Future Masculinity
4.2 (19 ratings)
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Future Masculinity

Learn about common perceptions of men and masculinities, and how to think beyond them for a more sustainable future.
4.2 (19 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
164 students enrolled
Created by Joseph Gelfer
Last updated 11/2013
Current price: $29 Original price: $35 Discount: 17% off
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • 4 hours on-demand video
  • 42 mins on-demand audio
  • 6 Articles
  • 1 Supplemental Resource
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Participants will be able to identify the social construction of masculinity.
  • Participants will be able to mobilize concepts such as patriarchy and hegemonic masculinity.
  • Participants will be able to identify the existence of multiple masculinities.
  • Participants will be provided with tools to think differently about how masculinity operates in their lives.
View Curriculum
  • An open mind

Masculinity, as shaped by both men and women, has a profound impact upon the world in which we live and functions as a core problem for social sustainability. Yet few people stop to question the forms of masculinity that have been passed to them, let alone construct a more conscious alternative.

Via video, audio and text, Future Masculinity will help both men and women understand how masculinity functions in contemporary society, and how it can be re-imagined for a sustainable future.

Many of society's problems are related to the social construction of masculinity: How is masculinity defined? How is masculinity asserted within society? These questions are answered in this course via a number of key themes: history, sexuality, relationships, fatherhood, archetypes, and spirituality.

By questioning the social construction of masculinity within our everyday lives, we can make massive changes to society encouraging a more sustainable way of living that can be enjoyed by men, women, children, and the world in which we live.

Who is the target audience?
  • All men and women with an interest in men and masculinities
Curriculum For This Course
21 Lectures
1 Lecture 11:55

This lecture provides an introduction to the instructor, a working definition of masculinity as something that shifts depending on when and where you are, and an outline of the key themes to be explored in the course.

Preview 11:55
3 Lectures 30:39

This lecture examines how masculinity is viewed via the theme of history in two books: Manliness by Harvey Mansfield, and Sex, Ecology, Spirituality: The Spirit of Evolution by Ken Wilber.

In sum, there are various views about masculinity that are loosely shared by Mansfield and Wilber:

  • Masculinity is a particular thing that has been in place throughout most of human history.
  • Masculinity is defined by certain characteristics, whether aggression, confidence and command, or agency and ranking.
  • The characteristics that define masculinity have a biological basis.
  • The patrifocal nature of society (as demonstrated by the public–private domain) is derived from the natural characteristics and strengths of men, not men actively dominating society.
Preview 13:53

This lecture identifies some problems with the way Mansfield and Wilber present masculinity, chiefly rejecting the idea of biological determinism and the supposedly "natural" characteristics of men and women.

Further still, it is suggested there are no useful precedents for modelling masculinity, so we should not be defined by history, rather define what will become history.

Preview 16:00

3 Lectures 44:44

This lecture examines how masculinity is viewed via the theme of sexuality in two books: Earth Honoring: The New Male Sexuality by Robert Lawlor, and The Way of the Superior Man: A Spiritual Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Women, Work and Sexual Desire by David Deida.

In sum, for both Lawlor and Deida, masculine sexuality shares a certain commonality:

  • The division of the masculine and feminine into polar opposites.
  • The assigning of a particular set of characteristics to each pole (such as assertiveness to masculine sexuality and receptiveness to feminine sexuality).
  • The need to fully own these two sets of characteristics, but to complement or balance them with those of the other pole.
  • There are stages in history we move through in the unfolding of masculine sexuality, whether the cyclical nature of matriarchy and patriarchy (Lawlor), or a new level beyond the stereotypical macho jerk and sensitive new age guy (Deida).
Sexuality data

This lecture identifies some problems with the way Lawlor and Deida present masculinity, chiefly rejecting the idea of polarity within sexuality.

In line with Kinsey, it is suggested the sexual dynamic between all people be considered less in terms of a binary and more in terms of a spectrum.

Sexuality analysis

Sexuality reading list
3 Lectures 39:35

This lecture examines how masculinity is viewed via the theme of relationships in two books: Double Your Dating: What Every Man Should Know About How to Be Successful with Women by David DeAngelo, and Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus: A Practical Guide for Improving Communication and Getting What You Want in Relationships by John Gray.

In sum, there are clear messages to be had about masculinity and relationships from DeAngelo and Gray:

  • Men like certain things, whether it be buying Playboy, watching sports or reading the paper (DeAngelo), or hunting, fishing and racing cars (Gray).
  • Men think and communicate differently to women.
  • For men to be successful with women—either in terms of coaxing them into sex (DeAngelo) or maintaining a long-lasting relationship (Gray)—men must figure out what women “really” think and either counter or accommodate these uniquely womanly thoughts depending on circumstance.
Relationships data

This lecture identifies some problems with the way DeAngelo and Gray present masculinity, chiefly rejecting the idea that men and women communicate in specific and different ways.

Further still it is suggested a more transparent model of communication is adopted that does justice to each individual rather than some caricature of masculinity and femininity.

Relationships analysis

Relationships reading list
3 Lectures 42:32

This lecture examines how masculinity is viewed via the theme of fatherhood in two books: Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys by Stephen James and David Thomas, and Better Dads, Stronger Sons: How Fathers Can Guide Boys to Become Men of Character by Rick Johnson.

