<B>The IASOM Newsletter Vol 3 No 1 Spring 1995</B><FONT COLOR="663333" FACE="Arial" SIZE="5"><B></B>

UN Conference on Women panel proposal

Will men’s situation be addressed at the Fourth UN Conference on Women in Beijing? Yes, if a panel proposal from Michael Kimmel, Michael Kaufman and others is taken up by the organizers of this huge project. The proposal, which includes equal status, violence, and domestic work participation discussions, is further presented in this issue in the Newsletter.

A Nordic Conference on Men

will be arranged in Stockholm in April 27-28 by a group set up by the Nordic Council of Ministers. This event is a partial reply to the demand for more focus on men, made at the Åbo women’s conference last summer, and elsewhere. One consideration behind the arrangement is to create broad and popular discussions that will engage men, rather than alienate them at the outset; the invitation asks “what are the wishes and demands of men in the Nordic countries, in relation to extending equal status between men and women”. The arrangers hope to attract 7-800 people. The internationally renowned peace researcher Johan Galtung is among the invited speakers. For more information, contact Søren Carlsen in the Danish Equal Status Council, tel. + 3392-3311, fax + 3391-3115.

See below for other coming conferences - Leeds, Florence, Ottawa, Colombia, etc.

New Finnish network started

As this newsletter was about to go in print, we received news that researchers in Finland, in participation with the Finnish Equal Status Council, have created a network for studies of men with a profile and orientation similar to that of the networks in the other Nordic countries. We welcome this initiative, and note that in a couple of years, our field has grown from “very very small” to just “small”! A combination of grassroots activity from researchers, therapists and students, and an active equal status politics which includes some recognition of the need to address the situation of men, are the two main factors behind this development. More details on the Finnish initiative can be found below.

IASOM task groups and trial vote

In this issue, we present a first ‘task group’ list, i.e. a list of IASOM members and contacts who share topics of  interest. The plan is to make these into task groups for others to join. We also present a “trial vote” relating to the association’s profile and some organization issues.

From the editor

I am happy to present a more truly international flavour in this issue, ranging from a Finnish Sub-Committee on men to an invitation to an earth brothers’ conference in Colombia! The approaches are different, and the issue is wide, so we need a wide horizon.

IASOM is founded on the idea that gender equal status is a main issue facing men today; are we to contribute, or should we rather sit back saying “now they go too far”. Certainly some feminists go too far in critisising men, yet to the mind of yours truly, this in fact is a case of going too short, of not percieving the complexity of global gender inequality and its relation to other social issues. We need awareness of gender issues, but we also need awareness of the dangers of any kind of genderism or sexism, of sorting people according to biology.

Some would argue gender primarily expresses “patriarchy”, and it is true that inequality remains more complex than “all men oppressing all women on all levels”. Still there is the fact that male dominance persists in many areas. Pointing to “society”, to politics or economy, class and capital, the larger power structures, or saying, like R. W. Connell, that the main problem is “hegemonic” masculinity, -all this does not involve a denial of the fact that ordinary men also often benefit from everyday life inequality. Using a compass doesn’t imply throwing away the map!

This is how I see IASOM’s mission; we should encourage both forms of research, everyday life analyses as well as larger scale or macro societal studies, and especially, we should encourage connecting such perspectives, even if this is difficult, with the danger of being too rash, collapsing different issues into each other, etc. - since, after all, basically men aren’t only “private” men or “public men”, but rather persons, whole human beings, and since this fragmentation (and the fragmented reality where men are only thought of as masculine in some social arenas) is indeed one main aspect of “the problem of men”.  

This also relates to why the comingUN women’s conference in Beijing is important. Ten thousands of women - and also a few men -will be involved in this ‘summary’ coming summer. There will be an attempt, at the global level, at linking the main problems facing humanity, especially the problem of poverty and the global hierarchy, with gender equality issues. I this is crucial in order to effectuate real changes - and also if we are to avoid a “ghettoizing” of gender studies, and a narrow perspective. In various forms, across the globe, we face ecological and social crises created by “productionism” of all sorts (and it doesn’t matter if it calls itself socialist, capitalist, fundamentalistic or whatever), a men’s sphere and production sphere hegemony, which it clearly out of step with any full equal status vision. This means a re-creation of a one-sided kind of society, a male dominance society, or a society which again and again allows for and creates the dominance of men’s kind of reality.

This, I think, will be the real subject of the Beijing conference, and where it can be of significance. The strong connection of women’s issues and poverty issues (as stated in preparation documents) is one step in this direction, for as soon as  one moves into the dimension of poverty and wealth, sex needs to be seen together with other issues and not in separation.

This is also where our field is of some significance - since only a few people, you people, are investigating if this “male dominance” or “men’s reality” is really men’s at all, but instead, on more hidden levels, a reality against men’s lives also. Before we get too sure men benefit from it all, someone should add up the costs, and this is part of what men’s studies are attempting. NOMAS has a crucial paragraph about enhancing men’s lives not as opposed to equal status but as part it. There is the idea of a future for men and for boys beyond the fake enhancements that diminish other people’s status and freedom.

This is a complicated view, perhaps, yet it will bear fruit in the longer run. By addressing our problems as men, we are also developing a view in which there is no “other”, no “alienated oppressive factor” apart from ourselves, for even as we do recognise that some men benefit more than others, and even as we develop inequality analysis, patriarchy theory, masculinity hierarchy theory and the like, we have to remain in the “circle of ourselves”, our maleness. This goes for the male researchers, but indirectly also for the women who support and are active in the field, who sometimes hold a crucial “outsider-insider” position. This attempt to end projection is one methodological key, and probably one reason why therapists have responded so favourably to the IASOM initiative.

There are many signs that men are often facing a double bind situation in terms of gender and identity. There is a dual-danger situation, in which voicing the problem leads to the worst danger of all. There are three powers involved in the double bind, not just two. The main effect is silence, not voicing. This seems to characterize many men, today, who do not “participate” much in supporting women’s rights. Men have been remarkably silent - or most have. The double bind, in this context, says to men: “you are damned if you do” follow the rules of masculinity, for example in terms of the women around you or your divorce chances; yet you are also “damned if you do not” follow these rules, or start imitating women, and most of all, you are damned if you give air to “your” problems, this should not be a problem for you and you risk the disapproval of both men and women, you become “difficult/different”.

