Editor’s Blog

Male Student Athletes: New Profeminist Allies?

Rob : June 14, 2013 10:07 am : Editor's Blog, Front Page

Twenty two leading athletes sent a letter to the editor of their school newspaper at prestigious Phillips Academy in Massachusetts that said it time to speak out about sexist male athlete culture. The graduating captains of the football, baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, lacrosse, track, cross country, golf, volleyball, water polo and squash teams' letter said it was time for male athletes to become part of the solution in working for gender equality.

Twenty two leading athletes sent a letter to the editor of their school newspaper at prestigious Phillips Academy in Massachusetts that said it is time to speak out about sexist male athlete culture. The graduating captains of the football, baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, lacrosse, track, cross country, golf, volleyball, water polo and squash teams’ letter said male athletes must become part of the solution to create gender equality.

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. Continue reading »

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The End Days of Wayne LaPierre

Rob : June 12, 2013 12:21 pm : Editor's Blog, Front Page

The tears of Sandy Hook fathers are mixing with the fierce determination of Sandy Hook mothers to create a tribe of new social justice change agents: activist parents. Photo: Hartford Courant

The tears of Sandy Hook fathers are mixing with the fierce determination of Sandy Hook mothers to create a tribe of new social justice change agents: activist parents. Photo: Hartford Courant.

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. Continue reading »

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White Ribbon Day: INVITING MEN OFF THE SIDELINES

Rob : March 11, 2013 12:20 pm : Editor's Blog, Front Page

TAKING THE PLEDGE: Men participating in  White Ribbon Day  pledge "to be part of the solution in ending violence against women."  The commemoration is held each March at the Massachusetts statehouse in Boston. VOICE MALE editor Rob Okun is in the center (with notepad).

TAKING THE PLEDGE: Men participating in White Ribbon Day pledge “to be part of the solution in ending violence against women.” The commemoration is held each March at the Massachusetts statehouse in Boston. VOICE MALE editor Rob Okun is in the center (with notepad).

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. Continue reading »

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A Prescription for a New Valentine’s Day

Rob : February 12, 2013 7:40 pm : Editor's Blog, Front Page

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. Continue reading »

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

Rob : January 7, 2013 3:32 pm : Editor's Blog, Front Page

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 50 miles from my home. I have grandchildren of the same age as the children who were killed. So, I’m finding it especially difficult to listen to the latest national conversation about gun violence, because, like all the others, it’s being conducted in a way that guarantees that such violence will continue. Continue reading »

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Moving Beyond Men’s Killing Fields

Rob : December 18, 2012 1:34 pm : Editor's Blog, Front Page

Mourners gather last Saturday, December 15th in Newtown, CT at a candlelight vigil remembering the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings the day before. (Jason DeCrow/AP Photo)

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. Continue reading »

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I’m Mad as Hell at Conventional Manhood

Rob : December 6, 2012 12:39 am : Editor's Blog, Front Page

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. Continue reading »

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Romney and Kid Rock: An Unholy Alliance

Rob : November 2, 2012 9:17 pm : Editor's Blog, Front Page

Mitt Romney’s strange association with the misogynist Kid Rock is hypocritical and inexcusable.

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. Continue reading »

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Protecting Our Children, Educating Ourselves

Rob : October 26, 2012 2:23 pm : Editor's Blog, Front Page

“Healthy masculinity means educating our sons not just to treat girls and women and boys and men with respect and kindness, but to never stay silent in the face of those who don’t.” (Image: Glyness Hernandez, via AYEA)

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. Continue reading »

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Dark Knights Falling

Rob : July 25, 2012 10:30 am : Editor's Blog, Front Page

Now Can We Talk about Masculinity and Men?

Left to right: Top Row - Luke Woodham (Pearl, Miss., 1997), Dylan Klebold & Eric Harris (Littleton, Col., 1999), Steven Kazmierczak (Northern Illinois University, 2008). Bottom row - Charles Roberts (Lancaster, Pa, 2006), Cho Seung-Hui (Virginia Tech, 2007), James E. Holmes (Aurora, Col., 2012), Mitchell Johnson & Andrew Golden (Jonesboro, Ark., 1998).


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. Continue reading »

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Dancing to Uncover Codes of a New “Maskulinity”

Rob : June 25, 2012 8:18 pm : Editor's Blog, Front Page

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. Continue reading »

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One is Too Many

Rob : June 25, 2012 4:59 pm : Editor's Blog, Front Page

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: www.whitehouse.gov/1is2many

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Choreographing the Father-Son Dance

Rob : June 14, 2012 4:43 pm : Editor's Blog, Front Page























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. Continue reading »

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

Rob : March 8, 2012 2:03 am : Editor's Blog, Front Page

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 women’s health issues. Continue reading »

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Redefining Manhood After Penn State  

Rob : March 8, 2012 1:58 am : Editor's Blog, Front Page

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. Continue reading »

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Men and Boys Creating a Culture of Peace

Rob : March 8, 2012 12:27 am : Editor's Blog, Front Page

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. Continue reading »

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Manhood After Joe Pa’s Silence

Rob : November 21, 2011 5:35 pm : Editor's Blog, Front Page

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. Continue reading »

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Anita Hill Told the Truth

Rob : October 28, 2011 12:23 am : Editor's Blog

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. Continue reading »

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To Prevent Violence, Insist Men Stop the Abuse

Rob : August 18, 2011 3:03 am : Editor's Blog

In the drive to end violence against women, even well meaning allies can take a wrong turn. Continue reading »

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Fatherhood and a ‘Cure’ for Men Behaving Badly Syndrome

Rob : June 16, 2011 11:49 pm : Editor's Blog

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. Continue reading »

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