Category: 2017 Fall

Fall 2017 Edition

A Journey from Male Privilege Remembering Harry Brod Challenging India’s Marital Rape Law Ten Must-Read Books About White Masculinity and the Rise of Trump Features When Two Generations of Men’s Groups Meet Tom Weiner For three decades, Tom Weiner has been part of a western Massachusetts men’s group (that’s been meeting for even longer). He is currently writing a book about men’s and women’s support groups, emphasizing the purposes they serve for their members and their role in society. Gender, War, and Male “Disadvantage” By Michael Flood and David Duriesmith Men’s rights advocates (MRAs) complain that war is an...

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2017 Fall: Men @ Work

Transgender Leadership Initiative Eight organizations in six states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico were awarded AIDS United’s demonstration grants to increase transgender leadership within organizations, in community planning bodies, and in local networks to aid the response to HIV. Transgender women—especially transgender women of color—are more heavily affected by HIV than any other group in the US relative to population. Many barriers to good health face the transgender community, including violence and discrimination in housing, education and accessing health care. Often community leaders and policymakers are unaware of their plight. Supported by Janssen Therapeutics, the Transgender Leadership...

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Mail Bonding

Holding the Line Against the NFL The NFL Players Association, the union that represents players in the National Football League, is engaging in victim blaming tactics. They are fighting the league’s six game suspension of Ezekiel Elliott for domestic violence. The union is appealing that suspension and they have every right to do so. They do not have the right to blame, shame and attack the victim in the process. If you see any articles related to this in your local media, or national feeds, please speak out about this strategy. My fear is that if we don’t call out the behavior this kind of deflection and attack will continue. We demanded that sports groups respond differently, and the NFL is making progress. We can help shift the culture faster if we address these kind of public attacks on those who report abuse. Rita Smith Denver, Colo. The writer is a senior advisor to the NFL on domestic violence issues, and the former executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.   Engaged Fathers: More than a Dream Last year I was an intern at the NGO Sonke Gender Justice in Cape Town, South Africa. My research was with children whose fathers had attended the international MenCare program. It opened my eyes; I saw how important the subject of fatherhood was. I saw how important to them, important...

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Ten Must-Read Books About White Masculinity and the Rise of Trump

By Jackson Katz With the first anniversary of Donald Trump’s improbable election at hand, a torrent of books are being published that purport to analyze Trump’s political success and what it signifies and portends for the present and future of American politics. Many of these books appropriately address the “blue-collar billionaire’s” appeal to the ethnic bigotry and white nationalism that has long hidden in the shadows of American politics. But to date, precious few have correctly identified the central role played by gender—specifically white masculinity—in Trump’s rise as a political icon. This exclusion started early. The day after the 2016 election, The New York Times published a list of books to help voters understand Trump’s win. Not one title on the list foregrounded gender; only one, Strangers in Their Own Land (see below), discussed it in any depth whatsoever. If current trends persist, it seems safe to predict that many of the 2016 election books either will fail to discuss gender—outside of reflexive references to the misogyny surrounding Hillary Clinton’s bid to become the first woman president—or will minimize its importance. As a corrective to this systematic exclusion, I have compiled a list that attempts to steer discussions of Trumpism back to a critical analysis not just of whiteness, but of white masculinity. The books briefly summarized here offer an introductory roadmap for anyone—journalists, academics, political science students, armchair...

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Books

Healing My Life from Incest to Joy By Donna Jenson 2017, 383 pages Leveller’s Press Review by Lea Grover With a title like Healing My Life from Incest to Joy, you might think Donna Jenson’s new book would be a heavy, difficult read. But though she is honest and deeply human as she tells her story of childhood incest, what is most striking about this book is the joy. Jenson, a successful community builder and playwright, focuses not on the details of her abuse, but on the steps she took to build a life of meaning and beauty. Through her, we learn techniques of storytelling, therapy, and relationship building. She does not ask the reader to suffer with her, rather inviting the reader to heal with her. With a conversational tone and genuine friendliness, she invites the reader into her life, getting to know and love the friends who support her, the daughter who encourages her, and the diverse and compassionate “Family of Choice” surrounding her. This book is not prescriptive, not a “how-to” guide to overcoming trauma, but it is a detailed account of what helped Jenson, how and why she came to learn new tools for introspection and growth, and where any person could find them, should they have an interest. It’s the kindness of this storytelling that is so striking. Jenson does not pretend to speak...

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Poetry

The Road By Richard Hoffman Mothers with newborns in knotted slings, on their heads impossible towers of things, the old in carts, the children by the hand, these people crossing a cratered land are more than metaphor; but they are also metaphor. We are the truth to one another. Look: don’t wait for some historian’s book to understand this (then it will be too late). This is the unchecked power of the State, the end of empathy, the rise of Mars, the avarice that in the end mars all our laws and medicine and art. Show me one fleeing...

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The Soul Crushing of Boys and Men

By Kali Holloway It is impossible to talk about Donald Trump—his election victory, his personal brand, his public persona—without also discussing toxic masculinity. This is a man who brought up the size of his penis during a political debate, who bragged about using his fame in the service of sexual assault, who recently interrupted a call with another world leader to hit on a nearby female reporter. Trump rode toxic masculinity and racial demagoguery to the White House, and he continues to embody and inflame both as a key strategy of his presidency. But Trump is more than just...

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Why Does HIV Kill More Men than Women?

