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The Father-Son Archetype in Therapy By Garry Gilfoy

17 Jul



Original post from Huffington Post

By Garry Gilfoy

I was recently asked to deliver professional learning to some counselors and psychotherapists on the topic of “men’s issues.” I left my son’s football game to do so and found a gathering of about 60 people. Perhaps 10 of these were men, all but one or two of them, sat on the periphery of the very large room.

I started by reading a poem called Rain From Nowhere by Murray Hartin. It speaks of a man with a young family. We catch him on the day he intends to end his life. After years of drought, he can’t see any way to hold on to the farm, which has been in his family for generations. That same day, he receives a letter from his father telling him of the tough times he’d had on the farm and how important it was to hang in there for his wife and children.

Everything will be all right, assures his dad. It’s a heartbreaking poem. I can’t read it — even to myself — without tears rolling down my cheeks. The whole room cried with me. When I composed myself again, I asked these therapists what it was about the poem that moved them. It was, predictably, the father-son relationship.

Continue reading

Week in Review: July 6-12

13 Jul

Masculinities 101 went on a short break this week. Please check back next week for new content and blogs, including an entry from regular contributor, Clay Darcy, on selfies!

In the meantime, check out a few interesting masculinities related articles from around the web:

Bryn Donovan writes about the effects of gendered names and publishing poetry in this piece from (Un)surprisingly, she finds that using a male pseudonym made publishing her work easier.

In sports news, Prince Fielder, a first baseman for the Texas Rangers, appeared on the cover of ESPN The Magazine. This article from the Daily Beast reminds us that athletic bodies come in all shapes and sizes despite the public shock over Fielder’s lack of a six pack.

The game, Dungeons and Dragons, now embraces gender nonconformity! This piece from explains the new rules, which allow characters to break out of traditional sex/gender/sexualities boxes.

Trigger warning: This eye opening piece on reveals that while many men will not admit that they have committed sexual assault or rape, some will answer “yes” to a set of questions asking about coercive or abusive behaviors. Read more about the reported studies here.

Ladies Only Comedy: By Aimee Lutkin

16 Jun





Awhile ago I was exchanging emails with a  popular comedy venue  trying to book a show and even though it was a show stacked with talent my main selling point was, “It’s ladies only!” The response to that was, “Great, we’re always looking for women only revues.” Cool.

Let’s talk Lady Only comedy.

It’s fucking great. You can just chill out and laugh and make all the jokes about being on your period that you like. It can be inspiring as you look around at all these wonderful women who are funny, smart and ambitious. It can be healing, a ‘safe space’ where you can be away from the pressure of representing your sex in a room full of men or just a break from the common sexist tropes that pop up so frequently at open mics, improv and sketch in the broader comedy community. It may be the only place you actually do feel safe.

It also kind of sucks. Because you can’t stay there forever and when you come back nothing has changed in that broader world, the ‘real’ world that belongs to men. And there are a million shows that aren’t Ladies Only, they’re Seven Dudes One Lady or what I call a Snow White Panel.

What would it be like if every single show had to have gender balance (sorry I am working within the binary here for the sake of simplicity) rather than the occasional Ladies Only show attempting to make up for the lack of representation for women?

The landscape would change completely. It wouldn’t be The World and then the Women’s Anteroom. The World would be our world, shared and universal. Then men could have their Men Only shows occasionally and it would be a fun bit instead of just reality. Women wouldn’t be exhausting their creativity and ability on coming up with ways to work around the cultural roadblocks that keep them from being seen, respected or taken seriously as comedians. We wouldn’t have to be so angry and we wouldn’t have to pretend to not be angry. That’s what I find most exhausting, personally…acting like I’m cool with misogyny so I don’t get blacklisted forever from The World where that’s the norm.

