This thesis explores constructions of gendered and gender political positions and practices of men identifying as ‘feminist’. The analysis is based on qualitative interviews with 28 men aged 20-34. At issue is how seemingly contradictory positions for men as feminists are made comprehensible in theory and practice.
An introduction showcase theoretical discussions on gendered experiences and the possibilities of men being feminist, mainly from standpoint, radical feminist and poststructuralist radical constructionist perspectives. Men doing feminism emerge as an unresolved complex matter. This is followed by a critical discussion of state feminism, double emancipation and research on men and masculinities in the welfare state. The support for men’s participation, predominantly as white heterosexual fathers, in the Swedish gender equality project has consequences for the construction of men as potentially ‘new’, ‘good’ gender equal feminist subjects. In the construction of profeminist positions in interview performances, interviewees are located in-between the radical feminist, poststructuralist and gender equality perspectives on men, masculinity and feminism.
Two themes involve an implementation of the concept of passing and introduce the analytical concept of co-fielding. Passing consists of the microsociological process of making radical and deconstructive profeminist positions authentic and yet being able to manage masculinity in homosocial contexts.
Co-fielding refers to the conjoint interlacing of experiences, knowledge and meaning-making in interview interaction where relations of researcher-researched are characterized by discursive closeness and overlapping positions. Co-fielding practices affect the outcomes of co-construction of interview performances, the negotiation of gender and power relations and the reflexive use of (in this case feminist) knowledge in qualitative interviews.
In analyzing the presentations of self, ambiguous meanings of profeminist positions emerge and the doing, undoing and redoing of feminism and masculinity appear multi-faceted. Radical feminism and radical constructionism seem intersected in making men’s feminist positions comprehensible. Such rebellious positions emerge as oxymoronic and, when critically brought into the gender equality context, located in a no man’s land out of place.
In all, the thesis seeks to bring together theoretical, national and empirical locations of profeminist men, and in a concluding chapter also explore issues of ethics in feminist research and cross-gender interviewing.