1.5 Introduction to (Latino) Masculinities

January 29
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).

Discussion questions:

  1. What other (queer) theorists does Sedgwick incorporate into her article? What are some of their ideas that she mentions?
  2. How does Sedgwick problematize the concept of masculinity (and gender more broadly)?
  3. What is the purpose of using personal experience in Sedgwicks’ theoretical research?
  4. 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?
  5. How does Sedgwick detach masculinity from men? How does this still complicate the relationship between masculinity and femininity?
  6. How can we relate Sedgwick’s axioms in “Gosh Boy George” to John Leguizamo’s Freak?

2 Responses to 1.5 Introduction to (Latino) Masculinities

  1. This video kinda affirms “the object of the gaze” method used in male fasion ads.

  2. Amber Jones says:

    I have attached a small clip from youtube that goes along with what Sedgwick stated about gender. In this you will see how a male is told how to portray his masculinity. Instead of him defining himself he is allowing someone/ society define him. It is only until the end that he decides to define himself. I think a really great question that Sedgwick asked the reader is ” I would just ask you to call to mind all the men you know who may be both highly masculine and highly effeminate but at the same time, not a bit feminine. Or women whom you might consider very butch and at the same time feminine, but not femme.” So many times we like to think that women are only feminine and that’s it or we especially like to define men as being only masculine. We fail as a society to realize that we are human beings that possess numerous facets. This is why I think this is a great point, when I think about males the only ones who come to mind are ones who are either highly masculine or highly feminine they do not usually possess both at the same time. This actually makes me ponder if I disregarded some of these males feminine aspects and instead only looked to their masculine traits. In a sense I think Sedgwick problematizes gender as whole even more because he tells us that it is actually possible to possess different and in many eyes contradicting traits; such as feminine and masculine traits all at once.
    Another point that Sedgwick brings up that is essential is that he insinuates that gender is a road/journey. We can see this when he states “ And I would like with this proposition to open something like a door into the mix of paralysis or transfixion, with extraordinary daring and often outrageousness, with strange sites of stylistic conservatism, with an almost uncanny discursive productiveness that many of us experience as we struggle to continue the adventure of recognizing ourselves and being recognized in these problematic femininities and masculinities that constitute us and that we, in turn constitute.” In this small passage I received the message that many people believe that their biological makeup defines their gender, which is not true the only factor that defines your gender is you; you do not have to abide by your biological makeup.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s