27 November 2012

Week 11: Bystander Intervention Workshop!

Hey Everyone,

I'm really excited for this week's session!  We're going to be focusing on the idea of bystander intervention, which basically is the idea that in our daily lives we have opportunities to interrupt oppressive situations.  How do you decide when to act and what to say/do? 

Bystander skills can be really helpful because we have all been in situations where we want to say something or "intervene" in bad situations.  We'll go over some possible scenarios and workshop different approaches to diffuse the situation.  Also, we'll discuss how our own ideas about masculinity play into the ways that men interrupt these situations.  Cool?  To get the gears turning, check out this video clip from "What Would You Do?":

07 November 2012

Week 10: Disrupting Rape Culture

Hey everyone,

This week we'll be delving into the idea of "Rape Culture", what it means, it's potential to change the societal discourse on sexual violence, and the potential to disrupt it. 

The idea of rape culture is best explained (in my opinion) by the folks at FORCE: Upsetting a Rape Culture, check it out here:

What does rape culture look like?  The people over at the Yes Means Yes blog ran the Ben Roethlisberger rape case throught the lens of rape culture, here's what it looks like:
Tonight we'll be going through the concept of rape culture and examine how it shows up in media, politics, policies, and in college culture.  See you all at 6!

29 October 2012

Week 9: The Power of Porn

Hey Guys,

So this week is an open session and will be held on Monday (tonight) instead of Wednesday (Halloween).  Same time, same place.  We'll be focusing on the role of pornography and how it affects our lives and relationships.  Chirs Leck from the CSU Counseling Center will be joining us and I can't say enough good things about this guy.  He knows his stuff when it comes to masculinity, gender, and porn.

Feel free to invite friends, partners, roommates, whoever! 

This is a really cool website that we'll talk about tonight so feel free to browse around and see what you can learn!

23 October 2012

Week 8: Intro to Sexual Violence

Hey everyone,

Since last week we postponed the topic of sexual violence to go see Zach Whals (which hopefully was awesome for those of you who went, I thought he did a great job).

The topic of sexual violence, as many of you already know, is a very difficult subject to talk about.  I want to first say that taking care of yourself is the #1 priority.  If people feel that this subject is going to be triggering for them, please do what you need to make sure your needs are met.  If that means not being able to make it to this session then that's ok.  But I would love to see lots of people there because this is such an important topic!

Men enter the conversation of sexual assault in a couple different ways.  The first is as survivors, either from childhood or adulthood.  1 in 6 men are surviors of sexual violence and many are victimized before the age of 14.  The following clip is an excerpt from a really great documentary called "Boys and Men Healing".  It gets at some of the complexities that men face who have been sexually assaulted.

Boys and Men Healing 
In addition, gay and transmen experience sexual violence at a higher rate than cisgender or straight men.  In many cases the perpetrator may identify as a straight male.  Accessing resources and holding perpetrators accountable can be additionally difficult for the LGBTQ population because many resources come from a heteronormative paradigm and LGBTQ survivors report that our current resources and systems often do not address the dynamics of sexual violence in these communities.  Here's a quick fact sheet on how LGBTQ people experience sexual violence differently:
Another ways that men enter this conversation is as secondary survivors.  A secondary survivor is someone who is affected by the victimization of a loved one, this can often times be a sibling, partner, or friend.  We'll spend some time talking about how to be a good support if people disclose to you and what resources are available to secondary survivors as well.
Lastly, as many of you know, a vast majority of sexual violence is committed by men (against people of all genders).  98% of perpetrators are men which shows how starkly gendered this form of violence is.  For this reason we may use gendered language (e.g. when referring to a perpetrator we may use "he" and "him", and a victim as "she" and "her").  This language reflects the reality of how sexual violence often occurs, but this does not mean that women cannot be perpetrators, men cannot be victims, or that all perpetrators are men. 
This last point is where we as men, of any background or identity, can leverage our male privilege to help change male culture to be less supportive of this type of behavior.  We'll spend some time going over how a "rape supportive culture" or "rape culture" operates.  This is basically the idea that we can expect a certain level of sexual violence, that it is not a deviation to the norm, but the norm itself.  In culture where 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men are victims of sexual assault we have to start analyzing how this violence is enabled, via media, cultural messages, and contemporary constuctions of masculinity.  This is a lot of ground to cover so we'll most likely spend two sessions on it. 
Lastly, after tomorrow's session we'll be having our next "open session" or what we call "Men in the Movement Presents...".  It will be on Monday because next Wednesday is Halloween (and no one wants to go to a program on Halloween, including myself).  We'll talk about the open session a bit tomorrow but I have fliers for everyone to pass out if they want to invite friends.
See you all tomorrow!

