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Courageous Dispatches - The Feminist Wire

Courageous Dispatches

By Lisa Jean Moore

While today marks the end of the weeklong TFW Forum on Masculinities, the reverberations of the impressive, brave, and breathtaking collection will ricochet through conversations, classrooms, and communities for some time to come.

I, for one, intend to make this forum required reading for my gender, sexuality, and social theory classes and will encourage others to similarly weave it into their curricula.  It could also be used as an incredible intervention into the life of a curious teenager or a neighborhood book club.  After 17 years of teaching, I have at last found a collection of work that rigorously and honestly engages with masculinity as it intersects and becomes enmeshed in class, race, ethnicity, ability, sex, sexuality, culture, memoir, religion, history, family, friendship, urban life, athletics, physical violence, surveillance, bullying, fatherhood, and boyhood.

The range of pieces includes social commentary on current events, cultural analysis of performing arts, interviews, poetry, and visual arts. Significantly, the use of narrative, typically referred to as a feminine form of expression since the birth of the novel, is prominent in many pieces here.   The Feminist Wire has created a safe and welcoming space for a multiplicity of men to share their deeply personal relationships with the processes of becoming masculine.

Contributor, visual artist, and scholar John Jennings created a powerful image that plays with the struggle of embodying the contradictions of masculinity.  Masculinity, as a normative structural and socio-cultural construction, is, as Jennings puts it, “extremely limiting.”   As the artists, writers, scholars, and activists featured in the forum demonstrated day after day that once freed from the limitations of the normative, rigid performance and interpretation of masculinity their critiques and reparations lead to an expansive masculinity.

These courageous dispatches reclaim the standard and limiting definitions masculinity and, in so doing, remind us that through critical and creative engagement we can realign the masculinities we dream of with the realities we hope for.

The pieces are listed here in the order of their appearance in the forum:

  1. Take the Shackles Off My Feet So I Can Dance*: A Call to End Gender Policing by Robert Jones, Jr.
  2. The Pulaski Skyway of our Manhood by Edgar Rivera Colón
  3. Man in Sound, Man in Place by Carlos Ulises Decena
  4. The Masculinity Scorecard by David J. Leonard
  5. Hmong Butch: The Antinomies of Being Fourth World by Bee Vang
  6. What Do We Talk About When We Talk About American Indian Imagery in Sports: Thoughts on Mascots and Racialized Masculinity by C. Richard King
  7. White Men Rule the World* by Joseph Osmundson
  8. Bebop, Jazz Manhood, and ‘Piano Shame’ by Guthrie P. Ramsey Jr.
  9. Visualizing Masculinities: An Artistic Rendering by John Jennings
  10. The Star Barbershop by Joseph Ross
  11. Touch: A Letter to the Mother by L. Lamar Wilson
  12. In Search of our Brothers’ Gardens by Lisa Guerrero
  13. Fear of the Sonic [Un]Known: Sonica Trauma and Black Masculinity in the Popular Imagination by Regina Bradley
  14. Black Men Writing to Live: Brothers’ Letters by Mychal Denzel Smith, Darnell L. Moore, Kiese Laymon, and Kai M. Green
  15. Measuring Ourselves by Our Own Yardstick by Willy Wilkerson and Kylar Broadus
  16. Lessons on What It Must Be, Not What It Could: Growing Up Black and Boy in America by Hashim Pipkin
  17. The Shapings of Black Masculinities by Darnell L. Moore
  18. Kill with Power by Shaka McGlotten
  19. Drowning in Wool by Zach Stafford
  20. Rethinking Masculinities: A Queer Woman of Color’s Perspective by Muna Mire
  21. Taking the white man-boy seriously by Kyle Kusz
  22. On Sports and Masculinity by Wade Davis with David J. Leonard
  23. Feminists We Love: Van Bailey by Darnell L. Moore
  24. Masculinity and Domestic Violence: A Conversation by Sally MacNichol and Quentin Walcott, Co-Executive Directors of CONNECT
  25. Feminist Anxiety about Domestic Violence Against Men by Jennifer Gaboury
  26. Members Only by David Serlin
  27. Race Class Masculinities and Violence Against Women in South Africa by Maria Hengveld
  28. the tenth time out of ten by Omar Ricks
  29. Op-Ed: Jack Johnson and the Racial Politics of a Presidential Pardon by Theresa Runstedtler