Still fit for Purpose? Conceptualising (Emerging) Masculinities of the Current Moment
5-7 December 2024
Deadline for Proposals: 8 November, 2023.
An ally is a member of a privileged group who acts to challenge or dismantle that same privilege. Ally politics involves members of privileged groups taking action to undermine that same privilege: white people challenging racism, heterosexual people challenging heterosexism and homophobia, and of course, men challenging sexism.
Key elements of male allyship therefore include the following.
Anti-feminist content by and for men is everywhere online. Social media influencers like Andrew Tate have risen to global prominence and notoriety in the past few years as the ‘manosphere’ of sexist and violence-supportive online forums and digital media continues to grow. But what about pro-feminist digital media?
There is growing interest in using online media among men and boys to prevent men’s violence against women and girls, prompted by two insights. First, such media may be effective ways to reach and educate large numbers of boys and men. Organisations such as schools and universities involved in violence prevention education are turning increasingly to online media as platforms for education on violence, gender, and healthy relationships, using these to deliver curricula to large cohorts of students and others.
Men’s rights advocates (MRAs) are deeply hostile to feminism and feminists. And in turn, MRAs are deeply hostile to pro-feminist men or male feminists.
But *how* MRAs criticise and attack male feminists betrays their own low opinions of men and their hypocrisy.
This account comes from my experience of being a visible pro-feminist male advocate, on Twitter and elsewhere, and noticing the kinds of attacks that anti-feminist men or MRAs direct at me and other pro-feminist men.
There is a wealth of content on the Internet offering men and boys rigid, restrictive and harmful ideas about masculinity and gender relations – from the Manosphere, to pornography, to mainstream news and entertainment featuring narrow models of manhood. By contrast, there remains a relative lack of material seeking to engage in positive, empowering ways with men and boys in order to strengthen their participation in debates and action in relation to gender equality and feminism.
Advancing girls and women in male-dominated industries requires the leadership, participation, commitment, and allyship of men. Engendering Industries, in partnership with Equimundo, works to engage men and individuals who identify as male to be workplace gender equality champions.
Masculinity needs changing. As a manifestation of patriarchy, a predictor of violence, and a straight-jacket of identity, masculinity is widely identified as a culprit and symptom: problematic, traditional, ‘hyper’ and toxic. In response a loose network of feminists and allies, public health professionals, scholar-activists, social workers, civil society groups, international organisations and military and police forces have sought to reform masculinity for the better. [...] This two-day conference will gather academics, practitioners and activists to critically interrogate contemporary masculinity interventions in local, national and transnational layers. What new governance arrangements and sciences of public health are being formed? What power relations are at work, especially across shifting boundaries of global north and south? What is the role of specific political, economic and cultural institutions in propagating new varieties of good masculinity? How are these new masculine subjectivities being produced? And with what effects, whether generative, perilous or ambivalent?
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