Choose three (3) passages from those provided, and complete the following for each:
• Name the author (last name only is acceptable) and title of the work that the passage comes from. (2 points)
• Explain what the passage means or is communicating. Identify and examine any key ideas, themes, concepts, or terms that appear in the passage, and explain how they are significant to our study of gender, masculinities, culture, and society in this course. (10 points)
• Connect the passage to at least one (1) other course material that you HAVE NOT discussed in another Part 2 answer and explain the connection in detail. For example, you might describe how a concept or argument in one course material helps us to better understand ideas presented in another course material. You might also analyze how each course material discusses the same topic in different ways. (8 points)
• Your goal should NOT be to cover every detail of the passage or summarize the passage entirely. Instead, focus your analysis on specific parts (ideas, arguments, observations, etc.) of the passage to give your response depth and allow you to make clear connections between different course materials.
• Your responses for Part 2 should discuss six (6) unique course materials in total: two (2) per response (the passage chosen from the list below and the connection you make to another course material), with none reused.
• Each response should be between 250 and 350 words.
The following passages could be selected for Part 2 of the Final Exam (passage identification).
1. “Another father reported that his five-year-old son liked to pay Barbies with his four-year-old sister and expressed relief that his son’s interest is more in Ken than Barbie: ‘He’s not interested in Barbie, he’s interested in Ken. . . . He plays with Ken and does boy things with him, he has always made clear that he likes Ken. . . . If he was always playing with dolls and stuff like this then I would start to worry and try to do something to turn it around. But he plays with Ken and it doesn’t go much further than that, so I’m fine’ (white, upper-middle-class, heterosexual father).
Notable throughout these comments is the sense that parents are carefully balancing an openness to some crossing of gender boundaries but only within limits, as the father in the final quote indicated when he said that he would ‘do something to turn it around’ if his son’s interest were in Barbie rather than Ken. A similar balancing act in the accomplishment of masculinity is evident for a white, middle-class, heterosexual father who noted that if his son ‘really wanted to dance, I’d let him . . ., but at the same time, I’d be doing other things to compensate for the fact that I signed him up for dance’”
2. “The example shows that exploring attitudes toward clothing, nakedness, and masculinity means recognizing their historical and cultural variability. It also suggests that we need to think about the body not only as a physical entity—which it assuredly is—but also as a cultural form that carries meaning with it. The notion that bodies are just material things, collections of instincts, mechanical processes put in place by God the watchmaker, ticking away in pretty much the same way from culture to culture, era to era, goes back to the philosopher Descartes. Darwinian science profoundly altered the Cartesian picture by showing that the body’s mechanisms aren’t timeless and unchanging, but have evolved dramatically over time. What’s still missing from this picture, though—and what was ultimately supplied in the twentieth century—is the recognition that when we look at bodies (including our own in the mirror), we don’t just see biological nature at work, but values and ideals, differences and similarities that culture has ‘written,’ so to speak, on those bodies.
What this means is that the body doesn’t carry only DNA, it also carries human history with it.”
3. “Hegemonic masculinity is constructed in relation to women and to subordinated masculinities. These other masculinities need not be as clearly defined – indeed, achieving hegemony may consist precisely in preventing alternatives gaining cultural definition and recognition as alternatives, confining them to ghettos, to privacy, to unconsciousness.
The most important feature of contemporary hegemonic masculinity is that it is heterosexual, being closely connected to the institution of marriage; and a key form of subordinated masculinity is homosexual. This subordination involves both direct interactions and a kind of ideological warfare. Some of the interactions were described in chapter 1: police and legal harassment, street violence, economic discrimination. These transactions are tied together by the contempt for homosexuality and homosexual men that is part of the ideological package of hegemonic masculinity. The AIDS scare has been marked less by sympathy for gays as its main victims than by hostility to them as the bearers of a new threat. The key point of media concern is whether the ‘gay plague’ will spread to ‘innocent’, i.e., straight, victims.
In other cases of subordinated masculinity the condition is temporary. Cynthia Cockburn’s splendid study of printing workers in London portrays a version of hegemonic masculinity that involved ascendancy over young men as well as over women. The workers recalled their apprenticeships in terms of drudgery and humiliation, a ritual of induction into trade and masculinity at the same time. But once they were in, they were ‘brothers’.”
4. “Trans men’s narratives illustrate that contextually based gender knowledges that are simultaneously racialized and sexualized shape processes of recognition and authenticity. These gender knowledges represent norms that prescribe not only how gender should be done but also what gender categories even exist and who can inhabit them. Gender knowledges are primary to, but not separable from, race and sexuality in the determination of who is a man and who is not. An intersectional analysis extends understandings of gender and recognition to demonstrate the centrality of racial and sexual recognition as well.
In my research with trans men, I found that some spatial and institutional contexts offered more expansive notions of who is a man, while others relied on more restrictive ideas. The more expansive notions often relied on a person’s self-definition—if you see yourself as a man, then you are a man—and the knowledge that not all men were assigned male at birth, as well as acknowledging the existence of transgender people and genders that do not fit an either/or binary. More restrictive gender knowledges relied on a binary and essentialist understanding of who counts as a man—there are only men, and men are people who were assigned male at birth. Both these expansive and narrow gender knowledges allow for different forms of recognition—as a man, as properly masculine, and as transgender. It bears emphasizing that those individuals who had more restrictive or narrow gender knowledges were not necessarily less complex thinkers than those with more expansive knowledges. That is, expansive knowledges do not necessarily refer to knowing more, but to knowing differently.
5. “However, it is not just homophobia, it is a gendered homophobia. Several students told me that these homophobic insults only applied to boys and not girls. For example, while Jake, a handsome white senior, told me that he didn’t like gay people, he quickly added, ‘Lesbians, okay that’s good.’ Similarly Cathy, a popular white cheerleader, told me ‘Being a lesbian is accepted because guys think “oh that’s cool.”’ Darnell, after telling me that boys were told not to be faggots, said of lesbians, ‘They’re [guys are] fine with girls. I think it’s the guy part that they’re like ewwww!’ In this sense it is not strictly homophobia, but a gendered homophobia that constitutes adolescent masculinity in the culture of this school. However, it is clear, according to these comments, that lesbians are ‘good’ because of their place in heterosexual male fantasy not necessarily because of some enlightened approach to same-sex relationships. It does however, indicate that using only the term homophobia to describe boys’ repeated use of the word ‘fag’ might be a bit simplistic and misleading.”
6. “If only these were the visions that were dominant: the vulnerability, the gentleness, the confusion, the uncertainty. All of those are also sources of strength; all of those are also powerful ways of revealing our humanity. Where vulnerability is not weakness; it is being open to the possibility of change and being open to the possibility of being transformed by love, by passion, by touch.
It’s not about using somebody else’s body for your own brief pleasure. It’s about opening yourself up to somebody else’s pleasure, and learning what becomes possible. I think the best Indigenous literature explores that, and that’s what we need more of. It’s not that these other visions aren’t realities too; we know there are people who practise violence. But it doesn’t have to be only that. The work here gives me hope for much better opportunities, and models of powerful men who are gentle men, who are loving men, who are generous men.
These are more of what we need, but they don’t sell as well as men who are blowing things up, right? They don’t sell as well as men who are demonstrating strength by how many people they can kill or wound or maim or assault.”
Choose three (3) passages from those provided, and complete the following for each: