Category: Editor’s Blog

Abundance within Despair: The Ways We Are Responding to the Zimmerman Verdict – By Chris Rabb

A member of Voice Male’s national advisory board, Chris Rabb is a national thought leader at the intersection of entrepreneur-ship, politics, media, and social identity. He teaches social entrepreneurship at Temple University and is the author of Invisible Capital: How Unseen Forces Shape Entrepreneurial Opportunity (2010).   In this public moment our nation is experiencing in the wake of the Zimmerman acquittal, I have seen a range of responses that reflect the many constructive ways communities can deal with trauma, most notably, nonviolent protests. And there are many ways to protest.    In addition to public rallies where people are sharing their pain,...

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Rob Okun

Moving Beyond Men’s Killing Fields There’s something happening here What it is ain’t exactly clear There’s a man with a gun over there Telling me I got to beware I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound Everybody look what’s going down “For What It’s Worth,” by Stephen Stills In the wake of Adam Lanza’s murderous rampage, men in particular must not stay silent. There’s an epidemic in “man culture” we can ill afford to neglect, ceding center stage to the narrow gun control debate. It’s encouraging there’s momentum in Congress to enact new gun laws. Let’s...

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Male Student Athletes: New Profeminist Allies?

VDay.org invited Voice Male editor Rob Okun to write the newest V-Men column where this editor’s blog first appeared. In a world where too many men stay silent in the face of discrimination against women—from sexual harassment to domestic and sexual violence—the public statement of a chorus of young Massachusetts male athletes not long before Father’s Day offers a sliver of new hope. Twenty-two graduating senior athletes from prestigious Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass. signed a letter to the editor of the school newspaper on May 30 that explicitly endorsed feminism. Saying it was “time to speak out” about...

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The End Days of Wayne LaPierre

I suggest putting a teacher in every gun store. —Jef Johnson The National Rifle Association’s public face, Wayne LaPierre, woke me up the other night. No, it wasn’t a midnight phone call; it was a dream. He wanted to know what I’d thought of “the speech.” You know, the insensitive one he delivered last December 21, just seven days after Adam Lanza shot his mother in her bed and then went to Sandy Hook Elementary School and murdered 20 first graders and six school staff before turning one of the weapons in his mother’s arsenal on himself. In the...

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White Ribbon Day: INVITING MEN OFF THE SIDELINES

WHAT ABOUT THE MEN WHO ARE TRYING TO DO THE RIGHT THING? That was the thought I had the other day after hearing what was intended as an innocuous joke. “If you took a vote on which is the better gender,” a female friend said, “men would come in second.” The wry smile that crossed my face quickly faded. Society is so often poised to castigate men that even those working to transform manhood and old school, conventional masculine culture are mostly invisible. A gathering at the Massachusetts statehouse in Boston on March 7th sought to change that. As they have for...

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A Prescription for a New Valentine’s Day

For me, Valentine’s Day is a teachable moment more than a holiday. It’s a perfect time to promote healthy relationships more than romantic gifts and candlelight dinners. Don’t get me wrong. I like a sweet evening out with my honey as much as anybody. I just have a hard time being dreamy-eyed if I’m simultaneously turning a blind eye to the outbreak of domestic and sexual violence still plaguing us. It’s a disorder very difficult to treat. Domestic and sexual abuse strains have long been resistant to vaccines of chocolate, champagne, diamond brooches, and bouquets of flowers. This year,...

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Fatal Distraction: Manhood, Guns, & Violence – By Allan Johnson

Voice Male contributing editor ALLAN JOHNSON, a member of the magazine’s national advisory board, has written several books, including The Gender Knot: Unraveling Our Patriarchal Legacy and the domestic violence novel, The First Thing and the Last. The article below, “Fatal Distraction: Manhood, Guns, and Violence,” is featured in the print edition of the Winter issue of the magazine. It is also featured on his website, www.agjohnson.us, where readers can see a range of his writings. As I write this, it’s been only a few weeks since the mass murder of children and teachers in Newtown, Connecticut, less than...

