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Lady Ice
11-22-2010, 12:18 AM
In the past ten years, 'masculinist criticism' has emerged- as you can guess, criticism that looks at how masculinity is portrayed in literature.

What are your thoughts on it? If it was part of a university course, what texts would you study?

Medievalist
11-22-2010, 12:28 AM
It's a sub-set of gender theory.

I'm not impressed. D. H. Lawrence is a popular author; so is Hemingway. The theoretical basis is slim to invisible, and it misses the point of most of the current interest in gender theory.

gothicangel
11-22-2010, 12:31 AM
In the past ten years, 'masculinist criticism' has emerged- as you can guess, criticism that looks at how masculinity is portrayed in literature.

What are your thoughts on it? If it was part of a university course, what texts would you study?

It sounds like a perversion of feminist criticism, without knowing what feminist criticism actually is.

Do they mean Gender Studies? It's times like this I want to shoot my colleagues. :Shrug:

gothicangel
11-22-2010, 12:34 AM
I just did a Google search. Feckin' Christ, talk about reasserting pre second wave binaries!

Lady Ice
11-22-2010, 12:48 AM
It sounds like a perversion of feminist criticism, without knowing what feminist criticism actually is.

Do they mean Gender Studies? It's times like this I want to shoot my colleagues. :Shrug:

I'd put it under Gender Studies, although often Gender Studies is a euphemism for feminism and masculinity gets shoved to the side even though it is potentially very interesting.

I think 'feminist literature' is mainly historical and political, so there isn't really a male equivalent. It's more about focusing on one aspect of literature.

Notably, most of the authors of 'masculinist criticism' are women.

gothicangel
11-22-2010, 02:02 AM
The female and the male is inseparable. That is why we have Gender Studies.

Lady Ice
11-22-2010, 02:28 AM
The female and the male is inseparable. That is why we have Gender Studies.

Agreed. It just seems to be a general assumption that it should automatically mean 'feminism'.

Ruv Draba
11-22-2010, 05:33 PM
While range of social roles for men is large, the range of approved social identities for men has traditionally been small. I don't think that the issue is terribly well understood yet, or that a feminist perspective fully appreciates it -- feminism rightly has bigger concerns. I don't read much in the area but it doesn't surprise me that the work at the moment is pretty patchy. I'd suggest though that there's a great deal more to talk about than metrosexuality and paternity leave.

Lady Ice
11-22-2010, 05:49 PM
While range of social roles for men is large, the range of approved social identities for men has traditionally been small. I don't think that the issue is terribly well understood yet, or that a feminist perspective fully appreciates it -- feminism rightly has bigger concerns. I don't read much in the area but it doesn't surprise me that the work at the moment is pretty patchy. I'd suggest though that there's a great deal more to talk about than metrosexuality and paternity leave.

I think it's potentially a very interesting area to study. How positive/important is it to be masculine? Traditional masculine values have been problematic. Would we have feminism if the sexist male values of long ago had not existed?

gothicangel
11-22-2010, 10:17 PM
I came to a realisation a few weeks ago 'patriarchal' structures were created to support a certain economic structure. Now in the 20th century that structure started to fragment and a new structure that required a female/male structure was required.

I'm a mature student, and I think the younger students mistakenly see 'patriarchy' as some kind of 'bogeyman.' They seemed genuinely shocked at the thought that women can be just as guilty for restricting other women - men too.

Medievalist
11-22-2010, 11:32 PM
I think it's potentially a very interesting area to study. How positive/important is it to be masculine? Traditional masculine values have been problematic. Would we have feminism if the sexist male values of long ago had not existed?

This is really pretty much at the heart of gender theory and queer theory; note the recent publications about male homo- and hetero- roles, and queer theory studies about "bears."

It's not new.

AMCrenshaw
11-22-2010, 11:45 PM
In the past ten years, 'masculinist criticism' has emerged- as you can guess, criticism that looks at how masculinity is portrayed in literature.

What are your thoughts on it? If it was part of a university course, what texts would you study?

Here are the texts I'd teach (minus two books worth of articles):

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Stevenson
Feminism is For Everybody by bell hooks
Iron John by Robert Bly
Beyond Good and Evil by Nietzsche
Fight Club by Chuck P.
Seven Story Mountain, etc. by Thomas Merton

Ruv Draba
11-23-2010, 12:02 AM
I think it's potentially a very interesting area to study. How positive/important is it to be masculine? Traditional masculine values have been problematic.I'd like to start from a slightly different place.

