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Introduction fo Men and Masculinities Practice and Research

Primer for the Conference on College Men 2011
by

Brian Reed

on 13 January 2011

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Transcript of Introduction fo Men and Masculinities Practice and Research

introduction to men and masculinities practice and research coordinating information

brian d. reed
chair, naspa men and masculinities knowledge community
dartmouth college/university of virginia primer on masculinities practice and research The fact of men's lives is not that they are biological males, but that they become men. Our sex may be male, but our identity as men is developed through a complex process of interaction with the culture…” (Kimmel & Messner, 2004). gender as socially constructed •"Sturdy oak": Men should be stoic, stable and independent, and never show weakness. Accordingly, boys are not to share pain or grieve openly.

•"Give 'em hell": Based on a false self of extreme daring, bravado and attraction to violence. This injunction stems largely from the myth that "boys will be boys" -- the misconception that somehow boys are biologically wired to act like macho, high-energy, even violent supermen.

•"Big wheel": The imperative men and boys feel to achieve status, dominance and power. Or, understood another way, the "big wheel" refers to the way in which boys and men are taught to avoid shame at all costs, to wear the mask of coolness, to act as though everything is going all right, as though everything is under control, even if it isn't.

•"No sissy stuff": Perhaps the most traumatizing and dangerous injunction thrust on boys and men is the literal gender straitjacket that prohibits boys from expressing feelings or urges seen (mistakenly) as "feminine" -- dependence, warmth, empathy. According to the ideal of "no sissy stuff" such feelings and behaviors are taboo. Children, especially males, become keen observers of the social outcomes experienced by self and others as they deviate or adhere to gender related behaviors and expectations. These observations instruct and motivate the individual to perform their gender in ways that avoid negative social outcomes (Bandura & Bussey, 1999). what does this mean for student affairs? Health Services
Counseling
Clubs
Student Government
Volunteerism
Academics
Student Conduct 31% of men report watching 6+ hours of television per week compared to 23% of women.
26% of men report partying 6+ hours per week compared to 19% of women.
49% of men report frequent or occasional beer drinking compared to 37% of women.
22% of men report 6+ hours of video/computer game play per week compared to 3.8% of women. Men tend to overestimate their academic ability. 69% rated themselves as above average in intellect compared to 52% of women.
However, only 40% report grades of A- or better compared to 51% of women.
27% of men study 6+ hours per week compared to 38% of women
26% of men allocate 3+ hours to clubs/groups per week compared to 37% of women If we believe that masculinity is socially constructed then there is hope that we can also deconstruct it. I believe that college men are naturally caring, empathetic, and emotionally aware, but that strict gender roles create a deep fear of appearing unmanly. Thus, college men need the support and space to both examine strict gender role expectations while also feeling free to be their authentic selves. This doesn't mean that we excuse poor behavior (e.g., "boys will be boys"), but that we situate it within a sociological context that allows us to understand where it comes from and how we might address it. what would you like to do with more knowledge regarding men and masculinities?

what emotions/responses does men and masculinites practice and scholarship evoke in you? how does this enhance or impede your work with college men? I do not mean to suggest that their are no differences between men and women, but I and many others assert, such differences rest largely in our collective sociology-power and powerlessness. What is more, any argument in favor of total biological, genetic, hormonal, or evolutionary imperatives of gender assumes that all men are exactly alike as well as all women. We know this is simply not true. Conference on College Men