There are a lot of successful women in comedy who work in pairs, one popular example being Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson of Broad City. In web series: The Pursuit of Sexiness with Nicole Byer and Sasheer Zamata, #hotmessmoves with Ashley Skidmore and Lyle Friedman, SRSLY. with Alexandra Fiber and Danielle Gibson, DIBS with Tracy Soren and Jessie Jolles. They all produce great work but when I look at this list there’s a thought that cycles through my head, a thought I hate, which is: Did these women come together because men wouldn’t listen to them?

I hate that thought for 2 reasons. 1. The answer is probably, in some part, yes. 2. Even though they rose above it they essentially had to do it by leaving The World and going to the Women’s Anteroom. And it’s hard to leave the Women’s Anteroom once you’re in there, not just because it’s more comfortable but because now you have a reputation. You’re a Lady Comedian now. You can be Snow White and you can book the Ladies Only show. But in a business that’s constantly commodifying people you’ll be pushed into your category and it will be pretty damn hard to get out. Right now the broadest ‘alternative’ category is WOMEN and that is pretty frustrating even when it means you get to book your all lady show at a popular revue. Or have a show on Comedy Central (um, I’d take it tho, call me, CC!)

I just want to be a regular person. I want to make jokes and have observations and play characters without it being a ‘woman’s perspective’. Does Ladies Only comedy serve that? Sometimes I think it just perpetuates the perception that there is a division between what the sexes are supposed to perceive as funny or relevant.  Sometimes I’m insanely grateful the Ladies Only spaces exist because they facilitate women connecting and growing as performers, without the insane competition for that spot on the Snow White Panel.

Maybe I’m being shortsighted. Maybe more and more of us will cram into the Woman’s Anteroom until it can’t hold us anymore. It’ll burst and we’ll spill out, gleefully cascading across the landscape, transforming it like a glacier does (much faster, hopefully) until we can’t even tell where the walls once stood.

June 1-7 Week in Review

7 Jun

This week, Masculinities 101 was featured on the blog, Girl With Pen. The editors of Masculinities 101 would like to thank Girl With Pen for giving us the opportunity to share our blog on a site that we all admire so much!

Cliff Leek posted an expanded commentary on Elliot Rodger on Masculinities 101. After his initial op-ed with Michael Kimmel in the New York Daily News, Cliff has appeared on a few radio shows (89.3KPCC Southern California Public Radio and Wisconsin Public Radio) to address racism and misogyny in this senseless act of violence.

Also on Masculinities 101 Cheryl Llewellyn discussed Jonah Hill’s apology for using a homophobic slur. Visit the post to discuss the utility of these types of public apology.

The campaign, #notallmen (a hash tag used to indicate frustration against the idea that all men are involved in gender oppression, see this discussion in Slate) gained more traction this week. In response, we have seen the emergence of the hash tag, #yesallwomen (used to signify that all women experience gender inequality), as well as a piece in the New York Times entitled Yes, All Men.

The June 2014 issue of Men and Masculinities was published, including new articles on masculinity, heterosexuality and marital status; white masculinity in both the Canadian and Australian context; masculinities in prisons; and masculinities amongst “power gym” male boxers.


Hate Speech and Apologies: Contemplating Jonah Hill’s Apology for Homophobic Slurs

4 Jun


This past weekend, Jonah Hill came under fire after spewing a homophobic slur at a member of the paparazzi (if you want to see the video, you can visit The cameraman caught the hateful language on film and shared it with the press, causing some backlash against the actor. Yesterday, Hill took to the airwaves on the Howard Stern Show* to present a public apology. Hill explained, “This person had been following me around all day, had been saying hurtful things about my family, really hurtful things about me personally. And I played into exactly what he wanted and lost my cool. And in that moment, I said a disgusting word that does not at all reflect how I feel about any group of people… I’m not at all defending my choice of words, but I’m happy to be the poster boy for thinking about what you say and how those words — even if you don’t intend them — and how they’re rooted in hate and that’s bullshit and I shouldn’t have said that” (cited from Time). Continue reading

Week(s) in Review: May 1- May 9

9 May

From Masculinities 101

We were lucky to have some great new contributors this week at Masculinities 101!

