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07 January 2013

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Tony Palacio
1.

St. Catherine of Siena allegedly spoke directly with Our Lord, which is very, very, very rare. And not only did the Church declare her a saint, they took the extra step of ratifying the legitimacy of St. Catherine's locutions from Our Lord by extraordinarily declaring her a Doctor of the Church. Here are the some of the words spoken by Jesus Christ Himself about pancakes; referring to sacred ministers, He says:

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg and melted butter; mix until smooth.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Ymmmm. Pancakes.

Mark Lance
2.

Wow, thanks for sharing Tony.
I think I have an even stronger view than yours: I think speaking directly with Jesus is very very very very rare.

John Protevi
3.

Reminds me of Muhammad Ali's brag: "I'm so fast, I can turn out the light and be under the covers before the room is dark. And that's very fast for a heavyweight."

Katy Abramson
4.

what?

Alan
5.

But John (if I may), *maybe* not for a lightweight.

Sean McAleer
6.

Didn't Satchel Paige say that of Cool Papa Bell?

Izzy
7.

What's happening here?

Mark Lance
8.

Not sure specifically what is puzzling you, but since a few folks have expressed puzzlement, both here and privately, I'll make explicit what I initially thought best expressed in the above acerbic indirect manner.

Despite engaging in a heterosexist diatribe on twitter, Ms Banks has hit upon an important feature of derogatives like "faggot": they are not primarily used to enforce particular norms of sexual conduct, but to enforce particular norms of masculinity. They are, that is, more deeply misogynist than heterosexist - though obviously the two are not able to be untangled at any level. Of course she is wrong to think that this somehow justifies her speech acts. That she was playing into societal practices that reinforce oppressive masculine/feminine roles rather than criticizing someone's sexual practice does not make things better. But I thought it telling that in a time in which toleration of sexual practices is growing - including among folks in the rap community - the offensiveness of this transparently masculinist dimension to such derogatives would be invisible to her, someone who describes herself as bisexual. I was quite serious in suggesting that this is a useful pedagogical artefact, and that it be tied to bell hooks's discussions of the role of black women in reproducing patriarchy.

Just some lady
9.

I personally think there's something seriously hinky about a white guy talking about how WOC perpetuate the patriarchy, Mark.

Mark Lance
10.

I didn't talk about how women of color do anything. I talked about how one particular person had done something. Do you disagree?

Just some lady
11.

I may have misunderstood the last sentence of your comment at 10:14, which is what I was responding to. My understanding was that you were tying Ms Banks' remarks to a broader narrative about WOC who are conditioned to work within and perpetuate patriarchal structures. Even if that narrative is bell hooks's, I think that the salient connection here isn't yours to make.

But as I say - I may have misread your remark, and particularly the way you were using the word 'role'. My apologies if so.

Mark Lance
12.

Ah, yes, I did suggest that this incident could be connected to bell's views. While I'm familiar with the position that white guys shouldn't express original opinions on such topics, it didn't occur to me that you were suggesting that they shouldn't so much as mention opinions of woc academics, or note relevant events in that context.

Some other lady
13.

Janet Mock's thoughts on this event are a little more fully fleshed out than Prof. Lance's: http://www.xojane.com/issues/janet-mock-azealia-banks-perez-hilton

Anonymous
14.

Some other lady--at comment 11 you write that if Mark was expressing the view you were attributing to him, and even if that view is one that someone else holds, "the salient connection here isn't yours to make." At your comment 9 you seem to suggest that it is because Mark is a "white guy" that this isn't his connection to make.

Why does being a white male preclude one from being entitled to say something? Prima facie, it would seem unjust to bar people from making an observation simply because of their gender or race. I would have thought that was common ground in a conversation like this, so I must be missing something. I hope you can clear this up for me, and thanks in advance for trying.

Jore
15.

Some interesting commentary from Crunk Feminists, which might contribute something to Anonymous's comment/question at #14, flagging up the racialized sexism present in the fallout from this:

"White gay cis men have cultural access to the bodies of black women and black femmes, cultural access that black women and black femmes do not have in relation to white gay cis male bodies. This cultural access allows white gay cis men to caricature black femininities, through mannerisms and voice intonations, as rambunctiously depraved and outlandish. It is a form of ontological mockery that reinforces dehumanizing narratives and racist tropes about black femininities"
...
"Azealia Banks’ career allegedly hangs in the balance and Perez Hilton’s remains firmly intact. She’s now regarded as the ratchet, violently homophobic black woman. By virtue of his white gay cis male privilege, Hilton did not have to contend with the implications of calling will.i.am a faggot several months ago. This isn’t two wrongs make a right, but rather, one wrong is minimized, and the other, pathologized."

http://crunkfeministcollective.wordpress.com/2013/01/10/on-azealia-banks-and-white-gay-cis-male-privilege

Ed Kazarian
16.

Ahh, glad to see this posted. My partner just sent it to me and I was going to add it here.

Mark Lance
17.

fwiw, I completely agree that this dimension of privilege is important, and for the most part with what the articles in 15 and 13 are saying. I was not offering this particular tweet as an endorsement of the condemnation of Ms Banks, but rather as an interesting example. What struck me about this was simply the thought that criticizing a man for being insufficiently distinct from women was an acceptable criticism whereas criticizing him for his sexual behavior would not be.

