A few weeks ago, I attended a training on gender-based violence, run by a local social service organization, which sought to involve representatives from different community settings in engaging men in anti-violence work. Conversation centered around identifying the ways in which gender-based violence lies on a continuum, ranging from sexist comments and ‘rape jokes’ to sexual assault and domestic violence.
Activism & Politics
Research suggests that gender egalitarian attitudes have become more common over the past several decades (see Scarborough et al., 2018). However, many people who endorse feminist attitudes distance themselves from the feminist label (Zucker & Bay-Cheng, 2010). In fact, the phenomenon whereby people support feminist principles but reject the feminist moniker is so prevalent that researchers refer to it as “the feminist paradox” (Abowitz, 2008).
The Working Together with Men resource is for people interested in creating projects that work with men to prevent violence against women in their communities.
This is a grassroots, community mobilisation approach that has been piloted across the west of Melbourne (Australia) since 2016. We used what we learnt from these pilots to create a project model that can be reproduced anywhere.
This report explores some of the latest discussions on key themes and challenges for MenEngage Alliance. It offers ways forward to ensure our collective work makes a real contribution to feminist agendas and promotes the rights of all women and girls, and people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. Topics include:
How does men’s participation in the social movement to prevent violence against women change their relationships with other men and with women? How does it affect their understanding and practices of masculinity?
What role do men have in the work of challenging gender inequalities and building gender justice? This chapter examines the experiences of men as deliberate agents of a feminist masculinity politics, exploring key challenges in men’s efforts to take up profeminism. This first challenge is overcoming one’s own sexist and violence-supportive attitudes and behaviours. Men may be disinterested in or resistant to efforts to involve them in progressive change because of widespread sexist and violence-supportive attitudes and relations.
Men’s rights advocates (MRAs) often argue that feminism portrays women as always and ever oppressed, and thus *makes* women into victims. Related to this, MRAs argue that feminist beliefs are harmful for women themselves. However, the actual evidence is that having feminist beliefs and/or a feminist identity is good for women, and that having feminist beliefs or a feminist identity has a range of positive benefits.
Shift, a violence prevention project at the University of Calgary, has released “Supporting Best Practices: Guidelines for Funding Programs That Engage and Mobilize Men & Boys in Violence Prevention”. Although these guidelines were written for Alberta, Canada, they have a wider relevance in guiding funding and support for efforts to engage men and boys in violence prevention.
Men’s responses to #MeToo, and other forms of feminist advocacy on rape and sexual harassment, range from enthusiastic support to hostile backlash. There are common forms of resistance among men to these campaigns, including defensive denials that men’s violence is routine, a focus on ‘other’ men, and complaints that #MeToo has ‘gone too far’. And for many men, there is simply mute discomfort. Masculinity is implicated directly in men’s perpetration of rape and sexual harassment, but also in men’s widespread inaction or complicity in the face of men’s violence against women.
As part of the White Ribbon Campaign in Australia, White Ribbon Australia produced the White Ribbon Policy and Research Series, focused on the prevention of men’s violence against women. This comprised a series of papers, with the first in 2010 and the last in 2017. Here, we have collected these papers.