'I act this way because why?' Prior knowledges, teaching for change, imagining new masculinities

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 5
  • Abstract:

    This article begins by outlining some of the prior knowledges brought by undergraduate students to an introduction to gender studies class in the Women's and Gender Studies Department at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. I show that, at the beginning of the course, students clearly understand gender to refer to women and femininity, imagining femininity (but not masculinity) to be responsive to social change. I suggest that, in the face of these prior knowledges, it is important to focus on masculinity as performance, as a cultural artefact and one that is deeply harmful to South African men. Student experiences of this teaching and learning suggest that it offers possibilities for imagining men as allies and beneficiaries - rather than enemies - in the struggle for gender equity.