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Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men
Synopses & Reviews
The passage from adolescence to adulthood was once clear, coherent, and relatively secure: in their late teenage years and early twenties, guys "put away childish things" and entered their futures as responsible adults. Today growing up has become more complex and confusing as young men drift casually through college and beyond—hanging out, partying, playing with tech toys, watching sports. But beneath the appearance of a simple extended boyhood, a more dangerous social world has developed, far away from the traditional signposts and cultural signals that once helped boys navigate their way to manhood.
The average young American man today is moving through a new stage of development, a buddy culture unfazed by the demands of parents, girlfriends, jobs, kids, and other nuisances of adult life. Sociologist and gender studies authority Michael Kimmel has identified this territory as "Guyland," a place that is both a stage of life and a new social arena.
Guyland is the locker room writ large: the world where young men both test and prove themselves as men and develop the defining attitudes and self-images they will carry into adulthood. Kimmel has interviewed hundreds of young men ages sixteen to twenty-six in high schools and college fraternity houses, military academies and sports bars, to better understand Guyland's rules and restrictions, its layers of peer pressure and gender policing, its features and artifacts—from the ordinary (video games, sports, and music) to the extreme (violent fraternity initiations, sexual predation).
In mapping the social world where tomorrow's men are made, Kimmel offers a view into the minds and times of America's sons, brothers, and boyfriends, and works toward redefining what it means to be a man today—and tomorrow. Only by understanding this world and this life stage can we enable young men to chart their own paths, to stay true to themselves, and to travel safely through Guyland, emerging as responsible and fully formed men of integrity and honor.
"To a growing list of books about the myths and mysteries of American boys and young males, Kimmel, a sociologist and author of Manhood In America, adds this deft exploration grounded in research. Based on more than 400 interviews, over a four-year span, with young men ages 16 — 26, Kimmel's study shows that the guys who live in 'Guyland' are mostly white, middle-class, totally confused and cannot commit to their relationships, work or lives. Although they seem baffled by the riddles of manhood and responsibility, they submit to the 'Guy Code,' where locker-room behaviors, sexual conquests, bullying, violence and assuming a cocky jock pose can rule over the sacrifice and conformity of marriage and family. Obsessed with never wanting to grow up, this demographic, which is 22 million strong, craves video games, sports and depersonalized sexual relationships. In the end, Kimmel offers a highly practical guide to male youth. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Engaging... provocative... raises important questions.... A useful, highly readable overview of an important social phenomenon." Kirkus Reviews
"Kimmel is our seasoned guide into a world that, unless we are guys, we barely know exists... Just as Reviving Ophelia introduced readers to the culture of teenage girls, Guyland takes us to the land of young men." Mary Pipher, Ph.D., author of Reviving Ophelia
"For anyone who has ever longed to know what's really going on in a young man's life, rejoice: Guyland is a compassionate, unflinching dispatch from deep in the heart of young masculinity. Required reading for people who raise, teach, and love guys." Rachel Simmons, author of Odd Girl Out
About the Author
A leading scholar in the field of gender studies, Michael Kimmel is author or editor of more than twenty volumes on the subject, including the groundbreaking Manhood in America. A professor of sociology, he teaches at State University of New York, Stony Brook, and lives with his family in Brooklyn, New York.
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