January 24, 2008
Rwanda: 2,700 Rape Cases Reported Last Year
By Florence Mutesi
The New Times - Rwanda's First Daily
Sent by Fidele Rutayisire, Chairman, Rwanda Men's Resource Centre (RWAMREC)
CRIME - Rape and defilement are among the highest crimes in Rwanda, with a reported 2,703 cases in 2007, CID Director, Chief Superintendent Costa Habyara has said.
"The crime might seem to be on the increase, but actually it is because people have broken the stigma and now many report the cases to police," Habyara said during a press conference at Police Headquarters in Kacyiru on Tuesday.
The meeting held on Tuesday to address journalists on achievements and challenges of the National Police in 2007 was attended by Robert Niyonshuti, head of traffic police, Felix Namuhoranye, Chief Superintendent and inspector of inspection, Pierre Tebuka, Inspector of police and the Police Spokesman, Marcel Willy Higiro.
Habyara said that sensitization against the crime made people bold and able to report the cases. Many were victims of rape but they used to keep quite because it was like a disgrace to fall a victim, he said.
He said there was hope that the crime would continue to reduce, saying that the number in 2006 was higher, at 2746.
Ninety percent of the sexual crimes were defilement cases, while ten percent was rape. Habyara said that the reports include victims of early marriages. Some of the victims of underage marriages were forced into it while others did so willingly.
"Early marriages used to be normal for families and victims, so it is not all that easy to fight it. At times girls are not willing to leave their men," he said.
Felix Namuhoranye said that Inspection service of police would improve services and make every police person answerable. The service handles and settles complaints brought against the police.
"It is a mechanism to ensure professional ethics," Namuhoranye said.
He said that it makes certain that neither the police nor the population is treated unfairly. He added that in their strategic plans, they hope to work more with the population because they believe they are not perfect. He said they would continue with sensitization and their key stakeholder in this is the media.
May 02, 2007
"It's Men's Attitude, Stupid!" an essay by Byron Hurt
April 24, 2007
As a response to the Don Imus fallout surrounding his racist and sexist rant hurled at the blameless Rutgers University women’s basketball team – and to the dramatic shift and intense media glare on hip-hop’s sexism and misogyny – Russell Simmons and Dr. Benjamin Chavis Muhammad, leaders of the New York-based Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, bowed under mounting criticism and pressure, and announced this week that they will make a strong push to have the words “nigger,” “bitch,” and “ho” bleeped on mainstream public radio stations nationwide.
That is not enough.
As an anti-sexist activist, pro-feminist African-American male, I have had the unique and interesting experience of rolling up my sleeves and working with thousands of boys and men in the United States around sexism, men’s violence against women, and homophobia. I have worked with boys and men across race, education, and class lines, and I know how deep and complex these issues are. In my lectures and workshops, I acknowledge my own past as someone who was sexist, and who, as a heterosexual man, behaved badly with women. I am also very candid about how I still grapple with certain gender issues that to this day confuse me. I challenge guys to speak out about sexism, and inspire men to join in the effort to end men’s physical, emotional, and sexual violence against women. I show men how all of these issues hurt men as well as women.
Over the past 14 years years, I have been in the belly of the beast delivering this message. I’ve been in locker rooms with male athletes, on U.S. Marine Corps bases with young Marines, on-campus with black and white fraternity members, and in closed-door sessions with men in positions of authority at colleges and universities. I have also addressed, to a lesser degree, men in law enforcement, and batterers in court mandated battering intervention programs.
My current mission is to engage young men from the hip-hop generation – men who, it seems, are today’s lone scapegoats for centuries-old patriarchy, sexism and misogyny. Let the truth be told, hip-hop’s misogyny is indefensible and must be confronted. But hip-hop is surely not the only place where boys and men are informed about girls and women. From the recent Supreme Court decision to ban partial birth abortion, to “men’s interests” magazine covers donning scantily clad female celebs, to hard and soft-core pornograghy that subjugate women – men are bombarded daily with messages about gender. Even as a woman, Senator Hillary Clinton, mounts a formidable campaign to become the first female president of the United States, the messages about gender in popular culture are clear – men rule the world, and women are sex objects, bitches and ho’s.
Hip-hop’s sexism is only a piece of a much larger puzzle.
