Feminist Legal Theory Meets Masculinities Theory
University of Missouri at Kansas City - School of Law
Nancy E. Dowd
University of Florida Levin College of Law
University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law
February 23, 2011
MASCULINITIES AND LAW: A MULTIDIMENSIONAL APPROACH, Frank Rudy Cooper and Ann C. McGinley, eds., New York University Press, 2011
This chapter explores the theoretical scope of masculinities scholarship, and suggests some ways it can contribute to the project of equality and justice. First, we discuss the history and development of masculinities scholarship. Although derivative of feminist theory, masculinities scholarship has largely evolved separately. Second, we summarize the core theoretical contributions of masculinities scholarship. Primarily derived from sociology and psychology, this scholarship suggests a series of insights for gender analysis. Third, we explore the relationship between feminist theory and masculinities scholarship. The pattern of separate evolution of these two areas creates challenges. In addition, at the point of convergence, it raises the question of whether the future direction should be in creating integrated theory or ongoing separate development with interchange and coalition but not a singular grand theory. We suggest some ways that feminism can benefit from masculinities scholarship and that masculinities scholarship can benefit from feminist insights. Fourth, we examine the interrelations among multiple identity categories by considering the racialization of gender issues. Here we look through the lens of masculinities theory at the construction of gender hierarchy through race, and conclude that this focus requires that race be addressed as a feminist and masculinities issue. Finally, we demonstrate how masculinities are practiced by exploring two substantive areas: education and work. The education example is a powerful reminder of the harm of separate theorizing and the benefits of convergence and complexity. The work example exposes how gender policing occurs in the context of a male-dominant occupation - firefighting - and suggests how a gender-informed analysis can point the way to reform.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 40
Keywords: Masculinities, Feminism, Feminist Legal Theory, Gender Analysis, Gender Hierarchy, Gender Policing
JEL Classification: J16, J18, K10, K19
Date posted: February 23, 2011
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