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Thread: Masculinist Literature?

  1. #1

    Masculinist Literature?

    Is there a male equivalent of feminist literature? Which works would you include if you hypothetically taught it?

    I'm thinking Hemingway has to be on there, Mamet- one of the Shakespeare plays; personally I'd choose Julius Caesar...

    What do you think?

  2. #2
    Drama Queen
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    I'm not clear on what the term feminist literature means

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    Dance Magic Dance OrphanPip's Avatar
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    I would guess it would be a work of literature that somehow forwards a position that men are equally capable of or superior at some things that are typically seen as feminine. However, that itself is difficult to differentiate from feminist literature, because "reducing" men to stereotypical positions of women is often seen in feminist literature. I suppose it would depend on the position.

    I can definitely think of some chauvinistic literature. Rochester's poetry often emphasizes the superiority of male experience over the female, to the point that he sometimes lauds homosexual behavior over relations with the female.

    Song by John Wilmet, Earl of Rochester

    Love a woman? You're an ***.
    'Tis a most insipid passion
    To choose out for your happiness
    The idlest part of God's creation.

    Let the porter and the groom,
    Things designed for dirty slaves,
    Drudge in fair Aurelia's womb
    To get supplies for age and graves.

    Farewell, woman! I intend
    Henceforth every night to sit
    With my lewd, well-natured friend,
    Drinking to engender wit.

    Then give me health, wealth, mirth, and wine,
    And if busy Love intrenches,
    There's a sweet, soft page of mine
    Does the trick worth forty wenches.
    "If the national mental illness of the United States is megalomania, that of Canada is paranoid schizophrenia."
    - Margaret Atwood

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    Skol'er of Thinkery The Comedian's Avatar
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    I'm a bit jaded on this topic: I was force-fed heavy servings of radical feminism for a long time in my college education, so I bristle a little at even simple discussions of the topic.

    But my general feeling is, no. There is no "Masculinist" literature in the sense that it is a parallel to feminist literature. If such a "masculinist" literature does exist, it would be called chauvinistic literature or fascist literature or patriarchal literature. But whatever it is, it would not be taught with the same "progressive" sensitivity ascribed to feminist literature.

    Sorry to be so negative about this.
    “Oh crap”
    -- Hellboy

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    Drama Queen
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    What is feminist literature? Is Jane Austen or George Eliot or Emiy Dickinson included in feminist literature? If not, why not?

  6. #6
    The Bible?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Comedian View Post
    I'm a bit jaded on this topic: I was force-fed heavy servings of radical feminism for a long time in my college education, so I bristle a little at even simple discussions of the topic.

    But my general feeling is, no. There is no "Masculinist" literature in the sense that it is a parallel to feminist literature. If such a "masculinist" literature does exist, it would be called chauvinistic literature or fascist literature or patriarchal literature. But whatever it is, it would not be taught with the same "progressive" sensitivity ascribed to feminist literature.

    Sorry to be so negative about this.
    I agree completely with the above. I think we're still at least a century away from a need for such literature. Which is not meant to imply that there ever will be a need. But if such a need were to arise there would have to be a shift in power and time for a response.

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    Dance Magic Dance OrphanPip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jermac View Post
    What is feminist literature? Is Jane Austen or George Eliot or Emiy Dickinson included in feminist literature? If not, why not?
    I was thinking more along the lines of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, which is clearly interested in the position of women within a patriarchal society. I don't think we can call authors who wrote before the concept of feminism existed to be feminist writers. Although, some of those authors are certainly prominent targets of feminist criticism and contain elements of arguments that are present within feminist writing.

    Edit: I, much like Comedian, am at lost to really identify a "masculinist" sentiment within literature that is akin to feminism. However, there is some literature out there that can be said to be concerned particularly with the experiences of the male gender and with what it means to be "masculine". This is probably the kind of stuff Kelby is looking for when he cites Hemingway.
    Last edited by OrphanPip; 01-25-2010 at 02:46 PM.
    "If the national mental illness of the United States is megalomania, that of Canada is paranoid schizophrenia."
    - Margaret Atwood

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    LOL The Bible is a good answer. I would say Jack London though.

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    Drama Queen
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    But that brings me back to what I'm trying to understand: What exactly is meant by the concept of feminism and what defines feminist literature?

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    Prefers to read Amoxcalli's Avatar
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    Ovid's Metamorphoses. I don't think I've ever seen women being portrayed in such a helpless fashion in literature before.

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    Dance Magic Dance OrphanPip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jermac View Post
    But that brings me back to what I'm trying to understand: What exactly is meant by the concept of feminism and what defines feminist literature?
    That would depend on the school of feminism: 1st wave, 2nd wave, or 3rd wave.

    In general though at its most basic it is a position that argues that women are intrinsically equal to men and are being made unequal by the patriarchal structures of society.

    Comedian mentioned the radical feminist who hold a much more gynocentric position than say classical feminist from the first wave who fought for the woman's right to vote. I think we in general just seem to accept pre-radical feminist ideas as obvious.

    Third-wavers, as I understand it, are a reaction to the Western-centric ideas of the radical feminist.

    Thus, a piece of work like Wolstonecraft's Vindication of the Rights of Women is certainly a piece of feminist literature (without much artistic merit though) of the first wave variety. Compared to Atwood who seems to be pushing a 2nd wave/Radical feminist idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by Amoxcalli View Post
    Ovid's Metamorphoses. I don't think I've ever seen women being portrayed in such a helpless fashion in literature before.
    Clearly it is important for little girls to learn that if they are ever in danger of being raped by a god that they should turn into a tree to avoid the fate.
    Last edited by OrphanPip; 01-25-2010 at 04:27 PM.
    "If the national mental illness of the United States is megalomania, that of Canada is paranoid schizophrenia."
    - Margaret Atwood

  12. #12
    Asa Nisi Masa mayneverhave's Avatar
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    Shakespeare's most "masculinist" moment? The end of Two Gentlemen of Verona.

  13. #13
    Neo-Scriblerus Modest Proposal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amoxcalli View Post
    Ovid's Metamorphoses. I don't think I've ever seen women being portrayed in such a helpless fashion in literature before.
    I knew this would happen in this thread.

    The topic was raised asking if there is an equivalent literature to the popular feminist genre/bent. That is to say a literature that celebrates maleness and raises issues of difficulties particular to masculine constructs in society.

    But of course anything celebrating masculinity is IMMEDIATELY seen as degrading women, right?

    Let me ask, why you proposed women being helpless as masculinist? Does feminist literature mean all men in the book are portrayed as emasculated or dehumanized? Is that what 'all women' want? Do you think all men want helpless women?

    Let's try and have a mature discussion without immediately falling back on ham-fisted generalizations and condemnations.

    In my opinion "Revolutionary Road" dealt equally well with the gender conventions of masculinity in the 50's as it did with feminist issues. Just as women were encouraged to stay at home and ignore their aspirations to be good wives, men were pressured to go work in some cubicle and be responsible rather than pursuing their own aspirations. Similarly, the book looked judiciously at the power men and women have over each other in relationships to do immense emotional and psychological harm.

  14. #14
    Two novels I would classify under "masculinist" literature:

    Americana by Don DeLillo
    The Moviegoer by Walker Percy

    There recently was an article in the New York Times discussing pretty much what we're talking about in this thread. It concerned the writings of Mailer, Roth and Updike, more specifically what can be drawn from their depictions of sex and women.

    Here's the link:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/03/bo...0Updike&st=cse

  15. #15
    I'm surprised no one has mentioned the fiction (such as it is) of Norman Mailer.
    'Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others.' - Groucho Marx

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