Robert Bly 's Iron John

2472 Words Apr 17th, 2015 10 Pages
The Mythopoetic Men’s Movement was targeted at white, middle class, middle aged (most likely heterosexual) males, started in the 1980s and lost popularity in the late 1990s. The movement was started with the idea that men have essentially gone soft, become too feminized, lost their masculine identity, and need to recover it (Orthmann). Robert Bly, a pioneer of the MMM, found that the Industrial Revolution was to blame, as it left boys without proper father figures to help usher them into manhood (Fox). In Bly’s novel, Iron John: A Book About Men, he suggests that the solution to the loss of masculinity is for men to look within themselves and do soul searching through the use of Jungian psychology.
In Jungian psychology, there is the concept of the “shadow,” basic animal instinct, and “anima,” the female part of the men’s subconscious (Fox). The MMM focuses on using these archetypes and combining the positive aspects of both in order for men to be maturely masculine, which they define as being strong, wild, “reliable, spiritual…emotionally open, truthful, loving, cooperative, and liberational” (Gremillion). The “anima” archetype seemingly dominates this definition. This is different from the stereotypical idea of the “macho man,” where men are over aggressive, and not encouraged to express their sensitive feelings and emotions. Bly, who is a poet, believed that men could find themselves through understanding their own stories and experiences, poems, and myths, which…
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