Tag Archives: Education

A History of Divestment in Black Men

27 Oct

The great folks at Colorlines are currently running an extensive, brilliant and insightful series on Black Men: Life Cycles of Inequity. Today’s re-post features a video on the history of divestment in Black men, and an article that explains how black men have been cut out of economic opportunity initiatives for more than a century. They were first published at Colorlines on October 22nd 2014 by Imara Jones.

6 Ways the White House Can Help Truly Keep Our Brothers

After nearly six years of de facto silence on race, the White House this year swung into the harsh world that men of color inhabit with the unveiling of its “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative.

When compared to their white peers, black men are nearly half as likely to graduate from high school; earn $6 an hour less in the labor market; are three times as likely to live in poverty and 10 times as likely to have been a victim of homicide—not to mention off-the-charts incarceration rates. This depressing data has been well documented for over a generation and is not in dispute. To describe the totality of what’s going on, Marian Wright-Edelman of the Children’s Defense Fund drops the world “school” and simply dubs it “the cradle-to-prison pipeline.”

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Women/Men: The Next Conversation

8 Oct

A couple weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending the annual Women’s Power Conference at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York. The theme of this year’s conference was “Women/Men: The Next Conversation.” Combing through the roster of speakers prior to attending, I found a handful of familiar names—Carlos Andrés Gómez, Tony Porter, Michael Kimmel, Ted Turner—but the conference’s title still left me intrigued. What exactly would we be talking about? This was a women’s leadership event, yet men were being introduced to the conversation. “Sure,” I told Masculinities 101, “I’ll write about it.”

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The International Conference on Masculinities: Engaging Men and Boys for Gender Equality. Call for Proposals

8 Sep


The International Conference on Masculinities:
Engaging Men and Boys for Gender Equality

On March 6-8, 2015, the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities (CSMM) will host the International Conference on Masculinities: Engaging Men and Boys for Gender Equality, in New York City.  The Conference is timed to immediately precede the meeting of the Commission of the Status of Women (CSW) at the United Nations,

Twenty years after the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, the CSW will hold its annual two-week meeting, March 9-27, 2015, in New York. Thousands of participants from UN agencies, NGOs and national governments will discuss the progress made towards greater gender equality over the past two decades.

Those twenty years have also witnessed unprecedented efforts to engage men around gender equality.  The CSMM conference aims to bring together more than 500 activists, practitioners, and academic researchers from around the world who are working to engage men and boys in fulfilling the Platform for Action adopted by the CSW in Beijing.  It will review the success of programs to engage men and boys, share research-in-progress, discuss new and possible policy initiatives, and chart research needs for the future.

The Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities was established at Stony Brook University (SUNY) in 2013. The Center is dedicated to interdisciplinary research on boys, men, masculinities and gender.  Its mission is to bring together researchers with practitioners and activists to develop and enhance social reform projects focusing on boys and men.

For this conference, CSMM has partnered with the American Men’s Studies Association, and the MenEngage Network, to build opportunities for dialogue, critique and inspiration across three days of presentations, panels, workshops, and trainings. The twin goals of the conference are: (1) To infuse men’s activism in support of gender justice with the rigor and insights of the most up-to-date research;  (2) to increase cooperation and ties between academic researchers who address various gender issues, and feminist activists, practitioners, and advocates.

CSMM invites all those committed to engaging boys and men in these global efforts to promote gender equality to share their ideas, programs, projects, and research.

Some basic themes of the conference will include:
– boys’ healthy development and education;
– involved fatherhood;
– balancing work and family life;
– men’s friendships;
– promoting men’s health, reducing health risks and HIV, and supporting women’s reproductive health and rights;
– joining the global struggle against men’s violence against women, sexual assault, trafficking, and harmful traditional practices;
– engaging men in policies to promote gender equality in education, employment, social life, and the political arena.

Some specific issues might include:  transforming fatherhood;  working with boys and young men;  challenges of reaching men in post-conflict settings;  preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS;  men and aging, disability, impairment, and illness;  diverse masculinities;  multi-cultural coalition building;  challenging homophobia;  understanding and preventing gang-rapes and mass-murders by boys and men;  engaging religious authorities;  boys’ education;  challenging bullying, harassment, and domestic abuse;  working with abusive & violent men;  men and child-custody issues;  campus programs for preventing sexual violence;  men in prisons;  men and the military;  men and prostitution;  gender-linked alcohol and drug abuse;  men’s depression and suicide, and other topics.

