Masculism or masculinism may variously refer to advocacy of the rights or needs of men and boys; and the adherence to or promotion of attributes (opinions, values, attitudes, habits) regarded as typical of men and boys. The terms may also refer to the men's rights or men's movement.
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According to the historian Judith Allen, Charlotte Perkins Gilman coined the term masculism in 1914, when she gave a public lecture series in New York entitled "Studies in Masculism". Apparently the printer did not like the term and tried to change it. Allen writes that Gilman used masculism to refer to the opposition of misogynist men to women's rights and, more broadly, to describe "men's collective political and cultural actions on behalf of their own sex", or what Allen calls the "sexual politics of androcentric cultural discourses". Gilman referred to men and women who opposed women's suffrage as masculists—women who collaborated with these men were "Women Who Won't Move Forward"—and described World War I as "masculism at its worst".
In response to the lecture, W. H. Sampson wrote in a letter to the New York Times that women must share the blame for war: "It is perfectly useless to pretend that men have fought, struggled and labored for themselves, while women have stayed at home, wishing they wouldn't, praying before the shrines for peace, and using every atom of their influence to bring about a holy calm."
Definition and scope
The Oxford English Dictionary (2000) defines masculinism, and synonymously masculism, as: "Advocacy of the rights of men; adherence to or promotion of opinions, values, etc., regarded as typical of men; (more generally) anti-feminism, machismo." According to Susan Whitlow in The Encyclopedia of Literary and Cultural Theory (2011), the terms are "used interchangeably across disciplines". Sociologist Robert Menzies wrote in 2007 that both terms are common in men's rights and anti-feminist literature: "The intrepid virtual adventurer who boldly goes into these unabashedly mascul(in)ist spaces is quickly rewarded with a torrent of diatribes, invectives, atrocity tales, claims to entitlement, calls to arms, and prescriptions for change in the service of men, children, families, God, the past, the future, the nation, the planet, and all other things non-feminist."
The gender-studies scholar Julia Wood describes masculinism as an ideology asserting that women and men should have different roles and rights owing to fundamental differences between them, and that men suffer from discrimination and "need to reclaim their rightful status as men". Sociologists Arthur Brittan and Satoshi Ikeda describe masculinism as an ideology justifying male domination in society. Masculinism, according to Brittan, maintains that there is "a fundamental difference" between men and women and rejects feminist arguments that male–female relationships are political constructs.
According to Ferrel Christensen, a Canadian philosopher and president of the former Alberta-based Movement for the Establishment of Real Gender Equality, "Defining 'masculism' is made difficult by the fact that the term has been used by very few people, and by hardly any philosophers." He differentiates between "progressive masculists", who welcome many of the societal changes promoted by feminists, while believing that some measures to reduce sexism against women have increased it against men, and an "extremist version" of masculism that promotes male supremacy. He argued that if masculism and feminism refer to the belief that men/women are systematically discriminated against, and that this discrimination should be eliminated, there is not necessarily a conflict between feminism and masculism, and some assert that they are both. However, many believe that one sex is more discriminated against, and thus use one label and reject the other.
The political scientist Georgia Duerst-Lahti distinguishes between masculism, which expresses the ethos of the early gender-egalitarian men's movement, and masculinism, which refers to the ideology of patriarchy. Sociologists Melissa Blais and Francis Dupuis-Déri equate masculist and masculinist, attributing the former to author Warren Farrell. The most common term, they argue, is the "men's movement"; they write that there is a growing consensus in the French-language media that the movement should be referred to as masculiniste. According to Whitlow, masculinist theory such as Farrell's and that of gender-studies scholar R.W. Connell developed alongside third-wave feminism and queer theory, and was influenced by those theories' questioning of traditional gender roles and the meaning of terms such as man and woman.
According to Bethany M. Coston and Michael Kimmel, members of the mythopoetic men's movement identify as masculinist. Nicholas Davidson, in The Failure of Feminism (1988), calls masculism "virism": "Where the feminist perspective is that social ills are caused by the dominance of masculine values, the virist perspective is that they are caused by a decline of those values. ..." Christensen calls virism "an extreme brand of masculism and masculinism".
Areas of interest
Education and employment
Violence and suicide
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|Violence against men|
|Sexual assault and rape|
They also express concern about violence against men being ignored or minimized in comparison to violence against women, asserting gender symmetry in domestic violence. Another of Farrell's concerns is that traditional assumptions of female innocence or sympathy for women, termed benevolent sexism, may lead to unequal penalties for women and men who commit similar crimes, to lack of sympathy for male victims in domestic violence cases when the perpetrator is female, and to dismissal of female-on-male sexual assault and sexual harassment cases.
