Category: Books

Ten Must-Read Books About White Masculinity and the Rise of Trump

By Jackson Katz With the first anniversary of Donald Trump’s improbable election at hand, a torrent of books are being published that purport to analyze Trump’s political success and what it signifies and portends for the present and future of American politics. Many of these books appropriately address the “blue-collar billionaire’s” appeal to the ethnic bigotry and white nationalism that has long hidden in the shadows of American politics. But to date, precious few have correctly identified the central role played by gender—specifically white masculinity—in Trump’s rise as a political icon. This exclusion started early. The day after the 2016 election, The New York Times published a list of books to help voters understand Trump’s win. Not one title on the list foregrounded gender; only one, Strangers in Their Own Land (see below), discussed it in any depth whatsoever. If current trends persist, it seems safe to predict that many of the 2016 election books either will fail to discuss gender—outside of reflexive references to the misogyny surrounding Hillary Clinton’s bid to become the first woman president—or will minimize its importance. As a corrective to this systematic exclusion, I have compiled a list that attempts to steer discussions of Trumpism back to a critical analysis not just of whiteness, but of white masculinity. The books briefly summarized here offer an introductory roadmap for anyone—journalists, academics, political science students, armchair...

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Books

Healing My Life from Incest to Joy By Donna Jenson 2017, 383 pages Leveller’s Press Review by Lea Grover With a title like Healing My Life from Incest to Joy, you might think Donna Jenson’s new book would be a heavy, difficult read. But though she is honest and deeply human as she tells her story of childhood incest, what is most striking about this book is the joy. Jenson, a successful community builder and playwright, focuses not on the details of her abuse, but on the steps she took to build a life of meaning and beauty. Through her, we learn techniques of storytelling, therapy, and relationship building. She does not ask the reader to suffer with her, rather inviting the reader to heal with her. With a conversational tone and genuine friendliness, she invites the reader into her life, getting to know and love the friends who support her, the daughter who encourages her, and the diverse and compassionate “Family of Choice” surrounding her. This book is not prescriptive, not a “how-to” guide to overcoming trauma, but it is a detailed account of what helped Jenson, how and why she came to learn new tools for introspection and growth, and where any person could find them, should they have an interest. It’s the kindness of this storytelling that is so striking. Jenson does not pretend to speak...

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TRANS/gressive: How Transgender Activists Took on Gay Rights, Feminism, the Media and Congress… and Won!

By Riki Wilchins Photos by Mariette Pathy Allen Before Caitlyn Jenner became America’s most famous transgender personality, Riki Wilchins was leading the fight for transgender rights. In the new first-person history-memoir TRANS/gressive: How Transgender Activists Took on Gay Rights, Feminism, the Media & Congress… and Won!, Wilchins recounts the long and winding road of trans rights from the early days of anti-trans rights in segments of the feminist movement, to the murder of transwomen such as Brandon Teena, through the fight to include trans rights in the “Gay and Lesbian” community. “This was a story that I thought might...

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Against the Tide: Profeminism in the Twenty-first Century

By Michael S. Kimmel The quotes that serve as the epigraphs for this book’s preface and initial chapter are separated by only about 60 years, yet they span the arc of a social movement: two moments defining the first two waves of feminist activism. Floyd Dell, the Greenwich Village bohemian writer, was among the founders of the Men’s League for Woman Suffrage, a group of prominent public figures who led men’s contingents in the great suffrage parades and organized men’s support of women’s suffrage. Sixty years later, that message echoed across continents and decades, finding a new generation of...

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Excerpt from “A Short History of One of the Most Important Social Justice Movements You’ve Never Heard Of”

By Rob Okun Feminism is going to make it possible for the first time for men to be free. —Floyd Dell, 1914 Looking through the wall of windows behind the podium, I can sense spring coming to New England. On stage a group of male students hold banners that call for an end to violence against women. Flanking them like bookends are a male district attorney and male college president. The band of men surveys the large crowd assembled to commemorate International Women’s Day 2013 by celebrating the accomplishments of the New England Learning Center for Women in Transition (NELCWIT),...

