CONSTRUCTION OF MASCULINITIES
The motivation to work on this research study came from several years of our work and conversations with feminist groups and women’s rights organizations. The conversations on masculinity were either embedded as a response to violence against women, as the notion of gender was in most cases limited to cis women. In the course of our work, we have learnt tremendously from communities, especially women about their notions of justice, resilience, violence and discrimination- moving beyond the acts of sexual violence, to delve deeper into daily practices that normalize violence. In order to prevent sexual violence, it is necessary to arrive at causes, rather than find ourselves responding to symptoms.
The research study is imagined as a way to invigorate thinking around’ masculinities’ particularly within the development sector and broaden the scope and imagination of funding support for masculinity based work in India. Our intention is to move the discourse away from its focus on the actions of boys and men, to a study of masculinity as an everyday practice, ideology, system of power, and a set of behaviors and emotions. We are tracing the birth of dominant masculinities, across various socio-political contexts and geographies in India.
The main contents of the research study includes: an initial section comprises a literature review of existing approaches on masculinities by the development sector approaches to masculinity: including the law, media & technology, working with young people, mental health, non traditional livelihoods and so on. This is followed by a section which comprises reflections on the gaps/oversights within prevailing approaches to masculinity. For this section, we had commissioned 11 individuals, from a diversity of class, caste, sexuality and religious contexts, to do an ethnographic study on the construction of masculinities in their daily lives. We will be drawing from their daily notes and reflections to draw out what needs to be deepened in prevailing funding structures and work around masculinities. This includes links between caste and masculinity, sexuality and masculinity, religious ideologies and so on.