Monthly Archives: March 2014

Rupp et al & Froyum

Carly Ozarowski

In Queer Women in the Hookup Scene by Rup et al. there is an interesting dynamic in question as to if the women taking place in these female public make outs are doing so for the pleasure for themselves or for the pleasure of the males watching them. There is definitely this notion of college parties and life being this wild free time where people can almost not be themselves for 4 years. It is seen as a time for experiment that almost doesn’t count, or can be excused. For women who are questioning their sexuality, according to the article, this can be a place for them to experiment without being labeled anything yet. For women who self-identify as straight, that are saying they are making out with their female friends in public for themselves, I wonder if they are or if subliminally/ unconsciously they are doing so for the male gaze. This also goes along with discussions we have had about how if women are dressing to impress men or to empower themselves.

The article continues on to discuss how making out can help women who might be questioning their sexuality, and it is almost a safe way for them to do so. I found the threesome section to be very interesting. Threesomes are almost viewed by some college men as the ultimate college bucket list item. But for some women this could be a place where they can figure out if the other women involved is interested or not. What most of the quotes mentioned was the role alcohol played in these encounters. There is a notion that anything done will drunk is almost excusable and can be forgotten. I believe it doesn’t even matter how much one drinks, the role of how drunk someone is almost assumed, even if someone only had one drink throughout the night.

In Froyum’s “At least I’m Not Gay”, black teens’ sexuality is discussed as a platform for them to prove their manliness. If you just think about this, it in a creepy way makes sense. Young black men have many not-A categories they fill, and they do not want to fill anymore. By pushing away any notion of homosexuality, that is a way in which they can attempt to look more manly and fill more A categories. The problems with this, other than that there are A and not-A categories are that this goes way to far. This is how gay hate crimes are committed and stigmas/stereotypes are perpetuated. Froyum speaks about how, these men police themselves; this is in line with what Kimmel has found as well.

A line I found interesting on page 604 was “Girls and boys together created a mixture of essentialist, constructionist, and liberal ideologies to make sense of homosexuality and to assert the superiority of their own heterosexuality.” I’m not sure why but the line “make sense of homosexuality” really struck me. This article continues, and through some of the interviewees you can almost see how they try to justifies people’s homosexuality, like it needs to be justified at all.


Confusing Society

Haris Kuljancic

One thing I love about Sociology and many of the readings we have done so far is that almost everything is connected. Kimmel’s “Guyland” showed us how guys behave a certain way in order to gain approval from other guys in their social group. “DreamWorld” then showed how far guys would go in terms of objectifying girls in order to gain that masculine approval from other men. Now Froyum talks about how being gay is frowned upon in a poor Black teen culture. I thought she made a very interesting point on page 605 when she talked about how powerful white people view the lower-status males as inferior. The only thing that the lower class Black men can do to portray their power is display their strength in the street, through their objectification of women, or at least by not being gay. I am a supporter of Eminem because of his ability to make things like the word orange rhyme. I appreciate that skill and ability, however I also understand that he constantly uses words like gay, fag, and queer in order to take away someone’s masculinity. Growing up in a poor neighborhood in Hartford, I was surrounded by situations that these Black teens are in. The worst thing that anyone could accuse you of is being gay. In order to prove them wrong, fights were started and girls were taken advantage of. I always wondered where this idea of gay being a bad thing came from. I didn’t realize how central it was even in my life until I started to study religions more. The idea that god created a man and women in order to reproduce is taken advantage of and preached as a central theme in many religions. I also wanted to include an article that disturbed me that was in the news recently.

The second reading reminded me of the discussion we had in class about sex and the many classifications there are of sex. As we mentioned, some countries and cultures believe that there are dozens of ways to classify oneself in terms of sex, however we feel like there should be two definite answers when asked such questions. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard guys say something like, “let me know when you actually want dick” or “tell me when you really want to be pleased” (16). Guys say such things assuming lesbians never are pleased by their partners. I think there is a lot of grey area In between straight and gay or lesbian that we have yet to explore and educate people of. It’s just crazy that guys enjoy watching two girls make out but then look down on them if there is an actual relationship in place.