I am a hip-hop fan. At 37 years old, hip-hop music has been the soundtrack of a huge chunk of my life. But as I learned more about gender issues as an original member of Northeastern University’s Mentors in Violence Prevention Program, I began to question hip-hop’s ever-present macho themes and images. I grew up with hip-hop, but hip-hop did not grow up with me. I became so weary of hip-hop’s testosterone that, in 2000, I decided to do something about it. Over a period of six years, I directed and produced Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes, an award-winning PBS documentary film about violence, sexism, and homophobia. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to standing ovations in 2006, and won best documentary at the San Francisco Black Film Festival.
The film is getting around. It is being shown on college campuses from Howard University to Harvard University. And last month, Firelight Media launched a year-long community engagement campaign to use the film as a media literacy tool in communities across the country. National and local community partners include: A Call to Men, Mothers Day Radio, YWCA–Racial Justice Project, Gender PAC, Youth Movement Records, Reflect Connect Move, HOTGIRLS, Inc., Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, Center for Family Policy and Practice, and The P.E.A.C.E. Initiative. Additional events are planned in collaboration with this year’s Essence Music Festival, the Congressional Black Caucus, Rikers Island, and the Open Society Institute. The goal is to help young people, using hip-hop as a catalyst for discussion, think critically about the myriad gender issues in hip-hop specifically, and in the larger American culture in general.
The Ford Foundation has also pitched in providing resources for a Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes Historically Black College Tour to further conversations about the gender politics of Hip-Hop culture on black college campuses.
For several years now, the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network has done some great work for the hip-hop community. Through a series of national workshops, panels, and seminars called “Hip-Hop Summits” Simmons and Muhammad have helped register thousands of young people to vote, have confronted the unjust Rockerfeller Drug Laws, which disproportionately sentences black and brown men for non-violent drug offenses, and they do much to educate aspiring artists and businessmen before they enter the music industry. As hip-hop entrepreneurs, they do much to give back.
But Simmons and Muhammad’s action plan to have radio stations bleep the words “bitch” and “ho” on public airwaves is at best, a Band-Aid solution for a much larger problem. As Jackson Katz, author of The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help, says “… if men's violence against women truly carried a significant stigma in male culture, it is possible that most incidents of sexist abuse would never happen." I agree. Men who are not sexist need to send the message to other men that sexism and misogyny is not cool.
As men, we are woefully uneducated about gender issues. Many of us, with some exceptions, have never had a serious conversation about sexism. For decades, women all over the country have led the charge to eliminate men’s sexism and violence. But largely due to male privilege and sexism, men across racial lines have not listened. We posture, we resist, and we call it male bashing. I know, because I was once one such man. As Don Imus did so cunningly in the week after his transgression, we deflect and push blame onto someone else. In Imus’ case, hip-hop, whose face is largely black and male, was the convenient bogeyman. As men, we all need to acknowledge our sexism and take responsibility for our actions, and then work hard to change. Men are conditioned to be sexist, and we can be conditioned to become anti-sexist with education and leadership.
If Russell Simmons and Benjamin Muhammad really want to confront sexism in hip-hop, they have to begin by using their leadership, money, and status to educate the hip-hop community about the roots of sexism, and what we can do to change it. As hip-hop executives, they must own up to their own sexist attitudes and behaviors, and then, firmly reject sexism in hip-hop culture beyond bleeping offensive words. He must ask his cronies in positions of power and influence in the industry to do the same.
If the lyrics are to change, then the sexist attitudes that live on the edge of male rappers’ tongues, must change. That is going to take real work over a long period of time. Bleeping sexist words just won’t cut it.
Simmons and Muhammad must mount a campaign using artists with credibility, heart, and a strong desire for gender equality (that combination will be hard to find - but is possible) to send the message to all men that sexism and violence against women is – in hip-hop parlance – wack. I challenge Simmons and Muhammad to put their money where their mouth is and use their national “Hip-Hop Summit” tour to address hip-hop’s sexism and misogyny in a real and meaningful way. I dare Simmons and Muhammad to organize panel discussions with hip-hop feminists like Joan Morgan, Tricia Rose, Aishah Durham, Elizabeth Mendez-Berry, Carla Stokes, Rosa Clemente, Tracey Sharpley-Whiting, Monifa Bandele, April Silver and others, who have for years, railed against hip-hop’s sexism. Put them on the same dais with hip-hop executives and artists. Bring in some of the countries most skilled and experienced anti-sexist male activists to roll up their sleeves and work with male rappers and hip-hop heads. Conduct workshops and training sessions led by men like myself, Quentin Walcott, Don MacPherson, Ted Bunch, Antonio Arrendel, Tony Porter, Kevin Powell, Bikari Kitwana, Mark Anthony Neal, Asere Bello, Tim’m West, Juba Kalamka, and other profeminist men who love hip-hop, but who do not accept its hyper aggression, sexism, and homophobia. Make a real commitment to ending sexism and misogyny in hip-hop, not a paper-thin, disingenuous, and contrived public relations charade.
