Much of the work to engage men in preventing violence against women across the globe is profeminist — it is informed by feminist perspectives and done by or in collaboration with women and women’s organisations. Men involved in this work typically are expected to support feminism and to be accountable to women and feminism. But which feminism should profeminist men support? There has been relatively little discussion of this question in the ‘engaging men’ field. Yet, organisations and individuals involved in undertaking this work, whether it is delivered by or with men, adopt a range of different approaches and the significant diversity of thought within feminist activism is also reflected to some extent within the engaging men field. This can make accountability more challenging, because it means asking: to whom specifically should profeminist men be accountable? The relationship between feminism and the theories and strategies adopted by organisations and activists in this field is often left implicit or vague, and there can be a lack of clarity or transparency about the nature of the feminist social change that such groups seek to help bring about. The paper therefore contributes to the articulation of how profeminist men should understand their relationship to feminism, and considers how they can make choices about which feminism to adopt. It argues that, by discussing more explicitly the different interpretations of feminism shaping the engaging men field, this work will be better equipped to tackle men’s violence against women through more open, rigorous and profoundly profeminist praxis.
Citation: Burrell, Stephen, and Michael Flood. (2019). “Which feminism? Dilemmas in profeminist men’s praxis to end violence against women.” Global Social Welfare. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40609-018-00136-x
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Note: For a wealth of resources on engaging men and boys in preventing men's violence against women and girls, men's roles in violence prevention, etc., see this guide to XY's content on this area.
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