Masculinities Mondays: 16th of February 2015

DocLibJust in time to celebrate V-Day and join the worldwide One Billion Rising movement to raise awareness about violence against women, the EMERGE Project (Engendering Men: Evidence on Routes to Gender Equality) has released a new resource that gathers evidence and lessons on what works in engaging men and boys for gender equality. The EMERGE Document Library consolidates recent datasets, books, articles and programme reports along nine priority themes:

It still seems to be a fledgling site but we look forward to it becoming more populated with excellent resources from around the world. If you’ve got something to add, let them know.

Happy reading!


Masculinities Mondays: 9th of February 2015

Just a week after a PSA on domestic violence was aired during the Super Bowl, today we want to give a big shout out to Obama for his inspiring PSA, delivered during the Grammy Awards. Highlighting the role that everyone has to play in preventing violence, the President said,

We can change our culture for the better by ending violence against women and girls…It’s not okay and it has to stop…All of us, in our own lives, have the power to set an example…It’s on us – all of us – to create a culture where violence isn’t tolerated; where survivors are supported; and where all our young people – men and women – can go as far as their talents and their dreams will take them.

There is a long history of popular music on the theme of violence against women – both condemning it and condoning it – and, just last year, a Colombian campaign used images to bring attention to the extreme violence against women in reggaeton lyrics (See the campaign here. Warning: graphic images).

But having the President of the United States call up everyone on their responsibility to end violence against women and girls, is something definitely worth celebrating – especially when his opponents are busy doing this.

See the whole video here: 

Homosexuality and Aboriginal Culture

Although it’s from a few months ago, we’ve just come across this brilliant article by Steven Lindsay Ross about being gay and Indigenous in Australia.

He writes,

We were also lucky enough to have Elder LGBTI people guide us through our childhood and coming-out phases. Small country towns are not the most hospitable places for young black kids, let alone young black LGBTI kids…Aboriginal people have been in Australia for more than 60,000 years in what many anthropologists describe as a triumph of survival and mathematics. Given the overwhelming evidence that homosexuality is biological, it is logical to assume that homosexuality would have been a part of such a social equation. It is estimated that there have been four billion Aboriginal people In Australia since the dawn of time. Four billion, and not one gay person? That just defies belief.

Read the whole article here and also check out the work of Black Rainbow, which intends to start the first mental health service for Indigenous LGBTI Australians.

Masculinities Mondays: 2nd of February 2015

Even for those of us not from or living in the States, it is hard to avoid at least some exposure to the Super Bowl, which – this Sunday – was watched by over 114 million viewers. Due to the massive exposure, the ads shown during the Super Bowl cost companies $9 million per minute and receive almost as much commentary as the game itself. This year, however, observers noticed some different trends and themes away from the tradition of ads targeted at hegemonic masculinity.

Firstly, this year’s Super Bowl ads featured a public service announcement about domestic violence, from the organisation No More. As Caitlin Kelly of The New Yorker explains, this comes in on the heels of a year during which violence against women and exploitation were recurring issues in the news for the National Football League (NFL).  Based on true stories of calls received to emergency services, the video depicts a woman’s phone call to 911 in which she pretends to be ordering a pizza so as not to alert the perpetrator that she is calling the police. The ad concludes with the message, “When it’s hard to talk, it’s up to us to listen.” While it’s good that such an important issue was able to receive so much coverage through a 30-second slot, the messaging is a little unclear. Is the “us” who will listen to NFL? Or the police? Or bystanders? And what, precisely, is the call to action after listening? And will this really be followed through with the implementation of more rigorous policies on violence against women within national sports leagues in the U.S.? For the latter, at least, time will most certainly tell.

In addition to raising awareness about domestic violence, however, this year’s ads also promoted ways of being a man that emphasise and value caring. An ad for men’s skin care products, for example, showed men as responsible and loving fathers and culminates in the tagline “Care makes a man stronger.”  Another, for a car, depicts a father reminiscing about his daughter’s childhood as he drives her to the airport to join the army – a choice, we are told, was her own.

Of course, as Ana Swanson points out, at the end of the day these commercials – the PSA aside – are really just trying to make more money by convincing people to buy more. Yet, the fact that these companies have decided that the way they will make more money is by reaching out to a more nuanced form of masculinity, predicated on nurturing, loving and showing emotion (and spending millions of dollars on this message), may signify a broader cultural shift. And it’s a shift that we, for one, are looking forward to.