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N e w Vi s i o n s o f M a n h o o d

Voice Male The Magazine of The Men’s Resource Center for change

Fall  2007

Fathering Today INSIDE Pop: A Celebration of Black Fatherhood Why Dads Matter So Much to Their Daughters Stay at Home Dad Seven Tips for the Modern Dad

• Flying Solo: Men and Separation • Voices of Youth: Full-Time Student, Part-Time Partier • Whipped Cream and Consent: Men Talking with Men About Good Sex!


From The Editor

Marriage for All in Massachusetts and Beyond

Love Knows No Gender By Rob Okun

“Please stop trying to convince me that the vote on the proposed gay marriage amendment does not have any impact on my marriage now that I have to explain that the wedding ring I wear is symbolic of the relationship I have with my wife and not my husband.” —Dave Lawley, Methuen, Mass. Letter to the editor, Boston Sunday Globe, June 24, 2007

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he thousands that marched in Jena, Louisiana, just before the autumnal equinox illuminated the two standards of justice still operating in the United States. Indeed, events in the small southern town seem to have sparked a renewed commitment to the civil rights movement that transformed this country in the second half of the 20th century. Regardless of one’s position on the particulars of the Jena Six case, it would be hard to deny the blatant inequality in the meting out of justice. In this possibility for a renewed commitment to the 1960s civil rights movement lies a possibility for linking it to another civil rights movement of critical importance in this century: justice and equality for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people. The vote by the Massachusetts legislature in June to uphold gay marriage in the Commonwealth was a historic moment in a 21st century civil rights struggle that is far from over. The struggle is being played out in states across the nation and the debate is only going to grow in the weeks, months and years ahead. The tragic case of Idaho’s Larry Craig only added to the conversation. His painful struggle to deny his true voice in an inner dialogue with himself, a private talk with his family, and a public statement to his constituents about leading a life based on authenticity sharply exposes the deep roots of bigotry. In the three and a half years since gay marriage became legal in the state, more than 10,000 weddings have occurred. As a justice of the peace in Massachusetts, in 2004, I officiated at my first gay wedding a

“Even

in the shadow of

Jena, Louisiana,

many

Americans

have seen their attitudes about race evolve over the years as more of us have made some effort to examine the

color of our fear.

Now

is the time for citizens to take the

next step in a deeper inquiry into our homophobia.”

few months after it became legal. This past summer, I conducted two more same-sex ceremonies. In these same three and a half years, heterosexual couples continued to wed without interference, other couples in the commonwealth became engaged, some separated, and others divorced. I’m not the first to point out that throughout that time span the sky has not fallen. What the couples I have met with in poignant prewedding meetings have taught me is that love, hope and possibility are at the core of their intention to make a life together, not heterosexuality or gay politics. Acknowledging same-sex marriage for many is not easy; I’ve met family members at gay weddings I’ve officiated at who had to travel a greater emotional distance than other relatives had to travel in miles. Sure, it’s hard for many to face feelings of resistance to accepting your nephew’s/sister’s/ son’s or daughter’s marriage to a same-sex partner, but it’s part of the growing pains a society goes through as it flushes out the toxins of prejudice and fear. Even in the home of Lynne and Dick Cheney it appears that love and support for their lesbian daughter has been triumphing over bigotry as they welcomed their new granddaughter into the world without benefit of a conventional father. Renewed interest in the sixties civil rights movement, with an eye towards its contemporary resurgence, reminds us of the need for a chorus of civil rights movements— including immigrant rights—to join together in speaking truth to power in a rainbow of voices and possibilities. Even in the shadow of Jena, many Americans have seen their attitudes about race evolve over the years as more of us have made some effort to examine the color of our fear. Don’t get me

wrong; there is still plenty of work for all of us to do. Now is the time for citizens to take the next step in a deeper inquiry into our homophobia. Because some of us can’t see past the sexual dimension of a samesex relationship, many are gripped with an amnesia that obscures the healing power of love. It’s as if a blindness is clouding over an appreciation of the sweetness—the miracle—of any two people finding one another and deciding to make a life together. Before the wedding ceremonies at which I officiate, I always meet individually with the couple to ask, without their partner present, what each loves about their mate. I take careful notes and weave their tender words of caring, admiration, and appreciation into a narrative each hears for the first time during the ceremony. It’s a wonderful moment. It should come as no surprise that the love each feels for the other has the same quality, whether expressed by a gay or lesbian partner or a heterosexual, bisexual or transgendered one. So, if you’re looking for an answer to those who may worry that they’ll be stopped on the streets and asked to explain the symbolism of their wedding rings: Love, it turns VM out, doesn’t have a gender.

Rob Okun is editor of Voice Male. He can be reached at rob.okun@mrcforchange,org. A version of this editorial appeared in the Springfield (Mass.) Sunday Republican August 12.


Table of Contents Features Whipped Cream and Consent . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Men Talking with Men About Good Sex By Kim Rice and Ross Wantland He Got Himself Drunk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Sexual Assault and Alcohol by Gordon Braxton Flying Solo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Men and Separation By James S. Saying No to Violence Italian Style . . . . . . . . . . 15 Boys and the White Ribbon Campaign By Michael Kaufman Pop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 A Celebration of Black Fatherhood Photos by Carol Ross

Voice Male

Why Dads Matter So Much to Their Daughters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 By Joe Kelly Stay-at-Home Dads . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 By Matthew Broyles Seven Tips for Modern Dads . . . . . . . . . . . 24 By John Badalament

Columns & Opinion

Masculinity redefined...New visions of manhood... Men overcoming isolation...

From the Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Mail Bonding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Men @ Work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Man to Man . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 A Community Letter By Paul Kivel Voices of Youth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Full-Time Student, Part-Time Partier By Dean Toulan Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 GBQ Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 MRC Programs & Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

No matter how you describe it, we’re all in uncharted waters today trying to understand contemporary men and masculinity. Ride the waves of changing ideas about men with Voice Male to keep your balance. Four issues. Delivered to Your Door.

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COVER PHOTO: © Carol Ross - From the book Pop: A Celebration of Black Fatherhood

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Fall 2007 •

VOICE MALE is published quarterly by the Men’s Resource Center for Change, 236 North Pleasant St., Amherst, MA 01002. It is mailed to donors and subscribers in the U.S., Canada, and overseas and distributed at select locations around New England. The opinions expressed in VOICE MALE may not represent the views of all staff, board, volunteers, or members of the Men’s Resource Center for Change. Copyright © 2007 Voice Male Magazine. Subscriptions: For subscription information, call (413) 253-9887, ext. 16, or go to www.mrcforchange.org and follow the links to subscribe to VOICE MALE. Advertising: For VOICE MALE advertising rates and deadlines, call (413) 253-9887, ext. 16. Submissions: The editors welcome letters, articles, news items, article ideas and queries, and information about events of interest. We encourage unsolicited manuscripts, but cannot be responsible for their loss. Manuscripts sent through the mail will be responded to and returned if accompanied by a self-addressed stamped return envelope. Send articles and queries to Editors, VOICE MALE, 236 N. Pleasant St., Amherst, MA 01002, or e-mail to voicemale@mrcforchange.org.

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Mail Bonding Voice Male: the Night

a

Solace

in

I just returned from an anti-pornography training workshop with Gail Dines and Robert Jensen. This evening I began to read Against Pornography: The Evidence of Harm by Diana Russell for the first time. Despite the horrific nature of the contemporary images in the anti-porn slideshow I have been working with, I was not expecting images of such gratuitous violence and bondage as are contained in Russell’s book. Suddenly I couldn’t look at it anymore. All I could do was cry with a cavernous pit of nausea in my stomach. I didn’t know how I would be able to sleep tonight with those images emblazoned in my mind and the knowledge that such hate of me, simply because I am a woman, and hate of every woman living, seethes to varying degrees in the bodies of a terrifyingly large number of men. The few friends I thought I could call

were not home, and I sat huddled in a chair feeling so very vulnerable and alone. Eventually, I saw a copy of Voice Male lying on my table and picked it up. As I flippedthroughthepagesofwarmandcompassionate faces and deeply human words, it was as if a soothing blanket of solace had been laid over my heart. Knowing you all are also here with me on the earth, striving todeepenyourownhumanityandtorespect and nurture the humanity of those around you, brought such comfort and restoration to my spirit. I don’t know how bleak and desolatethisnightwouldhavebeenwithout your collective presence. Thank you for your courage, thank you for your struggle! Gemma Laser Unity, Maine

Bringing Awareness

Thank you for helping us spread the word about The Hero’s Journey: A Northeast Kingdom Retreat for Men with Cancer earlier this summer in Vermont. I shared the

article “There Were No Symptoms” (by Felicity Pool and Allen Davis, Voice Male Spring 2007) with the seven participants, four of whom had prostate cancer. I was particularly struck by how candid the article was. There is so much awareness of the issues of sexuality and image that breast cancer survivors contend with and so little about the challenges of prostate cancer survivors. Thank you for helping to bring the awareness to the surface! Cynthia Blood, President Forest Moon: Celebrating Survivorship Jacksonville, VT cindy@forestmoon.org www.forestmoon.org

We Want to Hear from You! Write us at: Voice Male, MRC, 236 North Pleasant St. Amherst, MA 01002 or Fax (413) 253-4801 voicemale.editor@mrcforchange.org Please include address and phone. Letters may be edited for clarity and length. Deadline for Winter issue: December 3, 2007

National Advisory Board Voice Male Magazine Men’s Resource Center For Change

John Badalament, Boston Juan Carlos Areán, Boston Byron Hurt, New York City Robert Jensen, Austin,Texas Sut Jhally, Northampton, Mass. Jackson Katz, Long Beach, Calif. Joe Kelly, Duluth, Minn. Michael Kimmel, Brooklyn Bill T. Jones, New York City

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Michael Messner, Los Angeles

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Don McPherson, Long Island, N.Y. Craig Norberg-Bohm, Boston Haji Shearer, Boston


M en @W ork Congressional Update: Can I Buy a VAWA?

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ongress has lately been addressing a number of issues that relate to domestic and sexual violence against women and children. In particular, advocates are pressing hard for full funding for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). This law includes groundbreaking initiatives to help children exposed to violence, train health care providers to support victims of abuse, encourage men to teach the next generation that violence is wrong, provide crisis services for victims of rape and sexual assault, and address the needs of Native American women. It also continues efforts to improve the law enforcement response to violence and provide supportive services, such as transitional housing, to women and children forced to leave their homes because of violence. To e-mail your senators and representatives to urge them to fully fund VAWA, visit http:// action.endabuse.org/fvpf/home/.

