Advertisement

Concluding Critical Commentary: Men’s Experiences as Agents of Feminist Change

  • Michael FloodEmail author
  • D’ Arcy Ertel
Chapter
  • 32 Downloads

Abstract

What role do men have in the work of challenging gender inequalities and building gender justice? This chapter examines the experiences of men as deliberate agents of a feminist masculinity politics, exploring key challenges in men’s efforts to take up profeminism. This first challenge is overcoming one’s own sexist and violence-supportive attitudes and behaviours. Men may be disinterested in or resistant to efforts to involve them in progressive change because of widespread sexist and violence-supportive attitudes and relations. Second is the challenge of addressing one’s own perpetration or perpetuation of sexism and violence. It is tempting and comforting for men to believe that the perpetrators are only ‘other’ men, or indeed to offer the defensive protest that it is ‘not all men’. A third challenge is to live gender-equitably. Men’s anti-sexist work takes for granted a ‘prefigurative’ politics, in which men must ‘be the change you wish to see in the world’, but male allies’ and advocates’ actual practice shows both anti-patriarchal change and sexist complicity. The fourth challenge is to resist everyday privilege. Men are routinely invited into everyday sexism, whether by male peers or the wider culture, and sexist gender relations also shape ostensibly progressive political spaces. Profeminist men must navigate what is a delicate politics of male allyship, negotiating both disproportionate praise and feminist distrust. Beyond all this, there is the overarching challenge of making change in the structures and systems of patriarchy.