Not all men are sexist. Not all men in hip-hop are sexist. Not all rappers are sexist. Like me, many men within the hip-hop generation reject the macho and sexist manifestos contained in hip-hop lyrics and in music videos. When men with credibility, status, and a love for hip-hop stand up publicly to denounce sexism with conviction, it gives other men, good men, the space to do the same.
# # #
Byron Hurt, is an anti-sexist activist, writer, college lecturer, and a filmmaker. His documentary “Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes” premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, and aired nationally on PBS’ Emmy award-winning series, Independent Lens. Byron is married and currently lives in Plainfield, NJ. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His website is www.bhurt.com.
March 19, 2007
Yesterday's Men: Lost opportunities in ending violence against women
By Bruce Wood
Our dried voices, when We whisper together Are quiet and meaningless As wind in dry grass T.S. Eliot, “The Hollow Men”
Tower In spite of more than 30 years of intervention and education strategies designed to end violence against women by their male partners, such violence remains as prevalent as ever. It is high time we took stock of our strategies and our assumptions to determine what is and is not working—and what more can be done.
FOR GENERATIONS, WOMEN have been speaking out individually and collectively to end gender-based violence, though Canadian society as a whole only started to engage publicly with the problem in the late 1960s and 1970s.
Lenore Walker’s now classic The Battered Woman (1979), which followed Erin Pizzey’s groundbreaking Scream Quietly or the Neighbors Will Hear (1974),were among the first widely read books to expose the scope, dynamics, effects and origins of this worldwide problem. These works, among others, forced the long suppressed issue of gender-based violence into broad public exposure and discussion.
Relying solely on statistics from American police departments and women’s shelters, Walker estimated that in North America one out of every ten adult women was, or would become, a victim of violence by their husbands or partners. Later research, however, would confirm that millions of women who are assaulted never report the abuse to the police or seek safety at a women’s shelter, demonstrating the unreliability of official statistics in estimating total rates of abuse. Those of us working in the field at the time estimated that three or four out of every ten women were victims of domestic violence, with the risks even greater among Canada’s First Nations women.
While so much more could have and should have been done at that time, Canadians at least began to develop programs of support, advocacy, education and intervention for women and children. Since the 1970s we have seen attitudes gradually shift from ignorance and quiet tolerance to awareness and disapprobation (although, admittedly, we are still subjected to a constant barrage of media representations of men as violent, and violence as a valid and normal response to adversity).
Nationwide, we now have at least 470 publicly supported shelters for abused women and children, and the number of these shelters is growing, even in spite of dramatic funding cutbacks in some provinces. There are hundreds of education and counseling programs for children who have witnessed violence in the home. Millions of dollars in public funds are dedicated to research and public education programs on violence against women each year. There are a number of programs delivered through our schools to boys and girls promoting respectful, healthy relationships. And there are 205 treatment programs for men who have been convicted of assaulting their partners or who voluntarily seek assistance for abusive behaviour—though this number has shrunk in recent years as a result of funding cutbacks in Ontario and BC. However, the number of men charged and incarcerated for assaulting their partners, uttering threats, and breaching conditions of peace bonds and restraining orders has grown exponentially despite our growing societal disapprobation for violence against women.
The incidence of violence against women by men has not been reduced in any considerable way in the past few decades. The Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics estimates that the frequency of violence against women remains at approximately three out of every ten. It is well past time we took stock of our strategies and the assumptions that have informed those strategies for the last 30 years.
Violence against women will not end while we ignore a whole generation of our brothers, co-workers and friends.
Conversations with other men
I REMEMBER TAKING PART IN CONFERENCES and small working group discussions in the late 1970s in which women (as well as men, though in smaller numbers) came together to discuss ending violence against women. We all agreed on the need for shelters, advocacy and education for women and education and support for children who witnessed violence. There was lots of talk about how to break the generational cycle of abuse through focusing energy and resources on ensuring that the next generation of men was more respectful of women and that the next generation of women did not expect or accept abuse as a “normal” part of a heterosexual relationship.
