Editor's Note: This entry will be posted as the category description for the "Beyond John Wayne category. I'm posting it here as a site update, for your own pleasure. Enjoy!

As some of you may already know, in order to get this International Baccalaureate Diploma you have to be able to do two things. First of all you have to be able to spell Baccalaureate (which I don't quite have, but I suspect I'll get it within the year) and you have to write a four thousand word "Extended Essay" in any subject of your choosing. It's tough and a major pain, yes, but assuming your advisors are really awesome, as mine are, it can be a load of fun to have the opportunity to get into what you're really interested in and get credit for. Also it gives you an opportunity to take all of the dry stuff you've done in class and have some fun with the topic.

In perfect form, my Extended Essay is going to be a masculinity study. (For those of you who don't know, in IB there are a number of papers/projects that we have to complete, most of which are graded by IB people outside of the school, and usually out side of the country as well. Well all of my IB projects fall into the category of gender/masculinity/queer studies, but we'll talk more about that in a little while.)

I have to have a draft of this paper before classes start in September, which shouldn't be too much of a problem, but I do have to start working on it more. So in that motion, I'm going to start writing about it here at TealArt. We'll probably get excerpts of this paper as I write it, and there'll be a fair share of brainstorming. Think of it as a project blog, if you will. I at least think its interesting stuff and hope you do too (and all of your feed back is going to be really valuable).

I wonder if I post this paper, in stages to this website, and IB uses that anti-plagiarism software to search the web, and they find it here, will they start having farm animals (cows to be specific). Because it's completely legit, unless of course IB is demanding first run online publication rights, which I sort of doubt. Having said that, if this stuff pops up on someone else's website and I'm not credited, it could get ugly. Really ugly. So consider yourself threatened. You can use this material if you want, but credit is required.

The working title for this paper is "Beyond John Wayne: A Contemporary Definition of Masculinity," and in it I hope to define the traditional conception of masculinity, as represented by the kinds of character's John Wayne is famous for portraying, then show how this definition is both flawed and not realistic in both historical and contemporary circumstances. Finally, I plan to conduct interviews several with youth and young adults from various backgrounds to establish a realistic definition that makes sense in contemporary contexts.

I'm going to start handing out background surveys this week, (to give me material that I can build a more substantial and meaningful interview that's tailored to the subject instead of something that's to general and not substantive enough). Depending on how that goes, I should be able to start having interviews this week as well and thing will proceeded as they should.