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Domestic violence in the workplace also got some airtime in the halls of Congress this year. “Too Much, Too Long? Domestic Violence in the Workplace” was the topic of a hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety last spring. Domestic violence survivor and advocate Yvette Cade, Legal Momentum president Kathy Rogers, commissioner of the Maine Department of Labor Laura A. Fortman, and employment attorney Sue K. Willman testified. Cade, Rogers, and Fortman pressed for passage of the Survivors’ Empowerment and Economic Security Act to promote the economic security of victims. The Act would keep domestic violence victims from losing their jobs because they need time off to get restraining orders. It also would make them eligible for unemployment benefits. “Cases of abuse, stalking, harassment and homicide don’t make the nightly news, but they do end lives,

hurt businesses and alarm communities,” subcommittee chairman Patty Murray (D-WA) said. “Each day we get terrible reminders that domestic violence doesn’t stay at home. It follows people into their workplace—posing safety, financial, and legal problems for victims, employers and other workers. If we ignore it, the horrible toll of domestic violence in the workplace will continue unchecked. But if we confront it, I believe we can make progress.”

A Call to Men’s Rap: Stand Up, Speak Out

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he national organization A Call to Men is collaborating with socially conscious rap artist Bishop Freeze on a nationwide public awareness campaign to galvanize men to commit themselves to end violence and discrimination against women and girls. The four-phase campaign, called Stand Up—Speak Out, began with a national conference in New Orleans on September 26, 2007, and the release

New Poll Finds Men Want to Find Ways They Can Personally Help End Violence men) say it is not likely that, at some point, a woman or girl they know will be a victim. Seven in ten men are willing to talk to children about healthy relationships (up from 55 percent in a poll conducted in 2000) and an equal proportion are willing to donate old wireless telephones to programs that help victims and prevent violence. Two-thirds say they would sign a pledge; an equal number would sign a petition or contact lawmakers about the issue. Men give no institutions high marks for doing enough to raise awareness and address domestic violence and sexual assault. More than 60 percent say the sports and entertainment industries, government, school and colleges, the news media and businesses should do more. Eighty-seven percent want employers to provide information for victims, 83 percent want employers to adopt policies to help victims, 77 percent want supervisors and managers to be trained to support victims, and 72 percent want employers to provide resources to employees on how to talk to children about healthy, violence-free relationships.

Fall 2007 •

ccording to a new poll released by the Family Violence Prevention Fund, 56 percent of men and 60 percent of those ages 18 to 34 have reason to believe a member of their immediate or extended family, a close friend or acquaintance has been in a domestic violence or sexual assault situation. More than half (57 percent) think they can personally make at least some difference in preventing violence, and 73 percent think they can make at least some difference in promoting healthy, respectful, non-violent relationships. And, the poll finds, men are taking action. Two in three fathers (68 percent) have talked to their sons about the importance of healthy, violence-free relationships, and 63 percent have talked to their daughters. Fifty-five percent of the men surveyed have talked to other boys who are not their sons. According to the new poll: Two-thirds of men (67 percent) say domestic violence and sexual assault are very or fairly common in the United States. Just 15 percent of men (and just 12 percent of young

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M en W ork

Men @ Work continued from page 5

of an eight-song CD that focuses on educating men—particularly young men—about violence against women and how to end it. The lyrics encourage men and challenge them to take a serious look at themselves and our society as it relates to violence, sexism, and manhood. Men are informed by the music and encouraged to “stand up and speak out” to end violence against women. The campaign is intended to present a positive view of manhood that validates men and invites them to get involved in social change, while affirming the experience and reality of women. The second phase of the campaign will begin October 15 with a national poster campaign, followed by the third phase, a video release of the title track of the CD in December. Finally, a national Stand Up—Speak Out conference will be held in May 2008 at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. For more information, to attend the conferences, or to support this effort, go to www.acalltomen.com.

Teen Network Promotes Healthy Behavior

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he Healthy Teen Network has issued three publications that address violence among youth and promote healthy behaviors and relationships. Interpersonal Violence and Adolescent Pregnancy: Prevalence and Implications for Practice and Policy is a reprinted report from the Center for Assessment and Policy Development and Healthy Teen Network. It examines the links between interpersonal violence and teen pregnancy. It also explores the implications for practice and programs and offers possible next steps for the field. Boys Will Be Boys: Understanding the Impact of Child Maltreatment and Family Violence on the Sexual, Reproductive, and Parenting Behaviors of Young Men notes that boys are exposed

to child maltreatment and family violence at rates similar to girls, suffer different types of violence than girls, and experience their own gend e r- s p e c i f i c responses. Young male survivors are prone to certain sexual, reproductive, and parenting behaviors because of their exposure, such as contributing to higher rates of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV infection, perpetrating violence among their own families, and more. Widening Our Lens is a new brochure that presents a comprehensive strategy to address the impact of child maltreatment, and interpersonal and family violence on youth.

All three publications are available at www.healthyteennetwork.org.

China Enacts New Domestic Violence Law

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olice in China are changing the way they handle domestic violence cases. The Ministry of Public Security issued new regulations in August on how to deal with family violence ordering police to no longer treat such cases as simply family disputes. Police have been slow to respond. The new regulations “place a legal duty on the police to assist victims and stipulates that police response must be immediate or they will face punishment,” China Daily reports. In July, the China Women Federation said complaints of domestic violence rose 70 percent in the past two years, probably due to both increased violence and increased awareness of services. VM


Men Talking with Men About Good Sex!

Whipped Cream and Consent By Kim Rice and Ross Wantland

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his past spring, we facilitated a workshop for a group of college-aged men about drunk sex. We asked the men to create a list of the qualities of “good sex.” One group drew stick pictures of a man having “doggy style” sex with a large-breasted woman and a list of qualities such as “handcuffs” and “rough.” The other group made a list of items that included “mutual,” “consent,” “foreplay,” and “orgasms for everyone.” The first group laughed and poked at each other while they generated their list. The second group pondered their answers in a more thoughtful way. Later in the workshop, we asked them about creating their lists, and whether that was the type of sex they believed their peers were having. Both groups said no. When asked how they can work for the type of sex they want, one member insightfully said that the way he often jokes with his friends about sex makes it difficult to have an honest conversation with other guys about the topic. Sometimes in our workshops, groups of men create something more like a grocery list than a list of qualities of good sex. These lists usually include whipped cream, strenuous sexual positions, and the physical characteristics of a wellendowed (female) partner. When men in the group add words like “mutual,” they are made fun of. It is clear that men don’t often have a forum in which to talk openly with other men about good sex. Good sex that, by their own admission, they want but aren’t having!

Vulnerability isn’t a celebrated male trait and talking about sex reveals a more vulnerable side. It may be easier to joke about the outrageous than to talk about the serious. Men supposedly think about and talk about sex all the time. But we wonder whether guys are really being honest with each other when they talk about it, and when we ask men, they say they aren’t. Because of this, men are susceptible to receiving misinformation from each other. Society sets men up for this, and plays a role in the messages they receive and therefore internalize. For example, men are told (sold) that they are supposed to know what they are talking about when it comes to sex. The media tells them that they should possess incredible sexual endurance, be well-endowed, and innately know what goes where. Part of pretending to know everything about sex also means filling the conversation with jokes—jokes that help us not to be accountable in the event our lack of knowledge becomes evident (“Aw, man, I was just kidding”). At the same time, as men we can feel really vulnerable to talk about our sexual desires and questions with anyone, whether a partner or close friend. Vulnerability isn’t a celebrated male

trait, and talking about sex reveals a more vulnerable side. It may be easier to joke about the outrageous than to talk about the serious. We believe that men lose out when they buy into this way of relating to each other. They miss a valuable place to share real information. Rather than focusing on conquests or specific sex acts, conversations could be about sharing sexual feelings, experiences, questions, and frustrations with each other. This dismantles the front that men often feel they have to put on for each other, and for their sexual partners. We read an article recently that spoke about a man who had been put in charge of his best friend’s bachelor party. He wanted to create an environment where the men could celebrate their male bond and the impending wedding. But he didn’t want to recreate the stereotype of a sexist bachelor party; he insisted that he would not hire a stripper. But what would be fun about that? Determined to change this perception, he invited the men together for a party, but instead of talking about sex while focusing on a stripper or porn, he started talking with his friends about what he had hoped for the party, what they liked about their sexual experiences with partners, what they themselves enjoyed sexually, and even what their feelings were about sex and sexuality. Now that’s outrageous sex talk! And the men had a great time. continued on page 26

Calling All Men: A 4-1-1 for Healthy Sex • Talk to your friends about sex! (They want you to.)

• Show other men this article and ask them what they think. Get a group of men together and have them brainstorm a list of qualities of “good sex” and then talk about your lists.

Fall 2007 •

• Take the challenge: host a sex party that involves conversations between men about sex and sexuality, without a focus on women or pornography.

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Sexual Assault and Alcohol

He Got Himself Drunk— What Did He Think Was Going to Happen? By Gordon Braxton

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ew commercial genres are more iconic than the typical beer ad, whose scantily clad women and sexual innuendo promise a more vibrant sex life for those who would only purchase the product. Today, these commercials reflect a youth culture that believes alcohol and sexual activity to be kin. This is ironic since alcohol is strongly correlated with several undesirable sexual outcomes, including sexual dysfunction, lessening of physical sensation, improper contraceptive usage, flawed evaluation of sexual situations, and the 900-pound gorilla of the bunch—sexual assault. Having worked as an educator on issues of sexual violence, I know that few concepts evoke more disagreement among young adults than the morality of sexual encounters under the influence. Where do we draw the line between alcohol-fueled sexual assaults and mere “drunken hookups”? Try as some might to dismiss these encounters as either a normal part of the youth experience or simply too “gray” to adjudicate, the sheer volume of discord that arises from them demands our attention. For example, studies report that alcohol usage is involved in anywhere from one-third to two-thirds of sexual assaults. To avoid dispensing accountability for inebriated sexual encounters is to assign a moral vacuum to a realm of behavior that is so normalized that many sexually active college students graduate without a sober sexual experience. Yet attempts to assign objective moral parameters to these behaviors are often met with shrugs, or with pas-

