N e w Vi s i o n s o f M a n h o o d
Voice Male F A L L 2 0 0 6
The Magazine of The Men’s Resource Center for change
Ted Bunch and Tony Porter: Imagining Manhood Without Violence
IN SID E
A Father’s Empty Nest
The Head-Butt Heard Round the World
Make Love, Not Porn
Female Chauvinist Pigs
A Gay Marriage Story
• V oice M ale 2
The Dictionary of Letting Go By Rob Okun
y youngest child has left for college. That stark truth continues to reverberate. For more than two decades I’ve lived at the hub of a rollicking adventure, a world centered around children in a one-size-does-not-fit-all, vibrant, at times zany, loving family. Having children has shaped me, is an essential part of who I am. Now, with Jonah gone, I am facing a mountain of feelings as emptiness and possibility vie for my attention. For years I loved the ritual of school mornings—rousing Jonah and his siblings on those days they were slow to get up. I continued to make brown bag lunches for him all through high school—not because he couldn’t make his own (he sometimes did), but because making them brought me pleasure; it was a small but significant part of my definition of fatherhood. Shouldn’t I have been more prepared for this moment? After all, three older sisters preceded Jonah out the door. But he is the youngest and we are the only males in our household. The father-sonness of the situation has only accentuated my feelings, a mixture of loss and excitement I know we’re both experiencing—even if I’m feeling more loss and he more excitement. In my head I know the emphasis will change, but right now it’s my heart I’m contending with. For many men, fatherhood is the key portal into self-examination, an exploration of who we are and what we believe. Fatherhood raises the stakes around personal responsibility and accountability. It motivated me to begin examining my shortcomings in ways other passages have only hinted at. Along the way, I made mistakes. I wish I could go back and correct those moments when I let Jonah—and myself—down. I wish now
“ With Jonah off to college, I am facing a mountain of feelings as emptiness and possibility vie for my attention.” Amy Kahn
F rom T he E ditor
A Father’s Empty Nest
Rob and his son Jonah.
that I had shared some parts of myself with him sooner and gone deeper. I know I acted overprotectively at times, mistrusting his process of maturation. But the discomfort accompanying these reflections isn’t all bad. We have a lot of years before us as Jonah grows more into manhood and I grow older standing beside him. Brushing up against this tug of loss is also a feeling of possibility: of what’s next for me as space opens up in my life, space I haven’t felt for a long time. On college move-in day, I carry load after load of Jonah’s gear up three flights of stairs (asking myself why none of my children ever got first-floor dorm rooms). I am sweaty, heart pumping, feeling alive and useful. With his permission, I put Jonah’s clothes away in the dresser and closet, a comforting, familiar act. But even as my hands, out of years of habit, effortlessly fold and arrange T-shirts and socks, I feel a queasiness from my heart up to my throat. My eyes tear up. Sad? Sure. Scared? You bet. Proud? That, too. It would have been quintessentially male to have tried to ignore the feeling of freefall I was experiencing, to not pay attention to wondering what Jonah’s and my relationship would be like now. The old familiar part of my life as a father wanted things to remain as they once
had been—finding a hook to hang his clock, a place for the laundry basket. But I know that cannot be and my heart aches. The rituals of father and son we long enjoyed—from playing catch to making pizza—are not gone forever, but they’ll never be the same. I mourn that loss as I marvel at the young man before me, half a head taller than me, the dark stubble on his chin as clearly noticeable as the new confidence in his stride. I love my son in a way that says something to me about manhood I haven’t ever tried to explain before. It’s a gritty and tender love, a mix of feelings I’ve been experiencing with Jonah his whole life: gentleness and fierceness; humor and quiet; understanding and distance. Driving home later, I see through the tears that inexplicably feel so good running down my cheeks what a gift Jonah has given me. In bringing my last child to college I’ve picked up a few new words in the father-son dictionary of letting go, one we’ve been learning from for 18 years. Under “empty nest” the citation now reads “fullness of heart.” VM
VoiceMaleeditorRobOkuncanbereached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Table of Contents Features A Call to Men . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 By Ted Bunch and Tony Porter Violence in Sports: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 The Head-Butt Heard Round the World By Tony Switzer Intimacy and Porn: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 A Contradiction in Terms By Haji Shearer Reflections on Men’s Loss, Grief, Anger and Change . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Finding the Way Through By Steve Cutting
Columns & Opinion From the Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Mail Bonding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Men @ Work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Book Review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture, by Ariel Levy Reviewed by Aviva Okun Book Review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Alone in the Trenches: My Life as a Gay Man in the NFL, by Esera Tuaolo Reviewed by Gretchen Craig GBQ Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 OutLines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Love Makes a Marriage By Mitch Sorensen Men’s Health . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Frozen Peas By Gregory Keer Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Calendar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Thank You . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 MRC Programs & Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
Masculinity redefined...New visions of manhood... Men overcoming isolation... 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.
