Drama researchers interrogate masculinity
By Chris Broodryk
Posted on 26 September 2012
At the conference "Work/Force: South African masculinities in the media" (13-14 September 2012, Stellenbosch), two Drama lecturers and one postgraduate student delivered papers on various aspects of masculinity.
Drama lecturer Dr Myer Taub spoke about his work titled “The Skin of Memory”, which foregrounds the performance of identity as related to power and difference. With a video recording of the work to illustrate, Dr Taub explained that “the performer is able to load and shed identity”.
Another Drama lecturer, Mr Chris Broodryk, presented a paper on the quest for sex and the prevalence of masculinised scatology in the cinema of Willie Esterhuizen. From Lipstiek Dipstiek to Stoute Boudjies, Esterhuizen’s films frame masculinity as sexual overcompensation in the face of white anxieties about socio-political change.
MA student Selogadi Mampane presented a paper on Caster Semenya’s masculine performance of sex, interrogating the manner in which discourse around Semenya’s masculinity and femininity occurred, thereby exposing what Mampane refers to as “the fantasy of gender essentialism”.
The conference was a joint initiative between the Department of Visual Arts (Stellenbosch University) and the African Cinema Unit and Centre for Film and Media Studies (both at the University of Cape Town). The conference convener was Dr Stella Viljoen from Stellenbosch University’s Department of Visual Arts.