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!