Men's movement

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The men's movement is a social movement consisting of groups and organizations of men who focus on gender issues and whose activities range from self-help and support to lobbying and activism.[1] Major movements within the men's movement include the men's liberation movement, profeminist men's movement, mythopoetic men's movement, men's rights movement, and the Christian men's movement, most notably represented by the Promise Keepers.[1] The movement is predominantly Western and emerged in the 1960s and 70s.[1]

Men's liberation[edit]

Main articles: Men's liberation and Gender role

The men's movement consisted of "networks of men self-consciously involved in activities relating to men and gender. It emerged in the late 1960s and 1970s in Western Culture, alonsgide and often in response to the women's movement and feminism."[1] Whilst bearing many of the hallmarks of therapeutic, self-help groups, men's movement groupings have increasingly come to view personal growth and better relations with other men as "useless without an accompanying shift in the social relations and ideologies that support or marginalise different ways of being men."[1] Men's movement activists who are sympathetic to feminist standpoints have been greatly concerned with deconstructing male identity and masculinity.[1] Taking a cue from early feminists who criticized the traditional female gender role, members of the men's liberation movement used the language of sex role theory to argue that the male gender role was similarly restrictive and damaging to men.[2][3] Some men's liberationists decontextualized gender relations and argued that since sex roles were equally harmful to both sexes women and men were equally oppressed.[1][2]

By the mid- to late 70s, the men's liberation movement had split into two separate strands with opposing views: The profeminist men's movement and the antifeminist men's rights movement. After that the men's liberation virtually disappeared.[2]

Profeminist men's movements[edit]

Main article: Pro-feminism

The profeminist men's movement emerged from the men's liberation movement in the mid 1970s.[2][4] The first Men and Masculinity Conference, held in Tennessee in 1975, was one of the first organized activities by profeminist men in the United States.[5] The profeminist men's movement was influenced by second-wave feminism, the Black Power and student activism movement, the Anti-war movement, and LGBT social movements of the 1960s and 70s.[2][5] It is the strand of the men's movement that generally embraces the egalitarian goals of feminism.[5][6]

Profeminist men have questioned the cultural ideal of traditional masculinity. They argue that social expectations and norms have forced men into rigid gender roles, limited men's ability to express themselves, and restricted their choices to behaviors regarded as socially acceptable for men.[5] Moreover, profeminist men have sought to deestablish sexism and reduce discrimination against women.[6] They have campaigned alongside feminists on a variety of issues, including the Equal Rights Amendment, reproductive rights, laws against employment discrimination, affordable child care, and to end sexual violence against women.[5][6][2]

Significant profeminist writers include David Tacey and Raewyn Connell,[7] Robert Jensen, Jackson Katz,[8] and Don Edgar.[9]

Men's and fathers' rights movements[edit]

Men's Rights Movement Rally, India

The men's rights movement branched off from the men's liberation movement in the mid- to late 1970s.[2][10] It focused specifically on issues of perceived discrimination and inequalities faced by men.[2][11] The MRM has been involved in a variety of issues related to law (including family law, parenting, reproduction and domestic violence), government services (including education, military service and social safety nets) health.[10]

The fathers' rights movement is a subset of the men's rights movement.[12][13][14] Its members are primarily interested in issues related to family law, including child custody and child support that affect fathers and their children.[15][16]

Prominent men's rights activists include Warren Farrell,[11] Herb Goldberg,[11] Richard Doyle,[17] and Asa Baber.[18][19] Glenn Sacks is a fathers' rights activist.[20]

Mythopoetic men's movement[edit]

The mythopoetic men's movement is based on spiritual perspectives derived from psychoanalysis, and especially the work of Carl Jung. It is less political than either the profeminist or men's rights movement and has a self-help focus.[21] It is called "mythopoetic" because of the emphasis on mythology communicated as poetry with some appropriation of indigenous, e.g. Native American, mythology and knowledge. Robert Bly, a leading mythopoetic, has criticized "soft men" and argued that boys must be initiated into manhood in order to possess "Zeus energy", which according to Bly is "male authority" that "encompasses intelligence, robust health, compassionate decisiveness, good will, generous leadership."[21] Mythopoetic men emphasize "elder honouring", "reclaiming" fathers, and "unleashing the wild man within", but with an emphasis on the impact of fatherlessness on men's psychological development.

Masculinity is seen to include deep unconscious patterns and archetypes that are revealed through myth, story and ritual, as supported by theories drawn from analytical or "depth" psychology.

There is some overlap with men's rights and men's liberation perspectives.

Activities include:

  • Male mentoring programs (based on the belief that mature males should help boys to become healthy men)
  • Ritual, drumming and storytelling camps
  • Support groups
  • Attempts at developing curricula for boys' programs in schools

Robert Bly, James Hillman, Michael J. Meade, Sam Keen, Robert L. Moore,[1] and Stephen Biddulph[22] are prominent mythopoetic authors.

