Thursday, October 4, 2012

Men for MISS: Loving in the Patriarchy

In ch. 1 of "The Will to Change" bell hooks discusses pressures society puts on men in the form of Patriarchy. Patriarchy is --> Defined by the Blackwell Encyclopedia: “Patriarchy is most commonly understood as a form of social organization in which cultural and institutional beliefs and patterns accept, support, and reproduce the domination of women and younger men by older or more powerful men: Literally the “rule of the fathers.” (
hooks relates the pressures of the patriarchy to men's ability to express emotions, specifically love. Because we live in a patriarchal society we have built up a notion of manhood that is related to the qualities of a strong leader/provider. She describes the patriarchal notion of manhood: strength, domination, even violence. All of these qualities can make for a great leader/provider but they also have effect of demoralizing the weakness and vulnerability that comes with feelings. In this way, hooks proposes that our society pressures men to hold back their love. Because men are pressured to hold back their love, women are frustrated, because they want that love more than anything.  If the problem is lack of love, she proposes that more love, unconditional love, is the only answer:
"Only a revolution of values in our nation will end male violence, and that revolution will necessarily be based on a love ethic. To create loving men, we must love males. Loving maleness is different from praising and rewarding males for living up to sexist defined notions of male identity. Caring about men because of what they do for us is not the same as loving males for simply being. When we love maleness, we extend our love whether males are performing or not." (page 11)

How do men and women love differently? How does this create tensions between the genders?
Do you think that the cultural pressures of men to be providers has created performance based love? How does one overcome performance based love? 

-Hannah Atkinson



    Tony Porter talks about the patriarchy using the term "Man Box." He sends out a call to men, we cannot liberate women without liberating men. Liberating men is to escape the Man Box. A great presentation with a lot of personal experience.. I highly suggest checking it out.

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