Book Notes: Iker González-Allende’s Hombres en movimiento

This is a scholarly book that I got for review. I rarely write here about the books I review professionally but I’m so in love with this one that I have to mention it. Hombres en movimiento is the second book I’m reviewing this year. The first one was so bad that I did something I never do and missed the deadline because I had no idea what to say about it in a polite, scholarly way. When I finally wrote and submitted it, my sister told me to withdraw it because it was so harsh. But it was accepted so eagerly I couldn’t do that.

But González-Allende’s book was easy to write about because it’s brilliant. It’s about the ways in which the trauma of emigration shatters male identity. It’s rare that we see any criticism that isn’t completely, gushingly and pathetically celebratory of migration as an unqualified and indisputable good. And this scholar wasn’t intimidated by that and only caved minimally to the slogan of “let’s mimic Charles Koch as much as possible!” that seems to animate so many academics.

The book is beautifully structured and very well written. It was a delight to read because it’s fresh and not boring. Books on masculinity are rarely good because they tend to be painfully predictable. But this one was a revelation on every page.

I’m so excited to see kick-ass scholarship on an important topic.

10 thoughts on “Book Notes: Iker González-Allende’s Hombres en movimiento”

    1. Ok, here it is. First, you need to understand the context. In academia, the only acceptable narrative about migration is that shuffling people around all over the world is always an unqualified good. Migration is supposed to be particularly great for doing away with “patriarchy.” Why? Because “the nation-state is patriarchal.” So it’s got to follow that everything which undermines the nation-state will destroy the patriarchy. Migration will somehow transform men from patriarchal cultures into enlightened champions of feminism. I kid you not.

      Obviously, if you actually look at any data, none of this is borne out. This scholar finds, for instance, that migration makes men from sexist cultures more sexist. They feel that their masculinity is undermined by migration, so they act out by being more sexist than they’d be without having migrated.

      Migration undermines masculinity because masculinity is based on the foundation of stability, of being able to exercise a measure of control over your life. Fluidity will undermines this foundation, no matter what you do. This research shows heavily negative effects of migration on men of all social classes and educational backgrounds.

      I’d love for somebody to do a similar study about female identity. We are supposed to believe that migration is always amazing for women but that’s clearly crap. It’s hard for academics not to project. They feel great about their choice to move around and can’t understand that it’s not the same for everybody.

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      1. “migration makes men from sexist cultures more sexist”

        New flash: Scholar discovers what anyone paying attention noticed years and years and years ago…

        “We are supposed to believe that migration is always amazing for women but that’s clearly crap”

        Very true… my first thought (working hypothesis) might be that migration exaggerates culturally specific dysfunctional stereotypical behavior for women… (partly from the home country and partly from the new country)

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      2. // We are supposed to believe that migration is always amazing for women

        What?! And what is meant by migration?

        The most recent case in Israeli press:

        “Israel has begun rounding up scores of Filipina workers and their Israel-born children for deportation, prompting large-scale protests outside the prime minister’s residence and at the country’s Ben Gurion Airport.”
        https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20190725-israel-begins-deportation-of-filipina-workers-children/

        And:

        “African migrant families battle hunger in Israel”
        https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20181108-african-migrant-families-battle-hunger-in-israel/

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        1. There are a few third-world feminists who aren’t trying to make a career in the West who are talking about trafficking, reproductive exploitation, female worker exploitation, etc. But nobody cares. Migration is supposed to be super feminist.

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          1. “female worker exploitation”

            It seems, without having any of the qualifications needed to tell for sure, that the Philippines’ only real competitive product is low skilled (and/or low prestige) female labor whether cleaning ladies in Hong Kong, or “au pairs” in a lot of Europe (actually underpaid maids in households with no children) and a variety of other jobs.
            It doesn’t have the news appeal of pure sex trafficking (though I’m sure that happens too) but I can’t imagine how a country exporting so many women can function in the long term…
            But migration is cooool and the only answers anyone wants are about making the process safer in ways so that ever more Filipinas can join the foreign labor force (and be exploited in ever newer and more disguised forms).
            I think there needs to be an operation to somehow trick Trump into saying unpleasant things about Filipinas so that liberals can pretend to cae…

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            1. Of course, it just so happens that the western feminists who sing praises to migration are precisely in the social class that employs these Filipina women. A total coincidence, I’m sure.

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  1. A thought about racism and parenting:

    I taught my black kids that their elite upbringing would protect them from dis
    crimination. I was wrong.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/11/06/i-taught-my-black-kids-that-their-elite-upbringing-would-protect-them-from-discrimination-i-was-wrong/

    I read this article and wondered whether something could be done by parents to prevent their 15-year-old son’s traumatic reaction, reaching even to refusing to visit a library and feeling “both vulnerable and resentful whenever he is required to walk unaccompanied.”

    In my childhood, a woman at the local market used an anti-Jewish slur against my grandmother. I was with her then and still remember the scene, but it didn’t lead to me refusing to walk alone or even thinking about this option. (I do not look Jewish, but my relatives do and they walked alone , naturally.)

    What should the parents have done? And where does the line pass between encountering a few lowlifes and living in a society whose mainstream is racist / antisemitic?

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    1. The whole point of the interminable piece is to repeat “white men, white men, white men” as many times as possible. Given that there is nothing gender-related about the described incident, I have to conclude that much of the story is fake. A teenager who gets sullen, withdrawn and wants to sulk in his room instead of going to the library? That’s pretty much every teenager in existence.

      This Богатые тоже плачут in the most shameless format possible.

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