Dr Beccy Watson Leeds Metropolitan University IRiSS Research Seminars 2011-12 “Show me some attitude”: Masculinity, youth and dance Wednesday 7 December 2011, 3:00-4:45 Outline • Introduce Flip n Strike dance project • Contextualise ‘working analysis’ of masculinity, including intersectionality • Present some initial findings – Assess the significance of the project re future dance work – Assess the significance of the project re theorising masculinity and embodied leisure • Discussion • Get you dancing (only kidding…you can watch youtube!) Flip n Strike: Boys dance project • Flip 'n' Strike is a dance education project for young men aged 13 plus that covers martial arts movement, street dance techniques and pantsalot (urban trouser dance). • The project runs on Tuesday evenings (5 to 6pm) from 13 September for twelve sessions at the Mandela Centre, Leeds • The project is funded through the West Yorkshire Police Authority Community Trust Fund (‘proceeds of crime’) • RJC is based in Chapeltown, Leeds, an area that sees the impacts of drug related activity and pressures on young people to become involved in ‘street’ activity with often negative outcomes Arts and sports as ‘diversion’ • Coalter (2007) • “vague and unexamined claims” (p.115) regarding sport and reduction in anti-social behaviour • Significance of role models and leaders • Sport is a complement not a substitute • We need more research… RJC Dance Leeds • http://www.rjcdance.org.uk/ • RJC work with over 100 young people every week through their different classes and projects. Through this work RJC aim to enable young people to stretch their bodies, develop potential, encourage them to have pride in themselves, their heritage and their community. • RJC is a Black British led organisation with core funding from Arts Council Flip n Strike at RJC Dance • RJC are committed to offering opportunities for young men to focus on themselves and their physical and emotional well being by trying out new forms of physical activity and dance based exercise • De-Napoli Clarke (Artistic Director and lead instructor) is an influential and positive role model in the local community (Leeds Black Awards Community Hero 2009) who draws on life experience to get young men thinking about who they are and who they want to be – using dance as the vehicle through which to achieve this • Hard work, commitment and co-operation are underlying values that RJC promote, enabling positive actions and increased self esteem So what kinds of dance at Flip n Strike? • http://www.rjcdance.or g.uk/index.php?option= com_content&task=blo gsection&id=6&Itemid= 43 • http://www.youtube.co m/watch?v=QTGwdiAbF gE&feature=related • 2 male instructors have been employed to work throughout the project • Break dancing - ‘urban culture’ as influence and input to the project Masculinity and dance • Masculine hegemony – impacts and complexities – Profeminist analysis (e.g. Messner) • Bramham (2003: 68) “dominant hegemonic masculinity is clearly alive and well but should be deconstructed” • Gard (2008) dance for alternative masculinities • Hearn (2011) masculine hegemony is ‘embodied practice’ – this is missing from critiques of the concept (hm) • Intersectional approach: – It’s more than gender … Contextualising Masculinity • Connell (2000): – – – – – – Multiple masculinities Hierarchy and hegemony Collective masculinities Bodies as arenas Active construction Internal complexity and contradiction – Dynamics • Norman (2011) – ‘double bind’ embodiment “ The constitution and construction of masculinity is, we would argue, a contradictory interweaving of hegemonic and socially marginalised positionings which, from the point of view of societal actors, has started to shake quite dramatically. We need to debate this situation further in theoretical terms, and to explore it empirically with the help of appropriately creative methods, in order to work out what it means for the continuation of masculine domination and of inequalities in gender relations. “ (Bereswill and Neuber, 2011, p.83) Contextualising Masculinity: Gender and race • Hooks (2004) – We real cool • Back (1994) – Fear and desire (of black masculinity) – “the particular crossing of racism and gender” (p.182) • Hall (1988) – Noble savage/violent avenger • Carrington (2010) – Hyper masculinity of the black athlete Intersectionality: Theoretical approaches • Disrupt/reject ‘fixed’ identity categories • Crenshaw (1989) CRT • Davis (2008) ‘buzzword’ • Knapp (2007) fast travelling concept ‘raceclassgender’ • Gressgard (2008) ‘relativist rhetoric’ • Lewis (2009) ‘thinking intersectionally’ (diagram courtesy of Women’s Resource Centre, wrc.org.uk) Intersectionality, leisure and embodiment • Villa (2011: 181) – “Embodiment is per se intersectional in its form”. – i.e. the complex processes of ‘lived’ social relations only have meaning as embodied practice • Active, embodied leisure (+sport and PA) can contribute to mainstream debates on intersectionality Methodology • Boys recruited to Flip n Strike through RJC – Chapeltown Youth Development Centre (CYDC) and RJC Dance Youth Provision • Focus groups and semi-structured interviews with instructors/facilitators – Prior, during and post project • Observations at every session – Sept to Dec 2011 – Observations at performance/sharing of work at WYPA Community Trust Fund Awards Presentation • Opportunistic conversation/chat with boys and relevant others – Police Inspector, RJC Board Member • Evaluation/Report for RJC after completion • Thinking intersectionally about leisure (Watson and Ratna, 2010) Some initial findings • Each week has had over 10 participants – often 13 or 14 and the highest attendance in half term week was 17 • Youngest – 13, oldest – youth worker in 30s (positive impact) • Predominantly black participants, mixed race/heritage, South Asian (1) and 2 East Eurpopean (white) • Boys have said: • “My co-ordination is improving and my fitness” • “It aint boring, it’s good” • “The instructor is good, he treats you with respect” • “wicked for the first session” • “I like the music and the bass line, it keeps you motivated” • “I want to be a footballer, that’s my ambition and if this helps because it’s good for fitness then it’s good” A