s (and indeed men’s) responses to my bodily habitus in a somewhat more subtle and differentiated way…that what I had become visible as was (no big surprise here), quite femme” (p. 18)
Sedgwick states that the progression from feminine to femme seems to get interrupted by the concept of butch. How does this work? What does the “gradation” from feminine to femme look like? Is there a similar “gradation” for men/males?
Axiom #4: “In Masculinity/Femininity, a Dynamic of Self-Recognition Mediates Between Essentialism and Free Play”
“…about trying to find, not a middle ground, but a ground for describing and respecting the inertia, the slowness, the process that mediates between, on the one hand, the biological absolutes of what we always are (more or less) and, on the other hand, the notional free play that we constructivists are always imagined to be attributing to our own and other people’s sex-and-gender self-presentation” (p.18).
- What other (queer) theorists does Sedgwick incorporate into her article? What are some of their ideas that she mentions?
- How does Sedgwick problematize the concept of masculinity (and gender more broadly)?
- What is the purpose of using personal experience in Sedgwicks’ theoretical research?
- What is an axiom? Why does Sedgwick use axioms as “universally accepted rules” and how does this further complicate the concept of masculinity and gender?
- How does Sedgwick detach masculinity from men? How does this still complicate the relationship between masculinity and femininity?
- How can we relate Sedgwick’s axioms in “Gosh Boy George” to John Leguizamo’s Freak?