Pro-Feminist Men Bibliography

Query From Jennifer Lerner 01 April 1998

I am working on a senior thesis (in Sociology) on the topic of pro-feminist men, and I'd like to give my interviews/survey material a solid historical grounding. I'm looking for books/ articles that address the motivations, organizations, and actions of pro-feminist men, primarily in the US but English-language materials about other countries would interest me as well. So far I am aware of Kimmel's _Against the Tide: Pro-Feminist Men in the US 1776-1990: A Documentary History_ as one general work. With regard to bohemian men (whether they followed through with their professed ideals or not), I'm aware of Ellen Kay Trimberger's article "Feminism, Men, and Modern Love: Greenwich Village 1900-1925" and Leslie Fishbein's _Rebels in Bohemia: The Radicals of the Masses, 1911-1917_. Another likely area of inquiry will be civil rights and New Left organizations, though I don't have any cites yet for those. Any suggestions you can offer regarding specific books/articles, authors, or topics/time periods I should consider, would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.


From Josefin Ronnback 02 April 1998

Perhaps you would be interested in _The Men's Share? Masculinities, Male Support and Women's Suffrage in Britain, 1890-1920_ by Angela V. John and Claire Eustance.

From Loni Bramson-Lerche 02 April 1998

I have read that the European Union is supporting a pro-feminist men's group. This group has produced two documents so far. I only have the titles in French, but I would assume they exist in English as well, the politics of the EU being what they are (sorry, my software does not reproduce accents):

"Charte europeenne des femmes dans la cite" and a CD-Rom (also sponsored by UNESCO) "Cite, citoyennete et genre" (with more than 15,000 documents).

The University of Toulouse is active in this movement as well, and it is helping establish a European network within the context of the Eu project, "unite pour l'egalite des chances". The people to contact at the Univ. of Toulouse are in the "Equipe Simone," Daniel Welzer-Lang and Thierry Campanati (e-mail:

Check out

From Deborah Elizabeth Whaley 02 April 1998

A good place to find bibliographic resources for your topic is the masculinities web page at:

In so far as race and "pro-feminist men" are concerned, Frederick Douglas is a historical figure that rallied for women's enfranchisement and political rights. More recently, Koben Mercer and Issac Julien have co-authored essays that support feminism. You should find a listing of their works at the web page listed above.

From Jonathan Darr 02 April 1998

Though I wholly reject the term "pro-feminist" men as one applicable to me as a feminist man, I have some strong resources for you. Unfortunately, all of my boxes are packed as I am moving to DC for career reasons and to be with my partner (yet another feminist man). The first book that comes to mind is Michael Messner's _The Politics of Manhood: Pro-Feminist Men and the Mythopoetic Men's Movement_...

I would also point you to an Ms. from a year or so back on raising feminist sons. I believe there is also an excellent one available from Audre Lourde. Look also to bell hooks--who has an essay in _Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center_ on men's important work in transformative feminist change.

I would also highly suggest Monique Wittig's _Les Guerrierres_, which explores a feminist utopia in which men play an interesting role in cooperation. ...

As general authors, I would look for supportive work from Cornel West, Henry Louis Gates, Messner, Kimmell, at least one early issue of Ms. featuring Alan Alda ( and others...) and definitely Robert Bly...(Though he is a master mythopoetic, he is often the center of debates on men's relationships with feminism.)

From Cliff Hawkins 03 April 1998

You might try Sylvia Strauss, "Traitors to the Masculine Cause": The Men's Campaigns for Women's Rights; Sears, The Sex Radicals; and an anthology of writings by Max Eastman and Crystal Eastman [title I forget]which has, if I remember correctly, the manifesto of the NY Men's League for Woman Suffrage [approximate title], an organization which Max Eastman helped found.

From Stacey Robertson 03 April 1998

Perhaps you would be interested in my article: "'Aunt Nancy Men': Parker Pillsbury, Masculinity, and Women's Rights Activism in the Nineteenth-Century United States." American Studies 37 (Fall 1996): 33-60.

From Lesley Hall 03 April 1998

A recent work on the UK you might find useful is A John and C Eustance _The Men's Share: Masculinities, male support and women's suffrage in Britain, 1890-1920_. This includes an article by Sandra Holton, whose _Suffrage Days_includes a fair amount on pro-feminist male Laurence Housman as well as the male networks with which others of her subjects were involved.

On the US front, Kevin White's _The First Sexual Revolution: the emergence of male heterosexuality in Modern America_ includes interesting case-studies of several couples and examines the extent to which apparently pro-feminist men 'walked the walk' as well as 'talking the talk' in terms of their own intimate relationships.

