Friday, April 26, 2013

"Macho male" attack ads targetting Trudeau's masculinity? Probably

“Men who exhibit non-traditional gender behaviours or engage in non-traditional male activities or work, tend to get positioned as less manly,” said (Christoper) Greig, a professor of education at the University of Windsor. |(from "Stars and sparkles: Are latest Conservative ads an attack on Justin Trudeau’s masculinity?" by Jennifer Ditchburn, Candian Press, in National Post, April 25, 2013, excerpted below)
And what the quote does not say, but could with equal validity, is that it is mainly men who make such assumptions. It is men who push other men away from non-traditional male activities, fathers to sons, for example, or uncles to nephews,  big brother to little brothers....and not women so much.
Remember George W. Bush painting John Kerry as "waffling and indecisive" in the 2004 presidential campaign. Remember Harper's painting previous liberal leaders as "weak" "self-indulgent...not here for you"...and the list is really endless.
How many male artists have been literally shoved into vocations in which they had little or no interest, just to avoid being dubbed "gay" or a "fairy" or some other equally offensive tag by those whose perceptions of their bigotry ran about as deep as frost on a car windshield in Spring, and just as easily erased so as not to be noticed?
The narrowing of what it means to be a "man" by men especially, in order to conform, comply, fit in, and become a professional success has resulted in the voluntary (and involuntary) closetting of millions of authentic gay men, and the repressing of too many skills and talents to count.
And politics is one of the more public stages for this drama to unfold.
Athletics is another.
The theatre, and the art schools, however, along with the Music Conservatories, welcome both genders with open arms, happy to find both genders willing and able to devote many hours to the kind of disciplined practice and study in order to fully develop as the artist they were meant to be.
Sadly, the philistines in politics, where image dominates, are so tightly bound to the male stereotype that it could take decades, if not centuries, for the necessary changes to welcome multiple masculinities in our public arenas.

Stars and sparkles: Are latest Conservative ads an attack on Justin Trudeau’s masculinity?

By Jennifer Ditchburn, Candian Press, in National Post, April 25, 2013
Christopher Greig, co-author of the book Canadian Men and Masculinities, also believes the Conservatives are trying to frame Trudeau as “unmanly” in their most recent flyer. He explains that society has certain views on what an appropriately masculine identity is.

“Men who exhibit non-traditional gender behaviours or engage in non-traditional male activities or work, tend to get positioned as less manly,” said Greig, a professor of education at the University of Windsor.
“In the Justin Trudeau case, the mention that he was a drama teacher sort of plays into those anxieties around being appropriately male, where drama has been historically gendered feminine.”...
Greig notes that in politics, leadership is often equated with masculine attributes. He points to athleticism and an embrace of the outdoors as the Canadian angle on those ideals.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has used several traditionally masculine backdrops over the years. His media advisers have made sure he was seen riding an ATV in the North, playing hockey and watching hockey games. That kind of image-building was not lost on the prime minister when he was asked by a reporter whether he would ever get on a motorcycle with wife Laureen, who is a riding enthusiast.
“You’ve got to worry about image,” he said in 2006. “I don’t want to be on the back with my wife driving.”

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