When facing the often seemingly insurmountable issues of ‘toxic masculinity’, ‘patriarchy’, ‘men’s behaviour change’, ‘male culture’ and any other buzzwords one wishes to describe this with, it can feel like we are; spitting on a bush-fire. All that ends up happening is we as an individual become dehydrated, exhausted and ultimately defeated.
The UN Women Training Center has developed a great resource for men to educate ourselves: the Self-Learning Booklet: Masculinities and Violence against Women and Girls (2016).
The booklet was developed as the result of a series of training courses that aim to strengthen capacities of development practitioners and advocates to understand, integrate and address critical gender issues in their lives and work. This tool aims to assist both UN and non-UN staff to better understand the issues of masculinities in relation to violence against women and girls.
Research tells us that socially constructed gender norms which associate masculinity with power, violence and control can play a role in driving conflict and insecurity.
What are the links between masculinity, anti-feminist men’s rights, and the alt-right? There is growing recognition that far-right and white nationalist movements and ideologies are shaped by gender, and particularly by patriarchal masculinity, and that there are ideological and practical connections between far-right and ‘men’s rights’ networks and ideologies. In this XY collection, we have pulled together some recent commentaries on this. The articles are linked below. Additions are welcome.
Men are taught from an early age to be tough. It’s time we let men feel. It's time we change the culture. It's time we redefine what it means to "be a man". @artwithimpact is accepting proposals for Voices With Impact short film grants to support the creation of films on the topic of mental health issues related to the culture of masculinity. YOU have an important story to tell. Share it and change the world! Deadline is October 15: http://bit.ly/VWI-2020
The SHED Manual: For workers engaging in men’s behaviour change to shed abusive beliefs and violence (2013) was developed over almost 20 years of practice in rural Australia by Chris Laming. The SHED (Self Help Ending Domestics) Project engaged with men and challenged them to look at themselves, as though in a mirror. It was ‘time and space for men to face who they are and what they have become and a chance to change what is not good’.
Sexist jokes often are dismissed or excused as harmless fun. Yet they have real, negative effects in the world. They are linked to sexist and violent behaviour, they worsen gender inequalities, and they increase tolerance for violence against women.
Efforts to promote gender equality and violence prevention in workplaces and organisations often meet resistance. Resistance takes a variety of forms, from denial of the problem, to inaction, to victim-blaming, to outright attack. How should we respond to resistance and backlash? And, how can we make resistance less likely in the first place?
Everyday sexism is a serious problem. Sexist jokes and comments, intrusive and harassing treatment, and other behaviours are a near-daily experience for many women. They cause direct harm, and they contribute to wider gender inequalities. Everyday sexism is routine, invisible, and often excused or ignored.
So, how can we challenge everyday sexism? What can you say when your uncle makes a sexist joke at the Christmas dinner? What can you do when your workmate comments on a passing woman’s appearance? How can you respond when your mum says that women need to be more careful to avoid rape? What can you do when some guy on the train is making a young women uncomfortable?
The notion of the ‘Man Box’ names influential and restrictive norms of manhood. The ‘Act Like a Man’ box or ‘Man Box’ has been a common teaching tool in efforts over the past three decades to engage men and boys in critical reflections on men and gender (Kivel, 2007). The ‘box’ names the qualities men are expected to show, the rewards they earn for doing so, and the punishments they are dealt if they step ‘outside’ the box. It emphasises that these dominant standards are restrictive and limiting for men, as well as harmful for women. Individual qualities in the Man Box are not necessarily bad, and indeed some may be useful or desirable in some contexts. On the other hand, some of the qualities are negative in themselves, the range of qualities available to men is narrow, and men are expected not to deviate from them. The Man Box norms also sustain forms of privilege or unfair advantage for men, and men’s attitudes and behaviours that underpin inequality between men and women. The reference to ‘acting like a man’ makes the point that masculinity is a ‘performance’, a set of qualities and behaviours practised in particular contexts.