Masculinities Reviewed and Reinterpreted: Using a Critical Approach to Working with Men in Groups
As any practitioner knows, there are gaps between theory and practice. What works under theoretically ideal circumstances, does not always hold up under the weight of developmental complexities, political realities, and contextual nuances. While any professional practice requires negotiating theory-topractice translation issues, there are specifi c stumbling blocks associated with contemporary eff orts to eff ectively re-envision masculinities. Often the most fundamental obstacle is the traditional debate between biological and social infl uences on gender formation. We, however, fi nd this debate an unnecessary distraction. Genetics may help explain some male and female behavior and evolutionary biology certainly has an intrinsic infl uence, but we also know that culture and history deeply aff ect the construction of gender. Here we agree with Tiger (2005) that the confl ict between nature and nurture paradigms “is unfortunate and scientifi cally unnecessary … and the distinctions commonly made in practice if not in theory between the (curiously described) natural and social sciences are scientifi cally impractical and probably even malignant” (p. xxxv). Reinterpreting masculinities must begin with mindful recognition of the contributions of both nature and nurture in a manner that doesn’t circumscribe our thinking to the narrow either/or dogma typically associated with this debate.