The Feministing Five: Michael Kimmel

michael-kimmel.jpgMichael Kimmel is an author, teacher and activist, and is widely acknowledged as America’s most prominent and prolific scholar on masculinity. Kimmel is the author of a staggering number of books, including Men Confront Pornography, The History of Men, The Gendered Society and Manhood in America (noticing a theme?). Most recently, Kimmel’s book Guyland examined the lives of young American men. To write it, Kimmel interviewed hundreds of men between the ages of 15 and 25, using their words and his expertise to draw a frightening picture of young American manhood today. Luckily, Kimmel has a one-word solution to the problem: feminism.
Kimmel lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Amy Aronson, with whom he frequently co-writes, and their 10-year-old son Zachary, a budding male feminist. He is a Professor of Sociology at SUNY Stonybrook, where he teaches on gender and masculinity, and has taught and lectured all over the world. He is also a frequent contributor at The Huffington Post. And as if all this wasn’t impressive enough, last year he was brought in as a consultant on gender politics during the production of Feministing’s favorite TV show, Mad Men.
And now, without further ado, the Feministing Five, with Michael Kimmel.


Chloe Angyal: What led you to become involved in studying gender and feminism, and specifically in studying and writing about masculinity?
Michael Kimmel: I became an activist to engage men in gender equality over thirty years ago, when I was part of the group that founded an organization called Santa Cruz Men Against Rape. And that was my first actual political engagement. But even prior to that, I had had some involvement with people who worked in the anti-violence community, particularly working in shelters, and some of the experiences that I had just touched me so deeply that I felt I had to do something about this.
When I was in graduate school, my partner was working at a shelter. We had a car that didn’t have an automatic transmission; it had a stick-shift, and she didn’t know how to drive a stick shift. So what that meant was that occasionally, when women had to go to the shelter, or go to the hospital, or get their kids out of the house, I drove them. Growing up on Long Island, I had lived a very comfortable, very – pun not intended – sheltered life. And I really had no clue of what was going on, until I was driving these women, and one woman was there with broken limbs and a fractured jaw, and through her fractured jaw, she said, “Sometimes I deserve it, but this time I didn’t.” And that really does something to do.
So I announced to my partner one day that I was going to come and work at the shelter, and she said, “Well you can’t. The only reason you even know where it is is that I don’t drive a stick-shift, and you can’t possibly come to work there.” And I said, “I really want to do something about this.” And she said, “I have an idea: Why don’t you go talk to the men who beat the women up?” And looked at her, like, “Are you out of your mind? I don’t want to go talk to them. I don’t like them. They beat women up; they’re bad guys.” And she said, “Look, you have a natural constituency of half the human race. Go talk to them.” So that was the moment that I committed myself to working with men. I worked with men who were court-mandated batterers for a while, and when I moved to Santa Cruz, I was a part of the founding of this organization, and then a few years later, I was part of the group of men who founded the National Organization of Men Against Sexism.
So I started my work on this as an activist, not as a scholar, and not as a teacher. And then when I got my first teaching job, I was an activist and teaching my nice, normal regular classes at Rutgers, and then one day I gave a talk at a Take Back the Night rally, and one of my students heard me and said, “That was really interesting; have you ever given any thought to teaching a course about masculinity?” And at the time, no such course existed, and I thought, well, maybe I’ll do that. So I went to my Dean and my Chair and told them I wanted to do this and they thought it was a great idea, and so, I developed this course. And it struck a nerve on campus, because there were hundreds of students who wanted to take it. And when you want to teach a new course, you have to go find readings for it, but in 1983 for the first course ever in the state of New Jersey on men and masculinity, there were no readings. That first semester, we were reading things out of newspapers and magazines. We read Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche as one of the required texts. We read anything we could find. So it was through that that I began to develop a pedagogical interest in teaching about masculinity and finding work that could be appropriate for teaching. And it was through that that I identified the holes and gaps in scholarship that I then proceeded to try to fill.
Since that time, I have maintained a foot in each camp – I’m an academic researcher, and I write books and articles about masculinity, and I’m also trying to build a subfield of Gender Studies called Masculinity Studies, and so I founded the premier journal in the field, and books series and things like that. But at the same time, I maintain my work as an activist. I still work with NOMAS and with other organizations. I worked as the organizer for this conference that’s taking place in November, for campus-based gender equality and anti-violence groups, that will have groups coming in from all over the country and will also include representatives from all the major organizations that work with men on campuses like VMen and Men Can Stop Rape and MVP and the White Ribbon Campaign.
CA: Who is your favorite fictional heroine?
MK: I like Dorothea from Middlemarch. I like Emma. I even like Madame Bovary. Anyone who bumps up against the constraints of traditional femininity has always warmed my heart. Those are the first few that come to mind immediately, but so many great novels are about women who are straining against and trying to break through the constraints of traditional femininity, and those are the women I’ve always been drawn to.
CA: Who are your heroines in real life?

