The ‘Men and Family Relationships National Forum: Valuing Men, Valuing Relationships’ conference, held in Sydney in October this year was described as an opportunity that “will capture the important new learning and developments that have occurred over the past ten years by organisations working with men.
Many men have been latching on to feminist politics without taking up our place in the struggle for too long. Its’ not enough to read bell hooks or Angela Davis, call ourselves feminists, hang out with riot grrrls or rock the emo-boy style anymore. It’s time to get out there, look inside and deal with the fact that most of us have been socialized in a society that teaches us to take power away from people around us.
Yes they can, argues NIGHAT GANDHI, because feminism is a philosophy and a movement for ending all forms of oppression, including that which is gender-based. In fact, gender-sensitive men should very much feel a part of this movement, she says.
“I’m sorry I make you feel like shit.”
“It’s just your privilege as a man.”
It’s 2:30am on a Sunday night, and while more words were spoken prior to those and after those, it’s those that tore me open. It was that brief exchange that broke through my walls of fake emotion and defense and allowed everything else to pour into me.
In December last year, local domestic violence committees in South West Sydney joined together to conduct a forum to tease out a variety of issues concerning men as victims that were being raised within their community. The forum was initiated by the committees’ as a way to highlight and discuss the key issues which include the acknowledgement of men as victims, establishing referral pathways and the importance of accurately reporting on research findings regarding prevalence. Stephen Fisher was one of nine panellists who participated on the day.
Why did I write this? I wrote this piece so that men struggling with patriarchy could know there are others in the same position, other men who are trying to wade through the personal and collective bullshit that we as men have been spouting (and ignoring) for so long. There are so many articles, zines, magazines and websites by and for women struggling against patriarchy, while men largely remain silent. With a few notable exceptions, most of the material I have found by men speaking out against patriarchy is extremely academic, using language that is completely un-accessible.
To what extent is it appropriate or possible for men who resist patriarchy to participate in the feminist movement?
... Parallel to having a society in which women are raised to be targets, we’re raising our men to target. Men chose to perpetrate sexual violence, at whatever form of sexual violence, because they live in a culture that teaches men lessons about who they are as men, how to act as men, how to treat women, how to “get” sex, and power. All men are part of these cultures and all men learn these same lessons. To some degree, all men are at some risk for perpetrating different forms of sexual violence. For some reasons that we don’t yet fully understand, some men choose to actually perpetrate sexual violence, while others don’t. Some of these lessons include teaching men that they should be the initiators/aggressors in terms of dating and sexual activity (and where is that line between initiating and aggressing?), teaching men that they have the right to have the final say in some aspects of our relationships, and the lessons that men are taught about women, power and sex.
Please see the attachment below, in Word.