Embracing Liberatory Practice: Promoting Men’s Development as a Feminist Act
I have attended and presented sessions at a number of professional conferences, joining with colleagues calling upon higher education to re-imagine our obligation to-and understanding of-young men. Yet there is a reluctance, in my opinion, to speak candidly about the underlying causes of the underinvolvement and underenrollment of men in college or their overrepresentation in campus disciplinary proceedings. Some scholars have begun to address the issues, including examining the situations of particular male subpopulations such as men of color or poor and working-class men (Harper 2006; Beattie, 2002). However, it appears that talking overtly about masculinity and the need to inform professional practice with scholarship about men is politically incorrect. On numerous occasions I have been in conversations or conference sessions where people reacted uncomfortably when I have spoken sympathetically about men. I have found that my being a woman brings additional complexity to these politics, particularly when I assert the need for acting more consciously to inform professional practice with scholarship on masculinity. I am convinced that as a profession we need to talk more about men as men, to speak openly and transparently about masculinity, its socialization, and its impact on individual men as well as our campuses at large.