Presentations can cover research, policy, interventions, and activist work. Presentation formats may include: 3 -5 person panels, short one-person talks (with Q-&-A), workshops, films, art, poster presentations, informal roundtable discussions, music, and performances. We will accept formal academic papers but at the conference we will ask that presenters not read papers but to be more informal and interactive, within the context of language possibilities. The premium at each session will be on discussion.

The working language will be English.  Sessions completely in Spanish, French, Arabic, and Chinese may be accepted but the conference unfortunately cannot provide the resources for translation.

Conference costs will be kept low to enable widespread participation, and some limited financial support may be available to those in need, especially from the Global South.

Proposals may be submitted online (http://www.jotform.us/AMSA/CSMM_2015) and any questions about the proposal process may be directed to csmmsb2015@gmail.com.

The deadline for proposal submission is October 31st, 2014.

Please visit the Conference Website.

Race, Disability and the School-to-Prison Pipeline

11 Aug

It should not need to take the death of yet another unarmed African American man at the hands of law enforcement to remind us that looking at the intersections of race and masculinity is crucially important. Here at Masculinities 101, we have talked about the challenges face by young men of color and the flaws with policies supposedly designed for them.

Photo by Julianne Hing/Colorlines

The great folks at Colorlines are currently running an extensive, brilliant and insightful series on Black Men: Life Cycles of Inequity. Today’s post addresses the issue of implicit biases in schools. By Julianne Hing, first published at Colorlines May 13 2014.

Enikia Ford-Morthel speaks of Amo (a pseudonym) with the fondness of an auntie talking about a beloved nephew. She recalls watching Amo at his fifth-grade graduation from Cox Academy in Oakland two years ago. The memory of him walking across the stage still fills her with emotion. “He looked so cute in his little white suit, with his jewelry on,” Ford-Morthel says of his graduation. “I just cried.”

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Volunteer and Internship Opportunities: Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center

4 Jul

The Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center is seeking individuals interested in volunteer and internship opportunities who would be able to work within the Syringe Exchange & Outreach Services Unit.  General volunteer responsibilities include conducting syringe exchange, community outreach, and providing harm reduction education and counseling to the communities about subjects such as HIV, Hepatitis C and overdose prevention and care services.  Training will be provided to all volunteers and interns on these subjects.

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The International Conference on Masculinities: Engaging Men and Boys, for Gender Equality

29 Jun


This call for papers has been updated and the updated version may be found here.

Girls, Boys, Booz and Bad Behavior

26 Feb

Source: The Independent onlineMost people are familiar with celebrity personal trainer Jillian Michaels’. Like most A-listers these days she’s investing in everything including a podcast where she doles out pop-culture-style advice about how to live in a healthy body. You know, the kind that really tries to be armchair psychology more than anything else. In a recent episode titled Girls and Booz she responds with moral fervor to the Emily Yoffe Slate article College Women: Stop Getting Drunk which discusses the relationship between rising rates of college binge drinking, particularly among young women, and female sexual assault. Yoffe’s main point is that rising rates of sexual assault on college campuses might be a reflection of our failure as family, friends, teachers (presumably more experienced folk) to tell young women that when they ‘render themselves defenseless [by getting wasted to point of incapacitation] terrible things can be done to them’ [sexual assault]. Michaels’, in agreement with Yoffe, adds that young women who choose to dress sexy in situations where heavy drinking is likely to happen are ultimately ‘playing with fire’ or ‘putting themselves directly in harms way’.

Both women suggest that, as a society, we’ve become reluctant to make girls and women responsible for their reckless behavior because it might resemble blame should something awful happen. All of this urgently calls for major changes in how we educate young people (but really girls) about self respect and bodily responsibility. Michaels, a parent to a son and a daughter, says that this should start in the home. I don’t disagree. Education is an integral part of any sort of prevention and of course family life is a fundamental part of how we come to know ourselves and the world. What we’re taught in the home can unwittingly be as much a part of the problem as it is the solution though. Michaels’ claims that she’s wants her daughter to know that she doesn’t have to cheapen herself [with compromising behavior like provocative dress and binge drinking] to get attention and she wants her son to know that true male power and prowess ‘…is being able to sleep with a girl because she wants to’. Hmm.

