Category: 2015 Fall

In the Cave of the Teenagers

By Freya Manfred In the cave of the teenagers our sons screech and caw in crow-harsh cadences until I thrust my head inside to beg for quiet: “What for?” they ask, narrowing their eyes at me as if they’d just sighted prey. I spy their father slouched between them, watching a movie with no women in it: twelve natives chase a daring naked hunter across the African desert, while he outwits and kills them, one by one. I retreat, closing one door after the next on the echo of tribal drums. I am curious how the hunter will fare, but all these male bodies smell like the musky hole I found on our hill when I was a girl of twelve: I probed deep inside with a long stick until a fox charged, snarling, into my startled face, and vanished forever into the woods behind a beautiful, blazing red tail. Freya Manfred’s eighth book of poetry is Speak, Mother (Red Dragonfly Press). “In the Cave of the Teenagers” appears in My Only Home, (Red Dragonfly Press) and her memoir Raising Twins: A True Life Adventure (Nodin Press)....

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Keeping Quiet

By Robert Bly A friend of mine says that every war Is some violence in childhood coming closer. Those whoppings in the shed weren’t a joke. On the whole, it didn’t turn out well. This has been going on for thousands Of years! It doesn’t change. Something Happened to me, and I can’t tell Anyone, so it will happen to you. “Keeping Quiet” by Robert Bly from Talking into the Ear of a Donkey. © W.W. Norton & Company,...

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Books

Engaging Men in Building Gender Equality Edited by Michael Flood with Richard Howson Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015 315 pages, £52.99 Engaging Men in Building Gender Equality collects a variety of global perspectives on initiatives to engage men and boys in gender justice, with a particular interest in programming and policy around the world. It addresses wide-ranging but interrelated concerns, such as violence, reproductive health, education, and parenting, narrowing in on more specific topics within each section, ranging from Maria Pallota-Chiarolli’s essay on male bisexuality to Abu Sufian’s piece on implementing violence-prevention education for men and boys in Bangladesh, and more. Its contributors include academics, activists, and organizers. In the opening chapter on the role of men in both achieving and impeding gender equality, editor Michael Flood, an internationally respected Australian sociologist-activist, and an occasional contributor to Voice Male, writes, “While some forms of gender inequality have lessened, others have worsened under the influence of transnational neoliberal forces, aggressively patriarchal religious movements, and other dynamics.” Accordingly, the book can be seen as a toolkit for individuals and organizations working to undermine these negative influences around the world. It’s broken into six parts based on different concerns: “Engaging Men in Building Gender Equality,” “Engaging Men in Ending Men’s Violence Against Women,” “Health,” “Work and Workplaces,” “Fathers and Fathering,” and “Boys and Childcare.” Of particular value are the global perspectives the book...

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Mail Bonding

Deep and Important I passed on the latest issue of Voice Male to a friend who taught at my father’s school in the 1960s, does deep women’s work here in Maine, and has spent much time working in India. She was very interested—in the articles on India especially. She has worked with Indian women, and also led groups of women there. Voice Male’s work is deep and important. She, like you, does not look at things superficially. You are a good model, for me as well as for many others. Susan St. John Owl’s Head, Maine Trickle Up for Change I’ve considered myself a feminist and pacifist since I was in high school in the first part of the 1970s. During Reagan’s presidential administration, I developed my own theory of social change—“trickle up”—and hoped that by becoming a psychologist, I could help people at the individual and maybe group level heal whatever distress they had that hindered them from taking effective collective action for peace, preservation of the planet, and social justice. I was delighted to recently receive my first issue of Voice Male. Back in the spring, I was looking through the Syracuse Cultural Workers catalog and saw they sell the book, Voice Male: The Untold Story of the Profeminist Men’s Movement. I gobbled it up, reading the whole thing cover to cover. I’d never heard of the...

