Only for the Brave? Political Men and Masculinities: Change Agents for Gender Equality

  • Russell LuytEmail author
  • Kathleen Starck


This chapter draws on recent debates concerning the concept of political masculinities and its application, including the contributors’ work to this volume, to critically consider its definition and use. In doing so, we identify and discuss areas of critique, including: ‘a singular or multiple concepts of political masculinities’, ‘locating political masculinities within a conceptual landscape’, and ‘understanding power and political masculinities’. We argue that the concept of political masculinities holds continued theoretical and applied value as demonstrated in its use in understanding men and masculinities’ contribution as, or in support of, ‘change agents’ for gender equality. An associated literature highlights the specificities and potential pitfalls of political men and masculinities as agents of change. These are very different from the challenges that women face when engaging in the struggle for gender equality. And yet the benefit of men’s involvement as, or in support of change agents for gender equality, is clear. The need for critical consideration of these pitfalls and men’s self-reflection concerning their contribution toward progressive gender change is necessary. But accepting this, the need for men’s pro-feminist engagement remains undiminished.


Change agents Gender equality Social change Political masculinities Men Pro-feminism 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of GreenwichLondonUK
  2. 2.University of Koblenz-LandauLandauGermany

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