A Manifesto for Radical Masculinity (on Carnal Nation)

October 12, 2009  |  essays

I’ve got a new column on Carnal Nation called Radical Masculinity, and the first one went up two weeks ago. Here’s an excerpt:

Remember back in the Spring of 2009 when two young boys committed suicide within a week of each other, both eleven years old? Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover of Massachusetts and Jaheem Herrera of Georgia were both being subjected to unbearable anti-gay bullying at school. Whether or not these boys were actually gay, using homophobia to police masculinity is practically the oldest trick in the book. In the aftermath of these suicides, and in the discussions that ensued on the Web and in print, there was extensive lip service given to gender and the inevitable complaint that boys have it so hard, that feminism has stripped men of their manliness, that men don’t know how to be men anymore, that we’ve got a Crisis In Masculinity.

That might seem like anti-feminist rhetoric, but I agree with it—at least in part. I agree that masculinity is changing, for some in dramatic, drastic ways. I have witnessed and observed cultural changes around the masculine and male gender roles which are shifting, yes, as a direct result of the recent feminist and other gendered social change movements.

Read the whole thing over on CarnalNation.com.

The premise of this first article is to introduce some of the concepts of this so-called “crisis in masculinity” and my perspectives on them. I think there’s some stuff brewing behind changes and evolutions in masculinity, and I want to tease them out. I also had a pretty tough time coming to my own masculinity, but I feel like I have come into my own, and I want to attempt to explain how that worked for me and how I adopted a masculinity that was both intentional and actively works to not be painful or hurtful, to me or others.

It’s a really complicated topic and I’m looking forward to exploring it. The second column is in progress – they’ll be monthly. If you have any particular requests for topics I should explore, I’d love to know.

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3 Comments


  1. I also agree that there's a crisis in masculinity. I see "old school" men like my father floundering as he looks around in the latter part of his life and finds himself both alone and an anachronism. However I think that just as women invested in feminism to "save" themselves, it is up to men to redefine masculinity to overcome some of the problems that hypermasculinity causes. However, one of my pleasures as a butch is that I get to redefine my own masculinity. I can take all the bits I like (e.g. the chivalry), reject the bad bits and infuse this in my own female-lived experience.

  2. Very well said. I don't know if I agree with the word "crisis" in particular, but I definitely agree – as a straight cis male who likes being that way but doesn't feel it has to define every aspect of him, and who appreciates women who refuse to be simplistically defined – that we as a culture are in the process of rediscovering and redefining gender roles. This is ultimately all for the good, I think: just as we (well, some of us) accept that being "female" or "feminine" doesn't have to mean accepting everything about traditional female roles and traits, we have to be accepting of the fact that men are constrained in many ways too. Shaz, I like what you say about "taking the bits you like" and leaving the rest – I feel like that's the way to improving everything.

  3. I loved this article! Very well done with some serious food for thought. Can't wait to read part 2.

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  1. Year In Review On Sugarbutch: 2009 – Sugarbutch Chronicles

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