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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » "Violence all men's problem"

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Author Topic: "Violence all men's problem"
LilBlueSmurf
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I was just reading an interesting article and wanted to share.

From http://lfpress.ca/newsstand/Opinion/Columnists/Gillespie_Ian/2006/02/18/1449241.html

I've always thought it wasn't my problem. I mean, I'm not a rapist. I don't beat my wife. I'm just a regular guy. So, when talk turns to sexism, misogyny and violence against women, I furrow my brow, nod my head and show concern.

But in the back of my mind, I'm thinking, "Some guys are jerks, but I can't help it."

Jackson Katz begs to differ. As far as he's concerned, I'm part of the problem.

"We need to set the bar a little higher for what it means to be a 'good guy,' " says the California-based activist. "Just saying, 'I'm not a rapist' doesn't quite get there."

...

"Our participation in consumer culture has consequences," Katz says. "And men need to think critically about how our consumer dollars contribute to a system that reinforces sexist beliefs and attitudes."

Now, just a minute. I don't buy Hustler magazine and I don't rent pornographic videos.

Mind you, I'm not going to rush to change channels if one of those Victoria's Secret shows comes on or that Sports Illustrated swimsuit special.

And, hey -- did you catch Halle Berry in that James Bond flick on TV the other night? Wow, is she hot or . . . .

Ummm, OK.

But I'm a good dad. Why, just the other night my sons and I were watching a bit of WWE wrestling on TV and we just had to laugh when that buxom bimbo Victoria climbed into the ring and . . . Oops.

Somehow, I think this is what Katz is talking about.

...

"There's a level of callousness and brutality that's entered the culture that was not around a generation ago," he says. "The coarsening of the mainstream media culture is implicated in some of the attitudes and behaviours we're seeing being played out by boys and men."

...

"The larger effect is desensitization and normalization," he says, adding that for many young viewers the damage is already done.

"In my judgment, healthy human beings should not be able to watch, even in a fictional context, people brutalizing each other without thinking it's a problem."

In the end, he says, even "regular guys" like me have to share the blame.

"If you yourself are not abusive, but the men around you are and you don't challenge them, then your silence is complicity in their abuse," Katz says.

"I think we need a broader understanding of our responsibilities as men."

Thoughts?

Part of this article rubs me the wrong way because it is STILL singling out one sex. Should men still hold the majority of the responsibility? Is it not our responsibility, as women, to stand up for ourselves? I think women are also responsible when they are silent when they are victims of sexism or witness to someone else becoming a victim.

If you're not part of the solution, you must be part of the problem ... Right?

[This message has been edited by LilBlueSmurf (edited 02-18-2006).]


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Heather
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Wow, is that a loaded, tricky question.

Here's the monkey wrench though.

Most violence against women is perpetrated by men.

But most violence against MEN is also perpetrated by men. And in both cases, that "most" is not by a slim margin. It is the overwhelming, vast majority.

Historically that's been so for always: culturally it very much remains so. So, this really isn't a men vs. women issue, nor one about what one group is doing to the other. It's what many men -- obviously not all men, and obviously there are degrees for those being violent or perpetuating violence; from the serial killer to the Dad who tells his son not to be a "pussy" -- are doing to everyone: women, children, other men.

I don't think victims of violence are ever "part of the problem." We wouldn't say someone whose house got ravaged by a hurricane was at fault for not having a better house, would we? We might say we could better protect ourselves from hurricanes by building and maintaining sound levees, well-built houses, yes. But we still wouldn't say it was our fault we were hit by a hurricane BECAUSE our house wasn't strong enough, and all the more so when the things to make a strong house were not shared with us, were not made available to us quite intentionally.

And violence -- by literal definition -- is the same way.

Is it our responsibility -- as victims of violence, no matter our gender -- to stand up or speak up? I don't know about that: I'm not sure why we have a "responsibility" to act in any given way when, for instance, someone has raped us, for instance, no matter our gender. As far as I can tell, it's our responsibility to survive and to heal, and often -- especially in our culture -- that's the very best we can do and we are often strongly barred from even doing that.