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Five Traits that Drive Men’s Lives

By Charlie Donaldson And Randy Flood Not long ago we were having dinner with friends when the topic turned to the premise of our new book, Mascupathy: Understanding and Healing the Malaise of American Manhood. The turmoil in most men’s lives is a product of a socialized disorder we had dubbed mascupathy, where traits such as aggression and invulnerability are exaggerated, and those of openness and empathy are repressed. Not everyone at the table agreed. Michael said flatly that the turmoil of men’s lives was all about sex. Randy responded that it was all about male socialization: the lessons...

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The Broad Brushstrokes

  In his new book, When the War Came Home (Levellers Press), Bill Newman, a noted ACLU attorney, shows how the idealism of the anti–Vietnam War movement still lives—most importantly in the lives of the children of that generation. The title of the book refers to the spring day 44 years ago when the Ohio National Guard opened fire on anti-war protesters at Kent State University, killing four. Following is an excerpt from Newman’s book that looks at fathering, and raising daughters. He wrote it in the summer of 1998. The painting consisted of two waveshaped watercolor brushstrokes—one a...

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Love & Fury

Prize-winning poet, essayist, and fiction writer Richard Hoffman is the author of Half the House, a memoir about coming to terms with the childhood rape he suffered at the hands of his baseball coach. In his new memoir, Love & Fury (Beacon Press, June, 2014) Hoffman grapples with the legacy of his boomer-generation boyhood in a rustbelt Pennsylvania town. Along the way, he explores the often unspoken values men inherit and draw upon as they navigate their roles as husbands, sons, fathers, and grandfathers. Tracing five generations of his family’s history, focusing particularly on his complicated relationship with his...

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Profeminist Men’s Work: The Early Days

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, small groups of men began to mobilize, joining the women-led movement to end violence against women. The sociopolitical climate in which the battered women’s movement gained momentum, had been powerfully influenced by the social justice movements that had simmered and exploded during the preceding decades. There were major struggles including the fight for human rights for men and women of color, women in general, gays and lesbians, and survivors of poverty and war, among others. They were struggles in which members of different marginalized groups would sometimes unite to confront their common...

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Outlines

Writing October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard has been a long journey, one that took me over 11 years and began with a terrible coincidence. My journey began October 12, 1998, the day I flew across the country to give a speech about the controversy over my children’s book, Heather Has Two Mommies at the University of Wyoming, in celebration of National Coming Out Day. It was entitled “Heather’s Mommy Speaks Out: Homophobia, Censorship, and Family Values” and focused on the difficulties I had in getting my book Heather Has Two Mommies published, and how important it is...

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Protected: Books

Hard to Get: 20-Something Women and the Paradox of Sexual Freedom   By Leslie C. Bell University of California Press, 2013 262 pages, hardcover, $29.95   “We could have had it all,” Adele muses on her album 21, which she recorded at just that age. Can young women? For more than a generation, young women have been talking about the difficulties of trying to construct love, relationships, and sex, but few have listened to them. Feminist sociologist and psychotherapist Leslie C. Bell has now given them voice in her new book, Hard to Get: 20-Something Women and the Paradox...

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A Practical Guide to Yes Means Yes

Books by Jane Fleishman What You Really Really Want: The Smart Girl’s Shame-Free Guide to Sex and Safety by Jaclyn Friedman is a wonderful antidote to all the magazines that try to convince young, straight women that their “Six Tips to Please Your Man” will actually work. Friedman’s book takes a radically different tack: encouraging young women of all sexual orientations to discover and communicate their own sexual desires. Going far beyond most popular sex ed books, the book invites readers to dig deep to contemplate and articulate her feelings about her body, presenting numerous exercises. In the chapter...

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The Guy’s Guide to Feminism

S is for Sports, Not for Men Only by Michael Kaufman and Michael Kimmel The Guys Guide to Feminism (Seal Press, 2011) is a witty, politically savvy, entertaining primer on a topic many men still struggle with—how accepting feminism actually can improve guys’ lives. An A-Z guide, the book features facts, faux interviews, and history. The authors, both Voice Male national advisory board members, have been addressing issues related to men and masculinity for decades. Each has spoken at scores of colleges and universities across the U.S. and Canada and are the authors of a number of books including...

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Fall 2017

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Voice Male: the Book