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Why Stony Brook University decided to launch the country's first masculinity master's program

A competitor jumps over fire as he takes part in the
A competitor jumps over fire as he takes part in the "Tough Guy" adventure race near Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, West Midlands, on February 1, 2015. The event challenges thousands of competitors to run through a gruelling 200 obstacles including water, fire, and tunnels after a lengthy run at the start

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You’ve no doubt heard of women’s studies, but men’s studies? Sociology professor Michael Kimmel is starting the first master's program in Masculinity this fall at Stony Brook University in New York.

The program will seek to answer what the difference is between a “Real Man” and a “Good Man,” and why those labels conjure up such different images for many. Kimmel comes from a long career of boosting the study of men and boys. But is masculinity studies really necessary?

The point of women’s studies or African American studies is clear; they grew out of the 1970s and aimed to write women and minorities into a history they have largely been omitted from. The joke has been that men’s studies already existed.

But Kimmel argues there’s now more than ever a need to seriously consider an academic look at manhood.

What makes men men? And how are we teaching boys to grow into that? It would look at the effects of race and sexuality on masculine identity and the influence of the media and pop culture.


Michael Kimmel, a professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at Stony Brook University, which is part of the CUNY system. He directs the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities and is the author of more than a dozen books including “Angry White Men,” “Manhood in America: A Cultural History,” “Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men” and the “Cultural Encyclopedia of the Penis,” which he co-edited