Send a Gift Subscription to someone ready to read about masculinity redefined...Only $14.95.
Editor – Rob Okun Managing Editor – Michael Burke Designer – Mary Zyskowski
gift recipient’s name: Address: City:
r 4 issues: $19.95
r gift subscription: $14.95
r payment by credit card
r check enclosed (made out to voice male/MRC)
Name as it appears on card: Signature: Card number:
Cover Photo of Ted Bunch and Tony Porter courtesy of A Call to Men.
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. Subscriptions:Forsubscriptioninformation,call(413) 253-9887,ext.16,orgotowww.mrcforchange.organd 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 informationabouteventsofinterest.Weencourageunsolicited manuscripts,butcannotberesponsiblefortheirloss. Manuscriptssentthroughthemailwillberesponded to and returned if accompanied by a self-addressed stampedreturnenvelope.Sendarticlesandqueriesto Editors, VOICE MALE, 236 N. Pleasant St., Amherst, MA01002,email@example.com.
M ail B onding We Want to Hear from You! Write us at:
V oice M ale
MRC 236 N orth P leasant S t . A mherst , MA 01002 or Fax (413) 253-4801 firstname.lastname@example.org Please include address and phone. Letters may be edited for clarity and length.
Deadline for Winter issue: November 30, 2006
Oregon Tale I recently came across the Spring 2006 edition of your magazine while shopping for groceries at my local co-op. I was deeply moved by the articles, particularly the cover story, “Why Violence Against Women Is a Men’s Issue.” I am so proud of you for taking this stand, and in general for printing such well-written, thoughtprovoking articles. Additionally, thank you for creating this forum for men to reclaim their full humanness. I will be sure to tell all of my friends about it!
• V oice M ale
Carmel Aronson Salem, Ore.
Men’s Work in the Heartland I am part of the Indiana Men’s Outreach Working Group. We seek to increase male involvement in domestic violence and sexual assault prevention initiatives across the state. Connecting with others involved in pro-feminist men’s work is crucial to maintaining my own energies and optimism so I sent in a subscription request for Voice Male and look forward to reading future editions of your magazine. It’s too bad the distance is so great between us and the Men’s Resource Center as I feel I would gain greatly from involvement with your organization. With little to no recognition or allocation of resources from the administration of this university, trying to have an impact on the culture of masculinity on campus has been a daunting objective (more so by virtue that
I try to do this on a voluntary basis outside of my already over-worked, underpaid fulltime position). I feel there would be much I would benefit from involvement in, if I lived closer to Amherst! Nigel Pizzini Men’s Coalition Advisor Indiana University Bloomington, Ind.
Voice Male in A Woman’s Place I just got my first issue of Voice Male today. Thanks for adding me to your subscriber list. I first saw a copy in the business office of A Woman’s Place and it looked worthwhile, so I asked for a subscription. A Woman’s Place is a nonprofit serving victims and survivors of domestic violence in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. We run a shelter that is for women and children only and support groups for women or children only, but all our other services are gender-neutral, including education and community outreach, helping victims file for protection orders, and civil legal representation. Our website (currently being updated) is www.awomansplace.org.
