Michael Kimmel, Florida, Jonathan discussed on Life Examined


But the very idea of masculinity has has now proved for many men to be painful to be harmful, So I think that it's not. It's not inconsistent at all. Um, and you're also witnessing the political mobilization off white masculine grievance. Because the world has changed toward a more egalitarian world. In the subtitle of My book, Angry White Men was American Masculinity at the end of an era and the end of the era. That it was at the is at the end is an era of that just assumed white male entitlement that idea that of course, we are in charge. You can do what you want, but we're but clearly we're in charge. We have the power and that is no longer that can no longer be taken for granted. That can no longer be assumed. And I think that's a s. Oh, yes, I do think that many men are really are in trouble and the more tightly we cling to those archaic ideas of masculinity. I think the more trouble we're gonna be in So how is this kind of older generation making sense of this change in masculinity? You know, we we hear this for along the rust belt, for example of places like that. Is it one that you think men are are taking up and thinking that this is a positive change? Because I feel like there's a lot of pushback on this idea as well. There is a lot of pushback against it. Of course, I think, as I said to you before, I think young people hold the future on this, and they're much more. On there. They're much more likely to be comfortable with with gender equality than other than previous generations. So that's so that's part of why I'm I'm you know, no one has ever called me a hardened pessimist. As a result, I think, because I do have that faith in them. Yes, it is true that in in The rest belt in, you know, in in every neighborhood. There are people who cling very tightly to older ideas. And on a world for which they're not. Well, you know, they they're not. Those ideas are not well suited. And so I think that I I think that that's what we're going to witness where witness that we've been witnessing the politics of sort of, you know, white male grievance. Uh, but I think that that Politically what we also witnesses that men who are in engaged in more egalitarian relationships at work at home more emotionally, resident relationships with their friends, more emotionally connecting with their Children are happier. Now. I don't think that these answers, Jonathan and this is important. These answers Just don't come from a psychological, you know, transformation. They come. You know, If you look at the countries that are the happiest in the world, they also have a strong safety net. So that, for example, men who believe as men have always believed throughout American history that what makes a man a man is that he is a provider and a protector. Those are the two words that men have used since the beginning. The founding of our country provider and protector and as the ability to be a provider has become more and more unstable, more and more threatened. I think men have been buying guns to be better protectors. I think they see that as a way to compensate for the for their inability to be providers. I think that those ideas about being provided and being a protector are the ideas that we have carried with us for centuries on day are now and what a relief it is. When you look at countries that have strong safety net that have great greater gender equality than we do what a relief it is to be able to share that burden. It also makes me wonder Michael. What What do we do with this thing older and it might be now on outdated sense of masculinity, because, yes, Perhaps some are slow to accept this new version, but at the same time, I don't think is a country or in terms of community mental health. We want to sit by and watch people suffer at the same time or have these high rates of suicide. Or or diet yet a younger ages. I mean, what do you think needs to happen on the moor societal level? Well as exactly at him at a more societal level, we need to establish that we don't that we are that we care about people. As they age. We care about people who have who are unemployed. We care about people who who don't have adequate healthcare. Um, that this is you know, we have we have We have turned our back. On these men, and then we complain that they're that they're yelling and screaming. It seems to me that we have done it done them a terrible disservice their right to be angry because we've ignored them, and we've abandoned them. But the way to not ignore them. The way to not abandon them is not to simply fulfill their you know, is not to simply take their perspective but rather link it to the perspective of other groups that are also marginalized that also don't feel Connected that also don't feel included and make coalitions that are broad and class based rather than you know, it might might my experience with the angry white men when I interviewed white supremacists and skinheads and neo Nazis of several years ago, one of the things that I kept thinking to myself with These these men are. I'm sorry to use this metaphor now because you know, because it's so proper the post office so problema ties, But I kept thinking we're delivering their mail to the wrong address. Yes, of course. They have been downsized, outsourced. You know they their future is more uncertain, But it wasn't LGBT people who did. It wasn't feminist women who did it. Was that immigrants who did it, So it seemed to me that they were angry, but they were. They were directing their anger at the wrong at the wrong people, and they have a lot of help. Directing their anger to the wrong people, because that's mostly what hate radio does. I also noticed you've been using the word white male grievance, which I think is really important word here. Do you think there is also this type of a change happening in Latino populations in black populations across America? Specifically these questions of masculinity. I think so. I think that there are there are lots of different groups and lots of people who have studied the questions of marginalized communities and how masculine the plays out, and one of the things that is particularly important there is that is questions. For example, among Latino men or among African American man is questions about fatherhood in connection to Children. What we the stereotype is that black men, for example, have have Children with different women and that they abandon them. They're irresponsible. Not at all true. Turns out that lots of lots of these men and spend a lot of time with Children from earlier relationships. They spend a lot of time his father's. It is not nearly the kinds of stereotypes that we used to have. But this idea of that That s O. That's one route, the other route of courses through work through the workplace. We are working in in work places that are more diverse than any workplaces are grand. I mean, my grandfather would have no, we have had no frame of reference for the workplaces. That that is that my son is about to face absolutely no frame of reference. It wouldn't have. It wouldn't have crossed his mind my thought my grandfather. Both my grandfathers worked in all male work environments for 40 years they retired. They got a gold, watch a testimonial dinner and moved to a condo in Florida. And that was what they did. And they never had women colleagues, co workers, bosses, supervisors anything of the kind They had very little diversity in their workplace. That world is gone. And if we're going to think that we can prepare young men for that world. We are still preparing them for the world that they're actually going to inhabit, and that's a source of real strain psychologically when they then enter that world and their ill prepared for it. Well, Michael Kimmel. Thank you so much for this conversation today..

Coming up next