Keywords

Feminism Masculinity Male allies Sexism Anti-sexist Patriarchy Engaging men 

References

  1. Ahmad, A. (March 2 2015). A note on call-out culture. Briarpatch Magazine, 2.Google Scholar
  2. Alliance, M. E. (2016). Critical dialogue on engaging men and boys in gender justice – Summary report. Washington: MenEngage Alliance.Google Scholar
  3. Barber, K., & Kretschmer, K. (2013). Walking like a man? Contexts, 12(2), 40–45.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1536504213487697
  4. Bjarnegård, E., & Murray, R. (2018a). Critical perspectives on men and masculinities in politics: Introduction. Politics & Gender, 14(2), 264–265.  https://doi.org/10.1017/S1743923X18000132
  5. Bjarnegård, E., & Murray, R. (2018b). Revisiting forms of representation by critically examining men. Politics & Gender, 14(2), 265–270.  https://doi.org/10.1017/S1743923X18000144
  6. Bridges, T. S., & Pascoe, C. J. (2013, December 13). Why we should care how straight allies benefit from their support. Slate. Retrieved from http://www.slate.com/blogs/outward/2013/12/13/straight_allies_do_they_get_too_much_recognition_for_their_support.html
  7. Burrell, S., & Flood, M. (2019). Which feminism? Dilemmas in profeminist men’s praxis to end violence against women. Global Social Welfare, 6(4), 231–244.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s40609-018-00136-x
  8. Carian, E. K., & Sobotka, T. C. (2018). Playing the Trump card: Masculinity threat and the U.S. 2016 Presidential election. Socius, 4, 1–6.  https://doi.org/10.1177/2378023117740699
  9. Carline, A., Gunby, C., & Taylor, S. (2018). Too drunk to consent? Exploring the contestations and disruptions in male-focused sexual violence prevention interventions. Social & Legal Studies, 27(3), 299–322.Google Scholar
  10. Cense, M., de Blécourt, K., & Oostrik, S. (2016). Activating boys to reflect on masculinity norms: The Dutch campaign beat the macho. European Health Psychologist, 18(1), 13–17.Google Scholar
  11. Chakraborty, P., Osrin, D., & Daruwalla, N. (2018). “We learn how to become good men”: Working with male allies to prevent violence against women and girls in urban informal settlements in Mumbai, India. Men and Masculinities, 1–23.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1097184x18806544
  12. Childs, S., & Hughes, M. (2018). “Which men?” How an intersectional perspective on men and masculinities helps explain women’s political underrepresentation. Politics & Gender, 14(2), 282–287.  https://doi.org/10.1017/S1743923X1800017X
  13. Colpitts, E. (2014). Working with men to prevent and address violence against women: South African perspectives. (Masters). Halifax: Dalhousie University.Google Scholar
  14. Connell, R. W. (1995). Masculinities. Sydney: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  15. Drury, B. J., & Kaiser, C. R. (2014). Allies against sexism: The role of men in confronting sexism. Journal of Social Issues, 70(4), 637–652.  https://doi.org/10.1111/josi.12083
  16. Dworkin, S. L., Fleming, P. J., & Colvin, C. J. (2015). The promises and limitations of gender-transformative health programming with men: Critical reflections from the field. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 17(sup2), S128–S143.  https://doi.org/10.1080/13691058.2015.1035751
  17. Edley, N., & Wetherell, M. (2001). Jekyll and Hyde: Men’s constructions of feminism and feminists. Feminism & Psychology, 11(4), 439–457.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0959353501011004002
  18. Edström, J., Hassink, A., Shahrokh, T., & Stern, E. (2015a). Engendering men: A collaborative review of evidence on men and boys in social change and gender equality. Brighton: Promundo-US, Sonke Gender Justice, and the Institute of Development Studies.Google Scholar
  19. Edström, J., Shahrokh, T., & Singh, S. K. (2015b). The new ‘Masvaw men’: Strategies, dynamics and deepening engagements. A case study of a networked approach to challenging patriarchy across institutions in Uttar Pradesh. Brighton: IDS.Google Scholar
  20. Ferber, A. L. (2000). Racial warriors and weekend warriors: The construction of masculinity in mythopoetic and white supremacist discourse. Men and Masculinities, 3(1), 30–56.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1097184x00003001002CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Finestone, E. (2011). “Just Trying to Avoid Doing It”: Exploring Gendered Interpretations and Discussions of Sexual Assault Media Campaigns for Men on Campus.. (Masters). Ottawa, Ontario: Carleton University.Google Scholar
  22. Flood, M. (2002). Between men and masculinity: An assessment of the term ‘Masculinity’ in recent scholarship on men. In S. Pearce & V. Muller (Eds.), Manning the next millennium: Studies in masculinities. Sydney: Black Swan Press.Google Scholar