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Fall 2015: Men @ Work

Coaching for Change After their parents, sports coaches have a major influence on many children’s lives. In the difficult arena of gender-based violence, it’s the coaches who need coaching. Enter “Coaching for Change,” a new program launched in Minnesota to provide athletics coaches with information and skills to understand and better respond to sexual assault, sexual harassment, teen dating violence and domestic violence that their young athletes might be experiencing. It then explores the social norms and messaging that help to create this environment of harm. It is through courageous conversations and teachable moments that coaches can positively influence boys and girls and can cultivate a team environment that supports gender equity and respect. The high school version of Coaching for Change was introduced by the Minnesota State High School League in August 2014 and is now a mandated training for Minnesota’s high school coaches—all 25,000 of them. A parallel Coaching for Change training for coaches involved with community athletics programs was released this April. This training focuses on coaches working with 10-to-14 year-olds and utilizes interactive scenarios and skills development appropriate for that age group. Both trainings take approximately 30 to 45 minutes to complete. The first 10 minutes of each is similar. The differences begin to appear in the interactive scenarios and proactive instructions for coaches to build the team culture of gender equity and mutual respect....

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What is Nonviolence Anyhow?

By Tom Hastings What is it, this nonviolence? Who gets to define it? A kindergarten teacher is nonviolent when she puts a vase of fresh flowers on her desk and smiles at her little students, right? A young man who publicly refuses to be drafted during an invasion of another country is nonviolent, certainly. How about an old man who writes a letter to the editor arguing for peace on Earth? And really, how about a rich man who makes money entirely by playing the stock market from his home computer? That’s nonviolent, eh? How about the police who...

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World Leaders Pledge to Close Gender Gap

Some 80 world leaders made a commitment on behalf of their governments to end discrimination against women by 2030 and announced they would take concrete action to accelerate change in their countries. The heads of state made their pledges at an event convened at the United Nations at the end of September. Ironically, it was the People’s Republic of China, host of the historic 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women, and UN Women, which cohosted the “Global Leaders’ Meeting on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: A Commitment to Action.” Commitments covered a range of issues addressing the most pressing...

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Joe Ehrmann: Courageous Enough to Be Vulnerable

When Joe Ehrmann, coach, pastor, activist, and retired NFL lineman, received a lifetime achievement award at a national conference on sports culture and domestic and sexual violence recently, he cried. Not a surprise for a man known for being courageous enough to be vulnerable, even in front of several hundred people. In the tributes below from colleagues who have collaborated with Joe for decades—and in his own words—it is easy to understand who this kindhearted soul is: a man who believes that expressing love and being of service to others are among the highest acts men can aspire to achieve...

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When Are Men’s Threats Threatening?

By Rus Ervin Funk The Supreme Court ruled in June that a man who used social media to make explicit violent comments directed at his exwife, coworkers, a neighborhood school—and the FBI—was not “threatening” because he didn’t intend his comments to be threatening. It is not my intention to argue with the Supreme Court justices on matters of law. What I am interested in is the implications of this decision. Anthony D. Elonis had made a series of explicit and very violent posts on Facebook directed at his ex-wife, including how he would like to murder her. In each...

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Why Black Males Need to Identify Racial-Sexism Against Them

By T. Hasan Johnson Racial-sexism against Black males takes place at every age. It’s institutional. Black male toddlers and boys often experience racial-sexism in school, where they are targeted as Black males based on conduct, learning styles, and productivity. And although many of us are familiar with how Black kids are discriminated against, we often don’t think of it as sexism (especially against boys). Black girls and boys are both discriminated against, but rates of common class verbal “punishments”—detention, sent to the principal, expulsions, even arrests, are inordinately highest among Black males (I also consider graduation rates, alternative education...

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A Gay Husband’s Open Letter to Kim Davis

Jim Obergefell, plaintiff in the U.S. Supreme Court case that established nationwide marriage equality recently, wrote an open letter to defiant Rowan County, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to all eligible couples. She cited religious objections to same-sex couples. The American Civil Liberties Union represented Obergefell in the lawsuit against Davis. In the letter below, Jim recalls that his late husband John Arthur’s dying wish was to have their marriage legally recognized by their home state of Ohio. Obergefell and Arthur had lived together for 22 years. In spite of John’s 2011 diagnosis with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the couple traveled from their native Ohio to Maryland to legally wed after that state legalized same sex marriage in 2013. But when they returned to Ohio to live out John’s last days as a married couple, their home state refused to recognize them as married for any purpose, including refusing to acknowledge Jim as a surviving spouse on John’s death certificate. The U.S. Supreme Court’s watershed decision struck down all discriminatory state marriage bans as unconstitutional. “I authored this letter, Obergefell said, “to send the message loud and clear that love transcends all else. It’s not Ms. Davis’ job to judge whose love is worthy of recognition. Her job is to simply uphold the law. Equality and justice denied anywhere means equality...

