We had some sprinkles at work that went past their sell date. So my boss asked me to throw them away…and me being the responsible adult I am…
Posted these pics on twitter though and got all these gay slurs and homophobic responses….which is odd cus i’m straight….either twitter niggas’ masculinity is more fragile than fish bones or colored sugar on lips is some secret passage to becoming gay…….a GAYtway drug.
I was an awkward and impressionable pre-pubescent
Asian American boy when America’s imagination was captured by a certain
William Hung and his off-key 2004 rendition of Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs” on American Idol.
That the most visible Asian male mainstream representation of the
moment (other than, perhaps, the cartoonified Jackie Chan of the beloved
Jackie Chan Adventures) was the butt of a crude national joke, and heir to a long history
of Asian male pop culture buffoonery, is indicative of the messages
that I and other Asian American young men received, and continue to
receive, about our own sexuality and desirability. In the context of
romance and sex, we exist for comic relief alone.
The racial emasculation of Asian men in the American imagination is
real, it is pervasive, and it is historically-rooted (dating back at
least to the 19th century when Chinese migrant men took on “feminized”
labor roles in the laundry industry). From pop culture to playground
taunts, I doubt that any Asian American man can fully escape the
psychological implications of this socialization in undesirability. For
me, it remains a personal trope that requires constant unlearning, lest
creeping doubts begin to resurface to cloud the way I see myself and my
role in romantic and sexual relationships. I speak from personal
experience when I say that it has real material and psychological
Cut to: the rise of celebrity chef and memoirist Eddie Huang, whose
swagger, wit, and taste for controversy has made him one of Asian
America’s most visible figures. The unofficial leader and visionary of
the “movement of big dick Asians,”
Huang’s persona has resonated with Asian Americans tired of being an
“invisible” minority, and especially with Asian American men seeking to
reclaim and reassert their own masculinity. But when reclaimed
masculinity comes in such normative, ultra-hetero packaging, are we
doing more harm than help?
Last year, Jenn Fang of Reappropriate.co coined the term “misogynlinity”
(masculinity plus misogyny) to explain how, in working to counter their
racial emasculation, some Asian American men may seek to reaffirm their
own masculinity in problematic ways – namely, by conflating masculinity
with misogyny, and practicing “manhood” through the objectification,
violation, and conquest of women. Fang points to the popularity of pickup artist/dating coaches
amongst Asian American men and the unfortunate tendency for some Asian
American men to shame Asian American women who choose to date non-Asian
partners as examples of how attempts to counter Asian emasculation can
become oppressive forces themselves.
Thus, the trouble with Huang’s “big dick Asian movement,” or with any
concerted attempt to address the widespread emasculation of Asian men
in American pop culture, is in the framing. Are we critically redefining
masculinity? Or are we simply seeking to claim a patriarchal and
heterosexist version of American manhood for ourselves?
I have long feared that Eddie Huang falls into the latter camp. His
Big Dick Asian Movement is legitimately grounded in the frustration of
Asian men in America who have been emasculated, ridiculed, and mocked on
movie screens, in classrooms, and on dating sites. But its framing and
points of action are centered on a fundamentally misogynist notion of
sexual entitlement, encapsulated in Huang’s oft-repeated statement of
purpose that “Jet Li gets no pussy” in Romeo Must Die. That Huang grounds his project of Asian American manhood in the attempted subversion
of stereotypes of Black male hyper-masculinity and the adoption of hip
hop culture cements his project as one that reinscribes, rather than
challenges, systems of racial and gendered oppression.
Which is why Huang’s recent and bizarre Twitter tirade against queer Black feminist blogger Mia McKenzie (creator of the blog Black Girl Dangerous) was upsetting, but not particularly surprising. McKenzie asked Huang to clarify a recent statement he
had made on Bill Maher’s Real Time that “Asian men have been
emasculated so much in America that we’re basically treated like Black
women,” with Huang going on to reference OkCupid ratings, in which Asian men and Black women consistently score the lowest.
See @NakedArtichokes’ Storify to see the exchange in full.