typical session • First half is ‘warm-up’ – half an hour of constant exercise to music with an emphasis on co-ordination as well as strength so jumps, stepping and punching, squats and press ups, star jumps. Building up repeats and rhythms in the movements. No breaks and pumping beats. And always with a commentary from De-Napoli, e.g. • “ Dancers – some people think dance is all about sissy and things when it’s about strength. Dancers need to stretch, footballers need to stretch – their hamstrings are tight, tight!” • Second half – after short break for water/drink is more about developing dance movement – martial arts based, break dancing freezes, developing short pieces. New skills, e.g. cartwheels, side jumping kicks. “It’s just about giving it a go” “it’s a male thing” • • • • • • • • “give me some attitude geezers” “look at the energy guys” “it’s a male thing – if you need to belch it’s fine, if you need to fart, go ahead” “let me see those muscles popping out” “stop looking like a girl” “I could have been there with KK and Don Revie – but I chose this” “strong tummies, strong arms, strong, show me some attitude, style it out” “you gotta get those bodies fit, get them as fit as ‘raas’. You have to get tight, nimble, fit, not just pah-pahpah. You need stamina” • • • • • A space ‘celebrating’ masculinity – hegemonic and heteronormative forms Not a disruption of masculinity (through dance) but an assertion of certain masculinities Gard – dance as a space for alternative masculinities, not the case here Bramham – dominant masculine hegemony in PE Embodied masculinity - Villa (dance – race, gender, class), Hearn – masculinity expressed on and through bodies RJC’s effective delivery Development Director (Female): I think there’s something that, dance is predominantly female oriented and as we have a male, as in De Napoli, who can teach males it’s just more engaging for boys and I think they can have an experience with dance without thinking it’s dance for boys who are not boys if you know what I mean, that are worried it’s effeminate, or that boys don’t do that so when they see somebody like De Napoli who’s very masculine they see dance as something completely different. (…) I also think the environment helps as well. I think the environment, I mean I don’t really like to use the word ‘controlled’ but I think it’s a disciplined environment. You get in, you say your niceties and then it’s straight onto the floor, let’s go, it’s business as usual. We’ve got a job to do and off we go with Napps…..I think it’s the environment in which they enter and I think it’s also about the delivery and the presentation of the work by De Napoli as well. Comments from the other male instructors support this – teaching style, responsiveness of the group/participants Unpacking (this) masculinity • Volunteered vulnerability • They are not dancers (2 to 3 are from RJC Youth) • They try different skills and movements, regardless of ability • They turned up to share work at the Police Awards evening • ‘Of the street’ • How they are with each other – language, codes, music – not everyone • Shirts off! • Reference points from instructor – e.g. patwa/accent, jokes Concluding comments • There is a need (and a desire) for this type of project – i.e. spaces for males to dance (links to related research) • There is an assertion of masculinity that this context enables and celebrates – Being male is to be celebrated and shared – male bonding is both clichéd and yet ‘real’ (implications for sport research) – The other is feminine/female but not always (and female is strong) – The other is soft/sissy but not simply exclusionary (homosexuality is not subordinated but heterosexuality is clearly normalised) • This dance space is a place in which (black) boys belong. This informs a more nuanced understanding of – What is ‘cool’ and how this operates (benefits and detriments) – What expressions of masculinity are ‘available’ across gender, race, class – What has changed (or otherwise) regarding the fear and desire (of black males) couplet? – What alternatives to and meanwhile, what meanings embodied within e.g. hypermasculine athletic bodies? • Sport/active leisure and dance as contexts for analysing masculinity – new directions Intersectionality and leisure Possibilities: • Leisure is a site/space/context that lends itself to intersectionality • Critical approaches have much to gain from thinking intersectionally: – Politics and praxis – Leisure in transition – Leisure scholarship in transition Pitfalls: • Pluralist (leisure scholarship already is?!) – Rojek (2010) • Its application needs critical consideration – not intersectional ism • Methodological challenges – cannot cover everything…but does that matter? Some references • • • • • • • • • • • Back, L. (1994) ‘The ‘White Negro’ revisited: race and masculinities in south London’ in A. Cornwall and N. Lindisfarne (Eds) Dislocating Masculinity: Comparitive Ethnographies, London, Routledge, pp.172-183. Bereswill, M. and and Neuber, A. (2011) ‘Marginalised Masculinity, Precarisation and the Gender Order’ in H. Lutz, M.T.H. Vivar and L. Supik (Eds) Framing Intersectionality: Debates on a MultiFaceted Concept in Gender Studies, Farnham, Ashgate, pp. 69-88. Bramham, P. (2003) Carrington, B. (2010) Race, Sport and Politics: The Sporting Black Diaspora, London, Sage. Coalter, F. (2007) A Wider Social Role for Sport: Who’s Keeping the Score? London, Routledge. Connell, R.W. (2000) The Men and the Boys, Cambridge, Polity. Gard, M. (2008) When a boy’s gotta dance: new masculinities, old pleasures, Sport, Education and Society, Vol.13, No.2, pp. 181-193. Hall, S. (1988) ‘New ethnicities’, Black Film/British Cinema, Institute of Contemporary Arts Documents 7, London: ICA/BFI. Hearn, J. (2011) ‘Neglected Intersectionalisties in Studying Men: Age(ing), Virtuality, Transnationality’ in H. Lutz, M.T.H. Vivar and L. Supik (Eds) Framing Intersectionality op cit. pp. 89104. hooks, b. (2004) We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity, London, Routledge Villa, P.I. (2011) ‘Embodiment is Always More: Intersectionality, Subjection and the Body’ in in H. Lutz, M.T.H. Vivar and L. Supik (Eds) Framing Intersectionality op cit. pp. 171-186.