A masculist approach to gender studies, which have frequently focused on woman-based or feminist approaches, examines oppression within a masculinist, patriarchal society from a male standpoint.
South African masculinist evangelical movements
In the wake of the abolition of apartheid, South Africa saw a resurgence of masculinist Christian evangelical groups, led by the Mighty Men Conference and a complementary Worthy Women Conference. The latter saw the development of "formenism": "Formenism, like masculinism, subscribes to a belief in the inherent superiority of men over women (in other words, only men can be leaders), but unlike masculinism, it not an ideology developed and sustained by men, but one constructed, endorsed and sustained by women." The Mighty Men movement harkens back to the Victorian idea of Muscular Christianity. Feminist scholars argue that the movement's lack of attention to women's rights and the struggle for racial equality makes it a threat to women and to the stability of the country. Scholar Miranda Pillay argues that the Mighty Men movement appeal lies in its resistance to gender equality as incompatible with Christian values, and in raising patriarchy to a "hyper-normative status", beyond challenge by other claims to power.
The Worthy Women movement is an auxiliary to Mighty Men in advocating menism, a belief in the inherent superiority of men over women. Their leader, Gretha Wiid, blames South Africa's disorder on the liberation of women, and aims to restore the nation through its families, making women again subservient to men. Her success is attributed to her balancing claims that God created the gender hierarchy, but that women are no less valuable than men, and that restoration of traditional gender roles relieves existential anxiety in post-apartheid South Africa.
|Look up masculism in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- Men's organizations
- Notable people associated with masculism
- Melissa Blais and Francis Dupuis-Déri (Social Movement Studies, 2012): "In English, they [masculinist and masculinism] generally designate either a way of thinking whose referent is the masculine or simply a patriarchal ideology (Watson, 1996), rather than a component of the antifeminist social movement. In English, 'men's movement' is the most common term, though some, like Warren Farrell, use 'masculist' or the more restrictive 'fathers' rights movement'." Wendy McElroy (Fox News, 3 June 2003): "Gender issues are being rocked by masculinism—sometimes called men's rights or the Men's Movement."
- The OED offers a second, obsolete, definition of masculism: "masculism, n. †1. The possession of masculine physical traits by a woman. Obselete. rare. Apparently an isolated use, completely superseded by masculinization (see n. 2). 2. masculinism n."
- Brittan calls masculinism "the ideology that justifies and naturalizes male domination ... the ideology of patriarchy".
- Bunnin, Nicholas; Yu, Jiyuan (2004). The Blackwell Dictionary of Western Philosophy. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Publishing. p. 411. ISBN 1-40-510679-4.
- Christensen, Ferrell (2005) . "Masculism". In Honderich, Ted (ed.). The Oxford Companion to Philosophy (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. pp. 562–563. ISBN 0-19-926479-1. LCCN 94-36914.
- Cathy Young (July 1994). "Man Troubles: Making Sense of the Men's Movement". Reason.
Masculism (mas'kye liz*'em), n. 1. the belief that equality between the sexes requires the recognition and redress of prejudice and discrimination against men as well as women. 2. the movement organized around this belief.
- Blais, Melissa; Dupuis-Déri, Francis (2012). "Masculinism and the Antifeminist Countermovement". Social Movement Studies. 11 (1): (21–39), 22–23. doi:10.1080/14742837.2012.640532.
- McElroy, Wendy (3 June 2003). "Gender Issues Impacted by Masculinists". Fox News. Archived from the original on 13 May 2019.
- Allen, Judith A. (2009). The Feminism of Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Sexualities, Histories, Progressivism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 353.
- Allen 2009, p. 152.
- Allen 2009, p. 353.
- Allen 2009, pp. 136–137.
- Allen 2009, p. 127.
- Sampson, W. H. (3 April 1914). "Not All Man's Fault". The New York Times. p. 10.
- Leary, Andrea M. (2005). "Charlotte Perkins Gilman as a Master of Audience: Newspaper Reviewers Expose a Radical Lecturer". Resources for American Literary Study: (216–235), 224. JSTOR 26366994.
- masculinism, n. Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. 2000.
- masculism, n. Oxford English Dictionary Online (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. 2000.
- Whitlow, Susan (2011). "Gender and Cultural Studies". The Encyclopedia of Literary and Cultural Theory, Volume 3. Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 1083–91. doi:10.1002/9781444337839.wbelctv3g003. ISBN 978-1-40-518312-3.
