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Ozbay And George Essay

1633 words - 7 pages

In both Ozbay’s and George’s articles, a comparative theme seems to translate masculinity as a sort of historical honor that must be maintained through strict regulations, otherwise the purpose as a male in all of his social spheres will become none-existent. The Western influence of hegemonic masculinity grips other cultures, instilling ideas of sustained masculinity. Ozbay and George observe how the hierarchal characteristics of gender apply to various cultures, given the social institutions that they operate within. Exaggerated masculinity or “machismo” is a strong or overemphasis of masculine traits such as physical courage, virility, dominance, lack of emotion and aggressiveness. In ...view middle of the document...

As such, the Varos people adapted this identity as a way to get by in various environments. As it pertains to the rent boy culture in Istanbul, being Varos is very much an advantage for their endeavors. For young males, the class identifier of Varos subjects them as “real men” as opposed to their clientele, who are gay middle-class males. These boys readily assert their manhood just because they are from Varos, a setting that dictates and has been represented as an impoverished, dangerous area. In the eyes of the rent boys’ clientele, the Varos boys must match the stereotype--they must be exaggerated selves of masculinity and in that there is a sense of danger and virile manhood that is translated through their perspective. In this, the Varos rent boys become fetishized commodities with only one purpose. This factor is made evident by the strict policing of the aura of masculinity the young rent boys must adhere to, or else their position as rent boys will be diminished.

In order to distinguish themselves from their clientele, the Varos rent boys accentuate their masculinity. Ozbay observes one of the main tactics the rent boys use is the humiliation and denigration of gay men, but that this form of homophobia is a “performance utterance” (129). Another observation is the fact that the rent boys only top when engaging in sexual acts with other men. It is a demonstration of male dominance. The increased obsession with “straight-acting” (demonstrating masculine attributes and bodily gestures) contributes to the a hierarchal construct in which feminine attributes are seen as inferior. Masculinity is attractive, sought after, rewarded and even honorable while femininity attributes must only be validated through masculinity, which Annie George’s article digs deeper into. The Varos rent boys’ culture is very structured and specific down to the place and time, as well as how they interact with one another. The structure of which this culture is built on is so insecure that masculinity needs to be asserted at every moment. In a way, this structured rent boy culture is a way in which the Varos rent boys are able to take a bit of power back from the middle and upper-class gay males that diminish them. Still, one might observe the middle and upper-class gay men as holding the power even in this environment because of the degree of fetishization and objectification.

This aspect brings us to the reality of the interplay between multiple masculinities. Dominance and power plays are key in these situations. The rent boys have prescribed roles with disciplined restrictions designed to manipulate the clientele’s want for them. In the article, Ozbay notes that in a specific environment, Bientot, the gay men express that they do not “have fun” there as much as they do in other gay bars (131). The constricting and specific structure of interplaying masculinities puts pressure on every male within the environment, so while the outcome may be pleasant, the...

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