THE MASCULINE MYSTIQUE: The Politics of Masculinity by Andrew Kimbrell

THE MASCULINE MYSTIQUE: The Politics of Masculinity

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Kimbrell's prescription for the ""grim condition of the American male"" involves what he calls a gender revolution, one based on the rediscovery of masculinity as ""a primal generative and creative force."" A public-interest attorney and environmental activist, Kimbrell offers sound analysis and remedies for some of the social ills that impact on the fears, confusions, and personal problems of men. He finds their origin in the Industrial Revolution, when individual family units were displaced from the land and self-sustaining farmers were turned into wage earners and city dwellers. The loss of independence was accompanied by a loss of both pride and a sense of responsibility. The ensuing glorification of competition and the profit-driven notion of ""success,"" coupled with the reality of the mass of men being relegated to menial jobs and repetitive factory labor, is manifest in a wide range of ongoing and often increasing male-oriented problems, from violence and depression to heart attacks and sexual dysfunction. Kimbrell disagrees that the so-called masculine traits of aggression, selfishness, and insensitivity are the ""inevitable result of biology."" Masculinity itself has to be ""recreated"" in the public consciousness as a quality that stresses cooperation, efficiency, stewardship of the planet, and the nurturing of others. The goals and strategies of the male community--his Manifesto for Men--should include a national ""father policy"" that erases fatherlessness by fighting for ""profather"" restructuring in the courts, on the job, in the welfare system, and throughout the government bureaucracy. Mentoring programs should direct men in actively aiding one another and their families, but also in seeing to the welfare of the unemployed, disabled veterans, minority males, men in prison, and the homeless. There are a few circular arguments and some repetition, but Kimbrell does seem to arrive at solutions that bolster men without having to denigrate women.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1995
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Ballantine