MK:
The first one that comes to mind is Charlotte Perkins Gilman, because as a sociologist, I think she really saw some of the problems with the over-psychologized, individual, simply-overcome-the-situation model. She touched on everything that, as a sociologist and an activist, I wrestle with all the time. So she’s always been a heroine to me.
Gloria Steinem, for sure, and not only because she’s been the figurehead for American feminism for fifty years. But also because of her unbelievable grace in the kind of vilification that she’s gotten from the right and from anti-feminists over those fifty years. She’s an amazingly gracious and emotionally available person, and she’s deeply respectful of women, so I’ve always admired her.
And my wife, who is another heroine of mine, is writing a biography of Crystal Eastman, who is a real heroine. She understood how the Peace Movement, the Civil Rights Movement, the Women’s Movement and the movement for free speech were all intimately connected, as they were in her life, and how you can’t really answer one without addressing the others.
CA: What recent news story made you want to scream?
MK: Well, of course, Roman Polanski. The kind of weasely equivocating going on among artists, particularly among people who have traditionally been astute enough to understand the dilemmas for women in speaking about rape and sexual assault. People like Whoopi Goldberg; her behavior was truly shameful. The coverage of the story has been so much about how the artistic community has rallied to his defense, and how you can do anything you want if you’re a good film director. And the notion that, because it was a long time ago, he’s somehow exempt from prosecution. It’s truly amazing that, this is a guy who raped a 13-year-old girl, and the artistic community is saying, “Yeah, but it was a really long time ago,” and, “Yeah but, he’s a really great director,” and, “Yeah, but he’s paid his dues.” In what way?
CA: What, in your opinion, is the biggest challenge facing feminism today?
MK: I think there are two. One is the simple maintenance problem, and I think here that the news is rather good. When I say “maintain,” I mean this: After an onslaught of forty or fifty years of determined efforts to shift women’s lives backwards, from court decisions and congressional efforts to rein women in, despite that, women’s lives have improved markedly. Women have shattered glass ceilings, even as they continue to bump up against others. Women’s lives are truly safer, because we have problematized and made illegal things that we used to take for granted, like marital rape and date rape and sexual assault and sexual harassment, so that these things are now actionable and illegal, rather than simply how people are. I think it’s undeniable that women’s lives have improved, despite an onslaught of backlash against it, which has really been concerted, well-funded and quite vitriolic. So the problem for feminists today is to simply maintain, and to keep their eyes on the prize, and not be seduced into conversations about false issues with people who really don’t care about women’s lives at all.
For example, gender symmetry in domestic violence. I think we have to arm ourselves to have those kinds of conversations so that we can engage with people who say things like that, and somehow move the conversation elsewhere. So take the assertion that women hit men as often as men hit women. Rather than quibbling about it – and anyone who really looks at any data knows that’s really not true – but let’s just say it is true. You make that argument to me and say, “You know what, women hit men just as much as men hit women,” and I’d say, “That’s exactly right. And that’s why we need to double all the funding nationwide for spousal abuse. We really have to double it, and we should campaign together. Especially because, if we have a whole bunch of better-funded programs for people who have been beaten by their spouses, then more of those men who you think are victims, who are so ashamed to come forward because it so damages their masculinity, will come forward because we’ll have a place for them.”
It is sort of weird and a bit discomforting for me to offer advice to feminists as a group, being a man, but what I would say is that the group that feels that it has nothing to gain from feminism, and that feminism has nothing to do with them, is men. And I think that that’s the reason that women are faced with such draconian choices between opting out and balancing work and family, because men haven’t stepped up and aren’t doing as much housework and childcare as women need them to do in order for women to be able to balance work and family. And my argument here is that the group that has to be embraced by feminism is men – although, I hasten to add that it’s not your job. That should be our job. We should be doing that.
The biggest mistake we make is to assume – and men often think this – that gender equality is a zero-sum game. That if women win, then men are going to lose. And I think what we have to do is to show people that feminism is a win-win. I think we can do that at the personal level in terms of the quality of our relationships with our children, our partners and our friends, and also in terms of public policy.
CA: You’re going to a desert island, and you get to take one food, one drink and one feminist. What do you pick?
MK: I can answer the last one easiest. I would take Amy, my wife, because we would never run out of things to talk about. She’s the smartest person I know, I always learn tons when I talk to her, and plus, I enjoy looking at her, so I’d never get bored with the scenery. And she’s warm to cuddle up to at night, so it’s a perfect solution to the desert island problem. That’s the easy part. And if I get to take Amy, then I think we’ll live on pasta and Pellegrino.

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82 Comments

  1. Miranda
    Posted October 17, 2009 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    I adore Michael Kimmel! Guyland is spectacular.

  2. Comrade Kevin
    Posted October 17, 2009 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    This Feministing Five really speaks to me.
    I would love to establish a network of Male Feminists and/or Male Feminist allies, to both give them a voice and establish a system of mentoring. To wit, many men who wish to be allies navigate largely uncharted territory and speak out of ignorance, which often receives a sharp retort from someone who misinterprets their lack of understanding the whole picture with a deliberately destructive, anti-feminist critique. There is a lot of background research and soul searching that goes along with being an effective ally, but I think there would be more of them if they didn’t feel so alone in the endeavor.
    With an established and effective mentoring system, those male allies/male feminists could take newbies under their wing, patiently explain why certain statements were taken as offensive without resorting to blame, recommend resources like books, media, and other instructive tools and in so doing, establish a self-perpetuating system. Perhaps there are already sites like that (and if there are, I’d love to have someone guide me towards them) but I think what would benefit every feminist or every ally would be more networking, more respectful dialogue between related groups, and a greater sense of common purpose.
    The British comic Josie Long talks in one of her stand up routines about how when Aldous Huxley was interviewed late in life he remarked (and I’m paraphrasing) that it’s a bit humbling to spend one’s life looking for a complicated way to resolve the problems of humanity and then realizing at the very end that many of them could be solved if we were all a bit kinder to each other.

  3. inthesedreams
    Posted October 17, 2009 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    I love this man so much. Guyland was my book to read at the gym this summer, and I have never had such a great time at the gym in my life. It was absolutely amazing and I just want to read everything he’s ever written now. Love.

  4. djkb
    Posted October 17, 2009 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    guyland IS a totally amazing book that everyone should read. i love that he approaches women’s issues as though they are everyone’s issues–HUMANITY’s issues–because they are, in so many ways. and it’s so wonderful to have a man actively involved in talking to young men to figure out what the hell their problem is. (not all of them; just the type interviewed in guyland).
    i really loved this interview and would like to hear more contributions from a gender perspective. good work, feministing!

  5. jayjay323
    Posted October 17, 2009 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Interesting story on his background.
    “The biggest mistake we make is to assume – and men often think this – that gender equality is a zero-sum game. That if women win, then men are going to lose. And I think what we have to do is to show people that feminism is a win-win.”
    Well, I’d say that very much depends on the feminism in question. That said, whatever I’ve read of him (which doesn’t include guyland yet), was deeply critical of men in a round about way. And that’s something I find particularly problematic with this kind of male feminists – they seem to have lost emotional touch with the people they are talking about. They aren’t talking about men like they’re real people anymore, and, it’s like, well, they’re not even including themselves in this group anymore. And in their attempt to hold men responsible, they often are more than unfairly critical and fail to hold women responsible. And that leaves me with mixed feelings regarding the credibility of their motivations. I think there’s a whole bunch of self-flaggelating male feminist professors out there. I wonder if that comes with the discipline’s requirements.
    I agree with many of their observations and conclusions including that men need to be more aware of gender dynamics. But their discourse leaves me struggling.

  6. TD
    Posted October 17, 2009 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Having perused the book Guyland it was rife with gross exaggerations, confirmation bias, and outright factual inaccuracies.
    The book is supposed to be a great insight into the lives of men, yet if you present it to the average guy he supposedly conducted interviews with they would think the author was delusional, if they actually believed he tried to write a piece of non-fiction.
    It’s the type of book designed only to be sold to the easily scared because no one else would believe him.