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Moving Beyond Men’s Killing Fields

By Rob Okun There’s something happening here What it is ain’t exactly clear There’s a man with a gun over there Telling me I got to beware I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound Everybody look what’s going down “For What it’s Worth,” by Stephen Stills (Buffalo Springfield, 1966) In the wake of Adam Lanza’s murderous rampage, men in particular, must not stay silent. There’s an epidemic in our “man culture” we can ill afford to locate on the periphery, ceding center stage to the narrow gun control debate. It’s encouraging that there’s momentum in Congress...

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I’m Mad as Hell at Conventional Manhood

By Rob Okun There are too many damn tragic anniversaries of men killing women. Pick any month and you’ll find them. Take December 6th— it was the 23rd anniversary of the Montréal Massacre. A man stormed into the city’s École Polytechnique on that date in 1989 and murdered 14 women and wounded 10 others. The mass-murderer who then killed himself, was Marc Lépine, 25—same age as Jovan Belcher, the Kansas City Chiefs linebacker who murdered his girlfriend and himself December 1st. Most of us expressed horror at this latest tragedy, but distracted ourselves with cries of “Gun control now!” “Reform violent sports culture” or “Shame...

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Romney and Kid Rock: An Unholy Alliance

By Jackson Katz 11-2-2012 Few eyebrows were raised a couple of weeks ago when the Michigan native musician Kid Rock introduced Republican vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan at a campaign stop in suburban Detroit, and Ryan returned the favor by calling the misogynist rocker a  “great citizen.”  The moment passed largely without critical commentary, as did a Rock performance at another Romney campaign event in Colorado last week. But in an election year in which issues of women’s sexuality, definitions of rape, access to contraception, and the future of legal abortion have played a prominent role—and the Republican “war on...

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Protecting Our Children, Educating Ourselves

Penn State. The Boy Scouts. The Catholic Church. Each institution has seen its reputation sullied by sexual assaults—rapes—perpetuated by coaches, troop leaders, and priests—not faceless, nameless men in trench coats, but the man in line ahead of us at the bank. Our communities are no different. Too, there is the horror of male students raping female students at Amherst College and a gang rape at the University of Massachusetts. While individual men committed the rapes, the institutions where they occurred bear responsibility for creating safe conditions for the young people in their care. If that weren’t enough of a...

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Dark Knights Falling

Now Can We Talk about Masculinity and Men? Even though it was–once again–a man who went on a shooting spree, the national conversation following the mass murders on July 20 has so far failed to focus on the root causes of this latest lethal outburst: men’s mental health and how men are socialized. Until we acknowledge those issues, we can only expect more tragic bloodlettings. The massacre at the Century movie theater complex during a showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colo., ended with 12 dead and 58 wounded. The shooter, James E. Holmes, was arrested and...

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White Ribbon Campaign

Men and Boys Creating a Culture of Nonviolence “From this day forward, I promise to be part of the solution in ending violence against women.” It was December 6, 1989. Angry that he’d failed to get into engineering school, a lone gunman strode into a lecture hall at the University of Montréal and murdered 14 women whom he blamed for his academic failure. A shock wave pulsed through every segment of Canadian society—from the classroom to the barroom. Two years later, challenged by the women in their lives to respond to all forms of men’s violence against women, three...

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Dancing to Uncover Codes of a New “Maskulinity”

For nearly an hour on a steamy night at the end of June an audience at a black box theatre in Hartford, Connecticut, watched as the dancers in Maskulinity: Unfolding Codes of Gender, explored manhood in transition in a series of choreographed stories about men’s lives. Inspired, in part, by the Dreamworld videos of Sut Jhally, executive director of the Media Education Foundation (www.mediaed.org), Michael Kimmel’s Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men, and the vision of Voice Male magazine, choreographer Ras Mikey C of F.I.V.E. Productions and Salix Productions artistic director, Lacey Byrne, and their dance troupe...

