Category: 2016 Spring

Spring 2016 Edition

God’s Letter to Lumpy Joffrey Baratheon Unbecoming a Man The Militarization of Men and Societies #checkyourboys Features HIV Treatment: Where Are the Men? By Dean Peacock Like the hundreds of thousands of men who die of AIDS each year in Africa, Reuben, and Sonwabo’s lives and early deaths remind us of the urgent need to address an enduring blind spot in our collective response to HIV and AIDS—our failure to adequately reach men with gender equality education and life saving HIV services, especially testing and treatment. Can a Good Man Rape? (Spoiler Alert: Yes) By Allan G. Johnson A...

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Unbecoming a Man

Some time ago, I was in a small men’s group, the four of us meeting every few weeks over dinner to talk about our lives. I had known each of them for years. One night we stop at a liquor store to buy beer to go with dinner at a restaurant that doesn’t have it on the menu. I’m at the cooler case, looking through the glass at rows and rows of different brands, unused to buying beer, unable to make up my mind. The other men stand by the register, waiting, until I sigh and grab a bottle...

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Reproductive Health and Rights Under Attack

By Jennie Wetter and Stephen Kent The international Population Institute has released its fourth annual report card on reproductive health and rights in the U.S., and the results are disturbing. Nineteen states received a failing grade and the overall U.S. grade fell from a C to a D+. “Inflamed by heavily edited videos attacking Planned Parenthood, the hostility to reproductive health and rights has reached a fever pitch in the past year,” according to Robert Walker, the Institute’s president. “There has been an avalanche of legislation—both proposed and enacted—to restrict clinic access and reduce funding for Planned Parenthood and...

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The Militarization of Men and Societies

By Rashme Sehgal Watching boys playing a game in northern Lebanon, close to Syria, Anthony Keedi, a psychologist working with the ABAAD Resource Centre for Gender Equality in Lebanon, heard the boys use the Arabic name of the fundamentalist group ISIL for one of their groups in play, and realized that all conflict resolution by these kids was done through violence. (ABAAD, which means “dimension” in Arabic, was chosen because ABAAD believes ending violence against women, poverty and inequalities in the Middle East and North Africa region requires working across many dimensions.) “The violence is internalized as boys are...

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Why Performing Conventional Masculinity Is Bad for Men

By Benjamin Spoer To answer the question why women in nearly every country outlive men, public health researcher Ben Spoer discovered that many of the behaviors traditionally associated with being “manly” are disastrous for men. 1. Eating Too Much Meat Is Bad for You Dr. David Bell, medical director of the Young Men’s Clinic in New York City, says, “As males we are taught to eat a lot, eat meat; not eat vegetables.” And if you take a look at food advertising targeted at men (whether overtly ironic or more subtle), he’s right. It comes as no surprise, then,...

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Feel the Bern

By Jackson Katz At first glance, Vermont senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders does not project the kind of masculine persona that so many men—white men in particular—seem to be looking for in their would-be presidents. He’s not physically imposing, he’s not a military veteran, and he wouldn’t look remotely convincing in cowboy clothing or accessories. On top of that, he was running for the nomination of a party that has failed to attract a majority of white male voters for decades. And yet despite all of these obstacles, Sanders attracted a passionate following among millions of white...

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Man Enough?

Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and the Politics of Presidential Masculinity By Jackson Katz Gender has always been a crucial factor in presidential politics. In Man Enough? Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and the Politics of Presidential Masculinity (Interlink Books, forthcoming 2016), longtime Voice Male contributing editor Jackson Katz argues that in recent decades presidential campaigns have become the center stage for an ongoing national debate about manhood, a quadrennial referendum on what type of man—or one day, woman—embodies not only our ideological beliefs, but our very identity as a nation. In the excerpt below from his new book, Katz offers...

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Report From Planet Nine

By Richard Hoffman Recently it was announced that a new planet had been discovered in our solar system. It was given the inelegant but sensible name Planet 9. Among its characteristics was its atypical orbit. A large part of the reason it had gone undetected was the inability of scientists to see the limitations of their assumptions about the forces at work holding the system together. I believe that, with all the best intentions, our mapping of the dynamics of sexual violence has ignored what our assumptions blinded us to, and with the same need now to reassess our...

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How Men Benefit from Rape

By Christopher Kilmartin In the days of state-sponsored slavery in the U.S., physical and psychological violence was used to justify and maintain the system of economic and social inequality that allowed whites as a group to exploit the labor of slaves and dominate public and private life. Although few participated in the violence—the most extreme of which was lynching—all members of the dominant group (whites, especially white slave owners) benefitted from the intimidation of the subordinated group (slaves), who feared becoming victims should they challenge what was considered “legitimate” authority (for example, male slaves could be beaten or lynched...

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Can a Good Man Rape? (Spoiler Alert: Yes)

By Allan G. Johnson A recent headline wants to know, “Can We Save Cliff Huxtable from Bill Cosby?” In other words, can we find a way to separate in our minds the “bad” man who rapes from the “good” man who never would? The question has some urgency because for so long it seemed that Bill Cosby was Cliff Huxtable, the lovable all-American sitcom dad, and now it turns out that we may have gone all those years not knowing who he really was. Cosby was only pretending to be the friendly face behind Jell-O pudding pops, the wonderful...

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HIV Treatment: Where are the Men?

