This book argues that masculine identity is in deep crisis in Western culture - the old forms are disintegrating, while men struggle to establish new relations with women and with each other. This book offers a fresh look at gender, particularly masculinity, by using material from the author's work as a psychotherapist. The book also considers the contrubtions made by feminism, sociology and anthropology to the study of gender, and suggests that it must be studied from an interdisciplinary standpoint. Masculity is seen to have economic, political and psychological roots, but the concrete development of gender must be traced in the relations of the male infant with his parents. Here the young boy has to separate from his mother, and his own proto-feminine identity, and identify with his father - but in Western culture fathering is often deficient. Male identity is shown to be fractured, fragile and truncated. Men are trained to be rational and violent, and to shut out whole areas of existence and feeling. Many stereotypes imprison men - particularly machismo, which is shown to be deeply masochistic and self-destructive.
'Gender, together with race and class, has become one of the most important cultural categories of modern consciousness - and unconsciousness. In this compelling account of the dilemmas, dangers and delights of modern masculinity, Horrocks, an academic turned psychotherapist, combines in a unique way a penetrating sociological and literary analysis with sensitive and knowledgeable psychoannalytic insights (not to mention Film, Anthropology, Pop and Zen). Echoing The Female Eunuch he sees the fragility at the heart of maleness, the meekness of the macho, the fear of female power in partriarchal attitudes. At a time of bruising unemployment and epidemic suicide among young males, this book - humane but unsentimental, eclectic but harmonious, personal but not mawkish, scholarly but never obsucre - is likely to establish itself immediately as a contemporary classic.' - Jeremy Holmes, MB, BCh, FRCPsych
Acknowledgements Introductions Exploring Gender Power and Powerlessness Gender and Patriarchy The First Woman The Fragile Male Male Autism Rippers, Muggers, Soldiers Male Images and Stereotypes Growing Up Conclusions Appendix: Films Cited Notes Index