Tag Archives: Consciousness-Raising

A Letter to the Editor

24 Feb

 One important function of men’s anti-sexist groups is to stand up as examples, showing people that what we tend to think of as “women’s issues” are really social problems which affect all of us. Simply by existing, you give other men the opportunity to see these issues as things that affect them and that they can do something about, and simultaneously show women that they have allies and support among men.

But this only works if people see you and know about you! So, this month’s anti-sexist men’s group project is a way of letting more people see that you exist and are taking a stand: writing an opinion editorial or a “letter to the editor” of a newspaper or online news website. If you are a grassroots group, a local or regional newspaper might be a good fit; if you are a campus group, most campuses have a student newspaper, and they usually love to get materials from other students. Most papers in print explain their “letters to the editor” policies in each issue, and give you information on how to submit letters. If nothing local seems like a good fit, many communities have online media/news outlets—or if you’re very ambitious and feel qualified, you could try writing to a national newspaper or website.

This project is a nice way to get your group’s name out and publicize your stance on issues of sexism, sexual and relationship violence, or gender inequality more broadly. By making a public statement of your group’s position and anti-sexist commitments, you hold yourselves accountable to live up to your words, and inspire others to consider them as well. A letter to the editor can also be a good thing to keep in mind for the future, as a way of responding to something sexist or victim-blaming that a newspaper publishes or a public figure says, addressing something happening in current events, or drawing attention to a problem you want your community to address (which can be as specific as lack of lighting in a dangerous area or as broad as the continuing high statistics on domestic violence or sexual assault). When something comes up in your community, be ready to take a stand and write a letter to respond to it. If you’ve published in a paper before, that relationship may help you be published again when your voices are needed; even if not, you have the advantage of bringing a “fresh” take to an issue, because editors love a “man bites dog” story, and unfortunately that is still how men’s anti-sexist efforts are understood.

 

Benefits:

  • Shows lots of people that what we tend to think of as “women’s issues” are really social problems which concern all of us, and which men can get involved in changing.

  • Relatively quick and easy to put together (especially if you can avoid infighting over small details in the writing: remember, you are all on the same team, and if you can’t agree on a small point, you can write around it to get to the parts you do agree about).

  • Can be a really good way for your group members to get to know each other better, think through and discuss issues of sexism in a concrete and purposeful way, and work together on a concrete project. This may also include doing more research on an issue, and thus learning more about it yourselves.

  • Publicizes your group more widely and can help bring in members (if you include information about your group and invite people to join).

Examples:

How to Write a Letter to the Editor:

After you write the letter, proofread it and send it in quickly, before the timeliness of it fades. Follow up with a phone call the next day if you haven’t heard from the paper, and use it as an opportunity to advocate for your letter’s publication. If you get published, make sure to tell your friends to read the paper that day, save a clipping for your group’s records, and post a link or scan of your letter below!

 

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#BeThatGuy: 7+ Everyday Ways Men Can Transform Masculinity

20 Jan

Written by Jamie Utt and originally published on Everyday Feminism.  Re-published here with their permission.

Source: Men Stopping Violence

Source: Men Stopping Violence

I recently wrote a piece on my personal blog that highlighted seven men who are transforming masculinity, and I was blown away by how well it resonated.

It shattered all of my daily hit totals and is still bringing in a strong number of people to the blog on a daily basis.

In reflecting on the post, I realized that it was so popular because it touched on an unfilled need.

We need more resources that teach men how to transform masculinity to make it more responsive, less violent, and more inclusive of the tremendous diversity of masculinities that can exist. Continue reading

2013 in Anti-Feminism: FoxNews to Women: “To Prevent Rape, Just Shoot Men.”

6 Jan

Today I want to go back to a ‘debate’ on Fox News from early 2013, in which feminist writer Zerlina Maxwell raised the issue of how to involve men in the prevention of sexual violence by arguing that rape can be prevented if men learn not to rape. This idea, however, was shot down (no pun intended) immediately by Fox News host Sean Hannity as an unrealistic liberal pipe dream. Rather, Hannity and Gayle Trotter of the ‘Independent Women’s Forum’ – a conservative think tank – argued that the right to carry concealed weapons is what can protect women from being raped. Although clearly being an attempt to intervene in the gun control debate by these conservative thinkers, their arguments reveal some of the underlying assumptions about sexualized violence and masculinities in mainstream discourse – assumptions that are in strong conflict with findings from research.

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Educate Yourself!

11 Dec

If you are a man or a men’s group working for gender justice, you are trying to be effective allies, and as Mia Mckenzie and Jamie Utt point out, two of the most important parts of allyship are education and accountability. Moreover, without enough self-education first (and during, and after), accountability usually creates more work for marginalized people, rather than helping them. That is why I am being very intentional about making self-education the first men’s group activity I post about.

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Lessons for the Development of Allies

4 Dec
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Source: Wikimedia Commons

There is a great deal of debate in feminist circles regarding the role of men in the feminist movement.  Should men be leading feminist organizations?  Where should organizations seeking to engage men and boys in gender equity work draw their funding?  Should men’s organizations even exist or should men only engage with feminism within the context of women-led organizations?  In the end, much of this debate centers on the question of what the perfect male ally to the feminist movement should look like.  But, before we get to the question of what that man would look like, or if such a thing is even possible, perhaps we should talk about how male “allies” to the feminist movement come to exist in the first place.***

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Men’s Group Projects: an introduction

13 Nov

As an introduction to my future posts here at Masculinities 101, this post will be a little different from most of what you see on activist and academic blogs.  I am not thinking of my contributions as a blog, so much as an attempt at solving one specific problem. I have been researching men’s feminist activism for about ten years now. I have been involved in such activism for even longer (the picture is me with NOMAS Boston in 2006). I keep running into one major, and easily remedied, concern for the groups I work with, research, and read about. My posts on this blog will be a small and humble attempt to fix that problem, and I want to start by telling a story.

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