The vices of men and the necessity of studying men and masculinities in Iranian women’s studies
Along with studying women and femininities, Iranian women’s studies, in order to advance its goals more effectively, needs to consider seriously questions of men and masculinities and of sexual orientation. As inherently related concepts, masculinity and femininity can be understood thoroughly only reciprocally. Likewise, gender and sexuality have inevitable interrelations. In fact, in heteronormative societies, hegemonic masculinity is constructed negatively through repudiating femininity and marginalized and subordinated—particularly homosexual— masculinities. Furthermore, on a practical level, achieving gender-democratic societies depends upon the willingness of many men and boys to perform (more) gender-democratic masculinities. Therefore, as long as men and boys remain unenlightened on the detriments of the male privilege and the benefits of gender democracy for themselves as well as for the others with whom they interact, imagining a society devoid of gender hierarchy would be difficult. Men, masculinities, and sexual orientation are essential study subjects in the emergent but increasingly growing field of masculinities studies. The field is sympathetic to feminist theory and aspires to achieve the democratization of gender relations, particularly through reaching men and boys. Accordingly, Iranian women’s studies must embrace masculinities studies. The paper contains four sections. First, while paying homage to Bibi Khanom Astarabadi’s Ma’ayeb al-Rejal (The Vices of Men) as the archetype of Iranian masculinities studies, the text is presented as a familiar stranger for contemporary Iranian women’s studies in that it underlines women’s issues and yet evokes (and represses) men’s same-sex relations. This introduces the central thesis. The second section introduces masculinities studies, particularly emphasizing its imbrications with feminism and its capacity for complementing feminist theory and activism. The third section constitutes a list of potential research topics in the newly emerging field of Iranian masculinities studies along with detailed footnotes which provide an annotated bibliography to the field. The final section introduces the major sources for those interested in pursuing studies of men and masculinities.
Abedinifard, Mostafa. “Maʿāyib al-Rijāl va Żarūrat-i Mardānigī-Pazhūhī dar Muṭaliʿāt-i Zanān-i Iran [The Vices of Men and the Necessity of Studying Men and Masculinities in Iranian Women’s Studies].” Iran Nameh: A Quarterly of Iranian Studies, vol. 30, no. 3, 2015, pp. 230-282.
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