Category: 2012 Spring

Playing Games with Gender Violence

Gaming by Fivel Rothberg   “Games can introduce a new paradigm of learning where students are producers, designers, innovators and masters of content to solve problems and deal with complexity.” —James Gee, educator and game advocate   Can playing games help to prevent gender violence? They certainly have “significant potential” to do so, according to the Population Media Center, the UN Population Fund and the Emergent Media Center at Champlain College. “When the GAME is your life, will you… BREAKAWAY?” is the opening title sequence to the educational game Breakaway which reveals little about the game’s intent. Part of...

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A Practical Guide to Yes Means Yes

Books by Jane Fleishman What You Really Really Want: The Smart Girl’s Shame-Free Guide to Sex and Safety by Jaclyn Friedman is a wonderful antidote to all the magazines that try to convince young, straight women that their “Six Tips to Please Your Man” will actually work. Friedman’s book takes a radically different tack: encouraging young women of all sexual orientations to discover and communicate their own sexual desires. Going far beyond most popular sex ed books, the book invites readers to dig deep to contemplate and articulate her feelings about her body, presenting numerous exercises. In the chapter...

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The Guy’s Guide to Feminism

S is for Sports, Not for Men Only by Michael Kaufman and Michael Kimmel The Guys Guide to Feminism (Seal Press, 2011) is a witty, politically savvy, entertaining primer on a topic many men still struggle with—how accepting feminism actually can improve guys’ lives. An A-Z guide, the book features facts, faux interviews, and history. The authors, both Voice Male national advisory board members, have been addressing issues related to men and masculinity for decades. Each has spoken at scores of colleges and universities across the U.S. and Canada and are the authors of a number of books including...

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Living and Loving with Erectile Dysfunction

by “George” The issue of erectile dysfunction (ED) is too often an under-discussed topic among men. Men with erectile dysfunction often are ashamed, isolated and silent. In this brave first-person account of his decades-long experience with ED, “George” offers a moving story and pragmatic advice for both men and women. He notes that while “my article speaks solely of my experience in heterosexual relationships” he hopes others will share with Voice Male—and the greater men’s community—how ED affects gay and bi men. Twenty-five years ago I sought other “pregnant men” to share our hopes and fears about impending fatherhood....

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What She Knows: One Woman’s Way Through Incest

“I see a time when the silence around childhood sexual abuse has ended. When everyone, whether unaware, touched, or ravaged by this devastation, can speak and be heard. A time where all victims, survivors, bystanders, abusers, families, communities and whole societies will find a way through this cycle of violence—a way through to a time when every child is protected from sexual harm and is nurtured into wholeness.” —Donna Jenson The power of healing trumps the anguish of pain. Although playwright-performer Donna Jenson might say it differently, her one-woman play, What She Knows—based on her experience surviving incest—does just...

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Why Are Some Men Still Afraid of Feminism?

Men & Feminism by Michael Kaufman Giving Up is Hard to Do I am a strong believer that men gain a huge amount from feminism. It’s been a theme of my writing and public speaking for thirty years (including in my new book, co-written with Michael Kimmel, The Guy’s Guide to Feminism, see page 27). But, let’s face it, you don’t make omelets without cracking a few eggs. In this case, the eggs are the forms of power and privilege men have traditionally enjoyed: • In the past, we men only had to compete with half of humanity for...

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The Invisible War: Exposing Rape in U.S. Military

Film by Sharon Waxman Rape in the American armed forces is an issue that has quietly been gathering attention over the past decade. But it exploded with the power of suppressed fury at the Sundance Film Festival in late January at a screening of the documentary The Invisible War, a devastating indictment of the government’s inaction on the issue. Director Kirby Dick brought a powerful weapon to his film: victim after eloquent victim, Navy, Marine, Coast Guard, Army and Air Force veterans who were assaulted by fellow officers, supervisors or recruits. They tell their stories in courageous detail, and...

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Sexual Assault: It’s War

Randy Ellison Not long ago I read an article headlined “Stop Telling Women How to Not Get Raped.” Victim blaming and offensive, it set up the equation ass backwards. If we make women responsible for not getting raped, must we then think they’re responsible for getting raped? It is high time we focus efforts on young men and boys, teaching respect of others and holding men accountable for their actions. The next night NBC Nightly News reported on a press conference by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta on rape in the military. According to the story there were 3,191...

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What Kind of Man Am I?

Jason Sperber   The following is a list of stereotypical traits, interests, preoccupations, aptitudes, abilities, and roles, both silly and serious, trivial and not, historically associated and correlated with masculinity, manhood, and maleness via both societal mores and popular culture, which I, in my 37 years of life as a straight male, have totally and utterly failed to adopt, incorporate into myself, and live up to: I do not enjoy playing, either physically or via virtual statistics-based fantasy league, or watching, via televised broadcast or in person, sports, including but not limited to: football; basketball; golf; wrestling; boxing; hockey;...

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Donna Jenson

Speaking Out about Staying Silent   When I was eight years old, I never knew which night my father would come into my room. When he was done with me, he’d always say, “You tell anyone and I’ll kill you.” Petrified and ashamed, believing his threat, I never told anybody. This secret stayed buried in a dirt pile at the back of my brain. For 40 years. But now I tell. I started telling a few years before each of my parents died. My silence had layers. The first layer was fear. The second got formed from believing it...

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Breaking the Silence on Sex Abuse

Interview with Randy Ellison The statistics are hard to ignore: one in six boys and one in three or four girls are sexually abused before they turn 18. An estimated 20 million male and 30 million females are victims of child sexual abuse; 80 percent of people being treated in residential alcohol and drug abuse treatment centers were abused as children; more than 90 percent of perpetrators are known by their victims and 30 percent are family members. Child sexual abuse is pervasive in our society, yet it’s often swept under the rug, hidden and ignored. Randy Ellison, an...

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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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“I Wish I Had Done More”

By Joe Ehrmann   The reflective and regretful six words uttered by the late Penn State Coach Joe Paterno—“I wish I had done more”—could very well summarize what each of the men indicted or fired at Penn State must be feeling for their role in not stopping a predatory coach from sexually victimizing young boys. Arguably, each of these men is a “good man.” But that’s part of the problem—it’s not enough to just be a “good man”—you have to engage in what is around you and become a man of action. An involved man’s voice and actions are...

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Women Supporting Men Supporting Men

By Frederick Marx   I believe men need to enroll women in the work of supporting men’s growth. Men also need to help women understand how growing and healing men—how empathizing with and understanding men—better serves them. In fact, it better serves women and children and other men, too; it serves all of us. Consequently, nothing frustrates me more than hearing women deride the work that men do to heal themselves. It’s completely self-defeating. I served for a year as unpaid center director for the Northern California ManKind Project community in 1999 ( I took a call once from...

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Spring 2012 Edition

Breaking the Silence on Sex Abuse Manhood After Penn State White Ribbon’s Culture of Peace Living and Loving with E.D. What Kind of Man Am I? Still Afraid of Feminism?   Features White Ribbon Campaign: Men and Boys Creating a Culture of Nonviolence Rob Okun I Wish I Had Done More Joe Ehrmann Breaking the Silence on Sex Abuse Interview with Randy Ellison Redefining Manhood After Penn State Rob Okun Speaking Out about Staying Silent Donna Jenson What Kind of Man Am I? Jason Sperber Women Supporting Men Supporting Men Frederick Marx Sexual Assault: It’s War Randy Ellison Columns...

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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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