DEAN ARRINDELL

Former stay-at-home dad. Writes about manhood, politics, pop culture, race and a bit of Britain.

“Chicago Fire” is the rare TV show that celebrates a sort of uncomplicated masculinity— and, unlike sitcoms such as “Last Man Standing” and “Guys with Kids” celebrates it as though it were not under attack. These men are manly — they rescue people for a living — but they’re not misogynists (some jokes aside) or nerds or convinced that their gender is about to be destroyed. Many of them have lots of feelings. This makes them pretty rare.

I like this show, too. Maybe this is part of the reason why.

Read more of Willa Paskin’s article in Salon here.

[Rand] Paul’s challenge to Obama’s executive authority to order drone killings on U.S. soil represents a threat to the Republican Party’s monopoly on manliness — and hence part of its grip on millions of white male voters — for one simple but powerful reason: it shows that (white) men can adopt an anti-militaristic stance and not be dismissed as passive and weak.

This is a few weeks old, but it’s a good take on how Paul’s filibuster is unique for members the Republican Party who wrap up their individual sense of masculinity with the size and deployment of the U.S. military.

Read more of Jackson Katz’s piece in the Huffington Post.

What makes an ideal man? Page through the advertisements placed in a standard American men’s magazine, and you’ll find one idea: He is a stomping, yelling, shooting, drinking, fucking, tough guy. He has big muscles and a limited emotional range—stoic, angry, horny. He exists in dark alleyways, war zones, and fast cars. He holds his beer bottle over his crotch to approximate a boner.

If advertising is meant to be aspirational, these ads are presenting a pretty sad version of what American men can aspire to be.

—By Amanda Hess in Slate

Boys learn that academic disengagement is a sign of their masculinity. If we want to re-engage boys in education, no amount of classroom tinkering and recess and science fiction reading is going to address that. We will need to enable boys to decouple the cultural definition of masculinity from academic disengagement.

—Michael Kimmel in “Do Boys Face More Sexism Than Girls” in the Huffington Post


I share concern for the emasculation of black men in our country today. But I don’t see it happening in instances of creative men stepping outside of the box and expressing themselves through fashion—to me, those are defiant acts of freedom. Instead, I see emasculation through the outlandish prison rates of black men in America or oppressive policies like stop-and-frisk that target young black men and turn them into statistics.

From “Black Man in a Dress” by Wilbert Cooper in VICE.

I share concern for the emasculation of black men in our country today. But I don’t see it happening in instances of creative men stepping outside of the box and expressing themselves through fashion—to me, those are defiant acts of freedom. Instead, I see emasculation through the outlandish prison rates of black men in America or oppressive policies like stop-and-frisk that target young black men and turn them into statistics.

From “Black Man in a Dress” by Wilbert Cooper in VICE.

Bill Maher talked about the “state of our manhood” during his New Rules portion of his show, Real Time. As usual, Maher has some problematic language (“dickless armchair warriors”), but he eventually gets into something I never understood: the obsession with some grown men over athletes, guns, and how both relate to their sense of manhood. 

(Video via Mediaite)

[Young men] learn that if they are crossed, they have the manly obligation to fight back. They learn that they are entitled to feel like a real man, and that they have the right to annihilate anyone who challenges that sense of entitlement.

This sense of entitlement is part of the package deal of American manhood — the culture that doesn’t start the fight, as Margaret Mead pointed out in her analysis of American military history, but retaliates far out of proportion to the initial grievance. They learn that “aggrieved entitlement” is a legitimate justification for violent explosion.

—Michael Kimmel on CNN.com

"[Bushmaster’s] ‘Man Card’ campaign can only work in a culture where white masculinity is seen not only as fragile, but under attack. “ 
-Hugo Schwyzer in Daily Life.
(The photo was from an ad campaign for Bushmaster, the brand of gun used by Adam Lanza in the Newtown, CT shooting.)

"[Bushmaster’s] ‘Man Card’ campaign can only work in a culture where white masculinity is seen not only as fragile, but under attack. “ 

-Hugo Schwyzer in Daily Life.

(The photo was from an ad campaign for Bushmaster, the brand of gun used by Adam Lanza in the Newtown, CT shooting.)

It is also time to broaden the gun policy debate to a more in-depth discussion about the declining economic and cultural power of white men, and to deconstruct the gendered rhetoric of “defending liberty” and “fighting tyranny” that animates much right-wing opposition to even moderate gun control measures. If one effect of this tragedy is that journalists and others in media are able to create space for a discussion about guns that focuses on the role of guns in men’s psyches and identities, and how this plays out in their political belief systems, we might have a chance to move beyond the current impasse.

—Jackson Katz in the Huffington Post.