When it came to educating adult men outside of compulsory treatment programs, however, there was silence. Some among us even went so far as to suggest that things could only get better as the current generation of men “quietly died off.” We would need to provide criminal prosecution and jails for men who were convicted of assaulting women, but public funds and energies should not otherwise go to waste on adult men.
The result has been an almost total absence of education work with the vast majority of adult men. There have been no significant efforts to enlist the active support of the millions of Canadian men who are not violent or abusive in speaking out against violence against women. The only major exceptions to this have been the White Ribbon Campaign (which is now focused on younger men and youth) and some sensational television and newspaper ads that have relied on shaming abusers as the primary motivator for change—an unreliable and generally ineffective approach.
I would suggest that this unwillingness to support and deliver comprehensive education for adult men in their workplaces, trade unions, political parties, business groups, service clubs, religious places, sports and recreation organizations and professional development forums is a significant contributing factor in our failure to reduce the rate of violence against women by men.
Those men who, like myself, have proudly declared ourselves “pro-feminist” or allies with women should be held particularly accountable for refusing to see that violence against women will not end while we ignore a whole generation of our brothers, co-workers and friends. Instead, pro-feminist men have spent more time publicly condemning other men’s attitudes and behaviours than engaging with and animating that large body of men who might well be natural allies in ending domestic violence. We certainly have enjoyed the celebrity status we receive in the media and the congratulatory support of some feminists, but we have done little to establish links with other men who may not share our gender politics.
When we have attempted to dialogue with these men, the interactions have been less than successful and we have been quick to write these experiences off as demonstrating how “deeply socialized” most men are and how stubbornly they refuse to examine their privilege and power. With men of colour, particularly First Nations men, our generalizations about men and power have demonstrated a lack of sensitivity and a failure to understand the intersecting oppressions of class, race, and gender.
Consequently, heterosexual men seeking connection with and support from other men have proven easy targets for groups like the Promise Keepers (a Conservative Christian men’s organization), men’s rights groups and centres, “fathers’ rights” organizations, and various other reactionary men’s groups. Men who sought support in these groups could feel like they belonged and were welcomed because they were not spoken to condescendingly or reproachfully. Indeed, such groups often play on the language of victimhood, encouraging men to reassert their “rightful” place at the top of the hierarchy.
The result is that for almost 30 years now, pro-feminist men and their organizations have squandered the opportunity presented by feminist analyses of male violence, gender inequality and gender stereotyping to work with other men for progressive change and real gender equality.
Is it possible that our palpable disdain for “non pro-feminist” men (perhaps stemming from our fear of them or even our fear of being too much like them) may have stood in the way of establishing productive and positive connections with them? “Surely we cannot be like them?” we thought. Many pro-feminist men were particularly offended when the late Andrea Dworkin suggested that “all men are capable of rape.” Could Dworkin not see that we were different from them?
In 2000 I wrote an article for the Globe and Mail in which I suggested that one of the most important things I had learned in over 20 years of working on issues of male violence was how similar I was in my thoughts, attitudes and socialization to the men with whom I worked. This shared learning experience about what it means to be a man and how our identity as men affects our relationships with women should always have been our starting point in working with adult men.
Instead, our failure to take up this work has contributed to the lack of progress in reducing the incidence of violence against women. An additional and alarming consequence of this failure is evidenced in the increase in dating violence by young males. The hope that we could create “better men” in isolation from their fathers, uncles and grandfathers has been misguided. We must challenge the assumption that men can’t change or won’t let go of privilege. Pro-feminist men in particular must let go of the arrogant attitude that we are somehow different from other men who fit the gender stereotype we struggle against.
Without the voices of adult men speaking both publicly and privately against violence against women, without adult men demonstrating in their day-to-day lives equal and respectful relationships with women, and without clear challenges by adult men to the objectification of women and girls in the media and in our daily interactions, we will not see the boys of today improve upon the attitudes and behaviours of the men of yesterday.
We must challenge the assumption that men can’t change or won’t let go of privilege.
