Roohi: Modernity, ‘Authenticity’, and Ambivalence: Subaltern Masculinities on a South IndianCollege Campus

Modernity, ‘Authenticity’, and Ambivalence: Subaltern Masculinities on a South IndianCollege Campus
Author(s): Martyn Rogers
Source: The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Vol. 14, No. 1 (Mar., 2008), pp.79-95
Published by: Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland
Stable URL:
Accessed: 22-06-2016 12:03 UTC

Author Martyn Rogers in is essay discusses the abject marginalization of the SCs in the hands of the OBC community in the prominent state of Tamil Nadu. He bases his argument in the paper based on a survey conducted in Nagaram College Chennai. The question that he poses and seeks to answer in the article is: How socio- economic and communal marginalization contributes to shaping masculinities in India.

His main argument in the essay centers around the treatment of women in public places and college campus by men of the other community, as having something to do with the power struggle between the communities. The supports this argument with an interview with two SC students named Kumaran and Shankar, who explain not without prejudice how and why do they resort to teasing women of the OBC class.

Rogers clearly states in his article that the OBCs and the SCs are not just communally distinct, economically too, they are at opposite ends of the pole. OBCs send their children to ‘English’ medium schools and eat at the best restaurants in the city, go for English movies at the expensive multiplexes and socialize more with the other sex who are equally affluent. However, the SCs send their children to a Tamil medium school; they watch regional films and commute in buses and other means of public transport. His purpose of bringing this up and the feelings of inferiority that goes with it is to show how ideas of masculinities are formed in the minds of these men.

The author then comes up with the idea of ‘being rowdy’ popularly represented as being ‘cool’ or ‘hot’ in regional and some bollywood films, getting picked up and propagated without reason by college going boys as an integral trait of masculinity. Supporting this argument again he presents interviews of another student of Nagaram College, wherein the students calls this performance of masculinity as ‘college rowdy’ or ‘masquerade’. However this ‘college rowdiness’ is enacted around ideas such as sexuality, physical strength and deviant forms of leisure. Hence, boys take pride and pleasure in eve teasing and picking up fights with the boyfriends of their crushes. Someone who has not done any of this is looked down upon rather not considered a man.

In conclusion the author draws a line on the crisis of masculinity, which he states as the innate inability of the males to alter their violent behavior.

The arguments made by the author relates to my research on how masculinity is acquired rather than something innate and how institutions such as film and media, also class ad caste shape ideas about masculinity.

Limitation: the article focuses less on masculinity and its formation rather lays considerable emphasis on inferiority complex, eve teasing and caste differences.

Roohi: Masculinity and its Challenges in India: Essays on changing perceptions

Accessed on: June 16th

E-book : Masculinity and its Challenges in India: Essays on changing perceptions.

Dasgupta.K,Rohit. Gokulsing Moti. “Introduction: Perceptions of Masculinities and Challenges to the Indian Male. Masculinity and its Challenges in India: Essays on changing perceptions. Web. <;

The authors talk about the masculinity as having more that on type of representations even in the Indian context. They refer to the Connell’s landmark works Masculinities: The Science of Masculinity to support the argument of there being no single model to masculinities. They also make a mention of resources or references on Indian Masculinity to be limited.

Focusing on how masculinity is socially, culturally and historically shaped they arrive at their research question: “How are masculinities formed and what contribution can they make to our understanding of the shaping of Indian men today.”

The authors express as to how while feminist waves have been rampant and dynamic from time in memorial masculinities have been looked at with the same vigor and has always been understood as something “straightforward and unproblematic”. He later quotes Lynne Segal as criticizing gender fluidity as saying that there is an essential feminine experience that differentiates male from female.

The authors further establish the argument that both Feminism and Masculinities as idea have been affected and altered by variables such as class, caste, age, nationality and identity. Indian masculinity or theories about Indian men have been subject to confines of middle class bias. While defining or rather theorizing Indian masculinities the scholars of the field had to grapple with a few question such as: Is Indian masculinity different from the rest? Is it possible to make distinction between experiences of men from different cultures, or is there a hegemonic masculine authority that we try to problematize.

Article from The Hindu

Bhattacharya, Bhdhaditya. “Interrogating Masculinities”. The Hindu. New Delhi. September 3, 2014 15:55 IST. Web. <;

The article was written in response to a documentary called, ‘Being Bhaijaan’ by two female filmmakers Samreen Farooqui and Shabani Hassanwalia, the documentary shows how Salman Khan’s films affect the performance of masculinities of certain sections in the Indian society, the documentary also focuses on the hegemonic idea of the masculine that the films of Salman Khan create and nurture.

The article clearly states that, majority males in the small towns get affected by such display of strength, valor and masochism on screen, offering them an alternative way of life.

The article clearly states that, majority males in the small towns get affected by such display of strength, valor and masochism on screen, offering them an alternative way of life. Both filmmaker have worked extensively around feminism and the Indian feminine way of life. The article quotes them as saying that men are affected by patriarchy as much a women.

The articles bring another documentary Mardistan by Harjant Gill, which portrays shades of masculinities quite different from the conventional understanding. Gill concentrates his research on men who fall short of the normative understanding of masculinities.


Roohi: Masculinities

June 4th 2016-06-04

Reeser, Todd W. Masculinities in Theory- An Introduction. Malden UK: Wiley Blackwell, 1967. Print

The author in the first chapter puts forth certain arguments attached to the idea about masculinities.

Main Argument: Origin of Masculinity is far too complex to have been propagated or created by a single group or individual

Desire for masculinity: can be desired by anyone having or lacking the male bodily orientation. It is aspired by many irrespective of their sex or sexual orientation. Various sexual groups desire it to acquire a sense of wholeness. Men are not the sole inventor of masculinity- it appreciated and upheld by only hegemonic masculines of the society.

No Originary Masculinity: there is no originary masculinity it the sense that there is the absence of a representative or model masculine. There are only copies and imitations of what we call as masculine. These representations of masculinities take the form of films, posters, documentaries and TV shows. Effect of Pumping Iron on representation of masculine male body.

Main argument: Masculinity as Ideology: established as an ideology masculinity cannot be created by a single group or individual. Society as a whole buys into the certain representation of masculinity without once thinking about it, it appears that natural but is ambiguous in its origin. Institutions create masculinities and are in turn created by it.

Masculinities is created though various social forms such as TV, images myths and discourses, billboards, films

Supporting argument: TV advertising helps propagate capitalism and masculinity in the same tandem. Eg. Ad about Calvin and Klein underwear put forth a certain image of masculinity.

Main argument:Masculinity in myths: myths again represent a certain kind of masculinity that pervades the sensibility of a culture. It gives to humanity a core essence of masculinity wavering from which something ceases to be masculine.

Supporting argument: Example Adam’s creation in the book of Genesis; Odysseus’ epic journey in The Odyssey