MASCULINITY RECONSTRUCTED by Ronald F. Levant

MASCULINITY RECONSTRUCTED

Changing the Rules of Manhood--at Work, in Relationships, and in Family Life

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Levant's practical, realistic approach to a new masculinity has little use for ``taking on animal names and dancing naked in the woods.'' Still, says Levant (Psychology/Harvard Medical School), men are at a point where they can and must redefine manhood. While he recognizes that the rise of feminism and the influx of women into the workforce have had a profound impact on traditional notions of masculinity, blaming women is simply ``wrong-headed.'' And he rejects Robert Bly and the quest for the ``wild man'' within, arguing that Bly points to the past rather than to the future. To think, writes Levant, ``that men can restore their lost sense of masculine purpose and pride'' by indulging in the rites and rituals of a culture not their own is ``a romantic pipe dream.'' What men can do, he says, through therapy and counseling, is find a middle ground between the traditional masculine role and the new, sensitive man. Among the traditional masculine traits worth preserving and reemphasizing, he believes, are the willingness to sacrifice personal desires to provide support for others; the willingness to withstand hardship to protect loved ones; the expression of love by doing things for others; and the virtues of integrity, steadfastness, and loyalty. But typically masculine traits that must be discarded are an overindulgence in anger; the propensity to ``simultaneously depend on, distance from, and take advantage of female partners''; the inability to identify or express feelings; chronic fears of failing to measure up as a man; and discomfort with sexual intimacy. Levant designs individual counseling programs by allowing men to do what they traditionally do best: identify a problem, devise a strategy to solve the problem, and then implement that strategy until the goal is reached. A refreshing departure from all the chest thumping and campfire flatulence of the recent men's movement.

Pub Date: March 13th, 1995
ISBN: 0-525-93846-X
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1995




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