Monday, March 26, 2018

Using traditional masculinity to challenge men’s violence against women 5/9

In the violence prevention field, the concepts of ‘real men’ not being violent and ‘being man enough’ to stand up against men’s violence have been used to engage men in anti-violence work. It has thus been a focus in some anti-violence campaigns to use traditional masculinity as a way of getting men involved. (Messner et al. 2015; Pease 2015; Salter 2016).  Although the aim is to redefine traditional masculinity, if traditional masculinity is a contributing cause of violence against women, then reinforcing this form of masculinity to engage men to stop violence seems fraught with problems. Goldrick-Jones (2002) asks the question about whether men can be allies to feminism if they retain their commitment to traditional masculinity which, in her view, is part of the reproduction of patriarchy. This is why the reinforcing of traditional masculinity in some anti-violence campaigns is an issue that must be addressed in discussions of accountability.

Within profeminism, there is an important debate about the extent to which men’s support of feminism requires a reformulation of masculinity or a rejection of it (Stoltenberg 1989. Connell 1995; Kimmel 2000; Baily 2012; Pease 2014).  I have argued elsewhere (Pease 2014) that constructing a new profeminist subjectivity for men will involve destabilising men’s identities as men and encouraging them to loosen their connection to masculinity and manhood.

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