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>> So I'd like to welcome you all.
My name is Kyle Carpenter Ashley and I'm the Acting Director of the Center for Gender
and Student Engagement on campus.
And I have the privilege of welcoming Dr. Kimmel to campus today.
He's been on campus all day running around and I'm sure he's exhausted already and running
in between the rain and everything.
So, we have to thank him for that and I thank you all
for being here as well despite the weather.
So, I think now is a really prime and pivotal time for a conversation to be had on our campus
about gender and specifically about men and masculinities.
I think many of us on campus are familiar with some of the conversations that we've been having
over the past year, particularly around 40 years of co-education.
It's been particularly poignant and along
with those conversations there have been some other occurrences and things
that have been happening like the creation of the GRID program
which is the Gender Research Institute at Dartmouth
with the Women and Gender Studies Program.
The name change of the Center for Gender and Student Engagement which was formerly the Center
for Women in Gender and then, of course, the Day of Reflection, which happened this fall
where we all stopped and reflected on some of the issues that we've been facing on our campus,
particularly around gender and sexual assault.
So, I think our campus is primed for this conversation.
We're ready and as we said this afternoon in some of our conversations,
I think we're at a turning point.
I think we're at a place where our campus is really ready to make some changes
and so I think we welcome Dr. Kimmel at a really, at a really crucial time
to have this sort of conversation.
And I think we also want to start by acknowledging that everybody who comes
into the room here has a different experience with this kind of conversation.
And not everybody is in the same place and so one of the things that Dr. Kimmel was talking
about earlier this afternoon, which I think is quite poignant,
is that sometimes we stumble upon this work.
We stumble upon these types of conversations.
You know he labeled it as accidental activists and he shared a little bit of his story
and how he got started with this work as being an accident.
He didn't really mean to start doing this work.
He was doing 17th century French tax policy and--
>> But you've already read that folks, I'm sure.
So, you don't need me to talk about it.
>> Very interesting stuff, but he stumbled upon doing gender work, gender equity work
and found his true passion there.
And so, I think I bring that up to say that there are likely many of us
in the audience today who may be stumbling into this conversation and I think again,
it's a great opportunity to have Dr. Kimmel with us.
So, Dr. Kimmel is among one of the world's leading researchers
and scholars on men and masculinity.
He is the author and editor of more than 20 volumes on the subject and his books include,
"The Politics of Manhood", "The Gender of Desire", "The History of Men", "Guyland",
"Misframing Men" and his most recent publication, "The Guys Guide to Feminism",
which we've been highlighting with the Seed Program and including in many
of our conversations over the course of the summer illustrates how understanding
and supporting feminism can help men to live richer, fuller and happier lives.
And in addition, I just learned this fact about Dr. Kimmel, is that he's also included
on Marlo Thomas who is the creator of "Free to Be You and Me"; some of you may be familiar
with that initiatives several decades ago.
She created a list just this past March of the top 19 guys who get it
and Dr. Kimmel was included on that list in good company along with--
>> Only five of them were alive.
>> And I should note also right next to Ryan Gossling.
So, really in really good company next to, yea that's right, that's right.
So, before we get started I just want to put out there that some of the subjects that we're going
to be talking about today are sensitive.
We're going to be talking about masculinity.
We're going to be talking about power and potentially talking about violence.
And so I know that that is sensitive and potentially triggering for folks.
I know that we have support in the audience.
We've got some SAPAs, which are sexual assault peer advisors.
I know we have some MAZ in the audience and so if there's anything that comes
up for folks we can connect you to the right resources.
And then lastly I just want to say if throughout this conversation you would like to learn more
about having conversations around gender on campus you can contact me.
I work in the Center for Gender Engagement which is over in the Choates.
It's kind of over there on campus and not many people come to visit us, but it's a great space.
And if you want to learn more please get a hold of me.
So, without further ado please help me in welcoming Dr. Michael Kimmel.
[ Applause ]
>> Thank you very much Kyle.
Only five of the people that Marlo mentioned in her column are still alive.
Most of them-- and so actually-- and it's important I suspect to say some of the names
of some of the ones who she mentioned as you know the guys who--
you know men who supported gender equality or supported feminism included Thomas Paine,
for example, who sat on July 4, 1776 and read the Declaration of Independence and said,
"If I were a woman I would not be included in this", right.
And so that-- and so he actually wrote a letter about you know why that was the wrong thing
or Frederick Douglass, arguably the greatest orator in American history who was the one
at Seneca Falls; some of you might not know this.
At Seneca Falls on the first day every single plank
of the women's platform passed except one, and that one was suffrage.
The next morning Douglass stands up and says, "Without the vote you have nothing."
And it was his speech that actually got the congress to pass the suffrage plank
of the first you know, first suffrage convention in Seneca Falls in 1848.
The next day, bear this in mind guys who support gender equality,
the next day the Syracuse newspaper called Frederick Douglass and Aunt Nancy Man.
And Aunt Nancy Man was the 19th century equivalent of a woos, right.
So, you stand up for women's rights, they question your masculinity, right.
What, I mean and think of the illogic here for a moment.
What kind of real man would actually care enough about women to not hold them in contempt?
So, there are costs I suspect.
Alright, so here's what I'm going to say.
I am really thrilled to be here at Dartmouth.
I have come-- I've been, I've spoken here, this is I think about the fifth
or sixth time I've come to Dartmouth and I'm going to tell you a little bit
about what I've learned in some ways from you all over those times that I have been here.