  7. Aviva
    Posted October 17, 2009 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Kudos to highlighting Michael Kimmel. I heard him speak at a panel on Feminist Men and afterward read both Manhood in America and Guyland. What a gem he is. I appreciate his fearless approach to closing the gap between men and feminism, and his genuine understanding of masculinity’s (and notions thereof) role in gender equality efforts.

  8. Amelia
    Posted October 17, 2009 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Nice post, Chloe! I love this series :)

  9. Kat
    Posted October 17, 2009 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    This is a great interview. I go to Stony Brook and have had the chance to see him speak a few times. I’m also sitting in on his Sociology and Gender class this semester because my girlfriend’s in it. It’s kind of gender 101 at times, but he is truly one of the best professors at this school, so it’s never boring. He’s constantly challenging commonly held perceptions of those in the class, and it’s great to see him get through to so many.

  10. wax_ghost
    Posted October 17, 2009 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    was deeply critical of men in a round about way. And that’s something I find particularly problematic with this kind of male feminists – they seem to have lost emotional touch with the people they are talking about. They aren’t talking about men like they’re real people anymore, and, it’s like, well, they’re not even including themselves in this group anymore. If you simply replace the gender, the same could be said about feminism and women in a lot of instances. There are a lot of things that feminism criticizes that are supposedly part of “being female” but that I and many other women don’t recognize in our own lives. That doesn’t make it invalid, especially since we’re talking about people in a general way in the first place. So while Kimmel’s men may be pretty foreign to most of the men I know personally, that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have really good points on men and masculinity in general.
    Of course, there’s also the problem that you seem to associate being critical as negative.
    But if you really don’t like what Kimmel and anyone else has to say about masculinity, perhaps you should do your own studies and write your own essays on the topic. Since there are so many different possible perspectives, the more people exploring the issue critically, the better. So far when this subject comes up, I have only seen men complaining about what others have to say but not saying anything new themselves, which leads me to believe that comments like yours (not yours specifically necessarily) are more about silencing critical thought about masculinity than actually representing the multitude of masculinities that men experience.

  11. wax_ghost
    Posted October 17, 2009 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    That would be fantastic, Comrade Kevin. You should start a group like that, if you have the time. I can’t imagine anyone here would not support it.

  12. bethrjacobs
    Posted October 17, 2009 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Same old story it takes a man to keep men in line. One of my jobs involves teaching and I can’t believe in this day and age it still comes down to “wait till your father comes home”. Good for him for reaching out to men. But what’s the big deal; rich white male, holding hands of a few other men? Come on now.
    And it’s in every of the seventeen classes I teach every week. And most of my co-teachers are women but a man walks in and look out it’s as if feminism never happened.

  13. jayjay323
    Posted October 17, 2009 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    wax_ghost,
    “which leads me to believe that comments like yours (not yours specifically necessarily) are more about silencing critical thought about masculinity than actually representing the multitude of masculinities that men experience.”
    well, I suppose that’s a what I’d expect to be the standard reading of my comment on a feminist blog. Basically, my point is – I think there is a bias problem. Research on masculinity isn’t happening in it’s own right, it’s not happening because we’re really interested in the way men experience themselves and their lives. It’s happening as an afterthought of feminism, as a complement to the feminist agenda. So there’s really no real research of – or debate about – masculinity that isn’t critical or challenging any of the theoretical notions established by feminism. And that’s a problem. I’d like men to be more gender aware, but doing so within the established framework of feminism is problematic, because it doesn’t treat male voices as equal and it doesn’t have to (because of their assumed privilege).

  14. TD
    Posted October 17, 2009 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    The only type of masculinity feminism is interested in is the scariest most demonized depiction possible. You don’t sell books which discuss how the majority of guys are pretty decent people.
    You sell books with Kimmel’s variety of “research”. Talking about how men are engaged in the most depraved acts imaginable scares people, and scared people buy books about why they should be scared.
    Discussion about real issues men face in the world, which does not immediately attempt to portray all men as monsters is immediately and loudly derided on this site and elsewhere as “what about the menz”. Men who go elsewhere to voice these arguments are criticized for not participating in feminism. Men who attempt to strike a balance are criticized for not accepting that women’s issues are inherently more important, and that not one issue which primarily affects men, no matter how large, could possibly take precedence over any issue affecting a woman, not even the smallest.
    Of course, there’s also the problem that you seem to associate being critical as negative.
    When someone goes out of their way to find the worst horror stories he could possibly find, and then attempts to claim that this is normal for guys, indeed an epidemic of monumental proportions. When he pretends to claim that all men are forced to choose between their idea of masculinity and their humanity he has gone way past criticism.
    I never chose between the two, they were never exclusive. The ethos that was presented as ‘masculinity’ had a lot of positive messages, to protect those around me, to be willing to be self sacrificing in order to help other people have a better life, to be a modern polymath, to be loyal to my friends, but according to Kimmel because I agreed with a lot of that ethos I’m supposed to be less of a human? His work justifiably enrages most men who read it for this very reason and for many others.

  15. wax_ghost
    Posted October 17, 2009 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    Okay, then do it.

  16. wax_ghost
    Posted October 17, 2009 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    I’ve only read one Kimmel article so I can’t necessarily speak to his portrayals of men but the portrayals in the article I read were certainly accurate.
    Even if you accept that men must choose between their masculinity and their humanity, Kimmel isn’t the one who is making that the required decision. Kimmel is criticizing the social construction of masculinity, not YOUR masculinity. Why does that make him offensive? That’s like me saying that it’s Betty Friedan’s fault that housewives in the ’50s and ’60s were miserable just because she pointed it out.
    I would think that men would be a lot more enthusiastic in exploring masculinity, since being represented constantly in society and media as a brainless, sex-crazed idiot who can’t fall out of line even just a little bit seems like an awful life to live. But I guess if that works for you, you have every right to get mad when someone like Kimmel criticizes it.

