NORMA | VOL. ahead-of-print
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The fantasy of the new man: norm-critique, vulnerability and victimhood

Publication Date May 28, 2022

Abstract

ABSTRACT In this article, the Swedish gender-equality initiative Men and Gender Equality is analyzed. The goal is to empirically examine some of the affective dimensions at play in the ways in which a ‘norm-critical’ perspective on masculinity is articulated as a solution to gender equality. Our analysis reveals ambivalences operating within the initiative’s use of norm-critical perspectives. Despite the apparent intention to offer men the hope of emancipating themselves from sedimented practices and modes of being men, these end up potentially reinforcing certain assumptions and aspects of extant society. They include (neo-)liberal assumptions about individual responsibility as well as post-feminist and anti-feminist discursive logics and tropes. With a theoretical focus on fantasy, we show how a reformist attempt to reimagine what male identities could be ends up perpetuating certain myths and assumptions that work against the emancipatory vision nurtured within such discourses.

Concepts

Swedish Gender-equality Liberal Assumptions Male Identities Individual Responsibility Gender Equality Swedish Gender Swedish Initiative Emancipatory Vision Discursive Logics Apparent Intention

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