I did this book that came out in 2008 called "Guyland", in which I went around the country
and interviewed about 400 young people, mostly men, mostly white, mostly straight,
to try to get a sense of what was going on in this age cohort
and I'll tell you a little bit about that in a minute.
But I want you to know that I carefully disguised all of the names
and all of the colleges and identifiers except with one small exception, you.
And-- but all throughout the book you know you could never tell,
but some of the interviews were actually done here at Dartmouth.
I also, the part, that's all disguised.
The very beginning of the book though I did talk about, about six guys who had been
in the same paternity here at Dartmouth and all graduated and moved to an apartment
in Boston together and they-- and they-- you know they kind of every night they went
to the Dartmouth bar and they basically reproduced college life
for the next three years after graduation.
And so I watched them kind of-- and this is the word that I ended up using in the book,
drift into adulthood after college.
There was no sort of single marker the day you get your degree, you know there was no right
of passage particularly for them.
They kind of drifted into it over those years that they were living in Boston.
So, and that's the only place in the book where I actually mention the name
of the college is honest because there-- you know I mentioned the name of the bar in Boston
and so you probably all know it or you soon will.
So, but let-- but what I want to do basically is and I've advertised this talk about being a man
at Dartmouth, and so what I want to do is I'm going to sort of insert Dartmouth
into the conversation that I try to establish in "Guyland" by taking you backstage a little bit
to say what I think it has produced, the moment that we are at on most college campuses
in the country and particularly, as Kyle mentions, some of the issues
that are think are particularly important
and particularly salient right here, right now at Dartmouth.
You are at the moment you know engaged in a conversation
that for many you know is very discomforting and for others they're saying it's about time.
So it's both jarring and also long awaited and so I want to talk a little bit about that
and I'll get to that toward the end when I try to suggest some of the ways
that we can continue to think about this.
But mostly I am-- you were kind enough not to mention this,
but I am actually a sociology professor.
And so my job as those of you who have ever endured a class in sociology know
that what we do is we always are setting context for everything.
So, what I'm going to try to do is I'm going to try to set the context
for the larger conversation we're having about gender on college campuses.
And there's a particular irony that I'm going to describe to you that will come
through in the conversation, which is on the one hand there is no more gender equal institution
in the United States today than the American college campus.
And yet, the American college campus is also marked by dramatic gender inequality.
And that is one of the-- and that irony or that paradox is something I want to explore.
You may call it daytime and nighttime, but that idea that the most,
the most gender equal institution we have is also dramatically gender unequal.
Now, that's going to be the big sort of-- that's the big plan.
So, what I want to do is I want to sort of want to take you inside why I started thinking
about this book, what I found and why I call it "Guyland."
And really this is a book because we-- I started because I think we're having two conversations
in the United States today about young people.
If you ask parents of say 10 year olds here's what you'll here.
Oh my God, they're growing up so fast.
Why they're doing stuff at 10 or 11 that we weren't doing until we were 15 or 16,
because everybody knows 10 is the new 20.
Now, talk to parents of 30 year olds and you will hear, will they ever grow up?
They move back home after college.
They can't commit to a relationship.
They can't commit to a career because what you also know is 30 is the new 20.
So, what I decided to do was map the new 20.
I've shaved off a few years on either side and I said 16 to 26,
I want to talk about what's happening to young people in America in this age group 16 to 26.
So, and here's what I stumbled on.
I didn't intend to find this, but this is what I think I found.
I found that there is in the United States today a new stage of development.
It is-- and it is permanent and it is true for both women and men
and it's not going to stop, okay.
So, there's a new stage of development.
So, now I'm going to talk a little bit about stages of development.
So, my story there begins in 1902.
In 1902 one of America's most celebrated psychologists, G. Stanley Hall,
those of you who know anything about G. Stanley Hall, he was the President
of Clark University in Massachusetts.
Hall was the only American to say to himself you know this guy Freud has some interesting ideas.
Maybe we ought to invite him to give a lecture.
The only lecture Sigmund Freud gave on American soil was at Clark University, right.
So, G. Stanley Hall was no dummy.
He says, he writes this book 1902 at 1600 pages long, two volumes,
and here's the basic thesis of the book.
He said," In the 19th century Americans went directly from being children to being grownups.
After you finish primary school by age 12 or 13 you were apprenticed,
you went to work on the family farm, you shipped
out on the P quad; you basically were a grownup."
But now, 1902 he says, "But now there's a new stage of development
in between childhood and adulthood.
It's a period of confusion.
It's a period of turmoil of finding your identity" and he called
that state of development "adolescence."
He's the guy who invented the term.
That's the title of 1600 page, two volume book, "Adolescence."
And he believed that adolescence ends pretty much at the end
of high school or around age 20 or so.
"That by the time you're 18 or 20", he said, "you're a grownup."
You're getting married.
You're having your-- you know you're developing a career path.
You're having a family and so most people, and that was true by the way,
for the first half of the 20th century.
For the first half of the 20th century most Americans had completed the five markers
These are-- there are five demographic markers of adulthood and they had completed most five--
most of them or almost all of them by age 20 or 21.
Those five are: You finish your education, you leave your family's house, you get married,
have a kid, get a job; those are the big five.
And like my mother, my mother finished all five of those within three months.
