Category: 2014 Winter

Gavin Harrison

  Dance, when you’re broken open. Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance, when you’re perfectly free. —Rumi   “It is not unusual to find oneself drenched to the bone while walking in the early morning mists of Waipio Valley in Hawai‘i or the Ofafa Valley in Africa,” writes Gavin Harrison. “For me the adventure of Awakening has been mostly like that—a gradual soaking, with intermittent bolts of clarity, just like lightning piercing the depths of an African thunderstorm.” Harrison is the author of In the Lap of the Buddha and recently published a new book, Petals and Blood: Stories, Dharma & Poems of Ecstasy, Awakening & Annihilation where the poems below first appeared. For Harrison, “Awakening is a death in life, and a returning. Gone is the illusion of who and what I previously thought myself to be. The significance of the dream world I cherished has evaporated. Today I know that I am limitlessly larger than the smallness I once lived. At last I have returned to the innocence of my magical garden, seasoned and aged by the passage of time.” A long time supporter and friend of the Men’s Resource Center (MRC), where Voice Male began as a newsletter in 1983, Gavin was a recipient of the MRC’s “Challenge for Change Award” in 1998 when...

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2014 Winter: Men @ Work

ED and Sex After Prostate Cancer Can robotic prostate surgery and erectile dysfunction medication help men have good sex lives again? A prostate cancer expert says yes. According to Dr. David Samadi, chair of urology and chief of robotic surgery at New York City’s Lenox Hill Hospital, sexual potency was restored in 85 percent of men  within 12 to 24 months of a robotic prostate surgery technique he has developed. The technique removes the walnut-size prostate gland without damaging the surrounding and highly delicate nerve bundles—key to helping men recover sexually. After surgery, urologists routinely recommend patients try oral ED medication as part of their post-surgery regimen, Dr. Samadi said. “Sexual recovery after prostate cancer surgery is equal parts effort, confidence, and intimacy. A little boost from ED medications can go a long way.” But rather than only depend on Viagra to save the day, Dr. Samadi encourages men and their partners to research prostate cancer treatment methods and choose a minimally invasive procedure—like robotics—to optimize their return to a natural sex life. An American Society for Radiation Oncology report determined that the risk of erectile dysfunction increased 40 percent after radiation therapy. In men with diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia, that risk jumped to nearly 75 percent (http://meetinglibrary.asco.org/content/87590-116). In patients Dr. Samadi operated on, he claimed just 15 percent experienced lasting ED symptoms. Still, he urged caution: while the...

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Mail Bonding

Mail Bonding   From War to Peace with Women While it can be disheartening at times to read the litany of articles detailing the “War on Women” in feminist publications (though no fault of theirs; they’re just reporting the sad facts), I am always cheered by reading your magazine, heartened by the profeminist male community Voice Male inspires. Knowing there is a growing community of men who are standing as women’s allies—and who are taking steps to socialize other males into mo r e “whole” human beings themselves—is so encouraging. Thank you. Alissa Streletz Kissler Arlington, Virginia   Seeking Vibrant Community of Men I work for FISA, a charitable grantmaking foundation in Pittsburgh focused on improving the lives of  women, girls, and people with disabilities in southwestern Pennsylvania. We’ve had a longtime focus on domestic violence and sexual assault but are beginning to focus on primary prevention/engaging men as allies in ending violence against women. Ultimately, we’d love to support the development of a vibrant community of men in our region who are allies, who actively intervene when other men are abusive, who talk to their sons about the fact that sex and relationships are so much better when you respect and value the other person and are treasured in return. Since we’re at the beginning stage of building relationships, learning the field, and assessing resources that might be...

