Tag Archives: gender equality

Happy International Women’s Day!

As most of you have already heard, March 8 is International Women’s Day. This year the theme is Connecting girls, inspiring futures. Take some time today to reflect how you are supporting the women and girls in your life and community, as well as how you can assist in empowering them across the world. If you cannot name anything specific that you are doing to help, follow some of the links in this post for ideas about how to get involved and be part of the solution.

Soraya Chemaly’s piece, International Women’s Day: 10 Reasons Why Feminism is Good For Boys and Men, provided me with some inspiration. Besides highlighting some important positive aspects of feminism on men and boys, there was a video produced by high school boys in Australia through the Gender Equality Project. Watch the video below and take a cue from these boys. Listen to the women and girls in your life about their experiences, educate yourself about the issues, and speak out to others as a supportive and active ally.

99 Problems

Hats off to Dr. Boyce Watkins for his commentary on Jay-Z banning b$tch from his linguistic repertoire. The decision came after the birth of Jay and Beyonce’s daughter Blue Ivy. The rapper has received well-deserved criticism regarding his decision and he should. However, virtually nothing was said a few years ago when Hov rapped “when the Jena 6 don’t exist…thats when I’ll stop sayin’ bitch…BITCH!!!” (from “Say Hello” on American Gangsta). Hov takes an aggressively masculine tone, separating gender from racial oppression. His view of race is decidedly masculine with little, if any, investment in black women. I don’t like that it took one of my favorite rappers this long to get his act together. Nor do I like that it took his daughter being born for him to make the decision. At the end of the day, though, I’m glad that Blue Ivy inspired Jay to change. For any parents reading this, I’m sure that the birth of your little one(s) made you think twice about your values too, right?

What concerns me more than Jay’s actions are the millions of fans that buy (or download) his music while blindly accepting the warped gender dynamics reinforced in his songs. These are the people who, on a daily basis, are presented with opportunities to shift the power dynamics that Daddy Hov fears his daughter will have to confront.

Facebookers (myself included) are “liking” Prof. Watkins’ post as if doing so delivers a death blow to gender oppression. Newsflash!!! It doesn’t. And that means we have work to do. Gender oppression extends far beyond saying b&%@! As I climb off my soapbox, please indulge me by educating yourself on gender oppression and gender equality. Here are a few websites and videos to get you started:

Stop Street Harassment

Men Can Stop Rape

Stop Sexist Remarks

Miss Representation (2011)

Then put this newly-acquired knowledge into practice! Look for groups/organizations in your area that fight gender oppression. If one doesn’t exist, start one. There are also online initiatives that you can get involved in. You can contribute to a blog and spread awareness online. You can create art that educates us on this issue. You can create an app that supports gender justice. The possibilities are endless!

It is easy to sit back and critique Jay-Z without being self-reflexive. However, we perpetuate and/or survive gender oppression every…single…day. Now is the time to change the game. What are you going to do?

D. Carter

New blog by Michael Kaufman

Michael Kaufman, author, educator and co-founder of the White Ribbon Campaign, recently launched a redesigned blog at www.michaelkaufman.com with numerous resources and articles about engaging men, gender equality, masculinity and violence prevention. I’ve heard Michael speak about these issues and was impressed with the content, humor and delivery of his message.

One of the first posts that I read on Michael’s website was a post about a documentary by Marc de Guerre called The End of Men.  Check out a promo of the documentary below.

November 19th is International Men’s Day

Despite being involved in gender equality, anti-violence, and social justice work, I had never heard of International Men’s Day until a week ago. Fortunately, I heard about it the day before it happens. On November 19, 1999 the first International Men’s Day was celebrated in Trinidad and Tobago. This year’s theme is Our Children, Our Future highlighting the work that needs to be done to address issues regarding childhood poverty, health, and education.

I must admit that I know little about this movement or its purpose. I am sure it attracts people from all over the spectrum of gender issues. However, there are links and material from the site included in this post. You can decide how and if you are going to celebrate International Men’s Day and what it means for you. For me, it is an opportunity to reflect about all of the positive male mentors, role models, teachers and friends that I have had the privilege of knowing. I’ll make it a point to discuss the positives aspects of masculinity and how they can be used to improve ourselves and our communities.

Click Read More to learn about the objectives of International Men’s Day and my attempt at acknowledging and thanking the important male role models in my life.

Continue reading

All-boy cheerleading squad

“I get the feeling of becoming a Billy Elliot – I dance, he dances; his dad don’t like him to dance, my dad don’t like me to dance.” – 9 year old Harvey Pratt, member of the all boy cheerleading troupe.

Earlier this month, the BBC ran a great story about an all boy cheerleading club from a “tough housing estate” in Yorkshire, England. About 40 boys make up the Dazl Diamonds, who range in age from 3-15 years old. According to founder and head coach, Ian Rodley, Dazl Diamonds is one of four other all-boy teams in the world today.

Cheerleading seems to have had a tremendously positive impact on these boys’ lives in terms of confidence, happiness, and performance at school. Predictably, most have struggled with acceptance from classmates and family. The article highlights the pressure placed on children to conform to traditional gender role stereotypes. Many of our ideas about appropriate gender roles can be traced back to the gender socialization we experienced as children and adolescents.

From birth, children are barraged with gendered expectations about “correct” and “incorrect” behaviors. Nothing is off limits from the style of their clothes to the color of their rooms. Boys are encouraged to be tough, competitive and to excel at sports. Girls are encouraged to downplay their aggressive tendencies and focus on relationships and compromise. Transgeder children? Few in our society even recognize they exist.

It takes courage for anyone, especially children, to break away from the norms, even slightly.  The pressure on the children who don’t easily conform can be immense. Imagine adding pink pompoms to the equation. The good news is that these boys have the support of their parents, coaches and their adoring fans.

Much of my day is spent in an elementary school working with children.  Daily, I witness the difficulties faced by boys who don’t happen to enjoy football, or girls who do, which took me back to my own experiences as a kid on the playground.  Overall, not much has changed, but the small bit that has makes a world of difference for some individuals. It’s good to hear positive stories like this one out of England. You can find the Dazl Diamonds on Facebook or on their website.

(This post marks the first post, of hopefully many, authored by a MAC member besides myself. Once he decides how he wishes to identify himself on here, we’ll set him up with his own gravatar and publication privileges!)

Men Speak Up

So I stumbled across this really great anti-violence/gender equality website from Harvard the other day. I mistyped Shira Tarrant’s book Men Speak Out (wonderful book by the way, check it out!) by searching for Men Speak Up.

What I found was a very crisp, well-designed website with some great, authentic videos of why Harvard men care about gender equality. The layout is easy to navigate. The content is succinct and engaging. It definitely looks like they are on the right track. I’d like to see a little more content added to the Take Action Section. Maybe they’ll get in touch with MAC and we can help them fill up that page!

I could tell you all about it but you can watch the video below and they can tell you themselves.

You can check out the rest of the videos here. One of my favorite quotes from the videos is “Social progress is made when people come together across lines of difference.”


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