Voicing the problem, in this perspective, becomes of primary importance, or as NOMAS says, to break the silence. It cannot be doubted that this will include critiques of feminism and women, some of which will be misguided, and even ‘politically incorrect’. These will be published in the Newsletter as part of a contribution to an on-going and neccessary debate. I also think feminists should regard this kind of disagreement from another angle altogether. Beyond the level of politics and rethoric, there is the level of what is being said and talked about - and what is not. There is the argument that the silence of most men as regards gender issues, and men’s problems of finding a voice in the current equal status and gender debates, contribute to tension and conflicts in other areas, like domestic violence.

The perceived importance of men

Recently, the Norwegian government has reaffirmed its equal gender status goals, and this includes a document from the department for children and the family on how gender equal status politics should be integrated into all other areas of administration and politics. It should be a “backbone reflex”. Prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland in an interview (Aftenposten 01.13.95) says Norwegian equal status politics has come far, yet there remains a problem with men who do not take responsibility. Recently economic statistics have been published emphasizing the continual discrimination of women in paid work, and a survey has shown still-widespread traditional attitudes and a domestic work division where women continue to do most of the work.

The idea that the problem rests with men has become more widespread. At the same time a more inquiring attitude towards this “men’s problem” is also evident, as in recent statements from family minister Grete Berget on divorced fathers’ problems losing contact with their children.

IASOM and studies of men in general have emphasized that the problem of men and the problems of society are in most areas linked.

The idea that the problem belongs to men and is their responsibility is certainly a step forward from not recognizing any problem at all, yet it does not necessarily create a good strategy for equality. Many men react as if they’ve grown deaf to the “men = problem” line, and probably would be more willing to listen in terms of solutions.

In the document mentioned, called “This is the government’s integration policy”, the need for knowledge in this area is emphasized. “In order to use the gender perspective, you should have knowledge of consequence analysis, gender equality goals and knowledge of how gender influences the organization of social institutions and everyday life”.

Gender is important, but it is also, easily, a stereotype. Without critical inquiry, analysis and research, even the best “backbone reflex” may go wrong.

No masculinity implied

In Norway as elsewhere the rising level of violence especially among youth is a matter of concern. Since almost all violence is done by men, one might guess ‘masculinity’ would in some way come into the picture... Yet the causal relationships aren’t that clear; perhaps, rather, it is the weather?

“Rainy weather caused full fight in taxi queue”

The strong rain in Stavanger the night to Sunday was the indirect cause in a full fistfight which developed in a taxi queue - at most, 15 people were involved in the struggle to get first to the taxi. The fight ended with four people taken to the first aid station, one hospitalized, and one arrested for the night. In Oslo, also, there was trouble this weekend. Bad weather and an irritable mood in the taxi queues lead to more and more people ending up in the hospital."

(Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, Monday 19th. of December 1994)

In Norway and other countries, The White Ribbon campaign, aimed at reducing violence and male violence against women especially, had stands and other arrangements at the Father’s Day (Nov. 12). The White Ribbon campaign, originating in Canada after a mass murder of women, has spread to several other countries. In Norway the arrangement, though small-scale, was successful, with a stand in the center of Oslo, some TV coverage, and with people in the street responding favorably, many of them worried about what is seen as a spreading culture of violence.

Michael Kimmel et. al. : Panel proposal for the UN Women’s Conference Beijing

Men Supporting Women’s Right  - a plan for three panels


Michael Kimmel, National Spokesperson, National Organization for Men Against Sexism (NOMAS), Professor of Sociology, SUNY at Stony Brook, USA

Michael Kaufman, founder and coordinator, White Ribbon Campaign, Research Associate,

CERLAC, York University, Toronto, CANADA

Women’s political and social equality requires the concerted and coordinated efforts of women all over the world. But women’s achievement of these rights and the ability to enjoy them also requires the active support of men.

I propose three panels at the Beijing conference that will address the ways in which men can and should support women’s efforts at equality.

Each panel will consist of men from around the world who are active in developing ways for men to support women’s rights. Panels will be attended by both women and men.

PANEL I: Political and Social Equality

This panel will consist of men who are active in women’s struggles for full political, economic and social rights. Specifically, it will include strategies to support women’s entry into the paid labor force, efforts to join unions, to achieve equal employment status, free of sexual harassment or sex discrimination, work to eliminate barriers to full literacy and suffrage for women. This panel will include men from England, Nigeria, Mexico, and Japan.

PANEL II: Working Against Violence Against Women

This panel will focus specifically on the problem of violence against women, and will include men who are active in the struggles against spousal abuse and domestic violence, and also against rape. Men who run programs for convicted batterers and rapists from all over the world will be included. This panel will include men from Ireland, South Africa, Australia, Canada, and Germany.

PANEL III: Supporting Women’s Rights Through Domestic Participation

This panel will focus on active fatherhood and sharing domestic work strategies for men to support women’s abilities to achieve their full political, social and economic rights in the public arena. All over the world there are groups for men to become better and more active fathers. This panel will include men from India, Sweden, Mexico, and the US.

Masculinity and authority in an international perspective

Are you interested in participating in the design of a follow-up on the Adorno et. al. Authoritarian Personality study in terms of current-day knowledge of masculinities and patriarchal traits? Such a study has been discussed in former issues of this newsletter.  Several people have notified their interest, so this project is “on” on the conceptual level.

The study should be multicultural, partly comparative in approach, using qualitative and quantitative methods together. It should map men’s life patterns and masculinity forms, with  special focus on authoritarian-related and alienation-related problems. These are main traits according to the outline discussed so far.

Financing and scheduling issues should now also be addressed. Potential participators should contact the international study task group or the editor.

Florence conference on motherhood and fatherhood

“The Cost of Being a Mother, the Cost of Being a Father” is the happy title of a coming Institute Universitaire Europeen conference in Florence/Firenze in Italy on 24th and 25th of March, where scholars will meet to discuss parenthood issues. Agnes Hubert, director Equal Opportunities, DGV-EU, will introduce the conference. Among the planned (now possibly confirmed) speakers are Mary Daly (on sex, gender and poverty in Britain and Germany), Alain Norvez (on French family politics and the wages for housework question), Carmen Belloni (on the temporal and other organizational difference between motherhood and fatherhood), Jane Lewis on the mother/worker dilemma and Jannis Lixouriotis and others on policy issues with focus on the EU. Probably a Scandinavian speaker will also contribute.

If you wish to contribute or participate in this conference, please contact Jens Bonke, chair of part of the conference, at the EUI, Via Boccaccio 121, 50133 Florence, fax 39-55-4685-575 (from abroad).

