Manning up and Manning on: Masculinities, Hegemonic Masculinity, and Leisure Studies

Friday, 20 July 2018: 09:10
Oral Presentation
Luc COUSINEAU, University of Waterloo, Canada
Corey JOHNSON, University of Waterloo, Canada
For better or for worse our leisure is steeped in the social and cultural influences which also inform our politics, positionality, and performativity. Kivel (1996) argued that “leisure contexts contribute to a hegemonic process which creates “insiders” and “outsiders” (p. 204), and gendered ideology is an important pivot for those processes. Both in participation and consumption of leisure pursuits, gender and gendered norms - particularly masculinity - shape the way we engage with leisure. Whether this influence is pro-masculine (e.g. the reverence for the “hard” man represented in full-contact sport) or anti-feminine (e.g. only “sissies” and girls sew), masculinized ideology and the spectre of hegemonic masculine ideals serve to police our leisure choices, and our willingness to accept the leisure choices of others. This set of attitudes persists in Canada and the U.S. through decades of North American feminist action, which in spite of having leveraged significant social developments against oppression, now seems under near-constant attack.

It is in this landscape where we situate our theoretical argument for a refocusing of efforts on the study of masculinities in leisure theory and practice. As men who also identify as feminists, our goals are to understand our masculinities, the positive kinds and the toxic kinds (Ferber, 2000; O'Neil, 2010), and decide what we can do about them as activists, researchers, teachers, sons, husbands, brothers, friends, and social justice oriented humans. In so doing, we will detail the historical and disciplinary roots of the study of masculinity, followed by the tensions and challenges we’ve encountered deploying these projects into the emerging fourth wave. Finally, we end with a call to others; to consider how masculinity, as well as critical research on men and the masculinized socialization of leisure spaces, can offer a part of the solution for creating a more gender equitable world.