In Michael Kimmel’s pieces “Masculinity as Homophobia: Fear, Shame, and Silence in the Construction of Gender Identity” and “Who’s Afraid of Men Doing Feminism” he gives us a description of masculinity and explains what this concept of masculinity means for both men and women. He argues that men can, and should be feminist; that they should advocate for gender equality, because gender equality will benefit both men and women. In this paper I will use Kimmel’s analysis of masculinity, which he uses in his arguments for the necessity of profeminist men, along with some assertions made by Jean-Jacques Rousseau about the education of young boys and girls, to show the strengths and weaknesses of Kimmel’s argument. His assertions can seem strong when read alone, however by looking at his argument for profeminist men together with his and Rousseau’s assertions about masculinity one can see a fundamental flaw in his argument. In his analysis of masculinity he not only points out the significant problems with the way men, especially American men, are forced to subscribe to this barbaric concept of manliness, he also expresses concern for this ‘boys club’ atmosphere. However, in his argument for profeminist men, he takes what could be a strong argument and weakens it when he feeds into this desperate need for reassurance by telling men that feminism will benefit them too.
The concept of masculinity has been around for an eminently long time. However, the qualifications for being