The trouble with corks
THANKS TO THE VOICES OF CANADIANS like Todd Augusta Scott, Dale Trimble and Harry Stefanakis, those who work in Canada’s treatment programs for abusive men have recently started to reconsider the finger-pointing, shaming and blaming approach to encouraging change. Shaming, they argue, does not allow for anything but the most surface of changes. The metaphor often used for this approach is “corking a bottle”: if one corks a bottle successfully the contents will not come out—but the pressure may continue to build. What we hope for, rather, is real change that empties the bottle or refills it with something healthier and safer for everyone.
Probably the most dramatic consequence of this mistaken approach is the number of men who have completed treatment programs and have taken their own lives months or years later. (In my Globe article I described six such suicides of men with whom I had worked personally.) Sadly, after these suicide completions I have sometimes heard the comment, “well at least he didn’t hurt anyone else this time.”
Since the late 1970s, several hundred thousand men have completed the standard psycho-educational feminist-informed treatment programs in community settings and correctional environments. Many of those men have learned successfully to stop using violence against their intimate partners. Yet almost none of these men have subsequently raised their voices in public opposition to domestic violence. Remarkably, few have felt sufficiently engaged to become advocates and peer support counselors. Some might suggest—and I am one of those—that this is representative of our approach with all men. Stern lecturing and shaming may bring about behaviour change but it will not encourage a deeper reconsideration of learned attitudes and thoughts or motivate past offenders to speak out about violence.
Thankfully, these practices are gradually being replaced by models which continue to hold men accountable but offer respect throughout the process of change. Two recent findings give me hope that this sort of shift in how we work with and talk to men can significantly reduce the incidence of violence against women.
The first is from our growing body of knowledge in intervening with bullying in school environments. Canada’s Debra Peplar and Wendy Craig have demonstrated that the single most effective intervention in ending bullying comes from the peers of the bully—not from school officials, parents or police. When a peer intervenes appropriately (not abusively) the bullying incident will almost always end within seconds.
The second example comes from the very work that we counselors, therapists and educators have been doing in treatment programs for men who are violent to their partners or spouses. Since the 1980s these programs have been subjected to some fairly intense scrutiny to justify their public funding. Over and over again the research and follow-up studies with men who have completed these programs and their current or future partners indicate a dramatic reduction in physical violence and a significant reduction in verbal and psychological abuse.
The programs studied have been extremely diverse in approach, length, philosophy, and relationship to the criminal justice system. They include research on psycho-educational groups in Scotland, feminist-informed education groups in the United States, and narrative therapy groups in British Columbia. They all, however, share one common feature: they provide a space for men to come together to talk, learn, and challenge one another. I believe that this “peer intervention” model is the reason for their success.
The power of voices from a shared experience or shared background to influence, provoke questioning and motivate change has been demonstrated to be effective elsewhere. Surely we have good reason to believe we can learn from and expand upon these successes by expanding our education and outreach efforts to include men—even, and perhaps especially, men with a history of violence.
With great respect for how far the feminist movements have brought us, and with due recognition for the leadership of women in moving all of us to re-examine our gender roles, it is time to acknowledge where mistakes have been made. It is time for men to start talking with men.
Bruce Wood is the Executive Director of the Saskatoon Men’s Centre and the author of two books on male violence: A Change of Seasons (1994) and Moving Towards the Light (2000).
July 05, 2006
The Weaker Sex?
Jill from Feministe writes:
I have to admit, this article made me shake my head, if only because it’s a nice reversal of centuries of “medical fact” which proved that women are weak and naturally inferior to men. The difference, of course, is that those misconstrued “facts” were (and still are) used to justify and reinstate oppression and misogyny, where as I doubt anyone will use this to explain why men shouldn’t be in positions of power.
The rest of the article was largely apologist BS....
Here's an excerpt from the NYTimes article:
Even when a boy manages to be born, he’s still behind the survival eight ball: he is three to four times more likely than girls to have developmental disorders like autism and dyslexia; girls learn language earlier, develop richer vocabularies and even hear better than boys. Girls demonstrate insight and judgment earlier in adolescence than boys, who are more impulsive and take more risks than their sisters. Teenage boys are more likely to commit suicide than girls and are more likely to die violent deaths before adulthood.
June 28, 2006
More thought-provoking discussion on Bare Chests and Privilege from feminist blogger, Hugo Schwyzer.