The Politics of Pink

“What’s wrong with girly, anyway?  Rolling our eyes at pink feels like another way of treating female culture on the whole as a niche interest, somehow secondary to male culture — a.k.a. the mainstream. And when it comes to our toys there’s an implicit message that the pink doodads are only second best to the tough dude versions in black, camouflage, and blue. (A boy dressing up like Iron Man, a narcissistic arms mogul turned superhero, won’t be seen as nearly as silly as a girl wearing a Queen Elsa costume, even though they play to the same fantasy impulses). If we’ve made pink the most visible representation of girl culture, and also treat it as a symbol of frivolity, then we’re unwittingly telling girls (and boys) that the girl world isn’t important.”

Interesting take… some valid points, some not.


The Danger of Labels

By Emma Weisberg

One of the most fascinating aspects of Carissa M. Froyum’s article “‘At Least I’m Not Gay’: Heterosexual Identity Making Among Poor Black Teens,’” is how so many of the teenagers believed their peers, family, and friends chose to be gay.  While the teenagers list an array of reasons why someone would choose to be gay, the most interesting to read about were the ones addressing “complications of heterosexual relationships or because they failed them” (611).   As Froyum states, “a girl or boy claimed that a ‘naturally’ heterosexual person abandoned their orientation because of the potential emotional costs” (612).  This observation infuriated me, because I realized these teenagers were seeing gayness as the “easy way out” and not acknowledging it as a lifestyle (one that is just as complicated as a traditional heterosexual relationship).  When the teenagers theorized that people move away from heterosexuality as a means of avoiding “potential emotional costs,” they are making a claim that gay and lesbian relationships are devoid of emotional connection.  This assumption supports the very hyper-sexualized media portrayal of homosexuality being just about sex and nothing more. These teenagers also believed others turned away from heterosexuality because of previous situations of “Being cheated on and getting sick of a partner were especially popular scenarios.  Others saw rape or stints in jail as avenues to homosexuality” (612).  Often when we talk about, say, domestic violence and sexual assault, we generalize about men taking advantage of women. This allows same-sex couples to slip through the cracks, so we’re made less aware about these situations being just as much of an issue in gay and lesbian relationships.

Another observation I made throughout the reading was how teenagers’ rejections of their peers, suspected of being gay or peers who had officially come out, were gender aligned: “Boys were much more likely to use and threaten violence, but girls tended to dissociate themselves from nonconforming behaviors and lesbian peers” (619) Boys needed to prove their heterosexuality by asserting their masculinity—or lack of femininity—with violence.  These boys are resorting to violence as a way to establish status and hierarchy.  On the other hand, teenage girls tended to reject their peers with social isolation. If they were around women who did not dress or act like a stereotypical feminine woman, they believed others would equate their peers’ gender nonconformity with homosexuality and suspect them as gay as well.

This awareness of peer evaluation is also evident in “Queer Women in the Hookup Scene: Beyond the Closet?” with the use of labels to construct sexual identity. The term “bisexual” is especially interesting, because it can receive backlash from gay/lesbian and straight people (in this dichotomous structure) alike.   For instance, one college student explained how women she dated would react when they learned she identified as “bisexual:” “I’d feel they’d always be, like, ‘Oh, you’re bisexual, ugh.  Well, just tell me when you, like, are gonna start wanting dick’” (16).  As if women can be neatly categorized as exclusively interested in either women or men.  Often, women would use the term “lesbian” even though they knew they also were interested in men, because they didn’t feel like friends or family would understand.  I find it so frustrating that we always have this external pressure to put a label on things when, in reality, most people’s sexualities rest somewhere in between the rigid poles of heterosexuality and homosexuality.  Yet, we place so much meaning in labels that coming out as anything but heterosexual becomes a declaration of a change in identity.

The Epitome of “Teaching”/Forcing Gender.

Well, this is really upsetting.. “8-year-old Sunnie Kahle doesn’t look or act enough like a girl for her private Christian school. At least not according to the school’s principal, who sent a letter home alerting Sunnie’s great-grandparents (and legal guardians) that Sunnie was in danger of being refused enrollment for next year — unless, of course, she cleans up her act and embraces a more conventionally feminine style.”

Apparently her “tomboy” looks aren’t “biblical” enough.


Gendered Friendships Along Racial Lines

Sorry for the two posts back to back – everything is relevant to this class!  This is a great op-ed about the complications of interracial friendships (and relationships).

“About 40 percent of white Americans and about 25 percent of non-white Americans are surrounded exclusively by friends of their own race, according to an ongoing Reuters/Ipsos poll.”