  23. Flood, M. (2005). Men’s collective struggles for gender justice: The case of antiviolence activism. In M. Kimmel, J. Hearn, & R. Connell (Eds.), Handbook of studies on men and masculinities (pp. 458–466). Thousand Oaks, California: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Flood, M. (2007). Men’s Movement. In M. Flood, J. Kegan Gardiner, B. Pease, & K. Pringle (Eds.), International encyclopedia of men and masculinities (pp. 418–422). London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Flood, M. (2014). Men’s anti-violence activism and the construction of gender-equitable masculinities. In A. Carabi & J. Armengol (Eds.), Alternative masculinities for a changing world (pp. 35–50). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  26. Flood, M. (2015a). Men and Gender Equality. In M. Flood & R. Howson (Eds.), Engaging Men in Building Gender Equality (pp. 1–33). Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Press.Google Scholar
  27. Flood, M. (2015b). Work with men to end violence against women: A critical Stocktake. Culture, Health and Sexuality, 17(Supp2), 159–176.  https://doi.org/10.1080/13691058.2015.1070435CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Flood, M. (2017). The turn to men in gender politics. Women’s Studies Journal, 31(1), 48–58.Google Scholar
  29. Flood, M. (2018). Engaging men and boys in violence prevention. Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  30. Flood, M. (2019). Men and #Metoo: Mapping Men’s responses to anti-violence advocacy. In B. Fileborn & R. Loney-Howes (Eds.), #Metoo and the politics of social change. Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  31. Flood, M., Dragiewicz, M., & Pease, B. (2018). Resistance and backlash to gender equality: An evidence review. Brisbane: Crime, Justice and Social Democracy Research Centre, Queensland University of Technology (QUT).Google Scholar
  32. Flood, M., & Greig, A. (2019). Work with men and boys for gender equality: A review of field formation, evidence base and future directions. New York: UN Women.Google Scholar
  33. Francis, R. D. (2018). Him, not her: Why working-class white men reluctant about trump still made him president of the United States. Socius, 4, 1–11.  https://doi.org/10.1177/2378023117736486
  34. Galea, N., & Gaweda, B. (2018). (De)constructing the masculine blueprint: The institutional and discursive consequences of male political dominance. Politics & Gender, 14(2), 276–282.  https://doi.org/10.1017/S1743923X18000168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Gibbs, A., Jewkes, R., & Sikweyiya, Y. (2018). “I tried to resist and avoid bad friends”: The role of social contexts in shaping the transformation of masculinities in a gender transformative and livelihood strengthening intervention in South Africa. Men and Masculinities, 21(4), 501–520. https://doi.org10.1177/1097184X17696173Google Scholar
  36. Gill, R., & Orgad, S. (2018). The shifting terrain of sex and power: From the ‘Sexualization of culture’ to #Metoo. Sexualities, 21(8), 1313–1324.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1363460718794647CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Göransson, C. (2014). Rejecting Violence, Reclaiming Men: How Men’s Work against Men’s Violence Challenges and Reinforces the Gender Order. (Masters). Stockholm University.Google Scholar
  38. Graaff, K., & Heinecken, L. (2017). Masculinities and gender-based violence in South Africa: A study of a masculinities-focused intervention programme. Development Southern Africa, 34(5), 622–634.  https://doi.org/10.1080/0376835X.2017.1334537
  39. Hassink, A., & Baringer, L. (2015). Fatherhood, unpaid care and the care economy. In J. Edström, A. Hassink, T. Shahrokh, & E. Stern (Eds.), Engendering men: A collaborative review of evidence on men and boys in social change and gender equality. Brighton: Promundo-US, Sonke Gender Justice and the Institute of Development Studies.Google Scholar
  40. Heberle, R. (2016). The personal is political. In L. Disch & M. Hawkesworth (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of feminist theory (pp. 593–609). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  41. Holmgren, L. E., & Hearn, J. (2009). Framing ‘men in feminism’: Theoretical locations, local contexts and practical passings in men’s gender-conscious positionings on gender equality and feminism. Journal of Gender Studies, 18(4), 403–418.  https://doi.org/10.1080/09589230903260076
  42. Hook, C., Miller, A., Shand, T., & Stiefvater, E. (2018). Getting to equal: Engaging men and boys in sexual and reproductive health and rights and gender equality. Washington: Promundo-US.Google Scholar
  43. ICRW. (2018). Gender equity and male engagement: It only works when everyone plays. Washington: International Center for Research on Women.Google Scholar
  44. John-Kall, J., & Roberts, B. (2010). Exploring the involvement of men in gender based violence prevention programmes in settings affected by armed conflict. Diversity in Health & Care, 7(3).Google Scholar
  45. Kågesten, A., Gibbs, S., Blum, R. W., Moreau, C., Chandra-Mouli, V., Herbert, A., et al. (2016). Understanding factors that shape gender attitudes in early adolescence globally: A mixed-methods systematic review. PLoS One, 11(6), e0157805.  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0157805
  46. Kimmel, M., & Ferber, A. L. (2000). “White men are this nation”: Right-wing militias and the restoration of rural American masculinity. Rural Sociology, 65(4), 582–604.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1549-0831.2000.tb00045.x