June 12, 2006
The "Fear of Faggotry"
Hugo Schwyzer has an interesting post dealing with "the fear of faggotry": a heterosexual man/boy's fear of being called "gay" or "fag". Hugo gives a personal account of growing up and his response to being called "gay" - a, sadly, typical story. But he also explores the same type of incidents as an adult pro-feminist male and the choices that need to be made:
As an adult, heterosexual, pro-feminist man, I don't spend time trying to disprove the charge of homosexuality. After all, to do so would suggest that I thought there was something fundamentally wrong with being homosexual. Young men who aspire to do pro-feminist work had better get over any internalized homophobia lickety-split! Running around saying "Look at me, I"M NOT GAY!!!" is not only unlikely to impress anyone, it also indicates a profound discomfort with the whole notion of diverse sexualities. If being called "fag" or "gay" makes you quake in your boots, my friend, you still have a considerable amount of work to do. I don't say that to be unkind or insensitive, but to be brutally honest. One of the litmus tests for whether or not a man is ready and willing to live as a pro-feminist is how he responds to the nearly-certain anti-gay slurs that will be thrown his way. If he reacts with frantic defensiveness (as I did in eighth grade), then it's evidence he's got a ways to go on his journey.
via Hugo Schwyzer - A Long Post On Pro-Feminist Men And The "Fear Of Faggotry"
June 08, 2006
Male Privilege Checklist
Ampersand over at Alas, A Blog (twice in one week!) wrote a fantastic male privilege checklist based on Peggy McIntosh's White Privilege checklist. Then she responds to some of the feedback it generated. Good stuff:
via Alas, A Blog - Men Are Much Less Likely To Be Victims of Rape
via Alas, A Blog - In Defense of Generalizations and "Petty" Complaints
via Alas, A Blog - Male Privilege Checklist: Car Sale, Harrassment, House-cleaning, and Weight
May 11, 2006
Some Anti-Pornography Resources
Luke over at Real Men Are Not gives us some great resources on "pornography, anti-pornography media, pro-porn media, feminist politics concerning pornography etc". Worth checking out...
via Real Men Are Not - Pornography
April 25, 2006
Are Women Human?
Catharine MacKinnon, a fiery figure in feminism, has a new book out called Are Women Human?. The article below is an interview with MacKinnon, and give a portrayal of her new book, her place in feminist history, and how her ideas have been received over the years.
via The Guardian - Are Women Human?
April 18, 2006
Fantasy and Masturbation
As you can tell, if you read the Uncommon Man regularly, I like Hugo Schwyzer's blog. Here is another example why: below is a post in which he tries to reconcile, for himself, his feminist and spiritual beliefs around the issue of fantasy and masturbation - two topics that don't get a lot of discussion in feminist circles. To the point, Hugo responds to this question:
Why is it wrong for men to purchase, view, and masturbate to pornography, but not wrong for those same men to masturbate to demeaning fantasies of women in their heads? If we aren't just objecting to the industry of porn, but also to the way in which men and women objectify each other, shouldn't we consider also consider the ethics of masturbation?
via Hugo Schwyzer - Some Very Long Thoughts On Fantasy and Masturbation
April 13, 2006
Lefty Celebrity Men - Still Sexist
You can file this under "saying it and being it are too different things" (which links this post, in some ways, to the post on the 11th. "Lefty" celebrities may be able to speak-out publicly about liberal issues, but it doesn't mean that they completely "get it".
via Alas, A Blog - Lefty Men Can Still Be Full of Macho Sexist Shit
March 30, 2006
The Stride of the Anti-patriarchal Movement
The post below at Darkdaughta is a passionate and engaging piece by a feminist looking at the sad and harmful effects of patriarchy on men. She speaks particularly about the lack of a "real" men's movement against patriarchy like the feminist movement for women:
Then I thought about men and realized with sadness that they had not had even one giant, worldwide movement that invited them to redefine their relationships to patriarchy, themselves as men, their relationships to each other, to children, to wimmin. There has been no collective, gathered, centralize production of any bodies of thought, theory, writing, culture that offered opportunities for them to revolutionize their ways of being. Nada, zilch, bubcuss.
via Darkdaughta - Anti-patriarchal Movement Yet To Find Its Stride
March 29, 2006
Pro-Feminst Men and Pornography
Hugo Schwyzer, over at his blog, has an interesting post about pro-feminist men and the use of pornography. I agree with his claim that there is little discussion in the pro-feminist blogosphere (and in larger pro-feminist circles, in my view) about pro-feminist men's relationship with porn (especially on-line porn and strip clubs). He points out that there are resources for men to stop the compulsion of viewing pornography, but they are mostly focused around religious men (like the Promise-Keepers). There are little resources or places for discussion and support for non-religious men to examine their relationship to pornography. A great post on a controversial and mostly-hidden topic.