Leeds conference on men in management

A conference on men in management, especially focused on management in education, will be held at the Thomas Danby College, in Leeds, England,  May 24th to 25th. Steve Whitehead, one of IASOM’s UK members, and Roy Moodley are conference organizers; among the speakers are Jeff Hearn and Shella Scraton (keynote addresses), Jenny Shackleton (on gender in college management), David Herbert (“shadow play -the other side of the self”), and others; there will be special sessions on “the public and private lives of the manager” and other subjects. Creating networks for supporting men and women in management in a changing culture are among the goals of the conference.

If you want more information, please contact Karen Llewellyn, Conference co-ordinator, Thomas Danby College, Roundhay Road, Leeds, LS7 3BG, fax  (44) 113 240 1967, phone (44) 113 249 4912.

Norway once more says no to EU membership

As in 1972, a small majority of Norwegians voted no to the proposed EU membership in November. Gender issues, though not fully studied, seem to have been one main part of the background of this debate, with women notably more skeptical to EU membership than men. A common concern has been a degradation of Nordic welfare state and equality norms as a result of membership, and also a wish to avoid becoming engulfed in a new super power. - Throughout the discussion, there has been a common agreement that a no to EU membership should not mean a yes to isolation. Norway already cooperates and/or depends on the EU in a number of areas; a main argument from the anti-unionists was the need to secure national sovereignty even in the midst of close international cooperation.

Calls for papers

Gender Troubles

The Interdisciplinary Women’s Studies Center (IFF) at the Universitaet Bielefeld, Germany, calls for papers for a conference called “Gender Troubles: Families and parent-child relations in social transformation processes” to be arranged in September or October 1995.

The arrangers want to discuss “family issues in the broadest sense”, focusing on the political, juridical and scientific struggles over the concept of the family; the increasing involvement of feminist research and women’s issues, feminism’s “family profile” etc.; comparative family studies perspectives, and the analysis of global social and political change relating to families.

The IFF states its commitment “to an analytic focus on gender relations and feminist politics”, but also emphasizes that they welcome “contributions from all over the world and from all genders” (that reminds me - must count them again!).

You can contribute to this follow-up of the Center’s successful “Backlash or New Horizons” conference by sending your potential paper, which should bring new empirical material, new theoretical analysis, or some of both. The paper must be submitted in a fairly ready format by July.

Contact: C. Armbruster, Pf. 10 01 31, 33501 Bielefeld, Germany. Tel. +49 521 106-4571, fax ....-5844.

Men’s Families Relations

is the title of a European research seminar to be held at Gothenburg University in Sweden, May 5th and 6th. The arrangers are asking for papers, which will each be presented in summary form with a discussant comment at the seminar.

The focus is on how men cope with different family situations and family life aspects. Further, theoretical and methodological issues in the study of men in the family field, and in the research on work and family interaction, will be addressed.

Please note the deadline for abstracts of papers: these should be sent before February 28 to Ulla Bjørnberg, Gøteborgs Universitet, Sociologiska institutionen, Skanstorget 18,   411 22 Gøteborg, Sweden. Tel.  + 031-7731000, fax + 031-773 4764.

Johanna Lammi-Taskula, The Men’s Sub-committee, Council for Equality, Finland

Finnish men in research and ‘reality’...

For some years men have been one of the special interests of the parliamentary Council for Equality in Finland. To explore ways of activating men to work for equality, the council started a Men’s Sub-committee in 1988. One of the tasks of the Sub-committee has been to promote men’s studies in Finland. The Sub-committee has organized three seminars related to men’s studies: the first on men and worklife in 1991, the second on the topic “Finnish men in research, statistics and ‘reality’” in 1993 and in 1994 a seminar called “Men as customers of social services”. The Sub-committee also has produced several working papers in Finnish concerning men’s relation to mental health, work and children.

Inspired by the latest seminar on men’s studies (Men’s Families) organized by the Nordic Studies on Men Co-ordination group, the Men’s Sub-committee in Finland has now decided to arrange a national seminar on men’s studies. The time seems to be ready for such a seminar: during the autumn 1994 there are several new studies and publications on men coming out in Finland. To mention some topics, these studies are about masculinities in Finland; men and shame; men’s self-biographies; fathers who have taken a long child-care leave. There are also many other research projects on men and masculinities going on.

To make the seminar as fruitful as possible, the Men’s Sub-committee will invite specialists on women’s studies as commentators to the seminar. This way we can reach a more general discussion about where studying masculinities stands in the framework of gender studies. Hopefully, the national seminar can pave way to an international seminar later on. The national seminar will also function as a recruitment arena for getting new members to the IASOM from Finland.

The Equality Dilemma

is the name of a huge and informative report from the Danish Equal Status council, edited by Søren Carlsen and Jørgen Elm Larsen. This anthology, in which nine of the fourteen contributors are women, is focused on parenting and family issues, but it also contains more theoretical stuff like discussions of “the contract as a modern principle” (versus “regulations”), and labor market and patriarchy theories. The book’s large format and illustrations make it more appealing reading.

Norwegian and Danish networks news

Since the Danish and the Norwegian networks both publish their own newsletters, interested (Scandinavian-reading) readers are referred to these for news of activities. The newsletters can be had from the IASOM Nordic addresses printed above.

The Danish Network for Men’s Studies has now existed in two years, and has in that period managed to arrange no less than 2 conferences, 2 semester courses, and 3 seminars. The Danish Equality Council has recently created a new “ideas group on men” chaired by Hans Bonde (see below). The network also has plans for an anthology, and has contributed to bringing in “masculinity” as a subject in the Nordic Summer University (coordinator: Søren Ervø, tel. (45) 3139-9982).

In the Norwegian network, there are currently discussions of new research project and student thesis project proposals (with an evening seminar 8th. of February at 19:00 hours at the Work Research Institute, Oslo). The first 1995 issue of the newsletter (Mannsforskning) tells of a new anthology of men and equal status issues, of  men in Paris and in French Academia, and of new projects, and also comments on the need for a men and masculinities perspective in the Research Council efforts on children, youth and family research.

Statistics and social demography on men

Studies of men and studies of gender relations may be “soft” areas, but there is also a need for new kinds of quantitative measures. This includes statistics. Demography and social statistics are no less relevant for the study of “men” and “masculinity” than emotional psychology. IASOM welcomes researchers in these areas and notifications on important events. issues, studies, etc.

Øystein Gullvåg Holter

Evaluating IASOM experiences after two years

The IASOM initiative has been a grassroot attempt, mainly through a newsletter, to develop an international network for studies of men. Four issues of the newsletter has been distributed, in no more than c. 700 copies altogether (from c. 60 for the first issue to c. 180 for the fourth).