sionate and predisposed ascriptions of blame—usually of involved women. “She should have been more responsible and not placed herself in such a vulnerable position.” “Nobody put a gun to her head and made her drink.” “She got herself drunk. What did she think was going to happen?” I believe strongly in risk reduction, but the kind of one-sided blame that follows heterosexual sexual encounters involving alcohol reveals an entrenched sexism. Students also readily point out alcohol consumption by men in these incidents, but almost always in their defense. “We can’t expect the guy to be a mind reader, much less when he’s drunk!” “Guys get a little more aggressive when they’re drunk. It’s just what they do.” So how is it that the very same factor that raises the culpability of women in sexual encounters—their intoxication—also serves as a mitigating factor for men? Arguments against intoxicated women who “cry rape” almost always follow a similar logic. That is, alcohol’s effects are at least superficially understood by all, so those who voluntarily consume it should be accountable for its undesirable consequences. The cited effects of using alcohol cannot be denied. At about a .02 percent blood alcohol level, inhibitions begin to loosen, encouraging users to engage in behaviors to which they might normally object. Around .08, one’s judgment is significantly affected. Possible blackouts and memory loss begin around a .15 percent blood alcohol level. Not to

mention that one is more likely to be perceived as more sexually available at all blood alcohol levels—research shows that the mere consumption of alcohol communicates to others that one has a desire to be sexually active, whether true or not. Yet this list is both selective and prejudiced against women. The same substance fosters heightened aggressiveness in male users, as well as a gradual decrease in empathy—reportedly most pronounced in men. The fact that we actually cite consumption of a substance intimately connected to violence, aggressiveness, and empathy loss in defense of alleged perpetrators only highlights the depths of the biases we bring to discussion of alcohol-facilitated encounters. Should someone crash a vehicle or physically assault someone while intoxicated, it is understood that his/her consumption of alcohol will not avert culpability. Yet this is exactly the logic used with intoxicated sexual aggressors. This is partly because the sheer dynamics of sexual assault do not lend themselves to adjudication (i.e., there is no physical evidence for consent) and partly because alleged victims are often viewed as accomplices to the crime, particularly if they too were intoxicated. Nonetheless, the logic remains problematic when applied to the health of the relationships between those involved in these encounters. Holding men accountable for sexual aggression under intoxication may strike some as harsh, especially if we believe the average sexual assault to be a simple misunderstanding. But let us not forget


How is it that the very same factor that raises the culpability of women in sexual encounters — their intoxication — also serves as a mitigating factor for men?

wise would allow men free rein to enact their desires on women who have consumed alcohol and who may or may not agree with actions that require their bodies. It might be argued that society spends so much energy discrediting female participants because they are the complainants far more often than men. They, more so than men, walk away from drunken encounters with grievances to air, so it stands to reason that society would be more adept at dismantling their claims. It might just be that America would turn on any participant in a seemingly voluntary encounter who later feels violated. Even so, attributing an apparent prejudice against women to a generic disgust for irresponsibility does not rid us of important questions about gender biases and socialization. In deciphering the oft-hazy line between sexual assault and “regretted sex,” we’re still left to ponder just why women tend to show more repentance for alcohol-infused encounters than do men. Perhaps more men should regret fantasy-driven flings that ignore the risks of pregnancy, STDs, and fractured relationships. Perhaps more men should regret acquiring sex devoid of intimacy by means of impaired decision making and altered perceptions. One would hope that such behavior might strike an ethical or even practical chord with anyone. But alas, such reactions do not appear to be acceptable for most men to display in a peer culture that prizes any and all sexual activity—the score-at-any-cost mentality. From this lens, we might surmise that men who mercilessly blame women for their role in alleged sexual assaults are posturing to compensate for a range of emotions they either do not possess or are not allowed to show. VM

Gordon Braxton is the prevention specialist in Harvard University’s Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response.

Fall 2007 •

that the stories of survivors of alcoholaccompanied sexual violence are riddled with experiences that go beyond simple misunderstandings. They are stories of women regaining consciousness to find that someone is having sex with them and of men ideating plans to incapacitate targets. These egregious instances aside, the fear voiced by many men of being blamed for an encounter in which all parties are “completely wasted” doesn’t exactly map to reality. In truth, the bulk of “drunken hookups” involve one party of noticeably greater capacity than the other. One party must after all have the ability to coordinate the sexual rendezvous and subsequent activity. Simply put, a great many men involved in these problematic encounters are still functional. Likewise, they should not be relieved of responsibility. Sending the message of a more comprehensive accountability for drunken encounters to men takes on greater importance once we acknowledge that drunken violence is such a distinctly male phenomenon. Both men and women experience behavioral change under the influence, but men succumb to violence and aggression at significantly higher rates. Most of us already know this anecdotally, as our remembrances of drunken persons getting into fights or destroying property are largely limited to men. Numerous researchers are now taking note of a seeming increase in female aggression, but violence still remains largely male territory. All of this begs the question whenever a male is accused of sexual violence after consuming alcohol: “You got yourself drunk. What did you think was going to happen?” None of this is to say that there is no place for female responsibility in sexual encounters involving alcohol. And it is certainly possible for females to be aggressors in today’s sexually charged culture. I just contend that it is time to revise the practice of placing the sole onus on women and alleged victims while at the same time absolving men and alleged perpetrators. To do other-

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Lahri Bond

Men and Separation

Flying Solo By James S. Whenever anything is changed and leaves its bounds, Instantly this brings death to that which was before. —Lucretius

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don’t much like to fly, but I like to fly alone. I can read, think, space out through the window, watch the landscapes pass below. I experience the sensation of leaving my “real life” behind for a while, setting it to one side, letting everything get tossed up in the air to see where the pieces come down. And I get to pretend I am truly alone, on my own, with no one looking over my shoulder and no one to answer to. Yet it seems I only fly alone when there’s a crisis. Over the last year it’s happened twice: Last spring my mother had a stroke and was partially paralyzed; I flew out to the West Coast to visit her in rehab. A few months before that, I flew west for the funeral of one of my brothers. Each time I was conscious of

being a Man Traveling Alone, a man with no apparent partner or children, no evident responsibilities, not dressed like a business traveler, too old to be a student. A man with no visible means of support, emotionally at least. (Who do I trust in the airport to watch my bag so I can go to the restroom unencumbered? Middle-aged ladies, especially those from the South.) On the trip to see my mother, flights were delayed by thunderstorms up and down the East Coast. I missed my connection in Atlanta, the last flight out that night, so I made an unscheduled overnight stop. The hotel I stayed in was a nondescript building near the airport, along a strip of other hotels and chain restaurants. Alone in an unfamiliar city, I walked up and down the street, searching for someplace that might have decent food and be comfortable for a single person. I decided on a Chinese restaurant, correctly figuring the food

would be palatable and the waitstaff polite and efficient. In the restaurant were several other single men, travelers like me no doubt, who also sat quietly in their booths over kung pao chicken and cold Tsingtao. The food was just fair, but it was an easy place to eat alone and not feel the awkwardness of standing out, as one might in the dark, expensive steakhouse next door or the bright lights and loud colors of the Mexican place down the street, with its happy-hour crowds and pitchers of margaritas. Several places I’d think nothing of trying with even one other person seemed too daunting to enter as a solitary male, going it alone. I’ve been getting lessons in flying solo of late, ever since separating from my wife a few months ago. In the end I was the one who chose to move out, going from the family house in a quiet neighborhood to a one-bedroom apartment downtown. The decision wasn’t made lightly and was fraught with anxi-


to reassure them that I’m still here for them. I’m trying to make the most of the time we have together without putting undue pressure on them, or myself, to reach a particular outcome. I may not be living with them full-time anymore, but I’m still their dad. In the adult realm there have been changes too. Some good friends of “ours” now have no contact with me, while others remain

Since the euphoria of the first weeks on my own, I’ve settled into a reality that is familiar, but always different. Each day I’m faced with choices I must make anew, and at each such juncture I ask myself: What is the right thing to do here? What is it that I want to do here? It’s a new world, a a terra incognita. friendly and keep their judgments to themselves. Some have inevitably taken sides—by far the easier course—while some have chosen the more difficult path of trying to stay amicable with both parties. I’ve gotten closer to some of my own friends since the separation, sharing what’s going on with me and profiting from their own life experiences, and it feels as though my relationships with them are more authentic now, like I’m able to be more of who I am, more confident and solid in myself, untethered to worries about how others think I “should” be. Since the euphoria of those first weeks on my own, I’ve settled into a reality that is familiar, but always

different. Each day I’m faced with choices I must make anew: when to get up, what to eat, how to apportion my time, what to buy or not buy and how to handle my money, which friends and activities to make time and space for and in what way. At each such juncture I ask myself: What is the right thing to do here? What is it that I want to do here? It’s a new world, a terra incognita. My last plane trip, I’m happy to report, was not a solo flight, nor made in response to a crisis. My son and I flew out to the West Coast for a few days to see my family, hit the beach, watch some baseball, eat Mexican food and have fun. It was great to have a traveling companion, and my son is an easy and congenial one. I loved talking baseball and movies and cars with him, laughing at the same stupid jokes, bodysurfing in the Pacific. Not yet 13, he’s already savvy about life in many ways. I love him, I’m really proud of him, and I hope I can help him to weather everything he’s facing in life, love, sports, and school from my new vantage point, living alone and not with him. Now he’s in middle school— another milestone, a new phase. For me it’s a new phase too: this solo life filled with choices every day, with no one I have to consult—and no one else to blame if it doesn’t turn out well. It’s how I prefer it to be for now: a life I’m coming to know and embrace with all its fears and challenges and rewards, one journey at a time, one moment at a time, taking each step forward as it comes. VM James S. is a writer who lives in western Massachusetts.

Fall 2007 •

ety—we’d been together over 20 years and have two children still in school—but in the first few weeks I was out on my own I felt liberated, exhilarated, even euphoric. Suddenly lighter, relieved of the immediate tensions of the marriage, I moved through the world in a new way, and my relationships with those around me seemed to change. Now I could meet my friends for dinner or coffee, even go shoot pool at the local brewpub without feeling the pull of that invisible anchor that had often kept me close to home. I was still on a schedule—being with my kids at certain times, meeting work deadlines, and doing the usual round of child pickups and dropoffs—but otherwise I could get up when I wanted, go to bed when I chose, eat whatever I wanted at whatever time, with no one to oversee my choices or raise an objection or even an eyebrow. I was free. The first time I went grocery shopping for myself, just after moving out, it took me more than an hour to get through the store, although I emerged with little to show for my slow progress up and down the aisles. From the parking lot afterward I called a male friend on my cell phone. “I just realized,” I told him, “I can buy anything I want!” He laughed; he knew. His wife had moved out just two months before. It hasn’t all been a magic carpet ride. Of course the decision to separate affected my kids and my wife. They’re still adjusting, as I am, and adjustments to great changes can be painful. My biggest concerns naturally center around my kids. For now I’m trying to keep listening and talking to them, hearing their questions and concerns and trying

11


Man to Man

A Community Letter to Men By Paul Kivel

A

s a longtime activist on issues of male violence, I regularly get requests to help intervene in situations where men have abused their partners, have sexually assaulted someone, or are generally acting disrespectfully and abusively toward women in their lives. Often other people are surprised to find out that a particular man is abusive. In each situation those of us intervening would have to start anew, because there had been no previous discussion of expectations about how we wanted to live together. I began to realize that we needed to have these discussions with men when they joined our community to foster an awareness of male violence and to help build a safer and healthier community—in other words, to help prevent abusive behavior rather than always be responding to specific occurrences of it. I wrote the letter below to address individual men in communities that I live, work, and play in because we still, all too often, assume that “our” men have it together and are safe and nonabusive in their personal interactions. A letter to men (everyone who was raised as or who identifies as male) who are entering our community:

• Voice Male

Welcome to our community.