As for others who may be interested in the magazine, I’ll definitely send them along to you as they come to mind. Djung Tran, Esq. Staff Attorney AWoman’s Place Legal Assistance Program Bristol, Pa. Dhamma Dena Insight Meditation Society of the Pioneer Valley P R E S E N T S
A Day of Meditation and Contemplation for Men With Chas & Ray DiCapua Saturday October 28 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Suggested Donation $20-$30 (plus dana) Eastworks Building 116 Pleasant St. Suite 242 (2nd floor) Easthampton, Mass. No pre-registration required Information: (413) 527-0388 www.insightpv.org
M en @ W ork Voice Male, MRC Assemble National Advisory Board
national advisory board has been established to assist Voice Male and its publisher, the Men’s Resource Center for Change. “Members of the advisory board represent some of the most able, accomplished and articulate men engaged in promoting healthy, violence-free masculinity,” said Voice Male editor and MRC executive director Rob Okun. “Their collective wisdom and their commitment to a male-positive, gay affirmative, racially inclusive, and profeminist vision of manhood has been invaluable to both our organization and magazine over the years. We are honored to hear their ideas and delighted that their help will be collectively concentrated through their membership on the advisory board.” As Voice Male went to press, the list included the following:
Joe Kelly, founder and president of Dads and
Daughters, the Duluth, Minn.-based national organizationpromotingstrongfather-daughterconnectionsandchallengingcorporatemarketingcampaigns that exploit or disaparage girls and women. Michael Kimmel, the Brooklyn-based scholar,
author and editor with numerous titles to his credit including Manhood in America: A Cultural History,TheGenderofDesire:EssaysonMasculinity andSexualityandAgainsttheTide:ProfeministMen in the United States 1776–1990 (with Thomas E. Mossmiller), and a professor of sociology at SUNY–Stony Brook. Michael Messner, chair of the sociology de-
a key trainer and program manager with the Family Violence Prevention Fund of San Francisco and Boston who, for more than a decade, worked for the Men’s Resource Center for Change in a variety of capacities, including conducting trainings in Siberia, Chile and Mexico. Juan
Robert Jensen, author and professor
of journalism at the University of Texas at Austin and frequent contributor to Voice Male, among whose many books are The Heart of Whiteness: Race, Racism andWhitePrivilegeandPornography:TheProductionand Consumption of Inequality. Sut Jhally, founder and executive direc-
tor of the Northampton, Mass.-based Media Education Foundation, producers of important social-issue video documentaries, and professor of communications at the University of Massachusetts.
partment at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and author of several books including Sex, Violence & Power in Sports (with Don Sabo), Power at Play: Sports and the Problem of Masculinity and Men’s Lives (edited with Michael Kimmel). Don McPherson, former quarterback for the
Philadelphia Eagles and Houston Oilers who after retiring from football in 1994 joined the staff of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University before becoming the first executive director of the Sports Leadership Institute at Adelphi University on Long Island, N.Y. Craig Norberg-Bohm, coordinator of the Men’s
Initiative for Jane Doe in Boston, a cutting-edge statewide effort to strengthen men’s antiviolence activities across Massachusetts, who in 1977 cofounded RAVEN in St. Louis, a center for ending men’s violence, and was formerly chair of the board of directors of Emerge,aBoston-basedcenterworkingwithdomesticabuseoffenders. Haji Shearer, director of the Fatherhood Ini-
Jackson Katz, founder of Mentors in
To lear n about advisor y board m em b er s, vi s i t o u r web s i te, m rc fo rc h a n ge. o rg.
Violence Prevention and MVP Strategies of Long Beach, Calif., author of The Macho Paradox and a violence-prevention presenter who has worked with the U.S. Marines and professional sports teams (Jhally and Katz teamed up to produce the video Tough Guise).
tiative at the Massachusetts Children’s Trust Fund in Boston, and a frequent contributor to Voice Male who founded the fathers, program at Boston’s Family Nurturing Center serving men in urban communities and who, in presentations, addresses father involvement, male intimacy and co-parenting and facilitates men’s healing circles, boys-to-men rites of passage and couples workshops.
