I’ve been so deeply attentive to feminist thought, as praxis, that I feel a sense of nostalgia about masculinity. It’s more than nostalgia; it’s a feeling of duty I sense. The world is still hyper-masculinized. A 5,000 year old legacy of masculine domination isn’t neatly balanced by a few successive waves of feminism over the last 150 years. Feminism is still in its infancy across the globe, but in highly developed areas feminism – the empowerment of women in general – is outstandingly successful. So much so that I wonder what spaces men should stand – as allies, as human beings with gifts to offer.
Understanding the privileges I carry as a masculine body has been an enormous gift. I have labored to be an ally not only to women, but to non-heteronormative bodies (queer/trans bodies)- those whose subject positions, constituted by their gender, do not afford the same privileges.
Currently, my life is thriving in an all girls school. I work with very few men. I am surrounded by women, and I love it! I have found a space where my attentiveness to dynamics of gender is of benefit to an entire community of girls. This is the space that I am thinking about my masculinity. Everyday I perform masculinity that has internalized the critical lenses developed by feminism. Its a gift to have those lenses, especially as they enact justice. I whole heartedly believe that grasping the perspective that our world is gendered – power is negotiated with/through gender – is a huge step toward understanding broad contexts, and most humans around the planet have yet to posses that gift, for reasons of poverty, privilege, and ignorance (the latter two plague these United Stations).
Now, for me, what does a post-feminist male perform? What are his commitments? I seem to have lived into a space where a post-feminism must thrive for the sake of preserving masculinity. There is a real danger that justice is overshot for the sake of self-definition. I think all critical movements risk falling from grace into retribution. You don’t want a feminist voice to be so loud that you crush the creativity constituted by gender dynamics. By in large, this is a microcosmic problem that flows from special contexts like the one in which I find myself.
Feminism still has a long way to go! Instances of privilege are being statistically mapped to greater and greater degrees – from worker pay to developmental policy the world still privileges white males. I suppose I live my way into the answer… or not.
I’ve always valued integration. It’s absolutely amazing to recognize someone who is mastering an identity hospitable to genders. I find those individuals more interesting, but in any case, it is difficult to judge – the act itself is privileging.