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MasculinitybecomesCSDHirdRepresentations

By Phillip Graham,2014-09-04 22:07
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MasculinitybecomesCSDHirdRepresentations

Derek Hird

    CSD

    University of Westminster

Paper given at the Joint Asian Studies Conference, Leeds

    University, Sept 2004.

Representations of masculinity in contemporary China

    This paper is an investigation of representations of

    masculinity in contemporary China.

    Firstly, what is masculinity? Much has been written in

    recent years in the Western academy on the concept of

    masculinity. Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, who has written about

    masculinity in English literature, points out that sometimes

    masculinity has not got anything to do with men. She says:

    “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

    1a producer of masculinities and a performer of them.”

     1 Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick. 1995. “Gosh, Boy George, You Must Be Awfully Secure in Your Masculinity!”.

    In Maurice Berger, Brian Wallis and Simon Watson, eds. Constructing Masculinity. p.13.

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    Judith Halberstam, who specialises in queer theory, has

    written extensively about female masculinity. She asserts

    that “masculinity must not and cannot and should not reduce

    2down to the male body and its effects.” She explains: “If what we call „dominant masculinity‟ appears to be a

    naturalized relation between maleness and power, then it

    makes little sense to examine men for the contours of that

    masculinity‟s social construction. Masculinity…becomes

    legible as masculinity where and when it leaves the white

    3male middle-class body.” For Halberstam, it is more

    important to pay attention to alternative masculinities that

    4“are mostly queer and female.”

    In the search for a theory of gender that can

    encompass such alternative masculinities, it is worth

    considering Judith Butler‟s proposition that there is “no

     2 Judith Halberstam. 2002. “An Introduction to Female Masculinity: Masculinity without Men”. In Rachel

    Adams and David Savran, eds. The Masculinity Studies Reader, p. 355. Malden, Mass.; Oxford: Blackwell. 3 Judith Halberstam. 2002. “An Introduction to Female Masculinity”, p. 356. 4 Judith Halberstam. 2002. “An Introduction to Female Masculinity”, p. 355.

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