Comments and feedback from 2003.
Catherine Redfern, editor of The F-Word, replies
Aine, Thank you very much for your comments and support, which are always appreciated! :-)
I felt that Andrew Bowden’s piece was a light-hearted and humorous article (in the tradition of previous F-Word contributors), which poked fun at society’s ridiculously limited concept of masculinity. The article, I felt, demonstrated that men *can* critique mainstream masculinity from a pro-feminist perspective; and I feel this is an important feminist project, especially as the only groups taking up this issue seem to be the anti-feminist men’s groups who blame feminism for all men’s woes. Using several everyday examples, Andrew Bowden demonstrated that the reason why masculinity is so limited and prescribed in our culture is because masculinity defines itself against femininity, which is seen as weak and of lesser value (hence the only way men are allowed to experience “feminine” bubble baths and still remain “real men” is by packaging them as hyper-masculine beer-cans!). I know that some feminists disagree with me, but it’s my view that feminism should embrace critiques of masculinity – because whatever society says is “masculine” implies that the polar opposite characteristic is “feminine” (the “Mars and Venus” argument). For these reasons, I think that men should be encouraged to critique masculinity so that they can contribute to the goals of feminism, which includes liberation for both sexes.
Thanks for your comments! Catherine, Editor