chapter  19
20 Pages

LIKE FAMILY: POWER, INTIMACY, AND SEXUALITY IN MALE ATHLETES' FRIENDSHIPS

T H R O U G H O U T M O S T of this century, it was commonly believed that men who worked together, fought together, and played together within public i n - stitutions such as the workplace, the military, and sport tended to form deep and lasting friendships. M e n , it was believed, enjoyed the Truly Great Fr iendships, while women's friendships with each other were characterized by shallow cattiness and gossip. Moreover, social commentators such as Lionel Tiger (1969) and George Gilder (1973) argued that civilization itself rests on the foundation of men's "natural" tendency to bond together in public life. This highly romanticized view of men's friendships was turned on its head in the mid-1970s by a new perspective, which was inspired by a revived feminist movement. Men's liberationists began to examine the quality of men's friendships with other men, and found them wanting. Men's friendships, it was argued, tend to be destructively competitive, homophobic, and emotionally i m -

M ESSNER

poverished (Balswick, 1976; Farrell, 1975; Fasteau, 1974; M o r i n & Garfinkel, 1978; Pieck & Sawyer, 1974).