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Whether you are entering our neighborhood, our workplace, our school community, our congregation, or other collective spaces, I hope you will be welcomed and respected, and will feel safe and fully able to participate in our activities and life together. I am writing you because I want to talk with you about one of the primary ways that people’s safety and wellbeing are undermined in our society: male violence. No matter how special, different, evolved, or progressive we think our community is, male violence is happening among and around us. Many of my friends, family, neighbors, colleagues, joint travelers, and acquaintances have experienced violence from men. Male violence has had a devastating impact on their lives and on the lives of all of us. The cumulative result is that we cannot come together to rebuild our communities, establish a just society, or create intimate partner and family relationships without dealing with the shadow cast by this violence. I don’t know you. I don’t know your past history of relationships, I don’t know your intentions, and I don’t know what you will do in the various interpersonal situations you may find yourself in. So we need to talk, man to man, as you enter our community. You need to know that many of the women, men, transsexual and transgendered adults and youth in your life have experienced, survived, and are still healing from child sexual and physical abuse, teen dating violence,

and many kinds of domestic violence and sexual assault, as well as from various forms of racial and homophobic violence. (You may have experienced abuse yourself.) The pain of this abuse was compounded by the fact that men like you and me did not respond, did not believe, did not support the survivors, and often even colluded with the perpetrators. You need to know that people seldom lie about the abuse they have experienced and that they seldom talk about it either, for fear of further pain or other discomfort. Therefore, you may not even know about the kinds of interpersonal violence that those around you have experienced. For me, creating relationships built on respect, consent, and mutuality is the only healthy, safe, and healing way to be in relationship with the people around me. This applies to every level of interaction, from casual encounters at the bus stop or in a store to the most intimate moments of a sexual relationship. Respect means coming from a place of deepest recognition of and valuing of the body, spirit, culture, and individuality of the person I am relating to. Consent means only engaging in conversation, interaction, acts of physical intimacy, or other forms of contact with the expressed affirmation of the other person. No one can give consent if they are underage, asleep, on drugs, unable to speak the language, physically, emotionally, or financially dependent, intimidated, threatened,


Fall 2007 •

harassed, cajoled, or manipulated tion, marginalization, and exclusion Creating relationships built of others. It is certainly not always into saying “yes” when they do not on respect, consent, and easy, but it is absolutely essential really want to. If you have any indimutuality is the only healthy, that we step up as men to chalcation that your behavior is causing safe, and healing way to be in lenge other men. Our intervention someone else pain or that they are relationship with the people not only can stop the abuse, it also engaging in behavior they do not around me. This applies to can break the collusion that allows really want to engage in, then it is every interaction, from casual male violence to continue. your responsibility to stop and check encounters to the most intiWomen, children, and men will it out with them. mate moments of a sexual only be safe, healthy, and collecMutuality means that both people relationship. tively liberated when all systems in the relationship get to establish of oppression are eliminated. In the the boundaries of the relationship, meantime, we each have a role to and that those boundaries will be honored until mutually play as allies in the struggle to end male violence in all the changed. many forms it takes. I invite you to consider what these three words mean I invite you to join, or redouble your efforts, in that to you. struggle. Again, welcome to our community! Respect, consent, and mutuality are principles, not rules. I encourage you to operate from your deepest In love and solidarity, VM place of caring about others, not from a fear of breaking Paul Kivel “the rules” or of being incorrect. We live in interdepen- Paul Kivel is a teacher, writer, activist, trainer, and speaker dent communities, accountable to each other. Given the on men’s issues, violence prevention, racism and diversity, violence in our lives and communities, building relation- and other subjects. He co-founded the Oakland Men’s Project, ships is a never-ending process of trying to be loving to and is the author of Boys Will Be Men: Raising Our Sons for ourselves and to act in loving ways towards others. With Courage, Caring, and Community; Men’s Work: How to Stop the Violence That Tears Our Lives Apart; and other books and that in mind, if at any time you have any suspicion that articles. Visit his website, paulkivel.com. what you are doing is not completely respectful, consensual, and mutual, check it out with the person you are with, or with others. I also encourage you to find other male-identified people to talk with about these issues and other aspects of male socialization and sexism. Most of us learned early on to hide our feelings and cover our pain; to take abuse Joseph DiCenso and pass it on; and to expect male privilege and entitleCounselor • Coach ment, including emotional, physical, sexual, and other caretaking services from women. You may be hardworking, well-intentioned, creative, committed, charismatic, well-read, and/or working for justice. Yet you may still • Over 15 years working act abusively toward those around you unless you are with men doing the personal antisexist work necessary to unlearn • Body-centered, intuitive abusive patterns. and empowering I also think that each of us has a responsibility to sup• Building the “muscles” of curiosity, acceptance, port, and lovingly but firmly challenge, the men around creativity and action us when we see or hear that they are being abusive, acting • Sliding fee scale in disrespectful ways, taking advantage of male privilege, or acting out of male entitlement. There are many institutional systems that perpetuate male violence. But sexism Sessions by phone or in person in Northampton, MA also continues because men collude with other men in www.joseph-dicenso.com perpetuating it. We not only collude, we often actively bond with other men around the objectification, sexualiza413-667-8825

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You’re never far from Voice Male! Look for the magazine at these distribution points throughout the U.S.: California: Black Oak Books, Berkeley; Center for Women and Men, USC, Los Angeles; Modern TImes, San Franscisco • Colorado: Boulder Cooperative Market, Boulder; Page Two, Boulder • Florida: Goering’s Bookstore, Gainesville • Illinois: Box Car Books, Bloomington; New World Resource Center, Chicago • Maine: Boys to Men, Portland • (Eastern) Massachusetts: Family Violence Prevention Fund, Boston; Jane Doe, Boston; Men’s Resource Center of Central Mass., Worcester; NOMAS-Boston, Westford • New Hampshire: Monadnock Men’s Resource Center, Keene • New Mexico: Community Against Violence, Taos; El Refugio, Silver City • North Carolina: Downtown Books and News, Asheville • Oregon: Breaking Free, Eugene • Texas: Men’s Resource Center of South Texas, Harlingen • Vermont: Everyone’s Books, Brattleboro; Healthy Living Market, South Burlington; Lake Champlain Men’s Resource Center, Burlington • Washington: Elliot Bay Café, Seattle; Twice Sold Tales, Seattle

• Voice Male

Write to voicemale@mrcforchange.org for more information on distributing VOICE MALE in your area.

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Boys and the White Ribbon Campaign

Saying No to Violence Italian Style By Michael Kaufman In the end it was the boys I’ll remember.

I

daughter. www.michaelkaufman.com.

Fall 2007 •

was in Parma, the sixth of 10 cities during my two I knew from other workshops they would make the weeks in Italy, itself the fourth and final country on this speaking trip. The events in Italy were starting connections. What got me, though, was one incredible to blur: the 18 workshops for teachers or students, the moment near the end. On a paper flipchart, we had writ10 speeches and press conferences, interviews on top of ten some of the words they associated with manhood: interviews, and discussions with some incredible women strong, macho, no emotions, athletic, well-equipped, gets lots of sex, and so forth. I held up this sheet of and men. A women’s organization in Florence had decided to start paper and said these were ideas that had been around for the White Ribbon Campaign in Italy, and the Canadian- several thousand years. They had brought a lot of sufferoriginated men’s campaign to end violence against women ing to women. They brought rewards to men, but in the end, they brought us a lot of problems quickly spread across the country. At too. I said if they were bad for women least 28 local governments signed on and were impossible for men to achieve, If these words associand launched local campaigns; the prime then all we needed to do was get rid minister wore a ribbon, as did members ated with manhood of them. With a flourish I crunched of Inter Milan and other premier football were bad for women the paper into a giant ball and threw it teams, rock bands, basketball teams, and and impossible for away. And to my surprise and delight, at least one stately academic procession 200 young men broke into a huge cheer, men to achieve, then at the university in Bologna, the oldest with clapping that went on and on. all we needed to do and one of the largest in the world. There have been many fine moments So there I was in Parma. Organizers was get rid of them. in Italy, many terrific groups, many had decided to pack over 200 male stuhandshakes and words of thanks from dents into a large room in the basement boys or teachers that told me the work of a technical school. They had been selected from a was going well. Talks with terrific women who have couple of pretty tough schools where there’d been a lot been working for years against incredible odds to raise of violence. Last year, in fact, two young men murdered awareness about these issues, and a handful of men in their former girlfriends. It was a normal group of young men: noisy and excit- various cities who were stepping up to their side. And of ed to be out of class for the morning. Before the group course, given this was Italy, there was great food and at arrived, I had done a quick training with a group who least a few moments here and there when I could walk had volunteered to facilitate smaller group discussions, along cobbled streets or stare at Renaissance frescos on although given our numbers, there would be 25 guys in the vaulted ceiling of an old church. But in the end, it was those boys I will long remember. each group. For the next two hours, we went back and VM forth, between my talking in the whole group or hearing what they had to say, and a couple of discussions in the Michael Kaufman is a writer, public speaker, consultant, and smaller groups. We talked about our ideas of masculin- workshop leader on gender relations for governments, corpoity and femininity, about inequality, and our acceptance rations, trade unions, schools, and nongovernmental organiof violence against women. As I told stories about how zations, including the United Nations. A founder of the White no man can live up to the expectations of masculinity Ribbon Campaign, Kaufman’s books include Cracking the Arand about our attitudes toward women, the room grew mor: Power, Pain and the Lives of Men; Beyond Patriarchy: hushed. Then in their small groups, they figured out how Essays by Men on Pleasure, Power and Change; and Theorizing Masculinities. He lives in Toronto with his wife, son and all this linked to violence against women.

