Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Important Quotes by Dr, Michael Kimmel from his Lecture: “Mars, Venus or Planet Earth? Men and Women in a New Millennium”

Hi Folks: Below I have excerpted some of the quotes from Michael Kimmel's Lecture (your required video today) that I find most important.     You are welcome, and encouraged, to quote from the video for today's Blog Post. - JRR

“My argument to you tonight is not only are men and women more similar than we are different in every available measurable trait, attitude and behavior, but in fact we are also more similar than we are different, politically. That is, there is no war between the sexes, no battle between the sexes that in fact men and women can and should be allies. That the very things that women have identified that they need to live the lives they say they want to live are the very things we men also need to live the lives that we say we want to live.”

“So let me begin by suggesting some of the ways in which women’s lives have changed over the past say 35 or 40 years. Now the first area of change, I’ll point to four of them, the first area of change in women’s lives over the past 30 or 40 years is so obvious I know I don’t have to tell you. And that is women made gender visible. We now know that gender is one of the organizing principles of social life. Gender is one of the basic, fundamental building blocks of our identity… The second area of change in women’s lives is around the workplace. This is the largest transformation of the labor force in our history… And that has led to a third area of change in women’s lives. That is the balance between work and family… The fourth area of change in women’s lives is around sexuality.”

“One psychologist once came up with he called the four basic rules of man hood. So guys, if any of you are having any having any doubts or questions, just memorize these rules. Get them right every second and you’ll be okay. Here’s the first rule. In fact, just get the first one right okay. No sissy stuff. You can never do anything that even remotely hints of femininity. You masculinity is the relentless reputation of the feminine. That’s rule number one. Every thing else is an elaboration of that. Second rule, be a big wheel. We measure your masculinity by the size of your paycheck. Oh, I now what you were thinking. But you know wealth, power, status. Have you ever seen that bumper sticker “he who has the most toys when he dies wins,” that’s what I’m talking about? Third rule of masculinity, be a sturdy oak. What makes a man a man is that his is reliable in a crisis. What makes him reliable in a crisis is that he resembles an inanimate object. You know a rock, a pillar. And the fourth rule, give them hell. Exude an aura of daring and aggression. Live life out on the edge. Take risk. Go for it.”

“That’s how privilege works. Privilege is invisible to those who have it. It is a luxury I would say to the white people sitting in this room not to have to think about race every split second of your life. That’s what privilege is about. Privilege is invisible to those who have it.”

“So then it’s my turn to speak. And I just have one question for you guys about the title of the show ‘A black woman stole my job.’ Actually, I have a question about one word in the title of this show, the word “my.” Where did you get the idea that it was your job? Why isn’t the title of the show ‘A black woman got the job,’ ‘A black woman got a job.’ Because without confronting men’s sense of entitlement we will never understand why so many men resist gender equality. We think gender equality is a zero sum game. If women win, men lose. We think this is a leveled playing field. So anything that even tilts it slightly, we think: ‘Oh my god, water is rushing uphill, it’s reversed discrimination against us’. But I think this is important. I think it’s important for us to know, what
resistance we will face, when we begin to make gender visible to men. Because making gender visible to men is not only about making gender visible, but also making privilege visible.”

“So, now I’m beginning to make the argument that in fact there is no Mars and Venus, but in fact we are allies here on planet earth and our interests are the same.”

“Gender equality is not a loss for men. It might the best thing that has ever happened for us. I’d like to close then with one sentence. I did a book some years ago that was a documentary history of men who had supported feminism in the United States from 1776. Now I know what you’re thinking, “A history of men that supported feminism, the world’s shortest book.” In fact it is the fattest book I ever did. It’s like 800 pages because I had found thousands of documents by men since 1776 supporting virtually every reform ever introduced by women. And I wanted to share with you one sentence from one of those documents written in 1916 by a writer in New York in a magazine. The writer was Floyd Dell and he wrote an article called Feminism for Men. And this is the first line of that article. He said, 'Feminism will make it possible for the first time for men to be free.' ”


  1. Thank you for posting these. I find it hard to type them as I am watching the movie so these are very helpful!

  2. agreed- this is very helpful!

    If you could do this for further videos we watch in class i'm sure it would be greatly appreciated!