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My Cuban Revolution

Although the distance between Cuba and the United States is less than 100 miles, step off the plane in Havana and you have entered another world. Flashy ads, new cars, new technology, and all the latest styles are absent from the landscape. You are surrounded by public art displays, political billboards, old American clunkers rolling tentatively down the street, people talking on hand-me-down phones and wearing used clothing. American excess replaced with Cuban thrift. I traveled to Cuba last fall for a semesterlong study abroad program at the University of Havana hoping to understand a nation that has taken a different approach to address injustices, including many that still plague the U.S. Cuba has declared war on economic inequality, exploitation, racism, and sexism and set out to create a “new man” who would be able to escape the realm of economic necessity and enjoy real freedom. Yet, during my time there I ended up learning far more about myself than I did about Cuba. Cuban reality exposed the tensions between my privileged identity, my ideals, and the world I inhabit, forcing me to confront my complicity in maintaining unjust power structures and to reevaluate how to go about changing them. My time in Cuba showed me that good intentions alone, and a desire for change, are never enough. Making real progress toward a more just future requires collective, not...

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Women Are Not Guys

When a society is organized around the idea that one group of people is inherently better than another, it goes without saying that injustice and unnecessary suffering will be the main result, with patriarchy and male privilege being the oldest living xample. Gender inequality is everywhere, from who cleans the house and takes care of the kids to politics, work, religion, and science, to the epidemic of men’s violence against women in the military and everywhere else. I’ve been paying attention to this for a long time, and have noticed some strange things about how it works. Perhaps the strangest is how systems of privilege manage to keep going while at the same time being based on complete fictions about who we are. Men are not better than women and never have been. Take almost any human capability and map it across all kinds of social situations and what you will find is that distributions for women and men overlap so much that differences among men and among women are far greater than differences between the two. But still most people hold to the idea that men and women are fundamentally and inherently different, with men being superior. I can see how this would happen with all the cultural messaging that starts from the moment we are born. If we believe women and men are inherently different, it’s because...

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Elizabeth Abele

The horse opera and soap opera, then, embody two of the most important American traditions, the frontier and the hometown. But the two traditions are split rather than fused. They show radical  separation between business and society, between action and feeling, office and home, between men and women, which is so characteristic of industrial man. These divisions cannot be mended until their fullest extent is perceived. —Marshall McLuhan, The Mechanical Bride, 1951 From a half century ago when Marshall McLuhan first published The Mechanical Bride until today, depictions of the male hero in American popular culture have followed a winding road. It has included a number of detours along the way including the hysterical glorification of American manhood in the 1950s, the dark cynicism of post-Vietnam/post-Watergate America in the 1970s, and the reactionary recuperation of victory during the Reagan era. The common theme of these widely disparate texts is determining a man’s true responsibility to society, his family and himself: in other words, an attempt to answer that American command of “what a man’s gotta do.” Cultural critics such as McLuhan, D. H. Lawrence, Leslie Fiedler, Michael Kimmel, and Jane Tompkins have noted American popular culture’s long preference for the hero who avoids romance and personal entanglements, putting duty before his own desires. However, since the late 1980s, Hollywood has regularly presented heroic figures equally  capable of romance, commitment,...

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Allan G Johnson

Dartmouth College, my alma mater, was in the news not long ago along with a number of prominent colleges and universities being investigated for ‘mishandling’ cases of sexual assault. I have no doubt that most campuses would fall into this category if anyone bothered to take a look, but the Dartmouth news is significant for me because that is where I began my education about manhood and sexual violence. Dartmouth was an all-male school when I began my first year. In late fall, dorm residents who’d been accepted to fraternities were preparing for ‘sink night,’ a celebration of newfound brotherhood. They came around to our rooms and warned us not to lock our doors when we went to bed because they intended to pay us a visit. We had no idea what was coming, but there was no mistaking the familiar weight of men’s potential for violence. When they returned late that night, screaming drunk, they went from door to door, rousting us from our beds and herding us into the hall. They lined us up and ordered us to drop our pants. Then one held a metal ruler and another a Playboy magazine opened to the centerfold, and the two went down the line, thrusting the picture in our faces, screaming at us to “Get it up!” and resting our penises on the ruler. The others paced up...