  47. Kunst, J. R., Bailey, A., Prendergast, C., & Gundersen, A. (2018). Sexism, rape myths and feminist identification explain gender differences in attitudes toward the #MeToo social media campaign in two countries. Media Psychology, 1–26.  https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/jysw8
  48. Macomber, K. (2012). Men as allies: Mobilizing men to end violence against women. (PhD). North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina.Google Scholar
  49. McCright, A. M., & Dunlap, R. E. (2011). Cool dudes: The denial of climate change among conservative white males in the United States. Global Environmental Change, 21(4), 1163–1172.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2011.06.003
  50. McGraw, L. K. (2013). Challenging masculinities: A program analysis of male-based university sexual violence prevention programs. (Masters). Manhattan: Kansas State University.Google Scholar
  51. Mellström, U. (2016). In the time of masculinist political revival. NORMA: International Journal for Masculinity Studies, 11(3), 135–138.  https://doi.org/10.1080/18902138.2016.1224536
  52. Messerschmidt, J. w., & Rohde, A. (2018). Osama bin Laden and his jihadist global hegemonic masculinity. Gender & Society, 32(5), 663–685.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0891243218770358
  53. Messner, M. A. (1997). Politics of masculinities: Men in movements. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  54. Messner, M. A. (2007). The masculinity of the Governator: Muscle and compassion in American politics. Gender Society, 21(4), 461–480.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0891243207303166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Messner, M. A., Greenberg, M. A., & Peretz, T. (2015). Some men: Feminist allies and the movement to end violence against women. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Minieri, A. M. (2014). Not Just a Women’s Issue: How Male Undergraduate Students Understand Their Development as Social Justice Allies for Preventing Men’s Violence against Women. (PhD). University of Kentucky.Google Scholar
  57. Möller-Leimkühler, A. M. (2018). Why is terrorism a man’s business? CNS Spectrums, 23(2), 119–128.  https://doi.org/10.1017/S1092852917000438
  58. Peretz, T. (2010). No more Mr. Good Guy? Stepping off the pedestal of male privilege. Voice Male, Winter, 10–11.Google Scholar
  59. Pipyrou, S. (2018). #MeToo is little more than mob rule //vs// #MeToo is a legitimate form of social justice. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory, 8(3), 415–419.  https://doi.org/10.1086/701007
  60. Ratele, K., Suffla, S., Lazarus, S., & Van Niekerk, A. (2010). Towards the development of a responsive, social science-informed, critical public health framework on male interpersonal violence. Social Change, 40(4), 415–438.  https://doi.org/10.1177/004908571004000402
  61. Rich, M. D., Utley, E. A., Janke, K., & Moldoveanu, M. (2010). “I’d rather be doing something Else”: Male resistance to rape prevention programs. Journal of Men’s Studies, 18(3), 268–288.  https://doi.org/10.3149/jms.1803.268CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Rosenberg, I. (2012). “A Lifetime of Activism”: Doing Feminist Men’s Work from a Social Justice Paradigm.. (Masters). University of British Columbia.Google Scholar
  63. Sigmarsson, H. G. (2014). Becoming and Being: The Experiences of Young Feminist Men in Iceland. (PhD). Central European University.Google Scholar
  64. Starck, K., & Luyt, R. (2019). Political Masculinities, Crisis Tendencies, and Social Transition: Toward an Understanding of Change. Men and Masculinities, 22(3), 431–443.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1097184X18782730
  65. Starck, K., & Sauer, B. (2014). Political Masculinities: Introduction. In K. Starck (Ed.), A Man’s World? Political Masculinities in Literature and Culture (pp. 3–10): Cambridge Scholars Publishing.Google Scholar
  66. Steele, S. L., & Shores, T. (2014). Real and unreal masculinities: The celebrity image in anti-trafficking campaigns. Journal of Gender Studies, 24(4), 419–435.  https://doi.org/10.1080/09589236.2014.959477CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Steele, S. L., & Shores, T. (2017). The use of celebrity men in anti-trafficking and ending demand interventions: Observations on the “real men Don’t buy girls” public service campaign. In S. Horlacher & K. Floyd (Eds.), Contemporary masculinities in the UK and the US (pp. 99–120). Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Sumpter, K. C. (2015). Masculinity and meat consumption: An analysis through the theoretical lens of hegemonic masculinity and alternative masculinity theories. Sociology Compass, 9(2), 104–114.  https://doi.org/10.1111/soc4.12241
  69. Swartout, K. (2013). The company they keep: How peer networks influence male sexual aggression. Psychology of Violence, 3(2), 157–171.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0029997
  70. Tolman, R. M., Walsh, T. B., & Nieves, B. (2017). Engaging men and boys in preventing gender-based violence. In C. M. Renzetti, D. R. Follingstad, & A. L. Coker (Eds.), Preventing intimate partner violence (1st ed., pp. 71–100). Policy Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of law, QUTBrisbaneAustralia

Personalised recommendations