In sum, there are clear messages to be had about masculinity and fatherhood from James, Thomas and Johnson:

  • Fathers must nurture specific sets of behaviors at different times of a boy’s life.
  • Those behaviors are hardwired and are focused largely on outdoor activities and what might be described as stereotypical ways of doing masculinity.
  • Fathers should bond with their boys over such activities, perhaps even via some form of difficult initiation in order to turn boys into men.
  • Fathering is about leading and protecting the whole family, wives and children alike.
  • Boys without fathers suffer a father wound and are more likely to perform poorly in society.
Fatherhood data

This lecture presents some problems with the way fatherhood is viewed by James, Thomas and Johnson, chiefly rejecting the developmental model which states there are appropriate stages and characteristics through which boys progress.

Further still, it is suggested that the needs of the child should be centered rather than the requirements of normative masculinity.

Fatherhood analysis

Fatherhood reading list
3 Lectures 35:51

This lecture examines how masculinity is viewed via the theme of archetypes in two books: Iron John: A Book About Men by Robert Bly, and King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine by Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette.

In sum, there are clear messages to be had about masculinity and archetypes from Bly, Moore and Gillette:

  • Archetypes are inescapable character templates that are rooted either in the depths of the human psyche or the reptilian brain.
  • Masculinity is defined by a particular set of archetypes: namely the Wild Man, King and Warrior (echoing those repeated themes of masculinity being about aggression, assertiveness, leadership and the public domain).
  • Modern society is out of touch with these archetypal energies and must re-connect with them via a process of initiation to solve our social ills.
  • Masculine archetypes must be combined or balanced with other archetypes in order not to manifest the “shadow” or negative character traits.
Archetypes data

This lecture presents some problems with the way archetypes are viewed by Bly, Moore and Gillette, chiefly that they promote domineering and violent forms of masculinity.

Further still, it is suggested that a different array or archetypes be considered, and even for the popular definition of archetypes to be re-imagined.

Archetypes analysis

Archetypes reading list
3 Lectures 48:17

This lectures examines how masculinity is viewed via the theme of spirituality in two books: No More Christian Nice Guy: When Being Nice—Instead of Good—Hurts Men, Women and Children by Paul Coughlin, and The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine by Matthew Fox

In sum, normative masculinity mobilizes spirituality in specific ways, within both a traditional faith context such as Christianity, or contemporary spirituality that both draws upon and transcends such traditional faiths. In particular:

  • Christianity is presented as being a “feminized” faith that needs to reclaim its authentic masculine essence.
  • Christian men need to become more masculine by modeling themselves not on an effeminate and meek portrayal of Jesus, but a wilder, angrier Jesus.
  • Christian masculinity is about being virile, proactive and on the offensive.
  • More generally, masculine spirituality may be thought of in relation to specific metaphors or archetypes.
  • Masculine spirituality should be kept in balance and thought of in terms of complementarity with feminine spirituality, or a “sacred marriage.”
Spirituality data

This lecture presents some problems with the way spirituality is viewed via Coughlin and Fox, chiefly in presenting a particular understanding of biblical masculinity or masculine metaphors that ignore the existence of other characteristics.

Further still, it is suggested that not only are the characteristics presented limited, but they have little logical connection to masculinity in the first place, to the point that the whole idea of "masculine spirituality" is largely meaningless.

Spirituality analysis

Spirituality reading list
1 Lecture 41:34

This lecture offers an overview of the previous lectures, concluding with the value of re-imagining masculinity for not just personal identity and interpersonal relationships but the wider world in which we live.

Conclusion to Future Masculinity Course
Bonus material
1 Lecture 00:00

This is a conveniently-formatted pdf of Joseph's blog/book The Masculinity Conspiracy (160 pages long).

The Masculinity Conspiracy (pdf)
160 pages
About the Instructor
Joseph Gelfer
4.2 Average rating
19 Reviews
164 Students
1 Course
Researcher of men and masculinities

Dr Joseph Gelfer is a researcher in the area of men and masculinities. He has a BA from the University of Bristol (UK) and a PhD from Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand).

Joseph's books include Masculinities in a Global Era (Springer Science+Business Media, 2014) and Numen, Old Men: Contemporary Masculine Spiritualities and the Problem of Patriarchy (Routledge, 2009).

Some of the print and broadcast media that have featured Joseph's work include:

  • TV: SBS, Sky, Seven Network, Channel 10, Channel 31.
  • Radio: BBC, ABC (national and local network), numerous local stations.
  • Print: The Guardian (UK), Spirituality & Health (US), Fate (US), Nexus (Aus), Conscious Living (Aus), Rainbow News (NZ), Fortean Times (UK), The Age (Aus), The Conversation (Aus), VoiceMale (US), The Tablet (UK).
  • Academic journals: The Journal of Men’s Studies, NORMA: Nordic Journal for Masculinity Studies, Paranthropology, CrossCurrents, New Proposals: Journal of Marxism and Interdisciplinary Inquiry, Feminist Theology, Journal of Alternative Spiritualities and New Age Studies, British Association for the Study of Religions Bulletin, Reviews in Religion & Theology, Religion and Gender, Nova Religio, Relegere, Journal of Contemporary Religion, Zeitschrift für Anomalistik, Australian Journal of Parapsychology, Journal for the Academic Study of Religion.