Asking the Man Question: Masculinities Analysis and Feminist Theory

16 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2015

See all articles by Nancy E. Dowd

Nancy E. Dowd

University of Florida Levin College of Law

Date Written: 2010


Masculinities scholarship is an essential piece of feminist analysis and of critical equality analysis. It requires that we "ask the man question" to further unravel inequalities. This symposium marks one of several movements toward examining and considering what masculinities scholarship can offer. In this introduction, I suggest a framework of masculinities analysis and describe its relationship to feminist theory. First, I consider why we should ask the "man question," and how we should ask it. Second, I explore how masculinities analysis might be useful in our examination of the "man question." Masculinities work can be used to understand more clearly how male privilege and dominance are constructed. It can make us see harms suffered by boys and men that we have largely ignored. It may also reinforce and strengthen the commitment to antiessentialism in feminist theory. Exposing the complexities and multiplicity of masculinities leads toward understanding intersectional and multiple forms of discrimination more clearly. In this way, it is analogous to noticing that the issues and positions of all women are not the same and include instances of women subordinating women.

Keywords: masculinities, gender, men, feminism

Suggested Citation

Dowd, Nancy Elizabeth, Asking the Man Question: Masculinities Analysis and Feminist Theory (2010). 33 Harv. J.L. & Gender 415 (2010), Available at SSRN:

Nancy Elizabeth Dowd (Contact Author)

University of Florida Levin College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 117625
Gainesville, FL 32611-7625
United States
352-273-0930 (Phone)
352-392-3005 (Fax)


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