By Jonathan Hopkins and Dean Peacock When it comes to AIDS in Africa, there’s a simultaneous truth: men are far more likely to die from an HIVrelated illness than women, while women are becoming infected with HIV at a much faster rate. In East and Southern Africa, more than half (54 percent) of people dying of AIDS-related illnesses were men and boys, although they represent only 46 percent of those infected with HIV in the region, according to UNAID’s 2017 Global AIDS update. Why? Because fewer men than women get tested for HIV. Studies show that in East and...

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The African National Congress Is Not Profeminist?

By Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni How is it possible that the African National Congress (ANC) still thinks the battles for women’s rights and feminism are somehow different? Separating women’s rights from feminism is the reason the ANC claims to be a “nonracist, nonsexist” organization, but patriarchy is rife in the party, according to a gender rights expert. The ruling party and the ANC Women’s League recently came under fire after ANC Women’s League president Bathabile Dlamini supported former higher education deputy minister Mduduzi Manana after he was accused of assaulting women at a nightclub. Police confirmed they had opened a case...

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Challenging India’s Marital Rape Law

How is it that there is an exception in India’s rape laws that allows sex without consent—rape—if a wife is older than 15? By Durga M. Sengupta The Delhi High Court is currently examining this law and considering a legal challenge by NGOs opposing marital rape. Complainants include the RIT Foundation, the All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA), as well as the Forum to Engage Men (FEM), a group of men fighting for gender equality, and against marital rape. While many progressive voices fight to establish marital rape as an offense, the Indian government has taken an altogether more...

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A Committed and Vocal Ally

I first encountered Harry Brod’s writing in 1988, when he published A Mensch Among Men: Explorations in Jewish Masculinity. I was still in my twenties, and hadn’t yet fully grappled with questions about my Jewish identity, and how and where that factored into my profeminist consciousness and activism. Then I read Harry, and some of the authors whose writing he had assembled, and it started to make sense. I could find meaning and insight into my own personal struggles about being not only a “white” man looking critically at gender, but a white Jewish man, because he and others...

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Teaching to Heal the Wounds of the World

I saw Harry Brod for the last time in November 2016. We were in Green Bay, Wisconsin, together with Michael Kimmel, for a two-day event honoring Harry at St. Norbert College. In the evening, the three of us spoke in the auditorium where we reminisced like the old codgers we were. We spoke about the early days of profeminist men’s scholarship and activism in the 1980s and its evolution since. We shared our thoughts on issues facing us all today. Here was our usual pattern: Michael or I would speak for several minutes and then, in about ten seconds,...

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Mentor and Teacher, Colleague and Comrade

Photo by Corey Wilson for St. Norbert College. Harry Brod was a huge figure in the field of Masculinity Studies. And I don’t mean that just physically, although his size and girth ensured that at every conference, every meeting, he would be noticed. Harry was among the few scholars who managed to fuse his academic interests with his activist sensibilities. He resisted the arbitrary separation of research and activism, and as a result he was both mentor and teacher, colleague and comrade, to so many over the years. The child of Holocaust survivors, Harry was trained as a philosopher....

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Harry Brod: A Mensch Among Men

“As a student, I remember being struck by how deeply Harry cared about what he taught. It was obvious that being a teacher and scholar was more than a job to him; it was a way to create a more just world. It truly mattered to him that you walked away from a class not only with more knowledge about topics like consent, racism, or masculinity, but that you also left with a greater commitment to doing something with that knowledge. He challenged us not just to learn, but to use what we learned to fight for a better...

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A Journey from Male and Privileged to Profeminist and Activist

By Jon Greenberg After leading my students, all high school seniors, on a field trip to a local domestic violence (DV) organization to get a better understanding of intimate partner violence, I didn’t expect to be the one to leave with an epiphany. On the bus ride back to school, I messaged my ex, who had been with me through many of those thrashing years of high school and college: “Whenever I hear about methods of control in DV situations, I hear echoes of a younger, waymore- insecure me. I am so sorry you had to deal with that...

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Gender, War, and Male “Disadvantage”

By Michael Flood and David Duriesmith Men’s rights advocates (MRAs) complain that war is an important example of male disadvantage. They describe the higher rates of sex-selective conscription and the large numbers of deaths and injuries among male soldiers as a powerful example of how men are disadvantaged relative to women. This claim is flawed. Yes, large numbers of men and boys are killed and injured in war. But they are sent to war largely by other men, in wars supported more by men than women, and where traditional masculinity has been central to justifications for war. It is...

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White Men’s Uncharted New World

After an op-ed I wrote following the violent Charlottesville white supremacist march was published, I received an email from a man who described himself as a “white heterosexual and male conservative with strong Christian beliefs,” who added, “I live in a world…that is forcing me out.” Struck by his candor, I have engaged in a wide-ranging, respectful email dialogue with Dan, a small business owner from South Dakota, edited excerpts of which begin below. Continue Reading White Men’s Uncharted New World

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The Poison of White Supremacist Masculinity

By Rob Okun Like our slaveholding first president—not our current one—I cannot tell a lie: we must chop down the poisonous tree of white supremacist masculinity. I felt tears well up when I heard about the alt-right violence unleashed in Charlottesville on August 12.  Some of my tears, though, were in frustration. How is it possible after all the years colleagues and I have been writing and speaking about the gender of the killers—from Columbine to Orlando—that coverage of murder suspect James Fields. Jr. failed to point out the obvious: he was a disaffected, alienated 20-year-old male.  Sound familiar?...

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Magazine Issues

Fall 2017

Books

Voice Male: the Book