Men! What can you do about misogyny?

24/03/21 . Blog

'Men! What can you do about misogyny?' is the title of a new Guardian podcast.

If you care about violence against women it’s worth listening to. If you do, you’ll understand how even that last sentence is unhelpful.

The podcast features Jackson Katz, a man with a long track-record campaigning in this field. He points out that when we talk about violence against women, it’s very passive. It makes it sound almost inevitable. The point is who is carrying out this violence? It’s mostly men. So let’s talk about violence by men or male violence. Let’s not just collect data on the number of women who have been attacked/assaulted/raped but on the number of attacks/assaults/rapes by men.

Male violence is not inevitable

Katz points out that there’s nothing inevitable about male violence aganist women. It’s not purely biological or genetic for men to be misogynistic. The evidence for this is that the levels of violence by men against women vary enormously across societies. If the behaviour was purely biological, this would not be the case. The variable is masculinity. The more ‘macho’, for want of a better word, the view of masculinity, the higher the sexual violence.

Katz argues that we need to reframe masculinity in a non-misogynistic way. We need to define strength not as something physical that involves power and domination over others including women but, for example, as standing up against injustice rather than being a bystander. It is a redefining of what it is to be a man that is politically as well as socially challenging for some men, especially those whose power rests on exploiting male privilege but it’s surely the way to go.

We've added a 'male violence' tag to our website content and added the hashtag #endmaleviolence to hashtag we've used until now: #endviolencegainstwomen. Small steps but a start. What else should the Men's Health Forum do? What can you do about misogyny?

Jim Pollard,
Editor

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