A lot of time has been spent working with men to help us understand that sexual assault and gender equity are issues that deeply affect us. And that when patriarchy (in brief - the systemic domination of women by men, and the maintenance of strict gender boxes) is confronted we are liberated as well, no longer forced to fit into the narrow “real man” box that we are presented with. This is tapping into what white anti-racist thinker and activist Tim Wise would call the “Importance of Self-Interest”. In his most recent article he describes the pathology of whiteness as a culture in the United States. He is addressing the historically grounded fact that building movement against white supremacy isn’t about convincing white people that it’s wrong, but rather that it deeply hurts us all.
We need to put the same work into presenting the case against patriarchy as a culture harmful to us as men. This isn’t to say that men can’t be strong, independent, and tough. It does mean that the culture of aggression, domination and competition that often defines us isn’t just killing others – it’s killing us as well. I hope to explore this more, and look forward to your ideas as to how we can tap into men’s self-interest in confronting sexism.
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