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Understanding Trans Lives

Respecting Identity and the Right to be Real By Damon Hastings Reading Zoe Dolan’s memoir, There Is Room for You (see sidebar), prompted Voice Male’s Damon Hastings to muse on the language we use to talk about transgenderism and sexuality more broadly. One of the most striking, and painful, details of Zoe Dolan’s memoir, There Is Room for You, addresses the sort of language we use to talk about trans people. In one passage, about a third of the way into the book, Dolan recounts an apparent bout of internalized transphobia—how she used to see cisgender women as “real,”...

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Can a Man Be a Human Being?

By Allan G. Johnson Since publication of my novel, The First Thing and the Last, a story of domestic violence told from a woman’s point of view, I’ve heard women readers express amazement that such a book could be written by a man. After giving this some thought, it occurred to me to try an experiment: to change “man” to “human being,” as in, Isn’t it amazing that a human being could write such a book. Could empathize so deeply with a woman in imagining her life. Sounds a little funny, doesn’t it. Because empathy and imagination, after all,...

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Domestic Violence Survivors Targeted by “Nuisance” Evictions

By Eleanor J. Bader To an outsider looking in, Alice and James would have seemed like a typical Manhattan couple, both professionals and parents of one college-age son. They had lived in their rent-regulated apartment for 25 years and, while James’s name was the only one on the lease, it had never occurred to Alice to ask the landlord to add her name to the contract. That is, until his drug addiction ramped up and things— jewelry, cash and bric-a-brac—started to vanish from the unit. Alice eventually confronted James and according to her lawyer, William Gribben, his response was...

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Abusive Men Describe the Benefits of Violence

By Chuck Derry For many years, I facilitated courtmandated groups for men who batter. In the early 1980s we were concentrating on healthy relationship skills building, emotional identification and selfcontrol, and anger management, among other related issues. Then battered women in Duluth, Minnesota, began gathering to discuss the impact of the violence on their lives. What emerged was that the men who beat them not only physically assaulted them, but also controlled where they went, who they talked to, what they wore, where they worked, if they worked, how the money was spent, when, with whom, and how they...

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Boys, Porn, and Raising Good Men

By Kathleen Kempke I’ve worked in the antiviolence field since 1980—in rape crisis centers as an educator, advocate, director and board member of two state sexual assault coalitions/ councils. As a committed feminist who raised sons, I know the work I do did not always make their lives easy. Mom was (and is) “the rape lady.” As teens in the 1990s, it meant they were sometimes teased, sometimes questioned and sometimes confided in (I can’t tell you how many late-night phone calls we processed about their friends’ situations at home.) The result was that they became amazing young men....

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The Three Scariest Words a Boy Will Ever Hear

By Joe Ehrmann It’s rare that a man makes it through life without being told, at least once, “Be a man.” To Joe Ehrmann, a former NFL defensive lineman, a pastor, and an activist-educator working on the transformation of notions of manhood, those are among the most frightening words a boy can hear. Ehrmann—who played with the Baltimore Colts for much of the 1970s and was a standout lineman at Syracuse University before that—confronted many models of masculinity in his life. But, as with many boys, his first instructor on manhood was his father, who was an amateur boxer....

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God Responds to Kim Davis

Voice Male magazine, a publication chronicling the profeminist men’s movement, reports that it has come into possession of a memo from God to Kim Davis, the Rowan County, Kentucky clerk who has refused to issue marriage licenses to any couples since the Supreme Court ruling affirming gay marriage more than two months ago. She was jailed for her refusal, claiming she was acting on God’s authority. What follows is God’s memo to Ms. Davis, made available by the magazine’s editor, Rob Okun.   To:  Kim Davis From: God Re: My Authority I’m writing to clarify my position on your citing Me as the...

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