Masculinities Mondays: 19th of May 2014

If you watch any video online this week, I strongly recommend that you make it Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TEDx talk, ‘We should all be feminists.‘  Okay, so it’s a year old but, in this unapologetic and hilarious talk, Adichie makes some excellent points about gender equality: “Take cooking, for example. Today women are more likely than men to do the housework – the cooking and cleaning – but why is that? Is it because women are born with a cooking gene? Or because, over the years, they have been socialised to see cooking as their role?…Cooking, by the way, is a very useful skill for a boy to have. I’ve never thought it made sense to leave such a crucial thing – the ability to nourish oneself – in the hands of others.” On the theme of masculinities she also argues, for example, “We must raise our daughters differently. We must also raise our sons differently. We do a great disservice to boys in how we raise them. We stifle the humanity of boys. We define masculinity in a very narrow way; masculinity becomes this hard, small cage and we put boys inside the cage. We teach boys to be afraid of fear; we teach boys to be afraid of weakness; of vulnerability. We teach them to mask their true selves.”

Similarly, this article by sociologist at the University of Woolongong and White Ribbon Campaign ambassador, Michael Flood, ‘Feminism Needs Men. Men Need Feminism,‘ explains that “Men need feminism because, without it, we will be stuck in a box. Stuck in an “Act Like a Man” box. Stuck in narrow gender roles which are suffocating, unhealthy and dangerous for us and for others.”


And to celebrate and support breaking out of narrow boxes, don’t forget that the 17th of May was International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia. If you’re a teacher, or just interested in learning more yourself, here’s a list of resources I’ve compiled for different age groups:

UNESCO Lesson Plan

Ready, Set, Respect! Elementary Toolkit

* Video – STAND UP Against Homophobia

* Video – Imagine a world where being gay was the ‘norm’

* More resources available here and here

And, finally, my old stomping ground, the Institute of Development Studies, has just released a Sexuality and Social Justice Toolkit: a practical and hands-on guide for anyone working in these areas.



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