Men Who Aren’t: Masculinity at the Price of Humanity


 

 

Men Who Aren’t: Masculinity at the Price of Humanity

“These beliefs immediately set the framework for the objectification of women, perhaps worse.”

The Masculine Boundary is shifting, and women are the cause. After long-fought battles for equality, women have made significant strides—and their work continues. Women are in the workforce, leading companies, sitting in our government. One would think that our march towards a more egalitarian society would also herald an end to violence against women and girls; unfortunately, this is not the case.

Despite the commonly held view that men and women are equal in all respects, domestic violence and sexual assault disproportionately affect women over men, and both occur in staggering numbers. For clues why, we’ll have to take a step back.

3,500 years ago…okay, that’s not really necessary. The truth is, though, that many of the oldest depictions of women in the historical record are of fertility goddesses; women have, since ancient times, been revered, coveted, and objectified as the sexual vessel that creates life. Even in our modern age, this characteristic represents the epitome of femininity: women are the gatekeepers of sex, and more grandly, of life itself.

Now, any straight man who is honest will admit that he (many times, in fact) entertained thoughts about women that were purely sexual: in essence, “objectifying” them. Women don’t like to think about this fact, but it is normal. Most men, despite this, don’t then proceed to objectify the women around them, the ones they encounter in real life. This is, however, not universally true.

As the Women’s Rights Movement continues to redefine the scope of femininity, a ripple effect has affected men who—knowingly or unknowingly—derive their concept of masculinity purely by rejecting anything feminine. As the scope of beliefs, actions, preferences, and emotions “acceptable” for women grows, some men believe their very masculinity to be under siege by women.

A range of groups with a range of defined interests have emerged, all expressions of a perceived assault on manhood. These include online pick-up-artist (PUA) communities, such as the Pick Up Artist Forum and Fast Seduction, Men’s Right Activist (MRA) groups—who feel women wish to subjugate men—and the most bizarre, “Men Going Their Own Way” (MGTOW). The last one you have to see to believe.

As far as immediate risk to the safety of women and girls goes, PUAs take the cake. They represent a dangerous confluence of supposed “gender truths”:

1. Women are the passive gatekeepers to sex

2. Men require sex

3. Men are required to actively seek and have sex

These beliefs immediately set the framework for the objectification of women, perhaps worse. These three premises are actually written out in the various manifestos of online PUA communities, but unfortunately are all-too-often subconsciously believed by many men who otherwise respect women.

As men, we must realize that any concept of masculinity that reduces women to objects says nothing about women—it only reduces the men who believe it to animals. Feel free to fantasize, feel free to flirt: just don’t sacrifice your humanity at the altar of masculinity.

 

 

 

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• In March of 2014, Center for Victims launched the MEN Challenge & Pledge. This initiative was designed to engage more men in CV’s violence prevention programs and speak out about violence against women and girls. Domestic violence, rape, and sexual assault are often referred to as “women’s issues.”  These crimes are not just women’s issues, they are a public health issues and everyone’s business.

 

Center for Victims believes men need to be a part of the solution and that they do want to be actively involved in violence prevention, but don’t know where to start or what to do. The MEN Challenge & Pledge gives men a place to start. Our goal is to educate and give men and the community the tools and resources necessary to use their voices and their actions to be social change agents.

 

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1st Annual MEN Challenge Event

Friday March 6, 2015 | Rivers Casino Drum Bar

Center for Victims is hosting the 1st annual MEN Challenge Event in honor and recognition of the 256 men (and counting!) who have signed on to the MEN challenge, committed to this initiative and its value, and who embody CV’s violence prevention efforts in this region. Men who have shown a greater interest and who have worked on specific prevention and/or awareness projects will be highlighted and nominated for the MEN Challenge award. The winner of this award will be announced at the 10th Anniversary of Center for Victims’ Peace It Together Awards Celebration on March 12, 2015 at Pittsburgh’s Grand hall at The Priory.

This exclusive event gives attendees the opportunity to network and engage with other men who are committed to violence prevention and share stories and thoughts on issues surrounding violence in their communities. It will also serve as a way to recruit and introduce new members to the MEN Challenge so that the group can grow and continue to change social norms and make a greater impact in our region.

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