16 October 2012

Week 7: Masculinity and Homophobia

So we're gonna change things up a bit this week.  Josef brought up the idea of going to see Zach Wahls speak on Wednesday evening at 7:00.  Some of you may recognize Zach because a video of him speaking to the Iowa House Judiciary Committee went viral (link to video).  Zach was raised by two lesbian parents and is a vocal advocate for GLBQ equality.

Zach is speaking in the LSC theatre as part of GLBT history month and I think this is a perfect time to dig into the ways that conventional manhood drives homophobia.  I was thinking that we could still meet at 6:00, talk about masculinity and homophobia, then head to the theatre to support this event. 

The reading below is one of the better one's that I've found that directly links masculinity to homophobia and it's only 5 pages.  If you all could take the time to do the short reading and try and show up at 6:00 we could still get a good discussion in before the event. 

Also, we were planning on meeting about the plaza event on October 23rd after the meeting.  Zach's speech is only going to last an hour so we should still be able to start our planning conversation by 8:00.  Lastly, for everyone who took thier journals home two weeks ago try and bring those tomorrow so we can get back on track with journaling. 


08 October 2012

Week 6: Men and Violence

Hey guys,

Thanks again for the great turn out last week, it was really nice to see some new faces in the room so thanks to everyone who invited friends, partners, roomies, etc!  So last week we had a chance to talk about healthy relationships for National Dating Violence Awareness Month and are now going to segway into violence and in particular, gender violence.  This week Travis Annameier from CSU Key Communities is going to join us to help deconstruct the connection between hegemonic masculinity and violence. 

For this week I'm just going to post one video.  It's pretty long but I think that it's some of the most important information that we've heard so far this semester.  If you can only make it through the first 10 - 15 minutes that's ok, but I would highly urge you to make the time for the whole segment. 

The guy's name is Jackson Katz.  He's one of the intellectual leaders in the anti-male violence movement and he packs a semester's worth of information into an hour.  Get it:


01 October 2012

Week 5: Men in the Movement Presents... A Guide to Healthy Relationships

Hey Fellas,

This week is our first open session and since October is national dating violence awareness month, we'll be focusing on healthy relationships.  The open sessions are called "Men in the Movement Presents..." and for the first one Krista Martinez from Fort Collins' Family Center/La Familia will be here to help us breakdown how to have a healthy relationship. 

We realize that not all college students are in committed, monogamous hetero relationships so this workshop will focus on romantic relationships in general.  This means that whether you're in a relationship, looking for one, or just looking to hook up, this workshop will hopefully be applicable to everyone. 

Here are a couple links that should help us out this week:

Brief overview of "Realtionships and Love"
Men, Physical Intimacy, and Homophobia
Remember to bring friends, partners, roommates, whoevs!  Also, we'll be in LSC 220 (instead of 224).

24 September 2012

Week 4: Gender as a Social Construct

This week Monica Collins from CSU's Women and Gender Advocacy Center (WGAC) is going to facilitate an activity called the "gender puzzle".  So far we've been talking about gender and masculinity in pretty conventional ways and this activity will help frame gender as a fluid and changing "performance", and allow us to explore masculinty, gender, sexuality, and biological sex outside of normative or conventional understandings. 

Sounds complicated right?  Well it is, and most likely because for many of us (myself included) these identities and behaviors are seen as "just the ways things are" or "normal".  When we can start to question norms and take a look at how they are constructed it can open a (good) can of worms. 

Here are a couple things that can help us get
the conversation started:

(Thanks Will for passing this on)

Video: Are Bronies Changing the
Definition of Masculinity

Also, I created a Facebook page for Men in the Movement.  Since it's an organization page it's up to you all to "like" the page, then you can share posts and start convos.  If you search for "Men in the Movement - CSU" you should be able to find it.  See you all on Wednesday!

17 September 2012

Week 3: Men, Masculinites and Accountability

Hey Everyone,

So this week we'll have Brian Hayes from Key Communities joining us to talk about the role of accountability in men's anti-gender violence work.  When we talk about accountability, we're basically talking about practices (both formal and informal) of holding ourselves and others responsible for behavior.
When Brian was an undergrad here at CSU he participated in a program called "The Men's Project", which like MitM, was a program that encouraged men to examine gender violence.  The Men's Project no longer exists and we'll talk about why, and highlight the importance of structuring accountability into the work that we do.

