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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 November 2006, 14:57 GMT
Victims or Villains?
Gordon Brown with his wife Sarah and their sons John and James
New dad, new man, new muddle?
BBC Radio 4's Analysis: Victims or Villains?, was broadcast on Thursday, 31 August, 2006 at 20:30 BST.

CPS:LINK HREF="http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/spl/hi/programmes/analysis/transcripts/31_08_06.txt" STYLE="rightarrow">Read the programme transcript

What is it to be a man these days?

The new victims of the sexual revolution? Or villains whose values are outmoded and dangerous?

Many men now feel victimised by debates about hooliganism, rape and paedophilia which portray them as potential abusers. But media-savvy men from David Beckham to David Cameron eagerly promote soft values and project the image of being caring, sharing dads.

The old certainties about manliness seem to have been replaced by new confusions about the meanings of masculinity. In part this is the result of changing gender roles.

As women have increasingly made their way into traditional male arenas - from work to politics - so many men have started wondering about their own place in the world. But have gender relations really changed? Or is the 'New Man' simply a fashion statement in an age in which it has become chic to appear vulnerable?

And what about so-called male values? In our post-ideological age in which traditional political and moral lines have become blurred, people have become increasingly uneasy about strong views and robust claims. Is this why we feel troubled by traits such as decisiveness, assertiveness and the willingness to take risks? And are we right to deprecate them?

In "Victims or Villains?", Kenan Malik explores what it means to be a man these days by talking to - among others: Harvard Professor Harvey Mansfield who has just published a new book defending ' Manliness', Professor of Gender Studies, Lynne Segal, the psychiatrist Sebastian Kraemer and the controversial founder of 'Fathers For Justice', Matt O'Connor.

Presenter: Kenan Malik
Producer: Ingrid Hassler
Editor: Nicola Meyrick


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