Masculinity Without Men: Queer Performance and Workshop

11 October 2014 / Casco HQ
The workshop can accommodate up to 30 people and we kindly request that you register in advance by sending an e-mail to Ying Que.

“[F]ar from being an imitation of maleness, female masculinity actually affords us a glimpse of how masculinity is constructed as masculinity. In other words, female masculinities are framed as the rejected scraps of dominant masculinity in order that male masculinity may appear to be the real thing. But what we understand as masculinity has been produced by and across both male and female bodies. … [There is] this collective failure to imagine and ratify the masculinity produced by, for, and within women.”

– Judith Halberstam, Female Masculinity

On Sunday, 12 October, as part of Utrecht’s event series Culturele Zondagen [Cultural Sundays], whose next theme is “men,” Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory opens up a space for debate on an equation that is often taken for granted: man=masculinity=male.

During a queer performance and a workshop entitled Masculinity Without Men, two queer performer/activists from Utrecht encourage debate on the singularity of the word “masculinity” and its attachment to the male sex by blurring gender and sexual boundaries. While there are plenty of opportunities to dive into “all things manly” (from man caves to sports to male sexuality), this Cultural Sunday seems to sideline questions such as: Whose masculinity? Is masculinity always the property of men? Can masculinity be female? The performance and workshop at Casco invites participants to ask: What is masculinity without men? What are female and trans* masculinities, and how do these relate to one’s usual connotations of being a man? How is masculinity defined by its opposite, namely, femininity? What kind of preconceptions do we, as a society, have about the naturalization of masculinity and femininity and their association with the categories of “men” and “women”?

The session starts with a performance by queer performer and activist Godo who inhabits a female masculinity, investigating the space between the masculine and the feminine, and embodying a position that doesn’t quite fit the either/or binary. Following the performance is a 1.5 hour workshop encouraging participants to consider the meanings we ascribe to masculinity, the blurring divisions between genders, and the formation and performance of gender in daily life. We close with an exploration of the performative aspect of participants’ respective genders to construct or reveal their new and/or unexpected aspects.

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