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F athering

POP Photography: A Celebration of Black Fatherhood By Carol Ross

N

• Voice Male

o segment of fatherhood in the U.S. has been more vilified than black fathers. Newspaper headlines paint a grim picture of fatherless children in inner cities across the country. Carol Ross sees a different picture and she’s captured it in an important new book, Pop: A Celebration of Black Fatherhood. In 51 emotionally compelling portraits of black fathers and their children, Ross, an acclaimed photographer who grew up in Voice Male’s hometown of Amherst, Massachusetts, invites readers on a journey into the world of profound love between men and their children.

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My son was born at 5:07 a.m. on what couldn’t have been a more perfect May morning. His father was on him like a second layer of skin, eager to cut the cord and whisk him into his arms. Our child stared into his daddy’s eyes and quickly stole his heart like a thief in the night. As my tough-as-nails spouse metamorphosed into a warm gooey mound

of melted chocolate, he looked back into his son’s eyes and whispered, “Break the cycle. Break the cycle.” His desire to break the cycle came to him honestly, as his strongest memory of his dad was when he was eight. His father pulled up to the corner and said, “I’m your dad.” He bought my husband a hamburger, then sent him off to school. That was the last time he saw him. Sadly enough, there are many black men who tell similar or worse stories about experiences with their fathers. But there are also many who have had opposite experiences with fathers who are committed to being present in their lives. Many! Too many to continue to ignore. As my son grew, I began to notice how his connection to his father transformed as he began to rely on him more for validation of his own identity. Whether wanting to go with him on errands or walking around in his dad’s big floppy shoes, my son was beginning to imitate his dad.

With this realization, I began to connect with the validation I had received from my own father. With a heart of solid gold and the patience of growing grass, my father lays claim to a brilliant mind and a wacky sense of humor. He provided me with more than enough tools to face the world with wonder, anticipation, strength and laughter. Without exception, he demonstrated the importance of exploring all possibilities with an open mind to gain a proper perspective. He surrounded me with a natural love of my skin in an environment that didn’t look like me. He supplied my validity in a color-conscious world predicated on invalidating. He carried me around on his shoulders, played “grab like a crab” and tickled me silly. He drove me to school every morning, dug in my ears if he suspected wax and unfailingly answered every one of my thousands of questions. He gave me the one thing that mattered most, himself. Pop began as a natural appreciation for the love I have for my father and for my husband as my son’s father. Initially, I thought I could simply acknowledge black men who are present in their children’s lives, but after the process of creating this book began, this simple act of acknowledgment became much more. While every magazine and newspaper that mentioned black fathers seemed to focus on their absence, it appeared to me that everywhere I went black fathers were present, taking their children to school, playing catch with them in


I saw hope and anticipation from those with infants. I saw fatigue and sleep deprivation from those who nonetheless mustered enough energy to chase, laugh and play. I saw books being read, alphabet songs being sung, pancakes cooked and little teeth brushed. I witnessed Bible readings, serious discussions, debates and disagreements. I watched, I captured, I learned and then I left, my heart always warmer and my spirit much wiser. In celebration of all fathers and all little boys who will one day be fathers, I present Pop.

F athering

the park, hugging and kissing them. Though I don’t doubt the accuracy of the number of absent fathers, I often wonder why the focus rests on them, while the great many who are present remain uncounted. I became more keenly aware of the disregard that society has for black fathers, even when they do get up every day and find ways to make better lives for their children. The sense of isolation that is so prevalent for many black fathers, having to function in such a nonsupportive environment, became the catalyst for making Pop much more than an acknowledgment. Ranging in age from their midtwenties to 74, the fathers in Pop are all different and from varying backgrounds, but they are all black fathers whose children are very blessed to have them. We are often overwhelmed with images of black men as unusually serious, angry, or tense, but what I

VM

experienced with all of them was quite the opposite. I saw gentle, fragile hearts, carefully guiding the spirits of their young with the strength and foundation of steel. I saw great fear and sometimes desperation hidden behind calm composure, especially from fathers raising teenagers.

Carol Ross has been a fine art and portrait photographer for nine years in New York, Los Angeles, and Virginia. She now lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., with her husband and son. www.photo-blue.com.

Fall 2007 • 17


Voices of Youth

Full-Time Student, Part-Time Partier

• Voice Male 18

Being a white middle-class male college student puts me right in the middle of the typical demographic of most college campuses, and also right in the middle of a typical paradox students are caught in. We spend our energy during the week learning, meeting people, understanding the world and how to better ourselves and our environment, then spend our weekends fraternizing, womanizing, getting drunk, smoking pot, and looking for a good time. All of this self-destructive behavior ultimately gives way to a midafternoon sunlit awakening, with the hope that someone remembers anything from the night before. This does not describe everyone of course, and does not imply that simply getting drunk or smoking some pot is in and of itself destructive. But many Thursdays through Saturdays it is unnecessary to ask friends that you didn’t see out a particular night what they did because it probably can be summed up as, “Pre-gamed, bars, pizza, and looked for a party,” or something similar. Some find humor, some disgust, some both, in this situation. What is interesting is how a culture of education, and an environment of social and political awareness, coexists with the fierce drive at the chime of 9:00 p.m. on Thursday to get as inebriated as possible, as fast as possible, and to associate with men or women one would rather less talk to than wake up beside in the morning. I am a male student who has taken courses such as Feminist Theory, Psychology of Women, and My Body, My Health. None of the aforementioned behaviors were suggested as good ones in these

Lahri Bond

By Dean Toulan

classes—actually, the exact opposite. But for me and for many young people my age, on weekends the lessons learned during the week are set aside in the name of swimming though the streets of downtown searching for good-looking people who may be interested in you and your gang of friends. This is not to say that everyone acts barbaric and not by their moral code, but that in these situations people are less articulate, not as thoughtful, and tend to say and do things they wouldn’t normally. At a school that has resources such as women’s centers on campus,

and a men’s center in town; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual awareness and advocacy groups; as well as many students coming from homes where being polite, respectful, and a good person are paramount, the weekend nights give way to a starkly and fundamentally different scene and environment. This is not just another critique of the sad state of affairs around drunk college kids—I am implicated as well, as a student who likes to go out and drink with friends and hang out in bars and environments where honesty and respect tend to be in short supply. Is it possible to play


hookup or other sexual encounter is rationalized in the morning as “not your fault,” because you were too drunk to know what was going on and maybe you don’t even know the other person’s name. What needs to be mentioned that rarely gets mentioned is that a lot of people, including me, enjoy drinking. I thoroughly enjoy drinking. I enjoy good beer, wine (little I know about it) and other drinks. I love the camaraderie—not the frat-boy mentality, but the communal nature of just sitting around or standing

This is not just another critique of drunk college kids—I am implicated as well, as a student who likes to go out and drink with friends and hang out in bars and environments where honesty and respect tend to be in short supply. Is it possible to play both sides of the fence on this issue? around a bar and drinking and talking. Like a lot of people, I have no qualms about getting drunk. A lot of people like to drink, and a lot like to get drunk, not to excuse rude behavior or get away from problems, but for the sake of it. A lot of people go out not just because they like drinking, but because the bar is a place to meet other people and potentially hook up. College students and young people are caught in this paradox, but along with that paradox is a double standard: If I go out and drink a lot, am I part of this problem, not part of the problem, or am I myself the problem? College drinking is a major issue on campus, along with violence, illness, poor academics, disease, weight gain, mental illness, eating disorders, even death and suicide. Alcohol is part of a larger problem.

There doesn’t need to be a war on drugs as much as there needs to be a war on behavior associated with their use, especially with the legal drug alcohol. Once people stop acting like the knowledgeable, thoughtful people they are, they are no better than anyone who is deliberately looking to harm others, cause trouble, or worse. All the education absorbed, all the lessons learned growing up, all the things your parents or guardians ever said is useless. Alcohol and other drugs are readily available, as are people to abuse them. If these drugs are going to be consumed, it cannot be to the point where you do not act like the person you are. What I and most of my peers want is to be a good person, and live a good life. I think that you can be part of the academic community, a benefit to society, and still consume alcohol and other substances. College is a time for questioning yourself, and a good question for a person who likes to drink is how can you be responsible in a culture and environment that encourages lousy behavior? College is also a time for growth and learning, and perhaps what many learn firsthand is the culture of drinking and drugs, and in turn, how to consume them, or how not to. We are in caught in a paradox and a contradictory situation that requires all of our life lessons, education, and experience to be brought to bear in this environment. If we can do that, if we can have fun and still remember who we are, then perhaps respect, honesty, and well-being can be implemented in a place where they are often in short VM supply. Dean Toulan graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in May 2007 with a degree in political science and a minor in psychology. He currently resides in Fall River, Mass., and is looking to work at the State House in Boston this fall.

Fall 2007 •

both sides of the fence on this issue? To be part of and contribute to the academic culture and be a “good person,” and at the same time to go out and be part of and contribute to the culture of college drinking and the bad behavior that comes along for the ride? To make sense of this you have to start at the root of who you are, and how you were brought up. I was taught probably a modern-day version of Emily Post manners—in short, to always, under all circumstances, be respectful to others and myself, and to be polite. The lessons I learned at home were of course reinforced in elementary school, junior high, and high school. Seminars in K–12 on how to be a good person, how to do the right thing, how to make choices that are good for you and don’t hurt others, and various other awareness days make up the framework of being a good person. All these pillars of trust, honesty, and respect have been instilled in me since birth, laying a solid foundation to build my life upon. The diverse college environment brings on awareness of other things such as class, gender, race, sexual orientation, assuming different responsibilities in your adult life and acquiring life skills. The courses you take, and the people you meet and surround yourself with, create your environment, which mirrors you as a person. You become an educated member of society with heightened awareness, you contribute in ways that fit with your worldview and exercise your knowledge for the better. You are 21 or 22 years old with all of this knowledge and understanding in a culture of academics, art, acceptance, learning—and also with a lot of drugs, alcohol of course being the primary one. It is nothing new that excessive drinking is valorized in college and drunken sex glamorized, and thus every weekend is set aside as a time to act out of your mind; any unwanted

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R esources Men’s Resources (Resources for Gay, Bisexual & Questioning Men, see page 21) International Society for Men’s Health and Gender P.O. Box 144, A-1097, Vienna, Austria/ EUROPE Phone: +43 1 4096010, Fax: +43 1 4096011 www.ismh.org or office@ismh.org

Men’s Initiative for Jane Doe, Inc. www.mijd.org Men’s Resource Center for Change www.mrcforchange.org Men’s Resources International www.mensresourcesinternational.org

Sex & Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA) (800) 749-6879 Referrals available for 12-step groups throughout New England.

