Men and Boys this one’s for you! I just finished watching the TedTalk by Jackson Katz surrounding gender violence issues. What are gender violence issues exactly?: Sexual assault, domestic violence, relationship abuse, sexual harassment, violence toward children. A.K.A as topics that are icky to talk about for me mainly because they’re so dang controversial. Double Ick. Now hold on a minute don’t X out quite yet, especially you dudes out there! This post isn’t going to be about the ins and outs of the gender violence issues but rather how men often get left out of the conversations surrounding these issues.
When I first watched this TedTalk I was completely overwhelmed with everything Katz had to say because there was just SO MUCH INFORMATION. SO MUCH. In order to help the info digest better in my hungry brain cells I wrote down quotes, aha! moments, and “I can agree with that” points. They are written below in paragraph form as concisely as I could make sense of them. You could also watch the TedTalk! In fact you probably should because I can hear your brain’s cells grumbling from here. Feed them!
Brain Relations: Gender violence issues have been seen as women’s issues because something in the human brain trigger “gender” to mean “women” the same way “sexual orientation” triggers us to think “gay”. Pesky brain. Somehow our brains take these labels steers them down a path to the least-dominant group (in our case, women). In these examples, the dominant group (for the sake of this post, men) is often left out of the conversations. Katz doesn’t see these gender issues as solely “women’s issues that some good men help out with but rather these are men’s issues first and foremost.”
Commonalities: What people forget is boys are affected by the men in their lives, who boys sees as their role model, harming his mother, sister, or another female in the home. He’s traumatized. Yet we as a society turn our heads to the young boy because we focus on the women who were abused in the situation not on the psychological health of the boy who was the witness to the abuse. What’s going on with these boys, why are we forgetting about them?
So to those people that are bashing the female leaders for taking a stand on gender issues and labeling the movement as anti-male you’re a little loco senor(ita). In gender violence instances both men and women are victims. That’s our commonality. This isn’t just a you issue it’s a we issue.
“The same system that produces men who abuse women, produces men who abuse other men,” said Katz. (see the daily evening news for evidence) A vicious cycle.
Societal Roles: As we all know several things play into how we as humans, as a culture, behave, and interact but for men a lot of these roles are defined by race, religion, media, family life, economics, sports, and peer-to-peer interaction also known as pressure. These “roles” define how men should behave in our society and being all gunho about something that has been labeled (again by society errr our brains) as women’s issues is to just not say anything, do not pass go do not collection $200. But you see guys this is the key problemo and a question I want to present is…How can men change manhood as its defined by society?