The response has been favorable. We do not know the exact number of IASOM members, since most of these are indirect members - i.e. associated through national or regional groups or networks; it is probably in the region of 200 to 300 people. We have approximately 40 personal members as well as 150 contacts on the Newsletter distribution list. Some of these 150 have expressed their support, others their interest, wishing to be on the mailing list. Many of the contacts are women, or women’s studies associated institutions, while the great majority of members are men.

Compared to the research world at large, and even the gender and feminist studies field, we have reached a fairly small group. It reflects the fact that IASOM is an initiative, an attempt, and not a realized organization. The “trial period”, according to the plan agreed on at the Men’s Studies Association meeting in San Francisco in the summer of 1993, should last for the first three years  - by that time, a founding conference should be planned, or, if possible, arranged, with a discussion of organizations goals, program, statutes etc. Since the initiative didn’t really get off the ground until late 1993, we may put the limit in 1997 without stretching the rules. At that time, however, IASOM should be ready to adopt a more permanent platform, organization rules, recruitment policy etc. Ideally, this should be done through a founding conference. However, considering the economic issue, such a project may not only be in the future, but indeed harder to arrange the more people support the initiative. IASOM therefore needs more effective ways of communicating, like electronic conferencing, and initiatives in this area are welcomed (see BBS note below).

The membership and contact list is a result of many people’s activities, like telling others of this idea and giving them copies of the newsletter or questionnaire. One of our Norwegian Network members came back with a list of twenty people from a conference in Finland. A growing number of people understand the need to address men’s issues as part of a wider change towards full equal status, and the need for men to address women as equal subjects, in a broadly pro-feminist perspective, as a prerequisite for new knowledge.

Practical and financial problems hamper the development of IASOM. Most work has been done on a voluntary basis, and we’ve  had some difficulties trying to create a functioning Nordic editorial group. In practice, therefore, much of the work has been done by the editor, and other members of the Norwegian network. We are at the moment taking steps to correct these problems, including an application to the Norwegian research authorities for a small sum (NOK 30.000) for 1995 activities, primarily covering newsletter costs.

IASOM has developed through grassroots activity, and especially through support of networks, institutions or groups on the national level. An example is the recent Danish network’s Men’s Families conference in Copenhagen, which gave IASOM members a chance to meet and plan further work. We need our members’ activity to ensure that IASOM is represented at the Beijing conference and other important international events, with distribution of the membership questionnaire and newsletters.

A “premature” idea?  

Even if the response has been favorable, one may ask if the IASOM initiative is still premature on an international level. Is there a basis for the organization?

In the Nordic countries, the US, Germany, Australia, Canada, the UK and some other countries there does exist a “national basis” for studies of men, and some fundament, therefore, for international cooperation in the field. In other countries, there are interested individuals and, sometimes, groups, yet the institutional basis is slim.

How many people are ‘potential’ IASOM members, combining research and or therapy focused on men with an equality view? Some hundreds, or a few thousand, around the globe?  We don’t know, and it also depends on the recruitment criteria, how narrowly research-defined the organization should be. We’ve adopted a practice of emphasizing research, while also welcoming other people who deal with men professionally, mostly therapists, as has been the case in the Nordic networks.

The IASOM platform combines a research focus and a broad commitment. Should it be a professional organization? An interest group, like medicine sans frontiers or physicists against the bomb? Some of both? This is one issue for members and contacts to discuss, and we start it off with a preliminary vote in this issue (see below).

The great international variations should be emphasized when we consider future development. In most places, people’s time doesn’t allow too much activity in the “field” itself, and what remains of “field development time” is -understandably - mostly used on a national level. In many countries, there exists nothing like “men’s studies”, or very little, so there is the struggle to “be born”.

There are some interesting common traits in the lists. The people who join IASOM are often professionals not within studies of men, but within areas that understand the need for this kind of studies, like psychologists and sexologists - people who find themselves with other and more ‘traditional’ tasks at hand as for what they will be financed to do; yet their present work does allow them to see the issues involved.

This “awareness of need” is, it seems,  one main IASOM (and national level) recruitment factor. A second factor is also evident. The engagement of some men (and many women) has its main background in the areas where it is becoming clearer (and to some people even “obvious”) that any improvement of women’s situation requires a change among men. Family work, violence reduction and children’s social environment are some common themes in this area.

Two types of “needs” are therefore represented, besides the need shared by most, namely a curiosity and research interest. On the one hand, IASOM gets support from researchers and other professionals who see “the private/oppressive side of men’s lives”. On the other, it gets support from people who see “the need to change men in order for women to get anywhere”. These aren’t always at the same track, and creating discussions where they can communicate and learn from each other is one important network building task.

IASOM may be seen as part of a process where gender-related research are creating better, more open and more interesting networks, with less stereotyping and more tolerance. There is the idea that people who actually have marvelously different (and not just “sex-segregated”) ideas can nevertheless speak and communicate fruitfully. This healthy tendency is reflected  in the very positive qualitative response we have received from many of those who have read the newsletter or heard about the organization, including many people on the contact list.

Although the IASOM platform states that sex/gender is not a valid criteria for membership or for doing studies of men, most of the members are men. Many women are reluctant to become members, either because they don’t even consider it, or, if they do, because they want to have a look and see before they join. Some think  “let the men do this, now, alone”, or even “and let women evaluate it, from aside” - let’s see what comes out of it. Yet good research, here as elsewhere, requires women as well as men researchers, and IASOM needs more active support of women and of women feminists. This is also important for organizational development and democracy.

IASOM is one of many proclaimed pro-egalitarian organizations, and as such it must be evaluated according to whether it contributes to reaching some broad common goals. Does it help create better research on men and equal status issues? Does it help extend our understanding of male violence? Is it honest about oppression of women? Does it help clarify men’s choices and solutions? Does it contribute to more nuanced research on men also in other fields? These are some of the questions that should be asked.

IASOM advocates the idea that “being for men” and “being against inequality” is indeed a possible and fruitful view. This idea, I think, is no longer “premature” or futuristic, rather it is now increasingly being placed on the global agenda. I read the IASOM response basically as a YES to this view. It means that  we are going in  the right direction, even if it will take both time and the activity of many people in order to carry the ideas into practice.