Mentors in Violence Prevention http://www.sportinsociety.org/mvp

Fathers with Divorce and Custody Concerns Looking for a lawyer? Call your state bar association lawyer referral agency. In Mass. the number is (800) 392-6164. Here are some websites that may be of use to you: www.dadsrights.org (not www.dadsrights.com) www.directlex.com/main/law/divorce/ www.divorce.com www.divorcecentral.com www.divorcehq.com www.divorcenet.com www.divorce-resource-center.com www.divorcesupport.com Collaborative Divorce www.collaborativealternatives.com www.collaborativedivorce.com www.collaborativepractice.com www.nocourtdivorce.com Dads and Daughters www.dadsanddaughters.org The Fathers Resource Center www.slowlane.com National Fatherhood Initiative www.cyfc.umn.edu/Fathernet Internet Resources Brother Peace http://www.eurowrc.org/01.eurowrc/04.eurowrc_ en/36.en_ewrc.htm EuroPRO-Fem: European Menprofemist Network www.europrofem.org or city.shelter@skynet.be or traboules@traboules.org Men Against Violence http://www.unesco.org/cpp/uk/projects/wcpmenaga.htm

• Voice Male

Men’s Health Network http://www.menshealthnetwork.org/

Montreal Men Against Sexism c/o Martin Dufresne 913 de Bienville Montreal, Quebec H2J 1V2 CANADA 514-563-4428, 526-6576, 282-3966

Fathers

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The Men’s Bibliography A comprehensive bibliography of writing on men, masculinities, gender, and sexualities, listing over 14,000 works. It’s free at: http://mensbiblio.xyonline.net/

Men Can Stop Rape www.mencanstoprape.org Men for HAWC http://www.danverspolice.com/domviol9.htm

Men Stopping Violence http://www.menstoppingviolence.org/index.php

National Men’s Resource Center www.menstuff.org National Organization for Men Against Sexism www.nomas.org;Bostonchapterwww.nomasboston.org

National Association of Men and Women Committed to Ending Violence Against Women www.acalltomen.org 100 Black Men, Inc. www.100blackmen.org White Ribbon Campaign www.whiteribbon.com;www.theribbonlady.com XY Magazine www.xyonline.net Pro-feminist men’s web links (over 500 links) www.xyonline.net/links.shtml Pro-feminist men’s politics, frequently asked questions www.xyonline.net/misc/pffaq.html Pro-feminist e-mail list (1997– ) www.xyonline. net/misc/profem.html Homophobia and masculinities among young men www.xyonline.net/misc/homophobia.html Magazines Achilles Heel (from Great Britain) www.achillesheel.freeuk.com


For more info or to submit new entries for GBQ Resources contact us at (413) 253-9887 Ext. 33 or gbq@mrcforchange.org

AIDS Project of Southern Vermont Contact: (802) 254-8263. Free, confidential HIV/AIDS services, including support, prevention counseling and volunteer opportunities. T.H.E. Men’s Program (Total HIV Education) Contact: Alex Potter (802) 254-8263, Brattleboro, VT. Weekly/monthly social gatherings, workshops, and volunteer opportunities. Email: men@sover.net Bereavement Group for Those Who Have Lost Same-Sex Partners For individuals who have lost a same-sex partner. 2nd Thursday of each month from 7-9 pm at the Forastiere Funeral Home, 220 N. Main St, E. Longmeadow, MA 01028; year-round, walk-in group with no fee or pre-registration; bereavement newsletter also available. For more information, call (413) 525-2800. East Coast Female-to-Male Group Contact: Bet Powers (413) 584-7616, P.O. Box 60585 Florence, Northampton, MA 01062, betpower@yahoo.com. Peer support group open to all masculine-identified, female-born persons – FTMs, transmen of all sexual orientations/identities, crossdressers, stone butches, transgendered, transsexuals, non-op, pre-op, post-op, genderqueer, bi-gendered, questioning – and our significant others, family, and allies.Meetings 2nd Sundays in Northampton, 3-6 p.m. Free Boyz Northampton Social/support meetings for people labeled female at birth who feel that’s not an accurate description of who they are. Meet 1st and 3rd Mondays, 7 p.m. at Third Wave Feminist Booksellers, 90 King St., Northampton. Gay, Bisexual & Questioning Men’s Support Group Drop-in, peer-facilitated. Monday, 7-9 p.m. Men’s Resource Center, 236 No. Pleasant St., Amherst, MA. For information: Allan Arnaboldi, (413) 253-9887, ext. 33.

Gayellow Pages US/Canada Annual print directory of resources (business and organizational) for the GLBTQI in USA and Canada, sold in gay-friendly

Generation Q (formerly Pride Zone) A Program for GBQ youth. Open Thursdays, 4-9, for drop-in and a support group. Open Fridays, 4-9, for drop-in and pizza. Contact info: 413-582-7861 Email: apangborn@communityaction.us GLAD (Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders) Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders is New England’s leading legal rights organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, HIV status and gender identity and expression. Contact: 30 Winter St., Suite 800, Boston, MA 02108. Tel: (617) 426-1350, Fax: (617) 426-3594, gladlaw@glad.org, www.glad.org. Legal Information Hotline: (800) 455-GLAD (4523). GLAD’s Legal Information Hotline is completely confidential. Trained volunteers work one-on-one with callers to provide legal information, support and referrals within New England.Weekday afternoons, 1:304:30; English and Spanish. GLASS (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Society) GLBT Youth Group of Franklin County Meets every Wednesday evening in Greenfield. Info: (413) 774-7028. HIV Testing Hotline AIDS Action Committee in Boston provides referral to anonymous, free or lowcost HIV testing/counseling sites: (413) 235-2331. For Hepatitis C information and referral: (888) 443-4372. Both lines are staffed M-F 9am-9pm and often have biand tri-lingual staff available. Men’s Health Project Education, prevention services, and counseling for men’s health issues, especially HIV/AIDS. Springfield, Northampton, Greenfield. Tapestry Health Services. Contact: Bob (413) 747-5144. www.tapestryhealth.org or email rainbowmsm@aol.com Monadnock Gay Men A website that provides a social support system for gay men of Keene and the entire Monadnock Region of Southwestern NH. www.monadnockgaymen.com or email monadgay@aol.com PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) of Springfield/Greater Springfield Educational information and support for the parents, families, and friends of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, and Transgendered People. Contact info: MssEnn@aol.com,

Judy Nardacci, 413-243-2382 or Elizabeth Simon, 413-732-3240 Rainbow Resources of New Hampshire Free online access to networking, educational and referral information to and about the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and allied community of New Hampshire; Gay Lifeline, a PDF file of our entire database of community information; order a spiral-bound hard copy of the current Gay Lifeline Directory by sending $10 to Rainbow Resources, 26 S. Main Street, Box 181, Concord, NH 03301. Safe Homes: the Bridge of Central Massachusetts Providing support and services to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender youth via a weekly Drop-In Center, community outreach system and peer leadership program. Based in Worcester, serving all towns in region. 4 Mann Street Worcester, Massachusetts 01602 Phone: 508.755.0333 Fax: 508.755.2191 Web: www.thebridgecm.org/programs.htm Email: info@thebridgecm.org SafeSpace SafeSpace provides information, support, referrals, and advocacy to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQQ) survivors of violence and offers education and outreach programs in the wider community. P.O. Box 158, Burlington, VT 05402. Phone: 1-802-863-0003; toll-free 1-866869-7341. Fax: 1-802-863-0004. www.safespacevt.org or email: safespace@ru12.org The Stonewall Center University of Mass., Amherst. A lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender educational resource center. Contact: (413) 545-4824, www.umass.edu/stonewall. Straight Spouse Network Monthly support group meets in Northampton, MA, the first Tuesday from 6-8 p.m. For spouses, past and present, of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered partners. Contact: Jane Harris for support and location, (413) 625-6636; janenrosie@hotmail.com. Confidentiality is assured. The Sunshine Club Support and educational activities for transgendered persons. Info: (413) 586-5004. P.O. Box 564, Hadley, MA 01305. www.thesunshineclub.org or email: rsteel@att.net VT M4M.net Dedicated to promoting the overall good health of Vermont’s gay and bisexual men, as well as those who are transgender, by providing information, resources, and a calendar of events for gay, bisexual, questioning, and transgendered men. www.vtm4m.net

Fall 2007 •

Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project Provides community education and direct services to gay, bisexual, and transgendered male victims and survivors of domestic violence. Business: (617) 354-6056. 24-hour crisis line provides emotional support, safety planning, crisis counseling, referrals, and emergency housing: (800) 832-1901. www. gmdvp.org or email: support@gmdvp.org

bookstores since 1973. Published by Renaissance House, PO Box 533, Village Station, New York, NY 10014-0533. Voice & fax (646) 213-0263; e-mail gypages@ gmail.com; www.gayellowpages.com

GBQ R esources

AIDS CARE/Hampshire County Contact: (413) 586-8288. Buddy Program, transportation, support groups and much more free of charge to people living with HIV.

21


By Joe Kelly

I

’m really struggling with the fact that I don’t verbalize how wonderful my daughters are often enough. I do tell them, but it does not flow spontaneously. I don’t have the training or the modeling for it. I’ll say “good job!” But I also don’t want it to be “job.” You know—the idea that you have value because you did something. That has been my toughest thing. Maybe just sitting with them with my arm around them, maybe that’s telling them how special they are to me. I’m not sure. I have very little confidence about myself. In more than 25 years of talking and corresponding with thousands of men with daughters and stepdaughters—dads like the one quoted above —I’ve yet to meet one who made it through fathering without some serious doubts. But, despite our doubts, the impact of a father or stepfather on his daughter is astounding. Many of us vaguely sense this reality, but don’t fully realize its meaning. First, having grown up as boys, we often can’t understand our daughters at all. Second, we often buy into the notion (shared by many around us) that raising girls is women’s work. If you have any question about the impact a dad has, ask six adult women about their relationships with their fathers and stepfathers. The answers (seldom lukewarm) will fall into two general categories: • My dad was/is my hero. • My dad was/is an [expletive deleted]. One woman told me: My father is my one male role model. And I really compare all other men in the world to my father. He is

