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It’s a Man Thing August 7, 2005

Posted by Winter in gender issues.
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Feminists are often accused of sexism towards men and when we started this blog we decided we would try and acknowledge men’s issues and problems. Whenever my students are confronted with an essay question about gender they immediately assume that means “write about women” and give me odd looks when I suggest they might like to try writing about men and/or masculinity. Their preference is rather sexist. Men have gender too, I tell them. Anyway, there have been some interesting articles about masculinity in the Guardian online gender special reports recently. Lucy Ward warns us that overambitious young men are becoming increasingly prone to early life crises. The right wing press has long been banging on about career women wanting to “have it all” and, apparently, men are now going the same way. Chill out men! It looks to me like these men are spending far too much time trying to make money at the expense of the rest of their lives. Meanwhile, Dave Hill addresses the problem of the single weirdo. This piece doesn’t really seem to go anywhere, but does make the point that less derision and suspicion might be good for the mental health of single men in a society that reads male singledom as indicative of perversion. Fair enough. Then there’s Steve Cochrane’s amusing saint dad story. According to the Equal Opportunities Commission, 4 out of 5 fathers claim they would be happy to give up work and look after the kids at home. (These chaps can’t be the same men as the overambitious ones killing themseslves in Lucy Ward’s article). However, Steve warns that the job comes with a burdernsome “halo.” Everywhere he goes he finds himself admired and swooned over for doing the work women take for granted. It’s all very embarrassing and needs to stop if men are to be encouraged to try their hands at full time parenting.

Naiadies recommended I read Hugo Schwyzer blog. He’s a christian, pro-life, pro-feminist, gender studies professor. I was dubious, but I love a man with contradictions and gave it a go. His blog is intelligent, well-written and worth reading.

I also love this piece on masculinity and performance by Holly Coombes on the FWord. Now I just want to do a drag king workshop and discover my masculine side.

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Comments»

1. Naiades - August 11, 2005

I think you probably already know my take on this, but, just to reiterate, i think we have to seperate ‘men’ from misogeny and patrairchy. many men are mysoginist and many more are whole hartedly supportive of the patriarchial structures in place. however, many arn’t and these men seem kind of stuck, ‘they get all the men are shit, they smell’ stuff from feminsits and then get the your a wimp, you don’t like to shoot things and you don’t keep your woman in order’ stuff from the other side.

personally I want men to be engaged in feminism, and I want to engage with mens issues. I think that once men have an opinion you can talk to them about it, question and learn more about their fears and your own views. I think it’s a much more dangerous situarttion when no one is interested in any thing political, then we are really in trouble.


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