TV violence kills

argues Brandon S. Centerwall in a (June 1992) paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association, which discusses research on this subject, arguing that if people had not watched violence on TV, there would be 10.000 fewer homicides, 70.000 fewer rapes, and 700.000 fewer injured from violent assaults in the US. These numbers may be a bit in the blue air, yet “media and violence” investigations are currently less concerned with downplaying media influence than they were ten or fifteen years ago, arguing instead that the media - and what many IASOM members would think of as compensatory or surrogate masculinity - do play an independent and important role in aggression socialization.

IASOM tasks/topics list

In the questionnaire, people have been asked to state the ways in which they want to contribute to the association, and specifically, if they wanted to join one or more of a number of groups on different topics. Most members, and also some contacts, have filled in this information. Here are some preliminary results from the database with the information. Note that all information hasn’t been filled in, and that we have not had the time to double-check phone numbers etc. (if you have trouble contacting anyone, we may help you).

We ask members and contacts who share the same topic of interest and want to participate in network building, to get in touch with each other, using the addresses presented below. The success of this initiative depends on your own activity, so don’t hesitate to write/fax the others, if no-one gets in contact with you. If you find out further discussion and work will be fruitful, you should decide on a task group coordinator. Also, it would be nice to get some feedback to the Newsletter on how your group is progressing.

Please note that each entry has (or should have) name, title, main academic discipline, address, telephone and fax (you may have to add the country code). -We plan to update this list in future Newsletter issues.

Research politics and funding group

Socrates Alvares; psychologist; maculinities and culturale studies.

Rua Marques de Sao

Vincente 96 A 303

22451-040 Rio de Janeiro, Brasil

tel. 55212955144

Dissens e.V.

Malternstr. 14

10249 Berlin


tel.  3014261809

Ken Byers

Social behaviorist; social psychology

“Journeys Together"

P.O.Box 1254 La Mesa

California 91944 USA

Tel. 6192244175

Juan Impallari

Medical Doctor; sexologist

Kinsey Institute of Sexology

Rioja 3012

2000 Rosiario Argentina

Tel. 5441394627

Fax 554-41248560

Michael Kimmel

Professor; sociology, gender studies

Dept of Sociology, SUNY at Stony Brook

Tel. 516-632-7708

Fax 516-632-7719

Ossi Rahkonen


Sociology; social policy

Dept Social Policy

POB 25, 00014 Univ. Helsinki


Tel. 35801917026

Fax 3501917019

Newsletter group

Socrates Alvares

(address above)

Jose  Bautista

Psychologist; Psychology

Escuela de Psicologia, Universidad del Valle

Cali, Colombia, S A

Tel. 3302211

Johanna Lammi-Taskula

(address above)

Norberto  Inda

Psychologis t Psychoanalysis

El Salvador 6086

Buenos Aires - 1414


Tel 77262979

Masculinities journal group

Socrates Alvares

(address above)

Owen Heathcote

Lecturer in French; Literary theory and praxis

Dept of Modern Language, Univ of Bradford

BD7 IDP England UK

John Rowan

Psychological consultant; Psychology

79 Pembroke Rd, Walthamstow Village

London E7 9 BB UK

Tel. 0815214764

Michael Kimmel

(address above)

Jose Bautista

Psychologist; Psychology

Escuela de Psicologia

Universidad del Valle

Cali, Colombia, S A

Tel. 3302211

Norberto Inda

(address above)

International conference group

Martin Acker

Professor Emeritus Psychology

1193 Pearl St., Eugene,

Oregon 97401, USA

Tel. 5033431937

Fax 5033441127

Dissens e.V.

Ken Byers

Paul Blythe


Emissary Foundation Int.

Hillier Road, Gawler


Luois Bonino


Psychology and psychotherapy

Montesa 39 Esc.IZQ. 4

28006 Madrid


Tel. 3413093771

Owen Heathcote


Robert Ware

Managing director; Men

40 Kelvin Road

Alphington 3078


Tel 6134995906

Fax 6134996763

Bruce Weinstein

Robert C Byrd Health Sciences Centre

POB 9022, Morgantown

WV 26506-9022, USA

Steve Whitehead

Senior lecturer ; Leisure and sport

Thomas Danby Colledge

Leeds, England LS7 3B9


Tel 0502494912

Jim Wild

Practice teacher Applied social studies “12 St Georges Rd

Stafford ST17 ALZ, UK

Jose Bautista (address above)

Johanna Lammi-Taskula

Secretary of Men’s Subcomm. in Council for Equality, Finland; sociology

pb 267, 00171 Helsinki, Finland

Tel 3980160444

Fax 2 39801604582

Ossi Rahkonen

Lecturer; Sociology; social policy

Dept Social Policy

POB 25, 00014 Univ. Helsinki


Tel 3580191702

Fax 6 3501917019

David  Szyniak

Psychotherapist; Psychology

Castillo 824

Buenos Aires - 1414


Tel 5417725996

Fax 54177259 96

Judith Stacey

Professor; Sociology

Department of Sociology

University of California

Davis, California, USA

Fax 5106536895

Teaching issues group

Martin Acker

Socrates Alvares

Dissens e.V.

Ken Byers

(addresses above)

Mikael Carleheden

Ph. D. Student; General social theory

Sociol inst., Lunds Universitet

Box 114, 22100 Lund, Sverige

Tel 46108845  

Fax 46104794

Paul  Blythe

Luois Bonino


Des Buchhorn

Nutritionist; nutrition

Australian Mens Health Network

Po.Box 125

Sr. Peter 2044


Tel 6178465420

Fax 6173691828

Jan-Erik Hagberg

Ph.D History

Universitetet i Linkøping

Inst for teknologi og sosial endring

S-581 83 Linkøping


Tel 4613282316

Kirsten Grønbæk Hansen

Coordinator womens studies; psychology Senter for feminist research

University of Copenhagen

Njalsgd. 8., DK-2300


Tel 4535328340

Fax 4535328011

Owen Heathcote

Juan Impallari

(see above)

Petter  Ingebrigtsen psychologist

Sandviken sykehus avd P,

Mollbakken 9a

5035 Bergen - Sandviken

Tel 47 55958600

Fax 47  55958639

Rolf Lange


Neustadter Neues Weg 18

20459 Hamburg


Ulf Mellstrom

Ph. D; Anthtropology

Universitetet - tema teknik

58189 Linkoping


Tel 46 013282263

Fax 46 013133630

Nils Mortensen

Ass. Professor ; sociology

Dept of Political Science

Univ of Aarhus

DK 8000 Aarhus C Denmark

Tel 4589421133

Fax 4589139839

Tim Rohrmann

Psychologist ; Psychology

Grunstrasse 8

D-38102 Braunschweig

Deutschland" 053175238

John Rowan

Robert Ware

Steve Whitehead

Jim Wild

Michael Kimmel

Jose Bautista

(addresses above)

Paul van Gelder

Anthropologist researcher; Anthropology, sociology

POB 1764, 1000 BT Amsterdam


Tel 0206276727

Fax 0206276727

Johanna Lammi-Taskula

Norberto Inda

Christine Castelain-Meunier

Researcher Sociology


54 bld Raspail

75006 Paris


Tel 491933142840591

Ossi Rahkonen

David Szyniak

(see above)

Therapeutic issues group

Martin Acker

Dissens e.V.

