What is locker-room talk? Lecture Postponed to March 29

Because of the storm predicted for the Northeast,  this lecture has been rescheduled for Wednesday, March 29, at 4:30 in Keller Hall.

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Donald Trump’s now infamous remarks to Billy Bush about women were condemned by some but also swiftly rationalized and dismissed as “locker-room talk” by others. Given the subsequent election of Trump to the U.S. presidency, barely four weeks later, the rationalization of his remarks as merely vulgar was evidently persuasive to voters, including a majority of white women voters. But what is locker-room talk? And why was it so easy for so many to dismiss Trump’s statements about forcibly groping women?

Drawing from her research on the hyper-sexualized talk of Chicago’s financial traders, Professor Suzanne Menair (linguistic anthropology, Colby College) will discuss linguistic ideologies surrounding men’s talk, and how performances of masculinity, heterosexuality and transgression intersect with capitalist practice on Chicago’s trading floors. Far from being merely vulgar talk, these interactions do the semiotic work of naturalizing the cultural reality of American capitalism via hegemonic gender ideologies as they are employed in a particular project of white, male self-making that she calls “transgressive individualism.” She concludes with a discussion on the appeal of transgression and Donald Trump.

Title:  Locker-room Talk and its Discontents:  Vulgarity in the Market and Beyond
Speaker:   Suzanne Menair, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Colby College
Date: Wednesday, March 29
Time:  4:30 p.m.
Place:  Keller Hall

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