She graduated from college in May, got married in June, immediately got pregnant with me,
moved out of her parent's house into her marriage house
and that September started her first teaching job in the New York City public schools,
as did pretty much all of her friends and all of their friends.
The average age of marriage in 1950 was about 21.2.
Today it is 28.6.
It is now taking us a full decade, 40 percent of all college graduates will move back home
after they graduate and not for the summer.
It is taking us a full decade longer to complete those five markers of adulthood.
So, what I tried to set up in this book was to map that new stage of development
in between adolescence and adulthood, right, why 30 is the new 20,
why it's taking us a full decade longer.
Now other people, I'm not the first person to think about this.
There are plenty of other people and psychology,
developmental psychology there's a whole emerging field called emerging adulthood.
Marketers on Madison Avenue they are all over this age demographic right.
They call it adultalescence.
And the reason that they're all over it, of course, is because you're single.
You have a job or at least some kind of, some kind of income,
you're not married with a kid or a mortgage.
You can spend it all and they want your money so they are all over this.
I call it Guyland and I call it Guyland even though it's true for women and for men,
because I think that it defines the way in which we think about it and the way in which we talk
about this particular age group and because it says something
about the gender and equality of it.
So, that's basically why I did this and let me tell what I think are the, what-- why now?
Why do we have this age-- this new stage of development now emerging in the United States,
Canada, Western Europe in the way that it does, the way that it is?
I think there are four basic reasons: The first is simple demography.
If you're a traditionally aged college student here at Dartmouth or about to go off
to college here's what we know about you.
Here's what demographers know about you if you're a traditionally aged student
and you've already made it to age 18.
Your average age of death will be about 94.
So, you're sitting there thinking get married at 20, I don't know if I want
to be married to the same person for 74 years.
Maybe I should wait a little bit, maybe I should sort of find out what I like in relationships,
play around a little bit, you know learn a little bit more;
because you know, what's the rush?
I got years and years ahead.
So, that's the first thing.
The second is, of course, changes in the economy.
The economy is not nearly as friendly to people coming right out of college,
committing themselves to a career path immediately
and moving up you know, up in the ranks.
If what we know about you as a generation is true here's what we know.
Most of you, virtually none of you is going
to have the same career trajectory that my grandfather had.
My grandfather worked for the same company for 45 years.
At the end of that time he got a gold watch, a testimonial dinner,
moved to a condo in Florida, not going to happen.
Most people, most of college age now will not only change their jobs two or three times,
they'll change the whole field that they're in two or three times during their careers.
So, it's a lot harder to commit to a career, a lot harder to commit to a career trajectory.
So, that's the second thing that I think drives this.
The third thing that drives this is changes in parenting styles.
More accurately I guess it's changes in the relationship between grownups and young people.
Let me talk about the parenting first.
Most of you are familiar with this term and--
but most of you and some of you probably endured helicopter parents.
You know parents who hover over you like a helicopter, micromanage ever nanosecond
of your life, taking you to trombone lessons, soccer practice, SAT prep classes,
you know completely, you know completely micromanaging everything.
By the way you know what they call what we call helicopter parents,
you know what they call them in Scandinavia?
The Canadians are going to love this; they call them curling parents.
After that sport called curling, which basically consists of heaving a rock
down a bowling alley made of ice and then walking in front of it with a broom
to make sure its path is so easy, so clear, so utterly effortless.
If you remembered nothing else from this talk you'll remember curling parents.
So, isn't that a perfect image for this?
So, here's what-- here's the consequence of that.
If you are-- if you are-- have your parents intervening for you constantly,
constantly interfering for you, constantly doing all-- you know micromanaging everything,
it makes you as a generation, my students are less resilient
and more risk averse than previous generations.
My students are very adept at pleasing grownups, but they are not so good at screwing up
and taking responsibility for screwing up.
If you have somebody cleaning up after you all the time, intervening for you all the time,
listen I didn't ask-- I didn't ask Phil [inaudible] when I met with him
because he's only been here for a couple of weeks but, a couple of days actually,
but I will in a year, I will ask him this.
I'll bet this is going to be different than Michigan.
But I cannot tell you how many university and college presidents have told me
that they get phone calls from students' parents about the grades their children get on tests.
If you're parents are calling the president
to say my child did not deserve a B minus they are over-involved.
Helicopter parenting is not synonymous with good parenting
because what it does is it makes people-- I'm personally from the fall down seven times,
get up eight school of development.
You know you make a mistake, you pick yourself up, you dust yourself off,
you take responsibility for your actions and you start over.
My students are afraid of falling down once.
So, that I think is part of this.
Now, here, let me start to gender this a little bit.
So you have a bunch of high school kids, a generation,
entire cohort of high school students,
I mean have been dramatically over-parented in high school.
And how they come to college and what has been the history of the relationship
between grown ups and young people on college campuses.
It's been the gradual withdraw of adults in the lives of young people.
Look when I was in college our college was in Loco Parentes, it was our local parent.
And we had these rules and this is going
to sound a little bit quaint, a lot quaint to you now.
But we had these rules in our dorms, you were allowed, in my dorm you were allowed
to have a member of the opposite sex in your room until 11 o'clock on weeknights
and all the way until midnight on weekends.
And I told this recently to my students
and one of my students says, well what happens at midnight?
Is that like gay party time.
Okay, the opposite sex is gone, party.
You know, it's like so inaccurate and if you had a member of the opposite sex
in your room during those prescribed hours you had to have the door open the width of a book
and three feet on the floor at all times.