Stacy Torres, a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at New York University with a recent op-ed in the New York Times, contributed her first piece for Masculinities 101. May is Older Americans Month, and Stacy reminds us to think about the specific risks for men’s mental health as they age.

Anders Wallace, a Ph.D. student in anthropology at CUNY Graduate Center, also contributed for the first time with some reflections on his fieldwork in “seduction communities.” His work illuminates the tactics and underside of pickup artist coaches in NYC.


From the Web

Jennifer Haskin published this piece in the Gender and Society blog explaining the need for changes in parental leave for fathers.

Time published this article by a Princeton student, who never apologizes for having white male privilege. You can read a discussion and then a follow-up statement by @dexidigi.

Check out this interesting piece by Matt LeMay, in which he explains that “boys who like computers are taught that we DESERVE (emphasis in original) sexual attention from women. We need to get over it.” Maculinities 101 readers, discuss.


From the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities

Brett Stoudt presented his work on May 2, 2014 at the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities at Stony Brook Manhattan Campus. His presentation, entitled Brooks Brothers and the Ivy League, described his research at an elite private school. Check out the video here.

Fábio Nascimento, a visiting scholar at the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities, presented his work on May 5, 2014 at Stony Brook main campus. He described the discourse of “discreetness” among men who have sex with men in Brazil. Check out the video here.

Mental Health, Aging, and Men and Masculinities

7 May


May is Older Americans Month, and this year’s theme, “Safe Today, Healthy Tomorrow,” focuses on injury prevention—particularly important for older men. While women face greater poverty rates as they age,[1] they have some advantages in late life. Despite higher rates of living alone they have a much lower risk of social isolation than men. And in their later years they can better draw on the relationships they have built over a lifetime. Men, on the other hand, face greater difficulty remaining socially connected. For example, widowers typically lose contact with the social circles that their wives nurtured. Continue reading

Week in Review: April 20-26

25 Apr

Interesting Reads:

From Masculinities 101

Clay Darcy completed his three part series about masculinities and a pub crawl. Check out part 1, part 2, and part 3! And look for another piece from Clay on the “man tan” in May!

Anna Sophie Bach wrote a piece about the cultural tales of henpecked husbands. She previously presented this work at the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities.

Tal Peretz reflected on the issue of accountability for men’s groups by reflecting on recent presentations in NYC. Read his post and join the conversation about men’s participation in issues of gender inequality.

From the Web

On Sunday’s Meet the Press, two white men, David Brooks from the New York Times and NBC’s Chuck Todd, decided President Obama had a “manhood problem.” Read Salon’s reaction, which also includes Sunday’s clip.

This article from Social Science and Medicine bridges medical research and the social science tradition by reporting on men’s levels of stress, social influence, and threats to their masculinities. Based on observations from small group interactions, the findings suggest that social influence is an important component of men’s achievement of masculinity.

Mad Men is back in full swing for its final season on AMC. This show has provided a look into the world of working men, nuclear families, and changing racial and gender relations in the 1960s and 70s. Check out a recap of last week’s episode. Or better yet, set your DVR to catch the final season.

From the News

A New Hampshire state representative says women deserve less pay than men?! Check out this article from .

The Huffington Post reports that a new study finds that men keep their underwear for 7 years on average. How did someone find the time and money for this study?

A study finds that gender conformity is more likely to lead to “cancer-causing behavior.” Read more about this interesting correlation in this Huffington Post article.


Upcoming at the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities:

Friday, May 2, 4-6pm: Presentation by Brett Stout, Stony Brook Manhattan campus

Monday, May 5, 2-4pm: Presentation by Fabio Santiago, Stony Brook University main campus


90-Day Fiancé and the Shaming of ‘Mail Order Brides’ (Huffington Post REBLOG)

10 Apr

This post, written by Masculinities 101 contributor Julia Meszaros, originally appeared in the Huffington Post.