Terminology[edit]

Sociologists Michael Messner and Michael Flood have argued that the term "movement" is problematic as, unlike other social movements, the men's movement has had a mostly therapeutic focus, is internally contradictory, and consists of members of what they argue is a privileged group.[1][2]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Flood, Michael (2007). "Men's Movement". In Flood, Michael; Kegan Gardiner, Judith; Pease, Bob et al. International Encyclopedia of Men and Masculinities. London, New York: Routledge. pp. 418–422. ISBN 978-0-415-33343-6. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Messner, Michael A. (1998). "The Limits of the "Male Sex Role": An Analysis of the Men's Liberation and Men's Rights Movement's Discourse". Gender & Society 12 (3): 255–276. doi:10.1177/0891243298012003002. Retrieved March 28, 2013. 
  3. ^ Clatterbaugh, Kenneth (2007). "Men's Liberation". In Flood, Michael; Kegan Gardiner, Judith; Pease, Bob et al. International Encyclopedia of Men and Masculinities. London, New York: Routledge. pp. 415–417. ISBN 978-0-415-33343-6. 
  4. ^ Gavanas, Anna (2004). Fatherhood Politics in the United States: Masculinity, Sexuality, Race, and Marriage. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. p. 1996. ISBN 978-0-252-02884-7. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Wood, Julia T. (2008). "The Rhetorical Shaping of Gender: Men's Movements in America". Gendered Lives: Communication, Gender, and Culture (8th ed.). Belmont, Calif.: Cengage Learning. pp. 82–103. ISBN 978-1-4282-2995-2. 
  6. ^ a b c Kimmel, Michael; Aronson, Amy, eds. (2004). "Profeminist Men". Men and Masculinities: A Social, Cultural, and Historical Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO. pp. 634–635. ISBN 978-1-57607-774-0. 
  7. ^ Henderson, Margaret (2006). Making Feminist Times: Remembering the Longest Revolution in Australia. Bern: Peter Lang. p. 217. ISBN 978-3-03910-847-3. 
  8. ^ Boyle, Karen (2010). Everyday pornography. New York: Routledge. p. 177. ISBN 978-0-415-54378-1. 
  9. ^ Roman, Leslie G.; Eyre, Linda, eds. (1997). Dangerous territories: struggles for difference and equality in education. New York: Routledge. p. 84. ISBN 978-0-415-91595-3. 
  10. ^ a b Newton, Judith Lowder (2004). From Panthers to Promise Keepers: rethinking the men's movement. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 190–200. ISBN 9780847691302. 
  11. ^ a b c Maddison, Sarah (1999). "Private Men, Public Anger: The Men's Rights Movement in Australia". Journal of Interdisciplinary Gender Studies 4 (2): 39–52. 
  12. ^ Jordan, Ana (2013). "'Every Father is a Superhero to His Children': The Gendered Politics of the (Real) Fathers 4 Justice Campaign". Political Studies. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9248.2012.01008.x. 
  13. ^ Crowley, Jocelyn Elise (2009). "Conflicted Membership: Women in Fathers' Rights Groups". Sociological Inquiry 79 (3): 328–350. doi:10.1111/j.1475-682X.2009.00293.x. 
  14. ^ Gavanas, Anna. "Fathers' Rights". In Kimmel, Michael; Aronson, Amy. Men and Masculinities: A Social, Cultural, and Historical Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO. p. 289. ISBN 978-1-57607-774-0. 
  15. ^ Collier, Richard; Sheldon, Sally (eds.) (2006). Fathers' Rights Activism and Law Reform in Comparative Perspective. Hart Publishing. pp. 1–26. ISBN 1-84113-629-8. 
  16. ^ Collier, R; Sheldon S (2006-11-01). "Unfamiliar territory: The issue of a father's rights and responsibilities covers more than just the media-highlighted subject of access to his children". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-10-17. 
  17. ^ Mason, Christopher P. (2006). Crossing Into Manhood: A Men's Studies Curriculum. Youngstown: Cambria Press. ISBN 978-1-934043-30-1. 
  18. ^ Goldberg, Stephanie B. (1995). "Make Room for Daddy". American Bar Association Journal 83 (2): 48–52. 
  19. ^ Kimmel, Michael S. (2006). Manhood in America: A Cultural History (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. p. 302. ISBN 978-0-19-518113-5. 
  20. ^ Berman, Judy (November 5, 2009). "'Men's rights' groups go mainstream". Salon. Retrieved May 31, 2013. 
  21. ^ a b Fox, John (2004). "How Men's Movement Participants View Each Other". The Journal of Men's Studies 12 (2): 103–118. doi:10.3149/jms.1202.103. 
  22. ^ Gill, Rosalind (2007). Gender and the Media. Cambridge: Polity Press. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-7456-1915-6. 

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