Tag: Rob Okun

Father’s Day Present Worth Unwrapping: Overdue Policy Advice

Millions of men will wake up Sunday to handmade cards, neckties and, maybe, a new electronic gadget. It’s Father’s Day 2016, a time to acknowledge dear old Dad. But beyond this increasingly commercialized dof purchasing manly presents (often overwhelming sincere expressions of love), lies a deeper, more important question: where is fatherhood in the United States going today? Answers can be found in the “State of America’s Fathers,” a new report that advocates increasing both the visibility and value of dads caring for children. Using never-before analyzed data and rolling out an ambitious set of policy recommendations, the report...

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A Brothers’ Journey

 By Rob Okun He’s gone. He’s gone. I kept repeating those unreal words on the half-hour drive home that rainy Thursday night. Since I’d been at a meeting, my wife was alone when she answered the door for the police officer who’d come looking for me. He had bad news: my older brother Stuart had suffered a heart attack and was dead. It was March 26, just a few days after we’d returned from New Orleans where we’d gone to meet our recently born second grandson. Less than 24 hours later I was in the Tampa airport meeting my 27-year-old son Jonah who had flown down from New York to support me on what I came to call “a brothers’ journey.” I was walking the familiar but strangely new path of the mourner. The sun was shining brightly Saturday morning when Jonah and I arrived in Stuart’s neighborhood. It hardly seemed like a place of death, this lush landscaped community on Florida’s west coast. Even though he’d died at home, when we stepped inside his cottage apartment, I could have easily convinced myself that Stuart was simply away for the weekend. “Sure,” he might have said, “you and Jonah can stay at my place.” We took it all in—the flat screen television; the books on the coffee table; dishes in the sink.Atop a pile of mail, a copy of...

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Wanted: Men to Change Masculinity Narrative

At Father’s Day this year, it was hard not to think about the fathers whose children were murdered in mass killings. My thoughts turned to the fathers—and mothers—of those slain in Isla Vista, California in the aftermath of Elliot Rodger’s misogynist-fueled rampage. Just as the Sandy Hook fathers felt the ache in their hearts, so do these men. Citizens around the country grieved, were furious, or shook their heads at the inevitability of it all. Another mass killing: six murdered and 13 wounded. And, the killer took his own life, leaving another grieving set of parents. Commentaries noting Rodger’s association with the men’s rights movement followed, as did sound bite analysis of his 137-page manifesto of hatred of women (and heterosexual men in intimate relationships). Amid all the sound and fury, two key points remain largely obscured: Despite the explicitly gendered motivation for his killing spree, the national conversation since the May 23rd mass murders is overwhelmingly still focused on gun control and mental health rather than masculinity. Men have again largely remained silent in the conversation. Yes, not all men harass women. And, yes, all women have, at some point, been harassed by a man.  If that simultaneous truth can gain traction among men—from the pulpit to the factory floor; the softball field to the corner bar, then there’s a chance, a chance, we can change the prevailing narrative about masculinity. It’s...

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Profeminist Men and “The Great Turning”

I’ve long believed that those of us committed to social change—whether achieving gender justice, restoring a threatened democracy, or healing an endangered planet—have greatest success when we accentuate the positive. The bad news seems to take care of itself. At the same time, every day there are committed people around the world advancing a counternarrative—promoting what David Korten years ago dubbed “the great turning.” I’m not suggesting we ignore bad news—Steubenville and Sandy Hook, for example, make that impossible. Still, the media (Voice Male included) have a responsibility to strike a balance and for the most part good news...

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Winter 2011 Edition

It’s Not Just a Game: Power, Politics and American Sports John Lennon’s Feminism Searching for My Father in Me Woman Can Say No…and Yes Real Men Take Paternity Leave...

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