Ken Byers

Paul Blythe

Luois Bonino

Juan Impallari

Petter Ingebrigtsen

Rolf Lange

Tim Rohrmann


Robert Ware

Steve Whitehead

Jim Wild

Jose Bautista

Paul van Gelder

Norberto Inda

David Szyniak

(addresses above)

Humanities research group

Socrates Alvares

Ken Byers

Jose Bautista

Ossi Rahkonen

(addresses above)

Theoretical issues group

Socrates Alvares

Dissens e.V.

Ken Byers

Mikael Carleheden

Paul Blythe

Luois Bonino

Jan-Erik Hagberg

Kirsten Grønbæk Hansen

Owen Heathcote

John Rowan

Steve Whitehead

Paul van Gelder

Norberto Inda

David Szyniak

(addresses above)

Please excuse errors in this preliminary database listing. - The base contains lots of other interesting information, like estimates of the number of people half- or full-time active in the field; these items will be published in a future issue.

How to “give men equality”

In a large interview in the Danish newspaper Politiken (1.1.95), Hans Bonde, a historian and member of the Danish Network for Men’s Studies and now also the chairperson of the new government-sponsored “Ideas of men” group, argues that divorced men and women should draw lots for the main responsibility for the children, and that the compulsory military service (in Denmark) should be shared by women as well as men.

“Men dominates in many areas of society”, Bonde says, yet in the gender discussion, feminists dominate to the degree that men are silent. Bonde wants to extend the feminist slogan of “more women leaders” with “fewer male losers: “the feminists’ focus on the top of society has made us forget the losers. “Some of the young men, who now seek a men’s movement, have grown up with ultra-feminist mothers, and without a father. From their mother they’ve heard that masculinity is shit, and in particular, that their father is an asshole. I myself have carried a lot of guilt because I was presented a picture in which men and war were synonymous”, Bonde says, who believe that there is indeed a “new father” to be seen among young fathers in Denmark. “Becoming a father today is not the same as becoming the mother’s helper. Children need the masculine qualities in the home. The playful and the aggressive. The dirty and the dangerous. The technical. All the things that many mothers don’t bother with.”

Continuing discrimination in wage work

According to official Norwegian statistics, women’s proportion of top management positions has increased from the low 2.7 percent in 1980, but it still remains only 10.5 percent (1994).

Marit Hoel and Arne Mastekaasa at the Norwegian Institute for Social Research are among the international group of researchers who are now starting a project on gender differences in wage and career patterns. “If you look for overt or formal discrimination today, you won’t find it”, Hoel says in an interview (Aftenposten 25.10.94).

“This is not the way things happen. If you want to understand why men and women still are so unequally placed at age 50, you have to look at the career systems. The main differences are created because men and women are offered so different tasks throughout their careers. Sometimes this happens due to the women’s own choices; other times it happens unconsciously. If a firm has an unfilled career position, they usually recruit a man.” Especially Hoel wants to look at employees’ career chances after care leave, which she thinks firms will also experience from an increasing proportion of their male employees.

The first results from this large and primarily quantitative project will be published in 1995-96.

Peter West: Why our boys are falling behind in school

Many western societies have strategies in schools to encourage girls. These have been slowly growing, but something has begun to treathen them. That is, a growing perception that boys could benefit from some of the same things being done for girls - mentor programs, self-esteem programs, and so on. If we tell girls they can be any kind of woman they like, why don’t we tell boys they can be any kind of man they like?

Australia’s largest state, New South Wales, published a report on boys and girls in October. It found the following problems: (1) boys see from TV and movies that ‘real men don’t read’, as John Martin says. Reading is seen as a female pursuit. (2) Boys can’t communicate very well. This is a big problem when employers value the skills of listening, sharing and speaking clearly. (3) Boys lack good role models. Australia has an increasing number of single-parent families; there is no father in 84 percent of them. (4) Similarly, there are few role models for boys in schools. Men in teacher training has fallen from 34 to 27 percent in ten years. The men who are in schools are usually principals or sportsmasters.

The report has recommended that the government take action as follows: (1) increase men in teaching, especially iu the early years of schooling; (2) Rethink the activities in the classrooms, with less attention to neatness and colouring-in. Instead, all students would benefit from a more active approach to learning; (3) Instead of blaming and condemning boys, teachers should explore ways of using boys’ energy and enthusiasm.

I believe this is a good report which blends moderate feminism with the best ideas of the men’s movement. It doesn’t set girls’ interests against the boys’, but wants everyone to benefit. It deserves wide recognition and support. I agree most of all with one recommendation in the report. We don’t know enough about how boys grow into men. There are almost no references in education abstracts to boys! Many educational textbooks don’t even talk about boys unless they are scolding them for taking up too much room and being too boisterous. Researchers in education have a big job ahead of them. People like Niels Kryger need to have their work widely circulated. There are many others who need to exchange ideas too. We will have to reinvent education if we are going to help the thousands of boys who are in trouble both in school and in society. Let’s get on with it!

Letters: On machismo

Dear Øystein,Thank you for a well planned, inspiring and prospective conference. Reading The IASOM Newsletter, brings as well the conference as masculinity to a strong futuristic perspective and not at least the exhilarating international activity the Newsletter reflects of the global tendency of emerging masculinity everywhere as mushrooms.

Now the purpose of my letter:

I myself am a mixture of southamerican & danish (nordic) culture, with the major time of my life spent in Scandinavia. I have during the period of growing interest on masculinity been increasingly interested in “machismo”, as a term I have been confronted with a multitude of times in my southamerican milieu, here and abroad. The last couples of years this term have been increasingly imported to the nordic languages as a description of the stereotype correlated with males physically building themselves up and mentally just about the opposite (but without a suffering aspect and thus an emotional goal, see below).The problem with this expression is that it does not seem to have found (or will find) any linguistic nordic equivalent and thus remains an imported product stripped of its cultural context. The result will probably be that Nordic (Western?) society will adopt this expression as a mould for creating a new nordic stereotype, which is a great damage to the cultural aspect of “machismo”. To me the further exploration of machismo will reveal some more aspects of masculinity and its roots.

