Looking Through the Lens of Masculinity
Ann McGinley analyzes Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 through the lens of masculinities theory. She uses the case of Jonathan Martin and others to do so. If you remember, in 2013, Martin was a player for the Miami Dolphins who walked out his team and checked himself into a mental health institution. This implied that Martin could not take the professional pressure but within a few days, the entire story changed and news sources reported that Martin’s teammates had repeatedly bullied him and as a result, he suffered serious depression. The response to this was skeptical, and many felt that the harassment was just locker room talk that happens all of the time and that all players have to deal with occasionally. What McGinley shows here is how harassment and discrimination can come about because of sex even if the gendered nature of the behavior remains unseen to onlookers.
What we learn from reading this book is that there is an invisibility of masculine structures and practices, how society constructs concepts of masculinity, and how men perform masculinity in different ways because of their identities and situational contexts.
Masculine theory can provide significant insights into the behaviors and motivations of employers, as well as workplace structures that can disadvantage both men and women who do not conform to gender stereotypes. This book is therefore a theoretical disposition and a practical guide for legal counsel and judges regarding the interpretation of sex and race discrimination cases. It explains how this theory can be used to interpret Title VII in new, liberating ways. It is important to understand that to reach conclusions, legal, gender, and social science analyses are necessary. McGinley presents new ways of looking at employment law from the gendered dimensions of that law. She describes the law at the same time developing ways that theories of masculinities can be used to make antidiscrimination law move toward its goal of ending and eliminating discrimination. Here is something of a plan that will take us see how the courts see masculinities by examining race and sex cases with male plaintiffs. These, in turn, will change the way academics and practitioners think about Title VII.