The global economic crisis is showing the cracks in the surface of how patriarchy is lived in everyday lives; is now not the right time to refocus the discussion? Can we reclaim ‘patriarchy’ from the analysis of all men as patriarchs? How do we understand masculinities in a more political way? How do we address the ways that patriarchy is bad for men, whilst still recognising the battles for women’s rights? What are the implications of rights language for an understanding of patriarchy? If marriage as an institution is the foundation of patriarchy, why are gay and lesbian movements so into marriage now? What do you get if you undress patriarchy? What does it look like underneath? How can stories, film, art media help us to envision this? If the metaphor is that patriarchy is a prison, who are the prisoners and who are the prison wardens? How do elements of patriarchy replicate themselves in our feminist movements? Patriarchy may be seen as an old-fashioned term with little relevance to current work on gender, yet these kinds of questions motivated participants to get excited about the notion of ‘Undressing Patriarchy’ and inspired them to draft background papers and to travel across the world to take part in this conversation. This was an unlikely encounter of unusual suspects. They spent four days together in a hotel in Brighton, in September 2013, engaged in rather unconventional dialogues across perspectives from feminism, men and masculinities work, sexual rights and other social justice struggles. This publication captures some of the dilemmas, new thinking, the interactive process, analyses, future possibilities and challenges identified in these debates in Brighton.
Activism & Politics
The question of whether men can be feminists raises a variety of broader issues. Some of these relate to whether men can have the kinds of understanding, solidarity and political commitment necessary to qualify as feminists. Others concern the role that men can and should play within the feminist movement. This talk begins by exploring some of the psychological and social barriers men face in understanding and supporting feminism. It then concludes with some practical suggestions as to how men might seek to engage constructively with feminist ideas and objectives.
Men—and white men in particular—have a critical role to play in creating inclusive workplaces. But how can companies support this group as they step up to the challenge of creating inclusive leadership? This third report in Catalyst's Engaging Men in Gender Initiatives series takes an in-depth look at the approach one company, Rockwell Automation, pursued.
This report outlines seven ‘entry points’ for engaging men and boys in domestic violence prevention: 1. Engaging fathers in domestic violence prevention; 2. Men’s health and domestic violence prevention; 3. The role of sports and recreation in domestic violence prevention; 4. The role of the workplace in domestic violence prevention; 5. The role of peer relationships in domestic violence prevention; 6. Men as allies in preventing domestic violence; and 7. Aboriginal healing and domestic violence prevention.
I have been something of a ‘cheerleader’ for men’s violence prevention. I’ve identified the principles which guide men’s involvement in violence prevention. I’ve written at length about the strategies which are most effective, the standards for best practice. But in this keynote address, I want to do something different. I highlight some hard truths, some of the challenges of this field. I will focus on three key points: (1) Men’s violence against women is fundamentally linked to gender inequalities. (2) Men’s involvements in violence prevention are shaped by these same gender inequalities. (3) Gender inequality is the problem, and gender equality is the solution. I then complicate these, noting that gender is not the only story and gender inequality is not the only problem, and that in some ways gender itself is the problem.
In this presentation, I first briefly outline the rationale for involving men in efforts to prevent and reduce men’s violence against women. I offer an intersectional analysis of gender, difference and violence. I first offer an intersectional account of men and masculinities, and I then also offer an intersectional analysis of violence against women. I then spend the remainder of the paper exploring effective ways in which to engage men from diverse backgrounds in violence prevention.
Separated fathers often feel profound grief, distress, and anger at the end of their relationships with their partners and their children. Some participate in ‘fathers’ rights’ groups, a movement which claims to advocate on behalf of men and fathers who are the victims of discrimination and injustice in the Family Court and elsewhere. Yet such groups may do little to help fathers heal or to build or maintain ongoing and positive relationships with their children. Some men do find support in these groups, but they also may be incited into anger, blame, and destructive strategies of litigation. The fathers’ rights movement prioritises formal principles of equality over positive parenting and the well-being of women and children. Some groups seem more concerned with re-establishing paternal authority and fathers’ decision-making related to their children’s and ex-partners’ lives than with actual involvements with children. However, other responses to separated fathers are more constructive.
(Trigger warning: for abusive, woman-hating language and threats of violence)
When I write about feminism and men’s violence against women, I often receive supportive comments. While some of the praise is earned, much of it gives me a lot of credit for doing very little.
White Ribbon is calling for papers for the inaugural White Ribbon International Conference to be held on 13-15 May 2013 in Sydney, Australia.
If you are interested in submitting a paper, please view the attached document and reply to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5 February 2013.
The White Ribbon Team
There has been in Australia, for a long time, a kind of network of anti-feminist men’s groups. Some men’s rights groups focus on general issues of gender and violence and so on, and some have a particular focus on fathering and family law. And those men’s and fathers’ rights group overlap. I’ve described them as an anti-feminist backlash because of their views on women and gender and because of the political strategies they adopt.
[…] I think they have an understanding which is, in fact, fairly widespread—that feminism is definned by a hostility towards men, and a kind of unreasonable and irrational desire to put women on top. I think fathers’ rights and men’s rights groups, to some degree, simply repeat the negative stereotypes about feminism that are part of popular culture and part of the media. They extend them and intensify them, in terms of seeing women as malicious and hostile and devious and so on, and in attributing great power to feminism—feminism now dominates our political agendas or dominates our culture. I think they exaggerate the extent to which men are now victims in our culture.