- An example: On a trip this spring to Italy during Easter and as always when traveling with the constant companion of trying to understand masculinity in its various surroundings buried in my mind, I was witness to the celebration of this holiday. It seems that the Italian in an extreme way worships the suffering of Christ as he is portrayed in great pain bringing the cross to Golgata, and in equally immense agony when mounted on the cross. The identification of the modern Italians with the suffering Jesus comes about when several groups of 15-20 men transport huge sculptures on their shoulders in large processions from different churches in town and are brought to the central “piazza” and thus everybody becomes part of Jesus suffering. These sculptures reflecting different aspects of the last days of Jesus. The Holy Mother is also worshipped on this day (and through hundred years in Italian culture on plenty occasions).

Nevertheless it brought my mind to the hypothesis that “machismo” is part of a suffering system with a narcissistic element. The latter because of the Latin worship of the mother and the complementary worship of the male child, the primary male Latin identification. “Hijo de puta” (Spanish) the equivalent to son of a bitch is the worst accusation in Latin countries, whereas in Nordic countries other metaphors has to be brought about in order to attack your opponent effectively, such as accusations of incompetence and lack of knowledge and other more precise castrating metaphors. In several Latin countries, the Day of the Mother is the day of most drinking and resulting violence because of celebration of the mother. In Latin countries the death of the mother is often a bigger event than the death of the father. With the death of the mother, the family is forever loosing an unreplaceable figure, whereas when the father dies, the major question is, who is now taking over power in the family, figurally speaking, the phallus is passed on to the next generation.

Anyway my completely undocumented and mainly intuitive conclusion is that Latin society is a predominantly maternal construction and part of machismo serves this purpose in a way of suffering and leading yourself into pain and thus in a narcissistic manner get the attention and love from the Mother in its several transformations. A modern example from the well known football situations, where Latinos (e.g.. Maradona (I will not comment on the linguistic closeness to the word Madonna)) and maybe specially Italians are exorbitantly good of demonstrating dramatic sufferings and expressing the great injustice they are the victims of in almost any small close encounter with the opponent.

- Then again, maybe I am completely wrong, but I still think and hope our Latin friends will explore the field of machismo further and I have great interest in participation in this discussion.


Henrik Vittrup, Physician

Thulevej 12

KD-2860 Søborg


tel./fax +45 39 69 29 60





May 15 - 18, 1995




Conference Venue

Carleton University, Ottawa



The arena of women’s issues has taken the initiative to seek to understand a unique segment of humanity, and what it has meant, and means to be a woman in this, the second half of the twentieth century. Their scholarship has, in turn, raised the need for scholars, scientists, legislators and ordinary women and men to look at the other half of our human world in a parallel process of inner search, re-search and understanding. A newly emerging field of scholarship, the study of men’s issues endeavors to understand men, and what it has meant, and what it means to be a man within human society. As a multi-disciplinary field of investigation, the study of men’s issues aims to understand the origins and uncover what it means to be a man from a political, economic, and sociocultural perspective. It means to explore what it means to be a man as a father, friend, spouse, lover, worker, as a member of a community, and a member of society. It seeks to hear the messages of men, through the millennia of history and herstory, to express their faith, their suffering, their pain, their fears, and their greatest ideals and beliefs through rite, ritual, literature and the arts. Perhaps above all, it seeks to understand what society thinks a man ought to be, and how this acts to either foster or hamper the unfolding of the unique humanity within each individual man.

To have a field of women’s studies without a field of men’s studies, or vice-versa, is to miss the total whole, which is more than the sum of its parts. For to look at one part, and give it a sense of totality is to take it out of context, and risk putting it in a context of blaming, thus creating the polarization of blamer and blamee. The issue of men’s studies is to strive to round out the equation, and achieve a sense of balance and harmony, reaching a higher level of human integrity without the need for fragmentation. Its ultimate aim is to “widen the circle” to include men as part of that greater whole, thus encouraging men to to claim a partnership with men, women, children, and the planet as each one of us defines our role within this greater whole. As we each aim to become accountable for our self as a part of what is going on in our world, we can then enact our unique power in changing what goes on within it, such that, in the year 2000, we can all, women and men, join hands in spirit and walk into the 21st century as partners and equals, transcending race, religion, class, culture and gender.


To foster International networking, research, dialogue and collaboration between men and women towards achieving a better and healthier global society.



Please Contact:

International ‘95

The International Institute for Men, Women, Culture and Society

Box 84068

Pinecrest P.O.

Ottawa, Ontario


K2C 3Z2

World Encounter for Men



Universidad Nacional

M.A. University of North Carolina

Cali, Noviembre 15, 1994

FAX NO: 63348579  


Pereira, Risaralda



Well, after HUNGARY’93 and RUSSA’94 the selected meeting place for “THE WORLD ENCOUNTER FOR MEN” in 1995 is COLOMBIA, SOUTH AMERICA. We keep on creating the journey towards brotherhood, and the attainment of a better state of health for men.

Following the same guidelines as Hungary, Colombia has taken leadership in Latin America to work to form leaders and program creators who can accomplish the tasks of changing and strengthening our messages about the “condition of men”. Enthusiastically, we hoist the “Banner of Work” to improve the masculine situation! Let’s join forces, organize ourselves and help each other to reach our goals!

Colombia is a beautiful tropical country, with a paradisiacal climate, and lovely scenic views practically anywhere you may go. We have 32 States, (which we call “Departamentos” in Spanish), and in the cities that are State Capitals, University and higher-level educational institutions are blooming and flowering as never before. Our economy is in the process of “opening up” to the world market, and said “opening” is backed up by a traditional democratic system. We will make sure that you enjoy your stay in this beautiful country, where the people are warm and friendly.

The place selected for “THE WORLD ENCOUNTER FOR MEN” is a site located one hour by car from Pereira, Risaralda, and it’s a farm site, re-conditioned and structured especially for meetings of this type. In future communication, more complete information will be given about topography and climate conditions, so that you will know what type of clothing to bring and so on.

In addition to, “THE WORLD ENCOUNTER FOR MEN”, ACPHA has had the foresight to structure a simultaneous “WORKSHOP FOR WOMEN”, thereby allowing you the option to attend with your spouse or fiancèe, and later, have time for tourism and shopping.

I do hope, Earth Brother, that you will accept this invitation reserving the necessary days with plenty of lead time. Frank Cardelle, Alfredo Hoyos and I will be happy to welcome you to Colombia!




