Jekyll and Hyde: men's constructions of Feminism and Feminists

Edley, Nigel and Wetherell, Margaret (2001). Jekyll and Hyde: men's constructions of Feminism and Feminists. Feminism & Psychology, 11(4) pp. 439–457.



Research and commentary on men's responses to feminism have demonstrated the range of ways in which men have mobilized both for and against feminist principles. This article argues that further analyses of men's responses require a sophisticated theory of discourse acknowledging the fragmented and contradictory nature of representation. A corpus of men's talk on feminism and feminists was studied to identify the pervasive patterns in men's accounting and regularities in rhetorical organization. Material from two samples of men was included: a sample of white, middle-class 17-18-year-old school students and a sample of 60 interviews with a more diverse sample of older men aged 20 to 64. Two interpretative repertoires of feminism and feminists were identified. These set up a `Jekyll and Hyde' binary and positioned feminism along with feminists very differently as reasonable versus extreme and monstrous. Both repertoires tended to be deployed together and the article explores the ideological and interactional consequences of typical deployments along with the identity work accomplished by the men as they positioned themselves in tandem with these.

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