"A man is what a man does" is a strong ethic. We can see it everywhere from the 60,000 year-old cultures of indigenous Australia to the modern board-room. So strong is it that I'd like to write it this way: "a man is what a man DOES." The DOING -- its outputs and accomplishments are all that society values a man for. Our studies of masculinity (such as they are) spend a lot of time deciding and revising what a man should DO and virtually ignoring who a man is while he's DOING it. In fact a man may see himself only in terms of what he DOES and for the whole of his life have no idea who he really is.

"What is a man" is a question feminism has naturally concerned itself with, along with "what ought he to be", but I believe feminism can answer neither. If anything, feminism is perpetuating the subordination of masculine being to DOING and thus propagating many of the problems plaguing masculine identity. I see metrosexuality as an example of this.

For if feminism has rightly concerned itself with turning being a woman into equitable opportunity, I think masculinism (if it ever gets off the ground) needs to address the problem that men have been so busy DOING that many live and die without discovering who they are at all.


I came to a realisation a few weeks ago 'patriarchal' structures were created to support a certain economic structure.Yes, agreed, GA. Lots of species specialise roles to increase productivity, and some roles come with more economic power than others. It ain't fair, but it's how nature rolls. Fortunately, other than specialisation in gestation we're able to choose things however we collectively want.


I'm a mature student, and I think the younger students mistakenly see 'patriarchy' as some kind of 'bogeyman.' They seemed genuinely shocked at the thought that women can be just as guilty for restricting other women - men too.Yes, and in a similar vein, what is a model for a healthy masculine / masculine relationship, and how was it derived?

My answer: there isn't one. Most men have no model for friendship outside of DOING together. They either DO together in the workplace, DO at home, or watch other men DO in sport. If you'd like to see some loneliness, look at what happens to men's relationships once the shared DOING is past.

So to answer Lady Ice's questions directly: I would study men trapped in situations of pre DOING, post DOING, can't DO and not DOING and see what's left, what's missing. I think that Waiting for Godot, Death of a Saleseman and Catch-22 might be more significant than Hemingway or Lawrence.

AMCrenshaw
11-23-2010, 12:26 AM
So to answer Lady Ice's questions directly: I would study men trapped in situations of pre DOING, post DOING, can't DO and not DOING and see what's left, what's missing. I think that Waiting for Godot, Death of a Saleseman and Catch-22 might be more significant than Hemingway or Lawrence.

Although - it might be interesting to hear interpretations of Hemingway characters' actions in the context of a gender studies class.

Lady Ice
11-23-2010, 02:38 AM
I'm a mature student, and I think the younger students mistakenly see 'patriarchy' as some kind of 'bogeyman.' They seemed genuinely shocked at the thought that women can be just as guilty for restricting other women - men too.

Indeed. We live in a patriarchy. There's no point in whining about it, it's the way things have turned out. So instead of using it as an insult towards men for stunting the chances a woman has to get power, we should take a look at the nature of it and its values. Women can be 'masculine' and men can be 'feminine'.

Not every man wants to oppress women, even in the days when women were believed to be inferior. Surprisingly, at the girls' school I went to, few of them described themselves as 'feminist' and they didn't mention patriarchy at all. Perhaps because we knew how women can behave towards each other.

Ruv Draba
11-23-2010, 02:18 PM
Although - it might be interesting to hear interpretations of Hemingway characters' actions in the context of a gender studies class.Agreed! (We do agree on stuff at times, ya know :Hug2:). Moreover, Hemingway was a member of "The Lost Generation" and his writing often showed that. There's a breakdown in the gung-ho pro patria mori thinking in some of his writing, then in other parts he seems to still want to believe. And a lot of his writing bespeaks great emotional impotence. I think he captures something of the growing awareness of the problem, but I'm not sure that he has anything to say about what caused it, or what might fix it.

(Not sure how Lawrence got a look-in except that he did challenge some of the masculine tropes of the day -- mostly by turning them into angst-ridden milk-sops.)

Oh, I'd add the whole of Mad Men as part of the "masculinist" curriculum.