Ads Ask Abusive Men to Get a “Checkup”
wo Seattle newspapers—the Seattle Times and The Stranger—and Seattle Metro buses will soon feature ads asking men with abusive behaviors to call for a “Men’s Domestic Violence Checkup.” The program, funded by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, is the first of its kind, in which men can call anonymously and confidentially and talk to clinical workers from the University of Washington School of Social Work. Although the workers will offer counseling confidentially, they are still bound by state laws requiring them to report child abuse. The ads appearing in local newspapers will target men by using powerful images of victims of abuse and carrying messages such as “Abusing your family? Abusing alcohol or drugs? Not sure?”They conclude with the message: “Let’s talk about your options. 1.800.MEN.1089.” The co-director of the program, Joan
Zegree, says police respond to 51,000 domestic violence calls every year in Washington State, and five times a month, someone dies as a result of domestic abuse. “We thought that it would be important to find a way to reach out to men who don’t know where to turn,” Zegree says, “who can do it confidentially, they can do it all by phone and it’s free. What could be easier?” The telephone number is 1-800-MEN1089 and will be in operation Monday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The program will last at least one year. For more information, visit www.menscheckup.org.
No Holds Barred: Pro Wrestling and Dating Teens
atchingprofessionalwrestlingonTV mayencourageaggressivebehavior inteenswhentheydate—evenamonggirls. Those are the conclusions of a new study by Wake Forest University researchers, who reported their findings in the August issue of the journal Pediatrics.
Wildpeace Not the peace of a cease-fire not even the vision of the wolf and the lamb, but rather as in the heart when the excitement is over and you can talk only about a great weariness. I know that I know how to kill, that makes me an adult. And my son plays with a toy gun that knows how to open and close its eyes and say Mama. A peace without the big noise of beating swords into ploughshares, without words, without the thud of the heavy rubber stamp: let it be light, floating, like lazy white foam. A little rest for the wounds—who speaks of healing? (And the howl of the orphans is passed from one generation to the next, as in a relay race: the baton never falls.)
• V oice M ale
Let it come like wildflowers, suddenly, because the field must have it: wildpeace.
~ Yehuda Amichai ~ (Translation by Chana Bloch, in This Same Sky, ed. by Naomi Shihab Nye)
“Both among male and female students, the frequency with which they watched wrestling was associated with a number of indicators of violence and weapon-carrying,” said lead author Robert H. DuRant, professor of pediatrics and social science and health policy at Brenner Children’s Hospital, part of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. World Wrestling Entertainment Inc.
M en @ W ork
Men @ Work continued from page 5
“Of particular concern was that the frequency of watching wrestling was associated with being both the perpetrator and victim of date fighting,” DuRant said. “This associationwasstrongeramongfemaleadolescents than among male adolescents.” Boys who watched wrestling were more likely to start fights with their dates, be a date-fight victim, and carry a gun or other weapon. They also said they drank alcohol or used drugs during their last fight, the researchers found. For girls, watching wrestling was associated with higher rates of starting a fight with a date, being a victim of a date fight, carrying a gun at school, fighting, and being injured in a fight. And like boys, these girls said they drank or used drugs during a fight, the study found. “The more children and adolescents are exposed to violence, the more likely they aretoengageinviolence—andmediaplays a part,” DuRant said. But Gary Davis, vice president of corporate communications at World Wrestling Entertainment Inc., claimed that “the researchers could not find a direct causal relationshipbetweenwatchingwrestlingand health-risk behaviors. The study ignored other factors that might lead to the types of behaviorsdiscussedinthestudy.Itsfindings, therefore, are less than conclusive.” DuRant admits that watching wrestling by itself is not the sole cause of violent behavior among teens. “It is one causal factor in the overall socialization of these kids. It’sanothermediasourcethathasanegative effect,” he said.
