Wednesday, April 22, 2009

1.) Carroll discusses the way ‘Old School’ manual labor is associated with the superiority of masculinity and mental labor is associated with the inferiority of femininity (274). Now, that dichotomy seems to have changed so we culturally associate the mind with masculinity and the body with femininity. How does this switch function hegemonically? When did this reversal take place? How was the association with masculinity and the body different from our current associations with the body and femininity? On another note, can you be masculine and inauthentic? Carroll discusses the biker community’s sentiment that the way the Teutuls assemble from fabricated parts instead of building a bike’s basic components makes their choppers signify leisure, feminized domesticity, and consumption (275). Do you agree that this “authentic masculinity” has been diluted by culture, leisure, and consumption?

2.) Why can men only ever achieve an emotional release, develop trust between with other men, and have intimacy with other men by displaying “homophobic disgust, and patriarchal outrage against any and all incursions beyond heterosexual dominance” (64)? Does wrestling specifically allow for the joining of melodrama and masculinity, or can this example be more generalized to other ‘masculine’ activities? Also, do you think the incorporation of romance plots within WWF narratives help balance the “homosocial desire” and reduce the risk of displaying male intimacy and dependence? Obviously, if wresters are depicted as defending/loving/marrying women- they aren’t actually homosexual. Is this the same as men’s magazines depicting scantily clad women to prove their straightness?

3.) What exactly do Battema and Sewell mean by us living in a neoconservative era?...In response to second-wave feminism and challenges to traditional patriarchy the WWF enacts depictions of hypermasculinity, and legitimizes reasons for physical violence against women. Battema and Sewell give the example of how a female manager “interferes with a match by dealing her wrestler’s opponent a blow to the crotch” (270). So women have ‘agency’ to do this, but men now have warrant for retaliation? Do you think the abandonment of “civilized masculine behavior” and “man as protector” is a response to feminism? Later, the authors talk about how power and authority are “freely and naturally available” and those who are unable/unwilling to exercise it are “deficient, deviant, and weak” and those who “exercise power should be celebrated” (281). Do you think women are included as having the ability to obtain power in the World Wrestling Federation? If power in WWF is either shown through money or strength/physicality—then it seems like the female manager’s blow to another’s crotch should be celebrated as powerful not retaliated against!! Well, maybe not.

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