A Cultural Anthropologist studies Male Femininity at Burning Man

Posted: October 17, 2010 in 2010

Lauren Michel:  How did you select Burning Man as a research topic?

Denise Green:  In the summer of 2007, I began working as a research assistant to Dr. Susan B. Kaiser on a large, multi-site research project titled, Masculine Style(s): Shifting Identities (funded by the United States National Textile Center). In the Masculine Style(s) project, we were hoping to gain a better understanding of men’s relationships with clothing and style. What challenges face contemporary American men when it comes to participating in the fashion system?

Looking to popular media forms, it appeared that we were witnessing a shift and men were becoming increasingly interested in fashion and clothing. Heightened discussion of “the metrosexual,” increased production and distribution of men’s fashion magazines, and the appearance of a more diverse colour palette for men’s clothing were just a few indicators of this shift in masculine styles.

Why was this shift happening now? I wondered more specifically: if a shift was happening, who were the men at the forefront? What were they doing to transform and transgress what had been taken for granted as “normal” men’s clothing and appearance behaviors?

 

Note from Jasper

Check out the whole interview with Denise Green. I completely agree that Burning Man is the site where Genderqueer Male fashion Edges are being pushed. This is hopefully the beginning of Male Emancipation from outdated gender roles. Although transgressive male-bodied fashion is also found in San Francisco Urban Counterpublics like the

San Francisco Deathguild Goth Scene

http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=71649

and

the San Francisco Radical Faeries http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=71649

Both this groups are abundantly represented at Burning Man at the Deathguild and Comfort and Joy camps. Burning Man is where these Urban Counter Publics merge into a New Universal Public. Males at burning man do not have to enculturate into a specific Counterpublic in order to plat with Faery Fashion.

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