Now, I will-- I will leave you to imagine the Cirque de Soleil acrobatics that led
to three feet on the floor at all times.
But let me say you know college students we were perverse literalists and so we said okay,
we'll keep the door open the width of a book.
We just used a matchbook.
So, of course, those rules are utterly anachronistic today
on virtually every college campus except Oral Roberts in the country.
And so what you have on college campuses is young people coming in eager, desperate in fact,
to prove themselves to find out, to test their identity, to find out who they are,
having been so over-parented and now the grownups have disappeared.
Now and I'm saying this in a particular way because I want to--
I'm going to mention something here now that's specifically gendered and then I want
to be very clear about the possible misreadings of what I'm arguing.
So, I'm arguing that this is not a problem with young people.
This is on us.
We are not sufficiently engaged and involved in the lives of the people that we're supposed
to be teaching and administering because what you have on college campuses
because of the [inaudible] is you have 18 year olds proving their masculinity
to 19 year olds and that simply cannot work.
Look, there are hundreds of cultures all over the world
that do very elaborate initiation rituals for their young males.
You know they go through some arduous thing.
They do a walkabout.
They do something, you know they go through some test of themselves and at the end
of that test they are brought into the culture as full adult, fully responsible males.
But there's one difference between all of those initiation rituals on every single,
in every other culture and the initiation rituals that are--
that happen on the American college campus not just in fraternities but on sports teams,
in military groups and ROTC groups and you know as we saw, for example,
in Florida A&M in the school band right.
And here's the one difference between every other culture in the American college campus,
in every other culture it is adult man who conceive of the ritual, who plan it,
who execute it, who monitor it and who are there at the end
to say you've made it, you've arrived, you're there.
Here, that's where the fraternity advisor says, oh I can't be around this weekend
because I know what's going to happen.
That's when the coach says I know you what you're going to do with the rookies.
Don't tell me I need plausible deniability.
That's when the adults leave.
Again this is not on you, this is on us.
So, we have to start thinking about the ways in which we disengage.
Okay, that's the third thing, changes in relations between adults and young people.
The fourth big change I think that is incontestable in terms of setting the framework
for this new stage of development is the changes in women's lives.
This has been the biggest change I think in sort of in college life,
but maybe in social life entirely in the past 30 or 40 years.
Women's lives have changed fundamentally in the past 40 years.
I'm just going to point out a few of the ways
in which women's lives have changed that are so obvious.
The first one, I mean I certainly don't need to tell you this here at Dartmouth,
but you know women made gender visible.
We now know that gender is one of the organizing principles of social life.
We now know that gender is one of the foundations of your identity.
Forty years ago we didn't know that.
Forty years ago if you went to graduate school and said I want to study gender,
there was not one course you could take.
In fact, in my field in sociology if you said that you wanted to study women 40 years ago,
there was one course you take, Marriage and the Family.
For years that was like the ladies auxiliary of the social sciences.
But, of course, today on every campus in the country there is women
and gender studies programs, women and gender studies courses,
women did that and it's only 40 years.
Do you know that the first women's studies program
in America was founded exactly 40 years ago in 1973 in San Diego State?
It's that recent.
That's the first thing that changed for women.
The second, of course, is changes in the workplace.
Women have entered the workplace
in unprecedented numbers, half the labor force is female.
I often ask my students as well, I'll ask you all what the hell.
I teach very-- unlike Dartmouth I teach really large classes.
This for me is about modest size, upper division class.
Most of my classes have three or four hundred students in them.
So, as a sociologist this works for me because I do little surveys,
everybody raises their hand, I get big numbers.
So, okay, let me ask the women here, who are students here at Dartmouth how many
of you expect to have a full-time job when you graduate from college.
Let me see your hands.
Okay, now please keep your hands up.
If your mother has or had a full-time job outside the home for at least 10 years
without an interruption, this is your moms, okay.
How about grandmothers?
So here's what I just saw.
I saw virtually every hand go up for you.
I saw about I guess two thirds of the hands for your mothers
and a few scattered hands for grandma, right.
Now what would happen if I asked the same question of the men.
How many of the men expect to have a full-time job outside the home when you graduate?
So, again we knew that, thank you.
Every guy's hand, of course, would go up and it would stay up for dad and grandpa
and great grandpa because men's relationships in the workplace hasn't changed very much at all.
And that's led to a third area of change in women's lives,
the balance between work and family.
Not that long ago, remember your hands for grandma, women thought that they had to choose
between having careers and having family lives.
Women today are, of course, unwilling to make that choice.
They want to have both.
They want to be able to balance work and family.
They want to be able to, don't you love this phrase; they want to be able to have it all.
Now think about that for a minute.
Can women have it all?
Can women have exciting glamorous careers outside the home in warm
and loving supportive families to come home to?
The answer is no.
And the reason women can't have it all is because men do.
We're the ones who can balance work and family, because women do the second shift.
Women do the housework.
Women do the childcare.
We get to have it all.
So, if women are going to truly be able to balance work and family we men are going to have
to do something different, a topic for a different conversation.
And the fourth area of change in women's lives and this is the hardest one
and I think this defines in some ways, defines Guyland in some respects.
The fourth area of change in women's lives is around sexuality.
Now this is the hardest one for us guys to wrap around hands
around because we really thought the sexual revolution was about us.
I mean, I mean think about it.
Look the sexual revolution promised more access to more partners with fewer commitments.