Might it be helpful, to prevent violence, to speak up about it, all of us? Yes, absolutely. Might it be helpful for us to all create systems and cultures and media that protest it more; that are less cavalier about it? Yes, absolutely. But again, if you gender that, that gets tricky because most of those systems and cultures and media are male-dominated, and not because women aren't trying to get in.

Oh, there are SO many complex aspects to this question, one could seriously follow so many threads from it for miles and miles.

Conversations as were held in this piece have been and still are held to some degree with racism (where again, I'm pretty sure you'd not say people who were lynched for their color were at fault for not stepping up enough), and they're nearly as tricky.

But ultimately, your last question there is SO tough because in order to be "part of the solution," the "problem" has to enable you TO help solve it (and NOT make victims responsible or be in charge of fixing things they just don't have the power to fix, very much by design) AND those who very actively ARE the problem or who enable it have to even view it as a problem, and take some ownership, to whatever degree is reasonable. From the sounds of things, that's what Katz is trying to do, and that's what this writer is also looking at some.


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Ikeren
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I don't like distinguishing between the sexes at all, in any subject. Forget feminism, lets go with equality. Violence isn't all men's problem, violence is everyone's problem. Not mine, not yours, not Joe who is down the road and abuses his wife, it is everyone's problem.

As for the victims versus the perpetrators; victims get the same right of choice that everyone else does. They can choose to speak up and protest. Or they can choose not to. Ultimately, nobody can take away that choice.

------------------
I am a 17 year old male practitioner of BDSMLNOPQRSTUV...
LeVay Satanism composes approximately 40% of my religious beliefs. I agree with approximately 40% of LeVay Satanism.
I am a sadist (60%) I am a masochist (40%)
I am bisexual, or bipermissive. (75% heterosexual, 25% homosexual).

I seek no conflict outside my bedroom walls.


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Beppie
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quote:
Originally posted by Ikeren:
I don't like distinguishing between the sexes at all, in any subject. Forget feminism, lets go with equality. Violence isn't all men's problem, violence is everyone's problem. Not mine, not yours, not Joe who is down the road and abuses his wife, it is everyone's problem.


I used to feel much the same way, but the problem with saying "down with feminism, let's just treat all people/humans equally" is that in a LOT of sections in society even the term "person" or "human" means men more than it means women. Just because you may not personally do this (and a lot of people do it without realising it and without even explicitly wanting to), doesn't mean that it's not a problem.

Furthermore, the fact is, there are issues that face women that just don't face men, particularly with regard to reproductive choices. Men don't get pregnant. Even if we develop technology that will enable men to go through pregnancy, they will never become pregnant by accident or as the result of a rape.

I agree that abuse is everyone's problem in the sense that it's something that we should all be concerned about. However, when it appears that MOST abuse, consistently and over a long period of time, is perpetrated by one section of the community, you do need to acknowledge that there must be some sort of social inequality going on-- and therefore you can't just start with an assumption of equality.

quote:

As for the victims versus the perpetrators; victims get the same right of choice that everyone else does. They can choose to speak up and protest. Or they can choose not to. Ultimately, nobody can take away that choice.


I think you are wrong there. I am very fortunate in that I've never been the vicitm of abuse, but I've listened to enough accounts from victims (many of them here at these boards) to know that they DON'T always feel that they have the power to speak up. Often they are threatened, should they speak up-- even if this does not happen explicitly, the very fact that someone has been abused means that the abuser was denying them agency in some respect, and in a lot of people, I am sure, the fear that they might do so again is always or often an implicit threat.

Ultimately, what really needs to happen, is society needs to become aware that abuse victims often don't feel that they have this choice, and to actively try to create a safe space in which they can regain the sense that it is their choice.

Unfortunately we are a long way from that-- I'm sure you remember reading recently on these boards about a young woman who was prosecuted and convicted because she reported her rape, and we have had users here on these boards report similar experiences, where they have actually been villified for being victims, both legally and socially. To say that victims of abuse always have a choice-- as though it's the same as a choice about whether or not they'll have lamb chops for dinner-- is not only incredibly naive, but also potentially very harmful in that it's inadvertently turning a blind eye to the very real limitations of choice that are placed upon a vast number of abuse victims.


