Multidimensionality Is to Masculinities What Intersectionality Is to Feminism

27 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2014

See all articles by Athena Mutua

Athena Mutua

University at Buffalo Law School

Date Written: May 16, 2013


Committed to intersectionality theory in her feminist work, the scholar Juliet Williams expressed the sentiment that “multidimensionality is to masculinities theory, what intersectionality is to feminism.” She did so in the context of a debate about whether intersectionality theory might capture the complexity of men’s lives, particularly men of color’s lives, as well as does multidimensionality theory, given that the latter is based in large part on the former. This paper, briefly explores the intellectual history of multidimensionality theory, concedes that intersectionality, a powerful analytical tool that has matured and gone global, could easily be used and is in part used to explore the lives of men as gendered beings. However, it argues that early interpretations and applications of intersectionality theory limited, for some, its initial intuitive power in analyzing men and masculinities. With the emergence of masculinities studies in the legal academy, these perceived limitations propelled the further development of multidimensional theory, which has informed and been informed by masculinities theory, such that, multidimensionality theory may well be to masculinities studies what intersectionality is to feminism.

Keywords: gender, intersectionality, multidimensionality, masculinities, feminism, critical race theory, LatCrit, men, women, law

Suggested Citation

Mutua, Athena, Multidimensionality Is to Masculinities What Intersectionality Is to Feminism (May 16, 2013). Nevada Law Journal, Vol. 13, p. 341, Winter 2013. Available at SSRN:

Athena Mutua (Contact Author)

University at Buffalo Law School ( email )

528 O'Brian Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260-1100
United States

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