Robin Shtulman

F athering • Voice Male 22

Why Dads Matter So Much to Their Daughters

the most loving, accepting, honorable, responsible, nurturing person. He is the model that I judge all other men by—fair or not fair. The love and support and encouragement I had through those years, and continue to have, has made me a much stronger person. We have incredible influence in our daughters’ lives. It is imperative that we use it positively and intelligently, even if we’re not always conscious of the impact. Before my daughter Nia set off to ride her bicycle around Lake Superior at age 18, I overheard her tell someone that she got into biking because I’d taken her riding on a local trail. I only did that a couple of times, when she was about 14, and I’m no endurance (or speed-demon) biker. But that shared experience turned her on to biking, even though I never knew it. That’s

one reason why I always try to act and speak around my daughters in ways that they’d be proud of. Model, Listen and Respect As fathers, we have many choices about how to use our influence. We can send our daughters down life’s road with clear and healthy expectations of men, or leave them lost in tangled underbrush, confused about what to expect from men. They will probably be drawn to men who choose paths similar to the ones we tread as men and fathers. At a minimum, that means being an integral part of our daughters’ lives, not abandoning them to wander into the world of boys and men without our strong, supportive and nurturing masculinity. Our example is the road map they use to discover relationships (romantic or not) with boys and men we’d be proud to have as sons and brothers. We fathers lay the best foundation when we listen to and respect our girls. Bruce, a divorced dad, relearned that lesson recently: This weekend was the first time I’d seen my daughter in several weeks. I was tempted to grill her: “Why don’t you answer my calls or text messages? Are you angry about something I said?” Instead, I listened to what she had to say about herself, her school, her mother, what’s new in her life since we last saw each other. It was truly amazing what came out when I remembered to keep my mouth shut for a while! It was a great, relaxed weekend with lots of laughter and affection. Psychologist William Katte, author of the book Live-Away Dads, continued on page 26


Stay-at-Home Dads By Matthew Broyles

you by bringing his old man along, so why should I be? And really, I do hold out some hope that it has more effect on the kids than on the adults. The more my son and his friends see fathers as primary caretakers, the less weird they’ll feel about considering that role when they become parents. Which I guess is how things change through the generations. If in 20 years my son can’t imagine why someone would bother to make a radio commentary about being a stay-at-home dad, that’ll be just fine with me. VM Matthew Broyles is a writer and musician in Dallas, and a commentator on KERA-FM, North Texas public radio in Dallas, where this commentary originally aired.

Fall 2007 •

of being a receptionist that a man can’t do, yet seeing me behind the front desk always causes doubletakes and nervous laughs. And quite seriously, I suspect that the reason I was often offered promotions out of those jobs was to get me into a more “manly” job so I’d stop making everyone so darn uncomfortable. Of course, women run into the exact opposite problem when they find themselves at a professional pay grade. I’ve seen male bosses be absolutely diabolical in their efforts to make a degreed professional woman the de facto receptionist, even when there are men around far lower on the totem pole and sitting closer to the phone. These little battles reminded me of my sister and me when we were kids, arguing about who was going to change the channel on the TV. Stubbornness, patience, and expectation can wear all but the most determined underdog down until soon they’re not only changing the channel and answering the phone, but also making the coffee and restocking the half and half. My wife’s efforts to resist this sort of thing in her workplaces have often gotten her labeled the office troublemaker. Sadly, when I find mothers at playgroups speaking in low tones and cutting off conversations in midstream when they remember there’s a man present, I get a similar message: (sigh). “C’mon, guy, why don’t you just get a job and quit making everyone uncomfortable?” Well, I’ll tell you why: Because it’s not about you. It’s about doing what I believe is best for my son. He’s really not concerned about offending

F athering

H

ardly a week goes by that I don’t hear or read a story about how stay-at-home dads are running rampant all over post-Reagan America, challenging gender stereotypes and redefining the meaning of what it is to be a man. Not in Texas, they’re not. At even the most liberal-minded playgroups I attend with my oneyear-old son, the arrival of the only male adult is cause for raised eyebrows and doubtful glances. Even worse, though, is when I get a pat on the back and a “good for you!”—as though I were an elementary school child who’s just done something particularly clever. Of course, this is exactly the sort of treatment that women have gotten in the workplace for decades. That patronizing pat on the back is really a kick in the teeth, make no mistake. Parenting, at least the part that used to fall under the category “motherhood,” has seldom gotten any respect from men. Many of my working male friends scoff at how easy I’ve got it when I complain of a long day spent changing diapers, breaking up toy ownership disputes, and navigating city parks filled with lots of tasty debris for toddlers to choke on. As easy as my life apparently is, though, no one seems to envy me. Even though it’s not real work, somehow nobody else wants to do it. I suppose anytime someone wants to go against the grain, there’s always that initial period of suspicion from the culture at large. It’s a situation familiar to me from times when I’ve worked as a receptionist to pay the bills. There’s nothing about the job

23


Seven Tips for Modern Dads

• Voice Male

F athering

By John Badalament

24

T

o my own father, home was a place to rest or recharge. He came and went as he pleased, spending most of his time working or socializing. Beyond breadwinning, the majority of the day-to-day parenting—setting limits, communicating with school, nurturing, cooking, etc.—was left to my mother. His lack of involvement was not atypical for dads of his generation. As a modern dad, much more is expected of me and I want to be more of a presence than my own father was. Being a presence means getting involved in the “everydayness” of family life at home— no matter what your family structure is—from consistently setting limits to helping with homework to putting away the dishes. It means doing what sociologist Arlie Hochschild called The Second Shift, a term used to describe the second job most working women are left to do when they come home at night—housework and childcare. Modern dads who do the Second Shift teach their sons and daughters an expanded view of gender roles. Men don’t simply “help out” or “opt out”—they are full participants in all aspects of home life. Recent research done by John Gottman found that when men did more domestic labor, their partners were more attracted to them. Dads who are not a presence— because they let their child’s mother (or their partner) do everything, prefer to be “fun dad” or simply ignore responsibilities—are what’s been referred to as TPFA dads (Technically Present, but Functionally Absent). For example, my dad was mostly a TPFA dad even though we only saw him on the weekends after my parents divorced. His desire to have fun, be liked, and to be our “buddy” seemed to be most important. He did little in the way of setting limits or providing consistency. Despite how radically gender roles have shifted in the last generation, most modern dads still have a bit of the TPFA dad in us. A good way to prevent becoming a full-blown TPFA dad is to

remember the old adage: our children learn what they live. If we don’t want our daughters to grow up expecting to do everything at home or our sons to grow up with the idea that participation in family life is optional, then we need to model presence. The reality is that while modern dads are doing more, the research consistently shows that women (working or not) continue to do the vast majority of housework and child-related tasks. Whatever the family structure and no matter who is the breadwinner, dads need to model full participation in home life. Seven Tips for Modern Dads 1. Create a vision for fatherhood. Just as a company has a mission, dads need a vision for fatherhood, a Dad’s Vision Statement. Twenty years from now, what do you hope your child says— and doesn’t say—about your relationship? By asking this question, you can be more deliberate in how you choose to spend your time, what skills you need to learn, and what behaviors you want to model. 2. Look back. Be the bridge between your own father and your children. Modern dads must sort through their family legacy, particularly their relationship with their own dad, to determine the gifts they want to pass on to their children, as well as the liabilities they must watch out for. To move toward a new vision of fatherhood, you have to be aware of the legacy you carry. 3. Set aside regular time with your children. One great way to make sure you’re spending quality time with them regularly is to create a Ritual Dad Time. This in no way should replace daily family rituals like sharing meals, walking to school, doing shared activities, reading together, etc. Rather, this is a special, once per month, one-on-one time with Dad. Think of it as the father-child equivalent of a couple’s “date night.” 4. Know your children. By knowing your children—becoming an expert about

their lives—you send them a clear message that they are important and in the process deepen your bond. Beyond your focus and attention, knowing requires being a skilled listener and resisting the urge to be a “fix it” listener. 5. Be known by your children. Being known involves sharing more about who you are as a man—not just as “Dad”— with your children. Tell stories about yourself when you were your child’s age. Think of the pressures you faced, what you did for fun, challenges you overcame, who you had a crush on, etc. Letting your children know more about what you think and feel on a regular basis is essential to building a healthy connection. 6. Take care of yourself. Live the life you want your children to lead. Go for regular checkups, and listen to your doctors. One reason men die five years earlier than women is because we don’t go to the doctor as often as we should. A study out of the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center recently found that a majority of boys 15 to 19 years old believed that going to the doctor was a sign of weakness. Dads need to model differently. 7. Don’t go it alone. Talk to other dads, parents, and male mentors. One of the most important resources available to dads is...other dads! Get together informally with a couple of other dads on a monthly basis and talk about fathering. What’s been going well? What parenting challenges are you currently facing? Or, seek out a parenting group in the community or start a dads group at your child’s school. John Badalament is an international lecturer, Harvard-trained educator, and leader in the fatherhood field. He is the author of The Modern Dads Handbook, and directed the films All Men Are Sons: Exploring the Legacy of Fatherood and Gender Traps: How Marriage Problems Start in Kindergarten (forthcoming) johnbadalament.com.


T hank Y ou !

The Modern Dads Handbook

O

Modern Dads Handbook is written for all fathers with children of all ages. Depending on your situation, you may use the Handbook in different ways. For example: • For dads with newborns, infants, or toddlers: The Handbook will help you craft a vision for the kind of relationship you want with your child, as well as develop a foundation of relationship skills and habits. • For dads with school-aged children: The Handbook will help you keep the lines of communication open and your relationship strong as your children’s interests, personality, and priorities change. • For dads with teenagers and young adults: The Handbook will help you stay close without being intrusive, talk about critical issues, and chart a new course for your relationship as your child moves towards adulthood. Modern fatherhood is all about embracing change, taking action, and having vision. Women have traveled a great distance on the road from home to the world of work. They are not turning around. Now is the time for us as dads to ask more of ourselves. Being a father is not something you are, it’s something you do. By showing up for our children and partners, learning new skills, building support networks, and measuring success by the quality and health of our relationships, Modern Dads have begun the journey on the road that leads back home. As you make your way toward this new vision of fatherhood, The Modern Dads Handbook will serve as your map and your guide. — John Badalament VM

Men Who Cook Nick Seamon; Pam Tinto MRC/Voice Male Volunteers Michael Dover, Joel Kaye, Joe Leslie, Remer Rietkerk, Jamie Taylor, Maggie Wong Website Manager Joe Rufer As always, we extend our gratitude to the MRC Board of Directors for the ongoing guidance and support they give to this organization and all who are a part of it. We are also grateful for all of our staff, who regularly go above and beyond the call of duty, and to our team of volunteer support group facilitators, who every week provide a safe space for men to come and talk about their lives.

Looking to Connect?