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Heather
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One also has to bear in mind, Ikeren, that in any culture or community in which we are gendered and classed by our sex, we cannot simply disregard that, even when we would very much like to. Trying to evaluating or examine cultural problems which ARE very clearly gendered -- and most types of violence are very much so and always have been -- without taking gender into account accordingly is simply ineffectual. It'd be like saying one can do a decent job of evaluating a flu which is epidemic in primarily one area without taking that location into account.

(It's also pretty typical for members of a privledged class to have the sort of sentiment you're expressing here, because part of your privilege is for consideration of gender on your part TO be optional. For instance, in the U.S., caucasians may often say they prefer not to take race into account when considering social problems and issues: yet, racial minorities often do NOT say such so commonly because the experience is such for them that their race is ALWAYS taken into account/an issue, and they know full well that even when they'd like for that not to be the case, they don't get any real choice in the matter.)

And in such cultures, quelle surprise, we often DO see different behaviours and the like between the sexes: expecting two groups of people to behave the same -- or to pretend they even can -- in a culture in which they are NOT equal, and do not HAVE equality, certainly not as a group or a class, even if occasionally they do as individuals in very limited contexts, no matter how they behave, is also folly.

[This message has been edited by Miz Scarlet (edited 02-20-2006).]


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Ikeren
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I suppose this is another one of those instances where I forget to acount for culture because I refuse to be a part of it?

Beppie: I am not saying that women are treated equally in all instances. I don't deny that "person" often means "man" in some cultures. And I agree with you: There is a problem.

In your third paragraph regarding social inequality: I still agree with you.

What I feel is that the best way to adress this social inequality (which I will not deny), is not to say "This is mens problem." Or "This is womens problem.". I say "This is a problem. We should all try to fix it". That isn't an assumption of equality or responsibility, that is an assumption of basic morals and ethics.

As for being bound by fear, and fear preventing them from speaking up - indeed, you are probably right. The option of throwing caution and fear to the wind is always there; I've done it. Several times. Some of those times were mistakes, others weren't. I feel that fear shouldn't prevent you from doing what you want.

However, that is me, personally. Others probably don't have the exact same feelings as me.

So I'll assume you are right in every instance other then me.

I'll actually agree with your entire post (especially the part about me being naive and potentially harmful). However, I do not feel saying "This is mens problem." or "This is womens problem." Is the best way to go about dealing with this problem.

I'll even give reasons:
Saying this is specifically the problem of men creates another division between the sexes, when divisions are currently part of the problem.
Saying this is specifically the problem of women creates those horrible situations where women are villified for being victims.
Saying that this is specifically the problem of one group or another limits the number of people that may feel inclined to work on said problem.

Again, in adress to Miz Scarlet's post. I don't follow the rules of society. I treat everyone (regardless of sex) based entirely on their state of mind as and when I am able to percieve it, and their attitudes and beliefs. Man/woman is not a concern to me. What is a concern to me is the idea that abuse is all one groups (men's...) problem. What happened to working together?

I am not saying discount the difference.
I am not saying that man/woman should not be anybodies concern.
I am not saying that the problem should be looked at in cases of both genders.

All I am trying to say: Is why would anyone ever propose that this is specifically men's problem? Even if it was, can't women help deal with this problem as well?

------------------
I am a 17 year old male practitioner of BDSMLNOPQRSTUV...
LeVay Satanism composes approximately 40% of my religious beliefs. I agree with approximately 40% of LeVay Satanism.
I am a sadist (60%) I am a masochist (40%)
I am bisexual, or bipermissive. (75% heterosexual, 25% homosexual).

I seek no conflict outside my bedroom walls.


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Heather
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quote:
Again, in adress to Miz Scarlet's post. I don't follow the rules of society. I treat everyone (regardless of sex) based entirely on their state of mind as and when I am able to percieve it, and their attitudes and beliefs. Man/woman is not a concern to me. What is a concern to me is the idea that abuse is all one groups (men's...) problem. What happened to working together?

