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date: 09 December 2022

South African Male Foundation Phase Teachers Distancing from Homosexualitylocked

South African Male Foundation Phase Teachers Distancing from Homosexualitylocked

  • Vusi MsizaVusi MsizaUniversity of KwaZulu-Natal

Summary

Men teaching in the foundation phase (Grade R-3) in the province of Mpumalanga, in South Africa, distance themselves from homosexuality, femininity, and care. These men do so in a context where homophobia is prevalent and masculinities are toxic. Mpumalanga is a neglected site for research on men, masculinities, and sexuality. It is a site in which men’s work is defined largely as manual labor, such as working in the mines. A career such as teaching children in the foundation phase is perceived as a female occupation. These men are in a space that was previously deemed to be for women and therefore are positioned in a less dominant position, a position that is less desired by South African men. The male teachers do not want to be seen as gay and soft, so they distance themselves from such work as changing diapers, feeding, and providing emotional support, that would associate them with care and femininity. They articulate homophobic language when they distance themselves. While their work is perceived to place them in a subordinate role, they also undermine women and other subordinated masculinities. Developing and encouraging new forms of masculinities carries a potential to transform men and the society, particularly in the context like South Africa where violence, homophobia, absent fathers, and toxic masculinities are still prevalent.

Subjects

  • Education, Gender, and Sexualities

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