Thursday, September 27, 2012

Men for Miss

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Here at school I get to work and know a lot of wonderful people. These people teach me so much, and in everything I learn I remember where I am from. I was inspired to write these pieces by my boss, and the Area Director (a professional who lives on campus and oversees the dorm life, insuring safety and wellbeing of residents): Logan Thurnauer.

He expressed to me how strongly he feels that for rape culture, domestic violence, and sexual assault to end, we have to engage men. On another occasion he defined a term I had always heard but never understood. He said: “Being an ally means taking responsibility for something you may not have done, because it is an injustice.”  To me, in the case of men supporting women in the struggle against rape culture, this means not all people (men specifically may feel prosecuted) are guilty of causing harm to women. Rape culture, violence against women, sexual assault, these are all big things that as an individual one may not be responsible for. What a person can take responsibility for in being an ally is the fact that this happens, it is an injustice, and if you are a man you may have more power in this society to do something about it.

Piecing these things together I realized that the way that men can be involved in this dialogue is by being an ally to women. Allies can support women through education and advocation. To understand the problem puts us in a better place to defeat it, and one voice can make a big difference.

As a way to help me better understand the part men play in the social ills facing women I am reading  “The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love” by bell hooks. bell hooks is a woman who considers men to be a crucial part of the feminist movement for equality. It caught my eye when I saw Logan reading it, and he quickly loaned it to me. Each week I will be posting about a chapter of this book: the main ideas and a review of the concepts. 

bell hooks starts off her introduction saying: "The male bashing that was so intense when contemporary feminism first surfaced more than thirty years ago was in part the rageful cover-up of the shame women felt not because men refused to share their power but because we could not seduce, cajole, or entice men to share their emotions -- to love us." Does anything come to mind when you hear this quote? How does this quote highlight the difference between men and women? What do you think of feminism? I'd love for any responses submitted as a reply to this blog or emailed to us at missmovement907@gmail.com. Next Thursday we'll explore the introduction and first chapter and the concepts of patriarchy and male love.

-Hannah Atkinson

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