The turn to men in gender politics

There has recently been a ‘turn to men’ in gender politics, an increasing emphasis on the roles that men can play in building gender equality. This is a feminist achievement, which locates the responsibility for gender injustice squarely with the group who benefit from it, and it prompts programs and policies which ideally involve men in processes of personal and collective transformation. Yet there are problems with this turn to men. In popular discourse the bar for men is set very low, with high-profile campaigns asking little of men, yet rewarding them with praise and gratitude, and doing little to challenge systems and cultures of oppression. The limits of the turn to men reflect the wider limits of contemporary feminism in popular culture, in which feminism risks meaning everything and thus nothing.

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Flood, Michael. (2017). The turn to men in gender politics. Women’s Studies Journal (Women’s Studies Association of Aotearoa/New Zealand), 31(1): 48-58. URL: