Group 3, Gender and the culture of femininity and masculinity

Group 3


Femininity & Masculinity

Our presentation is going to be about gender and the culture of femininity and masculinity. We  will be talking about  Susan Douglas’s  Where the Girls AreThe Oppositional Gaze by bell hooks ,  John Berger’s Ways of Seeing ,  Judith Butler’s Performative Acts and Gender Construction and bell hooks Understanding Patriarchy and Feminist Manhood. We will be deconstructing the meaning behind each of the readings. 

Summaries of the Topic’s :
-Media has impacted our view of women in the society.  In the 60’s images of women consisted of them chasing the beatles and flashing their chest at woodstock.  If that’s all the images women see, that’s all they know. They form how women view themselves subconsciously.
– The Oppositional Gaze by bell hooks discusses the looks that are imposed on the opposite gender. The gaze of a sexual desire from a male, and the gaze of the sexist male. These gazes play to where men and woman are in their binary society.
-Bell Hooks’ “Understanding Patriarchy” the societal norms that inhabit and shape our lives and understanding. It is discussed how this cycle was implemented causing a strictly male outlook on behavior, roles and conducts. This societal norm of Patriarchy is silently reinforced by men, and women alike, which is why the cycle and supposed inevitability of patriarchy continues and is passed down from generation to generation. The role of patriarchy isn’t one that only limits and restricts women but also men bringing to light that this movement or plight against patriarchy isn’t just for women, it involves everyone and affects everybody collectively.Berger’s “Ways of Seeing” dives into the past into the realm of what is now called Fine Art and the history of the nude. To compose it into simple terms, men love to look at naked women. Men put women in a sense of objectivity, serving to please the painter/artist vision, women weren’t the ones depicting themselves constantly nude. In the story of Adam and Eve, Eve was created from the rib of Adam tying back to patriarchy being around since biblical times.
-In Judith Butler’s Performative Acts and Gender Constitution piece, she mentions that, “gender identity is a performative accomplishment compelled by social sanction and taboo.”  In other words those performative acts help to constitute and shape how gender is viewed upon by society as a whole.  Butler is arguing that gender is not just the starting place of an identity but rather it’s repeatedly constructed through time through the body.  Social expectations and taboos restrict the possibilities of expanding gender.  Certain performative acts are not likely to take place in order to prevent society from casting aspersions based on those actions.  However, deviating from essentially not conforming to how society views gender is likely subject to punishment by society (i.e. being looked down upon.)
-We will also speak about “The Will to Change” by bell hooks, this reading is about feminist manhood. It discusses the repetition of men reinforcing patriarchy. Hooks talks about to different movements, the feminist and the men’s. She talks about offering men a different way of being, and changing the patriarchal model. She wants to teach young men to get in touch with more of a feministic outlook, so they  can realize that they don’t have to look down on women. Men fall victim to the gender role of maintaing dominance. In this reading she wraps it up with talking about patriarchy still being in full effect as of today and that we need to start pushing for the idea of remodeling.
Douglas, Susan J. Where the Girls are: Growing up Female with the Mass Media. New York: Columbia Publications; 1995, p.70-75.
hooks, Susan, Black Looks: Race and Representation, South End Press (1992) Ways of seeing.
Berger, John,  London, British Broadcasting Corporation; Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1972
Butler, Judith. “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution.” In The Twentieth-Century Performance Reader. 2nded. Edited by Michael Huxley and Noel Witts. London: Routledge, 1996. 
bell hooks is the author of more than sixteen works on feminist theory and cultural criticism, including Remembered Rapture, Killing Rage, Ain’t I a Woman, All About Love, and Rock My Soul. She lives in New York City.


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