We’ve always been impressed with Michael Kimmel’s thoughts on masculinity, which is why he wrote the introduction to Familiar Men:A Book of Nudes. Recently he and Michael Kaufman have written a book called A Guys Guide to Feminism.
Quotes are from Seal Press:
Authors Michael Kaufman and Michael Kimmel, two of the world’s leading male advocates of gender equality, believe it has everything to do with them—and that it’s crucial to educate men about feminism in order for them to fully understand just how important and positive these changes have been for them.
Kaufman and Kimmel address these issues in The Guy’s Guide to Feminism. Hip and accessible, it contains nearly a hundred entries—from “Autonomy” to “Zero Tolerance”—written in varying tones (humorous, satirical, irreverent, thoughtful, and serious) and in many forms (“top ten” lists, comics, interviews, mini-stories, and more). Each topic celebrates the ongoing gains that are improving the lives of women and girls—and what that really means for men.
This seemed like an appropriate place for a Familiar Men photo.
Here’s Michael Kaufman talking about The Astounding Simple Truth About Masculinity and Goodness (It’s well worth reading the whole post.)
…To answer the question, “what is good about masculinity?”, we need to remind ourselves that:
Masculinity doesn’t exist. At least not in the way we think it exists. There is no timeless definition of manhood. It varies from culture to culture, era to era. It’s simply how we define manhood and how we define the relations of power among men and between men and women.
That means that masculinity (like femininity) is a collective hallucination. It’s as if we’ve all taken the same drug and walk around imagining that masculinity is real. We might assume it is biological, we might think it comes from being male or female, but in truth, each culture makes it up.
…and here’s the great paradox I’ve written about for the past three decades: the very ideals that confer and represent power and privilege, are a death trap for men. They are a source of enormous pain, isolation, and fear. The reasons are many: To demand that any human not feel or express pain is impossible. To push boys (and men) to ceaselessly prove we’re real men leads to a constant dialogue of self-doubt about making the masculine grade.
And them he goes on to discuss what is bad and good about masculinity and concludes:
So, rather than talk about what’s good about masculinity, I’d rather encourage both boys and girls, men and women to do two things: To celebrate and nurture the human qualities that are good for us all. And, secondly, to allow for true individuality: yes, some of us will be more one thing or another. Let’s let our boys and girls be those things without wedging them into the miserable world of pink and blue.
And it’s so good to hear people saying what Debbie and Richard Dutcher said in their essay in Familiar Men.