And I wouldn't call it "masculinism". What a nancy name! I'd call it "blokeology". :D

Lady Ice
11-23-2010, 08:51 PM
Agreed! (We do agree on stuff at times, ya know :Hug2:). Moreover, Hemingway was a member of "The Lost Generation" and his writing often showed that. There's a breakdown in the gung-ho pro patria mori thinking in some of his writing, then in other parts he seems to still want to believe. And a lot of his writing bespeaks great emotional impotence. I think he captures something of the growing awareness of the problem, but I'm not sure that he has anything to say about what caused it, or what might fix it.

Agreed :D

jerrywaxler
11-29-2010, 06:30 AM
I recently dropped in on a men's awareness group (The Mankind Project) and found that I have been a closet homophobe (as in self-hater) - in other words, I assumed that men are jerks, and since I am one that puts me in an awkward position. Based on my recent obsessive interest in memoirs, I'm learning all sorts of interesting things about both genders. Here's an article I wrote on the subject, called "How Boys Become Men (http://memorywritersnetwork.com/blog/boys-to-men/)."

Jerry

Ruv Draba
11-30-2010, 02:49 AM
It's a good article, Jerry. I had plenty of reason to grow up an angry young man too, though for some reason I didn't -- perhaps I had enough constructive things to throw myself at. But my brother did, and so did many of my high school friends. It does seem to take many boys a very long time to discover what a good man is, and how to become that thing. Some I think, never do.

jerrywaxler
11-30-2010, 06:16 PM
I'm not an academic scholar on gender issues, just a guy trying to figure myself out. And it strikes me as astonishing that I had not really looked closely at the fact that being a male, I have different characteristics than women.

At least one of the many paradoxes of growing up in our time is exactly the issue raised in this thread, that gender issues are equated with feminine issues. It finally occurred to me that I have issues too. LOL

I don't claim a sudden surge of expertise, but opening my mind to this way of looking at myself has given me some interesting food for thought.

Thanks for the compliment about my essay, Druv. I try. :)

Jerry

Lady Ice
11-30-2010, 10:38 PM
I'm not an academic scholar on gender issues, just a guy trying to figure myself out. And it strikes me as astonishing that I had not really looked closely at the fact that being a male, I have different characteristics than women.

At least one of the many paradoxes of growing up in our time is exactly the issue raised in this thread, that gender issues are equated with feminine issues. It finally occurred to me that I have issues too. LOL


Most of the male teachers/lecturers I talked to about this were as surprised as you are at my claim that gender does not mean feminism. Obviously the implications for the study of men's behaviour would be problematic but confined to literary study I see no reason why studying masculinity is less worthy than studying feminity.

sunandshadow
12-18-2010, 01:43 AM
I'd like to take a male studies class or read a book on the topic if it actually talked about things like blood brotherhood, the urge to be a father (apparently quite different from the urge to be a mother), the problems of being a submissive male in a society that portrays dominance as masculine, and that sort of thing. I'd be leery of anything labeled men's or masculine just being chauvinistic or intentionall 'othering' women though.

Lady Ice
01-04-2011, 03:24 AM
I'd like to take a male studies class or read a book on the topic if it actually talked about things like blood brotherhood, the urge to be a father (apparently quite different from the urge to be a mother), the problems of being a submissive male in a society that portrays dominance as masculine, and that sort of thing.

That's exactly the type of thing I'm talking about.

gothicangel
01-04-2011, 05:25 PM
That's exactly the type of thing I'm talking about.

Sounds like a dark, Freudian tunnel to me. :D

GOTHOS
02-09-2011, 02:35 AM
Jack London's CALL OF THE WILD would be worth studying. Even though it's a "dog story," London definitely writes the animal so that he exists in an all-male world; one where the dog Buck never sniffs another dog to determine gender. I think there's a female dog somewhere in the story but it's not a real character as such. Can't remember if Buck has any pups in the wild or not.

Maxx
02-09-2011, 07:35 PM
Sounds like a dark, Freudian tunnel to me. :D

Too late. Men are vanishing from the species. I feel like somebody put some meat in my shampoo. Must. Reach. Healthy. veget....

gothicangel
02-16-2011, 01:45 AM
My bad, I've just written a segment of my dissertation on masculinity in James Robertson's And The Land Lay Still.:tongue

screamingturnip
02-28-2011, 06:11 PM
Sounds like a dark, Freudian tunnel to me. :D
Which in turn sounds like a fleshlight.

It seems like thinking about Patriarchy and the masculine identity as integral would prove to be just full of disparities. Mostly I think Zora Neal Hurston figured us out with ships at sea and all that.