2 thoughts on “Podcast 10: Why gender?

  1. Sciamanna

    I love your show, which I’ve discovered only recently.

    I am, however, writing to correct you on something. Men walking around town hand in hand in Italy would raise more than one eyebrow — and they would certainly be assumed to be gay.

    I am Italian and I now live in Ireland. Now I’m going to put a little disclaimer in and say that I can only be 100% certain of what I just said when talking about *northern* Italy. There are enough differences that it may just be possible that what you said is true in the very south of Italy, which I don’t know as well. But, that said, I really doubt it.

    What I *have* seen on the streets both of Dublin and of Milan is that Middle-Eastern men will sometimes hold hands in public. I’ve only seen it rarely though. My guess is that they grow out of the habit quickly once they realize how they come across.

    I will add another thing though, about different masculinities, body languages etc. Quite often Italian young men come across as gay to the Irish when they are in fact unproblematically hetero. I’ve talked about this with Irish friends and we came to the conclusion that it’s because they look after their looks (clothing, haircuts, etc.) in a way that in Ireland would be associated only with gay men, not straight ones. FWIW

    Keep up the good work, I would call in but it’s a bit expensive from here — and I don’t really “do” Facebook, which is why I’m commenting here. But your podcast has rapidly become one of my most eagerly awaited.

    1. The Anonymous Anthropologist Post author

      Thanks so much for listening, and especially for writing. I’m grateful for such constructive criticism and I stand corrected.

      I misspoke when I asserted that “men hold hands in Italy.” I should have said that Italian men are more physically expressive with each other than are American men. Italian men are far more likely to hug, to give each other a kiss, or to briefly hold hands than are American men. I should not have implied that Italian men go strolling hand in hand, although I’ve heard it’s not unknown in Sicily. Hand-holding is, however, typical of men in other places, such as India and parts of the Middle East.

      Thanks for making me re-think this.


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