Could you get a more masculine definition of a sexual revolution than that?
But if you look at the mountain of sex research data that has been collected over the past 30
or 40 years, there's only one conclusion you would come to.
And that is it is women's sexuality that's changed, not men's.
And the easiest way to describe this change in women's sexuality over the past 40 years is
to say quite simply, women today on college campuses feel entitled to pleasure.
Women know that they can like sex, want sex, go for it, get horny.
And I'm not talking about some bohemian enclave in Greenwich Village or San Francisco here.
I am talking about mainstream American mall going, Victoria's Secret wearing women.
Now, you're probably saying to yourself because you know
that I'm a social scientist you're probably saying to yourself,
okay Kimmel how would you measure this?
Prove this to me empirically.
And you know those of you that have endured a social science course know
that you know we social scientists, we can only think in four categories:
a lot, some, a little or nothing.
And this is not the kind of data, this is not the kind of empirical data
that you would be able to get from an attitude survey right you know.
I couldn't exactly say so, how sexually agendic do you feel?
A lot, some, a little not at all, you'd get no useful data at all.
You need a behavioral measure of entitlement to pleasure;
a behavioral measure of sexual agency and autonomy.
So, I have one for you.
How about rates of masturbation?
[ Silence ]
Are you kidding me?
He's going to talk about that.
This is-- it's fantastic.
I teach a course at Stony Brook called, called Sex and Society.
It's a course on human sexuality and my students would,
and 400 students right, a course on intimacy.
And my students would be perfectly delighted to talk
about the most esoteric bizarre sexual perversion that like four people do,
but talk about masturbation and virtually everyone is going oh no, don't talk about that.
But, think about it.
Isn't that the best behavioral measure of entitlement to pleasure.
I am so entitled to pleasure I'll do it myself.
[laughter] Okay, here's the data, 1954 Alfred Kinsey,
sexual behavior in the human female found that 41 percent of American women
over 25 had ever masturbated; 1954 forty one percent.
In 1996 the single largest study of American sexual behavior ever undertaken in our history,
the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago found that 90 percent
of American women had masturbated.
Now you will admit, that is a big change in a short time.
Comparable rates for men, Alfred Kinsey, 1948 sexual behavior in the human male,
96 percent of men; 1996 social organization of sexuality, 97 percent of men.
[laughter] Not a really big change.
So, you'll agree with me that in four fundamental ways identity worked,
family and intimacy, women's lives have changed fundamentally.
While women's lives have been changing so much, what's been happening with men?
Now some of you are probably saying to yourself, not a whole lot.
I don't think that's true.
Men's lives have changed a lot.
My father went to an all male school, served in an all male military
and spent his entire working life in an all male work environment.
That world is completely gone.
There are no-- there are three all male colleges left in America.
There's no more all male military and there's virtually no job that a man
in this room will ever have where he won't have women colleagues,
coworkers, supervisors or bosses.
So our lives have changed a lot.
What hasn't changed is the ideology of masculinity.
Survey after survey of college-aged men find that college-aged men today subscribe
to the same ideology of masculinity that I did, that my father did.
That ideology was once summed up by a psychologist into four basic rules of manhood.
So, if any of the guys in here are having any doubts or questions about their masculinity,
just memorize these four rules, do them all the time;
that is actually quite important and you'll be alright.
Here's the-- in fact, here's the first rule, just get this one right: No sissy stuff.
You can never do anything that even remotely hints of femininity.
Your masculinity is the relentless repudiation of the feminine, that's rule number one.
Rule number two: Be a big wheel.
We measure your masculinity by the size of your paycheck, wealth, power, status.
Many of you have probably seen that bumper sticker
that says he has the most toys when he dies wins.
That's the second rule.
Third rule: Be a sturdy oak.
What makes a man a man is that he's reliable in a crisis.
What makes him reliable in a crisis is that he resembles an inanimate object.
[laughter] You know a rock, a pillar.
And fourth rule: Give them hell.
Exude an aura of daring and aggression.
Live life on the edge, take risks, go for it.
So, those are the four basic rules of manhood.
Now what I want to do for a couple of minutes is I want to talk about how then all
of these sort of issues come together for men.
Now the first thing that I want to talk about is to talk about how men respond
to that first change in women's lives.
Women made gender visible.
Now the problem here for men is that we don't think that when women made gender visible,
gender remains visible largely to women.
Most men don't know that gender is as important to us as women understand it is to them.
This is political.
Gender is largely invisible to men and this is political.
So I want to tell you my own story about this.
This story takes place 30 years ago when I was in graduate school and it couldn't happen quite
like this again precisely for the reason that I'll tell you.
But when I was in graduate school a bunch of us got together and you know,
graduate students just always get so excited about all of these new ideas.
A bunch of us were sitting around one day and said, somebody said, well there's an explosion
of writing and thinking and feminist theory, but there's no courses yet.
So, we did what graduate students typically do.
We said okay, let's have a study group.
We'll get together once a week.
We'll read some text.
We'll talk about it, we'll have a potluck.
So, each week eleven women and me got together.
We would read some text in [inaudible] and talk about it.
And during one of our meetings I witnessed a conversation
between two women that changed everything for me.
One of the women was white and one was black.
The white women said, this is the part that's going to sound anachronistic now,
the white woman said, "All women have the same experience as women.
All women face the same oppression as women and, therefore, all women have a kind
of intuitive solidarity or sisterhood."
