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What does it mean to be a man in a world where women are almost as likely as men to shoulder the responsibilities of supporting a family? Why do some men still choose to be traditional breadwinners while others flee the responsibilities of parenthood altogether, and still others become infinitely more involved in family life than earlier generations of men? Here's a look at how men are coping with the gender revolution.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780465051205
ISBN-10: 0465051200
Format: Paperback
(203mm x 135mm x 24mm)
Pages: 384
Imprint: Basic Books
Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
Publish Date: 5-Aug-1994
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » In a vivid, precise, but limited study, Gerson (Sociology/N.Y.U.) extends to men the problems she explored in Hard Choices (1985), a study of women's dilemmas with family and career. Here, she concludes that there are more differences among men on these issues than there are between men and women. Gerson's findings are based on interviews with 138 men between the ages of 28 and 45 living in the metropolitan New York area whose names appeared either on alumni lists of a local, unnamed university or on labor-council lists - lists that offered a sampling that was 94% non-Hispanic white: Missing, in addition to a representative proportion of African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and Hispanics, are the chronically impoverished or unemployed. The interviews traced life trajectories, including the various traumas and challenges the men had encountered. Gerson groups her subjects into three orientations: "breadwinning" (men who either by choice or accident are providers in the traditional sense); "autonomous" (men who are single, married without children, divorced, or widowed) and "involved" (men who, as nurturers or helpers, place an emphasis on their families). Contrary to popular belief, Gerson finds that only half of the men actually chose to be breadwinners - a role, she points out, that arose with the Industrial Revolution. Each role here has its own strengths and problems: A breadwinner requires the support of a full-time housewife and is uncomfortable with challenges to his prerogatives; an autonomous man may be unable to form close emotional ties or hold a job, and may end up as a "deadbeat dad"; the involved man may suffer economically for the time he devotes to his children. Gerson concludes with a philosophical essay on the male myth and the politics of gender. In spite of the limited and slanted population sampling: a persuasively argued, sympathetic contribution to the growing literature of male liberation. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Kathleen Gerson

Kathleen Gerson is an associate professor of sociology at New York University and author of Hard Choices: How Women Decide About Work, Career, and Motherhood.

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