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Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men
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Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  1,554 ratings  ·  202 reviews
One of the most eminent scholars and writers on men and masculinity and the author of the critically acclaimed Manhood in America turns his attention to the culture of guys, aged 16 to 26: their attitudes, their relationships, their rules, and their rituals.

“Kimmel is our seasoned guide into a world that, unless we are guys, we barely know exists. As he walks with us throu
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published August 26th 2008 by Harper
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Whitney Atkinson
Oct 11, 2016 rated it liked it
This book was mediocre, mostly just because I already know that college-aged straight white dudes are generally the worst. Nothing was particularly bad about this book, but nothing was extremely impressing either. If anything, I'm just more disturbed and angry at the white guy culture, and I wish this book touched more on how girls can help other than being a mother and teaching future generations to do better. (Which isn't happening because haha. Me with kids? nah.)
Tiny Pants
Jul 18, 2010 rated it it was ok
I don't want to out and out trash this book, because there are glimmers of brilliance in it. Unfortunately, most of those insights last all of a paragraph, and then we're back with the meat of the book, which I would describe most uncharitably as: A rehash of arguments from Manhood in America and The Gendered Society dumbed-down and cuted-up to a "this'd better get me on the Today Show level." Sorry, but no one is going to start calling a life stage "Guyland," no matter how many times you diss J ...more
Elevate Difference
Jan 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Guyland is less of a place than an attitude, a realm of existence. Occupied by young, single, white men, its main demographic is middle class kids who are college-bound, college co-eds, or recent graduates in the United States. They live in communal housing with fraternity brothers or other recent grads. They work entry-level jobs but act aimless. They have plenty of time to party like they did in college and subsist on pizza, beer, and a visual diet of cartoons, sports, and porn. They hook up w ...more
May 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
I wanted to give this 5 stars but ultimately did not because his case studies and examples are a little too narrow. He makes a good case using statistics that the culture of fraternities filled with white men is overwhelmingly toxic on many college campuses. He then asserts that similar problems exist with other white men of the same age who didn't go to college but provides little evidence for it. So I really liked what he says, and it rings true to me from my own experience, but I think the ev ...more
May 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
The traditional markers of reaching manhood have long ago been eroded: most males are in their late-twenties/early-thirties before they have a “real” job, a marriage, kids or their own home. Michael Kimmel examines the wasteland that exists after adolescence, where males are not men, just “guys”.

These 18-25-year-old guys tend to be overeducated but underemployed, with a sense of entitlement that does not align with the privilege that they don’t receive. “Hooking up” with girls is just another sp
Feb 16, 2010 rated it it was ok
Couldn't finish this. It's an important topic, but this treatment is marred by a far too narrow focus (upper middle class spoiled white boys) and Kimmel's completely obnoxious writing style. The whole thing could boil easily down to "stop raising your kids like they are owed the world, elite people!" but Kimmel is quick to exculpate individuals ("this isn't about bad parenting!" he says regarding boys who...rape and assault; "these aren't a bunch of raving psychotics!" he assures us regarding bo ...more
Oct 09, 2008 rated it it was ok
I read that this book was like a male version of "Reviving Ophelia", and it was not, which was disappointing. Kimmel sort of writes about guyland as if he has never met a guy before in his life? Maybe he just treats the subject too sociolog-ey. "Watch as the interesting creatures submit to the barbaric ritual they refer to as 'POWER. HOUR.'" (I'm paraphrasing.) Or maybe it's because I went to a frat heavy college, so I wasn't surprised to hear about POWER. HOUR and KEG. STANDS. And since I'm a g ...more
Dec 11, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010
Being the demographic about whom Kimmel is writing (except not heterosexual), I felt I needed to read this. Feeling the listlessness and aimlessness he ascribes to males 16-26 who graduate college fit me quite well.

Unfortunately, I did not connect to the text as I thought, as being gay, this was a world I did not live in, and being a feminist already, many of the arguments were ones I'd read elsewhere, for a different audience, and with different intents.

The style with which Kimmel writes about
Jul 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Guyland is an observation of the "macho" culture that pervades high school and college. It's written in a very anecdotal voice, which is accessible, though it leads Kimmel to paint in sometimes too-broad strokes. The book's message is one of male privilege and power, how that power perpetuates itself, and the fact that many males are uncomfortable with such, even though they perform such actions because it's how they "should" be.

