As men become increasingly aware of their experience as men, they are acknowledging the ways in which men are limited by the dominant construction of masculinity. But some men take this much further, claiming the status of victim and alleging that men's power is a myth. Warren Farrell is one such man.
Activism & Politics
Suddenly, the field of gender studies is flooded with books about men and masculinities. It's almost hard to keep up with the titles that land on reviewer's desks and library shelves. From the "early"1980s writings of Vic Seidler, Michael Kimmel, Bob Connell, Michael Messner, among others, the field of gender and masculinity has expanded significantly. As a publisher, Sage has contributed to a growing list on the subject. Michael Messner's work on men's movements was published in the early 90s as part of the Sage gender series while Richard Collier's book on criminality and masculinity appeared in 1998 as a stand alone volume.
Warren Farrell was in a fabulous position to help men address and change masculinity when he wrote his new book, "Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say: Destroying Myths, Creating Love." (Putnam Publishing Group, 1999. He could have used this book to help men to rewrite the masculine role in a manner that is much healthier and much more rewarding than the manner in which it exists today. However, that is not what he has done. Contrary to the book's subtitle, it has neither destroyed myths nor created love. It has not charted new territory that could ease communication between the sexes. Rather, it has perpetuated existing myths, and created excuses.
Sexual violence is a men’s issue. Men perpetrate the vast majority of sexual assault –
regardless of the gender of the person victimized; men too are victimized, and men are
the significant others (lovers, housemates, sons, classmates, brothers, cousins…) of
women and men who are sexually victimized. In all of these ways, sexual violence is an
issue that men confront. In spite of this, and in spite of the increasing efforts over the
past 20 years to define sexual violence as a men’s issue, men, by and large, continue to
ignore, deny, minimize, and otherwise avoid the issues of sexual violence. Sexual
violence is still conceived of as a “woman’s issue,” and men still make up only a tiny
minority of those present at events addressing sexual assault.
Here is a handy one-page handout on key resources. Please see below for the attachment, in Word.
Michael Flood reviews what works and doesn't work in violence prevention education with men, focusing on educational strategies which are face-to-face. See below for the attachment, in PDF.
Male involvement in sexual violence prevention has increased sharply over the past decade. Organizations such as Men Can Stop Rape, The Oakland Men’s Project, One In Four, and the White Ribbon Campaign have received tremendous interest from both within, and outside of, the established anti-rape movement. The past ten years have also seen some sexual assault crisis centers (SACCs) renewing the social change “roots” of their work by developing or strengthening primary prevention projects - projects intended to prevent the initial perpetration of sexual violence. Many of these SACCs, sometimes in conjunction with campus-based sexual violence programs, have recognized the need for prevention programming that connects with young men. The rationale for this heightened interest in male-focused programming comes from the fact that males commit the vast majority of sexual violence, and are thus in a powerful position to generate change. To this end, these programs often seek participation from male allies in order to gain greater insight into what types of messages and methods might resonate with men in their larger community, offer positive, non-violent alternatives to traditional masculinity, and/or model constructive cross-gender collaboration.
Drawing on the Personal Safety Survey (PSS), I address four points. First, PSS data suggest that rates of violence against women in Australia have declined. Second, the PSS shows that there are high rates of violence against males, and there is a striking contrast in women’s and men’s experiences of violence. Third, PSS data may be (mis)used to claim that one-quarter of the victims of domestic violence are men. Finally, I examine the limits of the PSS’s definitions and measurements of violence, and the constraints they impose on our claims about the extent of domestic violence against women and women’s versus men’s subjection to domestic violence.
See below for this article, in PDF.
Michael Flood examines boys’ and young men’s consumption of sexually explicit media. He argues that boys’ use particularly of internet pornography, combined with the wider pornographication of popular culture, is exacerbating violence-supportive social norms and intensifying some boys’ participation in sexual abuse. See the attachments below (in PDF) for the text and Powerpoint of Michael's presentation.
Should men be included in programming and policy related to gender, and, if so, how can male inclusion be made most beneficial? Michael Flood provides an overview, in this piece published in the Development Bulletin, No. 64, March 2004. Please see the attachment below in PDF.