  17. TD
    Posted October 17, 2009 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    was supposed to be a response to wax_ghost

  18. TD
    Posted October 17, 2009 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Even if you accept that men must choose between their masculinity and their humanity, Kimmel isn’t the one who is making that the required decision. Kimmel is criticizing the social construction of masculinity, not YOUR masculinity. Why does that make him offensive?
    He’s not the one forcing it, he’s the one who is claiming it is true. I find the very premise of his hypothesis offense.
    I grew up in that social construction of masculinity by any standard, I am a guy, who went to a public school, all of my best friends were guys, I was in no way isolated nor seperated from society’s expectations of me.
    Now if his hypothesis is that I had to choose between my humanity and masculinity and if I display traits which correspond with masculinity therefore I must have sacrificed my humanity. In his perspective therefore I am less than human.
    I would think that men would be a lot more enthusiastic in exploring masculinity
    Exploring it? Kimmel doesn’t explore it, he stands back takes the worst possible interpretation and concludes all men are broken, evil, or some combination thereof. I am decidedly not interested in that. Why would I want to participate only to portray myself, my friends, and half the people I’ve ever known as evil, since that is the only narrative that feminism allows.

  19. wax_ghost
    Posted October 17, 2009 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    Now if his hypothesis is that I had to choose between my humanity and masculinity and if I display traits which correspond with masculinity therefore I must have sacrificed my humanity.
    Ah, but see, here is where your logic falls apart. The two sections of your sentence do not necessarily go together. Your understanding of “humanity” is what is at fault, since you are using the meaning with the root word of “humane” rather than the root word “human”. If you look at it as the latter, it’s not offensive at all; in that case, he would be saying that you are forced to be a man above being a human being (something that feminism has railed against for women (being a woman first and a human being a distant second) for a long time).
    Again, I haven’t read much of his work at all so I can’t say that that is exactly how he means it, but you might want to consider that possibility.
    Why would I want to participate only to portray myself, my friends, and half the people I’ve ever known as evil, since that is the only narrative that feminism allows.
    Not the feminism I know.
    But then, you seem very invested in the kind of masculinity that Kimmel talks about. I know lots of people – both male and masculine – who could care less about that construction of masculinity and live their own masculinity; they tend to not be offended by things like Kimmel says at all. Another thing you might want to think about – why are you so attached to a masculinity that says your maleness wipes out the possibility of you being a human being?

  20. TD
    Posted October 17, 2009 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    Ah, but see, here is where your logic falls apart. The two sections of your sentence do not necessarily go together. Your understanding of “humanity” is what is at fault, since you are using the meaning with the root word of “humane” rather than the root word “human”.
    So its not that I’m not humane, I’m just not a human being? Wonderful.
    If you look at it as the latter, it’s not offensive at all; in that case, he would be saying that you are forced to be a man above being a human being
    Which by the same token, means that if I in any part chose to adhere to any mainstream concept of masculinity that I am not a human being. Which means that Michael Kimmel is explicitly claiming that I am not a human being, and that I will engage in all manner of evil acts.
    Not the feminism I know.
    Then why is feminism hostile to any discussion of men, unless that discussion very explicitly demonizes men.
    I mean, this site even railed against discussion that phthalates cause birth defects in male infants because it was anti woman.
    But then, you seem very invested in the kind of masculinity that Kimmel talks about.
    I am invested in the idea that I am a human being who wasn’t forced to sacrifice his humanity in the process of growing up. I’m invested in the idea that none of my friends did so either.
    Another thing you might want to think about – why are you so attached to a masculinity that says your maleness wipes out the possibility of you being a human being?
    Except it doesn’t. In none of my life has it done so. What Kimmel does is to slander men with false allegations, to perpetuate a stereotype where every man is a dangerous offender and a pervert. He attempts to make every person to look askance at a man walking down the street with the assumption that he is about to hurt someone.
    That angers me. Masculinity as I experienced it, had some good and bad qualities. Masculinity as Kimmel described it is merely an attempt to demonize me, and every single man on the earth.

  21. wax_ghost
    Posted October 17, 2009 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    You really need to get some reading comprehension classes or something.

  22. TD
    Posted October 17, 2009 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    Alright so I’ll walk you through my reasoning you tell me specifically where we disagree.
    1.) Kimmel asserts that society exposes men to a particular brand of masculinity
    2.) He asserts that this type of masculinity forces men to choose between their humanity and their masculinity
    3.) This implies an inherent mutual exclusivity between these two claims.
    4.) Because these two conditions are exclusive any man who is masculine, cannot therefore, be humane/human (whichever way you want it).
    These are not assertions I believe are valid. Thus I am not defending a type of masculinity which denies my humanity. Because I do not agree with any of his assertions. I am merely stating the reason why I find Kimmel’s theories offensive.

  23. jeana
    Posted October 17, 2009 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never read Michael Kimmel but I would like to. I can’t imagine that everything he says about males is negative. It would seem that teaching about masculinity would touch on the positive and negative aspects of masculinity in terms of roles and societal expectations. Why would there be so much negativity anyway? Nothing is wrong with being masculine. Those who talk about masculinity that I hear about think that there’s a war on boys and men and men are oppressed by women and everything works against them, which I think is exaggerated. I should probably read this guy for myself.

  24. artdyke
    Posted October 17, 2009 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    I believe what she is saying is that society often wants men to be Men instead of just being human. (I haven’t read Kimmel either, I’m just trying to explain the idea that I think she’s trying to offer as a possible explaination. complicated enough for you?) For example, loyalty to your friends, being a polymath, helping others, etc. should be positive HUMAN traits, not what it means to “be a man”. Truly, if that is your standard for what being a man is, then it’s completely meaningless because those aren’t gendered traits at all. Similarly, feminism has for a long time fought against the idea that women should “be women,” and all that that entails in the eyes of society, instead of being human.

