Frontiers in Men’s Studies25 June 2008
Welcome to Men on the Moon, a blog devoted to issue concerning men, masculinities and the manifold expressions of gender. As you may know, since the 1990s the field of men’s studies has exploded, producing literary criticism, sociological reports, psychological insights, even biomedical advances. While the field has benefited deeply from women’s and feminist studies, it is still in its nascent stage, and so an exciting place to be doing work. Men’s studies asks, on a critical level, the questions most of have asked at some time in our lives: What makes a “real” man? Is there one type of masculinity, or many? Are fathers important? Why do so many men struggle to treat women well? Are gay men different than straight? Why do so many men addicted to drugs, video games, porn, etc.? What comes from nature, and what from nurture? I invite you to ponder these important questions with me over the next months and years.
Why “Men on the Moon”? For various reasons. It has a lot to do with the kind of pantheon Americans have set up with astronauts, especially the early “pioneers” of outerspace. It summons a kind of boldness (even the irrational boldness) which I love about so many of the men I know. It also suggests the socio-political tones of male privilege – “One small step for man . . .” – and yet acknowledges the way many men are reinventing themselves, largely in relation to the “lunar” half of human society, women. And so on and so forth.
I hope to comment on a broad range of issues. My studies in the past have revolved around men and religion, so there will be a disproportionate number of posts with that theme. This is more of a forum than an academic outlet for me, and should be treated as such. Any opinions spilled on this site are penultimate; do not quote me on your undergrad paper! And, intentionally or unintentially, some of the posts will cause sparks. It’s only a matter of time before I say something misleading or insensitive or just flat-out wrong. Let me say right at the fore that my own sensibilities tend toward a kind of radical moderation: I tend to believe that culture is largely responsible for generating masculinity codes, and that there are better and healthier expressions of masculinity than others; I also believe that there are some patterns, influenced by biological design, that should be reckoned with, and even celebrated. In other words, I tend to have something to offend everyone. For this I beg your mercy and your patience.
Feel free to bookmark this page. And welcome to the blog.