- Menzies, Robert (2007). "Virtual Backlash: Representations of Men's 'Rights' and Feminist 'Wrongs' in Cyberspace". In Chunn, Dorothy E.; Boyd, Susan; Lessard, Hester (eds.). Reaction and Resistance: Feminism, Law, and Social Change. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press. pp. 65, 91, note 2.
- Wood, Julia T. (2014). Gendered Lives: Communication, Gender, & Culture. Stamford, Conn.: Cengage Learning. p. 89. ISBN 978-1-28-507593-8.
- Brittan, Arthur (1989). Masculinity and Power. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. p. 4. ISBN 0-63-114167-7.
- Ikeda, Satoshi (2007). "Masculinity and masculinism under globalization". In Griffin-Cohen, M.; Brodie, J. (eds.). Remapping Gender in the New Global Order. Routledge. p. 112. ISBN 0-41-576997-3.
- Thorne, Duncan (20 June 2000). "Gender bias in pamphlet, says human rights officer". The Edmonton Journal. Archived from the original on 28 February 2001.; Menzies 2007, p. 91, note 7.
- Duerst-Lahti, Georgia (2008), "Gender Ideology: masculinism and femininalism", in Goertz, Gary; Mazur, Amy G. (eds.), Politics, gender, and concepts: theory and methodology, Cambridge University Press, pp. 159–192, ISBN 9780521723428
- Dupuis-Déri, Francis (2009). "Le 'masculinisme': une histoire politique du mot (en Anglais et en Français)" ['Masculinism': a political history of the term (in English and French)]. Recherches Féministes. 22 (2): 97–123. doi:10.7202/039213ar.
- Blais & Dupuis-Déri 2012, pp. 22–23.
- Coston, Bethany M.; Kimmel, Michael (2013). "White Men as the New Victims: Reverse Discrimination Cases and the Men's Rights Movement". Nevada Law Journal. 13 (2): (368–385), 371.
- Davidson, Nicholas (1988). The Failure of Feminism. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books. pp. 274–275. ISBN 9780879754082.
- Blais & Dupuis-Déri 2012, p. 23.
- Farrell, Warren (2001). The myth of male power: why men are the disposable sex. New York: Berkley Books. ISBN 9780425181447.
- Mvulane, Zama (November 25, 2008). "Do men suffer spousal abuse?". Cape Times. South Africa. p. 12. Archived from the original on February 21, 2009 – via IOL.
- Hoogensen, Gunhild; Solheim, Bruce O. (2006). "2. Women in Theory and Practice". Women in Power: World Leaders Since 1960. Praeger Publishers. p. 21. ISBN 0-275-98190-8. LCCN 2006015398 – via Google Books.
- Nadar, Sarojini; Potgieter, Cheryl (Fall 2010). "Liberated through submission?: The Worthy Woman's Conference as a case study of formenism". Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion. 26 (2): (141–151), 143. doi:10.2979/fsr.2010.26.2.141.
- Dube, Siphiwe (July 2015). "Muscular Christianity in contemporary South Africa: The case of the Mighty Men Conference". HTS Theological Studies/Teologiese Studies. AOSIS OpenJournals. 71 (3): 1–9.
- Dube, Siphiwe (November 2016). "Race, whiteness and transformation in the Promise Keepers America and the Mighty Men Conference: A comparative analysis". HTS Theological Studies/Teologiese Studies. AOSIS OpenJournals. 72 (1): 1–8.
- Pillay, Miranda (2015). "Mighty Men, Mighty Families: A pro-family Christian movement to (re)enforce patriarchal control?", in Conradie, Ernst M.; Pillay, Miranda, eds. (2015). Ecclesial reform and deform movements in the South African context. Stellenbosch, South Africa: African SUN MeDIA. pp. 61–77. ISBN 9781920689766.
- Nortjé-Meyer, Lilly (2015). "A movement seeking to embody support of patriarchal structures and patterns in church and society: Gertha Wiid's Worthy Women movement", in Conradie, Ernst M.; Pillay, Miranda, eds. (2015). Ecclesial reform and deform movements in the South African context. Stellenbosch, South Africa: African SUN MeDIA. pp. 86–93. ISBN 9781920689766.
- Nortjé-Meyer, Lilly (November 2011). "A critical analysis of Gretha Wiid's sex ideology and her biblical hermeneutics". Verbum et Ecclesia. AOSIS OpenJournals. 32 (1): 1–7.