Five books on being a man


To mark the International Men’s Day on November 19th,  we have picked five books from library collections. The following books approach men and manhood from several points of view, discussing what it means to be a man today.

For more reading tips, see library recommendations.

Corbett, K. (2009). Boyhoods: Rethinking Masculinities. Yale University Press.

Corbett argues that no two boys are the same, and no two boyhoods are the same either. He sees masculinity as a social construction, and as such it varies in different social contexts. In Boyhoods, he challenges the existing myths of masculinity, asking difficult questions: Should boyhood femininity be suppressed? Can aggression be productive? Can aggression be healthy?

Buchholz, Z. D., & Boyce, S. K. (2009). Masculinity: Gender Roles, Characteristics and Coping. Nova.

Buchholz focuses on male coping skills and how they can be affected by gender roles. The socially accepted standards of masculinity can both create stress and limit the ability to relieve stress. In stead of choosing the best response to any given situation, some men choose their response from what they see as the socially acceptable male response.

Hobson, B., Hobson, B. M. (2002). Making Men into Fathers: Men, Masculinities and the Social Politics of Fatherhood. Cambridge University Press.

In Making Men into Fathers, prominent scholars consider how varied institutional settings and policy logics around cash and care contour the possibilities and constraints for new models of fatherhood, determining the choices open to men. Are there really only two choices: either a deadbeat dad or and engaged one?

Moss, M. (2012). Media and the Models of Masculinity. Lexington Books.

Several of the above-mentioned books discuss masculinity as a social construction. A big part of what keeps the myths alive is modern media, from advertising to popular television. Moss approaches masculinity in media critically, discussing everything from fashion to sports and more, showing us how media has helped us fashion our ideas on what it means to be a man.

McDowell, C. (1997). The man of fashion: Peacock males and perfect gentlemen. Thames and Hudson.

To balance the social criticism of the four previous titles, we bring you a visual celebration of the men who have wanted to set themselves apart from the socially accepted norm. McDowell shows how male style has developed through history, from medieval knights to the role models of today.

Thank you for the photo: Pexels@Pixabay 

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