The theme of this textweb, which grows out of a presentation at the ISCRAT Congress in Aarhus Denmark , is that academic discourse is a gendered, and in particular a masculinized discourse form. The textweb however branches out into many related and in some sense more basic questions having to do with an adequate theorization of gender as a social meaning category, the role of discourse in the construction of personal and positional identity, and the politics of social solidarities based on notional categories such as gender or sexual orientation or for that matter social class, ethnicity, race, or age. The most fundamental theoretical proposal to be made is that gender, sexuality, class, age, and ethnicity or race are all aspects of a single unified social semiotic system for positional classification of persons and so none of these notions can be adequately theorized outside its relations to all the others. Beyond this, I will try to outline a view in which social systems construct ideologically functional categories of these kinds out of more general matters of quantitative variation by degree along very many dimensions of socially significant appearance and behavior. What is ideologically functional is not simply the stereotypes for each category, or their hierarchical value relations, but the reduction of the space of diversity from a very high dimensionality to a very low one. While the reduction itself is typical of linguistic and cultural categorization, for purposes of economy of reference in well-defined contexts, the reification of the simplified, low-dimensional categories naturalizes them and makes possible the gross oversimiplifications of stereotypes.
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Masculinity and Academic Discourse: Issues and Themes
Muscles and money are qualities that straight women and gay men typically find attractive in men, according to an analysis of Tube Crush—a website where people post unsolicited pictures of men seen on the London Underground. The study at Coventry and Aberystwyth universities in the United Kingdom, published in Feminist Media Studies in August, analyzed images over a period of three years since The "guy candy" posted on the website were mostly white men—despite London being a multicultural city—indicating that white male privilege is still an attractive quality.