Toxic Masculinity: Interrogating Mechanisms Undercutting Gendered Possibilities

Description

As a psychologist and feminist ethnographer of gender, sexuality, and globalization, I intend to examine and deconstruct the ways in which toxic masculinities have swept through current societies, solidifying hegemonic masculine superiority while creating new forms of marginalities for non-cisgender and sexual minority individuals.  I also attend to the predominant dynamics and mechanisms that undercut the capacity for the collective realization of the declining gendered possibilities in current society.  By questioning and deconstructing toxic masculinity from a global perspective, this project delineates and presents the transnational creation of the valorization of masculinity and degradation of other forms of gender identity and expressions (e.g., femininity) in order to open up new possibilities for marginalized gendered subjectivities.  I select the US and Chinese societies as my focus based on my own interests and expertise as well as current economic, political, and socio-cultural considerations across the globe.  I will utilize and combine images, pictures, statistics, and other textual and visual resources in newspaper, popular magazine, and other media platforms to create the visualization of toxic masculinity.

 

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Toxic masculinity

Created Image: Toxic Socialization of Masculinity

This image illustrated how toxic masculinity and educational contexts in different temporality and locality shape one another and serve the same purpose to solidify and legitimize the masculine way of "doing" gender.  From the left, the graduating class consisiting of white male high school students in Wisconsin, US shameless gives the Sig Heil Nazi sign during their class photo to assert their intersectional power and priviliege of race and gender.  On the right, a group of middle school male students in Chengdu, China were made to sign their names on a banner, which reads "Masculine Boys (Yang-Gang-Nan-Hai)" in response to the national call for making boys like boys.

Design Statement: I selected and combined these two images to pinpoint how the toxic ideology of masculinity is produced by and produces educational systems in both Chinese and the US societies.

  • The image relfects how educational practices across two cultures serve to solidfy and legitimize masculinity.
  • This image reflects how toxic masculinity on the one hand can be constructed and, on the other hand, shapes nad reinforces the ways in which young boys are "correctly" socialized into the so-called masculine men.

SOURCE

Shao, Jianmin. 2018. “Created image: Masculine socialization in education.” In Toxic Masculinity, created by Jianmin Shao. In Visualizing Toxic Subjects Digital Exhibit, curated by James Adams and Kim Fortun. The Center for Ethnography. March.

Toxic masculinity

Created Image: Hegemonic Heteronormativity

This image was created by two different pictures online to demonstrate how heteronormativity signifying the masculine way of "doing" family (i.e., protecting traditional nuclear family for benefits of the next geneation) creates marginality for sexual minority individuals in Taiwan who desire family diversity and alternative ways of "doing" family. On the top, a group of men bringing their wivies and children to a gathering with the purpose of advocating traditional nuclear family values and devaluing family diveristy and gender inclusive education.  On the bottom, results showed that right-wing ideology prevailed in the nearest referendums in Taiwan, with voters rejecting same-sex marriage and gender inclusive education. 

Design Statement: I selected and combined these two images to reveal the hegemonic heteronormativity, a concept originated from queer theory.

  • This image reflects the masculine way of "doing" family--that is, stablize traditional nuclear family through the claims of protecting children while marginalizing and delegitmazing diverse forms of family. 

SOURCE

Shao, Jianmin. 2018. “Created image: Hegemonic heteronormativity.” In Toxic Masculinity, created by Jianmin Shao. In Visualizing Toxic Subjects Digital Exhibit, curated by James Adams and Kim Fortun. The Center for Ethnography. March.

Toxic masculinity

Created Image: Cisgender Fragility

This image shows the ways in which cisgender individuals utilize the ideology of gender essentialism and gener binary to create boundaries undercutting transgender individuals' accessiblity to bathrooms.  On the left, a group of pastors, community activists, and politicans in Houston came out fighting against the "bathroom bill," leading to the defeat of the bill.  On the right, a group of UCLA students were adovacting gender essentialism and protesting about bathroom accessiblity for transgender individuals.  Both groups used the similar kind of tactic (i.e., the use of gender essentialism and gender binary) to achieve their goals, thus again solidfying and entrenching hegemonic gendered perceptions. 

Design Statement: I selected and combined these two image to reflect upon how transgender individuals are policed, marginalized, and even erased by cisgender ideology.

  • This image is rooted in the ideology of gender essentialism and gender binary.
  • This image pinponts the sex/gender system perpetuating a world full of violence towards transgender individuals.

SOURCE

Shao, Jianmin. 2018. “Created image: Cisgender fragility.” In Toxic Masculinity, created by Jianmin Shao. In Visualizing Toxic Subjects Digital Exhibit, curated by James Adams and Kim Fortun. The Center for Ethnography. March.

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Creative Commons Licence
Toxic masculinity

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Created date

November 26, 2018