It's really hard to "work together" when the person you're supposed to be working with is knocking your teeth out or perpetuating things so that if they don't do it, some other guy will. And while that is by no means the case with ALL men, the point of this piece was that even men who are NOT those men start to look at what they DO do or MIGHT do to perpetuate those cycles, even without awareness of such.

Again, though, how nice for you is it -- truly -- that you HAVE that choice to consider gender only when you want to. But we do not all have those choices, and part of WHY you do, and I do not, for instance, is that as a man in a patriarchal society, you have privledge I do not, including the privledge to opt yourself out of these systems far more than I. (Though really, you aren't opting out, because what you're actually doing in enjoying these choices IS exercising that privledge, not refusing it: without it, you don't get that many choices. As well, I suspect how much you may opt in or out is going to change for you a great deal once you are even five years older than you are).

Did you read the piece? Because what was said was not that violence is only a problem of men: it was clearly said it is everyone's problem. Obviously it is: EVERYONE is victimized by it: that aspect IS very ungendered.

But. It is NOT ungendered per whose fist is usually flying. Not by a very serious long shot: it is, statistically, historically, practically at least 80% male, and that is a very broad (for instance, not say just addressing rape, which is about 96% male, last I looked, and also including emotional battering, which is more equally done by all genders, so that dips the wide percentage down substantially) and generous estimate.

quote:
All I am trying to say: Is why would anyone ever propose that this is specifically men's problem? Even if it was, can't women help deal with this problem as well?

What WAS said was that men need to be, as a group, far more ACCOUNTABLE for how THEY perpetuate a system of violelence in which their sex is, by an overwhelming number, most often those CREATING violence. That is not arguable, either. We have huge reams of data on this from a large group of reliable sources every year. We also have history.

Why can't women -- again, per usual, be AS accountable for behaviour which is not only often theirs, but which they are often VICTIMS of? Why can't they, on top of dealing with their victimization and wounds, and that of everyone around them (often including men, as men are also the victims of male violence by othermales), ALSO do some of the male share of the work?

Here's the thing: a lot of women already DO more than an equal share when it comes to violence. A seriously disproportionate share, really. If that and the above are earnestly not obvious to you, you're either being obstinate just because, or you just aren't very well-versed in very basic history and crime statistics, or...I don't honestly know. But this is all some of WHY Katz and the reporter were saying the things they were: to make clear that the problem isn't that women aren't "helping" enough, but that men, in his mind, aren't even doing close to THEIR share, especially given the fact that violence is, and always has been, overwhelmingly male in it's perpetuation, initiation, and execution.

Again: there's a flu epidemic, but 96% of cases are only in a small island off the coast of China, and it seems to have orinated in China. We need to contain and prevent it. How? Well, let's not start with that island, let's look at the whole PLANET to find out about it.

If that sounds like a sound approach to you -- and that is what you're saying here per men and violence --you're not thinking clearly.

------------------
Heather Corinna
Editor & Founder, Scarleteen
ST blogabout Heather & Scarleteen
I have come to learn that that which is most important to me must be spoken. - Audre Lorde


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Ikeren
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What do men do or might do to perpetuate those cycles, even without awareness of such? I am not aware, and I'd like to become aware so I can be certain I don't perpetuate abusive relationships by accident or lack of awareness.

I do not consider gender only when I want to.
I do not consider gender. Why on earth are you trying to label me privileged for treating men and women equally? I am pretty sure everyone has that "privilege" if they simply put their mind to it. Your problem is that the majority, of both sexes, doesn't put their mind to it; don't make use of this "privilege".

Are you honestly trying to tell me that A) Men do not have the choice to refuse to judge people based on gender or B) Women do not have the choice to refuse to judge people based on gender? ...

