men, masculinities and gender politics


Mick Leach

The Politics of Masculinity: An overview of contemporary theory


The political and theoretical challenges issued by contemporary feminism have provoked a range of cultural responses about men, and about masculinity. The dominant reaction is typified by the media-sponsored reassertion of tough male roles in popular drama (1), mirroring in style, if not extent, the narrow constrictions of the female beauty myth. By contrast, the last twenty years have witnessed a small but growing concern with the limitations and oppressive nature of conventional masculinity. This article seeks to describe the current ‘state of play’ in research which examines the politics of masculinity, arguing that the quality of theory is dependent upon its treatment of power relations.

[Citation: Leach, Mike. (1994). The Politics of Masculinity: An Overview of Contemporary Theory. Social Alternatives, 12(4), January, pp. 36-37.]