Category: 2013 Winter

Women’s Voices

Men: Join Women to End Violence “I resent that every time I pass a woman in the street, she regards me with suspicion, like I want to drag her into an alley. She hates me just because I’m a man.” My husband said those words to me one day about 20 years ago, when the news was full of stories of females being raped—from young girls to old women. Rape was actually being used as a form of warfare from the Balkans to the Sudan, when the world began to acknowledge that the violation of women had indeed always...

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Men & Creativity

Men Opening to Their Creative Selves “Sad is a man who is asked for a story/and can’t come up with one,” begins Li-Young Lee’s poem, “A Story,” which describes the pain of a man who can’t respond to his five-year-old son’s request for a story. The poem evokes poignantly the emotional bind in which most of us as men find ourselves. The world has changed enough to demand a different masculine involvement. And yet, a great majority of men fall silent in the face of this demand, unable to recognize the tools we have at our disposal to respond....

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Overcoming Violence

Challenging Misogyny in India Misogyny is so deeply rooted in India’s collective psychology that even the president’s son—Parliament member Abhijit Mukherjee—could entangle himself with a remark against women protesting gang rape. He called the women protesters of the medical student gang-raped on a bus in December “dented and painted women” who go to discos, have little connection with ground realities, and are making candlelight vigils fashionable. After an enormous backlash, he apologized and retracted his comments, but many are not satisfied and want his resignation. Misogyny has long permeated Indian textbooks, pedagogy, and parenting. In fact, it runs so...

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Overcoming Violence

Men: Which Side Are You On? The last two weeks have provided an opportunity of re-narrating the sordid history of rape and rape trials in India. To me personally the only way to understand this sexual violence is that this is a war declared on women to achieve a range of effects that include masculine supremacy, communal revenge, caste subjugation, and even which territories are deemed part of India. As feminist scholars and activists have argued, rape is not just about sex, but an assault with the intention of marking bodies with a set of messages that can speak...

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Boys to Men

The Feminine Gaze of Adolescent Boys Teaching at an all-boys high school provides a unique window into the lives of adolescents. You are invited to participate in a culture with a language and moral code all its own. I was reminded of this recently when one of my seniors jokingly accused me of “swagger jacking,” the urban term for the act of trying to steal someone else’s popularity. It speaks to how young men constantly work to ensure that they are acting in the “right” way, following the bro code. In a school setting, this proves especially true when...

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From the Editor

Only after we had huddled under the canopy over Sherry’s and Cedric’s grave did the rain begin to fall. It was a dark Friday night. Sixty of us, holding candles in our gloved hands, stood silently in the cemetery as Yoko Kato, a woman in her sixties with silver bangs framing a kind face, thanked us for coming. It was the 20th anniversary of her daughter, and grandson’s murders. Sherry, a 23-year-old mother, and Cedric, her 18-month-old son, had been stabbed multiple times by the toddler’s father, on January 11, 1993. Before the police woke her before dawn to...

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Frederick Marx

Yearning for Rites of Passage in a World with Too Few Mentors As adolescence ends — if there is no effective initiation or mentorship — a sad thing happens. The fire of thinking, the flaring up of creativity, the bonfires of tenderness, all begin to go out. —Robert Bly What would you do if someone told you your son would never become a man? That your nephew would never experience maturity? That your cousin or grandson would never feel from the inside the beating heart of what it really means to be an adult male? Well, it’s happening right...

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Robin Morgan

Darkest Night of the Year The day before the Sandy Hook mass murders, a man in China attacked 28 kindergarten students and three adults, stabbing them with a knife. Though wounded and traumatized, none died. In Newtown, Connecticut, the gunshot murders totaled 27 people—20 of them children, most as young as age six. (And the murderer then committed suicide.) These mass killings happen regularly now. And still getting gun control laws passed is a struggle. But there’s an overlooked, inseparable reason for that.We haven’t faced the fact that armed violence is a heavily gendered phenomenon. Men make up  almost...

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Jackson Katz

Media: It’s About Manhood More Than Guns or Mental Illness Many of us whose work touches on the subject of masculinity and violence have long been frustrated by the failure of mainstream media—and much of progressive media and the blogosphere as well—to confront the gender issues at the heart of so many violent rampages like the one that occurred on December 14 last year in Newtown, Connecticut. My colleagues and I who do this type of work experience an unsettling dichotomy. In one part of our lives, we routinely have intense, in-depth discussions about men’s emotional and relational struggles,...

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Rob Okun

Moving Beyond Men’s Killing Fields There’s something happening here What it is ain’t exactly clear There’s a man with a gun over there Telling me I got to beware I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound Everybody look what’s going down “For What It’s Worth,” by Stephen Stills In the wake of Adam Lanza’s murderous rampage, men in particular must not stay silent. There’s an epidemic in “man culture” we can ill afford to neglect, ceding center stage to the narrow gun control debate. It’s encouraging there’s momentum in Congress to enact new gun laws. Let’s...

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Paul Campos

What Gender Commits Mass Murder? A common demand made of socially marginalized groups is that they take responsibility for the bad acts of their members.??These demands come both from socially privileged people who marginalize social outsiders and from the socially marginalized themselves. For instance, if you Google “black on black crime,” the very first link that comes up?is to a blog post by an African-American writer, discussing the relative lack of attention the writer claims the African-American community pays to crimes committed by black people against other black people. This is an example of how, in America, a white...

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Phap Luu

Letter to Adam Lanza   Let me start by saying that I wish for you to find peace. It would be easy just to call you a monster and condemn you for evermore, but I don’t think that would help either of us. Given what you have done, I realize that peace may not be easy to find. In a fit of rage, delusion, and fear—yes, above all else, I think, fear—you thought that killing was a way out. It was clearly a powerful emotion that drove you from your mother’s dead body to massacre children and staff of...

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Cliff Leek and Michael Kimmel

Suicide-by-Mass-Murder If your only sources were Facebook and Fox, tabloids and TV, you’d likely think that guns, mental illness, and violent media were the only things worth talking about to explain the horrific massacre at Sandy Creek Elementary School. Of course, any rational approach to this problem would indicate that these three factors are important. Surely, guns played some role in this. Although guns, by themselves, are not the cause of the rampage, they can help explain its horrific scale, its terrible scope. Consider two of our closest allies. In 1996, in Dunblane, Scotland, a single gunman killed 16...

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Allan Johnson

Fatal Distraction: Manhood, Guns, and Violence As I write this, it’s been only a few weeks since the mass murder of children and teachers in Newtown, Connecticut, less than 50 miles from my home. I have grandchildren of the same age as the children who were killed. So, I’m finding it especially difficult to listen to the latest national conversation about gun violence, because, like all the others, it’s being conducted in a way that guarantees that such violence will continue. The problem is not what we talk about—guns and the media in particular. Both are important. The problem...

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Winter 2013 Edition

The Winter 2013 edition includes a special 16 page section that argues it’s masculinity, more than guns, videos, or mental illness that should be at the center of the national conversation about violence. Fatal Distraction Suicide by Mass Murder Beyond Men’s Killing Fields Letter to Adam Lanza A FAREWELL TO ARMS: A SPECIAL SECTION ON MEN AND VIOLENCE AFTER SANDY HOOK  Allan Johnson Fatal Distraction: Manhood, Guns, and Violence As I write this, it’s been only a few weeks since the mass murder of children and teachers in Newtown, Connecticut, less than 50 miles from my home. I have...

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