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CDB Transgressive Gender Spr15

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Julie Jenkins

on 15 May 2015

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Transcript of CDB Transgressive Gender Spr15

Transgressive Gender?
Sex- biological differences (X/Y chromosomes, hormones, secondary sexual characteristics)

Gender- culturally & historically constructed norms, values, & behaviors considered appropriate for each sex.
---not necessarily biologically DETERMINED. RELATED, but NOT DETERMINED.
---“raw material” that we build different ideas, beliefs, meanings, and roles around
---Construction of Reality
--many step outside norms (expectations)
--become subjects of moralizing scrutiny
--is this a sign of women controlling their sexuality outside the control of men, or are they objectified in a masculine subculture and mainstream society?
Dancehall, Femininity & Masculinities
Racial and moralizing discourse about Dancehall
Middle class perception: --"slackness", noisy, immoral, glorification of consumerism and guns

-attempt to position women within nuclear family
--as mothers and caretakers
--controlled and hidden sexuality
-with men as "breadwinners"
--never fully realized in practice, but remains strong value & norm (expectation)
--especially with women as "mothers"- passing down values & morality to children
idealized form of femininity associated with middle-class & lighter skinned women
--higglers became socially & economically mobile
--did not see conforming to middle class standard of femininity essential to their economic success
1980s- opening of "free trade zones"
Others see dancehall competitions as a way for women to express & control their sexuality, in contestation to patriarchy and norms of masculinity.
--masculinity thought of as the right of a man to receive services and attention from women
--a man may lack power in relation to other men, but will have power over women by virtue of being man
Many argue that dancehall objectifies women, a "pornographic devaluation of women"
--process of representing or treating a person like a sexual object to serve as sexual pleasure for another
"discourses of resistance also work to re-inscribe hegemonic practices"
Lady Saw:

"Do you want to know what slackness is?
Let me be the witness
You all just off my back
There are lots of other issues to be dealt with
And you all are not seeing that
Society is blaming Lady Saw
For the system they have created
When culture was all the rage
They wouldn't let me through the gate
I just have say sex and they want to jump on my case
But take the beam out of your eye
Before daring to saying anything to me
Because slackness is roads that needing to be fixed
Slackness is the government breaking its promises
Slackness is politicians issuing guns
And letting party supporters shoot each other"
--masculinity constructed as the right of a man to receive services and attention from women
--understood to have power over women by virtue of being a man
--masculinity linked to heterosexuality

--move away from "cause/effect" arguments
--music, dance, etc reflect the undertones of wider society, potentially reinforcing or transforming
high level of violent crime directed towards homosexuals
--sexual activity between men is criminalized
Buju Banton: Boom Bye Bye:
" . . . Boom bye bye / Inna batty bwoy head . . . ”

“bullets to your head, gay man.”
How can we explain the violent & aggressive imagery against homosexuality in dancehall and the wider Jamaican society?
power over other men always at risk & negotiated
Sound clashes
--verbal aggression against opponent
--to dominate = "murderation"

Cutty Ranks- Gun Disease
Everybody wants to be somebody/ Ask the youth dem whey dem want/
do you want to be a lawyer/ he says no/ do you want to be doctor/ he says no/do you want a job/ he says no/ so den what do you want/ gi mi one gun, two gun, three gun please/ wave mi gun nuff dem tink mi have gun disease/ 4 gun, 5 gun, 6 gun please, me can't hold dem in mi wais dem have dem under mi sleeve. The mlO, mack 10, the bwoy dem naw cease, but the tek 9 bring dem to dem to knees. I walk with mi gun, talk with mi gun, sleep with mi gun, wake up with mi gun, bathe with mi gun, dress with mi gun, mi no lotion mi gun, mi na powder mi gun, mi oil up mi gun, clean up mi gun, and if a bwoy try a ting, him life ago dun, so give 1 gun, 2 gun, 3 gun please.

So it's like I am definitely telling you a story. That is not promoting violence. So if you come now and you have two thousand dollars in this hand and you have a machine gun in this hand and you put the two thousand dollar on this side of the table and put the machine gun on this side of the table and ask a little young youth to pick one out of the two of dem. He goin' to pick the machine gun. That is what dem doing. That is things what I see. Him pick de machine gun, because him figure more or less be cause he can use the machine gun and go around and rob more than two thousand dollars. He can go on one robbery and earn around two thousand. So the gun is more useful to him, that is how him check.
Why might discourses of "hardwork" be seen as ideologies that maintain the status uo? Why might the discourse of "man free" as used by the upper/middle class be felt by the lower class as constraining?
-some argue that these types of lyrics promote violence and are indicative of the incivility and lack of respectability of the lower class
-and that produces their position within the socio-economic order.
-Others argue that lyrics and performances are symbolic, conveying a message about the social economic realities of life & an attempt to exert control over these.
--what do you think? does stigmatizing the content of dancehall lyrics and policing crime solve Jamaica's problems of economic inequality?
Focus on Dancehall reinforces class boundaries the idea that the upper/middle class should be in control, rather than transform economic, educational etc institutions.
Many debates about "slackness" and the role of women in the dancehall...
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