  25. Andrew_Bruskin
    Posted October 17, 2009 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    I think now would be a good time to chime in.
    I think this book is great…well, for one, I did help write it with Dr. Kimmel. :) I have two people I want to comment on: Kat and TD.
    But first, I was a student at Stony Brook from 2005-2009 and in the winter of 2006, I had the privilege of communicating with Dr. Kimmel, at first, via. e-mail. Within the year, I had the chance of meeting him at his office and I started doing research for him on his book, Guyland.
    Kat: Do take Dr. Kimmel’s course. I actually TA’ed his class. He’s also a very approachable guy; do well and you can TA his class too :) . You can even tell him Andrew Bruskin set you up for this, lol. Or, just pay him a visit at his office. He travels a lot but is very open to meeting students.
    TD: My comments to you are long, but let me try to comment on what you say in order to explain some of the things Dr. Kimmel writes about. Again, I am not Dr. Kimmel. I was his researcher for several years and TA, but I know him well enough to comment on some of the things you talk about–and the things he brings up in his book. Again, I am not him, and some of what I say are my opinions.
    First, you are NOT wrong in some of the things that you say: masculinity definitely has some good (and bad) qualities. However, Dr. Kimmel’s intent is not to demonize every man on this planet. If anything, I think Dr. Kimmel’s point is that some things men are taught (i.e. you need to act tough all the time, men can’t cry, men can’t be a sissy, etc.) is actually more harmful to men than beneficial. What Dr. Kimmel tries to point out is when some of these men follow these tendencies, it robs them of their potential, decreases their quality of life and puts a wall between them and society…
    Using one example: let’s say a guy binge drinks to show off his masculinity…or the way some guys run frat initiations (again, I am NOT talking about harmless inductions, such as the “come on over, grab a beer…”…I am talking about humiliating, violent initiations that some guys have even died from..)
    What about this scenario: a guy is depressed and “doesn’t want to talk about it.” Yes, more men than women commit suicide, and one of these reasons is because a guy may be uncomfortable opening up: some have been raised to see it as a sign of weakness. And guys are taught that they MUST be successful. How much of a burden is that? You should know.
    And what about this one: Guys are expected in our society to work long hours to bring in the money. This has not changed. Again, what if it was different–where both genders could be equal breadwinners. Again, this is being viewed in a societal lens–NOT a mandatory individual choice. Of course it is alright on an individual level if a woman chooses to stay home and a guy chooses to be the breadwinner. But hey, why not the other way around without social stigma?
    One last example: Wax Ghost said men in the media are being villified as sex-crazed dolts with no attention span to speak of. I think that is right, and it is pretty disgusting. One can argue it is also sexist. I think the media often contributes to the problem. The next time you see an advertisement like that, write to the TV station. I think men should be seen positively in the media. Again, change starts by taking a pro-active step in helping to create the change you want…
    The good news is that most guys are upstanding people (and make great fathers!) But the ones who don’t really believe in the “masculine ideal”, where it is the woman’s place to raise the children (in his mind, he holds a his/her place mentality…)
    Things are changing, but social change is slow. What Dr. Kimmel is trying to point out is that there are masculine stereotypes out there that are just as harmful to men (as a gender) as well. What he’s saying is that you CAN be a man (be masculine) without all of the macho barriers (some) men put in place. Because “holding things in” or binge drinking in order to escape your problems can really decrease a man’s quality of life. The men who degrade women are not happy because they can’t communicate with their female friends/companions in a way where they can get close to them and have true, long lasting friendships/romances, etc. If they could (if they weren’t raised by society to think that a man had a place and a woman had her place) then they would probably be happier, and even more procutive/successful in their own lives. Again, these are the men who buy into the masculine ideal of what a man should be–but not what a man really is! (i.e. a warm, caring person who has emotions, feelings, etc.) And BTW, putting women on a pedestal is just as bad…
    I also want to make this clear as well: societal expectations affect women too, but in a different way. Women are taught to act passive and are taught to not be too aggressive. Instead of helping themselves, they are taught that a man needs to help them (i.e. the damsel in distress…) They are taught to fear negotiating and taking the lead–but this impacts her career options, her choice of mates, and ultimately, the quality of her life (the same way negative masculine traits affect a man’s quality of life)…but again, Dr. Kimmel’s book is geared towards men–not towards women. It’s not just a “one gender ruins all” type thing.
    As far as I am concerned, I think an assertive woman is sexy, and honestly, quite appealing. I don’t really like (or, quite frankly, respect) a very passive person who lets the world pass them by. And quite honestly, deep down, I really feel most women believe the same thing. I believe many women who don’t take opportunities (or the initiative in their careers, their life, etc.) are not too happy with themselves and have self-esteem problems (the same way men feel when they are taught to not share any of their emotions with the outside world and the same men who feel they always need to be strong, the one in control, etc.) You know what I am talking about..
    Anyway, I’ll conclude here, but could keep going. I hope this helps and answers some of your lingering questions and doubts. Please feel free to ask me any questions, should any arise.

  26. Callipygian
    Posted October 18, 2009 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Dear Andrew,
    Thank you for your comment.
    In the interview published above Mr. Kimmel states that it is important that men are shown that feminism is not a “zero-sum game”. I have often seen this assertion made, however, I have never seen anyone explain it further than this. To me it seems to be a logical truism that feminism presents a gender based zero sum game, at least based on certain assumptions inherent in feminism.
    Briefly, if males have privilege and females don’t, in order to bring about equality males must lose their privilege thereby giving some of the power forming that privilege to women. Certainly, one could argue that this transfer of power creates a society that is more just, but insofar as power goes, feminism would seem to be supporting women in a zero sum game with men.
    In your post above you seem to suggest that feminism supports having women taking on some of the traditionally masculine role. It also seems to suggest that not being required to have the traditionally masculine role privileges females, at least to an extent, because of negative aspects of that role. However, this is not feminism, or at least not mainstream academic feminism, which assumes that there is no such thing as female privilege. (See, e.g., http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2008/02/09/faq-female-privilege/).
    I don’t see how these concepts can be coherent and I have never seen this zero sum game assumption supported by any additional argument. Kimmel seems to think it is important that men be shown that feminism in a “win-win”. I certainly don’t expect you to blast out another multi-paragraph post, but do you know of any source that would contain an argument beyond just assuming that feminism is “win-win”?
    Thanks for your time.

  27. TD
    Posted October 18, 2009 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Why would there be so much negativity anyway?
    From what I’ve read of his book, and from what I’ve seen him do in publicity it is almost entirely negative. Even reviewers have noted the same thing e.g.
    “The subject here is young men-mostly white, middle-class young men, 16 to 26. Kimmel says he talked to 400 of them, and he has nothing good to say about them.”
    Psychology Today Review of Guyland
    There is some good and some bad, I’ll grant you that, my experience had a lot of good and some bad. My problem with Kimmel is that it is overwhelmingly bad and exaggerated to such a degree it would be farcical if he weren’t serious.

