Guest Lecture, Introduction to Feminist Philosophies


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Guest Lecture, November 18th, 2011, History of American Men and Survey of Men & Masculinities Research. Introduction to Feminist Philosophies (PL526), Taught by Dr. Marina McCoy, Boston College, Philosophy Department

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Guest Lecture, Introduction to Feminist Philosophies

  1. 1. Danny Zepp Assistant Director, First Year Experience Resident Minister, Walsh Hall
  2. 2. Self Made Man “The men who owe little or nothing to birth, relationship, friendly surroundings; to wealth inherited or to early approved means of education; who are what they are, without the aid of any of the favoring conditions by which other men usually rise in the world and achieve great results.” – Frederick Douglass (1859)
  3. 3. Self-Made Wilderness Man “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation” Henry David Thoreau, Walden Pond (1845)
  4. 4. Turn of the Century Crisis of Masculinity Scarecrow (farmer with no brains), Tin Woodsman (the industrial worker with who has lost independence of farmer), Wicked Witch of the West (manufacturers and bankers), Lion (lacks only the courage to be powerful)
  5. 5. Exclusion as Masculine Retreat: Reclaiming Virility “Racism, antifeminism, and nativism fed off these fears, as though by excluding the ‘others,’ gender identity could be preserved.” (Kimmel 90)
  6. 6. – Blue Collar vs. White Collar “Dirty job” – work seen as a “noble sacrifice” ™ Work is unpleasant painful, difficult, and cruel – a dirty job that someone has to do ™ Dirty work is unfit for women Professionalization of the Academy ™  German research university became popularized ™  “Science is a vocation” – Max Weber ™  Rationality, predictability, and controlling one’s environment and outcome would advance society
  7. 7. Masculinity Vicariously Enjoyed “As men felt their real sense of masculinity eroding, they returned to fantasies that embodied heroic physical action, reading novels of the Wild West and cheering the exploits of baseball and football players” (Kimmel 118)
  8. 8. The Promise of a “New Frontier” “We stand today on the edge of a New Frontier -— the frontier of the 1960's, the frontier of unknown opportunities and perils, the frontier of unfilled hopes and unfilled threats. ... Beyond that frontier are uncharted areas of science and space, unsolved problems of peace and war, unconquered problems of ignorance and prejudice, unanswered questions of poverty and surplus.” – John F. Kennedy Presidential Acceptance Speech 1960
  9. 9. End of Meta-Narrative
  10. 10. – ™ Developed in the 1970’s – mixture of a social movement and a psychological self-help manual –  An effort to take to heart the critique of Self-Made Masculinity first voiced by the women’s movement and later by the gay liberation movement –  Men began to understand themselves as a burden, and form of oppression –  Key Texts ™  “On Male Liberation” – Jack Sawyer (1970) ™  Liberated Man – Warren Farrell (1974) ™  The Myth of Masculinity – Joseph Pleck (1981) Men’s Liberation Movement Literature
  11. 11. – ™ Developed in the 1990’s – psychological self-help ™ Believed that men need to run off into the woods, and escape the world of women in order to “bond” and validate one another’s manhood ™ Key Texts –  Iron John: – Robert Bly (1990) –  Fire in the Belly: On Being A Man – Sam Keen (1992) –  King, Warrior, Magician, Lover – Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette (1990) Mythopoetic Movement Literature
  12. 12. – ™  While much of student development theory in the 60’s and 70’s was derived from exclusively male samples, there studies were based on men, but not explicitly concerned with gender (Davis & Laker, 2004) ™  Because of men’s historical dominance and structural determinism, gender-related initiatives over the past 40 years have been justifiably geared towards women ™  Such important work, however, has led to the manufacturing of a major erroneous assumption: that everything is just fine with men (Harper & Harris, 2010) Studies of Men, not about Men
  13. 13. – ™  Five flawed assumptions about college men: –  1) Every male student benefits similarly from gender privilege –  2) Gender initiatives need not include men unless they are focused on reducing violence and sexual assault against women –  3) Undergraduate men do not encounter harmful stereotypes, social and academic challenges, and differential treatment in college environments because of their gender –  4) Male students do not require gender-specific resources and support –  5) Historical dominance and structural determinism ensure success for the overwhelming majority of contemporary college men Model Gender Majority Myth (Harper & Harris, 2010)
  14. 14. – ™  New men’s literature is advocating a two-sided treatment of gender: –  1) It needs to be more widely understood that men have gender too –  2) Because gender is relational, the status of women cannot be improved without a corresponding emphasis on tending to the social forces that misshape men’s attitudes and behaviors and helping them develop productive masculinities (Bannon & Correia, 2006; Connell, 2005) ™  Not arguing for a reducing in or the elimination of women’s courses and initiatives; in fact, there should be more A Fresh Approach to Men’s Studies
  15. 15. – ™  Argue that men have separated too much from the mother, causing men to lack sensitivity and emotionality ™  Believe feminism will make it possible for men to be free ™  Men need to stand up against injustice based on difference, embracing feminism, gay liberation, and multiculturalism as a blueprint for the reconstruction of masculinity ™  Men will only be healed when there is full equality ™  Common literature of Women’s Resource Centers at American colleges and universities Pro-Feminist Literature
  16. 16. – ™ Key Contributors to the Field –  Sociologist Michael Kimmel – anti-violence, believes men act out of powerlessness in accordance to “Guy Code” –  Activist Jackson Katz – anti-sexist, highlights media misrepresentations –  Sociologist Michael Messner – anti-violence, and gender in sports Pro-Feminist Literature
  17. 17. – ™  Believe that we need to research and engage men as men, and encourage more productive conceptions of masculinities ™  Gender equality is one of many desired outcomes –  The most important outcome is for men to find the deepest and most authentic expression of themselves –  Believe pro-feminist scholarship is one-dimensional, focusing on narrow sets of problems and issues (violence, sexual assault, abuse, etc.) –  While such inquiry is warranted and continue to be important, other dimensions of male gender identities are not adequately explored Men’s Studies Literature
  18. 18. – ™  Key Contributors to the Field –  Psychologist William Pollock – gender straightjacket –  Psychologists Dan Kindlon & Michael Thompson – need for emotional literacy in boys –  Sociologist Tracy Davis – gender role conflicts lead to higher levels of anxiety and lower capacity for intimacy –  Political Philosopher Harvey Mansfield – believes men are soft, and have lost their thumos (“spiritedness”) and role as protector –  Higher Education Experts ™  Shaun Harper – leading gender studies scholar, interested in outcomes for African-American men ™  Frank Harris III – productive conceptions of masculinities in African-American men and male student-athletes ™  Peter Folan – colleague at BC, researching outcomes for college men coming from all-boys schools Men’s Studies Literature
  19. 19. – ™ Contribution to men’s studies literature –  There is a gap in the research in terms of inquiry about men’s interior life, specifically religious and spiritual pursuits –  Recent research on the “inner” lives of college students claims that students who engage spirituality and religion during their undergraduate years experience enhanced outcomes in their academic performance, psychological well-being, leadership development, and satisfaction with college (Astin, Astin, & Lindholm, 2011) My Research Interests To Be Masculine is To Be Secular?
  20. 20. – ™  College age men who engage in university-sponsored faith-driven initiatives which ask existential questions about identity, i.e. spiritual as well as intellectual, are more able to free themselves of hegemonic notions of masculinity that enslave them ™  Through effective programming and role modeling, which challenge, nurture, and cultivate the interior lives of young men, colleges and universities need to be a place where men can engage and critique issues of identity, by offering the community, ideals, and skills which empower men and create an alternative to broader cultural understandings of masculinity Men of Faith