See the original post here.


The new TLC (The Learning Channel) show 90-Day Fiancé “offers a never
before seen look into the world of international dating and
matrimony.” The show follows five American men that have filed for K-1
visas, also known as 90-day fiancé visas, for their potential foreign
spouses from Russia, the Philippines, Colombia, Ukraine and Brazil.
These visas allow potential foreign spouses to spend ninety days in
the U.S. In that ninety days, the couple must get married or the non
U.S. citizen must return to their country. This show provides an
important look into the cultural negotiations that accompany
international dating, but still reproduces negative stereotypes
surrounding so called “mail order brides.” Continue reading

Men in Roller Derby: A Review of This is How I Roll

12 Mar


Last Saturday, March 8, I attended a screening of the documentary, This is How I Roll, at the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities in the Stony Brook University Manhattan campus building. This is How I Roll traces the evolution of men’s roller derby in the United States (and to some extent, around the globe), capturing the perspectives of men who tried to enter a sport dominated by women. The film maker follows grassroots organized teams, in particular the New York Shock Exchange, who seek out a space in the sport of roller derby. Alongside the development of the men’s teams, we see the backlash from the women’s teams, players, and national organizations, including the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association. By the end of the film, the men’s teams have gained greater acceptance with the women’s organizations and they all have hopes of taking the sport to the Olympics.

 After the screening, a panel—including the director, Kat Vecchio; a producer and activist, Abigail Disney; New York Stock Exchange team member, “Patrick Bateman”; and a sociology professor, Tyson Smith—spoke about the themes of gender and masculinities in the documentary. Kat Vecchio said that she made the film because she noticed the exclusionary tactics of her fellow roller derby participants when she was a member of the Gotham Girls, a famous New York City roller derby league. She likened her teammates’ exclusion of men in roller derby to men’s exclusion of women in just about every other arena. Seeing this as an opportunity to capture a growing underdog movement, she picked up her camera and started filming.

The documentary and the director’s comments brought up some larger questions with which I have been grappling and may be of interest to other scholars of gender and masculinities and activists. First, can we equate the discrimination faced by the men’s roller derby teams to women’s historical exclusion in other sports? If men wield power in the rest of the sporting world, is it fair to compare their exclusion in this one particular instance to the history of women’s exclusion from sports? On one hand, the roller derby women employed many of the same tactics used to exclude women in other sports. For example, the roller derby women explained that men’s bodies are too big for the roller derby track, an argument eerily similar to the justification for excluding women and their small bodies from the football field. On the other hand, the women were understandably protective of their sport; this was a safe space for them and something that they could claim as their own. Since sports are historically male dominated, is there some political importance to women having a sports space of their own?

The second point that I am left contemplating is the extent to which activists can harness situations like this to engage men in gender equality projects. After the screening, an audience member asked if the men felt any solidarity with female athletes who are marginalized in other sports, such as the WNBA. Though it seemed like “Patrick Bateman,” a member of the New York Shock Exchange, felt compassion for female athletes, it was clear that the men’s roller derby movement is not a political one. Men’s roller derby teams are not trying to produce greater gender equality through their sporting participation; they just want to play. This is a moment, though, in which men can understand the experience of oppression based on gender, a situation in which they rarely find themselves; moreover, the men who participate display non-normative masculinities, and are relatively open to queer and gender nonconforming teammates. It seems, then, that this is a space that could be harnessed for gender activism. How can we translate individual compassion into political sensitivity and action? How do we link these common experiences to produce solidarity and create social change?

I encourage you all to see This is How I Roll. In addition to giving us food for thought about gender and masculinities, it is a really well done documentary that will surely keep you entertained.

Make sure to check this blog and the Center for the Study of Men & Masculinities website for information about upcoming sponsored events.

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