And the black woman said, "I'm not so sure.
Let me ask you a question."
The black woman says to the white woman, "When you wake up in the morning
and you look in the mirror, what do you see?"
And the white woman said, "I see a woman."
And the black woman said, "You see, that's the problem for me, because when I wake
up in the morning and I look in the mirror" she said, "I see a black woman.
To me race is visible, but to you race is invisible.
You don't see it."
And then she said something really startling, she said, "That's how privilege works.
Privilege is invisible to those who have it."
It is a luxury I would say to the white people sitting in this room not to have to think
about race every split second of our lives.
Privilege is invisible to those how have it.
Now remember, I was the only man in this group.
So, I heard this and I just kind of spontaneously groaned and put my head in my hand
and someone said, well what was that reaction?
And I said, "Well, when I wake up in the morning and I look in the mirror, I see a human being."
I'm kind of a generic person.
You know I'm a middleclass white man.
I have no class, no race, no gender.
I'm universally generalizable.
[laughter] So, I like to think that that was the moment I became a middleclass white man.
That class and race and gender weren't about other people, but they were about me and I had
to start thinking about them and it had been privileged
that had kept it invisible to me for so long.
But I wish I could tell you that this story ends.
It's 40-- it's 30 years ago in that little discussion group.
But I was reminded of it quite recently.
I teach, you know I teach a course on gender at Stony Brook
and a female colleague of mine also teaches it with me.
So she teaches it in the fall.
I teach it in the spring and we always get,
we always go to give the guest lecture for each other.
So, one semester I walk in to her class to give a guest lecture in her class.
One of the students, about 350 students in the room, one of them looks up at me as I walk in
and says, oh finally, an objective opinion.
All that semester whenever my female colleague opened her mouth,
what my students saw was a woman.
Helen if you were to stand up in front of my students
and say there was structural inequality based on gender in the United States they would say
to you, well of course you'd say that, you're a woman.
When I say it they go, wow that's interesting.
Is that going to be on the test?
How do you spell structural?
So, so this is important.
Those of you who are sitting in the back who can't quite see, I want you to be able to--
this is what objectivity looks like.
You know disembodied western rationality.
You know and I think this is really, I mean many of you have had this--
this experience of having a conversation with a guy who says at one point
like okay, let's look at this objectively.
The translation from Martian to Venutian is let's look at this from my point of view.
Now this, this is important.
I think this is why I believe, I didn't-- I'm so happy that you gave me this as a gift,
but I didn't have a chance to put it on.
But I think this why guys, men wear ties.
I think you were going to embody, disembodied western rationality you need a signifier.
So just let everybody see, why does this embody, disembody, because what, you need a signifier
and what better signifier that a garment, that at one end is a noose
and the other end points to the genitals.
[laughter] That is, that is mind body dualism right there.
So, that's-- so engaging men with the idea of gender of thinking
about gender is important and its political.
To raise gender for men is also to raise this question of unexamined privilege,
the privilege of not having to think about it before.
Now let me talk about one other-- barrier or obstacle to engaging men
and then let me get inside "Guyland" with you for a few minutes and then try
and suggest some of the ways through it.
So, and this is an obstacle like okay so now we know we have to engage men
in this conversation about gender.
And we know that one of the first things is most men don't realize that it's about them
but then that's the result of privilege.
But let's say take the next step, I think and that is when we do start to think about I,
often times our reaction to it is either confused or even potentially hostile.
And I think this is also political.
And I'm going to tell you another story of my own just to give you an illustration of this.
I was on a TV talk show not that long ago, familiar to all of you,
black female host comes out of Chicago.
You know, and oh by the way, just let me say we academics don't typically make very good talk
Because the talk show format is very polarized, yes, no, us, them, black, white you know,
lot of heat not much light and what do academics do?
We say well it's a little more complicated than that, which is not good TV.
So, anyway I was on the show opposite for let's call them angry white men.
They were four men who believed that they were the victims of reverse discrimination,
also know as affirmative action, that they were qualified for jobs, qualified for promotions.
They didn't get them and they were really angry about it.
And the title of this particular show was a quote from one of these men about his situation.
And the quote was "A black woman stole my job."
And then these guys all told their stories and then it was my turn to speak.
And I said I had just one question for you guys about this, about this issue.
Actually it's a question about the title of the show, A Black Woman Stole My Job.
It's actually a question about one word in the title.
I want to know about the word my.
Where did you get the idea it was your job?
Why isn't the title of the show A Black Woman Got a Job or A Black Woman Got the Job;
because without confronting men's sense of entitlement, we'll never understand why
so many men resist gender equality.
We think those are our positions.
We think it's a zero sum game and if women win men are going to lose.
Look, we think this is a level playing field.
So, any policy that tilts it even a little bit, we think oh my God water's rushing uphill.
It's reverse discrimination against us.
Let's be clear.
White men in America are the beneficiaries, of Canada too.
White men in America, in North America are the beneficiaries
of the single greatest affirmative action program in the history of the world.
It is called "The History of the World."
So, this is what's going to hold men back.
This is an obstacle to engaging men, that sense of entitlement.
Now we have to open that up.
So, what I want to do now is I want to get inside of "Guyland" and talk a little bit
about some of those rules of manhood.
Particularly what I want to do is I want to focus on that first one;
that no sissy stuff rule, because that's the dominant one.
