1st Edition

The Fictions that Shape Men's Lives

By Christopher Kilmartin Copyright 2021
    150 Pages
    by Routledge

    150 Pages
    by Routledge

    The Fictions that Shape Men’s Lives is structured around a number of key ‘fictions’ of masculinity, such as beliefs in biological determinism, the inevitability of men’s violence and the opposition of the sexes, and proceeds to expose them to be wholly or partially unfounded.

    Examining the social pressure to behave and experience the self in ways that culture prescribes for the bodies we are perceived as having, this book provides an awareness of widely-held but distorted assumptions of gender. It also seeks to put men into the position to resist masculine social pressures when conforming to it conflicts with important life goals or values and/or causes harm. Making use of an informal, storytelling style provides an accessibility to those interested in breaking down their preconceptions of gender and masculinity, as well making links to key theories and concepts.  

    This is a lively and engaging book for undergraduates studying introduction to Gender, Sexuality and Masculinity courses.


    Chapter One: Frameworks

    Chapter Two: "Opposite Sex": The Fiction of Difference

    Chapter Three: Blue Genes: The Fiction of Biological Determinism

    Chapter Four: Mirrors of the Soul: The Fiction that Appearance is Reality

    Chapter Five: Good Old Days: The Fiction of the Bygone Romantic Era

    Chapter Six: A Man’s Gotta Do What a Man’s Gotta Do: The Fiction of Violence

    Chapter Seven: The Last Action Hero: The Fiction of Masculine Mystique

    Chapter Eight: Onward through the Fog: The Future of Masculinities


    Christopher Kilmartin is an emeritus college professor, author, stand-up comedian, actor, playwright, consultant and professional psychologist. He holds a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology. He has written five books on men and gender, some in multiple editions. Drawing on his background as a professional stand-up comedian, Dr. Kilmartin wrote and acted in a solo theatre performance on men's issues entitled Crimes Against Nature, an integration of his scholarly and performing interests, which has toured to over 150 campuses and other venues. Dr. Kilmartin served as a consultant for three years with the United States Naval Academy in sexual assault and harassment prevention. He was Distinguished Visiting Professor at the United States Air Force Academy in 2013-14. In 2007, he was the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Gender Studies at the University of Klagenfurt, Austria. He is an internationally-recognized expert on gender, violence prevention, diversity, and inclusion.