Bound but determined: Reproduction and subversion in Folsom’s, IML’s, and Seattle’s gay leather communities
Childs, Andrew Geddings
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Through a more place-based conceptualization, this dissertation critiques the concept of hyper-masculinity within the social sciences generally, and the discipline of geography particularly. Hyper-masculinity is often a taken-for-granted term and while social scientists typically understand gender as socially constructed, the ways that social scientists and geographers use hyper-masculinity is monolithic and ironically, essentializing. Through my examination of hyper-masculinity within the gay, male, leather subculture, I offer a conceptualization of hyper-masculinity that is more closely related to the places where folks (mostly men) perform it. These performances are more than just claiming a gender type—they are also about territorializing space. Through these territorial displays, the men in this community authenticate space as theirs and they also bring other concepts under the purview of hyper-masculinity; concepts like: sexuality, care, race, ands class. Finally, from my own auto-ethnographic experience with the community, I conclude with a frank discussion concerning how hyper-masculinity informs the behavior of the members of this community, and consequently, my own understanding and exhibition of this behavior and the subsequent knowledge I have produced. This emotional take on hyper-masculinity is both one that relates to my experience with the community, but also one that relates to my experience with academic knowledge production—as masculinism is still present within the academy. I conclude that future directions of scholarship for geographies of masculinities would find fruitful avenues if we take up the concept of abuse between men more ardently. There is a lacuna of scholarship concerning this topic and this lack speaks both to the uneasiness of the topic that men generally feel, and the uneasiness of the topic as a viable object of inquiry within the geography.
- Geography