By Peter Hennen
Through the years, male homosexuality and effeminacy became indelibly linked, occasionally even synonymous. In Faeries, Bears, and Leathermen, Peter Hennen contends that this stigma of effeminacy exerts a robust impression on homosexual subcultures. via a comparative ethnographic research of 3 groups, Hennen explores the outstanding ways in which traditional masculinity is being jointly challenged, subverted, or perpetuated in modern homosexual male tradition. Hennen’s colourful learn makes a speciality of a trio of teams: the novel Faeries, who parody effeminacy through playfully embracing it, wearing promenade clothes and glitter; the Bears, who try to seem like “regular men” and rejoice their greater, hairier our bodies; and the Leathermen, who emulate hypermasculine biker tradition, at the same time harking back to and undermining notions of manliness. besides a old research of the organization among effeminacy and homosexuality, Hennen examines how this connection impacts the teams’ sexual practices. eventually, he argues, whereas all 3 teams undertake leading edge methods to gender concerns and sexual excitement, masculine norms proceed to constrain contributors of every group. (20080214)
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Extra resources for Faeries, Bears, and Leathermen: Men in Community Queering the Masculine
This is explicit in Butler’s work (1990, 1993) and implicit in the work of most of the theorists who have informed my analysis in this study. Butler’s view assumes that the heterosexual matrix is buttressed by a naturalizing narrative that reifies and privileges it in relation to nonnormative sexual practices. Thus, in sexually dissident communities, one might expect to find a rejection of naturalizing narratives in favor of a heightened appreciation of the constructed nature of sexuality. ” However, this assumption is confounded by a robust array of naturalizing narratives emanating from various gay and ostensibly queer cultures.
Collins (2005, 171) writes about this in terms of the black “sissy,” tracing his roots to the emasculated image of Uncle Tom but also attributing a specific meaning to the image in post–civil rights America. “Representations of ‘sissies’ and ‘Negro faggots’ suggest a deviancy that lies not in Black male promiscuity but in a seeming emasculation that is chosen” (Collins 2005, 172; emphasis added). While this is probably also true of white attitudes toward effeminacy, the ostensibly voluntary adoption of an effeminate disposition may be perceived as particularly repellant among poor and disenfranchised black men whose emasculation is experienced 37 CHAPTER TWO as coerced.
The article examines processes of inclusion and exclusion accompanying the expulsion of the North American Man/Boy Love Association from the International Lesbian and Gay Association and the decision of the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival to exclude maleto-female transsexuals. Gamson concludes that these exclusionary moves are best understood as public statements, designed to clarify the symbolic boundaries of legitimate movement membership for particular audiences, and that a full explanation for the tone and timing of such moves requires a consideration of the communicative context informing the movement.