Though the statistics are well-documented, Huang’s phrasing was poor,
and he could easily have been interpreted as using Black women as some
sort of inanimate barometer for social oppression. Yet when McKenzie and
other Twitter users (primarily women of color) asked Huang to admit
that his comments could have been damagingly misinterpreted by his
audience, Huang reacted aggressively, calling McKenzie an “idiot,”
“wildin,” and, in a telling display of male privilege, attempted to
silence McKenzie by calling her “boo” and mockingly asking her out on a
Like McKenzie, I would have liked to give Huang the benefit of the
doubt and assumed that the Maher segment was simply a matter of poor
phrasing and the pressure of appearing on live television (rather than
another instance of using Black oppression to render the experiences of
non-black communities of color more visible). But Huang’s response is
indicative of the fact that his philosophy of manhood is grounded in
sexism, and leverages anti-blackness as a tool for subverting anti-Asian
stereotypes. The fact that the success of ABC’s family sitcom Fresh Off The Boat,
based on Huang’s memoir of the same name, has rendered Huang one of
Asian America’s most visible figures, only compounds my disgust at this
recent Twitter exchange.
I understand the pain and frustration that stems from America’s
racist emasculation of Asian men. But if, as in Huang’s practice,
reclaiming Asian American masculinity means claiming all the ills of
white American manhood – it’s patriarchy, entitlement, heterosexism, and
racism – I want nothing to do with it.
To my fellow Asian American men: can we re-envision Asian American
masculinity to be anti-racist, womanist, queer, and liberational beyond
our own identities? Can we make space for the criticisms of our women of
color peers, and confront the certain privileges and powers that come
with being Asian men in America, rather than attempting to use those
same privileges to silence and shame those who raise critical questions?
Huang’s violent exchange with McKenzie is a reminder that if a movement
towards reclaiming Asian masculinity has any place in radical – rather
than reactionary – political spaces, we can and must do better.
Societal norms dictate that men should be masculine are powerful. And new University of Washington research finds that men who believe they fall short of those ideals might be prompted to reassert their masculinity in small but significant ways.
The study found that male college students who were given falsely low results on a handgrip strength test exaggerated their height by three-quarters of an inch on average, reported having more romantic relationships, claimed to be more aggressive and athletic, and showed less interest in stereotypically feminine consumer products.
By contrast, men who received average score results, and whose masculinity was therefore not threatened, did not exaggerate those characteristics. The findings, researchers say, underscore the pressure men feel to live up to gender stereotypes and the ways in which they might reinstate a threatened masculinity.
A new photo editorial from French magazine Black Attitude, titled Dandy Queens, features black women embracing their own sexiness and strength in sharp menswear, and shows masculinity can also be a state of mind.
Tumblr seems to only celebrate masculinity when its shown in females. And when a straight man dares to show masculine traits it becomes “toxic masculinity” and the next thing you hear is how “straight men are so fragile”.
Achieving gender equality means liberating everyone from the confines of a patriarchal society. Even with ever-present privilege, men face their own set of destructive barriers that restrict what it means to be a man and how a man can express himself. This is especially true for men who are also members of marginalized groups — like men of color, queer men and men with disabilities.
Advertisements reveal our cultural values. Although many people see commercials as nothing more than jokes or forgettable messages, when seen in aggregate, the marketing of gendered products tells us everything about how we think men and women should look, act, and think. And, thanks to the third person effect, refusing to critically think about the messages of those advertisements means those messages are more likely to be passively absorbed as cultural norms.
The toxic masculinity displayed in advertisements tells men that their role in society is to feel nothing, dominate everyone, and never, ever let themselves be feminine. These messages are part of a cultural feedback loop, helping to recreate and reinforce men’s beliefs about what it means to be a man, and encouraging adherence to increasingly limited behaviors and activities. These beliefs cut men off from healthier expressions of masculinity by disguising such expressions as intolerable weaknesses.
In all three studies, men were more threatened by a female supervisor and responded assertively. The second study showed that men paired with a female boss felt threatened and only offered her about half of the $10,000 bonus, while men paired with a male boss generally did not feel threatened and offered him a larger portion of the bonus. Meaning: A woman’s power led men to be more aggressive in how much money they took for themselves.
