Cover image for What makes a man : 22 writers imagine the future
What makes a man : 22 writers imagine the future
Walker, Rebecca, 1970-
Publication Information:
New York: Riverhead Books, [2004]

Physical Description:
252 pages ; 24 cm
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Table of contents
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HQ1090 .W473 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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One of Timemagazine's 50 Future Leaders of America brings together novelists, essayists, men, and women to talk about the future of masculinity. What does it mean to be male in the twenty-first century? What does the concept of masculinity even mean in the wake of four decades of modern feminism? What makes a man a man today and a woman a woman? Are those distinctions even real anymore? In this groundbreaking collection, Michael Datcher, Michael Moore, Anthony Swofford, Ruth Bettelheim, and a whole host of the world's most influential authors address these questions and many others. Through diverse themes that touch all of our lives-including sex, grief, power, money, family, privilege, violence, marriage, and work-these accomplished contributors lend their unique perspectives as they share their thoughts, experiences, and stories on forging new men and defining masculinity in a constantly changing world. Rebecca Walker's feminist anthology, To Be Real, published nearly a decade ago, is a standard text in women's studies courses across the country. Considered one of the defining texts of contemporary feminism, To Be Realsuccessfully bridged chasms between generations and ideologies. Similarly revolutionary and challenging in scope, What Makes a Manwill be the first book to articulate and define the contours and concerns of a new generation of men.

Author Notes

Rebecca Walker has received numerous awards and accolades for her writing and activism. Her memoir Black White and Jewish is a national bestseller; her work has appeared in many anthologies and publications, and her feminist anthology To Be Real, in print for almost ten years, has become a standard text in women's studies courses across the country. Walker, who lectures extensively in the United States and Canada, lives in northern California

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Walker, author of the memoir Black, White, andewish0 (2000), has put together a timely and profound anthology. One wonders what changes could occur in our society if such texts were read and openly and sensitively discussed among boys and girls who are on the verge of entering the limiting spaces we call "manhood" and "womanhood." Walker's introductory essay offers poignant and insightful observations about our reactions as parents, children, and peers to the process of becoming a "man." Other striking pieces include a mother's questions about her three-year-old son's insistence that he's a girl; a man's reflections on his childhood and the experiences, role models, and expectations that shaped him; a privileged young black man's life of trying to fit in while remaining true to his belief in peace over violence; and a transsexual's search for self beyond stereotype. Walker has done society at large a great service by bringing forth these voices, these views. Now if only society will listen. --Janet St. John Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this literate essay collection, Walker (Black, White and Jewish) brings together male and female writers to ponder the male figure in its various poses: ill, robust, young, aged, confident, emotionally spent. The result is a book that portrays masculinity as a fluid mosaic, giving added resonance to contributor Caitriona Reed's claim that "the Navajo have at least forty-nine gender designations." Elsewhere humor writer Bruce Stockler, in "No Means No," uses agile diction to portray the frenetic schedule and social stigma attached to being a stay-at-home dad-for four children, including triplets. And Meri Nana-Ama Danquah, in an essay that uses narrative twists to surprise readers with thoughtful analysis, ambivalently describes Ghana, a country where men link pinkies while chatting in bars because Ghanaian society accepts the display of physical affection between male friends. Almost half of the writers are African American (two others are gay men), and a recurring theme involves the shedding of machismo associated with that culture. Most of the essays are well crafted-an exception being Michael Moore's hollow rant "The End of Men"-and a number of them chronicle a personal transformation from a limited view of masculinity to one imbued with nuance and so-called femininity. These awakenings are sometimes cloying and may make readers yearn for a defense of the red-blooded man-which they'll glimpse in the excerpt from Anthony Swofford's acclaimed Gulf War memoir Jarhead. But overall the anecdotes and insights will keep readers engaged, even if they cast only occasional light on an imagined future. (Mar. 22) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Library Journal Review

The acclaimed author of Black, White, and Jewish considers another question. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Rebecca WalkerMichael DatcherMartha SouthgateDavid CoatesTajamika PaxtonBruce StocklerDouglas RushkoffJay Ruben DayritMalidoma SomePeter J. HarrisAnthony SwoffordKenji JasperCaitriona ReedMeri Nana-Ama DanquahJarvis Jay MastersMichael MooreJesse GreenRachel Lehmann-HauptChristian WimanRuth BettelheimChoyin RangdrolHoward Zinn
Putting Down the Gunp. 1
The Giftp. 8
My Girlish Boyp. 17
This Is My Storyp. 25
Loving a One-Armed Manp. 34
No Means No (and Other Lies) from Sleep at Red Lightsp. 44
Picture Perfectp. 54
Pig Farmp. 67
Slowly Becoming: from of Water and the Spiritp. 79
Me and Isisara Sing Oldiesp. 90
from Jarheadp. 101
Confessions of a Pull-Proof Triggerp. 114
Not a Manp. 126
Men Holding Handsp. 138
Sanctuary: from Finding Freedomp. 151
The End of Men: from Stupid White Menp. 165
Lacking Harrietp. 185
Multi-Tasking Manp. 196
The Limitp. 205
Binuclear Manp. 220
War Is Obsoletep. 232
Afterwordp. 241
Contributorsp. 245
Creditsp. 251