For me, this book put into words everything I found so disgusting a
Robert Rosenthal
Aug 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Well-written, well-researched. Not what everyone wants to hear, but so what? Truth can be tough, and sometimes challenging. As a psychotherapist dealing with couples' issues, Guyland helps explain why so many men today have so much trouble identifying what they're feeling and skillfully expressing it in an intimate partnership.
Apr 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
This was an interesting look at how in our society, boys stay boys for much longer than is healthy, and how their rituals and group behaviors are detrimental to true manhood and society. Very interesting.
Petty Lisbon
Aug 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: get-in-formation
If you're already a feminist or participate and read about the socialization of gender, this won't be anything new, but it's a decent book that puts together different parts of how 16-26 year old men are obnoxious and why it hurts them as well as us. Sports, entertainment, porn, dating- all of these issues are examined for how the masculine facade can turn something as simple as watching the big game into a messy experience. Personally, I could've gone without some of the quotes from questionabl ...more
Carolyn Fitzpatrick
Dec 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sociology
This has been on my list for a while and it did not disappoint. The author's goal is to explain the bro culture that young men find themselves immersed in from roughly ages 15-25, with lingering effects afterward. This culture promotes "real men" as violent, sexually competitive, and hedonistic, while also justifying a prolonged childhood of staying unattached and avoiding responsibilities or self-improvement. The culture of "Guyland" is driven mostly by white, middle class, straight guys. Men w ...more
Mar 08, 2017 rated it liked it
A bit too US centric and after a promising start repetitions are many
Apr 23, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommended to Amy by: Chantel
I am giving this 3 instead of 4 stars due to it being about the U.S, where I am not. Therefore I feel like there are gaps in information.

I was worried going into this as my friend said there was difficult material. That is an understatement.

At the beginning of reading I did not hold high hopes as the author seemed to be focusing on how hard "guys" lives are and seemed to be blaming it on their fathers. It's currently 2015 and the economic situation is crappy for everyone, including young people
Mar 12, 2013 rated it liked it
I liked this book quite a lot. I think it is both useful and necessary. In light of that, I think that it could have been better than it was. It could have stretched itself.

There were also some things that I found to be problematic. For example, Kimmel asserts that all girls' hazing serves to uphold the male hierarchy, with the implication that it all involves such things as performing mock fellatio on a boy while ignoring the fact that girls have their own separate Girlland as much as guys hav
Nov 21, 2009 rated it did not like it
How do I describe the mixed feelings I had about this book?

On the one hand, Michael Kimmel takes on some questions that need be answered. Why are young men waiting longer to settle down, get married, and become responsible adults? How do we explain and understand the culture of "hooking up" that has transplanted dating in college-aged youth? What can we do to help boys make the transition to manhood in a culture that offers few positive definitions of what this transition even means? Kimmel del
Aug 18, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: grrrlpower
OK, i agree that this is predominately a "sociology for the masses" book, along the lines of "pledged." nothing wrong with that at all, except for the fact that this study gives us over 250 pages of really disturbing and frankly just sad data and then provides a disproportionate seven pages of "what we can do to help our men." i recognize that this is not a behavioral workbook or a self-help book, but still, after reading so much disheartening and upsetting material, i'd like to have at least a ...more
Sep 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
This book probably deserves a higher rating than I'm giving it, but since it fell so short of my expectations I can't bring myself to rate it any higher. Apologies for any inaccuracies since I'm writing this so long after reading it.

Guyland's main focus is the extended adolescence that the men of today are susceptible to; or rather a very specific subset of predominantly upper-class, college-bound, white, heterosexual men. Beyond the issues arising from the narrow demographic Guyland presents, I
Nov 02, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Parents, or those interested in our future.
I suppose most perceptive people of really all generations can tell you that kids aren't the same today that they were years ago. Whether or not there's disgust, jealousy or a disapproving head shake probably depends upon what generation you find yourself. Then again, every generation can and will say that about the ones that follow.