Masculinities in Higher Education

May 22-24, 2011
Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis Scholarly History of Men/Masculinities Studies Mathilde Vaerting (1884–1977)
Authored The Dominant Sex in 1923. Rather than fixed properties, she argued that gender identities were products of a male-dominated society. In matriarchal societies, she argued, men showed the very characteristics that Western cultures saw as quintessentially feminine. To her masculinity or masculine characteristics were not simple biological or evolutionary imperatives, but were the consequences of social power structure.
Sigmund Freud (1856–1939)
Based in his work of psychoanalysis, Freud understood that adult sexuality and gender were fluid and constructed through a long and conflict-ridden process. Specifically, with regards to his work on homosexuality, he argued, that there is not a simple gender switch, as "a large proportion of male inverts retain the mental quality of masculinity." Freud concluded that masculine and feminine currents coexist in everyone. Adult masculinity was a complex, and in some ways precarious, construction. Alfred Adler (1870–1937)
Adler was an early supporter of Freud but eventually broke with him over the analysis of masculinity. Like Vaerting, Adler critiqued the gender binary and its supposition that one gender is superior to the other. Adler coined the phrase “masculine protest” to describe the male child’s overcompensation of manliness as boys move from submission to independence. In response to dominating masculinity, Adler stated that "the arch evil of our culture, the excessive pre-eminence of manliness." Margaret Mead (1901–1978)
Mead published detailed accounts of non-Western societies that were very widely read in the 1920s and 1930s. In the cultures she observed, men and women were seen to behave in ways that were intelligible and consistent, yet very different from the patterns familiar in metropolitan bourgeois society. Mead's Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies (1935), in particular, showed men following radically different ideals of conduct in different cultural contexts. The models of heroic masculinity familiar in Western literature were, it seemed, specific to the West. Sex Role Theory-Talcott Parsons (1902-1979)
He and other sex role theorists of time (1950s) believed that the successful internalization of sex role norms contributed to social stability, mental health, and the performance of necessary social functions. Parson’s notion was that while sex roles were socially situated constructions, men and women had specific roles to play in the proper functioning of society and families Men’s Liberation
In the 1970s this period of men’s studies was concerned with the often stereotyped representations of men in film and television genres such as the western, the war movie, the gangster movie, and the cop serial, not to mention advertisements such as the famous "Marlboro Man" campaign.
In the latter years of this movement the political divisions in the men's movement had become wide. The anti-sexist and pro-feminist tendency of the early men's liberation groups were contested by men's rights groups who were antagonistic to feminism and by a therapeutic movement that took a very different view of masculinity Mythopoetic MovementAs men's political activism continued through the late 70's and early 80's, a segment of loosely connected men began to form what Shepherd Bliss termed the "Mythopoetic" side of the men's movement. With the popularity of Robert Bly’s Iron John, this movement concentrates on looking at the male situation through myths, poetry, and shared ritualized experiences between men.The emphasis on men's only space, while positive in the short-term to work with mutual issues in a safe space, lacks the larger perspective of the community at large where the men must rejoin women and other men in this world.
Mythopoetic Movement
As men's political activism continued through the late 70's and early 80's, a segment of loosely connected men began to form what Shepherd Bliss termed the "Mythopoetic" side of the men's movement. With the popularity of Robert Bly’s Iron John, this movement concentrates on looking at the male situation through myths, poetry, and shared ritualized experiences between men.The emphasis on men's only space, while positive in the short-term to work with mutual issues in a safe space, lacks the larger perspective of the community at large where the men must rejoin women and other men in this world.
Pro-Feminist Movement
This group is best represented by the National Organization for Men Against Sexism (NOMAS). While officially forming in 1982, the group dates back to 1975 when some of the core activists organized the first National Conference on Men & Masculinity. This group concentrates primarily on the issues of the power and privilege men have over others, and strongly encourages men to recognize those privileges on personal, social, and political levels and work toward changing the larger community for the good of all. Profeminist men see the current model of manhood as oppressive to all: women, children, and men.
Racialized Masculinity Politics & Gay Male Liberation
The Black Panther Party emerged in the mid-1960s. The movement began with the purposes of armed self-defense, militant mass organizing, advocating for women’s equality, and propagandizing a revolutionary nationalist ideology. The Million Man March on D.C.in 1995 was the largest public awareness campaign with a racialized masculine agenda, focusing efforts on registering African American men to vote in US Elections and increase black involvement in volunteerism and community activism.
Fueled by the new radicalism of the (2nd wave) Feminist Movement, Black Power, and student uprisings at many U.S. Universities, the Gay Liberation movement took shape in 1969 after the Stonewall Riots between NYC Police and over 400 LBGT patrons lasted for five days. This event galvanized a group of activists to form the Gay Liberation Front, which quickly replicated in eight cities across the country in its first year.
See you in Indianapolis To Get You Thinking Messages About Manhood References
Kimmel, M. S., & Messner, M. A. (Eds.). (2004). Men’s lives (6th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
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