From Tim Hodgdon 03 April 1998

Though not historical monographs, two absolutely crucial works of profeminist theory are John Stoltenberg's books, *Refusing to Be a Man: Essays on Gender Justice,* and *The End of Manhood: A Book for Men of Conscience.* Whether one agrees with Stoltenberg's perspective or not, it's one that must be addressed in any rigorous treatment of the subject--though one frequently overlooked or dismissed, in my experience.

Another *primary* source would be a run of the *Activist Men's Journal*, published for several years out of Seattle, Washington for a microscopic readership, and thus hard to find. Contact me if you want to pursue this. You'll also want to look at an early collection of essays edited by Jonathan Snodgrass, *For Men Against Sexism,* published in the late 1970s by Times Change Press.

One older *monograph* that comes to mind is Sylvia Strauss' *Traitors to the Masculine Cause,* a treatment of men's support for suffrage. I've never used it, so I can't suggest how helpful it might or might not be for you.

From Sam Watson 03 April 1998

There is a fairly abundant literature on such men in the nineteenth century, particularly centered around abolitionists and marital/"free love" reformers. See Donald Yacovone's _Samuel Joseph May and the Dilemmas of Liberal Reform_ (c. 1991), and there is a book that just came out called _Abolitionist Marriages_ that should provide you with quite a bit. See also E. Anthony Rotundo's chapter on young men's relations with their sisters in his book _American Manhood_ (c. 1993). (I wouldn't quite call these ordinary middle-class men "profeminist," but Rotundo suggests a lot of potential for companionate relations and supportiveness during the men's late teens and early twenties--albeit from their own life situations rather than innate empathy.)

I saw some of the same attitudes and phenomena in an unlikely place in my research on US army officers, and published them in "Flexible Gemder Roles During the Market Revolution: Family, Friendship, Marriage, and Masculinity Among US Army Officers, 1815-1846," J of Social History (Fall 1995), though I probably exaggerated a bit because I found the source so surprising. (And of course these officers' receptivity to--usually--sisters was largely a product of their own situations and needs, not ideological commitment to women's equality, as was the case among abolitionists. But what I do do is to suggest a schema similar to Rotundo's regarding the impact of life course on intimate gender relations, and to elaborate on the suggestions of some of the literature on the relationship between economic security (as opposed to the demand to be "providers" in the competitive marketplace) and the potential for more equitable gender relations.

See also Melinda S. Buza, "'Pledges of Our Love': Friendship, Love, and Marriage among the Virginia Gentry, 1800-1825," in Edward L. Ayers and John C. Willis, eds., _The Edge of the South: Life in Nineteenth-Century Virginia_(1991), and Anya Jabour's work on the Wirt family (Elizabeth and William, the latter of whom was the US Attorney General under Monroe). She has a couple of articles out, most recently in the J of the Early Republic (w/in the past year--I'm not at my office computer, Anya) and the J of Southern History. Again, I doubt "profeminist" is quite the word, but neither is patriarchy. There are a bunch of other articles in edited collections on 19th century manhood, though these are more re "softer" homosocial relations among men. See JA Mangan and James Walvin, eds., _Manliness and Morality: Middle-class Masculinities in Britain and America, 1800-1940_ (Manchester, 1987) and Mark C. Carnes and Clyde Griffen, eds., _Meanings for Manhood: Constructions of Masculinity in Victorian America_ (Chicago, 1990).

From Kathleen Dalton 09 April 1998

Theodore Roosevelt spoke for the Men's League for Women's Suffrage and the New York State Campaign for Women's Suffrage in 1917. James Laidlaw (husband of Harriet Laidlaw) worked on behalf of suffrage by organizing men. I found a few tidbits in the Harriet Laidlaw Papers at the Schlesinger Library.

Michael Kimmel has written popular pieces about feminist men.

I saw on the list-serv a reference to the Rotundo book---for a course I teach at the Harvard Extension School I tried to order E. Anthony Rotundo's _American Manhood: Transformations in Masculinity From Revolution to the Modern Era_ but found it was out of print and hard to find in used book stores. Perseus Press recently bought Basic Books and decided to put some of its back list into print again. The paperback edition of _American Manhood_ is again available for individual orders and textbook adoption. For small orders call Amy at the Andover Bookstore 978-475-0143 and for course adoptions contact HarperCollins.

I use this book to teach the way biography can incorporate social history to study men's lives in context, but I suppose its sections on companionate marriage, romantic friendship, and the final section of the men's movement would have relevance for people studying why men may or may not have supported feminism in particular time periods and how the boundaries of manhood have been drawn and redrawn to include or exclude support for larger roles for women.

From Amy Aronson 10 April 1998

See Michael Kimmel and Tom Mosmiller's _Against the Tide: Pro-Feminist Men in America, 1776-1990_. It's a documentary history so all the primary texts are there.

[Against the Tide is out-of-print. Does anyone have current reprint info?]