Gender sensitive practice

From Roland C. Powell:

Gender Sensitive Practice, A Future Objective for Social Work Education and Practice?

Gender Sensitivity as an essential element in Anti-Oppressive Practice.

While feminist perspectives are part of the solution to grounding a gender sensitive practice they are also part of the problem. Gender studies in Britain are primarily focused on women and are often described as women’s studies. This imbalance in the production of research and theory on gender helps to maintain the existing knowledge gap in a similar way to established gender natural knowledge production.

Writers and researchers in Britain have recognised the problems in developing an effective practice with men. Stones (1994) acknowledges that family centres frequently fail to involve fathers and that social work professionals consequently view mothers as the primary careers practicing a positive discrimination toward mothering. The role of men and fathering is marginalised and as a consequence men are alienated from services which construct parenting as a feminised task.

Gender imbalance in the literature of British social work is demonstrated by Milner (CSP 1993 p - 55). In this article virtually all references to men are about deviant, violent men so Milners assumption seems to be that the problem is wholly situated within all men.

Within Mental Health a similar problem is identified by Barnes and Maple (1992),

“Assumptions about what is normal and appropriate behaviour for women and men can cause stress for men who do not perceive themselves as having stereotypical masculine attributes. The significance of gender for an analysis of men’s mental health is undeveloped if not non-existent”.

Men who are not criminal or deviant are virtually invisible in social works literature, and education. The acceptance of masculine stereotypes and assumptions about “male power” seem to have produced a literature of theory and practice in which men and masculinity are too frequently pathologised asserting the view that men are flawed and that it is men who must change. This pathological view of masculinity continues as a major obstacle to a balanced, gender sensitive social work practice.

A recognition of men as victims, and the effects of social change on men are necessary to understanding the development of male roles in a society where the dominant male stereotype and the lived experience of many men have virtually nothing in common. Men who attempt to live up to the popular male stereotype frequently suffer gender role stress leading to mental health problems which often go unrecognised.

Debate: From Peter West’s chronicle
Men’s movement more than a swagger

Yesterday’s heretics become today’s high priests. Feminism was once an abrasive and heretical doctrine, and feminists like Germaine Greer enjoyed the adrenaline rush of going against the conventional wisdom. But today feminism is one of the conventional doctrines in the universities and publishing houses.

Just look at the shelves of books in the book shops on feminism. “Where are the books about men?”, I said to one book shop owner. She said, “Oh, I don’t know. Go and have a look under ”mental illness" or “self help”. Or look at the loads of feminist books that Penguin have on their lists and then look on their lists for the books about men. When I look at the textbooks my students lug around, there is hardly one that doesn’t have a feminist frame of reference or a couple of chapters written on gender, written, of course, by a woman, because they’re the experts on gender. The feminists have become the spokeswomen on the whole field of men’s and women’s relationships. Women can do anything, men are politically incorrect because for a thousand years we have been oppressing women. The sins of the fathers have been visited upon the children. (...)

In this climate of suspicion, Saul Bellow says it is impossible to say anything. We can’t open our mouths, he says, without being denounced as racists, misogynists, supremacists, imperialists, or fascists. It has become very difficult to say anything about women, because whatever you say, you’re going to be wrong too. Why is it that when I tell my students, “I question the claim made by some feminists that men have got all the power, because political science textbooks that I’ve read say nobody’s got all the power”, their response is “Those books must have been written by men”.

Judith Stacey:
Scents, Scholars and Stigma - The Revisionist Campaign for Family Values

(This paper, published in Social Text 1994, addresses the US situation of ‘new family values’ from a feminist perspective. Stacey is the author of Brave New Families (Basic Books 1990), and a IASOM contact; this book has been one of the targets of the family value proponents, who also advocates a return to old-style fatherhood).

“Dan Quayle Was Right,” blared the April 1993 cover of the Atlantic monthly, a magazine popular with the very “cultural elite” whom the former Vice-President had blamed for the decline of Western civilized family life.  Far from withering, a revisionist campaign for family values has flourished under Democratic skies.(...)

While the rightwing may prove the prime beneficiary of current family-values discourse, it is not its primary producer. Rather, an interlocking network of scholarly and policy institutes, think tanks, and commissions began mobilizing during the late 1980s to forge a national “consensus” on family values that has already shaped the family ideology and politics of the Clinton administration and his “new” Democratic Party.  Central to this effort are the Institute for American Values, co-directed by David Blankenhorn and Barbara Dafoe Whitehead (author of the Atlantic article), and its offshoot, the Council on Families in America, co-chaired by Popenoe and Jean Bethke Elshtain. (...)

The (US family) revisionists place great emphasis on reviving paternal commitment. Wilson (a professor at UCLA) lauds efforts by the National Centre for Neighborhood Enterprise “that try to encourage men to take responsibility for their children”. (..) Blankenhorn joined forces with Don Eberly, a former aide to Jack Kemp, to form a national organization of fathers, to “restore to fatherhood a sense of pride, duty and reward”. The National Fatherhood Initiative, which Blankenhorn chairs, seeks to encounter such “excesses of feminism” as the notion that “men will not become fathers unless they do half the diaper changes or bottle feedings”. Instead, they promote a neo-traditonal model of fatherhood, in which “the old father, with some updating in the nurturing department, will do just fine”.

Such postfeminist ideology appeals to many conservative feminists and to many liberals.  It builds upon a body of thought I once labeled “new conservative feminism,” to which family centrists Elshtain and Sylvia Hewlett made formative contributions.  One of the defining features of this ideology is its weak stomach for sexual politics. Centrists offer tepid support, at best, for abortion rights, often, supporting restrictions like spousal and parental notification, partly in the service of making men more paternally accountable.  And as communitarian founder Etzioni put it, “there are some issues, such as abortion and gay rights, that we know communitarians cannot agree on, so we have completely avoided them.”

Rather than confront the internal contradictions, unjust power relations, and economic reorganization which underlie the decline of lifelong marriage, revisionists promote what Whitehead terms a “New Familism,” in which postfeminist women willingly, admirably, and self-consciously choose to place familial needs above the demands of “a life defined by traditional male models of career and success.”  “In the period of the New Familism,” Whitehead exults, “both parents give up something in their work lives in order to foster their family lives.  The woman makes the larger concession, but it is one she actively elects and clearly sees as temporary.”  Popenoe explicitly proposes, “revising the cultural script,” for modern marriages by making such “temporary,” asymmetrical gender concessions a normative feature in his, “modified traditional nuclear family,” model.