Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Beginning of a Long-Term Project Here at the Guide

I came up with the idea for starting this blog when one day this summer I Googled something like 'preventing violence against women.' I scrolled down and read everything that came up in that search for over thirty pages. What I found were plenty of organizations that were women preventing violence against women, but only two organizations that were men preventing violence against women. Considering that men are the most common perpetrators of violence against women, the results of the search seemed unbalanced to me. I heard loud and clear women calling out, "Stop doing this!" but men had no such voice. If we're going to achieve the goal of preventing (and ultimately ending) violence against women, men have to be in on it, too. A stronger male presence in this struggle means the difference between doing something because someone told you to versus doing something because it's the right thing to do. It means that non-violence and respect for women's rights is not a front men put on while women are around and then drop as soon as they turn around. It means changing the context in which violence and the attitudes that support it occur.

In her book Understanding Sexual Violence, Diana Sculley posited that a way we can prevent rape is to change the cultural context in which it is excused. We need to change the cultural context to no longer allow for excuses for rape like slut-shaming, not putting up a physical fight, or impairment. I suggest we take that thinking exercise and apply it to all forms of violence against women and women's rights. I am saying that our work here at the Guide (work that can always be applied to our everyday lives) is to change the context in which violence and the attitudes that support it are excused so that they are no longer excused. This means that respect for women is not a front, it's a choice we own in public and in private. This means that men-only spaces cannot create contexts in which these attitudes and actions are allowed, and only men can change the context of men's spaces.

So I thought of the man who introduced me to feminism, Tyler. (That's right ladies and gentlemen, it was a guy who brought a woman to feminism.) At a time when I wasn't so sure of how I fit into feminism and lacked an education in it, the effect of a man feeling so passionate and at ease with feminism was an unexpected and life-changing inspiration. I thought, "How is it that a guy feels more at home here than I do? If there is space for him within feminism, there has to be space for me." After I did my Google search, I told Tyler how much a guy's voice is needed here. I told him, "You're the perfect person to show men (and women like I was) that there are guys who are committed to these issues. You'd be the perfect person to start balancing that call to stop violence against women through your perspective as a man navigating feminism."

To begin our long-term project of creating a guide for exploring these issues, I will be putting together a running archive of resources for men to explore feminism and what role they can play in the fight against violence against women. Below are just a few such discussions of these issues. If you have more to add, link them or reference them in the comments.

For some reading, consider:
Male Feminists March On by Natalie Hanman for a discussion of the emergence of male feminists.
My Black Male Feminist Heroes by Mark Anthony Neal for a discussion of male feminism from a black perspective. It also references numerous other reads both in black feminism and Womanism and black male feminism and Womanism.
Men! Feminism Needs You! (Not Your Privilege...) by Anne Onne at The F-Word for some thoughts on how men can approach feminism and feminists.
Check out another brand new blog, Step Up, for thoughts and a chance to comment on how men can end violence against women and some links to organizations dedicated to that cause.
And, for some more links to anti-violence organizations and a guy's reaction to 'Men's Rights Activists', check out this post at youth4change by Joseph.

And, don't forget, we want your links! Let's start building a discourse, a community, and a new context.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Some more links... Best wishes, michael flood.

Academic and activist resources on men, masculinities, and gender

The Men’s Bibliography: academic scholarship

A comprehensive bibliography of academic writing on men, masculinities, gender, and sexualities, listing over 16,700 works. It is free at:
This includes for example;

The best reading on men and masculinities;

Articles and books on men, gender and feminism, at:

Academic references on men’s anti-violence work:

Readings on men and gender issues

XYonline is a website on men and gender issues, at It includes a substantial collection of over 100 accessible articles on men, gender, masculinity, and sexuality, here:

See e.g. the articles on men’s work in helping to stop violence against women, here:

And critiques of ‘fathers’ rights’ and ‘men’s rights’ claims about family law, violence, custody, etc., here:
And here:

And general articles on men and gender issues, here:

Web sites on men and gender

XYonline also includes a substantial collection of links to other websites on men and masculinities, here:

See e.g. the collection of links on involving men in building gender equality, here:

And the links on men’s anti-violence work, here: