Dr. Michael Kimmel spoke at Mount St. Mary’s University, April 4, about men and women leading good lives in the 21st century.
Kimmel said that we are witnessing a new stage of development for men and women in America. It is taking a full decade to get into a career and a relationship because of the changes in demography, economy, parenting and the changes in women’s life.
“Privilege is invisible to those who have it,” Kimmel said, reflecting on finally recognizing his own privilege. “Class, race and gender, weren’t about other people. They were about me.”
During his lecture, Kimmel specifically spoke to the men in the audience. He encouraged them to step outside of how society portrays masculinity and instead focus on one’s own values and ethics.
He went on to say that men want to prove their masculinity when they get to college, but Kimmel questioned everything when he asked what how someone can become a good man. Some would say that it comes from reading the Bible or from observing other men. Kimmel said this is a way of “gender policing.”
Speaking on what it means to identify as a man, Kimmel said, “I think men learn how to be men by doing it wrong once, and doing it wrong again makes you a target,” Kimmel said. Men who step outside of the norms make themselves vulnerable to criticism by those who embody the stereotypical ideals of masculinity.
Kimmel then spoke about the change in young women in American in the 21st century. Women are now making gender visible and want to have it all, equal to their male counterparts. But if women can have it all, does that mean that men can’t? Absolutely not.
Kimmel’s main point was that people think that someone has to win and someone has to lose, but with gender equality, everyone can win in the end.
Photo Courtesy of MSMU