“What do you mean I’m sexist?” I was shocked. I wasn’t a jock, I didn’t hate women, I wasn’t an evil person. “But how can I be a sexist, I’m an anarchist?” I was anxious, nervous, and my defenses were up. I believed in liberation, for fighting against capitalism and the state. There were those who defended and benefited from injustice and then there’s us, right?
Activism & Politics
This text tries to place antisexist politics by men in a larger social context. It discusses men’s groups and the issue of identity politics in general. It demands a “renewal” of antisexist politics by men and ends with a look at some attempts at realizing some of the ideas discussed in the text.
Part 1: In defense of the idea of antisexist men’s groups.
Ben Atherton-Zeman defines a new form of manhood free of abuse.
The nation barely blinked this week as 11-year-old Nestor Herrera was stabbed to death outside a Springfield movie theatre by another boy his age. Subsequent news reports indicated that Herrera was going to the movie with a girl that the other boy wanted to date. “That other boy was jealous and got mad,” said Angel Herrera.
A true story about confronting sexism
I was guiding a group of men on a two-day white water rafting trip on the Upper Klamath River near the Oregon border. This wild, isolated section of the Klamath slices through the rugged Cascade Mountains of southern Oregon and northern California. With its unparalleled wilderness beauty and over 30 major rapids including "Hells Corner Gorge" it is one of the west's finest Class IV-V river trips. This place has remained unchanged since covered wagons creaked nearby along the Oregon Trail in the 1800s.
Why International Men's Day is a bad idea.
There are a number of important problems with International Men’s Day:
IMD offers a false parallel to International Women’s Day.
IMD invites a conservative understanding of gender relations.
IMD potentially alienates services and organisations that might otherwise support measures aimed at improving men’s wellbeing or service responses to men.
There are better ways to achieve the same goals.
IMD may be ineffective at engaging men.
First published in The State News, 7/8/04
My three year old daughter is, in my unbiased opinion, the smartest little girl in the world. For more than a year, she's been able to identify the bad guys on TV by listening to the music. Okay, maybe that means we let her watch too much television. It also means she's learned what most of us have learned over the years: bad guys look, sound, and act in certain recognizable ways...at least on TV.
A friend of mine read an immensely popular book that claims to disclose secrets about men every woman should know. As I listened to my friend divulge the book's "secrets," I could not help feeling that there isn't anything secret about its "secrets" and that it is little more than commonplace drivel about appeasing emotionally disturbed, controlling, and abusive males who just are not recognized as such.
I've been thinking about homosociality a bit these past few days. Homosociality (as explained so well in Michael Kimmel's Manhood in America) is the principle that all men, including heterosexual ones, are raised in our culture to be more eager to please other men than women. It doesn't take much in my classes to get heads nodding as the subject comes up!
Many men have been latching on to feminist politics without taking up our place in the struggle for too long. Its’ not enough to read bell hooks or Angela Davis, call ourselves feminists, hang out with riot grrrls or rock the emo-boy style anymore. It’s time to get out there, look inside and deal with the fact that most of us have been socialized in a society that teaches us to take power away from people around us.