“Reading this book makes you realize just how much has been at stake in the psyche of American men since Clinton and since 9/11, especially because the events of that day had such a profound effect on changing the image and reception of the president who followed Clinton.”
—Timothy Shary, Men and Masculinities.
While many of the men of Reagan’s ’80s were stereotypically hypermasculine, a host of ’90s images seemed to suggest a new phase of more sensitive manhood. In the Clinton era, both academic and popular writers suggested that a “crisis of masculinity” had taken root–one that had men questioning traditional male ideas and seeking new identities. American Masculinity Under Clinton: Popular Media and the Nineties “Crisis of Masculinity” explores the conflicted ways in which this seemingly new climate of masculinity was negotiated. From Bill Clinton to the Promise Keepers and from Friends to Titanic, a range of ’90s heroes put this rhetoric of crisis to work to win elections, audience members, and ratings. Concluding with an analysis of how these ideas of masculine crisis were continued and remade for the Bush-era and the events of September 11th, American Masculinity Under Clinton traces the changing ways in which masculine representations can be used to elevate particular voices while silencing others and the often dire consequences of these conflicted gender ideals.