Men's Health and Illness: Gender, Power, and the Body
Publication Year: 1995
A multidisciplinary, international approach is taken in this volume which contextualizes men's health issues within the broader theoretical framework of men's studies. The contributors argue that gender is a key factor for understanding the patterns of men's health risks, the ways men perceive and use their bodies and men's psychological adjustment to illness itself. The first part introduces perspectives of men's studies and their relevance to understanding men's health. Part Two explores the links between traditional gender roles, men's health and larger structural and cultural contexts.
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Subject Index
Part I: Masculinity, Health, and Illness
- Chapter 1: Rethinking Men's Health and Illness
- Chapter 2: Contributions of Changing Gender Differences in Behavior and Social Roles to Changing Gender Differences in Mortality
- Chapter 3: Premature Death among Males
- Chapter 4: Masculinity, Men's Roles, and Coronary Heart Disease
- Chapter 5: Life's Too Short to Die Small
Part II: Different Stakes
- Chapter 6: Health among African American Males
- Chapter 7: Gender Politics, Pain, and Illness
- Chapter 8: Sport, Masculinity, and the Injured Body
- Chapter 9: Coming to Terms
Part III: Psychosocial and Clinical Aspects of Men's Health
Research on Men and Masculinities Series[Page ii]
MICHAEL S. KIMMEL, SUNY Stony Brook
Contemporary research on men and masculinity, informed by recent feminist thought and intellectual breakthroughs of women's studies and the women's movement, treats masculinity not as a normative referent but as a problematic gender construct. This series of interdisciplinary, edited volumes attempts to understand men and masculinity through this lens, providing a comprehensive understanding of gender and gender relationships in the contemporary world. Published in cooperation with the Men's Studies Association, a Task Group of the National Organization for Men Against Sexism.
EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD
- Maxine Baca Zinn
- Robert Brannon
- Cynthia Cockburn
- Jeff Hearn
- Martin P. Levine
- William Marsiglio
- David Morgan
- Joseph H. Pleck
- Robert Staples
- Bob Blauner
- Harry Brod
- R. W. Connell
- Clyde Franklin II
- Gregory Herek
- Robert A. Lewis
- Michael A. Messner
Volumes in this Series
- Steve Craig (ed.)
- MEN, MASCULINITY, AND THE MEDIA
- Peter M. Nardi (ed.)
- MEN'S FRIENDSHIPS
- Christine L. Williams (ed.)
- DOING WOMEN'S WORK: Men in Nontraditional Occupations
- Jane C. Hood (ed.)
- MEN, WORK, AND FAMILY
- Harry Brod and Michael Kaufman (eds.)
- THEORIZING MASCULINITIES
- Edward H. Thompson, Jr. (ed.)
- OLDER MEN'S LIVES
- William Marsiglio (ed.)
- Donald Sabo and David Frederick Gordon (eds.)
- MEN'S HEALTH AND ILLNESS
Copyright © 1995 by Sage Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
For information address:
SAGE Publications, Inc.
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SAGE Publications Ltd.
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SAGE Publications India Pvt. Ltd.
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Printed in the United States of America
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Men's health and illness: Gender, power, and the body / edited by Donald Sabo and David Frederick Gordon.
p. cm. —(Research on men and masculinities series; 8)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 0-8039-4814-X (cloth: alk. paper). — ISBN 0-8039-5275-9 (pbk.: alk. paper)
1. Men—Health and hygiene—Social aspects. 2. Men—Health and hygiene—Psychological aspects. I. Sabo, Donald F. II. Gordon, David (David Frederick). III. Men's Studies Association (U.S.) IV. Series
This book is printed on acid-free paper.
95 96 97 98 99 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Sage Production Editor: Gillian Dickens
Series Editor's Introduction[Page vii]
The data are as startling as they are familiar: Men are nearly six times more likely to die of lung cancer than women, five times as likely to die of other bronchopulmonic diseases, three times as likely to die in motor vehicle accidents, nearly three times as likely to commit suicide, and two times as likely to die of cirrhosis of the liver and heart disease. AIDS, now the leading cause of death for all Americans ages 25 to 44, is perhaps the most highly gendered disease in our history, affecting men at a rate of about nine to one.
Some have used these data to complain that feminist initiatives to improve women's health are misguided in that women already “have it made.” But such complaints only hint at the larger point: Most of the leading causes of death among men are the result of men's behaviors—gendered behaviors that leave men more vulnerable to certain illnesses and not others. Masculinity is among the more significant risk factors associated with men's illness.
As with women, men are also fragile and vulnerable creatures, susceptible to a wide variety of health-related problems. Feminist women, it seems to me, have been able to theorize vulnerability and susceptibility to disease into a social movement to promote women's health. But masculinity is not only a risk factor in disease etiology but it is also among the most significant barriers to men developing a consciousness about health and illness. “Real men” don't get sick, and when they do, as we all do, real [Page viii]men don't complain about it, and they don't seek help until the entire system begins to shut down.
