XY? Masculine Identity? Frontiers, bodies, education and violence

Image of XY? Masculine Identity? Frontiers, bodies, education and violence
Image of XY? Masculine Identity? Frontiers, bodies, education and violence

There are men's bodies and there are masculinities expressed in roles, attitudes, identities and profiles that encompass multiple bodies and sexual practices. But, there also are frontiers that define identities, bodies hyper-identified with “the masculine,” and social and cultural traditions in which the aforementioned, acts as an airtight compartment, at least in appearance. This course is dedicated to the understanding of what masculinity is, how it is constructed, what and whom it questions nowadays, and whether or not “other masculinities” are possible.

After so many years of feminist critique, masculinity continues to be a dilemma, a place where almost nobody wants to venture anymore and which, nonetheless, represents some of the most recognizable currents of power at present. What is masculinity, how is it constructed, and what and whom does it question nowadays? Although there is no clear answer, this year's course on the core concepts surrounding feminisms seeks to explore the different fields in which masculinity is built into ordinary life, places in which tendencies that can help us understand existing dissidences, other possible masculinities and existent identity games, arise.

Different frontiers are discussed and put forward. The first is that of the body, with special focus on the ass, as a space that not only demarcates the inside and the outside of masculinity (or, perhaps not), but also the relationship between the body and masculinity as an emotional, gestural, aesthetic and political crossroads. Added to this study of the bodily frontier are three other frontiers that need to be explored and that relate to the formation of identity during childhood, the decisive stage of adolescence and trans-intersex strategies within youth contexts. It is precisely in these stages where identity takes on meaning, where both the strength of the normalizing discourses and possible dissident reactions to them can be seen.

The economic crisis is also an attack on the position of males in society. Unemployment, evictions and ordinary life have brought thousands of males face to face with the deterioration of their economic status. Is there such a thing as damaged pride? Might this situation lead to a reorganization of roles? Can we expect an identity withdrawal regarding the reinforcement of heteronormative hierarchies? These are some of the questions that are also touched upon in this course.


 Session 1. Masculinity, shove it. Being inside and outside masculinity

Introduction by: Javier Saez and Sejo Carrascosa
Date: 11 of March 7:30 p.m.

Place: Traficantes de Sueños. Calle Embajadores 35. Local 6

Some frontiers are fortified and impregnable. Places that delimit two sides of a territory or of an identity. If the focus of the discussion is the topic masculinity, this place would be the ass. The penetrable or impenetrable considered from the sexual sphere expands towards other metaphors about life, especially towards the binomial normal-abnormal that so heavily marks the construction of identities. This session delimits anal politics in order to understand, within a history of the construction of the ass, an important part of how this thing called masculinity is constructed.

 Sessions 2 and 3. Bodies of Men. The mannerisms, gestures and touch of masculinity of (bio)men.

Introduction by: David Berna and Javier Rosa
Date: 1 and 8 of April, 7:30 p.m.
Place: Traficantes de Sueños. Calle Embajadores 35. Local 6

What kind of mannerisms do you have? It seems like a strange question, but is not; especially if mannerisms are understood as the corporeal language and gestural expression that “gives away” someone's anomalous position. Mannerisms are a form of expression and of bodily behaviour that reflect identities, attitudes, social class and also gender and sexual roles. But, mannerisms do not concretely belong to anyone. Rather, each person has, shows and adapts to his or her own. They are simply a symptom of a specific relationship with the body, and with bodies. This session looks at this kind of gestural configuration, at bodies' forms of expression, comprehension, presence and caring.

Session 4. During “the boys’” childhood. Schools, roles and gender relations at school

Introduction by: Erika and Perico
Date: 15 of April 7:30 p.m.

Place: Traficantes de Sueños. Calle Embajadores, 35. Local 6

Boys and girls. Few divisions are so clear cut and have such a high degree of consensus within the education system, both the formal and informal ones. Colours, games, ways of dressing and hobbies create an environment that is highly propitious to this division. How do individuals experience this in school? Which issues are being questioned and which are perpetuated? To debate this issue, two people, who have worked with different programs related to gender identity and emotional-sexual relationships, will share their experiences. Such workshops have been held at primary schools, secondary schools and initial vocational training programs offered by the City Council of Madrid.

Session 5. Youth subcultures and masculinity. The lesson of adolescence

Introduction by: Nociones Comunes
Date: 22 of April 7:30 p.m.

Place: Traficantes de Sueños. Calle Embajadores 35. Local 6

Youth subcultures, specifically RAP music, reveal some of the secrets of gender relationships in the world of youth and the urban peripheries. By looking at the subculture of RAP, its lyric and songs, this session seeks to understand how heteronormative relationships are built starting from adolescence.

 Session 6. Masculine girls. Understanding the adjustment and academic problems of LGTBQ youth.

Introduction by: Raquel (Lucas) Platero
Date: 23 of April 7:45 p.m.

Place: Traficantes de Sueños. Calle Embajadores, 35. Local 6

Schools are often the truest reflection of a society. What in other places may remain concealed because of politeness or etiquette, becomes much more cruel in the space of sincerity surrounding “normality,” which is the space occupied by adolescents and youth. Being different in this environment supposes being exposed to an act of aggression and, in many cases, constant confrontation. In this setting, racial, sexual and class discrimination are very close to the surface. What happens in these cases? How does “something different” take shape in contexts of bullying and finger-pointing? This session explores these questions.

Session 7. The genders of violence. Relationships, dependence, possessions.

Introduction by: Elena Casado
Date: 29 April 7:30 p.m.

Place: Traficantes de Sueños. Calle Embajadores 35. Local 6

The question of violence and masculinity is a topic that is frequently addressed in contemporary discourse. Psychology, pedagogy, feminism, public policy, penal systems and other theoretical, institutional and knowledge fields come together when discussing this topic. This session approaches the situation by paying special attention to two analytical factors—feminist perspectives and the economic crisis—in order to understand the implications currently surrounding these issues.

Session 8. Masculine heterodoxies. Or how to turn identities around.

Introduction by: Nociones Comunes
Date: 6 May 7:30 p.m.

Place: Traficantes de Sueños. Calle Embajadores, 35. Local 6

The final day of the course is devoted to recalling pending questions and debates in a workshop that will give priority to the debates, questions and conclusions derived from earlier sessions.



Dates: March 21, April 4, 11, 18, 25 and May 9, 16. 2013
Place: Traficantes de Sueños. Calle Embajadores 35, Local 6
Admission: Pre-registration is required. Maximum of 50 participants. Price: €30 - €40. Further information available here: Nociones Comunes

Organised by: Fundación de los Comunes, with the collaboration of Museo Reina  Sofía

Related activities