Efforts to prevent sexual violence against women and girls now increasingly take as given that they must engage men and boys. The theatre-based intervention described in the previous issue of Feminism & Psychology (Rich, 2010) is one of a wave of programmes and strategies focused on males. Using that intervention as a springboard, this article asks: why should we engage men and boys in preventing violence against women, what strategies are under way and do they work? Educational interventions among males often invite them to become active or pro-social bystanders, taking action to stop the perpetration of specific incidents of violence, reduce the risks of violence escalating and strengthen the conditions that work against violence occurring (Powell, 2010: 6–7). However, engaging men in challenging rape-supportive norms and behaviours is hard work. This article concludes by discussing the barriers to, and supports for, men’s bystander interventions.
When men participate as students in Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS) classrooms, they undergo feminist change. They adopt more progressive understandings of gender, show greater support for feminism, and increase their involvement in antisexist activism. Male students in WGS classrooms benefit to the same degree as female students, showing similar levels of change, although they start with poorer attitudes and thus the gap between them and their female peers persists. At the same time, male students’ presence highlights critical challenges to feminist pedagogy: gendered patterns of interaction, resistance to feminist teaching, and limitations on women’s critical reflections on personal experience. When men teach WGS, typically they are ‘‘graded up’’—evaluated by students as less biased and more competent than female professors. Male professors face distinct dilemmas in teaching about gender inequality from a position of privilege. Yet, like male students, they can adopt traitorous and antipatriarchal social locations and standpoints, developing pedagogies for and by the privileged.
How can we prevent violence against women? And how can we make progress by engaging men? This one-day workshop provides a comprehensive introduction to frameworks and strategies for primary prevention, with a focus on engaging and mobilising men.
Bob Pease's paper "Engaging Men in Men’s Violence Prevention: Exploring the Tensions, Dilemmas and Possibilities" was published by the Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse in August 2008. His paper was then the focus of a forum organised by the Clearinghouse in November 2008. Michael Flood (among others) spoke in response to Bob Pease's paper at this forum. These papers provide valuable debate regarding the successes and dangers of men's involvement in preventing men's violence against women, men's interests and the question of benefits to men, and so on.
On this page, we have collected together Bob Pease's paper, Michael Flood's response, and a flyer for the forum itself.
This short piece, written for boys, reflects on what I wish I'd known when I was starting out sexually, the things which make hot sex and healthy relationships more likely.
One-third of the Australian population believe that ‘homosexuality is immoral’, and this belief is spread in distinct ways across the nation. Using data from a survey of nearly 25,000 Australians, we can ‘map’ homophobia in Australia. Homophobic attitudes are worst in country areas of Queensland and Tasmania. Men are far more likely than women to feel that homosexuality does not have moral legitimacy, and this gender gap in attitudes persists across age, socioeconomic, educational, and regional divides. Surprisingly, Catholics are the least homophobic of those Australians with a religious affiliation. Finally, homophobic attitudes seem to be improving over time.
Students in the third-year Sociology course Men and Masculinities at the University of Wollongong have the option of writing a piece of critical autobiography – what I’ve termed a ‘Reflective Journal’ – rather than a conventional essay, for their final written assessment. This document provides guidelines for the Reflective Journal, and further resources on critical autobiography.
Discrimination against women in public sector organisations has been the focus of considerable research in recent years. While much of this literature acknowledges the structural basis of gender inequality, strategies for change are often focused on anti-discrimination policies, equal employment opportunities and diversity management. Discriminatory behaviour is often individualised in these interventions and the larger systems of dominance and subordination are ignored. The flipside of gender discrimination, we argue, is the privileging of men. The lack of critical interrogation of men’s privilege allows men to reinforce their dominance. In this paper we offer an account of gender inequalities and injustices in public sector institutions in terms of privilege. The paper draws on critical scholarship on men and masculinities and an emergent scholarship on men’s involvement in the gender relations of workplaces and organisations, to offer both a general account of privilege and an application of this framework to the arena of public sector institutions and workplaces in general.
Citation: Flood, M., and B. Pease. (2006). Undoing Men’s Privilege and Advancing Gender Equality in Public Sector Institutions. Policy and Society, 24(4): 119-138.
This report examines how violence against women specifically affects children and young people. It looks at the nature of violence they experience in their homes and their own relationships, its impacts, and the priorities for action if efforts to prevent violence among, and protect, young people are to be successful.
Citation: Flood, M., and L. Fergus. (2008). An Assault on Our Future: The impact of violence on young people and their relationships. Sydney: White Ribbon Foundation.
Male-male social bonds have a powerful influence on the sexual relations of some young heterosexual men. Qualitative analysis among young men aged eighteen to twenty-six in Canberra, Australia, documents the homosocial organization of men’s heterosexual relations. Homosociality organizes men’s sociosexual relations in at least four ways. For some of these young men, male-male friendships take priority over male-female relations, and platonic friendships with women are dangerously feminizing. Sexual activity is a key path to masculine status, and other men are the audience, always imagined and sometimes real, for one’s sexual activities. Heterosexual sex itself can be the medium through which male bonding is enacted. Last, men’s sexual storytelling is shaped by homosocial masculine cultures. While these patterns were evident particularly among young men in the highly homosocial culture of a military academy, their presence also among other groups suggests the wider influence of homosociality on men’s sexual and social relations.
Citation: Flood, M. (2008) Men, Sex, and Homosociality: How bonds between men shape their sexual relations with women. Men and Masculinities, 10(3), April: 339-359.