Category: 2017 Summer

TRANS/gressive: How Transgender Activists Took on Gay Rights, Feminism, the Media and Congress… and Won!

By Riki Wilchins Photos by Mariette Pathy Allen Before Caitlyn Jenner became America’s most famous transgender personality, Riki Wilchins was leading the fight for transgender rights. In the new first-person history-memoir TRANS/gressive: How Transgender Activists Took on Gay Rights, Feminism, the Media & Congress… and Won!, Wilchins recounts the long and winding road of trans rights from the early days of anti-trans rights in segments of the feminist movement, to the murder of transwomen such as Brandon Teena, through the fight to include trans rights in the “Gay and Lesbian” community. “This was a story that I thought might...

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Summer 2017 Edition

Features TRANS/gressive: How Transgender Activists Took on Gay Rights, Feminism, the Media and Congress… and Won! Riki Wilchins Middle East Men and Gender Equality: Tradition and Modernity at a Crossroads Gary Barker and Alexa Hassink Masculinity, Machismo and Corruption Héctor Portillo and Sebastián Molano Will Men Ever Do Half of the World’s Childcare? Alexa Hassink and Brian Heilman Patriarchy Unmasked Robert Jensen Wrestling with “Required Masculinity” Carl Erikson A Call to Men to Embrace Gender Equality Abhijit Das Male Empowerment. Really? Maria Correia Where Have All the Good Men Gone? Emily Cataneo   Columns From the Editor Taking on...

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Mail Bonding

Middle East DV Delegates Meet Voice Male At the International Center of Worcester we work to promote citizen diplomacy by designing and implementing professional and cultural programs for international visitors sponsored by local and foreign governmental and nongovernmental agencies, private companies, universities, and individuals. Earlier this year, the State Department identified Voice Male magazine as a great resource to highlight how the publication addresses the role of traditional media publications in gender equality and violence prevention campaigns. Through the Center’s International Visitor Leadership Program, delegates from Algeria, Chad, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia came to the U.S. in...

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Where Have All the Good Men Gone?

Despite the work profeminist men have been doing for decades to transform our own ideas about manhood and to promote women’s safety and gender equality—and our efforts to advance a more politically engaged, compassionate and accountable expression of masculinities—many women and men remain unaware of our work. In the commentary below, feminist writer Emily Cataneo exhorts more men to show up on behalf of women. Men! Hello there, men! You nice guys, you soft bois, you f**k boys; you manarchists, you tech bros, you entrepreneurs; you politicians, you beta males, you alpha males. Are you listening? I have a question for you: Where are you? Specifically: where are you in the feminist movement? In the early 20th century, when women sought the right to vote, many of you were there to support the legislation that would become. But where are you in 2017, when seven states are now home to only one abortion clinic and our elected officials are questioning why men should pay for maternal healthcare? Men, we’re in trouble. Despite the perks of the more egalitarian world into which many millennial women were born, we need feminism today more than ever. So where are you, gentlemen? You marched on January 20, but where are you now? Where are the impassioned New York Times columns written by men about the importance of the feminist movement? Where are the...

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Male Empowerment. Really?

By Maria Correia Donald Trump’s unabashed degradation of women, as well as the risks to women posed by the new American Health Care Act, are a dismal reminder that the struggle of women for dignity, fair treatment and equal rights is far from over. Empowering women thus remains a human rights priority—including in the U.S.. But if we are striving for a gender-equitable society, a sole focus on women is not enough; we must also empower men. Of course, not in the conventional sense by giving men more power over women and over other men. Rather, by empowering men to challenge the prevailing social norms that lead to gender imbalances and by giving them the space to adopt new roles and behaviors as men. The need to work with both women and men on gender issues seems obvious. Gender is a complex human system and women and men are integral parts of this social structure. Both contribute to and are affected by the system. Meaningful change and disruption of the system requires both women and men. Empowering women and expecting men to follow is unrealistic. But challenging rigid gender norms, which have taken centuries to evolve, is not easy—particularly for men. Across societies, men are critically judged and assessed based on the dominant ideals of manhood, which generally means being tough, strong, resilient, exercising control over women and others,...

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A Call to Men to Embrace Gender Equality

By Abhijit Das Every day the news is painfully familiar. A man in the U.S. has shot students in a school or travelers at an airport; a gang of young men has had a street fight somewhere leaving many dead and wounded; a young man is arrested in a European country for being part of a terrorist plot that killed and maimed dozens; somewhere else, a man has raped a girl; a brother has shot his sister for planning to marry a man of her choice in Pakistan; a father killed his children and then his wife before hanging...