Remember now, and now I'll talk about what I found in doing the interviews with 400,
with 400 young people across the country.
Sometimes I interview parents and then for one of things I'll talk
about later I have a much larger quantitative dataset
with about 22,000 who responded to a survey.
I'll tell you about that in a minute.
So, let me tell you a little bit about what I found.
Let's start with the pressure that young men feel to prove their masculinity.
That fear of being seen as a sissy, no sissy stuff is one
of the animating fears that young men have.
They are constantly, relentlessly from primary school but really it takes,
it really starts to take off in middle school, are constantly policed by other guys,
constantly being watched, constantly being monitored, and that fear, you all know this.
You all now this, the most common putdown in every single middle school, high school
and college campus in America is, that's so gay.
And we have now come to assume that that's so gay has virtually nothing to do
with sexual orientation, with sexuality.
We think it has to do with masculinity, right.
Saying to someone that that's so gay, if I say to you oh dude, that hat is so gay,
you would not say to yourself that I'm saying I believe you may have erotic interest
in members of your gender.
You would not say looks dumb, wrong, stupid or right, that's what people will say.
People will say, you know it doesn't mean gay people.
It just means wrong or bad and I always want to say,
how about if I said that's so Jewish or that's so black.
Oh no, you can't say that.
But that's so gay somehow so easy, but don't believe me.
Listen to the words of my favorite gender theorist in America, Eminem.
[laughter] Now those of you who are Eminem fans
as I am let me just say this is Eminem's Circa 2002, before he has his great gay awakening.
Those of you know his career will know that in 2002 when "8 Mile" came
out there is a pivotal scene in that movie by the food truck outside the factory
where Rabbit actually comes to the defense of a young, a gay man.
This is his great turning point.
Prior to this every single song was fagot this and fagot that.
Now he's still not so good on women, January 2011 when he turned 32,
now at exiting Guyland he was interviewed about what it means
to be a grownup now in-- for "Esquire."
And this is a verbatim quote, January 2011, he said, "I'm a t-shirt guy now.
But wife beaters won't go out of style because the bitches keep mouthing off."
Okay, so he's not so good on women, better on gay men, but in 2002 he's interviewed on MTV
and he's asked the question, like what is up with you and gay men?
Why is every single song you're a fagot you know this, every single song.
This is what he says.
"The lowest degrading thing you can say to a man is call him a fagot and take away his manhood.
Call him a sissy, call him a punk.
Fagot to me doesn't mean gay people.
Fagot to me just means taking away your manhood."
So you hear what he's saying, that in his mind it is about sexual orient--
it's not about sexual orientation it's about gender, it's about taking away your manhood.
Now, most of us have these kinds of stories
about our middle school and high school experiences.
I remember one-- and so I'm going to--
because I think what happens is this gender policing extracts from young men a sense
of performance of masculinity, that we are always involved in.
We're always watching other people watching us,
making sure they don't get a chance to say that's so gay.
In my middle school I remember this, you know there are some moments
in your middle school you'd like to forget but one of the things,
one of the things about middle school is there was always this way of being you know
of like taking some factoid you learned in like science class or something and then taking it
to like the most perverse place possible.
So here's what we learned, I don't even think this necessarily is true,
but this is what we heard.
You're instinctive reaction reveals your true self.
The idea that before you have time to think about how you should react,
your instinctive reaction will reveal something true about you.
So, we boys immediately took this out to the playground, snuck up behind a guy
and said, look at your fingernails.
And do the men in hear know what I'm talking about?
Of course you do.
If he goes like this okay, if he goes like this beat him up.
Look at the bottom of your shoes, okay.
Not okay. We are thinking constantly about how we walk, how we talk,
how we move, how we look at our fingernails.
The amount of energy we spend on policing ourselves to make sure
that others might not get the wrong idea about us with that--
if we could harness that energy we could have cured cancer by now.
Think about how much time and energy you've actually spent doing all those things
that are supposed to be completely natural and normal, right.
There is nothing inherently masculine about looking at your fingernails in either way.
It's all cultural, okay.
So, this idea, this feeling that we are constantly being policed and now you have--
now I'm going to bring us to college campus, so what do men do to prove their masculinity
when they come to college campuses?
I am not, let me be very clear.
Guyland is not a stage of development and not a stage of arrested development.
I am not talking here about the Peter Pan syndrome.
If anything, I'm talking about the Peter Panic syndrome; guys who are desperate
to prove their masculinity and know that they are being constantly evaluated
on their performance every single second.
So, now I'm going to read something to you which this may have some trigger points,
but I must say I read this, I read this recently at a school not far from here.
And they said, oh wow, that was-- our hockey team did exactly that.
I thought that was pretty revealing.
It wasn't about them either.
Okay, so this a particular ritual, now let me just say I'm going to read you a few paragraphs
from the book about a particular ritual.
Much of the book is really a catalog of all of the different arenas that men engage
in to prove their masculinity to each other.
So, there's chapters on sports, on binge drinking on hooking up, on video games,
you know, on pornography, a whole bunch of different chapters.
This is the one that comes from the chapter on hazing and fraternities.
And just to let you know, I'm going to-- the name I gave this person was Jason
and I say he's at University of Georgia.
His name is not Jason and it wasn't University of Georgia.
And finally, let me also say I witnessed this.
I was in the room when this happened and I would say on a scale of 10 what I'm going to read
to you I would say would be about a 6.5 in terms of intensity, grossness, etc. Okay,
so know that there are some things a lot worse, but most not, okay.