Heavy drinking can cause both men and women to behave in ways that are potentially detrimental but men are almost expected to get to that dangerous state of drunkenness where doing something inappropriate to another or themselves becomes even more likely. In the last few months a social media drinking ‘game’ has surfaced in Ireland and the U.K., claiming the lives of several young men. The idea behind ‘neknomination’, as it’s called, is to accept the dare to ‘neck’ or down a pint of alcohol while being recorded so that it can be uploaded online. Dares, which become increasingly dangerous as a way to one-up the next, are passed back and forth on a given night resulting in the consumption of very high volumes of alcohol over a relatively short period of time. There’s even a Facebook page dedicated to it. Judging by the spate of online videos and images it’s something that appeals more to men than women, but women are still participating. This sort of thing is an example of what Yoffe is referencing when she argues in her article that matching men drink for drink has been turned into an expression of feminism among young women. Unfortunately, both she and Michaels take a position that is all too familiar in that it heavy-handedly makes the reality of drink-related risk a burden that women must disproportionately manage or mitigate. More to the point, they fall into the paradigmatic trap that ‘boys will be boys’ and therefore it’s girls that must change.

What it means to be a ‘real man’ or put another way, boys just being boys, is in everything. This gets into our language and informs our practice by adapting itself to a number of moral arguments (like this one). Unfortunately it’s less the social exception and more the rule to the extent that it can infiltrate our perspective without us even seeing it. For example, Michaels’ wants her son to grow up to be a man who respects women but at the same time she believes there’s a fine line between being a good man and being emasculated. Her son’s ability to understand this concerns her because of his familial environment. He has two mommies, a female nanny, an older sister and a very involved grandmother. What she’s saying without actually saying it is that being surrounded by mostly women might result in him being more feminine and by direct consequence, less good (i.e. manly). This historical idea that what is good is masculine and what is truly masculine is good is at the heart of the bigger gender disparity issue at-play that permeates Western culture from above and below. It’s tired and frustrating and although it’s a root in a decaying tree that’s losing the stability to sustain itself, its remaining strength is reinforced by Michaels’ and many others who so badly want to be part of the solution but just end up being more of the same and by default, part of the problem.

Further reading:

Bachman, R. and Peralta, R. (2002) The relationship between drinking and violence in an adolescent population: does gender matter?, Deviant Behavior, 23(1) pp. 1-19

Cowley, A. D. (2013) “Let’s Get Drunk and Have Sex”: The Complex Relationship of Alcohol, Gender, and Sexual Victimization, Journal of interpersonal violence, 0886260513506289

Herman-Kinney, N. J. and Kinney, D. A. (2013) Sober as Deviant The Stigma of Sobriety and How Some College Students “Stay Dry” on a “Wet” Campus, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 42(1) pp. 64-103

Messman-Moore, T. L., Ward, R. M. and DeNardi, K. A. (2013) The Impact of Sexual Enhancement Alcohol Expectancies and Risky Behavior on Alcohol-Involved Rape Among College Women, Violence against women, 19(4) pp. 449-464

Miller, K. E., Melnick, M. J., Farrell, M. P., Sabo, D. F. and Barnes, G. M. (2006) Jocks, gender, binge drinking, and adolescent violence, Journal of interpersonal violence, 21(1) pp. 105-120

On Teaching Inequality, Privilege, and Masculinities

13 Jan

With the Spring semester about to begin, I am deep in “course prep” mode. This semester I will be teaching American Society, a staple in the sociology department. I generally teach this class as a course on inequality, specifically debunking the myth that our society is a classless, egalitarian society. I divide the course into four segments on class, race, gender, and sexuality, with the final component of each segment working to tie these categories together and introduce students to the theory of intersectionality. We explore how science, medicine, family, religion, popular culture, media, education, and public policies (like marriage, health care, and immigration law) both create and propagate inequality. And we talk about whether institutions like these, which are often used to preserve the status quo, can instead be used to fight inequality. By the end of the semester, students are able to explain how social identity categories operate in the United States, and accurately link these categories to existing problems of inequality. It is my favorite course to teach, and generally students seem to enjoy the provocative discussions that emerge out of the readings and lectures.

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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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The Challenges of Teaching Feminism as a Male-Identified Teacher

16 Dec

(Source: Canadian2006 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0/r GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons.

Our own Cliff Leek has recently talked about the tension, struggles and challenges of being an ally to movements of the marginalized. Those of us located on the ‘privilege’ side of different axes of inequality and oppression (like race, class and gender) face the challenge of how to become (and stay) active and effective allies without reinforcing the very inequalities we are trying to fight, and trying to speak truth to power without claiming to speak for the movements we are aligned with. As Mia McKenzie points out in her critique of the term ‘ally’: “actions count; labels don’t”. In other words: We don’t become ‘allies’ just by some act of will or by declaring us as such. Instead, being an ally means a continuous process of becoming one. This call for action and constant reflection has, of course, implications for those of us who are male-identified but teach about gender in the classroom. We face unique challenges that we need to find pedagogical answers to if we are to stay true our feminist and anti-racist commitments.

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