Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

Masculinity and struggles with body image August 25, 2015

Filed under: appearance,body,masculinity — noetika @ 6:57 pm

There’s a great piece by Tyler Kingkade on dealing with issues of body image as a man in the Huffington Post. I recommend reading in full but here’s just a preview:

About half of all men don’t like having their picture taken or being seen in swimwear, according to an NBC Today Show/AOL Body Image survey from last year. Research from theUniversity of the West of England found a majority of guys felt part of their body wasn’t muscular enough, and more men than women would sacrifice at least a year of their life in exchange for a perfect body . . . Contemporary masculinity does not permit a man to admit his physique is less than ideal. But if men could be more open about their own insecurities, without fear of violating the unspoken rules of masculinity, we’d do better at accepting our flaws in our bodies. And maybe then we could get closer to doing what Blashill recommended: “acknowledging there are many ways to be healthy.” . . . At 27, I’m able to admit I don’t like my body. But it shouldn’t have taken me years to get to that point. I spent too long feeling like I had a secret, that I was hiding my weight issues, unable to talk about it, because rules of masculinity forbid it.

There’s also a follow up piece here.


Women Breadwinners and Fox News June 2, 2013

Filed under: family,gender inequality,gender stereotypes,masculinity,politics,work — philodaria @ 6:30 pm

A segment from Fox News simultaneously containing a stunning (though, perhaps, unsurprising) level of sexism, and a wonderful response from Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly. What’s especially telling about this exchange is that Kelly is rightly, intelligently, factually, and articulately, taking Erick Erickson and Lou Dobbs to task–and they seem to fail to grasp this. More than once, she’s met with giggles from her interlocutors.


A partial transcript is available here.


Violence and Silence May 4, 2013

Excellent TED talk by Jackson Katz, one of the folks behind the bystander approach. Watch it. Then ask your friends to watch it.





In Case You Are Not Yet Sick of Hearing About Steubenville March 20, 2013

Filed under: feminist men,masculinity,rape,violence — Stacey Goguen @ 3:49 am

Perhaps the title for this post is a but uncharitable; this post entitled “Toxic Masculinity” discusses Steubenville, but it is really picking out a larger phenomena as its topic.

For instance,

 “as former NFL quarterback and newly-minted feminist Don McPherson recently put it, “We don’t raise boys to be men. We raise them not to be women, or gay men.””


“Toxic masculinity is damaging to men, too, positing them as stoic sex-and-violence machines with allergies to tenderness, playfulness, and vulnerability. A reinvented masculinity will surely give men more room to express and explore themselves without shame or fear. (It will also, not incidentally, reduce rape against men as well, because many rapes of men are committed by other men with the intention of “feminizing”—that is, humiliating through dominance—their victim.)”


I’m willing to bet feminist philosophers have already taken up similar arguments in regards to masculinity.  Does anyone know of any work in particular?


Speaking of Using Your Powers to Make the World More Better February 5, 2013

The Border House is a great blog about video games and social identity.

They have a recent post up entitled, “TransMovement: Freedom and Constraint in Queer and Open World Games”
(All the blockquotes here are from the Border House article by Samantha Allen)

When Bethesda Games’ Todd Howard previewed the open world role-playing gameSkyrim, he famously promised that the player would be able to traverse any visible geography. His breathless assurance of the player’s ultimate freedom has already come and gone as an internet meme: “You see that mountain? You can climb it.”

In it, the author mentions a video game (that you can play right in your browser without downloading anything) called dys4ia.

I want to contrast this ultimate freedom of movement with the mechanics of movement in Anna Anthropy’s much-discussed game dys4ia, which she describes as “an autobiographical game about my experiences with hormone replacement therapy.”

It’s articles like this that make me think there is lots of potential for philosophy and video games to get together and make sweet, sweet knowledge.  Especially in regards to social justice and oppression.

I’ll confess that I seem to enjoy the rampant freedom of open world games just as much as anybody. But, for cisgender gamers, the supreme motility of open world games often functions as an exaggeration of a freedom of movement that they may already enjoy in the physical spaces of non-game worlds.

In her 1980 essay, “Throwing Like a Girl: A Phenomenology of Feminine Body Comportment Motility and Spatiality,” feminist philosopher Iris Marion Young thinks through the style of movement typical of women in the United States. Women, in her view, do not “make full use of the body’s spatial and lateral possibilities” unlike men who are able to move freely, with long strides and swinging arms (Young 1980, 142).

I’m not arguing that all games should constrain player motion so that the much-stereotyped white, male, cisgender game-playing teenager can understand my experience as a transwoman. I do want to resist, however, game critics’ tendency to think of the open world, “ultimate freedom” genre as the evolutionary endpoint of video games as a medium. Different styles of movement produce different emotional effects and both should be available to us as players and as game-makers. To regard “fun” as the ultimate litmus test for the success of a video game is to sell short the emotive capacity of the medium itself.

I also want to call attention to the implicit masculinity of the open world genre, not to dismiss it entirely, but rather to point out the ways in which freedom of movement can be experienced differently by people outside the largely white, male cisgender realm of video game preview and review culture. […] Because I don’t equate fiction with reality, I can’t hold Far Cry 3 accountable for neocolonialism. I can point out, however, that it’s a reflection of an implicit masculinism, the seductiveness of which is facilitated by the mechanics of movement in the open world genre of games. Let’s enjoy our fictional worlds and our innocent-because-virtual power fantasies. But let’s also try to be a little more nuanced and reflexive in our approach to going anywhere and doing anything.