When I think about accountability I tend to think about it in two major ways:

1. Self accountability: How do I make sure I'm being conscious of my actions and working to realize the impact that they may have?

2. Holding others accountable: What responsibility do I have in addressing the harm that someone in my community causes? 

There's not a lot out there on how to hold yourself accountable (that I could find at least), but below are a couple things that might be useful when trying to hold others accountable.  We'll spend more time talking about the former on Wednesday. 

It's Pronounced Metrosexual
Jay Smooth's Ill Doctrine:
How to Tell People They Sound Racist

06 September 2012

Week 2: Power, Privilege, and Oppression

What's up fellas, this next week we'll be having Emily Ambrose from the SLiCE office joining us to do a workshop on power, privilege, and oppression.  Like I mentioned on Wednesday, the work that Men in the Movement is doing is rooted in social justice philosophies and that means that we have to recognize a couple things:

1. That anti-gender violence work is connected to the struggle for liberation from all forms of oppression.  That means that we cannot expect to solve gender issue first, then tackle race, then class, then homophobia, etc.  All of these issues are deeply inter-related and the work that we do has to take into account the fact that we have to be simultaneously working on all forms of oppression.  However, MitM does have an explicit focus on gender and masculinity.  That means that we'll be always trying to account for the ways that other forms of oppression influence our discussions and strategies to confront sexism and gender violence.

2. That social justice is a process, not an end goal.  By this I mean that we'll be doing work to create a world free of the above mentioned forms of oppression, but will most likely never have a world without oppression.  However, this doesn't mean that the work isn't necessary.  Social justice work is done incrementally.  We live in a radically different world than the one our parents and grandparents grew up in, thanks to all of the great work that people have done  because they believed that all people were equal.

On a personal level this also means that no one ever knows it all when it comes to these issues.  I've seen people who get paid lots of money to speak on different issues make some pretty harmful mistakes because they though that they had "arrived" so-to-speak.  It could be said that one of the biggest mistakes that we can make is to think that we already know what's up, and stop thinking critically and being open to growth and challenge.  This means that I will mess up.  Many, many times.  And you all will too.  What's important is that we hold each other accountable to the things we say and what we do, in a way that encourages self-improvement and positive growth.  That's something that I know we all can do.

3.  We all have privilege and we all experience oppression.  We all experience these forces differently, and to varying levels.  We'll get into this on Wednesday more.  When we start to talk about privilege it's often times very uncomfortable.  It's uncomfortable because it's recognizing that in various ways we have power because other people do not.  We didn't do anything to earn it, but we can do something about dismantling the structure that creates it.

So this blog doesn't have spell check and I probably messed up some words. word?

Here's a couple videos and a blog post that can hopefully contribute to our understanding of the work that we hope to do with Men in the Movement:

Tony Porter from A Call to Men, "The Man Box"

Tim Wise: White Privilege
And a post from Alphafem.net

Alright everyone, thanks again for such a great session on Wednesday, and I'm excited for next week!  Same time, same place, and remember that we can still have new participants join at week 2 so if you all have friends who are interested, bring 'em along!


31 August 2012

Welcome to Men in the Movement!

Top 5
Reasons to be Part of the Inaugural
Men in the Movement

1. Because you'll likely have conversations that you've never had, and these conversations will likely change the rest of your life.  One of the common things I hear from other men who spend lots of time thinking about masculinity is that they never could've imagined how liberating it can be to allow themselves to actually be themselves.  When they realize that "manning up" is a bunch of bullshit, it opens a door of unlimited possibilities.

2. You'll meet people who are pretty damn cool.  Think about it.  If you think this type of stuff is interesting and want to learn more, then you're probably pretty cool.  And if other guys think they same, they're probably pretty cool.  Get everyone in the same room...boom!  you meet cool people.

3. You get to shape the group.  We've got a potential outline, but this group is going to be about what you want it to be.  Since this is the first go, the group gets to have a voice in deciding how we're gonna steer the ship.

4. Free Food! (well not every session, but for several of them).

5. You get to help create a less violent world.  There's just so dang much of it already, if there's one thing our society can agree on it's that we don't need or want more.  So your participation in Men in the Movement is you taking that step.  To learn about how violence operates, how violence impacts people differently, and what we can all do to end it.
If that wasn't inspirational then i don't know what is
Check out this sweet video that the folks at Emory University made this summer: