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Black Men “on the DL”: Sexual Discretion and Hyper-Masculine Performance as Feminist Sexual Liberation

Eldridge, Kate (2018) Black Men “on the DL”: Sexual Discretion and Hyper-Masculine Performance as Feminist Sexual Liberation. (Unpublished)

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In this paper, I discuss the ways in which feminist theory provides a sympathetic narrative and framework of liberation for black men who prefer to enact on their non-heterosexual desires in private and discrete spaces. This counters the feminists and pro-women politicians who during the AIDS crisis blamed black men who participated in sex with other men while they were in heterosexual relationships with black women. Not only was this a racist attempt to cause tension between black men and women, it also seems to go against many feminist works which actually discusses sexual discretion as a form of liberation. These works include Adrienne Rich’s concept of compulsory heterosexuality, Patrick D. Hopkins’ work on homophobia being a threat to male identity, Sonia Correa & Rosalind Petchesky’s assertion that the concept of “choice” applies differently to bodies of color, and C. Jacob Hall's analysis of the sacredness of underground spaces in exploring sexuality. I conclude that being on the down low is a way for masculine black men to create worlds and identities where they can freely explore their sexual desires while still remaining a part of their cultural and institutional contexts.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Eldridge, Katekee30@pitt.edukee300000-0001-8251-0984
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Assistant editorCrotty, Margaretmec186@pitt.edumec186UNSPECIFIED
EditorZenobi, Lucaslaz36@pitt.edulaz36UNSPECIFIED
Date: 19 April 2018
Date Type: Publication
Number of Pages: 15
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Comprehensive Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Published in Forbes and Fifth undergraduate journal for the University of Pittsburgh.
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2018 17:42
Last Modified: 10 Jul 2018 17:42


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