Angry White Men
American Masculinity at the End of an Era
Nation Books 2015
New Books in American StudiesNew Books in AnthropologyNew Books in Gender StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in SociologyNew Books Network December 18, 2015 Lilian Calles Barger
Michael Kimmel is the Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at Stony Brook University. He is also executive director of the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities. His book Angry White Men: American Masculinity at the End of an Era (Nation Books, 2013) is an engaging and eye-opening book about the lives and attitudes of white men who are expressing rage and feelings of “aggrieved entitlement” in a new age of gender relations. In the vast social, economy and political changes women have gained increased equality in the home, and the workplace, while many straight white males are experiencing a sense of loss. Having worked hard and fulfilled what they view as the requirements of masculinity, men now find that the economic rewards are slow in coming. Kimmel has spent hundreds of hours talking with men from different economic and social stations who blame women, blacks, and gays for their troubles. With a sympathetic ear, he examines the social construction of men’s anger express in politicized anti-immigrant, anti-gay, and racist sentiment flamed by right-wing media. Feeling that the system is now stacked against them, we are seeing outbreaks of mass murder by young men at schools and workplaces and men’s rights activism which seeks to restore male privilege and “stolen” fathers’ rights to extreme cases of battering and murder of women. Through the political mobilization of the Extreme Right represented in the Tea Party, Neo-Nazi groups and religious fundamentalism, men are expressing despair over their perceived loss of status. White supremacist groups are drawing a growing number of women who are embracing old models of gender relations and the slogan of “taking our country back.” The beginning of the end of patriarchy, Kimmel argues, is also the start of a better life for men. Gender and racial equality are good for white men and their children. What is needed is not only to turn down the volume of white male rage, but also to empower men to embrace a new definition of manhood that frees them from a sense of entitlement and opens up for them an equalitarian future.
Lilian Calles Barger, www.lilianbarger.com, is a cultural, intellectual and gender historian. Her current book project is entitled The World Come of Age: Religion, Intellectuals and the Challenge of Human Liberation.