June 3, 2017
- During my research at two high-service men’s salons in Southern California, I learned that men don’t have “bangs.” Nor do they get “highlights” or “manicures.” The salons’ stylists told me that men instead simply have a “front” to their hair and get “manlights” and “hand-detailing”—as if they were shoring-up cars instead of their cuticles. ... In my book, Styling Masculinity: Class, Gender, and Inequality in the Men's Grooming Industry (Rutgers UP, 2016), I found that language is key. Men’s salons sell beauty to men by not calling it beauty.
April 12, 2017
- As we walked down Market Street to the St. Louis Gateway Arch, I saw an orange, oversized paper mâché head pass by. With light rings painted around the eyes and a large swath of yellow felt for hair, it was unmistakably a representation of the now-President, Donald Trump. A ball gag was strapped tight across his mouth and a sign below his tiny black business suit read, “Putin’s Little Bitch.” The artist-activist of this sculpture drew attention to public worries about Trump’s amicable—although long denied—relationship with Russia. For a march organized around the rejection of an elected head of state, these images of bondage and submissiveness and the use of misogynistic language questioned Trump’s presidency—and his masculinity.
August 10, 2016
- When I explain my research to people, they often ask: “What is a men’s salon, exactly?” In a fleeting interaction I might simply describe it as a salon dedicated to the primping and preening of men. The high-service men’s salons in my study tout stylish haircuts, fine manicures, exfoliating facials, and meticulous waxing services. But to more accurately explain what a men’s salon is involves understanding that gender is actively produced, not a static characteristic of a person or place.
August 8, 2016
- "At the same time barbershops are closing, men’s salons are popping up across the country. They cater to men, providing them with high-end services that include hot towel facials and hand-detailing (a euphemism for a manicure). They’re more expensive than the average barbershop or chain store, have sleek contemporary decor and aren’t exactly conducive to hanging out and socializing."
The Objectivity Myth in Research
June 8, 2016
- "The notion that researchers are unattached from their work is only smoke and mirrors and has often silenced already marginalized people. By writing themselves out of their work, many researchers help to veil that fact that few few--privileged white men--were are are speaking for many. It is no coincidence that gender studies grew only as women entered academics, and that scholars of color lead the fight for university race and ethnic studies departments. Diversity of voice, that is diversity of lived experiences, is key to creating a diverse sociology--or any field for that matter."
May 5, 2016
- "This week my Facebook and Twitter feeds filled up with comments about the Man Book Club, featured in Jennifer Miller’s New York Times article. This club is for men, by men, and feature men. In fact, the golden rule of the Man Book Club is: 'No books by women about women.' And the International Ultra Manly Book Club, also featured in the article, announces they are “not your mother’s book club."
April 25, 2016
- "Merriam-Webster announced on Twitter yesterday that it added 'cisgender' and 'genderqueer' to its dictionary. This is big news for gender and sexuality scholars and activists, who have long been fighting for the legal equality and social acceptance of LGBTQ. Oxford added the terms to their dictionary in 2015, so Merriam-Webster is a bit behind the curve. But at a time when state legislators are promoting and passing new laws to deny the identities of, restrict the movement of, and allow discrimination against gender and sexual minorities, this institutionalization of language reflects a larger move toward inclusion . . . "
March 10, 2016
- "... these attitudes about the barbershop as a place of ol’, as a fading institution that provides outdated fades, is both a classed and raced attitude. With all the nostalgia for the barbershop in American culture, there is surprisingly little academic writing about it. It is telling, though, that research considering the importance of the barbershop in men’s lives focuses on black barbershops. The corner barbershop is alive and well in black communities and it serves an important role in the lives of black men."
February 11, 2016
- "... I wasn’t prepared for the backlash of putting sociological analyses of different phenomenon out into the public world. In the classroom, I occupy a status of authority, and I suppose that I figured as an expert in sociology and gender studies, people who read my posts would consider what I had to say. This is, after all, the courtesy I am afforded in the classroom. What I have found, though, is that blogging means making myself vulnerable in new ways; it means deciding to engage or avoid people who vehemently (to put it mildly) reject my online work; and it means thinking more about what exactly can be accomplished by blogging."
January 8, 2016
- "The term 'grooming,' hairstylists told me, is important in recoding beauty for men. During my research at high-service men’s salons, which focus on creating a pampered, 'elevated experience' for their clients, I explored what it takes to make beauty masculinizing for some men. Veronica, the owner of one men’s salon, refers to her business as a 'grooming lounge' so that clients invest in the space, services, and products as distinctly masculine. Beauty has been linked to women and femininity . . . "
December 3, 2015
- "'Resort Ready Style,' the subject line reads. Another day another email from the retailer Janie and Jack, a manufacturer of high-end baby and children’s clothing. 'Exclusive Debut: Be first to shop coastal looks just right for a sunny escape.' A photo of a small white boy, maybe 4-years old, accompanies this caption. He wears red khaki shorts, a blue shawl neck sweater, lace-up shoes sans socks, and what looks to be a pair of Ray Ban sunglasses."
October 22, 2015
- "Singer-songwriter Hozier played 'guess the man buns' on VH1, and Buzzfeed facetiously claimed they had 'Scientific Proof that All Celebrity Men are Hotter with Man Buns.' Brad Pitt, Chris Hemsworth, and David Beckham have all sported the man bun. And no, I’m not talking about their glutes. Men are pulling their hair back behind their ears or on top on their heads and securing it into a well manicured or, more often, fashionably disheveled knot. This hairstyle is everywhere now . . . "
September 17, 2015
- "I traveled to Winthrop University five months after my baby was born to talk to faculty and students about women’s unique needs during disaster. I was flying with my electric breast pump, which would both save me from the horrifying pain of engorgement and allow me to avoid dumping what women’s health practitioners call 'liquid gold.' I am not a 'breast is best' advocate; I’m a 'whatever-the-mother-wants-to-do' advocate. Women, after all, already experience a lot of pressure around what it means to be a good mother . . . "
March 5, 2015
- "Leonard Nimoy attended University of California, Los Angeles in 1971 to study photography. He had already filmed the original Star Trek television series, which didn’t develop a cult following until reruns of the show aired in the 1970s. His love of photography, however, predates his portrayal of the half-Vulcan, Spock. While this role is what most people are sure to remember Nimoy by, I will always think of him as a skilled photographer who engaged cultural rhetoric on the gendered and sexual body. . . . "