So, now I'll just read this to you.
"Jason, freshman at University of Georgia has been waiting all semester for this night.
He's put up with a lot of humiliating abuse from the brothers, done mountains of their laundry,
made their beds and even written a paper for the pledge master.
He's mopped up vomit-stained bathrooms at the fraternity house on the morning after parties,
done stupid things and drank a bit more, okay a lot more, then he ever did in high school.
One more night and he's sure he'll be in.
The pledges gather in the rec room about 10:00 p.m.,
dressed as instructed, in old t-shirts and jeans.
They were told to bring flip flops, a change of clothes and a jockstrap.
An anxious frivolity permeates the room as the brothers drink beer with the pledges.
After everyone seems good and drunk the brothers swarm over the pledges yelling their demands
to recite the fraternity's mission statement rituals information.
Screw it up the brothers yell and you might not make it.
Calisthenics of a sort follow, push ups then chugging some beers, sit ups and more chugging.
Most of the pledges are ready to puke.
They're then told to strip naked and stand in the straight line, one behind the other,
which is hard enough given how much they've already had to drink.
Each pledge is ordered to reach his right hand between his legs
to the pledge standing behind him and grab that guy's penis and then place his left hand
on the shoulder of the guy in front of him."
Can you be pledges.
Okay, bend over put your right hand through your legs, grab that guys penis,
put your left arm on this guy's shoulder as he backs into you to grab your penis
so you're actually very, very, very close.
And then you sort of form a circle, march around for a few minutes
in what is called the elephant walk, okay.
"By now it's nearly 2:00 a.m. Okay you worthless pieces of shift, the pledge master screams,
now let's see if you're willing to give it all for the brotherhood.
Still naked, the pledges stumble to the second floor balcony of the house.
The brothers measure out lengths of rope and a cinderblock is tied to the end of each
so that it almost, but not quite touches the ground.
The pledges are blindfolded as the other ends of the rope are tied
to the base of each pledge's penis.
You better have a big enough dick pledge, the pledge master shouts.
If your dick isn't big enough you aren't getting into this house.
This block is going to rip it the fuck off your body.
How do you like that you little weenies.
Each pledge feels a tug on his rope"- -I'm sitting here taking notes.
"Each pledge feels a little tug on his rope
and then hears the cinder blocks being lifted up to the edge of the balcony.
The next thing he knows he feels a sharp tug
and hears the cinder blocks being pushed off the edge crashing to the ground below.
One guy screams and starts to cry.
Blindfolds are removed and the brothers are laughing their heads off.
It turns out the ropes weren't really tied to those blocks after all.
They embraced their new brothers and it's over.
Jason has made it."
Okay, so as I said this is about a 6.5.
Now let me just ask you a question.
Imagine for a moment that you are an anthropologist from Mars
and this was your fieldwork assignment.
And so now, members of the Martian Anthropologic Society, I have one thing to say.
They're obviously all gay.
They're devising all these rituals to be holding each other's penises.
They're completely preoccupied with it.
I mean, so the rituals are so obviously so transparently homoerotic that you have
to layer upon layer upon layer of homophobia
so that nobody could possibly ever get the right idea.
This leads to the well trod anthropological axiom that the more overtly erotic,
homoerotic the ritual the more actively homophobic the culture
or subculture; it's obvious.
Why you say to yourself.
Why would men do this?
Why would they put up with such ritualized abuse.
Why would they do it year after year, for what?
What's the payoff for this?
And this is what I heard on every campus I went to, from every group of guys that I talked to.
Here's what they said, three words, "bros before hoes."
What they get as compensation for putting up with all of this is two--
is bros before hoes; that notion that the bonds of brotherhood that you forged
with your brothers is-- are the most permanent
and durable bonds you will ever form with another human being.
Virtually every fraternity that I talk to, some--
at some point in their ritual cites Henry V, "He who sheds his blood with me will be my brother."
There's such a romantization of this notion and you-- so what you get, you get solidarity
and what you also get simultaneously is girls don't do this, girls can't do this.
You get gender, inequality, hierarchy at the same time as you get solidarity.
So, horizontal and vertical both, that's the payoff.
And I'm sorry to say women, chicks before dicks does not quite have the same resonance for women
that bros before hoes has for men.
So, this-- as I said much of the book is then cataloging the different ways that guys try
to prove themselves to other men, are asked constantly to perform.
Now I want to go-- now I think I have about 15 minutes left or so, okay.
I'm going to go inside one more area to talk about
and then I'm going to try to pull us out of this.
Okay, so what I want to do now is I want to show how I think
that gender equality is actually undermined by some of the ways
in which we interact socially and sexually on campuses.
So, let me talk about one area in particular
that I think really reveals us and that is hooking up.
Because here I have data from about 22,000 students that completed an online survey as well
as the data on-- from my own 400 interviews.
So, and I think-- you know so here's what we found out about hooking up.
First of all by the way this is--
you know hooking up everywhere you go everybody says oh, nobody really dates here.
Everybody just hooks up.
So, here's what we-- here's what we found out about hooking up.
The first thing is the phrase, the term itself hooking up is deliberately vague.
It could mean anything from like hot heavy kissing to intercourse
and nobody quite knows exactly what it means and this serves both men and women.
So, he can say to his guy friends, I hooked up with Jennifer
and everybody thinks he had intercourse with Jennifer.