NWSA 2013: Hybrid Identities: Crossing Normative Boundaries through the Intersection of Feminism, Masculinities, and Aging

full name / name of organization: 
Melanie Cattrell, Western Carolina University
contact email: 

National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) Conference
Cincinnati, Ohio, November 7-10, 2013
Abstract deadline: February 15, 2013
Conference Theme: Negotiating Points of Encounter
Subtheme 2: Borders and Margins

The NWSA Aging and Ageism Caucus and Feminist Masculinities Interest Group are seeking 3-4 presenters for our co-sponsored session.

Little seems to have changed since Michael Kaufman (1987, p. 8) argued that “masculinity requires a suppression of a whole range of human needs, aims, feelings, and forms of expression.” Inviting men to purposefully opt out of this stifling role, bell hooks suggested that her male counterparts can develop a “vision of masculinity where self‐esteem and self‐love of one’s unique being forms the basis of identity” (2000, p. 70). We query whether aging nurtures or discourages men’s development of feminist masculinities as we explore the intersections of feminism, masculinity, and aging. Possible topics could include:

• How do “traditional” masculinities vs. feminist masculinities affect men’s identities and behaviors across the life course, especially into old age?
• Through what mechanisms can marginalized gender and gerontology studies blend their pedagogies to transcend academic borders?
• In Hollywood, what roles (or caricatures) of men allow aging male (e.g., Depp, Cruise)—but not aging female—actors to still be portrayed as attractive love interests paired with much younger ingénues?
• Does society encourage or extinguish aged males’ resistance to normative masculine roles when they develop feminist masculinities?
• Does U.S. cultural acceptance of older men as being sexy or distinguished help or hinder their ability to adapt and grow as they encounter new physical, psychological, and social challenges during their later years?
• At what point in their lifespans, if ever, are men “allowed” to exhibit feminist masculinities?

NWSA will make the final decision about which panels chosen. If we accept your proposal and then our panel is greenlighted by NWSA, celebrate briefly before becoming members of NWSA and registering for the conference (this is required in order to present). We welcome your ideas and input, asking that submitters send the following to Melanie Cattrell (macattrell@email.wcu.edu) no later than February 15, 2013:
• Name, Institutional Affiliation, Email, Phone
• Title for your talk
• 50-150 word abstract. (PLEASE do not go over this word count or your proposal will have to be rigorously edited to fit the very limited upload portal space for NWSA panels. Thanks!)

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