Pointing out simple sex differences in rates of various diseases only scratches the surface of the issue. We must look inside these health issues, inside the mechanics and symbolic structures of specific diseases to understand better men's experiences of health and illness. This volume begins that process.
This volume is the eighth in the Sage Series on Research on Men and Masculinities. The purpose of the series is to gather together the finest empirical research in the social sciences that focuses on the experiences of men in contemporary society.
Following the pioneering research of feminist scholars over the past two decades, social scientists have come to recognize gender as one of the primary axes around which social life is organized. Gender is now seen as equally central as class and race, both at the macrostructural level of the allocation and distribution of rewards in a hierarchical society, and at the micropsychological level of individual identity formation and interpersonal interaction.
Social scientists distinguish gender from sex. Sex refers to biology, the biological dimorphic division of male and female; gender refers to the cultural meanings that are attributed to those biological differences. Although biological sex varies little, the cultural meanings of gender vary enormously. Thus, we speak of gender as socially constructed; the definitions of masculinity and femininity as the products of the interplay among a variety of social forces. In particular, we understand gender to vary spatially (from one culture to another), temporally (within any one culture over historical time), and longitudinally (through any individual's life course). Finally, we understand that different groups within any culture may define masculinity and femininity differently, according to subcultural definitions; race, ethnicity, age, class, sexuality, and region of the country all affect our different gender definitions. Thus, it is more accurate to speak of “masculinities” and “femininities” than positing a monolithic gender construct.
It is the goal of this series to explore the varieties of men's experiences, remaining mindful of specific differences among men, and also be aware of the mechanisms of power that inform both men's relations with women and men's relations with other men. This volume helps us understand those dynamics as men relate to the inner workings of their bodies.Michael S.Kimmel, Series Editor
We gratefully acknowledge the support and vision of Michael Kimmel, who nudged and inspired us at critical junctures. We thank Jim Doyle for his generous support and Judith Lorber for her feedback of our earlier ideas. This book was spun on the webwork of supportive colleagues, friends, and loved ones, including Sheila Dunn, Debbie Gordon, Sally Harrington, Dave Kelly, Michael Messner, Charlie Sabatino, Linda Sabo, Leon Shkolnik, Pat Stacey, and Jim Watson. We much appreciate the expertise of Gillian Dickens, Gavin Lockwood, and other stalwarts of Sage Publications. Finally, we thank our contributors for their insights, labor, and sticktuitiveness.
[Page x]Don dedicates this book to his father, Donald F. Sabo, Sr., with great love and admiration. Dave dedicates this book to his parents, Fred and Viola, with thanks for their love, guidance, and encouragement.
About the Contributors[Page 330]
Jeffrey S. Applegate is Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research at Bryn Mawr College. He has published numerous journal articles on men's roles as caregivers across the life cycle and is a coauthor of the book Men as Caregivers to the Elderly: Understanding and Aiding Unrecognized Family Supports. He is also a consulting editor for the Clinical Social Work Journal and the Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal.
Silvia Sara Canetto is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado. Dr. Canetto is the author of numerous articles on gender, life-threatening behaviors, family, aging, and the editor of a book (with David Lester) on Women and Suicidal Behavior.
Kathy Charmaz is Professor and Chair of the Sociology Department at Sonoma State University. Her research interests include the experience of chronic illness, the development and change of self, and the sociology of time. These interests are reflected in her book, Good Days, Bad Days: The Self in Chronic Illness and Time, which won the 1992 Charles Horton Cooley Award for the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction and the 1992 Distinguished Scholarship Award from the Pacific Sociological Association. Currently, she has several projects, including an empirical [Page 331]study of bodily experience in health and illness, didactic works on qualitative research, and epistemological critiques of postmodernism.
Thomas J. Gerschick is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Illinois State University. His research focuses on identity and marginalized and alternative masculinities.
David Frederick Gordon is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at the State University of New York at Geneseo. His research focuses on the self and its relationship to major transitions in life such as joining new religious groups and surviving cancer. He is a survivor of testicular cancer himself, and he is continuing to interview other survivors of this disease. He has published articles in Urban Life and Culture, Qualitative Sociology, Sociological Analysis, Journal of Community Health, and Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.
Vicki S. Helgeson is Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University. Her research interests include how the socialization of men and women contributes to their psychological and physical health and how cognitions (perceived control, optimism, deriving meaning from the experience) enhance adjustment to chronic illness such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. She has published articles in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Journal of Applied Social Psychology, Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Personal Relationships, Psychological Bulletin, and Sex Roles. She is also a member of the editorial board of Health Psychology and is a consulting editor for the Journal of Men's Studies.
Alan M. Klein is Professor of Sociology-Anthropology at Northeastern University. His areas of research include sport ethnography, Latin American sport, masculinity, and political economy. His recent publications include The Owls of the Two Laredos: Baseball and Nationalism on the Texas-Mexican Border, Little Big Men: Bodybuilding Subculture and Gender Construction, and Sugarball: The American Game, the Dominican Dream.
