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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An insightful study of masculinity
Susan Bordo has written insightfully about women's perceptions of their bodies, and she now focuses those perceptive skills on men. Anyone expecting a feminist to engage in male-bashing will be relieved to find that Bordo genuinely likes men, and she writes with clarity and humor about their bodies and how they are socially understood. Beginning with an emotion-rich...
Published on July 21, 1999 by Jeff Abell

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21 of 31 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing effort from someone who knows better.
Don't expect anything approaching a scholarly critique of masculinity and modern culture in this maddeningly mundane, soon-to-be-outdated litany of social observations, which avoid challenging the reader at all cost. Bardo is capable of so much more. In describing herself as a "philosopher of culture" in this book, she has excused herself from engaging in...
Published on August 29, 1999


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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An insightful study of masculinity, July 21, 1999
By 
Jeff Abell (Chicago, IL USA) - See all my reviews
Susan Bordo has written insightfully about women's perceptions of their bodies, and she now focuses those perceptive skills on men. Anyone expecting a feminist to engage in male-bashing will be relieved to find that Bordo genuinely likes men, and she writes with clarity and humor about their bodies and how they are socially understood. Beginning with an emotion-rich eassay about her father, she then moves on to discuss how biology and society converge to create our views about how men should (and shouldn't) behave. The chapter called "Gentleman or Beast?" is of the most insightful essays I've ever encountered on the psychological pressures experienced by boys in our society. Leave behind the trite banalities of the "Men are from Mars" crowd: Bordo really gets to the meat of the issues. One of the best books on gender I've ever encountered.
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31 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Male Body, July 18, 2005
This review is from: The Male Body: A New Look at Men in Public and in Private (Paperback)
About me: 21 year old male, university student. (sciences/pre med)

I picked up this book some time ago while searching for books on a completely unrelated topic. It's become one of my absolute favorites. I've let at least 5 of my friends borrow it. (Or should I say I pushed it on them.)

Obviously, I'm not as serious a reviewer as some seem to be, so bear with me.

I caught this book a little late, a few years after it was originally published, but feel her comments are still dead on. I thought it was written very professionally, yet casual at the same time. I did not feel like I was being condescended upon, it felt like something "we" were discussing over a coffee.

She starts off with a candid retrospective of sorts on her father, then changes direction entirely with the opening sentence in the following chapter: "Becky Stone was the first of my friends to actually see one."

Other topics include an analysis on media images, women's bodies, and of course, men's. A few of my favorite passages in the book include: the whole section on "Public Images", as well as "Gentleman or Beast? The Double Bind of Masculinity", "The Sexual Harasser Is a Bully, not a Sex Fiend" and "Beautiful Girls, From Both Sides Now."

Remarkably insightful, with theories and analysis that are hard to argue, her comments hit home and make you think whether you agree or not. I suspect even the most chauvinistic reader would have a hard time "debating" or "disproving" some of her thoughts and theories behind media images and the like, in my opinion. Sometimes I may not have wanted to "hear" some of things she had written but couldn't think of any retaliation.

At certain times in the book, it felt as if she was poking around in my head, most of her thoughts about the male body and men in general congruent with my thoughts about myself!

An exciting topic by itself, I highly recommend this book for anyone curious about the male body. You will finish this book smiling, perhaps even with a change in the way you look at yourself, or the culture around you. (I constantly find myself looking deeper into what is given and shown to us than I did previously.) There will undoubtedly be times during reading where you will stop, needing to discuss what you've read with your friends! At least I did. :)

