Violence and Masculinity

Two days ago I started Reading Jackon Katz’ s book ‘Macho Paradox’. This morning Mike Lousada shared the following article on Facebook.

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2015/may/20/concert-pianist-james-rhodes-wins-right-to-publish-autobiography

 

The article moved me to tears, as every article about abuse does. I cannot begin to comprehend the life James Rhodes has had.

 

Nor can I begin to comprehend the suffering and the torture other men and women have had to endure in their lives at the hands of sexual abuse.

 

I have a son and daughter and I think constantly about how to bring up two compassionate little people.  I read endlessly about child psychology and human behaviour. I want so desperately to create a world in which we can stamp out violence towards men and women.

 

Gloria Steinem once said, “We've begun to raise daughters more like sons... but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters”.

 

I has certainly brought up to be more like a boy, in my mother’s fight to give me choices and make me strong to face our male dominated society, she also taught me not to rely on a man. I acknowledge that along with my university education and my feminist peer group, I have grown up to see men as untrustworthy.  These sentiments trouble me greatly, for I have a wonderful father, two fantastic brothers and an amazing husband.  I now have a 3 year old son, alongside my 7 year old daughter.

 

My readings tell me to make her tough and make him soft, yet my intuition has told me otherwise. I see a society today in which I read about men feeling emasculated and women being accused of being ball crushers.  This does not create a harmonious society.

 

More recently I have been exploring essays on the feminine and masculine sexual superpower – allowing both men and women to act intuitively in not only their sex life, but daily lives. Not making women who want to stay at home feel inferior to working women, nor making men who want to open doors for women feel like sexist pigs.

 

I think the time in humanity has come to rebalance and bring the sexes together, for too long it has been men versus women.

 

Finally, after a year or so or having Jackon Katz’s book, unread, on my shelf, I picked it up. The revolution he talks of resonated deeply within me. He talks of western culture needing a paradigm shift amongst adult men with power, to create a shift, within their peer groups.

 

He rejects the notion that men need sensitivity training, instead they need leadership training.

Young boys and girls need to hold onto their sensitivity, not have it beaten out of them, allow them to feel the tears of sorrow. They need to be taught to lead, to be leaders of their own lives, to set standards amongst their peers, demonstrate standards of respect and compassion towards all human beings, regardless of gender, colour and sexual orientation.

 

We, as a collective group need to stop fighting against each other and come together to create a conversation. I understand that some white men resent being told they are privileged, when they feel so oppressed by the system they live in, they too need to be heard, for the system as it stands today is failing most of us.

 

 “In the end what will hurt the most is not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends” Martin Luther King

See his TedTalk below.

 

http://www.ted.com/talks/jackson_katz_violence_against_women_it_s_a_men_s_issue?language=en#t-1045754