Masculinities Conference, Session 3, Gendered Inversions

The third session of the Masculinities Conference on Gendered Inversions features two presentations on upended gendered expectations of heteronormativity. Nadyne Stritzke’s “The Manly Art of Pregnancy: Male Pregnancy as a Narartiv, Socio-Culture, and Subversive Phenomenon” was the only presentation so far to explicitly evoke feminist science fiction including Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness and Marge Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time. However, she distinguishes between non-female pregnancy (e.g., alien intervention) and male pregnancy. Nadyne posed a final research question about whether there really is an m-preg genre. I believe that she already knew the answer to this as yes (in part at least). Another question might be to what extent this is a more widely accepted narrative device?  There is a fair amount of fanfic and a notable collection of science fiction stories, TV episodes (Star Trek Enterprise), and films (Junior) [more here]. Mirjam M. Frotscher explores the novels Stone Butch Blues, Sacred Country, Trumpet, and Middlesex in her presentation, “Gaining Visibility/Undoing Maleness: Non-Normative Masculinities since the 1990s.”

This session is sustaining the strongest among strong today’s q&a sessions. There’s something to be said for two paper sessions on complementary themes. Thoughts on psychoanalysis and narratology. Other examples–beginning of Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms features Italian soldiers walking over the hill with their ammo belts appear pregnant. Is there a difference between telling about male pregnancy and showing male pregnancy? In books, moves close to the character without having to define the character in a singular term. Some books provide more descriptions of the character/body while others do not. Ian M. Banks’ has characters in his novels who can swap at will between male and female bodies–what titles? Two categorical considerations: Morphological anxiety over what goes where–Will Self’s book. Voice and passing, voice of self determination.

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