To a growing list of books about the myths and mysteries of American
boys and young males, Kimmel, a sociologist and author of Manhood In
America, adds this deft exploration grounded in research. Published
"Masculinity, he concludes, is a ‘‘homosocial experience, performed for, and judged by, other men.’’ Well, next time, just ask. Any woman could have told him that. The success of the performance comes down to what Kimmel calls ‘‘the single cardinal rule of manhood, the one from which all the other characteristics — wealth, power, status, strength, physicality — are derived.’’ That is, to demonstrate, constantly and repeatedly, that you’re not gay. This is hardly a new idea, but this book makes a persuasive case for it as the bedrock on which Guyland has been built. Without guys’ need to perform for one another, Guyland wouldn’t exist."
Another clear sign that young generation of males might be struggling to find any kind of firm identity is the rising popularity of various sexual fetishes. For example, many young men are fond of collecting dirty panties and some become so dependent on this item they can’t get properly aroused without it. To illustrate the point, there is an entire bustling industry emerging around this fetish, with specialised websites such as www.usedpanties.org buying and selling dirty panties with a hefty markup for each day the garment was worn. While this fetish is mostly harmless, it serves as a shining example of depersonalised male world in which objects are becoming a replacement for living human flesh, sometimes to an alarming degree.
"And as for Kimmel’s credentials as a male feminist? I know Michael Kimmel. I love Michael Kimmel. And as a card-carrying, whole-book-reading feminist, if I ever have a son, I want him to be just like Michael Kimmel."
— Chloe Angyal,
"Michael Kimmel is a genius. He is Gloria Steinem with a pee pee."
— blog comment from the above Skirt review
Kimmel on The Today Show, 8/27/08:
"The failure to launch is perhaps no surprise given the onslaught of messages that suggest settling down is tantamount to ripping up one's ticket to the party. To turn on television or see a movie is to find a smorgasbord of regressive adventures for the single man of every stripe...Kimmel points to the litany of "guysploitation" media, including ever frat-tastic magazines such as Maxim and FHM, and Spike TV, "the first network for men."
"All of which sounds fairly innocent, but Guyland is an ugly, frightening place. The Guy mentality is rooted in resentment, drenched in booze and dedicated to pervasive, sometimes violent denigration of women and gays....Ultimately, Guys must summon the courage to stop being Guys and start being men."
"So why immerse yourself in this world of cowards and posers for 289 pages? Because it's such a huge part of all of our lives. "
"For me, my revelation that I had overstayed my visa in Guyland came the day my flatmate upped and married - the selfish bastard. Suddenly, I was looking down the barrel at 40 and thinking, "Am I going to die alone?" and "How come even takeaways seem to come in a size designed to be eaten by two?"
"Adulthood perhaps more commonly arrives these days in packages that have nothing to do with heterosexual identity or marriage: adopting a child, buying property, taking on greater responsibility at work, caring for disabled relatives, the death of one's parents, etc. When the circumscribed boy-men of "Guyland" grow up, it seems, they still graduate into Man's World, where their brutal philosophy can influence all of our lives just a little, whether we want it to or not."
"I am happy to say that Michael Kimmel weaves his vision for an alternative "guyhood" into every chapter of his book. Though the bulk of his strategy for change comes towards the end of Guyland, the whole text is shot through with thoughtful and compelling suggestions for how things can be different."
"From interviews with hundreds of guys, Kimmel writes a highly readable account of the Guyland mentality and its consequences for those both inside and outside Guyland's borders. "
"As the average age of marriage and parenthood continues to inch up, Dr. Kimmel argues there is both less incentive for young men to get serious about their lives, anda degree of resentment directed at their female peers, who appear to be enjoying the fruits of feminism. "
"Have you been reading any of the reviews of a book called Guyland? [Author Michael Kimmel] studied young white male college boys and there's a huge amount of sexism and homophobia. We are doing something in our society now where we are training young boys and men who are very sexist. They see women as second-class citizens; they have the idea that the worst thing you can be is a woman or have feminine qualities. This is the atmosphere that we live in today."
—Candance Bushnell, creator of Sex and the City, in an interview with
"If you've ever had a conversation with a teenage boy and wondered what on earth was going on behind the blank stare and slightly open mouth, this book will serve you well. Kimmel, a gender studies expert at SUNY Stony Brook, is the godfather of the "Why Boys Behave Like Boys" genre, and his latest work exposes the gamut of male post-adolescent experiences (from sex to housework) with humor and empathy."
"Kimmel is our seasoned guide into a world that, unless we are guys, we barely know exists. As he walks with us through dark territories, he points out the significant and reflects on its meaning. Just as Reviving Ophelia introduced readers to the culture of teenage girls, Guyland takes us to the land of young men."
—Mary Pipher, Ph.D., author of Reviving Ophelia
"In this powerful book, Michael Kimmel finds that we're raising a generation of Prodigal Sons, lost on the road to manhood and wasting their substance. Afraid of competing with competent young women and confused about how to become responsible men, they retreat into self-congratulation, exploitative sex and video games. Every parent who is about to write a check for college tuition should read this book first and discuss it with his or her son...and daughter."
— Michael G. Thompson, Ph.D., co-author of Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys
"Michael Kimmel's Guyland could save the humanity of many young men—and the sanity of their friends and parents—by explaining the forces behind a newly extended adolescence. With accuracy and empathy, he names the problem and offers compassionate bridges to adulthood."