Okay...now I think I've caught up with you. You are arguing about social control and how society perceives thing, and how history has lent us to perceive these things (IE, our society judges people based on gender, thus we should too). And certainly, that may be how the majority things. And I suppose I'll even agree with you. I am "privileged" to not be thusly afflicted by society and judgmental based on such trivialities in the greater scope of a true person and human - man or woman. And perhaps you are right - society has too many leanings and influences that work to take away this privilege. And I'll completely agree that it is a problem.

What do we do to prevent people from adhering to the binds of gender based judgement that society places upon most people? I think we'll agree that it is a bad thing.

What I don't follow, is where does the lack of accountability lie? How men, who, aren't abusive, and who don't think men are better than women, perpetuate a system of violence created by men? I suppose this is where I am not quite figuring things out. Is a man who forms an anti-abuse group still perpetuating this system? How about one who doesn't form a group, but just regularly speaks against it on the occasions in which it comes out? How about a man who would simply never consider abuse, be disgusted at those who do, like the man interviewed in this article?

quote:
But according to Katz -- who is scheduled to talk about his ideas Monday at the London Convention Centre -- I'm the kind of guy who helps produce hundreds of thousands of abusive boys each year.

"Our participation in consumer culture has consequences," Katz says. "And men need to think critically about how our consumer dollars contribute to a system that reinforces sexist beliefs and attitudes."


A guy who does nothing helps to produce hundreds of thousands of abusive boys each year?

The article then goes to show how TV, the media, and society are in general, desensitizing men in general. Alright. I won't argue it. Perhaps they are.

What do we do to reduce societies influence on the average man? How do we change entertainment, or make men more aware? I don't watch TV, I won't attest to how violent or non-violent it is. The DND campaigns I play are quite violent, so sure, I'll say, I can believe that I am completely desenstized to violence. What do we do to change it? And why men? Can't women change mass media just as easily? I mean, it isn't like the change will be quick and easy to begin with it.

And I'll even agree with you: Men aren't doing their share and aren't aware.

How do we fix society/men?
Changes start with one person; yourself. Can you explain it simply to me, because, we'll say I am not remotely well versed in basic history or crime statistics, and I am a bit stupid besides. Let's consider me the sub-average 40 year old male who has been watching 30 years of violence. Like: Me, the real person, doesn't understand. I've tried to change society. I am taking a entire semester devoted to the subject. What is the course of action, and I still don't really understand the problem. People are desensitized to violence, which leads to abuse, while being condemned, not being actively enough condemned by men, and that is a problem?

How do we make men do their share? I'll be happy to contribute, but I need a clearly identified means and explanation of the problem.

------------------
I am a 17 year old male practitioner of BDSMLNOPQRSTUV...
LeVay Satanism composes approximately 40% of my religious beliefs. I agree with approximately 40% of LeVay Satanism.
I am a sadist (60%) I am a masochist (40%)
I am bisexual, or bipermissive. (75% heterosexual, 25% homosexual).

I seek no conflict outside my bedroom walls.


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Heather
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I'm in New York working with the ACLU very intensely this week, so I do not have any time to address of of this right now, by any means. I only have about five minutes a day to even look at the boards and make sure all is well.

But I wanted to leave that note so you did not think this was being ignored. I will revisit it when I am back home next week.

However, I am NOT in any position to deliver a whole history and primer of the relationship between men and violence as well as a primer on the whole of gender studies and politics to one individual. There simply isn't the time or the scope, especially given how very many people I serve and address in a day and how my time needs be spent. Essentially, if one wants to discuss these issues, the burden is really on them -- read: you -- to go do that homework and appraise yourself of that history if you are interested in discussing this. While it's a huge topic, it's really not very difficult to grab a few books, read through some general statistics and the lot. But that's really your job to do, if you want to participate and discuss this, the same way if I wanted to discuss molecular biology with a biologist, it would be unreasonable to expect him to explain the whole works to me first so I could discuss it. But you asking me things like "can't women equally control the media," tells me you're either playing devil's advocate, or you're just in no way versed as to a lot of serious basics per how the world works per gender (because, no, women cannot repair or control something in which they do not HAVE control, nor the agency, by design of the men in charge, to take control).

