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V-Men

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column curated by Mark Matousek

www.markmatousek.com

Last summer, when Eve Ensler asked me to write something about violence against women -- from a male perspective -- I went to my desk feeling skeptical, and not at all sure that I had anything significant to say on the subject. Although I had grown up in a house where female molestations of various kinds happened on a regular basis, and had spent a good deal of my adult life (and therapist's time) sorting through the emotional rubble left behind after witnessing so much misogynist violence, I felt doubtful that my experience mattered -- for the simple reason that I was a man -- compared to the traumas I had witnessed in the lives of my mother and sisters... more >



Rob Okun
Wanted: Men to Change Masculinity Narrative
Citizens around the country grieved, were furious, or shook their heads at the inevitability of it all. Another mass killing: six murdered and 13 wounded in Isla Vista, CA. And, the killer took his own life, leaving another grieving set of parents. Commentaries noting Elliot Rodger’s association with the men’s rights movement followed, as did sound bite analysis of his 137-page manifesto of hatred of women (and heterosexual men in intimate relationships). Amid all the sound and fury, two key points remain largely obscured...more >



Rob Okun
Profeminist Men and "The Great Turning"
"Our daughters, our sisters, our wives, our mothers, our grandmothers have every single right to expect to be free from violence and sexual abuse. No matter what she's wearing, no matter whether she's in a bar, in a dormitory, in the back seat of a car, on a street, drunk or sober — no man has a right to go beyond the word ‘no.' "...more >



Rob Okun
Male Student Athletes: Newest Profeminist Allies?
In a world where too many men stay silent in the face of discrimination against women—from sexual harassment to domestic and sexual violence—the public statement of a chorus of young Massachusetts male athletes not long before Father’s Day offers a sliver of new hope...more >



Mel Cobb
Earth to Me
A dear female friend asked me recently-me, "Given everything you went through as a boy, how did you become the good man that you are?"...more >



Patrick Moore
The Elephant in the Room
Courtney was about 13 years old. She went to a supermarket after school, and a man started touching her, sexually, through her school uniform. It was in the middle of the day, in the middle of a city, in the middle of a supermarket. Courtney is not her real name, but her story is. I've heard a lot of stories like hers...more >



Eric Danforth
The Vision of a Man
My earliest concrete childhood memory involved my mother standing outside of my father's car, begging him to allow me to return home. My parents had separated (and later divorced) before I was three years old and them fighting had become as commonplace...more >



Kevin Powell
Joe Paterno, Herman Cain, Men, Sex, and Power
Joe Paterno. Herman Cain. Penn State football. Presidential campaigns. Men. Sex. Power. Women. Harassed. Children. Abused. These are some of the hash tags that have tweeted through my mind nonstop these past several days...more >



Vava Tampa
Why I Am A V-Man
Growing up, I do not recall having ever thought deeply about equality of the sexes. When friends ask why I work for Save the Congo, I have always responded that I became an activist by accident; and remained one out of necessity...more >



Mike Domitrz
Can I Kiss You?
One the second day of my sophomore year at Loyola University of Chicago, I returned from swim practice to find a note on the door to my room. It said, "CALL HOME. EMERGENCY." ...more >



Kevin Knight
A Brother's Story
It was the fall of my junior year in high school. My mom was picking me up from work. Only this time it wasn't just my mom. My dad and two sisters were there, too. As I got into the minivan I could sense the spirit of grief in their faces...more >



Dani Meier
Through a Father's Eyes
One autumn afternoon shortly after 9/11, as the nation struggled with cataclysm on an unthinkable scale, my darling daughter was assaulted outside her home in Minneapolis. She was in eighth grade...more >



Michael Kimmel
How a Boy Learns to be a Man: Three Moments
As someone who is both a researcher and an activist about masculinity issue, I’m often asked: where does it start? How does a boy learn all that stuff about masculinity? While these images surround us, bombard us, on a daily basis, it’s only through watching my son...more >



Yolo Akili
Healing Work: A Poetic Memoir
As a little boy I watched daily as the men in my life terrorized women through acts of control, aggression, and violence. These same men also worked hard to beat out of me any expression they deemed “feminine” and “weak.”...more >



Jared Miller
I Carry Her With Me
I’ve always been a fighter and protector at my core, and I cannot tolerate injustice of any kind towards a woman. Fortunately, I had a father that fostered that kind of character in me, which I am quite grateful for...more >



Taylor Krauss
Finding My Role
Rwanda has become my second home over the last few years. As a filmmaker I’ve been documenting the atrocities that have taken place in this part of the world – including the Democratic Republic of Congo....more >



Tom Antonek, P.H.D.
Breaking the Chain
I saw your face in the eyes of a patient today. She was describing a horrific history of sexual abuse – an event that occurred 30 years before – as if the violation had occurred moments before, curling herself in a fetal position in my office....more >



Derek Dujardin
A story from The MENding Monologues
For two years now, a group of extraordinary men and myself have been delving into the caves of our personal history to excavate stories of how the abuse inflicted on the women we have known has wounded us as men....more >



Rob Okun
The Vagina Monologues: A Wake Up Call For Men?
Will men ever "get it?" That's the thought that came to mind when the male owner of an Amherst, Massachusetts karate center spearheaded a drive in the local and national media to try and prevent female students from presenting The Vagina Monologues...more >



Bart Scott
The Love of Women
From the time I was a little boy I was taught to love and respect women. What choice did I have, being raised in an estrogen dominant atmosphere?...more >



Jimmie Briggs
Why I Go
I have written and re-written this letter since the day you were born because I knew that your arrival would change my world. Knowing that you are at home waiting for me, I'm sobered each time I board an airplane bound for a war zone...more >



Mark Matousek
Rescue
I grew up in estrogen overload, in a house filled with difficult women, the only son of a harridan who’d sent her husband—my father—packing for love of another married man....more >