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Abstracts, Journal issues, NORMA 2.1

Killing Bill: Men as rebellious feminists in the politics of passing

Linn Egeberg Holmgren

The article deals with the issue of men doing feminism. Narratives from interviews with young male feminists in Sweden display a set of critical perspectives on men and masculinity, characterized by radical and deconstructive elements. These are identified as rebellious positions. It is argued that when opposing the idea of changing masculinities and “good men”, the positions of male rebellious feminists turn oxymoronic in relation to dominant state feminist ideas of gender equality and double emancipation.

A metaphor of Killing Bill is used to elaborate on the processes and practices involved in this feminist project. The metaphor furthermore illustrates problems and ambivalences men engaged in feminism face from their gendered position in different social settings, mainly contexts of feminism and homosociality. Masculinity and feminism unveil as contradictory when simultaneously performed.

This incoherence of the subject is managed through passing strategies depending on what is causing deviance; male gender or feminism. The ambivalent narratives can be interpreted as a problem as well as the very process itself of becoming more feminist in practice and as a way to pass. The strategies articulate not only distance to and difference from other men, but also self-reflexive suspicion and confessions of complicity, inadequacy and failure. The author suggests theoretical adjustment of the sociological concepts of passing and stigma in analyzing social consequences of men’s partriarchal and feminist expreriences. One conclusion is that feminist men too have heavily made investments in masculinity as a social resource, hence the politics of passing in incompatible contexts.

Keywords
feminist men, double emancipation, masculinity, passing, stigma, homosociality, separatism, rebellious positions, oxymoron

NORMA: Nordic Journal for Masculinity Studies 2(1), 16-37

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