Dr. Harvey Kaye, emeritus assistant clinical professor of Psychiatry at New York Medical College, has spent decades analyzing matters of gender and sexual orientation. He's seen modern men lured by the siren song of the ""Masculine Mystique"" and pressured to fulfill the ""Dominance Drive"" and the ""Heroic Imperative."" The result is The Affairs of Men, a wry view of the masculine wilderness. Pressured by conflicting societal and familial standards, besieged by unrelenting demands to be sexier, wealthier, more successful, ""more of a man,"" men pay a price in marriage, in the bedroom, in the workplace, and most important, in their sense of identity. It's clear that men are at a cultural crossroads, facing difficult questions: Why do men attempt to achieve impossible goals? How do gay men fit into overall images of masculinity? Are traditional male-female relationship passeacute;? What roles should men take in their families? The Affairs of Men wittily illuminates the world of men, looking at both the origins of western society's image of masculinity and its current landscape. At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.
This contribution to the small but significant literature of lament for traditional masculinity provides its readers with a "masculinity index," by which "the questioning male... might gauge that most elusive of qualities, his masculinity." Based on circular (some would say faulty) logic, the index presupposes that a man is masculine if he is "viewed by others in the society as securely ensconced in the male segment of the culture." Kaye, who has practiced psychiatry in New York for more than 40 years, writes in a caricatured British schoolboy voice referring to "trousers," "rotters" and going to the "gents" and apparently believes children still learn to decline Latin verbs in school. At times, his sentences sound like an SAT vocabulary review: "`prematurity' may depend on the alacrity of his partner's satiatory capacities." Poor man, writes Kaye, "pelted on all sides by invidious assaults, he neither understands what is happening to him, nor knows where the next blow will originate." This vague prose and outmoded counsel has little use as history, sociology or self-help, the genre that it most resembles. In Kaye's view, all men and all women can be lumped together: class and race make no difference. Though he pays lip service to gay men in his survey, Kaye's masculinity index excludes homosexuality by including "finding women generally attractive" as a necessary attribute. Readers of the 21st century will balk. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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March 31, 2010
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