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.
Terrorism, whether it is group-related or performed as lone actor terrorism, is a predominantly male phenomenon. Generally and throughout history, young males have been the main protagonists of criminal and political violence. This article aims to contribute, from different perspectives, to the question of what makes young men violent.
Most terrorists are men, points out Morgan in The Demon Lover: On the Sexuality of Terrorism (1989). Even though the stock image of a terrorist is a man in a ski mask, considerations of terrorists as men are often ignored, and discussions of terrorism as a political strategy about masculinity are typically overlooked. Terrorism - that act most explicit in its violent aggression, most obvious in its destructive aims and most hideously spectacular in its headlines - in fact, makes men invisible.
Sport is central to the lives of many Australians. This isn’t simply a reference to participation levels, but the importance of sport as a social institution. Organised sport, from the elite level though to local community clubs, is a part of a complex social ecology that is an important part of our lives.
We’re going to focus this morning on how to engage male students and staff on campus in violence prevention.
So I want you to think for a moment about the young men you see every day on your campus. The young men in your classrooms, in the cafeteria, in the college residences, and so on.
So you're a man and you actually care about women, but you don't know how to stop other men from raping and murdering women? Here's a handy dandy (not-exhaustive) list of things you could try.
Bystander intervention is an increasingly common approach in violence prevention efforts. In this XY collection, I have compiled accessible resources on bystander intervention. See the bottom of this page for full-text materials. Tabachnik's piece is a particularly useful, accessible introduction.