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Archive for June, 2010

torchwood, psych, castle, and modern male sexuality

Posted by pocochina on June 6, 2010

Female sexuality on TV, for its myriad problems, has come a long way, baby – male sexuality not so much.  Sex as violence on one end of the patriarchal spectrum, sex as degradation on the other, are still an inherent part of male sexuality in popular culture, and in particular male sexual attraction to women.

But writers are starting to challenge this by coming up with sexy, likable male characters whose sexuality (regardless of orientation), while an important part of their characters, is not predatory, degrading, or possessive.  The existence of such positive male characters is a sea change in the depiction in modern male sexuality.  This isn’t shallow fanservice.  Okay, maybe a little, but it’s not just that.  It is no less than a mass-market blow against the primacy of rape culture.  I’m interested in male characters who exhibit a playful, non-predatory male sexuality.  The best examples of this are Castle from Castle, Sean from Psych, and of course Captain Jack of Torchwood.

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thoughts on guyland

Posted by pocochina on June 2, 2010

Guyland is an interesting book for me to read at this moment of my life – I have, after all, both turned 26 and just finished school, so I’m no longer living surrounded by Guys (defined by Kimmel as mostly cis white males between ages 16-26), but I’ve been wandering in their environments for some time.  Unfortunately, the book didn’t so much give me a glimpse of the inner workings of the guys I’ve been around all this time as it did confirm my utter abhorrence of social situations and firm (and until now, I thought anxiety-borne) conviction that other people spend all their time looking to use you in their puerile power games and are thus basically the worst.  I hope this doesn’t sound trivializing – the book is an exploration of the dangerous social hierarchies which are built in the early adulthood of the individuals who will go on to uphold kyriarchy.  I found the premise to be critically important, the historical context present and not wasted, and the style of weaving statistics and interviews with Guys to be persuasive and informative.  However, the book fails to follow through on its own conclusions, rests on some unfortunate assumptions (particularly about young women), and posits individual solutions to overwhelmingly broad societal problems.  It’s a critical addition to the canon of masculinity studies and the lives of young adults, even if underwhelming on its own.

Guyland, basically, is patriarchy boot camp.  Early childhood is the time that you learn communication is possible; teen years and early adulthood is the time when you learn the most effective ways to abuse and exploit.  Guys leave home, go to college, and decide that their new place in the world is among their beer-chugging bros, and so they join the race for masculine status.  While most guys eventually become family men – though retaining their seething anger at women and chest-thumping masculine self-image, so I’m less sure than Kimmel that this is an overall win for the ladies – they spend a few years soaking in testosterone-flavored male entitlement.  Lots of Guys don’t actually love the excesses of Guyland but are too afraid to speak up, but there’s an undercurrent of violence and bigotry kept stoked by a handful of rapists and other sadistic shitheads.

You kind of can’t talk about Guyland, or Guyland, without talking about sexual assault.  The rest of this is below the cut, but click with self-care in mind.

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