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Wrestling with “Required Masculinity”

For each man, one of the most persistent questions in his life is, “Am I a man?” or, more likely, “Am I man enough?” For each boy, the biggest question is, “When will I be a man?” or, “What do I have to do to be a man?” In Carl Erikson’s new book, The Challenges of Masculinity, a longtime leader of men’s support groups unpacks what he’s dubbed Required Masculinity, “the most enforced and expected form of masculinity in our culture.” Required masculinity is “rigid,” Erikson says, “in many ways harmful to men, to people generally, and to communities.”...

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Patriarchy Unmasked

In the excerpt below from his timely new book, The End of Patriarchy: Radical Feminism for Men, Robert Jensen challenges men not just to reject patriarchy, but also to embrace feminism. More than articulating a cogent argument cataloguing the terrible harm patriarchy inflicts on women—and its poisonous impact on men—Jensen shares his own awakening to feminism through insights he first began having more than three decades ago. He invites men to confront our fear of giving up privilege as a necessary step to take on the road to an egalitarian, feminist-informed future—a world where men can be free. Three...

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Will Men Ever Do Half of the World’s Childcare?

In June, when millions of families celebrated Father’s Day, for some the celebration was muted. In no country in the world do men’s contributions to unpaid care work equal women’s. And, at the current rate of involvement it is estimated it will take 75 years to reach gender equality. That is one of the findings in the second ever State of the World’s Fathers report released in Belgrade, Serbia, at a gathering just before Father’s Day that brought together nearly 100 activists, academics, and practitioners from across 50 countries. Globally, on average, the time women spend daily on caring...

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Masculinity, Machismo and Corruption

Héctor Portillo and Sebastián Molano grew up in Mexico and Colombia respectively, countries where corruption is normalized to the point where not engaging in it is not only considered rare but naïve. They say that their countries also have deeply embedded cultures of sexism and machismo, noting that their “personal experiences with sexism, masculinities, and corruption motivated [them] to explore how the expectations, pressures, and privileges of ‘being a man’ can encourage or deter an individual’s engagement in corruption.” The ideals men and boys are expected to live up to are called “masculinities.” Masculinities are socially constructed and reinforced,...

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From Absent Fathers to Involved Dads

Absent fatherhood in South Africa has been on the rise since 1996, when only about half (49 percent) of fathers were reported to be present in the lives of their children. On the African continent, only Namibia has a higher rate of absent fathers. Only 37 percent of fathers in South Africa were present in the lives of their children in 2015, according to data released by the government study “Statistics South Africa.” As a result of this high rate of absent fatherhood, women are bearing the brunt of raising children, and children are growing up without the positive...

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Daddy, Where Are You?

In 2013, Belgian hip-hop artist Stromae released the single “Papaoutai.” In the song, he expresses frustration with his absent father, continually asking in the chorus: “Où t’es, papa, où t’es?” (“Daddy, where are you?”). In the accompanying music video, a young boy tries to reach his unresponsive father. The boy claims that though everyone knows how to make babies, nobody appears to know how to “make fathers.” Tragically, the boy is unable to connect with his father, and in the end we see him becoming like his father: absent, uninvolved, and unresponsive. The video not only alludes to the...

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Middle East Men and Gender Equality: Tradition and Modernity at a Crossroads

That was a key finding of a new survey that directed a wide-angle, comparative lens on the lives of men—as sons and husbands and fathers, at home and at work, in public and private life. The study of nearly 10,000 individuals discovered manhood in the region is at a crossroads. Will more men move toward gender equality or adhere to the more patriarchal views of their fathers? The survey participants were from Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, and the Palestine Territories. The International Men and Gender Equality Survey: Middle East and North Africa (IMAGES MENA) was launched in May in Beirut,...

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The Tragedies of Black Masculinity

I remember the feeling I had when I saw the text come in from a friend back home. The text read, “Y’all hear about North Park Elementary?” All I could do was think about the feeling I had in the pit of my stomach when I got the same text about the terrorist attack that took place in my hometown of San Bernardino, Calif., back in 2015. My friend followed up the first text with more information about how gunman Cedric Anderson went into his estranged wife’s elementary school classroom and took not only her life but also those...

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Taking on the Misogyny of a Failed President

Photo by Samantha Sophia By Rob Okun The white male bully temporarily occupying the White House represents the worst expression of manhood the U.S. has ever seen, but that dangerous truth is being obscured by so many of his other treacherous actions. Millions of words have been written excoriating the questionably elected president on a host of topics — from denying climate change to restricting minority voting rights; from sanctioning draconian drug laws to promoting harsh prison sentences for nonviolent offenders. Almost entirely absent in this blizzard of assaults on social progress is the predator-in- chief’s misogyny. A virtual...

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