Oct 8, 2010

Jackson Katz: Men, Masculinities, and Media. It's Time We Pay Attention to What Its Being Said

In comparative politics an important variable and a good indicator is the status of women. If you don't know anything about a country, ask the question, what is the status of women in that society? The answer will give you a very good idea of how advanced this country is.

While the US is an advanced liberal democracy, we still have serious problems, like violence against women--a problem that often is wrongly labeled as "women's issue." It's an issue that should concern all of us, as it is all of us who have to work to solve this problem. 

We are all here because of mothers, and despite having women in close proximity in our lives, treating them with respect and as equals leaves much to be desired. Honoring Mothers By Improving the Lives of Women, as I wrote back on Mother's Day, is the only enlightened course of action.

Yesterday, I attended a very interesting & informative speech by Jackson Katz [click on the link for useful resources] of MVP Strategies, an organization that provides gender violence prevention training. Most men instinctively would say that they're not abusers so they don't really need to know how not to abuse. Well, it's true, most men are decent human beings, but the question Mr. Katz raised was, if we are against abuse then why most men remain silent when they witness abuse or hear abusive language? 

It has taken many, many years to make some common practices uncool because most people wouldn't tolerate them. We have to change our ways and elements of our collective culture when it comes to gender violence and verbal abuse. Many laws can say one thing but if society doesn't change, there's a crisis. Same with the civil rights movement, whereas the laws were on the books but states (and the majority of their citizens) refused to accept the good principles in the Bill of Rights, and adopt common decency towards every human being.
Being politicos as we are, and given this being a pivotal election season, we should closely examine the messages and statements of those who want to be elected to Congress. We have to ask the conservative religious candidates what do they mean by "a woman must submit to her husband"? What do they mean by "traditional ways"?

Also, what kind of culture and message does Linda McMahon bring to our discourse? Why haven't we seen her being challenged about the kind of message she was putting out while being the president of wrestling entertainment?  Jackson Katz, I've heard, will remedy this soon. [check the Huffington Post this weekend]  I've seen a preview of what WWE has been doing with women on its shows and it's ugly.

Stay tuned, and be alert!