The American Man in Crisis
In aggregate, men in America are suffering. As many as ten million are missing from the workforce; jobs their fathers and grandfathers held have been automated and outsourced. Millions fewer boys are enrolling in college. Tens of thousands perished last year, victims of the opioid epidemic. One in ten black men in his thirties is incarcerated. What is the story behind all this data, and is modern masculinity part of the problem? How do we save the American man?
Michael KimmelSUNY Distinguished Professor, Stony Brook University; Author, Healing...
Caitlin FlanaganContributing Editor, The Atlantic; Author, Girl Land
Thomas Page McBeeWriter; Author, Man Alive
Tristan BridgesAssistant Professor, Department of Sociology, University of California...
Joseph Derrick NelsonVisiting Assistant Professor of Education, Teachers College, Columbia...
- 2018 Festival
Progress towards gender equality has been disjointed, contentious, and sometimes painful, but there is measurable progress being made. How have men reacted to this creeping equality? Some are panicked enough to label it a crisis. Listen to Michael Kimmel, professor of sociology and gender studies at Stony Brook University, explain the historical roots and current downfall of what he calls an “era of unquestioned male entitlement”:
In a discussion about whether masculinity is still alive and well in today’s society, Tristan Bridges, assistant professor in psychology at University of California Santa Barbara, draws on sociopsychological research to help answer the question. What happens if we challenge men in ways that would traditionally threaten their masculinity? Often, they react as many would expect: they double down on the behaviors that they see as masculine to prove they are who they outwardly identify as. In context of sociopsycological theory, Bridges explains, this is seen as a response to a social identity threat.
When Joseph Derrick Nelson, visiting assistant professor of education at Columbia University, got his start in education as an elementary school teacher, he was faced with the challenge of working around institutionalized conceptions of masculinity to best educate his students. Watch him explain how navigated this challenge:
When young men eschew emotional intimacy and resilience in favor of traditionally masculine traits, there’s a tacit understanding that they will benefit from this metamorphosis. Now that male privilege is being directly challenged, however, many men are grappling with never having developed the capacity to constructively address this changing landscape.