  28. TD
    Posted October 18, 2009 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    For example, loyalty to your friends, being a polymath, helping others, etc. should be positive HUMAN traits, not what it means to “be a man”.
    I’ll agree with you. The thing is I was describing what I experienced as expectations as a man as positive traits (read: this is what happened) versus normative traits (this is what should be).
    In my life I found these traits to be largely admirable and some of my best female friends demonstrated them. That said it was expected of me to demonstrate these traits because I was a man.
    Now I personally find these admirable traits, why if I chose to go along with them, if I chose to agree that a lot of the ideas as I was taught were pretty good, did I sacrifice my humanity.
    How is it connected that stoicism is incompatible with my humanity? That attempting to be a varied individual makes me less human? What is it in how I was brought up which makes me deserve these slurs?

  29. Alessa
    Posted October 18, 2009 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    I personally can’t help but feel that the need for a men’s movement in all of this is absolutely crucial. I know this might be met with a lot of backlash, but I’ve always wanted to rename the movement “equalism” so it more fully portray the fact that feminism is really just about equality. For women, gays, and yes for men.
    Whenever I talk to a man about sexism against women, I appeal to them by pointing out that they too are affected by gender expectations. I mention maybe that it’s unfair that they are often expected by society to be the primary breadwinner, and that their wallet is the measure of their worth often. Then I bring up the fact that a women’s worth is defined by her appearance, and go on to talk about how feminism aims to eradicate expectations like that. Of course, if they’re still really interested, I might go into rape culture and other injustices against women, but at the very least they walk away with a more understanding, sympathetic view of feminism.

  30. TD
    Posted October 18, 2009 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    However, Dr. Kimmel’s intent is not to demonize every man on this planet.
    Then explain his books where he does nothing but bash men, and attempt to portray all men as sex crazed monsters, who don’t have feelings, and who have been robbed of their humanity. Why is he intent on portraying men as people who have sacrificed their humanity? If I truly did so that would mean that I am a monster.
    No matter what problems men have we are always fundamentally human beings. Even if I suppress some of my emotions I’m still human.
    The good news is that most guys are upstanding people (and make great fathers!) But the ones who don’t really believe in the “masculine ideal”, where it is the woman’s place to raise the children (in his mind, he holds a his/her place mentality…)
    This is simply a slander against many men that they believe this. Things have changed. Most men consider fatherhood, particularly guiding and helping their children masculine nowadays. But people like Kimmel are invested in the idea of portraying all men as broken so that they can “help” us.
    if they weren’t raised by society to think that a man had a place and a woman had her place
    The problem is we weren’t. Young men do not hold onto half the ideas that Kimmel suggests they do and the other half are either twisted, exaggerated, or misinterpreted. I have never known a guy who believed women had a particular place. This is an attitude which has rapidly diminished and exists primarily in the minds of people like Kimmel who are then used as definitive proof of what all men think.

  31. Alessa
    Posted October 18, 2009 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    I just hope that despite Kimmel and your opinions of him, that you might remain open to the idea of feminism (if you’re on this site, I’m assuming you either are a feminist or are just exploring).
    Personally the way I look at it is this = femininity and masculinity are socially constructed concepts. Therefore, I will not be bound by them. You shouldn’t have to be either.

  32. Alessa
    Posted October 18, 2009 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    “I have never known a guy who believed women had a particular place”
    Ah I think then maybe you are one of very few. In that respect, a man who thinks a woman has a “place” (or vice versa) isn’t often one who goes on about how women belong in the kitchen barefoot and pregnant. He isn’t someone who is outspoken about it. Hell, he doesn’t even necessarily need to be conscious of it. But he is one who might have certain expectations of her without even realizing it.
    The desire to be the more active one in the relationship.
    The desire to be the smarter one who can guide her.
    The desire to be the leader, the one that she looks up to.
    The desire to have her adoration, her silence in some cases, and her words of praise in others
    The desire for her to become Mrs. Him (taking his last name is still incredibly common, and though people argue that it’s something we just “do”, the implications behind it are undeniable)
    Women feel that pressure from men to conform to that. Women also feel the pressure to desire a very masculine man. Thus, men feel the pressure to be masculine, even if that means shutting down parts of themselves that are deemed “feminine”. You never see a straight man wearing a dress – but if there were any small little boys who wanted to when they were younger the expectation of them to be more manly squashes that, and causes them to deny themselves that.
    This is a really extreme example, but the same can be said for a tendency of a little boy to avoid aggression. That won’t last because society tells us to mold our men into aggressive people. Or if it does, that boy is perceived as being at a disadvantage. Less than he could be. When in reality he is just being himself.

  33. jeana
    Posted October 18, 2009 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    I agree with you. The sad thing is that the “men’s movement” that people hear about is only a thinly (or not at all) disguised rant against women and feminists. The forgone conclusion of any problem men have is traced back to feminists and women. And real problems that men cause other men and take part in and continue to propagate are ignored.
    Why can’t there be some kind of real men’s movement that helps men instead of incites their hatred of women? Most guys don’t even want anything to do with MRAs or their ideology. It’s not helpful to them. And it’s so hateful.
    There’s not support for this kind of thing at any level. You always hear about groups in schools to empower girls, to help them with assertiveness, to deal with bullying, etc. And boys are left to figure it out for themselves. And when they fail, we blame them. That’s not fair to them.

  34. Mike M
    Posted October 18, 2009 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    To Andrew_Bruskin,
    I have a question for you could you explain what Michael Kimmel means by “one-word solution to the problem: feminism.”
    I do not want to be offensive in any way but I never witness any collaboration or acknowledgment from the feminist elite concerning mens issues and just like that they will welcome masculinity with open arms?
    There is no easy solution and I find it ludicrous that this man thinks that feminism will cure the problems men have to face.

  35. jayjay323
    Posted October 18, 2009 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Alessa,
    “Women also feel the pressure to desire a very masculine man. Thus, men feel the pressure to be masculine, even if that means shutting down parts of themselves that are deemed “feminine”.”
    So, basically, men do something because they believe women want it (being overly, even unconsciously, masculine), and women do something beause they think men want it (desiring masculinity), but only men are responsible for perpetuating that circle…?