via Hugo Schwyzer - Another Really Long One on Pro-Feminism and the Sex Industry
March 23, 2006
Doing Anti-Sexist Work
In the work that I do, I often am asked by men who want to live a pro-feminist life: what can I do? And my response usually involves asking them to work from the ground, up: educate yourself and talk with other men who are or want to do this work. What I am not asked enough is - I am doing that, but what comes next? Hugo, in his post below, asks and then answers the type of questions that pro-feminist men (and women, too, I suppose) should be asking themselves.
via Hugo Schwyzer - A Long And Personal Meme On Anti-Sexist Work
March 16, 2006
Misogynists In The Minority
I spend alot of time on various websites - and most of those weblogs - gathering interesting posts to bring to The Uncommon Man. One of things I have found distressing is the amount of Men's Rights men who attack these site's comments sections compared to the amount of Feminist or neutral men who make comments. Sometimes it is only one or two, but other times it can be many more. The post below speaks to this phenomenon and reminds me that there are less misogynists than it seems in the world...
via Avast Feminist Conspiracy - Misogynists In My Study
March 09, 2006
Can Women Contribute to Patriarchy?
Below is a well-articulated response to the question - Can women contribute to patriarchy? http://bitingbeaver.blogspot.com/ does not have a pat answer, but does get the heart of the problem (which is the same problem with asking the question about any oppressed people):
But see, here's the problem, We do not live in a vacuum EVERYTHING we do impacts someone else...Women who act out these stereotypes also affect people around them. They affect women all over who didn't ASK to be affected by the poor behavior of other woman...This is where it becomes sticky. Do we have a right to tell the Jenna Jameson’s of the world that they are perpetuating the cycle of countless millions of women's pain because of their actions? I don't know the answer to that one, it's a moral question, not a black and white question.
via Biting Beaver - Women and Patriarchy
March 08, 2006
Blogging Against Sexism
Today has been declared Blog Against Sexism Day in the "blogosphere". This is appropriate since it is also International Women's Day. Usually the postings on Uncommon Man are small on commentary and big on pointing you to other sites with thought-provoking and informative content. Today I want to make one simple comment before turning you over to some good thinkers. Namely I want to say that the two organizations that sponsor this weblog are great models for a key aspect of ending sexism - getting men on-board to both examine their own personal roles in continuing sexism, and to speak or act out against sexism. I encourage you, if you haven't already, to take a look at these two fantastic organizations:
The Men's Resource Center for Change(website temporarily down).
Now two good places to go and read:
February 28, 2006
A Man's Job
The article below makes clear the places in the workforce where women are still being kept out, paid-less, minimized and harrassed - its in those jobs we still consider "men's jobs".
via L.A. Times - The Skinny Pink Paycheck Syndrome
February 09, 2006
Sorry about skipping a post yesterday. I was hit by one of those yucky stomach viruses via my son. I am much better today.
Andrea over at Official Shrub takes a look at the intersection of sexism and transphobia by looking at a letter to an editor in a San Francisco magazine. Very illuminating...
via Official Shrub - The Sexism of Transphobia
February 02, 2006
Earnings Gender Gap
Over at the weblog Echidne of The Snakes is an in-depth look at the gender gap in earnings. Here is a description of the three-part post:
The first post in this series gives you a concentrated summary of the economic explanations for why men earn more than women, on average, all over the world. The next post will look at actual evidence about the gender gap and how that evidence fits with the theories. The last part of the series explains why the right-wing's explanation for the gender gap in earnings is misleading and mostly incorrect.
via Echidne of The Snakes - Final Offerings
January 31, 2006
Sexual Harassment - Not A Zero-Sum Game
The always thoughtful and articulate Hugo Schwyzer has a great post below regarding the arguement that women sexually harass men as much as men sexually harass women, so resources should be gender-neutral. This discussion started with a news report on CNN concerning a study that could be misinterpreted and lead one to believe the above arguement. Hugo posted a response to this report and received a ton of comments from Men's Rights Advocates. This is his response to them:
via Hugo Schwyzer - Not A Zero-Sum Game
January 30, 2006
Sexism in Language
The Language Guy has a very interesting two-part post on the ways that lanuage reinforces sexism and is possibly a root-cause. This is more than the usual "fireman/fireperson" issue (though he does refer to this, too).
