Take this test. You think today’s sensitive, caring man is: (a) a myth, (b) an oxymoron, or (c) a moron. No matter whether you laugh at this bit of folk humor, its wide circulation bespeaks a modern predicament for American men.
Men’s “manly” traditions have been shaken in an age of “sensitivity.” Some observers have even referred to a crisis of masculinity for a new generation of boys. In Manly Traditions, established scholars in the fields of folklore, men’s studies, and gender studies identify the folkloric roots of what it means to be a man in America. In a lively volume they examine the traditions men inherit and adapt for their own purposes in contemporary life.