Published: Mon Nov 4, 2002The three basic rules of manhood -- to avoid sissy stuff, to be a big wheel, and to play a sturdy oak -- just aren't working in today's society, according to Michael Kimmel, a professor at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. The sociologist and author is one of the few men immersed in analyzing men's roles in the manner usually associated with the women's movement.
Kimmel, who has received international recognition for his study of men and masculinity, will be the speaker at this year's Harry and Joan Stonecipher Lecture on Science and Society at Tennessee Tech University. His presentation, "Mars and Venus or Planet Earth? Women and Men in a New Millennium," will be at 7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 14, in the Derryberry Hall Auditorium.
"Raising young boys to be mature, sensitive, responsible men is not nearly as difficult as you might think," said Kimmel in a recent interview. " I think we could do it in one generation if we really set our minds to it -- if we as parents decide that we are going to model new kinds of behavior."
The national spokesperson for the National Organization for Men Against Sexism, Kimmel has lectured at more than 200 colleges and universities. He has also led workshops for organizations on preventing sexual harassment, implementing gender equity, date and acquaintance rape, and changing relations between men and women.
Kimmel is also a well-known educator concerning gender issues. His course, "Sociology of Masculinity," is one of the few courses in the nation that examines men’s lives from a pro-feminist perspective, and has been featured in newspaper and magazine articles including The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek and People, and television shows, such as Donahue, The Today Show, and Crossfire.
His co-edited college textbook, "Men’s Lives," (MacMillian, 1995) has been adopted in virtually every course on men and masculinity in the country. His other books on masculinity include "Changing Men: New Directions in Research on Men and Masculinity (Sage, 1987) and "Men Confront Pornography" (Crown, 1990).
Kimmel has also provided a documentary history of men who supported women's equality since the founding of the country in his 1992 release, "Against the Tide: Pro-Feminist Men in the United States, 1776-1990."
The Stonecipher Lecture, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by Harry Stonecipher and his wife, Joan, to fund the appearance of leading scholars like Kimmel, who examine the interrelationship between science and contemporary society.
Stonecipher, a 1960 Tennessee Tech physics graduate, worked for major industrial firms including General Motors, General Electric, Sundstrand and McDonnell Douglas before becoming president and chief operating officer of The Boeing Co. The Stoneciphers also fund the annual Stonecipher Symposium on Technology, Communication and Culture.