Things got even more interesting in the third study. When female bosses were described as administrative and focused on the team – rather than ambitious and likely to fight harder for her share of money – men were less threatened and not as greedy in splitting up the bonus. Put together, all three studies show men feeling threatened by a woman in power and acting out by asserting themselves. According to the researchers, this pattern of behavior is common for men trying to protect their masculinity.
By playing with status and gender, the researchers were able to show that status alone isn’t enough to make men feel threatened and assert themselves – it’s gender plus status that jeopardizes their manhood and causes them to be more pushy with women in the workplace. Clearly, this is problematic for the many talented, determined women trying to break through the glass ceiling – or simply earn a living.
A report by A Woman’s Nation, titled “The Shriver Report Snapshot: An Insight Into the 21st Century Man,” sought to answer the the question of modern masculinity through a survey of American men over the age of 18. Their findings largely revealed a lot of progress and change — while highlighting the unfortunate truth about how much men do at home.
You might be surprised to learn that at its inception in the mid-1800s cheerleading was an all-male sport. Characterized by gymnastics, stunts, and crowd leadership, cheerleading was considered equivalent in prestige to an American flagship of masculinity, football. As the editors of Nation saw it in 1911:
…the reputation of having been a valiant “cheer-leader” is one of the most valuable things a boy can take away from college. As a title to promotion in professional or public life, it ranks hardly second to that of having been a quarterback.*
Indeed, cheerleading helped launch the political careers of three U.S. Presidents. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Franklin Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan were cheerleaders. Actor Jimmy Stewart was head cheerleader at Princeton. Republican leader Tom DeLay was a noted cheerleader at the University of Mississippi.
Women were mostly excluded from cheerleading until the 1930s. An early opportunity to join squads appeared when large numbers of men were deployed to fight World War I, leaving open spots that women were happy to fill.
When the men returned from war there was an effort to push women back out of cheerleading (some schools even banned female cheerleaders). The battle over whether women should be cheerleaders would go on for several decades. Argued one opponent in 1938:
[Women cheerleaders] frequently became too masculine for their own good… we find the development of loud, raucous voices… and the consequent development of slang and profanity by their necessary association with [male] squad members…**
Cheerleading was too masculine for women! Ultimately the effort to preserve cheer as an man-only activity was unsuccessful. With a second mass deployment of men during World War II, women cheerleaders were here to stay.
The presence of women changed how people thought about cheering. Because women were stereotyped as cute instead of “valiant,” the reputation of cheerleaders changed. Instead of a pursuit that “ranks hardly second” to quarterbacking, cheerleading’s association with women led to its trivialization. By the 1950s, the ideal cheerleader was no longer a strong athlete with leadership skills, it was someone with “manners, cheerfulness, and good disposition.” In response, boys pretty much bowed out of cheerleading altogether. By the 1960s, men and megaphones had been mostly replaced by perky co-eds and pom-poms:
Cheerleading in the sixties consisted of cutesy chants, big smiles and revealing uniforms. There were no gymnastic tumbling runs. No complicated stunting. Never any injuries. About the most athletic thing sixties cheerleaders did was a cartwheel followed by the splits.***
Cheerleading was transformed.
Of course, it’s not this way anymore. Cultural changes in gender norms continued to affect cheerleading. Now cheerleaders, still mostly women, pride themselves in being both athletic and spirited, a blending of masculine and feminine traits that is now considered ideal for women.
* Adams, Natalie & Pamela Bettis. 2003. Commanding the Room in Short Skirts: Cheering as the Embodiment of Ideal Girlhood. Gender and Society 17, 1: 73-91.
** Davis, Laurel. 1994. A Postmodern Paradox? Cheerleaders at Women’s Sporting Events. InWomen, Sport, and Culture, edited by Susan Birrell and Cheryl Cole. Human Kinetics.
*** McElroy, James. 1999. We’ve Got Spirit: The Life and Times of America’s Greatest Cheerleading Team. New York: Simon & Schuster.
So my rugby team did a photoshoot promoting body positivity for National Eating Disorder Awareness month and we included all kinds of body positivity and body love. Positive things about us on the front, negative things we have been called on our backs. So here’s a sneak peek of my photos! I should be getting more in the near future. Photo credit to SC Visuals!