Manhood in America: A Cultural History

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“The” Free Press, 1996 - Social Science - 544 pages
8 Reviews
In a time when psychologists are rediscovering Darwin, and much of our social behavioral is being reduced to ancient, hard-wired patterns, Michael Kimmel's history of manhood in America comes as a much needed reminder that our behavior as men and women is anything but stable and fixed. Kimmel's authoritative, entertaining, and wide-ranging history of men in America demonstrates that manhood has meant very different things in different eras. Drawing on advice books, magazines, political pamphlets, and popular novels and films, he makes two surprising claims: First, manhood is homosocial - that is, men need to prove themselves to each other, not to women. Second, definitions of manliness have evolved in response to women's movements. When women act, men react. Originally, manliness was an internal virtue and a democratic ideal - British men were viewed as fops, and American men had to be independent, honest, and responsible. By the 1890s, however, manhood changed to masculinity, something that had to be constantly proven through the new explosion of sports, fraternities, and fashion. Finally, in 1936, Lewis Terman, the creator of the IQ test, developed an "M-F" test to analyze adolescents' masculinity and femininity. Until well into the 1960s, the test penalized boys who preferred to draw flowers instead of forests, or who knew that a teacup was used for drinking tea. But just as Terman's categories and questions seem outdated to us, so will our own standards seem temporary to our successors.

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Review: Manhood in America: A Cultural History

User Review  - Mike - Goodreads

MK has an intriguing writing style. I enjoyed the book, but I do not completely agree with his argument. Read full review

Review: Manhood in America: A Cultural History

User Review  - Melissa Maxwell - Goodreads

I really enjoyed the book and it provided a good amount of insight into men and the changing definition of Manhood and Masculinity over time in America. I was not fond of the women bashing and blaming ... Read full review

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Contents

The Birth of the SelfMade Man
13
SelfControl and Fantasies of Escape
43
Captains of Industry White Collars
81
Copyright

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About the author (1996)

Michael S. Kimmel is Professor of Sociology at SUNY at Stony Brook. His books include "Changing Men" (1987), "Men Confront Pornography" (1990), "Men s Lives" (4th edition, 1997), "Against the Tide: Profeminist Men in the United States", "1776-1990" (1992), "The Politics of Manhood" (1996), and "Manhood: A Cultural History" (1996). In addition to the journal Men and Masculinities, he also edits a book series on Men and Masculinity at the University of California Press, and the Sage Series on Men and Masculinities. He is the Spokesperson for the National Organization for Men Against Sexism (NOMAS) and lectures extensively on campuses in the U.S. and abroad.

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