Violence perpetrated by and against men and boys is a major public health problem. Although individual men’s use of violence differs, engagement of all men and boys in action to prevent violence against women and girls is essential. We discuss why this engagement approach is theoretically important and how prevention interventions have developed from treating men simply as perpetrators of violence against women and girls or as allies of women in its prevention, to approaches that seek to transform the relations, social norms, and systems that sustain gender inequality and violence. We review evidence of intervention effectiveness in the reduction of violence or its risk factors, features commonly seen in more effective interventions, and how strong evidence-based interventions can be developed with more robust use of theory. Future interventions should emphasise work with both men and boys and women and girls to change social norms on gender relations, and need to appropriately accommodate the differences between men and women in the design of programmes.
Activism & Politics
White Ribbon conducted a review of research and evaluation approaches for gender-based violence programming for men and boys. The concept of “engagement” is defined and deconstructed and includes a call to broaden the definition of engagement to include male responsibility and commitment when measuring program effectiveness. Additionally, with the increasing utilization of social media in prevention programming, it is important to consider physical and virtual spaces when evaluating engagement.
Feminism has changed the world; it is radically reshaping women's lives. But what about men? They still hold most of the power in the economy, in government, in religions, in the media and often in the family too. At the same time, many men are questioning traditional views about what it means to be a man. Others resent the gains women have made and want to turn back the clock.
Feminism and Men asks: how might feminism improve the lives of men as well as women? And is there a place for men in the feminist story?
It is time for a critical stocktake of efforts to involve men in the prevention of violence against women. In particular, it is time to assess a series of assumptions about this work which are influential and yet which are unsupported by evidence or dangerous. In this presentation from the recent 2nd MenEngage Second Global Symposium 2014: Men and Boys for Gender Justice (Delhi, 10-13 November), Michael Flood offers a critical assessment of the 'engaging men' field.
Efforts to involve men as allies in domestic and sexual violence work are expanding, marking a shift for these historically women-led movements. Activists and scholars have identified the internal tensions and unintended consequences accompanying this shift, namely the sexism and male privilege men bring into movement spaces (Atherton-Zeman 2009; Flood 2003; Macomber 2012; Macomber and Sniffen 2011). In this paper, I examine how activists are responding to these challenges by emphasizing “men’s accountability.” I argue that although activists have successfully integrated accountability discourse into movement spaces, there is often a gap between discourse and practice. I identify two challenges that hinder accountability practices and offer suggestions for improving accountability practices at the group and organizational levels. This paper offers insights that can be used to inform men’s growing involvement and leadership in sexual and domestic violence work.
“What do you mean I’m sexist?” I was shocked. I wasn’t a macho guy. I didn’t hate or assault women. I wasn’t a bad guy. “But I’m an anarchist! How can I be sexist?” I was anxious, nervous, and my defenses were up. I believed in liberation, in fighting against capitalism and the state. There are those who are the architects, profiteers and enforcers of injustice and then there was us, right? I was nineteen and it was four years after I got involved in radical politics; my sense of the world was slipping.
Since its original publication in 1989, Refusing to Be a Man has been acclaimed as a classic and widely cited in gender studies literature. In thirteen eloquent essays, Stoltenberg articulates the first fully argued liberation theory for men that will also liberate women. He argues that male sexual identity is entirely a political and ethical construction whose advantages grow out of injustice. His thesis is, however, ultimately one of hope—that precisely because masculinity is so constructed, it is possible to refuse it, to act against it, and to change. A new introduction by the author discusses the roots of his work in the American civil rights and radical feminist movements and distinguishes it from the anti-feminist philosophies underlying the recent tide of reactionary men’s movements.
When you hear the term “Engaging Men Coordinator,” who comes to mind? Do you envision a man in this position?
The movement to end gender-based violence is seeing attention and funding directed to engage men and boys - in public education campaigns, community organizing, and prevention work. State coalitions against sexual and domestic violence host conferences with workshops and keynotes on how to engage men as allies. National speakers and consultants travel to train groups on how to engage men.
Most of these speakers and consultants are men.