A recent twitter post on the relationship between gun violence and masculinities reminding me that I never have written a blog post about my book, Social Work Practice with Men at Risk, or about my teaching around masculinites.
Social Work Practice with Men at Risk was a book that I had to write. Mind you, I am not a gender studies scholar, and I am really not an expert on masculinities or masculinities studies. I am more of a social work scholar/practitioner whose experiences working with men lead him to "having to" write the book. It also pushed me into a few year period of really delving into gender studies literature.
Why did I have to write it? Well, there never has really been a book that addresses social work practices with men in general. There are some fine books on specific sub-groups of men, but not on working with men as a distinct group. During my own social work education, back in the paleolithic era, I do not recall one professor every speaking about working with men. When men were discussed, it was only as oppressors or perpetrators of violence. While important, surely there was more to engaging in social work practice with men than that.
So, this has become a side area of interest for me, one which I teach more than I wrote about. When I do write about masculinities, it has been from a recently completed student on older expatriate men at risk or autoethnographic work, or with this article, both!
Each summer, I teach a course, Introduction to Masculinities. It is an online course that is part of our Gender Studies minor program, which I was sort of part of starting. I love teaching this course. My goal is to help students develop a personal sense of how their own internalization of the "rules" of masculinities impacts their lives. I do not impose my own views about what men "should" be, but instead invite students to explore the positive and negative ways in which masculinites have shaped their lives. This is a wonderful journey; I have seen many male and female studies alike develop new insights into their own behavior and feelings, and have watched them change their own sense of identity and "being in the world."
Just thought I would share a bit about this part of my work life.