I don't think there are any bad parts to this book, but some might find certain parts uninteresting. That's a given! To me, that doesn't qualify as bad. I think everyone who decides to buy this book will be talking after they put it down, regardless of how much you loved it. 5 stars!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Critical and compassionate., October 11, 2001
This review is from: The Male Body: A New Look at Men in Public and in Private (Paperback)
This book is the male version of Jean Kilbourne's "Can't Buy My Love." Both look at media representions of gender and how they perpetuate stereotypical myths about males, females, and homosexuals. They also show how advertising and other image makers use the body to exploit consumer desires and insecurities about their own body. Thus, in Bordo's words, what we see in the twentieth century "is the recognition that when we look at bodies (including our own in the mirror), we don't just see biological nature at work, but values and ideals, differences and similarities that *culture* has 'written,' so to speak, on those bodies."
What is most compelling about Bordo's work is that she extends her analysis beyond the media and extends it to literature, history, and various institutions that influence our ideas about the male body. She shows overall how myths about the male use sexist images that have been used against women for years. She does this using very lucid, insightful, and humorous writing.
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27 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Opened my Eyes, February 9, 2000
As a man who read this book, I'm already breaking the stereotype of manliness. Bordo correctly characterizes the male species as one who does not indulge in self-analysis. However, her analysis of the male body and character is surprisingly accurate, especially coming from the female perspective. After reading this book, I find myself analyzing the marketing of male hygene products in prime-time commercials. I was also enlightened as to the impact homosexual culture has had on opening the door to male exhibition. This book not only helped me to understand my own place as a 21st century male, but it also helped me to understand the female perspective on the male body. Men have been looking at an acquiescent female nude in pop culture for so long that we fail to see the double standard. The time has come for more books like this one that could possibly spawn a renaissance of the beauty of the male form.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-written and accessible intro. to gender representation, April 30, 2003
This review is from: The Male Body: A New Look at Men in Public and in Private (Paperback)
Bordo's effort is a perceptive and engaging overview of the convoluted representations of the male body active today and of their historical roots. She begins by tracing the evolution of representations of the body and of masculinity in film- with considerable insight and appreciation for the complexity of her subject- before moving on to a more polemical examination of "the double bind of masculinity" today: the incoherent standards that would have men be both 'primal' or 'brutal' and 'sensitive' or 'restrained', and the various reductionisms, biological or otherwise, that attempt to naturalize determinations of differences in gender roles. While her style is non-academic, her even-handed treatment and broad analysis make this book a good read for both gender theory buffs and general public consumption. I, personally, am considering buying a copy for my sixteen-year old brother, to help him make sense of the brutal tensions underlying the performance of masculinity in his public high school.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good balance between academic and popular, March 4, 2001
By 
Lalalalaura (Washington, DC United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Male Body: A New Look at Men in Public and in Private (Paperback)
So I'm a graduate student in sociology and I read this book because one of my teachers suggested it for a project I'm working on. And it was relevant to that, but I've also gotten a lot of mileage out of it in everyday conversation.
It's mostly very smart, but also easy and fun to read. If you're an academic, it's not super driven by theory or a desire to be "science," and if you're looking for something fun to read about the male body it's probably a little academic for you. But if you're looking for something in between, something written by a very smart social analyst that doesn't talk about Foucault or quantitative data on every page, then this is a good choice.
I have to say that the chapter on men and women's bodies was a little bit of a let-down. On the one hand, it's a really good idea of a thing to think about, but on the other hand, I kind of disagree with the strength with which she argues that men really do want only skinny women. I'm just not sure it's true, and this is an area in which a little more empirical rigor might have been to her benefit. But that's a minor quibble, and as a whole I really liked the book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great book but a bit dated, May 18, 2010
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This review is from: The Male Body: A New Look at Men in Public and in Private (Paperback)
I really found the book to be insightful and revealing in many ways. It was not condescending or feminist and gave a pretty well-rounded view of we men. I highly recommend it to every man to help understand why we are seen the way that we are by society, by women, by other men, and by ourselves.

The book does fall short in it's "contemporary" observations...from 1998. The constant references to Ally McBeal and other late 90's pop culture were at times difficult to take seriously, or remember for that fact. For anyone who was not an adult at that time those references might make cloudy the points she is trying to make. If you can see past that then you will read a great book.
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21 of 31 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing effort from someone who knows better., August 29, 1999
By A Customer
Don't expect anything approaching a scholarly critique of masculinity and modern culture in this maddeningly mundane, soon-to-be-outdated litany of social observations, which avoid challenging the reader at all cost. Bardo is capable of so much more. In describing herself as a "philosopher of culture" in this book, she has excused herself from engaging in serious discourse (and "disses" the notion of discourse in the process!) on men and masculinity and instead, churns out what she hopes will be a Gail Sheehy-style best seller.Unless you're fascinated with lengthy musings on Hollywood and Madison Avenue's manipulation of the male image, skip this one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and Compelling, January 13, 2013
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This review is from: The Male Body: A New Look at Men in Public and in Private (Paperback)
An fascinating and in-depth investigation of the modern view of the male body, male stereotypes, and male portrayal in literature and film. Definitely worth a read for anyone interested in the subject of guys.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not worth it, December 5, 2014
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This review is from: The Male Body: A New Look at Men in Public and in Private (Paperback)
I picked this book as one of my "optional" books for a graduate school course, but would choose a different book if I could go back in time and make that choice all over again. I was not impressed by this book. The author is female, and approaches male bodies from a very female/woman-centric point of view. I would much have preferred to read about how men themselves view their bodies in public and private, based on a male author's point of view, not an outsider's point of view. The author also uses a very media-focused lens in her examination of male bodies. This could be interesting...but the media she uses - especially the movies and tv shows - are all older movies and shows and I was not familiar with the majority of them. If she had given some sort of introduction about the plot and backgrounds of the media she discusses, perhaps I would have been able to follow her train of thought, but she did not. She just jumped right into discussing a particular character from a particular show without any exposition. I found myself skimming a lot of the book, trying to find any stories or information I could connect to, but found very little. I was also frustrated that her analyses of men and their bodies hinged so much on stereotypes of men and male bodies. This is where a male point of view would have been particularly helpful and interesting to hear, so someone might actually verify or discredit those stereotypes, rather than just reinforcing them with unfamiliar media references.
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The Male Body: A New Look at Men in Public and in Private
The Male Body: A New Look at Men in Public and in Private by Susan Bordo (Paperback - July 15, 2000)
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