Men's Ways of Being

Men's Ways of Being

Men's Ways of Being

Men's Ways of Being


This book addresses many of the crucial questions confronting gender studies. The readings included here have emerged from the experiences of men and women struggling to make sense of the impact of the men's movement on their individual lives and on their communities. Blending theory and practice and informed largely by postmodern and social constructionist perspectives, the chapters bring together personal issues and political concerns against a background of therapeutic and political approaches to change. The overall tone is hopeful, providing practical ways to move forward. However, issues of structured power, inequality, and oppression are firmly faced. Balancing these issues is the clearly empathetic understanding of the predicaments faced by men in their everyday lives. The editors are careful to offer an even-handed analysis of men's concerns without compromising women's struggle for gender justice.


Christopher McLean, Maggie Carey and Cheryl White

This book is part of a process and part of a journey. It has a history, which is still continuing. We have great hopes for where the journey will lead us, but there is a sense that it has only just begun. This book is part of an invitation and a challenge extended by a group of Adelaide (South Australia) women to the men around them; a challenge to look at the effects of their ways of being as men; an invitation to care enough about these effects to want to do something about them; and an invitation to join in partnership with women, so that we can move together towards challenging injustice and building a truly humane community.

Even though it is made up of separate chapters, each bearing the name of an individual author, it is very much a collective endeavour. The ideas and understandings have emerged from the lived experience of a community of people, as they attempted to make sense of some difficult questions about our understandings of masculinity and how we can construct an understanding of gender that is a co-production between men and women.

Most of the chapters were originally presented as public seminars, dealing with issues that were very much alive in the wider community at that time. The book does not attempt to provide a comprehensive, theoretical coverage of issues relating to masculinity. Some chapters are quite theoretical, and some are more personal; the overall position of the book, however, is that theory is useful only in so far as it emerges from reflection on lived experience, and is helpful in taking action. Of course, reading other people's writing and engaging with their ideas is part of lived experience, but it should not be privileged above everything else.

Because this collection has emerged from a particular time and place, there a number of very important questions that are not covered. Indeed, the importance of these questions has become much clearer to us as a result of the processes which produced the book. Starting to grapple with issues of partnership between men and women has led us towards a clearer sense of the importance of dealing with issues of race and sexuality. These are touched on in a number of papers, and Laurence Carter deals specifically with heterosexual dominance. These issues are very much alive in our community at the present time and, if we were starting the book now, rather than finishing it, a great deal more space would be devoted to them.

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