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Rob Okun

Is our country so psychically numb that news of another “school shooting” barely registers? The day before the first anniversary of the gut-wrenching Newtown massacre, an 18-year-old male shot another student and then killed himself as a sheriff’s deputy closed in on him, foiling his plans to use a backpack full of weapons and ammunition on students and staff at a Colorado high school. The young woman died four days later. And, early in the new year more shootings occured in Albuquerque, New Mexico, West Lafayette, Indiana, and Philadelphia. I had already been on edge as the anniversary of the December 14, 2012, Connecticut tragedy approached. I found myself teetering back and forth between sadness and anger. Sadness that 20 six and seven-year-olds were murdered—along with a half-dozen Sandy Hook Elementary School educators—and anger that public officials and most of the media still largely ignore the missing link in this tragedy: the gender of the shooter. As if to underscore that truth, along came Karl Pierson, the assailant at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado. If ever there was a time to reframe the narrative from “school shootings” and guns to troubled men and young men it is now. Don’t get me wrong. It’s urgent we implement gun control legislation and increase mental health services. Indeed, it’s no accident that last year in the wake of Newtown and the...

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Man Prayer

May I be a man. Whose confidence comes from the depth of my giving. Who understands that vulnerability is my greatest strength. Who creates space rather than dominates it. Who appreciates listening more than knowing. Who seeks kindness over control. Who cries when the grief is too much. Who refuses the slap, the gun, the choke, the insult, the punch. May I not be afraid to get lost. May I cherish touch more than performance. And the experience more than getting there. May I move slowly not abruptly. May I be brave enough to share my fear and shame. And gather the other men to do the same. May I stop pretending and open the parts of me that have long been numb. May I cherish, respect and love my mother. May the resonance of that love translate into loving all women and living things. Love. —Eve Ensler To watch a short film by Tony Stroedbel of the “Man Prayer” being recited in a dozen languages (with subtitles) by a multiracial, multigeneraltional group of men and boys go to...

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Charlotte and Harriet Childress

We recently collected signatures outside our local public library for a ballot initiative supporting samesex marriage. Of the hundreds of people we talked to, most were supportive, or at the least polite. There were, however, about a dozen people who argued with us or condemned us—and every dissenter was a tall white male, older than 50, with no recognizable disability. While the majority of white males have rejected traditional top-of-a-hierarchy roles, when we look at the leadership of those who are stuck, most likely we find a white male. White male privilege is a universal concept that most people now understand. Political cartoonists consistently use images of tall white men when they want to convey a character who is perched on top—a politician, Wall Street executive, abusive boss, homophobe, sexual harasser, etc. We affectionately say this particular breed of white males is afflicted with PMS, a condition of being Pale, Male, and Stale. For centuries, white males have had the responsibility to hold up our traditional system of hierarchies, and have provided groups other than white males clear reasons to band together and push for equality. But now, this white male role is becoming obsolete. With the success of weakening the sexual orientation hierarchy, the country is well on its way to achieving significant rights for every major group in the country. There is now a critical mass of...

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Michael Kimmel

What Does the Men’s Rights Movement Really Want? “We can’t come off as a bunch of angry white men.” —Robert Bennett, chair of the Ohio Republican Party   One of the enduring legacies of the 2012 presidential election was the demise of the American male voter as a dominant force on the political landscape. The evening Barack Obama was reelected, a distressed Bill O’Reilly lamented that he no longer lived in “a traditional America anymore.” His voice was part of a chorus bellowing its grief over talk radio airwaves, the traditional bastion of angry white men. Why were they so angry? Voice Male contributing editor and sociologist Michael Kimmel, who has long been recognized for his study of men andmasculinity, spent hundreds of hours with angry white men—from men’s rights activists to white supremacists— in pursuit of an answer. The result is his latest book, Angry White Men: American Masculinity at the End of an Era (Nation Books, 2013). It is Kimmel’s comprehensive diagnosis of angry white men’s fears, anxieties, and rage. What follows is an excerpt. Is there method to their madness, some coherent set of policy issues, changes in relationships, shifts in gender roles that men’s rights activists want? The “Good Men Project”—a website that purports to be for such self-described “good men” but shows remarkable sympathy for antifeminist diatribes (alongside some pro-equality content)—recently conducted a survey...

