men, masculinities and gender politics

Authors

Ben Atherton-Zeman

How Some Men Harass Women Online and What Other Men Can Do to Stop It

(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.

9/11 and Domestic Violence

Both 9/11 and domestic murders have claimed thousands of lives. Over 3000 victims were killed in the September 11 attacks - about 2000 victims/year are killed in the United States by their intimate partners. Both were results of terrorist attacks - 9/11 from Al Quaeda, domestic murder from "domestic terrorists." Both kinds of terrorists use fear, violence and intimidation to get what they want. But Al Quaeda terrorists are vilified, while domestic terrorists are often called "pillars of the community."

Sexual Assault Awareness Month – One Thing Men Can Do

April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month.  Every two minutes in the United States, a man rapes a woman – and it’s usually a woman he knows.  Those of us who know victim/survivors of sexual violence know the toll it takes on them - yet there continue to be numerous examples in our popular culture of blaming rape victims, glorifying rape culture and apologizing for rapists’ behavior. 

Minimizing the Damage – Male Accountability in Stopping Men’s Violence Against Women

I’ve been working to end men’s violence against women for almost 20 years.  And I am doing this work largely because of the inspiration, teachings and welcome of powerful, smart, feminist women.  We men (myself included) owe it to these women, and to ourselves, to practice true accountability. 

Mourning masculinity

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When you’re told you’re going to die, you go through five stages: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. I remember learning about these Stages of Death and Dying, by Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross.

I’ve noticed that, as men, we tend to go through these same stages when confronted with the reality of men’s violence against women.

Fathers' Wrongs

By Ben Atherton-Zeman, with Lorien Castelle and Casey Keene

August, 2007

I was thrilled to perform my one-man play, “Voices of Men” for the San Diego Men’s Leadership Forum.  I flew to San Diego and was driven to the auditorium where the event was to take place – my hosts told me there would be over 300 men in attendance, many of them from the nearby military base.  All the men had committed themselves to taking the initiative to stop men’s violence against women.

As my host drove us up to the event, it became clear we were not the only group of men there.  I was greeted by signs saying “Man-Hating Conference Here,” “Domestic Violence Law is a Feminist Scam,” and “Save Our Troops from Feminist Man-Hating.” 

August 4th: Reading the News

Yesterday, August 4th, was President Barack Obama's 47th birthday. He chose to celebrate by bringing cupcakes to Helen Thomas, who shares his birthday and was 89. At the same time, my friend Byron Hurt and his wife Kenya Felice had a baby.

This morning, I wake to the news that another man shot three women in Pittsburgh. My friends Jason and Lahia live there - I have been calling and texting, hoping Lahia was not one of the three women killed.

How does it all make sense? What does it all have to do with masculinity? With feminism? Profeminism? Violence prevention?

Manufacturing Consent - Is it rape?

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How do you know when your partner has consented to sex? Do you ask, or do you assume they’ve consented if they don’t say anything? Do you watch for body language? Do you try to “make them relax” if it seems like they’re not consenting? Rather than seeking consent, you may be attempting to “manufacture” it.

“The Swan” Is Truly Ugly

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I watched the television as they showed young Kristy, proud in her soldier’s uniform, the wind in her hair and the sky in the background. She looked strong, proud, and beautiful. Another shot showed her in her uniform doing pushups – a striking image of a strong woman.

But these was her “before” photos; her “ugly” photos.

Men's Manifesto

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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.