Arizona Men Launch Domestic Violence Prevention Effort
ver 50 prominent male leaders in Arizona, including University of Arizona head basketball and football coaches Lute Olson and Mike Stoops, are throwing their weight behind a new program in Tucson aimed at ending men’s violence against women.
Massachusetts Men Promote Men’s Leadership in Zambia
pringfield, Mass.-based Men’s Resources International (MRI) conducted a three-day Men’s Leadership Training in Zambia in June. Former Men’s Resource Center for Change staffer James Arana and former MRC executive director Steven Botkin, who founded MRI, traveled to the southern African nation on behalf of MRI to offer the training. It was designed to increase awareness of gender-based violence, reproductive health, and HIV/AIDS among members of the newly formed Zambia Men’s Network. Twenty young men from Zambia, four female YWCA staff members, and one delegate from the Ebonyi Men’s Group in Nigeria attended. MRI hopes to do similar trainings in Nigeria, Rwanda, and Kenya in the future. To learn more go to www.mensresourcesinternational. org or e-mail email@example.com.
Domestic Violence, which has been folded into the Partnership. “The City Council and I do not tolerate violence against women,” he said. “We now have more police officers arresting perpetrators, investigating cases and preventing violence against women in Tucson.” Tucson police chief Richard Miranda said: “We cannot just arrest away the problem… we need to work actively to prevent these crimes.”
From Kenya, Good and Bad News
new law in Kenya may mean stricter punishments for rapists and sexual predators, but it fails to criminalize marital rape and female genital mutilation, according to a report posted on the Feminist Daily News Wire, the electronic media arm of the Feminist Majority Foundation. The bill, which President Mwai Kibaki approved in mid-July, was the first legal recognition of many sex crimes, including gang rape, sexual harassment, and child trafficking. The legislation also outlaws the deliberate transmission of the HIV virus.
The bill comes as a reaction to the rising number of rapes and sexual assaults committed in Kenya. While it is estimated that women are raped every half hour in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, Kenya’s legal code on sexual crimes has not been significantly changed since 1930. One of the most contentious issues is a provision in the law that imposes the same sentence on rapists and those who falsely accuse someone of rape. This clause may “deter women from coming forward [and has]shiftedtheburdenofproofinrapecases from the accuser to the accused,”according to a statement from the Office of the United NationsSecretary-General.Kenyanwomen’s rights activists are especially angered by this provision of the legislation. Many people are skeptical about how effective the new legislation will be in combating the rising incidences of rape. “For many rural women, it will take much more thananewlawtochangedeeplyentrenched traditions, where culturally, women have little power,”said Jack Nyagaya, a counselor who deals with cases of rape, according to allAfrica.com. VM
The Men’s Anti-Violence Partnership of Southern Arizona has 55 founding members, including city and county officials, police officers, Native American leaders, and local educators. Introducing the partnership, Southern ArizonaCenterAgainstSexualAssaultboard member Ime Archibong called the effort a “giant step forward in the prevention of sexual and domestic violence. Building on past community achievements, it engages men as part of the solution instead of blaming them for being the problem.” Coach Stoops echoed the importance of more men standing up against violence. “Guys from every walk of life commit violence against women and girls,”he said.“I’m encouraging my players to stand with me to end violence against women and girls.” Tucson mayor Bob Walkup touted his founding of the groupTucson Men Against
One expert thinks the new study reflects theimpactofmediaonpromotingviolence among teens.“This study is consistent with hundreds of other studies on violent media and aggression,” said Brad Bushman, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan. Bushman said teens look to the mass media for images to emulate. “They look to the mass media to decide what a real man is like or what a real woman is like,” Bushman said. “What they see if they look at wrestling is that real men and women solve their problems with aggression and force.” For more information, visit the American AcademyofChild&AdolescentPsychiatry’s website,aacap.org.SeealsoMediaEducation Foundation’svideoWrestlingwithManhood; mediaed.org.