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One is Too Many

It’s always encouraging to see men with influence speaking out about violence against women. If you aren’t aware of the (One is Too Many) 1is2many campaign launched by Vice-president Joe Biden last year, this one minute PSA is a hopeful sign:...

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Choreographing the Father-Son Dance

Rain was gently falling overhead; clouds obscured the stars. I was safe and dry in my son Jonah’s tent. I turned off the flashlight and dozed. I was sleeping a parent’s weekend sleep—one ear open waiting for his safe return. Old habits die hard; I needn’t have been so vigilant. He had only gone in search of cell service to call his girlfriend to say goodnight; he was years past high school curfews. Jonah is our youngest and had recently finished college. As a graduation present we were spending the weekend at a writing workshop at a conference center...

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Where Are Men’s Voices in the Fight for Women’s Health?

Now that the public outcry has died down over the Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s ill-advised decision to defund Planned Parenthood (within days they reversed themselves after a blistering protest) there’s time to consider men’s role in the controversy. As a group, caring men were silent, ceding public discourse to the same intrusive men who have long tried to control women’s reproductive lives; men who, in seeking to destroy Planned Parenthood, politicized breast health. Yes, women were major actors in this story, especially including senior management at the Komen Foundation. But men’s fingerprints have long been all over...

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Redefining Manhood After Penn State  

Joe Paterno, the Penn State football coach who died in January just three months after a child rape scandal had stained his reputation, left behind more than a flock of adoring fans and a growing band of critics. His legacy now includes inadvertently energizing the movement to stop the sexual abuse of children. There’s more. That the heinous actions that came to light took place in the athletic world also offers a rare, national opportunity to raise questions about the culture of sports and the silence of men. Paterno did the bare minimum, reporting only one rung up the...

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Men and Boys Creating a Culture of Peace

White Ribbon Campaign It’s happened again. Another domestic violence death has rocked the Valley. We weep for Jessica Ann Pripstein, found slain in her apartment Feb. 20; her boyfriend charged with killing her. How can we comfort her family and friends? For all the vitally important work that’s been done to prevent violence in our community for decades – first by women, later joined by men – we know we can’t stop every abusive act of malice. The work Safe Passage, the YWCA, NELCWIT, Womanshelter/Companeras, and the Everywoman’s Center do to support survivors of violence; the efforts Moving Forward...

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Manhood After Joe Pa’s Silence

If learning the truth about what had been going on for years at Penn State University won’t move men to challenge rape culture, what will? For men, it’s long past time to leave the sidelines of indifference in the face of grievous acts of troubled men. The facts: Jerry Sandusky, former defensive coordinator under legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, was arrested on 40 counts related to charges he raped eight boys beginning in1998. Well loved Paterno, the winningest coach in college football history, and Penn State’s president, Graham Spanier, were summarily fired. And, the university’s athletic director,...

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Anita Hill Told the Truth

For those men who still don’t understand how other men can describe themselves as “male positive and pro-feminist” (as this magazine and a movement of men here and abroad do), look no further than what’s happened in the 20 years since Anita Hill testified that Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her when he was her boss at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The stakes couldn’t have been higher: it was October 1991 and Thomas, an African American, had been selected by George H.W. Bush to be a Supreme Court justice. For her part, though not auditioning for it, Hill was...

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To Prevent Violence, Insist Men Stop the Abuse

In the drive to end violence against women, even well meaning allies can take a wrong turn. Such was the case with a recent editorial in a small city newspaper in the progressive community of Northampton, Massachusetts, two towns over from where I live. Northampton has a rich history of working to prevent domestic violence, including longstanding collaborations among a variety of stakeholders from battered women’s shelters and the police, the district attorney’s office and, at 22 years, Men Overcoming Violence, one of the oldest batterer intervention programs in the country. “Seeking safety for women,” was the headline of...

