Tag Archives: gender roles

New blog by Michael Kaufman

Michael Kaufman, author, educator and co-founder of the White Ribbon Campaign, recently launched a redesigned blog at www.michaelkaufman.com with numerous resources and articles about engaging men, gender equality, masculinity and violence prevention. I’ve heard Michael speak about these issues and was impressed with the content, humor and delivery of his message.

One of the first posts that I read on Michael’s website was a post about a documentary by Marc de Guerre called The End of Men.  Check out a promo of the documentary below.


How to be a man?

A clip went out over the Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinity listserv the other day. It is a video by Levni Yilmaz from his YouTube channel Tales of Mere Existence. I had never seen any of Yilmaz’s material before and was really impressed by the quality and content of the clips. He has a great style that involves deadpan humor mixed with existential issues. I found several clips that would be great discussion starters when working with or teaching about men’s issues and masculinities. Of the few clips I have watched, Yilmaz addressed being a boyfriend, the evolution of his relationship with his father, the grief and loss that follows a breakup, how he learned about girls, and messages about masculinity.

The particular clip that went out over the listserv was his How to be a man? clip below. Two lines from the clip that struck me are:

  • A real should be able to close one eye, look at the position of the sun and be able to tell you what time it is
  • So far being a man doesn’t feel much different from being an old kid

Click Read More for more clips from Tales of Mere Existence and a brief exercise about societal definitions about masculinity.

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Old men talking about masculinity (part 1)

One of the first things I hear when I tell people the work we do with anti-violence and masculinity is “Are you in the schools? We need to get them young.” When I mention working in the high schools, most respond with “I think we should start earlier than that. The younger the better.” I agree that encouraging flexible gender role behaviors and providing healthy mentoring should occur during childhood. However, I have never once had anyone ask “Are you involved with the Senior Center? The older the better. It’s never too late.”

I stumbled across an interesting discussion about masculinity and old men in an article called Neighborhood Guys and Manhood. It was published in  Living Out East and on the Bay, an online magazine for senior citizens living in Florida!

Picture five guys ranging in age from 50-75 sitting around drinking coffee. What do you expect them to be talking about? Stuff like “Kids these days” “Back in my day” and maybe the occasional “whippersnapper” tossed in to complete the tired stereotype? How about I don’t mind admitting I’m confused about the current state of manhood?

The author, George Schofield, provides a glimpse into a discussion that took place in his kitchen with a couple of guys from the neighborhood. It was about how the definitions of masculinity are judged by these men against past traditions. Naturally, some of the men have changed with age and others have become more resolute in their definitions of manhood. Click Read More to read some quotes from the article as well as current research regarding masculinity and old men.

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True Manhood, gender roles and Catholicism?

I had a brief conversation with Dave DiNuzzo over at True Manhood. The site’s tag line is Diving into what it means to be a true man. My initial contact with the site involved commenting on the post called The Blue One’s the Boy One. The post was nothing special but the way he discussed gender roles as being instinctual and natural irked me. I never imagined my comment would get a response. Much to my surprise, Dave posted my comment on the front page with his response next to this picture.

I’m posting the entire “conversation” below for your reading pleasure. Looking back, I could have been more eloquent, crafted a better argument and provided more resources. However, I didn’t have the time and simply reacted to the content. Click Read More to see a transcript of our discussion and how he dodged the issue of gender roles being natural or instinctual every time. I would love some feedback.

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The color pink

I have very fond memories of a toy store from my childhood. It wasn’t a super center that also sold toys or a grocery store that had a toy aisle. It was an entire store devoted to fun. Everything in that store was exciting and magical. Well, except that last aisle on the left labeled “Girls’ Activities.” Even in elementary school, I knew that aisle wasn’t for me. I didn’t even walk down that aisle. They could have been giving away free ice cream with sprinkles and it wouldn’t have got me to go down that aisle. It was for girls and everything was pink, really pink. I had been told my whole life that I was a boy and “Boy wear this” or “Girls do that.” I had no idea at 8 years of age that society had constructed binary gender roles that were affecting my actions and decisions. I just wanted a He-Man action figure.

Today, I am still fascinated by the arbitrary definitions and accoutrement of gender but with more awareness. It affects our clothes, movies, careers and what colors we use to decorate our lives. I’m not going to rehash the tired pink versus blue debate. This post is about how engrained some of these ideas are that many people still believe they are “natural” or “instinctual.” Read on for more about the history of the color pink and a slideshow! Everyone loves a slideshow.
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Wives earning more than husbands

NPR’s Talk of the Nation had a discussion a couple weeks ago entitled Wives Increasingly Earning More Than Their Husbands. The discussion included host Rebecca Roberts, clinical psychologist Joshua Coleman and Chicago Tribune columnist Amy Dickinson. The discussion centered around the results of the recent Pew Research Center study Women, Men and the New Economics of Marriage.  The basic findings show that as women have outpaced men in earning college degrees, men are significantly more likely to marry women who make more and have more education than they do. This shouldn’t be a shock to anyone but the actual report provides some interesting data trends regarding marriage, education and economic statistics from 1970 and 2007.

The NPR discussion focused on how the shift in earning and education has affected gender norms and housework. The NPR discussions engages several callers in a discussion about how the economic downturn has shifted the breadwinner status in many homes and the effects of the shift.

You have several options to follow up on this story. You can listen to the 30 minute discussion here. For an executive summary of the Pew study go to their website. If you want to read the entire pdf, you can find it here.


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