  36. Andrew_Bruskin
    Posted October 18, 2009 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Okay, I am going to go down the rows. Look out for your username. I will address everyone separately…
    CALLIPYGIAN,
    Thanks for writing.
    First, let me say that I do not speak for feminism as a whole. And I do not speak for Dr. Kimmel (i.e. I am not his spokesperson); my analysis in the post above is my interpretation of his writings, based on my time working with him and my understanding of what he writes about.
    I think you may have misunderstood me: Women are not privileged when they do not attain masculine qualities. When I say “qualities”, I mean the good masculine qualities that men have. In other words, most qualities are human (universal) qualities. They are beneficial to one’s success in this world–such as assertiveness, ambitiousness, decisiveness, and other professional skills. Socially, however, men are often brought up to have these qualities–they are expected to have these qualities (plus with the other bad qualities that form the masculine role…such as not having ANY female qualities…don’t appear “weak”, etc…)
    Women are not expected to have any masculine qualities. If anything, lacking these beneficial male qualities hurts them when it comes to succeeding in the business world. There has been a book written on this topic: http://www.womendontask.com/
    Men are hurt by some of their adverse roles too. Let me go more into male depression and suicide. Men are much more likely not to see a doctor when they have medical problems as compared to women. Because of this, men are more likely to die from problems that could have been treated if they were found earlier. When they are depressed, men are much more likely to keep things bottled in. Most suicidal people (men and women) are so isolated from society that they try to kill themselves so they can get attention. Men are more successful at actually killing themselves. The higher rates of suicide among men and their lack of seeking help is mainly attributed to the negative aspects of the male role. This is seen in every culture. Female depression/suicide has its reasons too and I list some of them in my initial post (i.e. lack of self-esteem, etc.)
    Why is this? Well, history has the answers and I simply do not have the time to lay it all out. It would be a 500 page book.
    Again, all of this is on a societal level, NOT an individual level…
    Feminism is a win/win situation if you think of it like this: let’s say there are 100 executive positions in a company. All of them are men. Now, let’s say 100 women enter the company and are now vying for the same executive positions too. Suddenly, there is an increased amount of competition; the best person who is qualified will become the executives. Perhaps it will be a 50/50 split, or it will be 60/40, but the point is that when there are more people competing for a position, it should then go to the best person who is qualified for such position, EITHER male or female.
    The bottom line is if you are qualified, you will get SOMETHING regardless of how many people are now trying to enter a certain field. And getting a high position somewhere (besides qualifications) still require connections and luck. Start networking…
    As far as your question, there are articles on the internet that delve into this: whether feminism truly is a win/win scenario or a zero sum game. Much of these alternate sources come from the men’s movement..

  37. Andrew_Bruskin
    Posted October 18, 2009 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    TD,
    “Then explain his books where he does nothing but bash men, and attempt to portray all men as sex crazed monsters, who don’t have feelings, and who have been robbed of their humanity.”
    You have to understand that Dr. Kimmel writes on a sub-set of men..
    And things change. People change–and society changes along with them.
    I did not know Dr. Kimmel when he wrote his earlier books, so I cannot comment on the content he writes about in them (such as Manhood in America, etc.)
    I remember I went into his office one day and we had a good discussion about child custody battles. He told me that ten years prior to our meeting, he believed that women should have sole custody of their children in divorce cases. Currently, however, his attitute changed and he now believes there should be joint custody, unless one parent is not fit to raise his/her child(ren)…
    My views are the same. As long as both parents love their children and don’t verbally/physically/sexuually abuse them, I am in total agreement that there should be joint custody of children in divorce proceedings. Children need both parents, unless there are extenuating circumstances involved. This goes both ways, of course. And one day if I become a Family Law Judge (I am in law school now) my legal decisions will be based on just that philosophy.
    We also talked about alimony and child support. However, when both parents bring money in and both parents are vested in their children, then alimony or child support would not be necessary should a divorce take place, as the mother will be making money to support herself and the father will be seeing his children and supporting them (and vica versa)..

  38. TD
    Posted October 18, 2009 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    The desire to be the more active one in the relationship.
    To be perfectly honest I do not see this very often in guys (under 25) at all. If there was a social pressure I’d say it’d be the exact opposite, with guys content to have their girlfriend plan a larger portion.
    The desire to be the leader, the one that she looks up to.
    Again the desire to lead has always seemed to depend more on individual personalities of the people. The desire to be admired by your partner in some of the things you do is a healthy sign of a relationship. The desire to be the only one who was admired I have not seen demonstrated by anyone who does not suffer from that character flaw in all of their dealings with other people.
    The desire to be the smarter one who can guide her.
    Most guys I know have expressed an interest for a girl who is their intellectual equal, who can carry on a discussion.
    The desire to have her adoration, her silence in some cases, and her words of praise in others
    This can apply to almost any relationship. Further who doesn’t like to be adored by their spouse? Who hasn’t been in a situation where they haven’t wanted to discuss something or to have some flaw pointed out (now there is a large difference between desiring something to not happen and actively preventing it) Who doesn’t want to receive some praise from their spouse?
    The desire for her to become Mrs. Him
    Again most people I know don’t particularly care, except for a general distaste for hyphenated names.

  39. Andrew_Bruskin
    Posted October 18, 2009 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    MIKE M,
    Good question, however, I don’t want to put words in Dr. Kimmel’s mouth. What (I think) he means is that feminism can help men just as much as it can help women..
    As far as your second paragraph, I want to focus on the two words you use: collaboration and acknowledgement.
    Do you think Dr. Kimmel made me his researcher and TA because we agreed on every single issue? Sure, we agree on a lot of things, but honestly, the BEST part of my experience in working with him was when we debated on some parts of the research that was out there. If I viewed something differently, I told him what I thought.
    Dr. Kimmel is really open-minded, more than you think.
    I’ve spent time on various men’s movement/men’s rights boards. A lot of this time was gathering research. And some, I do have to say, raise interesting questions that I believe are quite valid. Many of their issues are actually the same issues feminism grapples with. A lot, however, are so frustrated with the situation that they take it out on feminism.
    I really think Guyland is the best book Dr. Kimmel has written so far because it incorporates a lot of men’s issues and brings it into the forefront, such as men’s troubles with binge drinking, men’s troubles with stress/depression/suicide and always having to live up to this “masculine ideal.” I remember one man on the men’s movement board lamenting how men “always have to take charge, and quite frankly, he was sick of it.”
    Remember, these are some men Dr. Kimmel talks about–not all men. Most men, as I have said, make great fathers, and honestly, they make great people.