Katy Abramson
18.

oh-- my "what" from a few days ago was about comment #1, not the initial twitter exchange, to which my response is more in the category of -wtf?

Anonymous
19.

Hi Jore,

This is anonymous from 14. I don't see how your quote answers my questions. Suppose you're right that "white gay cis privilege" is in play here; why does that in any way license censuring a white male, in the way that Some Other Lady was recommending, simply because he is a white male?

As it is, I'm not convinced that the line of thought in the passage you quoted is cutting nature at the joints here. It's not clear to me that "white gay cis" privilege explains what's going on. Why can't it be explained by gay privilege? Or by the fact that Perez is an established celebrity and Banks isn't? Or the fact that it's a direct exchange between two people over twitter, rather than one of Perez' sloppy rundowns on the latest celebrity gossip? There looks to be an underdetermination of sufficient cause for this event, and reducing it to "white gay cis" privilege, while perhaps good for getting one's heartrate up, doesn't look to be epistemically warranted. And talking of Banks being regarded as a "ratchet, violently homophobic black woman" seems a bit out of hand. Let's save talk of violence for cases where that talk is apt.

Anonymous
20.

Ah; I see the author you quoted uses the phrase "epistemic voilence." That's a colorful term, but when one is trying to have an intelligent conversation about these issues it doesn't have much cognitive merit unless it's given quite a bit of commentary. Also, this passage:

"The public spat between Azealia Banks and Perez Hiton must be understood within a larger context, beyond the binary logic of right and wrong. It is profoundly problematic that much of the cultural criticism framing this fiasco is couched in the “two wrongs don’t make a right” argument. This narrative rests on the flawed assumption that wrongful conduct on both sides of a conflict functions on an equal playing field. The lens through which we view wrongful conduct on either side (Azealia Banks vs Perez Hilton) must take into account the overarching power imbalances that frame interpersonal experiences of epistemic violence. We cannot dislocate public figures from their sociopolitical locations. The Azealia Banks/Perez Hilton debacle has absolutely nothing to do with right and everything to do with white gay cis male privilege."

Makes the whole article look ridiculous in my mind. We do no good, for ourselves or each other, when we reduce such conflicts to this sort of neat-and-tidy set of categories (and really, we need to get beyond the "binary logic of right and wrong"? That's the solution?). This sort of discourse is balm for a fevered mind, a stoking of our sentiments. Whatever cognitive merit there's to be had in a view with these features, when it's handed to us like this it needs quite a bit of winnowing before we can put it to good use.

Also, lol:

"Because our society subscribes to an insidiously misogynistic sociocultural paradigm, to insult someone, notwithstanding gender, is to invoke the feminine."

Mark Lance
21.

If getting beyond the binary logic of right and wrong means not supposing that the moral space is fully captured by a listing of what is right and what wrong, then this is a sensible claim. And much of the discussion of such incidents does indeed just go on about who was right and who wrong, when there are much more interesting and complex things to say. That's part of why I thought it interesting to note how Banks reflexively defended herself, and how that connects to bell hooks's very sophisticated discussions of the construction of masculinity in the context of race, etc. (Frankly, it is hard to think of things I care less about than evaluating the moral character of celebrities. But their behavior and its uptake can provide interesting evidence re social systems.) Of course none of this has anything to do with comments 9 and 11, but it is hard to know how one could productively engage with someone making the claim that one is not permitted to productively engage, which is why I quit.

Anonymous
22.

Hi Mark,

I suppose I can see that as a gloss on talk of getting beyond the "binary logic of right and wrong." But I'm more troubled by comments like the following, which ended the quote above:

"The Azealia Banks/Perez Hilton debacle has absolutely nothing to do with right and everything to do with white gay cis male privilege."

No matter how smitten someone like Edward Ndopu or the folks at the crunkfeministcollective may be with talk of "white gay cis male privilege," to suppose it so easily strikes to the core of these issues is as silly as it is unhelpful. First of all, as an explanatory solvent it doesn't seem to be very effective at all. Lots of other factors can be pointed to as partial explanations for the contrasting responses to this and other "homophobic" exchanges.

Throwing around ungrounded and unexplained terms like "epistemic violence" isn't any help either. It's evidence of sloppy rhetoric, and it ought to be recognized as such when it presents itself. That's just good mental hygiene. Notice how easily Ndopu shifts from talk of the "epistemic violence" committed against Banks to talk of her being characterized as "violently homophobic" toward the end of his article. The word "violence" here is being distorted beyond recognition, and yet we're being told that this account somehow tells us "everything" we need to know about the altercation.

And this is to say nothing of the fact that this piece was supposed to help us understand why what you said was something Some Other Lady had a right to object to simply because you are a white male. Whatever the term "white gay cis male privilege" might refer to, *use* of the term seems to bring with it a fair sense of privilege itself.

Also, this is still the lols:

"Because our society subscribes to an insidiously misogynistic sociocultural paradigm, to insult someone, notwithstanding gender, is to invoke the feminine."

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