Power, Sex and a Big TV

By Leland, John | Newsweek, September 18, 1995 | Go to article overview

Power, Sex and a Big TV


Leland, John, Newsweek


ABOUT MRS. FREUD'S QUEStion--what does a man want?--there has seldom been much call for investigation. Everyone knows what a man wants: power, dominion, maybe a big TV and a menu of amatory delights. As the French feminist Elizabeth Badinter notes in "XY: On Masculine Identity" (274 pages. Columbia University Press. $27.95), "Not long ago, woman was still the dark continent of humanity, whereas no one dreamed of questioning man. Masculinity appeared to be self-evident: luminous, natural, and the opposite of femininity."

Lately, though, things have turned around. Voices from all corners--feminists, gangsta rappers, fundamentalist Christians, gender theorists, evolutionary biologists, geneticists, biochemists--are re-examining the nature of masculinity. A half decade after the bloom of the men's movement, a handful of recent books posit that what a man really wants is ... well, power, dominion and the rest--but there's an explanation.

As Badinter reckons, masculinity--far more than femininity--is an abstraction, something to be achieved rather than simply lived out. From birth, girls are intimately tied to womanhood through their connection with the maternal womb. Boys are more distant, biologically and socially, from the manhood of their fathers; they have to learn their sexual identity from remote sources. Even in adulthood, men strive to "become" men, or to become "real men," as if genetics weren't enough. Badinter and the rest endeavor to construct men into a coherent class, in the same way that women, minorities, gays and other groups have been construed to form recognizable classes, with their own needs and histories. In the fractured universe of identity politics, men, it seems, need a segmented identity just like everybody else.

The new masculinist literature is alternately defensive or pitying. As Margaret Atwood writes in the ambitious recent anthology, "The Male Body," now out in paperback (310 pages. University of Michigan Press. $14.95), "men's bodies are the most dangerous things on earth." By these lights, all men are Packwoods waiting to happen. So where do we go from here?

In "The Masculine Mystique: The Politics of Masculinity" (368 pages. Ballantine. $23), Andrew Kimbrell argues that male bad behavior is really an awful burden for men to bear. Kimbrell, a lawyer, environmentalist and men's advocate, was named one of America's "100 Visionaries" by the Utne Reader. He contends that the components of modern manhood--competitive drive, appetite for wealth and power, devotion to work at the expense of family--form a "masculine mystique," a stereotype that has come to obscure a kinder, gentler "true" masculinity. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Power, Sex and a Big TV
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.