But in a word, this isn't about judgment per sex or gender. This isn't about social controls of men. (Ha!) Nor am I saying the problem is that men don't use the privilege they have: quite the opposite, actually. This is about the actual BEHAVIOUR of a given gender and sex, and the pervasive violence and aggression -- both covert and overy, conscious and otherwise -- employed and supported by men as a CLASS, not as individuals, which can only be employed BECAUSE of privilege and that privilege largely protected BY violence.

So again, it's not my place or anyone's here to give you all that societal or historical background per how you do or don't contribute. That's YOUR job (and things like this are part of the accountability per even simple awareness being discussed): hit the library, take some classes in gender studies or the sociology and history of violence/aggression, take a look at some statistics nationally and internationally. When you do that, it'll be a lot easier to have this discussion and participate in it on your part.


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Beppie
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quote:
Originally posted by Ikeren:

A guy who does nothing helps to produce hundreds of thousands of abusive boys each year?

Like Heather, I don't have the time right now to address the whole thing, but this quotation seems to be at the crux of your argument.

The problem is that "doing nothing" often equates to accepting the status quo, and not reflecting upon one's own behaviour. As the article points out, men who don't perceive their own behaviour as sexist or abusive still promote paradigms that allow sexism and abuse to occur.

Most people think that their opinions are pretty unbiased, that they see what is "natural" rather than what is "cultural." As such, they don't see a problem with a lot of their behaviour, and they certainly don't associate it with behaviours that they do think are bad, such as abuse.

It's actually really interesting that you mention DnD-- I play as well. I think that in the case of DnD, you need to look not only at the violence, which is fairly abstract when it's all aimed at undead, beholders and gelatinous cubes. However, I've recently been playing a male character, and it's quite interesting to see how difficult it is to play a non-sexist character, without slipping into any number of all too pervasive forms of hegemonic male behaviour-- and this is for someone who is fairly aware of and reflexive about her own biases!


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Ikeren
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Okay. Learn my history. In what regards? I know of the women's rights movements in Canada and the US to an extent (History courses in highschool, a couple books (A people's history stands out in my mind), and some other literature).

I do not think I support this pervasive violence and agression. I don't watch TV, I rarely go to the movies, the books I buy don't have chauvinistic or agressive themes. I am not abusive towards women and would never consider being abusive in any way (obviously, distinguishing between with consent and without it).

I don't accept the status quo. I just don't know how I can change it aside from changing myself, which I am already working on. Just give me a book title or two if you've got a moment. Searching google for "history of the relationship between men violence and women" gives millions of results. And I'll be honest. I am not well versed. The Ontario curriculums don't teach it, I've never randomly came a cross a book on violence, men, women and the media. I'll go out and buy a couple - but I'm no liar. I honestly know very little about this subject. I would like to try to learn. I should have realized asking you to inform me was absolutely rediculous, and I have now. But if any of you can point me to some good literature, I'd be happy to read up on it.

As for courses, I've got one now (a focus program called "Power to the People". I can tailor a single credit to whatever source I want. I was going to do it on S&M, but women's rights is equally important.

One of the things I would like clarified in one of the books is exactly what behaviours I have that do associate and link to behaviours such as abuse. If you can think of any books or articles that will qualify that quickly, I'd really appreciate it.

(The only reason I mentioned DnD is because it is the only media violence I can think of me getting...)

------------------
I am a 17 year old male practitioner of BDSMLNOPQRSTUV...
LeVay Satanism composes approximately 40% of my religious beliefs. I agree with approximately 40% of LeVay Satanism.
I am a sadist (60%) I am a masochist (40%)
I am bisexual, or bipermissive. (75% heterosexual, 25% homosexual).

I seek no conflict outside my bedroom walls.


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Ecofem
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I challenge you also to, first and foremost, focus on your immediate community. To me, this is the most basic and crucial part of understanding and fighting against such violence.

Ask female friends what kind of everyday situations make or made them uncomfortable or unsafe. Really listen, then go think about things at home before making any retorts. (Example concerns: I know of so many men who can't seem to understand why a woman would feel unsafe walking around alone at night. Or a situation where a male classmate who makes sexual remarks that other people seem to laugh off but are actually harassment.)