On World AIDS Day, I found myself thinking, as I often do on December 1st, of two remarkable men, both of whom died unnecessarily of AIDS-related illnesses: Reuben Mokae and Sonwabo Qathula. Like the hundreds of thousands of men who die of AIDS each year in Africa, Reuben, and Sonwabo’s lives and early deaths remind us of the urgent need to address an enduring blind spot in our collective response to HIV and AIDS—our failure to adequately reach men with gender equality education and life saving HIV services, especially testing and treatment. Remarkable for the lives they lived, their...

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Mens’ Role in Ending AIDS

Spring 2016: Men @ Work Mens’ Role in Ending AIDS UNAIDS, together with the International Planned Parenthood Federation and Sonke Gender Justice, convened a meeting on the rights, roles and responsibilities of men in ending AIDS. More than 70 participants— including the ministers of health in Botswana, Malawi and Guyana, and the deputy minister of health for Ghana—gathered late last year to reframe the response to the AIDS epidemic among men and adolescent boys. Organized by UNAIDS, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, and South Africa’s Sonke Gender Justice, the meeting December 10–11 in Geneva, Switzerland, focused on men’s roles...

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Mail Bonding

The Voice Thanks so much for being “the voice” for all the men who are part of a men’s movement (by virtue of how they live their lives) but may not know it. Voice Male helps connect us all. Jim Hafner Hadley, Mass. No Coverup Editor’s Note: Last fall, after we posted on Voice Male’s Facebook page that the Fall issue was available to read online, activist-colleague Jonathan Grove commented: “So this mag is a VERY important one… AND, this cover… I don’t know who or why it was chosen, but we can’t be doing antisexism work while implicitly...

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Arrival

On my passport my home’s official name. Others are stamped in colors on its pages. Even the future issued me a visa. It cost less than it might have, more than it should. I seldom recognize myself in photographs. In the future I long dreamed of, silence would be peace again, as it had been once, long ago when it welcomed my voice, back when the birds in their chattering paused to hear what I might sing, and not this other kind of silence, in my carry-on in the overhead compartment, the bag of that silence in which a...

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Dear Donald

The editor of Voice Male magazine says he has come into possession of a letter God recently sent to real estate mogul and presidential candidate, Donald Trump. Rob Okun reports he received an email from the Lord requesting him to immediately and broadly distribute the letter. Donald, my son, I have been troubled for some time knowing you don’t feel a need to ask Me for forgiveness when you’ve done something wrong. And now, with your strong remarks to one of my staff, Pope Francis, I felt even more urgency to write. “I love God and I love my...

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Poetry

By E. Ethelbert Miller ARK OF WALLS (for J) We will all die in small rooms maybe no larger than the ones we live in. Space is as suffocating as despair. If we are blessed we will live with another as if waiting for Noah to take two more. Too many lives overwhelmed by floods of sadness and hearts of secrets. May we never become outlaws to love. SUCH HAPPINESS SHOULD LEAP FROM A DREAM (for Rebecca King) After the storm the old trees could be found sitting in a circle telling the children about the first rain and...

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Books

Gentle Men: May I Have the Next Dance? Review by Kristen Barber Sorry I Don’t Dance: Why Men Refuse to Move By Maxine Leeds Craig New York: Oxford University Press, 2014 230 pp., $99 (cloth); $24.95 (paper) Scholarly work on the body often overlooks men’s participation in feminized practices. Maxine Leeds Craig helps close this gender gap by studying both men who dance and men who “refuse to move.” She shows masculinity to be an embodied undertaking by looking at what sorts of men dance, as well as where, how, and why they do so. She also argues that...

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Book Excerpt

The Afghan Vampires Book Club By Gary Barker and Michael Kaufman Inspired by “Heart of Darkness” The Afghan Vampires Book Club is set ten years in the future. The U.S. and its allies had left Afghanistan and then returned to be mired again. After 200 U.S. troops are massacred by unknown combatants, one soldier, Tanner Jackson, is believed to have made it out alive. Through the underground world of neglected vets, British journalist John Fox tracks down the story. When Fox finally finds Jackson, he hears an impossible tale of war, violence, and revenge, but also a story of...

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You Can’t Talk to Women Like That

#Check Your Boys By Stephanie Leke You and your crew are on a boys’ night out at the bar when an attractive woman passes by. Your friend says something about wanting “a piece of that.” She looks noticeably uncomfortable but continues walking, looking straight ahead as she ignores your friend’s advances. You know your friend’s actions were inappropriate. What can you do about it? A new initiative wants to give people a way to call out sexist remarks by their friends. The idea, called #checkyourboys, came from an episode of “That’s What He Said,” a web series by Soul-...

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A Boy’s Journey into Manhood

My Girlfriend and the Bathroom Door By Kevin Powell In his 10 books, writer-activist Kevin Powell has frequently written on race and masculinity, including The Black Male Handbook (excerpted in the Winter 2009 issue), Who’s Gonna Take the Weight: Manhood, Race, and Power in America, and Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan, and The Ghost of Dr. King. The excerpt below is from his new book, The Education of Kevin Powell: A Boy’s Journey into Manhood (Atria Books/Simon & Schuster, 2015). In it, he recounts the horrific poverty of his youth, his struggles to overcome a legacy of anger, violence, and...

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An Interview with Bience Gawanas

Dismantling Patriarchy in Namibia By Anita Katyal Bience Gawanas is a lawyer who has held several important positions in her native Namibia, including her current post as special advisor to the minister of health. A lecturer on gender law at the University of Namibia, and secretary-general of the Namibian National Women’s Organization, she is chair of the Law Reform Commission, oversaw passage of the Married Persons’ Equality Act, and served as a commissioner on the Public Service Commission, and an ombudswoman in the Namibian government. Interviewed during the global symposium Men and Boys for Gender Justice, she spoke to...

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