Masculinity Studies & Feminist Theory: New Directions

Masculinity Studies & Feminist Theory: New Directions

Masculinity Studies & Feminist Theory: New Directions

Masculinity Studies & Feminist Theory: New Directions

Synopsis

Why is there so much talk of a "crisis" of masculinity? How have ideas of manhood been transformed by feminism? Does feminism hold the key to the development of more egalitarian forms of masculinity? Masculinity Studies and Feminist Theory addresses central questions about the analysis and construction of masculinity in contemporary society. The volume examines the ways male privilege and power are constituted and represented and explores the effect of such constructions on both men and women. With subjects ranging from Robert Bly's Iron John to Tom Hank's "niceness," this collection overturns old paradigms about identity, victimization, and dominant and alternative forms of masculinity to advance new dialogues between masculinity studies and feminist theory. Looking particularly at literature, film, and classroom practices, Masculinity Studies and Feminist Theory links the analysis of masculinities with feminism's ethical and political agenda for the future. Its authors share a conviction that such a link not only reveals the persistence, now more subtle and varied, of male entitlement but also promises to create an enriched and reinvigorated feminism for a new century.

Excerpt

With this volume, “masculinity studies” comes of age as an intellectual field, both in dialogue with and in alliance with feminist theory. Judith Kegan Gardiner has assembled some of the most distinguished practitioners of both masculinity studies and feminist theory working in universities today, and they have collectively thought through the different ways in which feminist theory and masculinity studies are related. In many ways, Masculinity Studies and Feminist Theory explores the insights of three decades of feminist theory on the construction of masculinities.

This project is politically important because it demonstrates that, although it is not self-evident, masculinity studies is a significant outgrowth of feminist studies and an ally to its older sister in a complex and constantly shifting relationship. Masculinity studies is not necessarily the reactionary defensive rage of the men's rights groups, the mythic cross-cultural nostalgia of mythopoetry, nor even the theologically informed nostalgic yearning for separate spheres of Promise Keepers. Rather, masculinity studies can be informed by a feminist project to interrogate different masculinities, whether real (as in corporeal) or imagined (as in representations and texts). These essays are about men . . .

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