Archive for power

15. Masculinities

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on October 4, 2008 by alexis

“We have a great deal of criticism and loathing for what men have been socialized to be in this society: what they support, how thy act, and how they oppress.  But we do not have the misguided notion that it is their maleness, per se -i.e., their biological maleness-that makes them what they are.  As Black women we find any type of biological determinism a particularly dangerous and reactionary basis upon which to build a politic.”

People sometimes think that gender is biologically based. that being a “man” in the way that society values a particular kind of masculinity is rooted in DNA, programed into our very beings as humans. The collective isn’t so sure. If you look around the world and the country you’ll see all different ways that masculinity is performed, not just by men but by so called biological women as well.

What does your culture or community mark as masculinity?

What do you think about the markers? Are they only for men? Are they useful characteristics for men to possess?

How would you want masculinity to look?

Is this different from what femininity should look like?


What do we actually have to do if we say that biological maleness and masculinity are not the same thing?

What new models of masculinity do queer and trans masculinities open up?

C. Riley Snorton is a radical intellectual

C. Riley Snorton is a radical intellectual

C. Riley Snorton, a scholar, activist and filmmaker who engages queer masculinities in his work provides the following thoughts:
Masculinity is always an unstable term–its relational nature suggests that it shifts and moves differently across communities and cultures.   Its instability also relates to the ways in which various cultures and communities seek to produce, maintain, and police masculinities even as any definition of the term dissolves under closer scrutiny.  For example, in many societies, there is a collapse in distinctions between “male,” “man,” and “masculine.”  These collapsed designations play out in encounters with medical personnel or in one’s local barbershop.  Similarly, societies organized under heteropatriarchy are interested in proscribing and circumscribing articulations of femininity—that is to say that controlling women becomes part of the project of stabilizing masculinity.  Hence it is often important to refuse conversations that assume (without problematizing or critique) the need to rescue the always-already black man in crisis.  These types of conversations do in fact draw on both a politics of respectability and forms of racialized nationalisms that seek to regulate and control (often through disavowal) gender multiplicity, femininity, and gender non-conformity.  Queer and trans masculinities do not presume a feminist politic, but are surveilled and subject to similar regimes of power that seek to constrain women’s lives.

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25. Structure

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on October 4, 2008 by alexis

“We believe in collective process and a nonhierarchical distribution of power within our own group and in our vision of a revolutionary society.”

We know that groups and organizations today have many different structures and approaches to power and leadership. What are some of the structures that you have used in your work? What are some of the benefits or disadvantages of these structures?

For example

Project South is based in Atlanta, GA

Project South is based in Atlanta, GA

Project South: Institute for the Elimination of Genocide and Poverty

uses a “flat pay scale”

Steph Guilloud organizes with Project South and Southerners on New Ground

Steph Guilloud organizes with Project South and Southerners on New Ground

Steph Guillioud of Project South teaches and reflects on that structural choice here:

A flat pay scale means every full-time staff earns the exact same salary and receives the same benefits. Our salaries increase by about 4% cost of living  every year. We have $38,000 annual salaries in 2009 for 5 full-time staff.

Historically, Project South has always had this structure as a way to reflect a collective staff formation. We have always considered a “collective” structure to be an evolving one, that strives for as much horizontal power as possible. We strive to confront and address systemic power differences including race, class, and gender that happen in intra-organizational work. We also believe that leadership and weight is held differently across the organization based on experience and strengths in particular areas. This leadership is not recognized by salary but by division of labor and authority over different areas of the organization.

The flat pay scale  is a strategic decision and policy implemented by board and staff to reflect our principles as an organization.  In our recent transition from the founder director to a collective Executive Leadership Team, we re-visited the policy and re-affirmed it based on the same principles. The flat scale allows for deeper and more frank conversations about wages, compensation, class, and movement work.

what is a structural choice that you are working with?  how is it going? email us at