Yes, large numbers of men and boys are killed and injured in war. They are sent to war largely by other men. Wars are supported more by men than women. And traditional masculinity has been central to justifications for war. It is men, not women, who have excluded women from joining men in military and combat roles. Feminist women and women’s movements have played key roles in challenging war and militarism. Finally, the overall impacts of war and conflict and their aftermath are greater for women than men.
Here is the scorecard. Australians know something about violence. We are aware of the wide range of physical and non-physical behaviours that are often part of domestic violence. But we don’t know much about its impact, so we struggle for example to know why women stay. We have the wrong idea about why this violence happens, blaming anger or sex drive or intoxication rather than gender inequalities. We are too willing to excuse domestic violence. We blame the victim. We still see women as liars. We see men as lust-driven pigs who can’t be held responsible for their sexual behaviour. We say we would intervene in violence, but we don’t necessarily know where to get help.
There are many good reasons to engage men in building gender equality, especially given that some men’s practices, identities, and relations can sustain inequalities. The need to engage men can be particularly true in conflict and post-conflict societies, which often reinforce narrow views of masculinity and gender hierarchies. At the same time, involving men in gender-related policy and programming carries the risk of compromising resources and services directed exclusively to women or diluting the feminist orientation of such efforts.
There are great resources for encouraging norms of sexual consent and respect among men, building skills in negotiating consent, and so on. Here, we have collected some useful, accessible pieces, available in PDF below. Further suggestions are most welcome. Further pieces on XY which focus on consent include the following:
What is men's violence against women? What are its causes and consequences? Here are some key readings and reports, on domestic violence, sexual violence, and other forms of violence against women. They include shorter or more accessible pieces and longer discussions and reports.
The Graduate Journal of Social Science has just published a special issue on 'Men, Masculinities, and Violence'. The issue includes academic papers, personal narratives, and photo series by academics and artists from diverse countries and sociopolitical contexts. As the journal is open-access, the entire issue is free for online access and downloading. You can read it here: http://gjss.org/12/03
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