- Paperback: 180 pages
- Publisher: Pandora Press; First Edition edition (January 1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062509969
- ISBN-13: 978-0062509963
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,203,937 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Women Respond to the Men's Movement: A Feminist Collection First Edition Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Ms. magazine founder Steinem sets the tone in her foreword for this excellent collection of essays: "Make no mistake about it: women want a men's movement." As the nearly 20 articles by some of today's prominent feminists (bell hooks, Rosemary Radford Reuther, Ursula Le Guin) reveal, however, contemporary women are very particular about the kind of men's movement they desire--not the drum-thumping "wild man" movement espoused by Robert Bly and his ilk. Women want, as Starhawk points out, a movement in which men give up domination in favor of creative partnership. They want a movement in which men seek not a "kinder, gentler patriarchy," as Hagan calls it in her brief but pointed introduction, but to get in touch with their feminine side. The dynamics of the Bly-type movement are carefully analyzed here (e.g. Margaret Randall's deft analysis of how Bly blames women for the "softness" of contemporary men). By far the best contribution in the volume is that of Jane Caputi and Gordene A. MacKenzie, who show how images of women are manipulated or even excluded from much of our popular culture. Hagan wrote Prayers to the Moon.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
This collection contains some 19 uneven essays by women who are immersed in the feminist culture. Editor Hagan assumes that the reader is familiar with the men's movement. She does not provide a comprehensive introduction to the subject nor a working definition of the term. Only in the essay by Riane Eisler does the uninitiated reader gain some understanding of the issues. Most of the essays are passionately written but are too esoteric to influence anyone not already committed to the cause. Gloria Steinem provides a foreword which seems to imply that violence and dominant behavior by men are the issues addressed by this amorphous movement. The book concludes with the editor's thanks to a group of women for "teaching me to internalize the powerful combination of lesbian vision and radical feminist thought." For comprehensive collections only.
- Carol R. Glatt, VA Medical Ctr. Lib., Philadelphia
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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This book tells the truth about the Men's Movement.
The Men's Movement is about SELF (ego) enhancement, and is not about trying to become a better (more empathic, compassionate, just and fair) human being where OTHERS are concerned. It really isn't about challenging Patriarchy (a system of destructive, hierarchical dominance of men over women); it merely reinforces it.
This is a difficult book to rate, as it has many pieces written by different authors. Some of the articles are EXCELLENT; others I don't care for. I'll start with what I didn't like: The ideas of Myriam Miedzian. To my mind, she reinforces the "masculine/feminine" dichotomy of sex differences that helps keep gender polarities in place.
Since I seek to do away with such contrivances and to become a WHOLE human being, with the full range of human qualities, I much prefer the articles in this book that challenge this dichotomy as being part of the problem, in that this dichotomy leads to such things as sexism and specious "men's movements" (the latter of which functions to keep this dichotomy -- and Patriarchy as an outgrowth of this dichotomy -- alive and well).
There are many smokescreens by which the Men's Movement hides its deeper agendas, and this book is a great expose by those who see through the hype and rhetoric. Favorite articles include: "Patriarchy and the Men's Movement: Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution?" by Rosemary Radford Ruether; "Will the Real Men's Movement Please Stand Up?" by Margo Adair; "Pumping Iron John" by Caputi and MacKenzie; "Essential Lies: A Dystopian Vision of the Mythopoetic Men's Movement" by Laura S. Brown; and "The Men's Movement of Choice" by Kathleen Carlin.
There's also a great Foreword by Gloria Steinem and a great Introduction by Kay Leigh Hagan.
These women are not "against men," any more than I am.
We are, however, against men's movements that reinforce and uphold the destructive, patriarchal status-quo -- no matter what the rhetoric to the contrary. And this book helps cut through the rhetorical nonsense.
One essayist says, "[There] are men who are prepared to work in solidarity with women to create a new society ... [I] consider them trustworthy allies in the struggle. There is also no question that patriarchy does set up modes of male bonding based on a type of comaradery that excludes men from sharing their insecurity and vulnerability. There is a place in the movement ... for men to learn different ways of relating to other men. But this does not mean that any movement that proclaims itself 'the men's movement' can be presumed to be the men's movement we need---a men's movement that would really be in solidarity with feminism, liberating men from patriarchy." (Pg. 14)
She adds, "If there is to be a men's movement I could trust, I want to know what it is going to do about war. Because, hey, guys, you could end it tomorrow, by simply refusing to fight in it... Why don't men rise up and refuse to go to war? How are they conditioned to be good soldiers? How can they undo that conditioning, and redefine manhood so as to further creative, not destructive, power? These are issues with which a men's movement I could trust would concern itself." (Pg. 34)
An essayist suggests, "the script offered for men by some of these groups is actually not all that different from the old macho script---except that it's dressed up on New Age clothes... male identity is defined in negative terms, as NOT being like a woman... [Robert] Bly [author of Iron John] berates his followers for being 'too soft' or 'feminine'---and thus 'unmanly.'... One of the saddest things about Bly is that he originally preached that men should embrace their 'feminine principle..." (Pg. 48) Another essay agrees: "while portending/pretending to be a movement for liberation is actually a manifestation of an authoritarian backlash and joins the political and religious right in reinforcing separatism, hierarchy, contempt for the 'other,' and invidious distinctions between women and men." (Pg. 72)
Another says, "There are a variety of dimensions on which I find myself critical of this men's movement, but they seem to cluster along the factor or triviality. Women and children are being beaten and raped at home... funding for social programs is being cut to the bone by gfovernment dominated---by men. And these guys are getting together to lament that they never knew their fathers?" (Pg. 98)
However, one essay says, "As a woman and a feminist, I know it to be a sacred space when women gather to tell their own stories... So when men gather in a circle not to talk of football or how many notches they have on their shooter but to talk instead of their own interior life so long concealed and coerced by a John Wayne model of manhood, think I think I must also honor as sacred these spaces being created by men." (Pg. 161)
Another commentary on the men's movement that those who like this book may enjoy is The Politics of Manhood: Profeminist Men Respond to the Mythopoetic Men's Movement (And the Mythopoetic Leaders Answer).
Maybe I feel this way only because there is nowadays no apparent "men's movement" to reinforce macho and threaten me as a woman. Or maybe it is because I am a wife and a mother of boys that I think it shortsighted to condemn those who wish to empower men. To blame men as a gender for the disempowerment of women is to overlook a lot of social and economic complexities or our world. Life is hard for people of both genders.
This is a collection of armchair rhetoric to enflame the opposition. I can imagine that ultra-conservative anti-feminists would get a lot of ammunition out of quotes from this ill-conceived book. It is a shame, because there is still a lot to be said for feminism and women's rights. This book, however, is more an example of stray radicalism gone wrong - a sort of "backlash" against an imaginary enemy - than any clear thinking about real social issues.