For decades, feminist researchers and scholars have detailed the degree of coercion brought to bear against girls' full development, and the sometimes devastating effects of the loss of their most complete, authentic selves. It is time to understand the reciprocal process as it occurs in the lives of boys and men.
I will take this a bit further and assert that this study that Terrence is calling for is as important to women's studies and modern feminism, as it is to men. It is not nearly enough for feminists to tell us what we are doing wrong, how we are oppressing women. It must be understood that in any discussion of gender issues, all sides of the equation need to be addressed. The solutions to many of the issues facing women and modern feminism, are inexorably tied to solving the problems of male gender constructs.
Dr. Isis recently posted the letter of a male reader here. And this is an important discussion. While I take serious issue with the writer's use of the phrase "reverse discrimination," this is a semantic issue - important to be sure, but not fatal to his underlying point. The issue of discrimination against men based on social gender constructs, is just another facet of the issue of discrimination against women based on the same social gender constructs. The male gender doesn't exist in a vacuum, separate from the female gender - the social constructs are intertwined, they interact with and impact each other in very complex ways. Simplistic dichotomies cannot and never will be able to address the fundamental problems inherent to both male and female social gender constructs as they exist in society today.
On all fronts changes are being made and progress is being made, but that progress is dramatically stunted by the fact that nearly all of the focus is on studying women and female gender constructs. There are probably no more than a handful of colleges in the United States, or anywhere in the western world, that do not have a women's studies program. In contrast, there are probably no more than a handful of colleges that have men's studies programs. While there are general gender studies programs, those are generally focused on women's studies, transgender studies and queer theory, with little emphasis placed on men's studies.
I am very glad that JLK recommended Terrence's book. I am also most grateful to her for fostering the gender discussions. It has definitely made for some interesting lines of thought. I Don't Want to Talk About It is an intense read thus far. Terrence is a very compelling wordsmith, on top of having truly awesome insight into the issues of male depression and the underlying gender constructs that allow it to remain largely hidden, even from the men who suffer it.
So on top of some repair work with my first addiction paper, I now need to work out a basic thesis and set of research questions for my next paper. I actually have a pretty solid preliminary bibliography already, I just need to develop the actual topic proposal. If I can, I want to get finished with the abstract and outline during this week of spring break. We'll see what happens...