To say that there are men today in their twenties and thirties who refuse to grow up is indeed an understatement. But then again, you might not see it as such depend
I’m all over the place about this book. I learned some things, but overall it lacked focus and many of the quotes seemed contrived.

I thought the intro was all over the map and the promotional quotes on the back didn’t really describe the content of the book. As for the chapters, the author brings up important topics which are for the most part well organized. But as soon as he gets on a subject he throws out an extreme quote to back up what he’s saying and then uses sweeping generalizations to w
This was another book that I read for my intro to women's and gender studies class and on the whole, I really enjoyed it. This book is all about the world that white, upper-middle class American boys grow up in. I think that this is a particularly important book for college students and parents.

Kimmel's writing is not overly dense, but he definitely still sounds intelligent and this book is still very well researched on the whole. It's hard to write a review of this book, because it's a book one
Aug 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned-books
First, it's nice when the end page number is 300-something, but 30 pages of that is endnotes/references.

Most importantly: this book reminds me why I love sociology and sociological texts. Not all school books are boring and dry, for sure. The best thing about books like Guyland is that they are easily read/understood, interesting, and so applicable to our individual lives it's almost painful at times. Half the things Kimmel explains this book, I previously hadn't thought of but once they were po
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
You know how parents read parenting books? This should be a must-read for all individuals who need to interact with 16-26 year old men daily. Seriously, there is no harm in studying the person you will have to be dealing with intimately, especially since it's unlikely they have the reflectiveness to know that this is what's going on with them. It's a great book that actually made me feel better about my brothers and my boyfriend sometimes being complete turds. It does tend to focus mostly on men ...more
Oct 03, 2008 marked it as to-read
Shelves: sociology
I have this theory that the reason that contemporary men are stuck in permanent adolescence is because American culture does not have a "boy becomes man" ritual that many other cultures do. Women have their menarche, as shamed as we still are in many ways for our own biological processes, but boys have no real gateway at all into manhood. I'm hoping that this book bears out my theory. At the very least, I'm hoping that it doesn't make me vomit in the way I think it might.
Oct 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: feminist, reporting
I haven't read Kimmel's other works, so I don't know if the reviews that state this is somewhat a rehash are correct.

That said the best review I can give is - Well, it explains much. I will also point out that this review says it best.
May 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Phew. This took me forever to get through. It has some good information and some interesting insights. However, it really dragged for me because the author repeated the same themes over and over. I think this book could have been about 1/3 as long as it is with the same information being communicated.
Jack Sellers
Jan 30, 2020 rated it it was ok
Michael Kimmel’s book Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men addresses the extended adolescence that men of the modern era seem to be perpetually stuck in longer and longer with each passing year. Kimmel takes direct aim at upper-class, white, college-bound, heterosexual men, seeking to both explain and condemn the toxic behavior that is often so prevelant in this stage in life. Kimmel addresses the celebration of violence, the “conquest” for sex, and reckless drug and alcohol use.
Dec 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Guyland is a place post-adolescence, which starts typically from college and ends when men grow up and move in with their partner. And mostly in college. It is a scary place to be. There is a clear hierarchy in Guyland: the athletic outgoing men at the top who gets all the girls, and the rest of the men (and women) who have to fit in and try not to be bullied. It works on the terrible principles of ‘Entitlement, Silence and Protection’.

Entitlement says that men are entitled to all the good thin
Jul 17, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: nonfic
Within just ten pages of Guyland Kimmel discredits himself with conjectures about gender..and even basic facts. Here's where this first pops up: "Most guys are not predators, not criminals, and neither so consumed with adolescent rage nor so caught in the thrall of masculine entitlement that they are likely to end up with a rap sheet instead of a college transcript. But most guys know other guys who are chronic substance abusers, who have sexually assaulted their classmates (6)." This comes with ...more
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MMKC Book Review 1 13 Jan 27, 2010 10:11AM  

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Michael Scott Kimmel is an American sociologist, specializing in gender studies. He is among the leading researchers and writers on men and masculinity in the world today. The author or editor of more than twenty volumes, his books include The Politics of Manhood, and The History of Men (2005).

His documentary history, "Against the Tide: Pro-Feminist Men in the United States, 1776-1990" (Beacon, 19

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