Male-ness: Masculinity and Suffocation


Male-ness: Masculinity and Suffocation

WWII era Nazi bunkers found on the beaches of Normandy, FR similar to those found in Virilio's seminal text Bunker Archaeology. (Courtesy Archangel12/Flickr)

This is the second in a series of partnerships between AN and Façadomy, a contemporary journal that reflects on issues in contemporary identity through the lenses of art and architecture. The first was “Female-ness, Corb, and Contraband“; Façadomy is also now crowdfunding the full edition of it’s first issue, Gender Talents.

Gender Talents begins with the work of Grimstad, Norway–based sexologist and Transgender icon Esben Esther. P. Benestad who has observed seven unique genders in their work as a doctor and therapist in Scandinavia. The issue is composed of reflections on these categories by Andreas Angelidakis, Kimberly R. Drew (@museummammy) and Juliana Huxtable.

A selection from the second of these 7 genders follows below:

Male (as defined by Façadomy)

Masculinity can be reified by machismo, but this is not essential to maleness.

A Male is an individual who describes himself as Male and can be considered one of the gender majorities. Maleness derives its conventions from characteristics attached to those who are chromosomally XY: sperm production, Male sex organs, deepened voice after puberty, a higher ratio of muscle mass to body fat than Females. When an XY individual with the conventional characteristics of a Male also perceives himself as Male, this individual is understood as a “Cis-Male.” Males may have another chromosomal constellation or may not possess any of the traditional characteristics listed above.

The WWII bunkers on the coast of Normandy are muscular concrete protection devices, slowly sinking into the sand for the past 70 years.

(Courtesy Archangel12/Flickr)

Paul Virilio photographed these structures for his seminal book Bunker Archaeology. Most gay guys who are really fit seem to be total bottoms, and one could arbitrarily assume that their somatic condition is a coat of armor, a protection of a fragile masculinity. They really want to be men, so maybe that could be a good fit for the Male phenomenon. I like these bunkers because they spend their life sitting alone on a beach, waiting.

— Andreas Angelidakis



Glenn Ligon Condition Report, 2000. Iris print and Iris print with serigraph, 2 parts. 32 x 22 3/4 inches (81.3 x 57.8 cm) each; 34 1/4 x 25 inches (87 x 63.5 cm) each. Framed Ed. of 20. Courtesy Regen Projects, Los Angeles © Glenn Ligon

Ornamented and suffocated by the veil of privilege, maleness exists as an identity that is performed in a trial by fire.

What’s at the core of performing maleness? How can we take inventory over masculinity? What has your dick (proverbial, actual, or acquired) done to oppress the other?

— Kimberly R. Drew