January 19, 2006
Father's Rights Manual
Over at the weblog The Countess, Trish Wilson takes a look at a father's rights manual and illustrates how hateful of women it is. Scary material that is out there for upset fathers:
via The Countess - Yet Another Fathers' Rights Manual On How To Keelhawl "The Bitch"
January 18, 2006
No Porn Pledge
The issue of pornography has been much debated in feminist circles for a while now. Recently, the struggle between anti-pornography activists and the "mainstreaming" of porn has been more apparent.
The No Porn Pledge is a joint project of the AntiPorn Activist Network, Through The Flame, and one angry girl designs. It is an attempt to gather the voices (and names) of anti-porn activists in one place.
Here is what you are pledging when you sign on:
"I will not use pornography in any format (including internet, video, magazines, strip clubs, escorts)".
"I will not knowingly enter into any intimate relationship with a person who uses pornography in any format".
January 06, 2006
The Root Of All Oppression?
Over at Alas, A Blog there is a very interesting conversation going on about the question - is sexism the root of all oppression? Here's how it started:
The best way to evaluate the way male supremacy works is by comparing the situations of men and women who are similarly situated. A rich white woman, for example, is never going to be as well off as a rich white man, because she is or was still vulnerable to rape, objectification, sexual harassment, sexual assault, incest, molestation, in ways which the rich white man is not, in ways which affect her or have affected her from the time of her birth. A homeless man on the street is still better off than a homeless woman for the same reasons. And in between these two extremes, if we look at men and women, doesn’t matter the ethnicity, class standing, age, so long as we are talking about men and women who are similarly situated, we see across the board that men fare better in this world than women do. And that’s because the world is a male supremacist world.
via Alas, A Blog - Is The Oppresion of Women The Root of All Oppression?
January 03, 2006
Pornography - A Left Issue?
Here is a very thorough response to those who say that pro-feminists who are anti-pornography are anti-sex and prudish. Gail Dines and Robert Jenson argue here that to be leftist and to be anti-pornography is to be consistent in your analysis of oppression. They make a particularly apt analogy in regards to media analysis and pornography: "pornography is to patriarchy what commercial television is to capitalism".
via ZNet - Pornography is a Left Issue
December 07, 2005
Men of Strength
This is about to be dated, but Men Can Stop Rape has been running a campaign this year, to "counter" the stories of men who perpetrate violence and abuse. One aspect of their campaign is to publish descriptions of "men of strength", or in their words:
Read the submissions from people all over the country honoring men in their life who represent a masculinity based on true respect, a sense of community and connection, and a commitment to equity.Check it out, via Men Can Stop Rape - Show Your Strength
November 08, 2005
Playboy is clearly not a bastion of feminism. In fact it is quite the opposite. But Playboy has kind of constructed itself as more "thoughtful" and sophisticated porn (though I am sure they don't use that last word). Well, a recent issue of the Journal of Popular Culture published a study of Playboy magazine over the last fifteen years. The researchers found that the text that goes with the photos has changed in tone over this time. Not that many read the text - perhaps that is why someone needed to do a study. Anyway, they found that the language has become more assertive and even aggressive. No longer are the Playboy Bunnies talking about being submissive and catering to a man's needs. Is this the effect of feminism? Are there feminist bunnies? Actually the answer is probably "yes", but I would bet anything that it is a well-thought out strategy by Playboy to cater to those buyers who feel more sophisticated and thoughtful buying Playboy than buying Hustler. In my mind, it is still about objectifying women - assertive language or not.
Below are some thoughts on the study via the Washington Post:
September 26, 2005
Sexism Harms Men's Health
I have always had the belief (and seen it play itself out) that sexism harms men, too. But the way I've seen it play out is that it keeps some men from forming truly close relationships with women, even their partners. I've seen it keep men from having truly close friendships with other men. I've seen it keep other men from being they really are - people with full emotional lives. There are myriad ways that sexism harms men. But now a study finds that sexism can be linked to men's shorter life span than woman. Is this another version of "you reap what you sow"?
via Yahoo News - Sexism May Shorten Men's Lives: Study