No Less a Man: Masculist Art in a Feminist Age

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Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1994 - 323 pages
Robert B. Parker's detective Spenser. John Rambo, created by David Morrell and played on the silver screen by Sylvester Stallone. Bruce Springsteen. What do these three men have in common? All three, Doug Robinson claims, are central figures in a new form of popular men's art: art that explores what it means to be a man in a feminist age. Art that seeks an escape from patriarchal machismo through the surrender of defenses. Art that Robinson calls "masculist", concerned with men's liberation, allied to both the women's movement and the profeminist men's movement. Robinson develops a three-stage transformation myth out of Joseph Campbell's studies of hero mythology: the road of trails, on which repressive "normality" is tested and found lacking (Spenser); the descent into the belly of the whale, a symbolic death in which defensive rational ego-structures are surrendered (the Rambo of First Blood); and regeneration and return, the gradual restructuring or rebirth of masculinity in a potentially redemptive transformation (Springsteen). Through close readings of these three figures, Robinson argues that more is going on among American men than meets the casual eye - and that much of what is going on is reflected in the most popular of our art forms, detective novels, action movies, and rock music. Prodded not only by feminist critiques and the social changes they have wrought, but also by the very failures that make the traditional man's life unlivable, men are increasingly longing - and looking - for a new masculinity, one based in a man's, and a community's full humanity.

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Spenser, Rambo and Springsteen as examinations of problems of macho, read Spenser part, pop psych Read full review


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