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Micah J Murray

Not long ago somebody on Facebook told me that feminism elevates women at the expense of men and that its agenda to validate women emasculates us guys. He was right. For men, the rise of feminism has relegated us to second-class status. Inequality and discrimination have become part of our everyday lives. Because of feminism, men can no longer walk down the street without fear of being catcalled, harassed, or even sexually assaulted by women. When he is assaulted, the man is blamed—the way he dressed he was “asking for it.” Because of feminism, there are no major Christian conferences about how to act like men, where thousands of men can celebrate their manliness and Jesus (and perhaps poke fun at female stereotypes). Because of feminism, church altars and spotlights are often dominated by women. Men are encouraged to just serve in the nursery or kitchen. Sometimes men are even told to stay silent in church. Because of feminism, women make more money than men in the same jobs. Because of feminism, it’s hard to find a movie with a heroic male lead anymore. Most blockbusters feature a brave woman who saves the world and gets a token man as a trophy for her accomplishments. Because of feminism, women’s professional sports are a massively profitable enterprise where women are globally idolized. Men only appear briefly, before commercial breaks, when...

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Jackson Katz

Since the release of the blockbuster war-themed video game Call of Duty: Ghosts, the news media has been abuzz with reports of its aweinspiring realism and predictions about its reaching the dizzying sales heights of Grand Theft Auto V. (It couldn’t.) There has been nowhere near as much attention paid to growing concerns about the astonishing levels of interactive violence found in wildly popular shooter games like these, and what effect, if any, playing them has on young men’s and women’s belief systems—and psyches. Antiviolence activist and educator Jackson Katz, a Voice Male contributing editor, has long focused his work on the relationship between cultural ideas about manhood that are both established and reinforced in media, and the ongoing pandemic of violence in U.S. society. “It’s not just that guys merely imitate what they see,” he believes. “It’s also the role of media inshaping men’s and boys ideas about what it means to be a man, and how those norms contribute to violence.” Joystick Warriors, a new educational documentary produced by the Media Education Foundation (www.mediaed.org), moves beyond commercial hype to focus on the personal, social, and cultural impact of war-themed video games and other shooter games. Katz interviewed one of the scholars featured in Joystick Warriors, Nina Huntemann, to get some background about issues related to the film’s central concerns about militarism, violence, and video games. Huntemann, a...

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Winter 2014 Edition

Why Men Rape What Do Angry White Men Want? Raising Healthy Boys After Newton Twenty Tools to Further a Feminist Revolution FEATURES Joystick Warriors: Can Violent Gamers Find Peace? Jackson Katz Since the release of the blockbuster war-themed video game Call of Duty: Ghosts, the news media has been abuzz with reports of its aweinspiring realism and predictions about its reaching the dizzying sales heights of Grand Theft Auto V. (It couldn’t.) There has been nowhere near as much attention paid to growing concerns about the astonishing levels of interactive violence found in wildly popular shooter games like these,...

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Michael Kimmel

Hanna Rosin and the End of Men You’d have to have been napping – as those legions of stay-at-home dads often do – to have missed the hoopla over Hanna Rosin’s cover story in The Atlantic two years ago, provocatively headlined, “The End of Men.” Well, now it’s a new book that, I believe, will be misread. Rosin’s been called a radical feminist for celebrating men’s demise, and an anti-feminist for suggesting that women have already “won” and that discrimination is a thing of the past. I think some of this misreading is deliberate —people read with agendas, after all. And I think some part of it has to do with the way the book is framed by Rosin and her marketers. After all, the central thesis of the book is contained not in the big, bold, headline, “THE END OF MEN” but in the smaller print subtitle “and the rise of women .” I believe that the subtitle—and the subtext—of her work is entirely right, and the title just as surely wrong. I’ll explain in a moment. But first, a story. I’ve been teaching gender studies courses at large public universities for 25 years. Being a sociologist, and teaching large classes of 300-450, I often do little surveys in class. When I started, 25 years ago, I asked my women students what they thought it meant to be...

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