Quantum Masculinities: Doing Gender with Max Tegmark’s Mathematical Universe Hypothesis
Keywords:men, masculinities, quantum physics
In his book Our Mathematical Universe, Max Tegmark proposes a way of viewing “reality” as a multiverse of parallel universes governed by mathematics. In this article we take a few of Tegmark’s more accessible ideas and combine them with the study of masculinities to form “quantum masculinities.” Specifically, we use Tegmark’s presentation of the multiverse and the quantum state of superposition as a thinking tool for imagining not just multiple masculinities but infinite and contradictory masculinities. We then mobilize this newly proposed concept of quantum masculinities in two contexts. First, we put quantum masculinities in dialogue with Judith Butler’s theory of gender performativity to question to what degree gender performance requires an observer. Second, we explore how far quantum masculinities are reconcilable with The Five Stages of Masculinity. We conclude with some discussion about the categories of “I” and “we” in imagining the self, as well as how the study of masculinities might evolve.
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