Call out male friends who make disparaging remarks about women (and these can be hard to notice when they've become so socially accepted/tolerated.)

Pay attention in class to see if male classmates seem less respectful or attentive to female classmates' comments.

Watch little clues in people's body language while walking down the street or in the supermarket. See if women tend to get out of the way of men coming, or if a man's posture gets more "aggressive" while a woman seems to duck away during an argument.

Etc., etc.

I think you'd find such observations very interesting as well as proof on a micro scale of living in a society of overwhelmingly male-perpertrated violence.


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Ikeren
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Alright. I'll try doing some of those things, and I'll try doing some of those things to a greater extent then I already am.

I've got a question. I know somebody who is well known for sexual harrassment. About 30 cases where he has gotten a little to close to young women in the last 4 years. I've tried to convince anybody who will talk to me to take him to court. I've talked to his parents, who don't believe me. I've told him that he is getting a bad reputation, he says he doesn't care, since he'll be out of here in a few months. And nobody has any proof aside from 30 people willing to say "Yes, this pathetic excuse for a human being grabbed my butt." What is the next step?

[This message has been edited by Ikeren (edited 02-26-2006).]


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Heather
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quote:
I've got a question. I know somebody who is well known for sexual harrassment. About 30 cases where he has gotten a little to close to young ladies in the last 4 years. I've tried to convince anybody who will talk to me to take him to court. I've talked to his parents, who don't believe me. I've told him that he is getting a bad reputation, he says he doesn't care, since he'll be out of here in a few months. And nobody has any proof aside from 30 people willing to say "Yes, this pathetic excuse for a human being grabbed my butt." What is the next step?

Well, you can certinaly file a complaint, in a witness capacity, yourself.

But ultimately? Very few people are going to be changed with harassment in most locations/communities for grabbing women's behinds. Again, the way culture tends to approach this is telling of exactly the sort of things we've been discussing here. Largely, the law is made by and held up by men. Largely, this sort of behaviour tends to be culturally viewed as, if not acceptable, not criminal, even though it technically is. Largely, this guy is probably right: his "bad reputation" will probably impact him very little, whereas a woman who did same would be GROSSLY impacted by same in most communities.

By the by? Per evaluating small bits of your own behaviour, you might want to consider using "women," rather than "ladies," when referring to women. Ladies is often a pretty patronizing term that carries some pretty gendered implications and assumptions.


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Ikeren
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Oh, I was always told it was polite. I can change that, no problem. No more ladies; all women. The words mean nothing to me.

I guess the only thing I'd still like is this.

quote:
One of the things I would like clarified in one of the books is exactly what behaviours I have that do associate and link to behaviours such as abuse. If you can think of any books or articles that will qualify that quickly, I'd really appreciate it.

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Heather
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A reading list I can do.

Some books I'd suggest to you are:

Backlash, by Susan Faludi
The Gender Knot:  Unraveling our patriarchal legacy, by Allan Johnson
To Be Real: Telling the truth and changing the face of feminism, by Rebecca Walker
Men's Work: How to Stop the Violence That Tears Our Lives Apart, by Paul Kivel
Men Doing Feminism, by Tom Digby
Why Men Rule : A Theory of Male Dominance, by Steven Goldberg

And hey: I think it's excellent, in case I haven't said so, that you want to take initiative with this. Big time.


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zeta
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Feels to me like there's some kind of confusion between individual and general in this argument?

I mean, an act of violence, rape or whatever abuse is the fault of the perpetrator. Obviously. And his alone. Never the victim's, not even a little bit, and it's cruel and crazy to tell her she should've done something different. There's nothing that you can possibly be doing that allows anyone to victimize you.

But the misogynist, violent culture we live in -changing that is not just the men's job. It's the culture we live in, and while a single woman as a victim is not at fault, that doesn't mean that women as a group have in influence over the culture they live in.

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I don't get even, I get odder

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Heather
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However, no one has said it's "just" men's job. This issue is not being confused in this regard.

