Tag Archives: masculinities

“Being a macho kills”

Sociologist, Oscar Guasch teaches sexual criminology and Sociology of Sexuality at the University of Barcelona. His activity articulates around the identification and reconstruction of the discourses and practices of ‘power’, the origins and political uses of heterosexuality, the social consequences of AIDS and the masculine identities and homophobia, among others. At present he is carrying out an investigation on prostitution among men in Barcelona.

In your writings you criticize the hegemonic gay movement basically for accepting to be tolerated at the price of laminating its diversity and for being incapable of legitimizing and exporting the love among men to the whole group of them.

There exist social processes that are born to free people but with the time become normalizers. The feminist movements, for instance, start to free women but certain feminisms becomes ‘state feminism’ or marxisism, which is born to free the proletariat but certain Marxism becomes proletariat dictatorship and real socialism. The gay movement is born to fight homophobia but in the end a certain part of it says exactly how homosexual people have to be. If you are poor, old and homosexual you do not have social visibility.

Why did the hegemonic gay movement become normalizer?

For a collection of factors. The ‘pink peseta’, that is the fact the ghetto, which is never volunteer but a strategy of the subordinate groups to survive in an hostile environment, generates an important market of consumption. The political context, which in Spain has surely to do with the ‘zapaterism’, that is with an attempt of redefinition of the left wing starting from social policies of visibility that cost no money such as the law regulating the homosexual marriage.

The existence of certain gay leaders who have used the movement to promote themselves, something that happens everywhere. A certain need of many homosexual people to be accepted, to be able to say ‘I am normal too, I can get married’ and a lot of well versed homophobia by many homosexuals, the fact of being able to say ‘I am a correct homosexual, I am not promiscuous, I am not effeminate, I am not a queen’. All this has created a context where a certain archetypal model of ‘gay to imitate’ was produced.

The crisis will change this all. Spain has passed in the last 15 years from the sheep to the convertible. In the next future we will become a modest country and this is going to create many social problems for what to acceptation is concerned. A lot of people will be demanding authoritarianism and order and there will be social rage casted on immigrants, probably on the homosexuals and trans they will find close because it is very complicated for a society to have its social status diminished.

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Meet Raewyn Connell

disegno-connell

Raewyn Connell (1944), born Robert William Connell, is the most influential Australian sociologist. Her research fields go from large-scale class dynamics, poverty and education, sociology of knowledge, sexuality and AIDS prevention to social change and gender relations. Her book “Masculinities” (1995) was one of the founders of this research field. She is currently university professor at the University of Sydney.

In the ILGA Trans Secretariat’s web page it’s written that it’s a paradox that the most important intellectual of masculinity is now a woman. First of all do you feel you are a woman?

No, I don’t feel I’m a woman.  I know it.  I don’t think that’s very different from the kind of knowledge other women have (and men too, about being men).  For transsexual women, of course, the knowledge has definite complexities; yet there are gender complexities at some level in almost everyone’s life.

Do you feel you are a man?

For large parts of my life I tried to live as a man, but always with the underlying contradiction. That is the situation many transsexual women find themselves in. There is no simple resolution of that contradiction, and no outcome without serious costs – including costs to other people in our lives.  It’s not a glamorous situation and should not be romanticised.

Do you think it is necessary to belong either to one gender or the other?

No, it is not necessary for everyone to be subjectively either a man or a woman.  There are some people who try consistently to live without gender commitments.  For instance, they live in de-gendered households, have emotional or sexual relations not determined by gender, present themselves with a mixture of gender symbolism, and demand that the state not classify them in gender terms.  This is a brave project and these people have my admiration.  But their project is incredibly difficult, because gender is a massive social reality, embedded in institutions as well as personal life.   For the great majority of people, having a definite place in the gender order is a routine condition of life, a ground of everyday action.

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