Men, Feminism & Politics

When the women’s movement resurfaced in the late 1960s and 1970s men faced a fork in the road, and a set of options: stop dead in your tracks, befuddled; attempt a U-turn and retreat toward an idealized past of male entitlement; turn right and fight against feminism; bend left and actively support feminism. Since the late 1970s I have devoted a strand of my research to studying this spectrum of men’s personal, organizational and political responses to feminism.

I am especially interested in understanding how different historical moments shape men’s anti- and pro-feminist activism in the United States. In Politics of masculinities: Men in movements, I mapped the context that gave rise to opposing men’s movements from the 1970s through the1990s. More recently, I conducted research with Max Greenberg and Tal Peretz on different generations of men who work with boys and men to prevent rape and domestic violence. Our book, Some Men: Feminist Allies and the Movement to End Violence Against Women was published by Oxford University Press in 2015.


Selected Books

Michael A. Messner, Max A. Greenberg & Tal Peretz (2015) Some men: Feminist allies and the movement to end violence against women. Oxford University Press. (View Book)
Michael A. Messner (1997) Politics of masculinities: Men in movements. Alta Mira Press. (View Book)

Selected Articles

Michael A. Messner (2021) “Breaking up the stag party: Jessie Bernard’s pioneering work on men.” Sociological Forum. (Download)
Michael A. Messner (2016) “Forks in the road of men’s gender politics:  Men’s rights vs. feminist allies.” International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy 5: 6-20.  DOI:  10.5204/ijcjsd.v5i2.301 (Download)
Michael A. Messner (2016) “Bad men, good men, bystanders: Who is the rapist?” Essay for symposium, “Theorizing rape through time, space and relations,” Gender & Society(Download)
Max A. Greenberg & Michael A. Messner (2014) “Before prevention: The trajectory and tensions of feminist anti-violence,” in Marcia Texler Segal & Vasilikie Demos, eds. Gendered perspectives on conflict and violence (Part B). Emerald.
Michael A. Messner (2007) “The Masculinity of the Governator: Muscle and Compassion in American Politics.” Gender & Society 21: 461-481. (Download)
Michael A. Messner (2004) “On Patriarchs and Losers: Rethinking Men’s Interests,” Berkeley Journal of Sociology 48: 76-88. (Download)
Michael A. Messner (1998) “The Limits of ‘The Male Sex Role’: The Discourse of The Men’s Liberation and Men’s Rights Movements,” Gender & Society 12: 255-276. (Download)
Michael A. Messner (1998) “Radical Feminist and Socialist Feminist Men’s Movements in the U.S.” pp. 67-85 in Steven Schacht and Doris Ewing, eds. Feminism and Men: Toward a Relational Feminism. (New York University Press).
Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo and Michael A. Messner (1994) “Gender Displays and Men’s Power: The ‘New Man’ and the Mexican Immigrant Man,” pp. 200-218 in H. Brod & M. Kaufman (eds.) Theorizing Masculinities. Sage Publications. (Download)
Michael A. Messner (1993) “‘Changing Men’ and Feminist Politics in the United States,” Theory & Society 22: 723-737. (Download)
Michael A. Messner (1993) “White Men Misbehaving: Feminism, Afrocentrism, and the Promise of a Critical Standpoint” Journal of Sport and Social Issues 16: 136-144.