Lenard W. Kaye is Professor at Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research. He received his bachelor's degree from the State University of New York at Binghamton, his master's degree from New York University School of Social Work, and his doctorate from the Columbia University School of Social Work. He is the author of Home[Page 332]Health Care, the coauthor of Resolving Grievances in the Nursing Home and Men as Caregivers to the Elderly, and the coeditor of Congregate Housing for the Elderly and Part-Time Employment for the Lower Income Elderly: A Promising or Problematic Trend? He has published more than 70 journal articles and book chapters on issues in elder caregiving, long-term care advocacy, home health and adult day care, marketing techniques in the human services, retirement lifestyles, and social work curriculum development. Dr. Kaye sits on the board of the Journal of Gerontological Social Work. He is a board member of numerous community organizations, the Past President of the New York State Society on Aging and of Understanding Aging, Inc., and a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America. He has recently conducted research on self-help support groups for older women and on the delivery of high technology home health care services to older adults.
William G. McTeer is Associate Professor in the Physical Education Department at Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. His research focuses on sport and physical activity from a sociological perspective. He has published articles recently in the International Review for the Sociology of Sport and the Journal of Sport Behavior.
Adam S. Miller is a graduate student in journalism at the University of Michigan. His research focuses on issues of masculinity for men with physical disabilities.
Carol Polych, MScN, is currently working as a Nurse Practitioner at Anishnawbe Health Toronto, an Aboriginal Community Health Center. She teaches in the Nursing and Midwifery programs at Ryerson Polytechnic University in Toronto. She also facilitates a weekly support group for injection drug users at Parkdale Community Health Center. She is working toward her doctorate in Nursing from Wayne State University with minors in Health Policy and Anthropology. Her research has centered on the areas of abuse of health care workers, heroin injection, and the end-of-life issues. She serves as a Board Member of the Prisoners with HIV/AIDS Support and Action Network (PASAN), which provides advocacy and support to prisoners across Canada in relation to HIV issues.
Donald Sabo is a Professor of Sociology at D'Youville College in Buffalo, New York. He has coauthored Humanism in Sociology, Jock: Sports and Male Identity, and Sport, Men, and the Gender Order: Critical [Page 333]Feminist Perspectives. His most recent book, with Mike Messner, is titled Sex, Violence, & Power in Sports: Rethinking Masculinity. He writes regularly for Changing Men Magazine, edited a special issue of Men's Studies Review on men in prison, and studies psychosocial aspects of health and illness. He has conducted an array of national surveys on women's sports and fitness and is a trustee of the Women's Sports Foundation. He has appeared on the “Today Show” and is frequently quoted by national media (e.g., USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Sports Illustrated, The Washington Post, Glamour magazine, and Self magazine). He is a parent and fitness enthusiast.
Robert Staples is Professor in the Graduate Program in Sociology, University of California, San Francisco. His current research is a comparative analysis of indigenous groups in Australia and New Zealand with African Americans and Native Americans in the United States. His latest publication is Black Families at the Crossroads (with Leanor Johnson), and he is working on a book on masculinity and racial identity.
Judith M. Stillion is Professor of Psychology and is currently serving as Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina. She is past President of the Association for Death Education (ADEC) and still serves that organization as strategic planner. In 1992, she was awarded ADEC's Outstanding Death Educator award. Dr. Stillion is also a member of the International Work Group on Death, Dying, and Bereavement, the American Association of Suicidology, the American Psychological Association, and several other national organizations. She has conducted an ongoing series of studies on attitudes toward suicide, which received national attention when presented at the American Psychological Association national conference. Her first book, Death and the Sexes: An Examination of Differential Longevity, Attitudes, Behaviors, and Coping Skills brought together her expertise in the psychology of sex differences and her work in death and dying. Her second book, Suicide Across the Life Span: Premature Exits (with Eugene McDowell and Jacque May) was the first to bring a developmental perspective to the study of suicide. In addition to presenting more than 100 keynote addresses, workshops, and presentations, Dr. Stillion has published over 50 articles and chapters in death and dying over the past 20 years.
Richard Tewksbury is Assistant Professor in the School of Justice Administration at the University of Louisville. His research interests center [Page 334]on issues of men's sexuality, psychosocial experiences of HIV disease, gender constructions, and institutional corrections. Dr. Tewksbury is active in HIV prevention programming, correctional education proramming, and child sexual abuse advocacy. His recent publications include “Speaking of Someone with AIDS: Identity Constructions of Persons with HIV Disease,” “A Dramaturgical Analysis of Male Strippers,” and the forthcoming text, Introduction to Corrections.
Ingrid Waldron is a Professor of Biology at the University of Pennsylvania. Her primary research interests are the causes of gender differences in mortality, effects of employment on women's health, and psychosocial influences on smoking.
Philip G. White is Associate Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. His research interests include sport and the gender order, critical issues around the fitness-health movement, and sport and social stratification.
Kevin Young is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, where he teaches and researches in areas such as sport, deviance, social control, and mass media. His published work has probed the roles law, culture, gender, and media play in sports violence. He is currently researching experiences of pain and injury for both male and female athletes, and contradictions in the contemporary health movement. He has recently completed a 5-year term on the editorial board of the Sociology of Sport Journal.