Try the MRC’s Drop-in Men’s Support Groups IN NORTHAMPTON

Open to all men. Tuesdays, 6:45-8:45 PM Council on Aging, 240 Main St. IN AMHERST

Open to all men. Sundays, 7-9 PM at the MRC IN GREENFIELD

Open to all men. Wednesdays, 7-9 PM Network Chiropractic, DHJones Building, Mohawk Trail FOR GAY, BISEXUAL & QUESTIONING MEN

Open to all gay, bisexual, gay-identified F-to-M trans men & men questioning orientation Mondays, 7-9 PM, at the MRC FOR MEN WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED CHILDHOOD NEGLECT AND/OR ABUSE

Open to all men who have experienced any form of childhood neglect and/or abuse (physical, emotional or sexual) Fridays, 7-9PM, at the MRC FACILITATED BY TRAINED VOLUNTEERS FREE & CONFIDENTIAL

MEN’S RESOURCE CENTER 236 N. PLEASANT ST., AMHERST

(413) 253-9887, ext. 10

support@mrcforchange.org

Fall 2007 •

ver the last five years I’ve spoken to thousands of fathers across the country and abroad, and I’ve researched, written, and made a documentary film about what it means to be a Modern Dad. It has become very clear to me, as a practitioner and a dad myself, that for most men fatherhood today is as challenging as it is rewarding. As women have moved into the workforce, many dads—some by choice, others by necessity—have begun to be more active at home. No longer able to rely on the traditional roles of “man the breadwinner/woman the caretaker,” Modern Dads have both the responsibility and the opportunity to redefine fatherhood for generations to come. Whether it means leaving work early to make a game or a play, staying up late with a sick child, talking through a relationship problem with a partner, or attending a parent-teacher conference at school, many Modern Dads are determined to show up for our families in ways our own fathers could not or did not. However, we’re also just discovering what most mothers have known for years: doing it all isn’t easy. It’s especially difficult when you don’t have many role models to follow. The Modern Dads Handbook walks you through Four Practices that will help you navigate the everyday challenges and pressures of family life. It will also equip you with practical skills and activities to stay connected, both with your children and with your partner. Whether you are married or single, co-habitating or co-parenting, a stepfather or a live-away dad, The

The Men’s Resource Center for Change, publisher of Voice Male, receives community support from near and far. Voice Male allows us a public forum in which to thank the hundreds of people who have shared our inspirationandcommitment,andcontributed their time, services, and money toward a vision of personal and social transformation. We are filled with deep gratitude at the generosity of these individuals and businesses: Donated Space Network Chiropractic, Greenfield; First Baptist Church, Greenfield In-Kind Donations Henion Bakery, Amherst; Ira Horowitz

25


Why Dads Matter So Much continued from page 22

believes that listening is essential for every father, even though it sometimes goes against our instincts. “Lecturing and arguing get me nowhere,” Katte admits. “I can’t help my daughter if I minimize her feelings or falsely tell her everything will be OK when I can’t guarantee that it will.” Instead, he counsels all fathers, listen and be there for your daughter; accept her for who she is, not who you want her to be or who you think she should be. Take the lead in communicating —even when you feel unappreciated. “I may not agree with everything she says or does,” Katte explains, “but when I listen, I build the emotional connection that will help her listen to me when it really counts.” Look to Other Dads The most underutilized tool for fathers is other fathers. As walking encyclopedias of wisdom and experi-

ROB OKUN Counseling for MenandWomen, FathersandSons

• Voice Male

JusticeofthePeace

26

Officiating at Weddings for Couples in Massachusetts & Beyond (413) 687-8171 RAOkun@comcast.net

ence, veteran dads can remind us that there’s no magic formula to follow in raising daughters. Veteran dads know that fathering is far more art than science. In his book The Collected Wisdom of Fathers, author Will Glennon puts it this way: True fathering is not the physical act of planting a seed, it is the conscious decision to tend and nourish the seedling. Real fathering is not biological, it is the conscious choice to build an unconditional and unbreakable connection to another human being. Once that choice is made, it cannot be unmade. A man’s life is irrevocably transformed by having a female child. There’s nothing else quite like that experience—one too wonderful to pass up. VM Joe Kelly is the father of two adult daughters and co-founder of the national nonprofit organization Dads & Daughters. He has written four fathering books,

including The Dads & Daughters Togetherness Guide: 54 Fun Activities to Help Build a Great Relationship. Whipped Cream continued from page 7

Women and gay men often talk about sexuality with each other while, to their detriment, straight men are left out of the loop when it comes to these important conversations. How can men combat the fear of being labeled “soft,” “gay,” or a “wuss” and start having conversations that many men crave and from which all men would benefit? After our workshops with men, they overwhelmingly agree that it was nice to be able to talk seriously about sex with other guys, an opportunity they rarely have. VM Kim Rice and Ross Wantland are professionals in the fields of sexuality and violence prevention. Email them at buzzdoinitwell@yahoo.com. This article originally appeared on their blog, http://doinitwell.blog.com/

Robert Mazer ~ Psychotherapist For men looking to let go of patterns that don’t work and create a more purposeful, fulfilling life. Staff member at the Synthesis Center in Amherst Free initial consultation/flexible fees

256 - 0772

REED SCHIMMELFING, MSW Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker

Psychotherapy for Individuals and Relationships Northampton office

413-586-7454 reedschim@yahoo.com


Men’s Resource Center for Change Programs & Services

Administrative Staff Executive Director – Rob Okun Financial Manager – Paula Chadis Executive Assistant – David Gillham Office Manager – Allan Arnaboldi Japan Foundation Fellow – Hiroko Matsubara Moving Forward Director – Sara Elinoff-Acker Intake Coordinator/Court Liaison – Steve Trudel Administrative Director – Jan Eidelson Partner Services Outreach Counselor – Barbara Russell Anger Management Coordinator – Joy Kaubin Hampden County Coordinator – Scott Girard Group Leaders – Sara Elinoff-Acker, BC Chaney, Karen Fogliatti, Scott Girard, Steve Jefferson, Joy Kaubin, Dot LaFratta, Susan Omilian, Russ Pirkot Steve Trudel Support Services Coordinator –Tom Schuyt Support Group Facilitators – Allan Arnaboldi, Bill Bassham, Michael Burke, Jim Devlin, Michael Dover, Carl Erikson, Tim Gordon, Jerry Levinsky, Gábor Lukács, Bob Mazer, Joe Osterman, Joe Rufer, Tom Schuyt, Frank Shea, Sheldon Snodgrass, Roger Stawasz, Bob Sternberg, Gary Stone, Claude Tellier Youth Programs Supervisor – Allan Arnaboldi Group Leaders – Aaron Buford, Malcolm Chu Board of Directors Chair – Peter Jessop Clerk/Treasurer – Charles Bodhi Members – Charles Bodhi,Tom Gardner, Yoko Kato, Gail Kielson, Jonathan Klate, Tim Neale, Tom Schuyt Executive Director Emeritus – Steven Botkin

Main Office: 236 North Pleasant St. • Amherst, MA 01002 • 413.253.9887 • Fax: 413.253.4801 Springfield Office: 29 Howard St. • Springfield, MA 01105 • 413.734.3438 E-mail: main.office@mrcforchange.org Website: www.mrcforchange.org

Fathering Programs • A variety of resources are available — Fathers and Family Network programs, lawyer referrals, parenting resources, workshops, presentations and conferences. Contact: (413) 253-9887 ext.10 Youth Programs • Young Men of Color Leadership Project Amherst • Short Term Groups, Workshops, Presentations and Consultations for Young Men and Youth-Serving Organizations Contact: (413) 253-9887 ext.33 Moving forward Anger Management, domestic violence intervention, youth violence prevention • Anger Management Various times for 15-week groups for men, women and young men at the MRC. For more information, call (413) 253-9887 ext. 23 • Domestic Violence Intervention A state-certified batterer intervention prog ram serves both voluntary and courtmandated men who have been physically violent or verbally/emotionally abusive. Fee subsidies available. • Basic Groups Groups for self-referred and court-mandated men (40 weeks) are held in Amherst, Athol, Belchertown, Springfield, North Adams, and Greenfield. • Follow-up Groups for men who have completed the basic program and want to continue working on these issues. Call (413) 253-9588 ext 12.

Partner Services Free phone support, resources, referrals and weekly support groups are available for partners of men in the MOVE program. • Prison Groups A weekly MOVE group is held at the Hampshire County Jail and House of Corrections. • Community Education and Training Workshops and training on domestic violence and clinical issues in batterer intervention are available. • Speakers’ Bureau Formerly abusive men who want to share their experiences with others to help prevent family violence are available to speak at schools and human service programs. • Youth Violence Prevention Services for teenage males who have been abusive with their families, peers, or dating partners. Contact: (413) 253-9588 ext.18 Workshops & training • Workshops available to colleges, schools, human service organizations, and businesses on topics such as “Sexual Harassment Prevention and Response,” “Strategies and Skills for Educating Men,” “Building Men’s Community,” and “Challenging Homophobia,” among other topics. Specific trainings and consultations also available. Publications • Voice Male Published quarterly, the MRC magazine includes articles, essays, reviews and resources, and services related to men and masculinity. • Children, Lesbians and Men: Men’s Experiences as Known and Anonymous Sperm Donors. A 60-page manual that answers the questionsmenhave,withfirst-personaccounts by men and women “who have been there.” Contact:(413) 253-9887 ext.16 Resource & Referral Services • Information about events, counselors, groups, local, regional and national activities, and support programs for men. Contact: (413) 253-9887 ext.10 Speakers and Presentations • Invite new visions of manhood into your university, faith community, community organization. Many topics including: Manhood in a Time of War, Fathering, Male Socialization, Men’s Anger, Creating a Men’s Center, The Journey to Healthy Manhood, and more. contact: (413) 253-9887 Ext. 20

Fall 2007 •

The mission of the Men’s Resource Center for Change is to support men, challenge men’s violence, and develop men’s leadership in ending oppression in our lives, our families, and our communities.

Support Group Programs • Open Men’s Group Sundays 7-9 p.m. at the MRC Amherst office Tuesdays 6:45-8:45 p.m. at the Council on Aging, 240 Main St., Northampton. Wednesdays 7-9 p.m. in Greenfield at Network Chiropractic, 21 Mohawk Trail (lower Main St.). A facilitated drop-in group for men to talk about their lives and to support each other. • Men Who Have Experienced Childhood Abuse /Neglect Specifically for men who have experienced any kind of childhood abuse or neglect. Fridays 7 - 8:30 p.m. at the MRC. • Gay, Bisexual & Questioning Mondays 7 - 9 p.m. at the MRC. A facilitated drop-in group for gay, bisexual and questioning men to talk about their lives and support each other (not a discussion group).

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Men's Resource Center for Change


Voice Male Fall 2007