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Fatherhood and a ‘Cure’ for Men Behaving Badly Syndrome

To follow the news the last few weeks suggests there’s been a virulent outbreak of MBBS—Men Behaving Badly Syndrome. But behind the lurid stories of privileged men acting with an audacious sense of entitlement is another story—men who do the right thing. Father’s Day is a good time to engage in a more nuanced discussion of manhood. We don’t hear much about the good guys thanks to the media’s maxim: dog bites man no story, man bites dog, big story. What broadcast outlet, newspaper, or Internet blog would highlight a father who stays home to raise his children when...

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A Call to Action: Men Speak Out About Sexist Media Coverage of Rape

In response to a horrific gang rape of an 11-year-old girl in Texas this winter, a collaboration among antiviolence men’s organizations and individuals long associated with the profeminist men’s movement came together to speak with one voice. The campaign challenges the media to rethink what has been characterized as “victim blaming” coverage of rape and sexual assault, urging instead coverage which focuses on the perpetrators. Voice Male helped to draft the statement, reprinted below, which was sent out nationally at the beginning of April, Sexual Assault Awareness Month. In the struggle o stop rape and all forms of men’s...

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Engaging Men in Discovering a New Masculinity

There is a struggle underway to define manhood and masculinity. It’s playing out in the halls of Congress, in pop culture, and in desperate protests to maintain an outmoded view of what our country should look—and be—like. It’s a story not being covered much by mainstream media. During the last presidential campaign, Barack Obama represented a break from conventional manhood; John McCain was its standard bearer. A year and half into his presidency, Mr. Obama is still seen as a sensitive and thoughtful man, a caring husband and devoted father, even as many of his policy decisions come under...

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New Health Care Law: Men’s Voices Needed to Support Women’s Reproductive Rights

In the midst of the celebrations that a historic key first step has been taken to fix the horrific profits-over-people U.S. health care system, men’s voices need to ring out in protest against any efforts to limit a woman’s right to make independent decisions about her reproductive health. Simply put, I urge men to join a chorus singing “No!” to the back room deal-making cut by Michigan Congress member Bart Stupak exchanging a “Yes” vote on the health insurance overhaul for a pledge from President Obama to issue an executive order prohibiting paying for abortions as part of the...

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Let’s Make Gender Equality a Year Long Commemoration

March has already been a powerful month for men showing support for gender equality. As the temperature warmed and the snow drops and crocuses began peeking through the softening earth, I felt a lightness knowing how many men are putting their shoulders to the wheel of positive social change. Here’s a glimpse into the editor’s date book this first third of the month: The Massachusetts State House in Boston was the scene of a gathering of several hundred men, young men and women allies on March 2 commemorating White Ribbon Day. Part of the international White Ribbon Campaign where...

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Why Men Must Challenge Violence Against Women

From members of the baseball team at the University of Massachusetts to the state’s Lieutenant Governor, Tim Murray, men are taking a pledge not to commit, condone or stay silent about domestic violence or sexual abuse. They are part of a week of activities that get underway statewide March 1 in advance of International Women’s Day on March 8th. A proclamation day gathering at the statehouse in Boston is being celebrated on March 2. Why should men get involved in what many have called a “women’s issue?” It’s simple: domestic abuse and sexual assault against women are community issues...

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Post-Super Bowl Reflections

What an image. With tears in his eyes New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Blees held his son, Gaylen, aloft moments after the Saints stunned the Indianapolis Colts to win their first-ever Superbowl. The boost to the city of New Orleans notwithstanding–even as the new energy that marvelous city feels can’t be overstated–there’s an important moment in the evolving definitions of masculinity that shouldn’t be overlooked in the midst of all the celebrating in the French Quarter and around the country. For several minutes it was a teary-eyed father looking into his son’s eyes, holding him, transmitting love and care...

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V-Day: Victory Over Violence

Originally published in June 2008. It was no accident that New Orleans was the site of the 10th anniversary of V-Day, a dizzying two-day celebration in April of the global movement to end violence against women and girls. The vibrant, pulsating city, though far from healed in the two and a half years since the levees broke, flooding the city in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, offered safe harbor for the slam poets, artists, writers, healers, hell raisers, and hope mongers—activists all in the struggle for truth, justice, and a new American way. I was part of the tribe...

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