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What Makes a Man

3.50  ·  Rating Details  ·  103 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
One of Time magazine's 50 Future Leaders of America brings together novelists, essayists, men, and women to talk about the future of masculinity.

What does it mean to be male in the twenty-first century? What does the concept of masculinity even mean in the wake of four decades of modern feminism? What makes a man a man today and a woman a woman? Are those distinctions ev
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published March 30th 2004 by Riverhead Hardcover (first published 2004)
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Dany Siggy
Jul 02, 2008 Dany Siggy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gender
One of the essays, Jesse Green's "Laking Harriet" just proves to be another instance of gay racism (there was a line about how gay men are in crisis because their one source of privilege- manhood is challenged. um, white supremacy? anyone?)

Aside from a few of the essays, others depended heavily on the heterosexual paradigm for (re)defining manhood-- which seemed awfully odd in an anthology from Rebecca Walker (then, again, she did write Babylove). I don't think this would be at all harmful for a
Louise Silk
Jul 02, 2012 Louise Silk rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This was a nice attempt, but really not particularly useful when it comes to redefining manhood. All of the essays are well written and some throw a glimmer of light on a new form of masculinity; most however, don't say anything particularly new and exciting.

If we are in fact developing a new masculinity that shows a deeper and richer respect for humanity, there needs to be much more. Men and women have their work cut out for them finding life purpose independent and beyond the dictates of our s
Rebecca Walker, "Putting Down the Gun"
Michael Datcher, "The Gift"
Martha Southgate, "My Girlish Boy"
David Coates, "This Is My Story"
Tajamika Paxton, "Loving a One-Armed Man"
Bruce Stockler, "No Means No (and Other Lies)" from Sleep At Red Lights
Douglas Rushkoff, "Picture Perfect"
Jay Ruben Dayrit, "Pig Farm"
Malidoma Somé, "Slowly Becoming" from Of Water and the Spirit
Peter J. Harris, "Me and Isisara Sing Oldies"
Anthony Swofford, excerpts from Jarhead
Kenji Jasper, "Confessions of a Pull-Pro
I appreciate what this book is doing and found several of the essays to be on topic and revealing about a slowly growing trend towards a new type of masculinity.

However, other essays seemed to still have the tone of "men need to shape up or ship out" in an aggressive attempt, something the editor of the essays would certainly like to get away from, to show how men are or less often how they could be. There were several incredibly well written essays, one by Poetry Magazine Editor Christian Wiman
Amy Hayden
Feb 26, 2008 Amy Hayden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am (obviously) not a man, but I am raising two boys, and so I bought this book wanting to learn a little more about the struggles that come with being and/or becoming a "man" in contemporary society. I was surprised that some of the essays are written by women (though, of course, Rebecca Walker is the editor), and some of the pieces didn't strike me as interesting as others, but Jay Ruben Dayrit's Pigfarm, Caitriona Reed's Not a Man, and Meri Nana-ama Danquah's Men Holding Hands made the antho ...more
Jan 02, 2011 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book after the foreword was included in a class' reading assignments. The essays were brilliant, with a single painfully out-of-place exception, and though I wished the book had some sort of commentary, or footnotes, something to draw the pieces closer together than the vague descriptor of "masculinity" could, I was exceptionally pleased.
However, Michael Moore's addition was both offensive and out of place. Perhaps I don't understand his tongue-in-cheek style, but I found his p
Laura Avellaneda-Cruz
Some of the most compelling essays I've ever read (and a few not-so-good ones) by men and a few women on manhood. Some, like Pig Farm and The Limit read like fiction, beautiful and engaging, but will kick you in the stomach with the power of their messages. Many good men who struggle to defy problematic traditional norms of manhood will find themselves in these pages. Many concerned parents will find insight into how to raise their sons. Anyone who hopes for a more humane culture will find meani ...more
Mar 06, 2009 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gender
Some of these essays were so good, and some of them fell short for me. One thing this book accomplished was engendering a big increase in the compassion I feel towards how the patriarchy hurts men. I was particularly interested in how many of these stories focused on the ways that boys experience neglect and suppression of their emotional lives, and how cultural expectations can keep them from developing into full, emotional sophisticated human beings.
Nov 08, 2010 Aaron is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I like the book. I've only read the first chapter thus far, but I feel that the book is very interesting. One of its themes is unconventional masculinity, which is applies to me very much. I've never been a conventional male.
Nick W.
Jun 18, 2015 Nick W. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Several interesting perspectives on what it means to be a man. Certainly many that are different from my own. I'm not sure I dig collections of essays. O well, made it through.
Really interesting collection of short stories. Worth reading just for two or three of the really impressive ones.
Better than i thought it would be. could have done without the michael moore essay though.
Jun 24, 2008 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great collection of essays and short stories that men should especially read.
Rianna Jade
Two or three amazing essay, many meh essays and a few that had me rolling my eyes.
Good collection of essays on masculinity and growing up male.
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