Stop the Presses: Dude Person Wearing Pink Shoes (Get the Fainting Couches & Smelling Salts Ready!) January 19, 2013

Filed under: gender,masculinity,sports — Stacey Goguen @ 2:16 am

From Sociological Images:

News Outlet Startled by [Male] Professional Athlete Wearing Pink

Honestly, if you ask me it’s a little matchey-matchey.


Now on a more serious line, I thought this was a noteworthy point:


Now this isn’t a big deal, but it is a particularly striking example of the little ways in which rules around gender are enforced.  Federer took a risk by wearing even a little bit of pink; the Daily Mail goes to great lengths to point this out.  He also gets away with it, in the sense that the article doesn’t castigate or attempt to humiliate him for doing so. […] Research shows that men who otherwise embody high-status characteristics — which includes being light-skinned, ostensibly straight, attractive, athletic, and wealthy — can break gender rules with fewer consequences


Meggings December 28, 2012

Filed under: appearance,gender stereotypes,masculinity — philodaria @ 5:42 pm

I can’t quite figure out what’s going on with “meggings” (leggings for men). Not because I don’t know why men would want to wear them; leggings are ridiculously comfortable, and who doesn’t like comfort? Besides which, it’s a relatively less-expensive way to add depth to your wardrobe than, say, buying a new pair of jeans. No; what I can’t figure out is why someone, who admits leggings are comfortable, doesn’t seem the slightest bit interested in questioning gender norms for the purposes of practicality, but rather reinforces them. A few articles like this have crossed my twitter feed the last couple of days, and I find it a bit amazing. Each one has included some concession that it would be nice to wear leggings (or carry a purse), but then just asserts that men must not be so “feminized.” I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. But I am.


Fuzzy feminist thinking November 19, 2012

Filed under: gender,masculinity — philodaria @ 5:09 am
Tags: , ,

This is pretty unbelievable. Michael Calleri recounts how his relationship with the Niagra Falls Reporter came to an end when the new editor objected to publishing his movie reviews when the films in question featured strong female characters  (labeling Snow White and the Huntsman as one example of “fuzzy feminist thinking” that he found offensive).  The editor wrote:

If you care to write reviews where men act like good strong men and have a heroic inspiring influence on young people to build up their character (if there are such movies being made) i will be glad to publish these.

i am not interested in supporting the reversing of traditional gender roles.

i don’t want to associate the Niagara Falls Reporter with the trash of Hollywood and their ilk.

it is my opinion that hollywood has robbed america of its manliness and made us a nation of eunuchs who lacking all manliness welcome in the coming police state.

Horrifying, but kudos to Calleri.


Bronies challenging definition of masculinity November 17, 2012

Filed under: gender,masculinity — jennysaul @ 9:31 am

(Thanks, TD!)


Badassery Incarnate, pt2: Feeling Excluded When You’re Not a Straight White Dude (aka my time as a gamer) October 1, 2012

Filed under: masculinity,video games — Stacey Goguen @ 7:00 am

When I watched “The Men Who Built America” trailer, I saw red partly because this is just one in a long line of trailers I’ve had to sit through where (often rich and/or straight) white men are running around doing badass things and after about the twentieth trailer it starts to feel like you are getting the message, “This is what badassery looks like. And if you don’t look like this–if you don’t see yourself in these people on the screen–then you are not capable of being a badass like they are.” And while it’s possible to identify with someone who doesn’t share your class, gender, race, sexuality, etc., it can be extra hard to when these trailers play up “This is a MASCULINE guy and this is a HIGH CLASS rich person and this is a EUROPEAN American.”

I had a pretty similar experience last year when I watched a trailer for the video game Dragon Age II. I’m an avid gamer who identifies strongly as a gamer and who is invested in gamer culture, so it felt like a slap in the face to see this series play into the same “by white men for white men” crap that currently permeates the majority of gamer culture–specifically the RPGs that I play. It’s fine for any one game to be by white men about white men. But when it’s game after game after game it’s hard to shake the feeling that, “hey, maybe you don’t belong here.” I got this same feeling when I ran around my high school spouting about how much I loved Fight Club until several different people told me, “Oh, I thought that movie was about masculinity.” Suddenly, I felt cut off from this thing that I love, that I identified with. It’s the feeling of This Is Not For You; this thing and you are mutually exclusive.

Here’s the DA II trailer I got all in a huff about:

For some context, Dragon Age: Origins (the first game in the series) was amazing in that you could play as a woman or a man, straight, bi, or gay, and occupy a whole host of different socio-economic positions (commoner, noble, royal, outcast, ward of the state (sorta), etc). On my first play through, my character was from an inner-city ghetto (albeit a white, elfish one) and I had to basically get recruited into a special ops military group (to save me from execution) after I killed a noble who raped my friend and killed my fiancee because he (the noble) felt entitled to a prima nocta. As far as video games go, the gender/class/sexuality consciousness of DAO was astounding. (Not perfect–but definitely above the norm.)

That’s why it was an extra kick in the gut for the trailer of DA II to represent itself–and all the different kinds of heroes you can play as–with the same old trope of, “Here’s you–the beefy nordic-looking male fighter.”

(I’m also pissed that they used the voice of Flemeth–one of the most bad ass characters of the series who is supposed to be this witch of mythic status who may literally eat men’s souls–and she’s sitting there narrating about how there are a few “men” who manage to grab destiny by the balls. WTF.  It’s such a weird dissonance to realize, this is not what this character would say.  This is a bunch of men putting words into this woman’s mouth.  Flemeth, the actual character, would instead say something like this: ‘Some men change the world forever.  Then I change into a dragon and eat them.  Because that’s how I roll.’)



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