The primary point through all of this, is, instead, that it is ALSO their job -- generally, even in anti-violence initiatives and activism, in working against domestic abuse and rape, most of those people working are often and have always been women, not men. The work towards ending violence has, in general, often been very unbalanced in that women -- the class who has been and is still usually most victimized by the violence in the first place -- have done/do a great deal of it, and men as a class, far less, even though men, as a whole group, are the group doing most of the violence.

Additionally, that given it's awfully hard to change a culture when you've a fist in your face (and that's pivotal, especially if you follow the logic through per what you've said about victims individually, and start adding up all of those victims and realize they MAKE a very large group, and that group is overwhelmingly women and children), and that that fist is vastly most often male, literal and proverbial, it would be extraordinarily helpful if more men worked for these changes, often starting with their own habits and the things they engage in/endorse/support -- things which, again, are far more supported and enabled by men than women -- which may enable violence, even if they temselves are not being overtly violent.

[ 03-22-2006, 08:18 AM: Message edited by: Miz Scarlet ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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quote:
that doesn't mean that women as a group have in influence over the culture they live in.
I wanted to say a little more about this.

An influence? Sure. The power to change it by ourselves? Nope. However, men, as a class, in our culture, actually DO have that power right now, and have for thousands of years when women have not.

Sure, we have a little more than we used to. But broad, cultural changes, especially in a culture like ours, are largely led by groups, based on:
- money/the consumer: who buys what, and who, as a class/group, has the most money to toss around and influence the market.
- law and policy: who, as a class/group is the primary driver in introducing, enacting and enforcing law and policy.
- availiability of time, personal agency AND the SAFETY to enact these changes.

And with all three, men lead. Men, as a class, still drive markets most, because men, as a class, have not only more money, but more available income, especially for leisure activities. Men, as a class, are still THE gender with the most positins and influence in politics, the justioce system and law enforcement. Men, as a class, are THE group who decide, and who have always decided, for instance, when a nation goes to war, some of the largest-scale violence there is. Men, as a class in this cuture, DO have more free time, DO have more personal agency, and DO have greater safety when it comes to making cultural changes.

Obviously, there are variances between individuals. There are men in the world with four children who they rear and support singlehandedly. There are men in the world, who, usually by basic of their economic class or race, have LESS agency, less safety, less power in law and policy. But as a whole group, it is men, not women, who have the toehold in ALL of the above. And that's a big reason why so much of the work women have done, and always have done, per combatting violence, has been as laregly ineffective as it has been. If men, as a class, made the exact same efforts women as a class have in this regard, it's pretty much guaranteed that things would be a LOT better in this regard than they are.

Too, you also have to take into account -- and I talked about this a little bit above -- that when you have so, so many victims of violence -- who again, are majority female (though, as a pacifist, I think there's a whole other conversation to be had about men being victimized by their own violence, and certainly, we have to recognize than male-male violence, while not what male-female violence is, is also massive), you have to bear in mind that all of those victims -- direct and indierect, and the indirect ones are especially pertinent when you bring mothers and children into the mix -- are nursing wounds. All of those victims cannot fairly be asked to work to change a culture when what's vital right now is just for them to work to survive and live through the violence that has been or is being enacted upon them. For many women, the "work" they do is trying to keep a father from smacking a child, trying to get out of an abusive relationship or helping a friend or family member do same, trying to just keep from being raped when walking down the street.

And that's no small thing, and it makes it VERY difficult to also do other work instead, especially when, as a class, you are often not even allowed to have any real influence or impact.

I guess I'd also perhaps ask you, per your last sentence up there, to think -- like the man interviewed in the piece this thread is about did about men -- about HOW it is you think women contribute to violence and violent culture. I agree, there IS work all of us can do, even if your gender or station limits us in some way -- heck, I've always personally done all the work I could regardless in this arena -- but I think if you really think it through, even making a list of ways you think men contribute, ways you think women do, and how that all lines up and fits with a lot of data and history, as well as the issues I talked about in this post, you might be able to see more validity in what was being said and suggested in that piece.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About MeGet our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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