  40. TD
    Posted October 18, 2009 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    You have to understand that Dr. Kimmel writes on a sub-set of men..
    He claimed to write about men ages 16-26, without anymore modifiers. He marketed his book as addressing the issues of young men writ large. I’m part of that subset. But even if we include the other qualifiers of the type he seems to be suggesting it is supposed to cover me and all of my friends, and it doesn’t apply.
    And things change. People change–and society changes along with them.
    He published Guyland last year, he had four years of interviews, that puts his frame of reference between 2003 and 2008. Considering that is highly similar to my frame of reference I feel well suited to judge the accuracy and veracity of his claims as they applied to my experience. Fact is, he is so off base I cannot fathom how he was conducting his research honestly.

  41. Alessa
    Posted October 18, 2009 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Now Jayjay, did I say that? Of course not. That’s ridiculous. No gender is to blame, society is. What I am commenting on is the expectations of society.
    Assigning blame for why women and men feel obligated to conform to gender expectations is impossible, and frankly in my opinion irrelevant. It’s something we all need to fight against.
    Please don’t take my words and twist them to sound like I’m blaming men. I am commenting on a common problem. Many women who aren’t feminist do the same thing.

  42. Mike M
    Posted October 18, 2009 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    To Andrew_Bruskin,
    I appreciate your efforts in answering many questions that are directed to you but I still have to ask you this. Your answer was
    “he means is that feminism can help men just as much as it can help women..”
    Again I ask If this is the case why are feminist will fight with treacherous energy every single advance fathers make in the family courts did you know that feminist are completely against any “Share parenting” debates I believe in Australia they have Share Parenting as a default and many feminist have made every attempt to cancel this initiative. I do not believe feminism can help men
    their reason for being is to help women and I respect that and it was a great success if it has help men in any way it was simply a coincidence.
    This is not ranting from an angry man is is of one
    who sincerely wish he did not feel this way
    Good luck in all your endeavors you will make a great judge.

  43. Alessa
    Posted October 18, 2009 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    See the only problem with every one of your responses is that they’re all based on your experience. What about other’s experiences? I’ve had quite different ones as a woman. And I think we both know that each of our experiences are equally relevant.
    I’ve been told to be quiet while the guys talk before.
    It sounds to me like you’re disagreeing with a closed mind. The idea that there aren’t men out there wanting those guidelines in an unfair way is a fallacy. I’ve met them and left them. There are articles covering this idea of female breadwinners in the family, which is a role that goes outside of the typical “feminine” guidelines, and involves taking on more “masculine” traits like assertiveness and leadership. For example, this article: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16757475
    This is one that was published in a major news source. Thus everything that is stated is relevant to our social climate, and is likely to not cause too much controversy or disagreement amongst people. IE: it’s a reflection of our society’s opinions on the matter.
    Quotes from the article on msnbc:
    “Many men feel that they should be the “protector and provider.” For them, supporting the household fulfills that role.”
    “These women hold on to the fantasy that having a man support them makes them more feminine.”
    “You may need to feel more “feminine.” Or he may want to be considered more “masculine” in your relationship.”
    My point is that maybe all these gender roles are just socially constructed things that we shouldn’t feel the need to conform to. That men do feel the pressure to be breadwinners, and women do feel the pressure to shut up, sit down, and do as they’re told. Now is that really so different from saying that men also feel the pressure to be aggressive? Really, leadership and aggression are unfortunately not too terribly far off from each other. Overall, I think the general message is not that men are evil. Hell, just that masculinity is an illusion. That femininity is an illusion. And that we’re chaining ourselves in society to something that could be hurting us.

  44. Alessa
    Posted October 18, 2009 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    I know this wasn’t directed towards me, but I just had to say..
    Men have everything to gain from feminism. Freedom from expectation based on their genitals. Freedom from the measure of their worth being their wallet. The ability to be compassionate, kind, and communicate their feelings without any fear whatsoever of ridicule.
    Feminism is mostly about women right now because we also have a lot that we need to fight against. But men, if they wanted to or were open to it, could free themselves from expectation based on gender as well.

  45. adag87
    Posted October 18, 2009 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been thinking about some of these comments all day, and here is what I have come up with so far:
    One of the biggest problems with feminism today is that it’s not something one can easily pin down to a singular, specific definition. The best broad definition I can think of is “gender equality”, but this definition does not even fit with all academic interpretations of feminism. In some feminisms, there does exist a certain separatism , one that is harmful to the cause of women’s rights, or human rights. But on the other hand, many kinds of feminism benefit all genders and focus more on equality and cultural analysis.
    I think it’s ignorant to say “but all feminists hate this” or “feminism is a zero-sum game” when you’re only going by your own personal experiences, without taking into account that feminism can mean many different things to different types of people. Don’t assume that because one person defines feminism a certain way, all feminists follow it as gospel.
    Bottom line: read from varied perspectives, form your own opinions, and don’t dismiss feminism because you read one book that makes you angry.

  46. Mike M
    Posted October 18, 2009 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    The way you have explain to me “how can feminism help men” all I can say is you are correct and I was wrong theres nothing else I can add

  47. Alessa
    Posted October 18, 2009 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    Ah, but you weren’t wrong! Every single person on this site has had to ask these kinds of questions about feminism, including myself. I’m glad that you can walk away with a better understanding, at the very least.

  48. Mike M
    Posted October 18, 2009 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    What I meant to say I was wrong to “myself” let me explain: something occurred to me as I was trying to understand the meaning of your message after about the 3rd time reading it suddenly hit me like a cannon ball on the head and maybe this could explain the resistance from so many men my thinking was how could this make any sense if this comes from women
    but it makes perfect sense yes men could benefit from feminism their future will depend on it and if anyone thinks I’m a chauvinist pig, jerk and a fool that is how I FEEL RIGHT NOW like I said I was wrong to myself and not to proud of this.

  49. TD
    Posted October 18, 2009 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    See the only problem with every one of your responses is that they’re all based on your experience.
    I’m not attempting to claim that no on has had different experiences I’m claiming that Kimmel portrays this unitary experience of men, yet, the things he claims are so rampant in society I have not experienced. The things he claims every single young man experiences have not only not been experienced by me they have not been experienced by almost anyone I know.
    If these things truly were that common I would be exposed to them. If things were so widespread and unavoidable I would at know people who were unable to avoid them.
    I’m not denying that there are pressures and difficulties I have experienced some of them. I am denying they exist in the manner and extent that Kimmel describes them. If we spent a week we could probably hash out all the things that I have experienced/witnessed what I think is useful in moderation etc. but that exceeds the scope of this thread.

  50. Toongrrl
    Posted October 18, 2009 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    “Guyland” was a great book!!

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