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New Releases. Male Impersonators : Men Performing Masculinity. Studies have touched on a variety of themes including sports Morell , socialization Adomako Ampofo ; Boateng et al. Many of these large specter studies reproduce rigid binary conceptions of women as victims of domestic violence, of sexual harassment, of genital mutilations, of unequal educational chances, of poverty, etc. Uchendu 4 6. I do not refute the fact that a particularly macho type of masculinity exists in Africa and that investigation into it is essential.
For instance Akosua Adomako Ampofo and John Boateng have looked at the processes by which boys in Ghana are socialized into certain standards of hegemonic masculinity. According to Adomako Ampofo and Boateng, another way of becoming a man is through sexual experience: boys have to boast of their sexual prowess among their peers in order to be accepted as men. In many studies on African men we find that a self-proclaimed fierce hetero sexuality is being rewarded as a symbol of virility, whether sex talk, as a performance, reflects the actual sexual experience of the protagonists or not 7.
In addition, an increasing number of scholars have explored questions of effeminacy and or in relation to same sex desires and practices in Africa Donham ; Epprecht , , ; Spruill ; Swarr ; Lorway , ; Zabus For example, in her nuanced study of market literature in Nigeria, Newell 52 discusses the fragility and staged authenticity of African hegemonic masculinity.
In his extended ethnographic study of Yan Daudu in the northern part of Nigeria, Gaudio , , also describes a variety of masculinities and effeminacies that diverge from the norm, although they may still mirror the patriarchal system. For instance, some men marry other masculine men and take on the role of a wife; yet, they may still marry women and have children.
Lorway and Donham also encountered openness around expressions of gender nonconformity in the families of their trans-gendered respondents in Namibia and South Africa respectively. Swarr , Spruill and Amory all discuss questions of male cross-dressing, effeminacies and homo sexuality in South Africa. In addition, male femininity in Africa was often associated with intersexuality Donham ; Lorway , and accepted as such. Sweet suggests that in the African diaspora during colonial times, homosexuality was interconnected with intersexuality and spirituality.
As Adomako Ampofo and Boateng 71 put it:. The Ghanaian youth is not defined by age as much as by a state of financial dependency Boshow According to her respondents, an unmarried male adult is not yet a man and hence, cannot gain access to political power. As such, students anticipate the day they will be compelled by social norms to stop gender ambiguous behaviors such as cross-dressing.
For example, Kofi, an effeminate fourth year student who used to cross-dress during events on campus, firmly stated he will cross-dress for the last time this year since he will be graduating soon. They either keep it private or express it only when they are at home or with their family. To some extent, my feminine participants integrate elements of one or the other, which socially attenuates their feminine attributes. They dress fashionably and are perceived as insubordinate. He strives to get good grades in school and is always ready to help lecturers in order to make a good impression.
Both poles of youth dominant masculinities involve a desire to gain access to power in terms of influence over others, prestige and control over resources. Many respondents recalled famous Kodjo-besia. For instance, a certain bofloat 10 seller in Elmina, a beautician in Swedru or a medicine seller at Kaneshi market, in Accra:. They are men that dress like women all the time.
These people are gay although some claim they are not gay. Their mannerism is womanly. They cook jolof rice, carry it on their heads to go and sell. Some are at the market as traders, like women.
I know a lot of them. Nowadays, they perm their hair. They even bleach their skin. They do what is fashionable among women. They have always been dressing like that.
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They are the only males in the club and it is supposed to be a purely female club! They are accepted in society. Some are very wealthy traders. It is more natural to them [to behave like women]. It is not a recent phenomenon at all. Old major, Non-effeminate respondents seem to use both terms interchangeably. But here [in Ghana], you will be targeted. At a tender age there is no problem but when you grow, people will think you are gay. Similarly, Banks 12 noted that the term Kodjo-besia is also linked to queer sexuality.
My observations also support Banks findings. That is what my girlfriend says about me because I am sensitive, but I can also be rough!
Even now, most of my friends tell me I behave like a lady: how I walk, my mannerism. So probably, it is natural […] I remember once in Secondary School, there was an evening celebration. I went to the dorms dressed like a girl and some of the guys chased me! They really thought I was a girl! Then I removed my wig.
Straight Guys Do Wear Make-Up: Contemporary Masculinities and Investment in Appearance
It was nice! I feel comfortable wearing heels. I feel sexy, confident.
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