Kenneth Reinicke: "I have insisted on examining the difficult aspects of men's behaviour"

A PhD on the Italian feminist movement led Kenneth Reinicke into gender studies, where he has established himself as one of Denmark's foremost researchers on men and masculinity. It is both a privilege and a challenge to work in a field where many people have opinions but fewer have respect for knowledge and data, he says here.
Lektor Kenneth Reinicke

What are you researching and why did you choose this particular field?

- My research includes what you might call the controversial aspects of masculinity and men's lives. This year it is actually 20 years since I published my first book, and I am probably one of the Danish researchers who have written most on topics such as violence, rape, prostitution and sexual harassment.

- I think it's insanely interesting that men have in many ways been an invisible gender. This may sound silly, as men are visible in society in all sorts of ways, but we have been lacking a focus on men as a social gender, that is, a look at the social and cultural norms that underpin men's lives. Not only the controversial aspects, but also the areas where men pay the price for their masculinity: Why do men live shorter lives than women, why are they in prison more, why do they have a harder time when getting divorced or retiring, and so on? This invisibility has always concerned me.

Where do you feel you have made the biggest difference with your research?

- Perhaps my greatest achievement is to stick to calling myself a researcher into men. When I published my first book in 2002, one reviewer wrote that I was committing self-flagellation on behalf of Danish men. I have insisted on examining and debating the difficult aspects of men's behaviour and persisted in doing so, even when some people thought I was an idiot. And I believe and hope that I have helped to make men visible as a gender, and make it easier for them to talk about the difficult things. The MeToo movement has made that conversation much easier, but I still think men lack safe spaces, where they want to have that honest conversation. Often it is not considered masculine to talk about masculinity in an honest way.

RUC baggrundsgrafik

"I like that the project work motivates the students to collect empirical data themselves, instead of just talking theory and listening to people like me."

About Kenneth Reinicke

  • Researcher on masculinity and men's lives. For the past four years he has been researching MeToo, focusing on men's perspectives, and has just published his first book in English, based on interviews with 25 Danish men about MeToo.
  • He is originally a graduate in geography from RUC, but he became interested in gender studies at an early stage. He wrote his PhD thesis on the Italian feminist movement.
  • He lives in Vesterbro and has three children.