TonyPorterandTedBunchhaveamission:encouragingmentoworktopreventviolenceagainstwomen.ThepairfoundedACalltoMen,anational organizationcommittedtoendingviolenceagainstwomenbecausetheybelievemenhaveavitalroleininterruptingthecycleofviolencethatplagues familieseverywhere.TheirorganizationsetCharlotte,NorthCarolina,asthesiteofits2006conference,“ACalltoMen:BecomingPartoftheSolution toEndViolenceAgainstWomen.”Topicsincluded:“MenasAlliesintheMovementtoEndViolenceAgainstWomen”;“TheManBox:Challengingthe TraditionalImagesofManhood”;and“ThePoliticsofOppression,”amongajam-packedworkshopschedule.PorterandBuncharebothatworkonbooks based on their work. In the articles that follow they offer a glimpse into the ideas that led to the creation of A Call to Men.
Men’s Role in Ending Violence Against Women
• V oice M ale
BY TED BUNCH
or many years, many dedicated people have made great efforts to end men’s violence against women. The anti-rape and sexual assault community as well as the domestic violence community have beenatremendouschangeagentandhave made remarkable progress in the effort to createsafety,justiceandfairnessforwomen. Unfortunately, despite years of great effort, sacrifice and loss of life, the terror that womenexperiencehasnotdecreased.Men continue to get away with their violence, abuse, and intimidation, as well as their misuse of power for the purpose of controlling and dominating women. This is no reflection on those communities or any other effort for change. However, it is a reflection on men and the lack of concern that we as men have for most issues affecting women. Domesticviolence,rapeandsexualassault are the most devastating health issues and social problems facing our society. There is no other problem, disease or illness that
claims as many victims. In almost every case the perpetrator is a male and the victim is a female. No other crime or social ill has such a destructive effect on families, children, communities or the workplace as men’s violence against women. For this reason, if for no other, it is vital that men become involved in the effort to end men’s violence against women. Each man individually, and we as men collectively, must take a stand and own up to our responsibility to challenge other men and end the violence that we allow to be perpetrated against women in our communities. If we as men choose not to become involved in ending our violence against women it is because we choose to remain invested in maintaining our privilege and advantage.Ourprivilegesandentitlements can only come at the expense of women. Any violence, abuse or degradation committed toward a woman by a man supports the status of men as the dominating groupwhilealsoreinforcingtheoppression of women. There is no neutral position for men to take. We can either choose to become part of the solution or remain part of the problem. Our remaining silent about the abuses of other men is our way of giving men who assault and abuse our permission
to do so. Our silence and our permission are synonymous! Violence against women is a problem that each man must own and make a personal commitment to end. While some men are the perpetrators, all men are contributors to the conditions that allow violence against women to exist. It will not end until we, as men, decide that it will. It begins with our challenging our own sexism, privileges and beliefs.We must take ownership of the problem in order to create positive social change. In addition to examining our views toward women (individually and collectively) we must also challenge our views and beliefs about each other. A major obstacle will be to confront our traditional male socialization and how it limits us and boxes us in. We must get out of the socially defined roles that sexism, patriarchy and male privilege provide for us. In addition, we must end our collusion with the violence, objectification and demeaning thoughts and behaviors that we as men engage in toward women. This will require that we address our fears and anxiety about stepping out of our defined roles and challenge the traditional images of manhood. The fear of being perceived as “soft” or “weak” is an obstacle for many men that
stopsthemfromchallengingsexistattitudes and behaviors. Our conforming to traditional male socialization prohibits us from confronting the abuse and objectification of women by other men. This belief system negatively impacts men and women and the ways that we raise, educate, and socialize our boys and girls. The moment we as men decide to fully accept and own our responsibility to end violence against women we will be on the road to social change. This will require courage,integrity,accountabilitytowomen and consistency through action. Women do not need for us to “rescue” or “save” them. What is needed from men is to act in appropriate and respectful ways toward women. If men are not violent and abusive, safety will take care of itself! Once we commit to this way of life, women will not need to worry about where they go, what they wear, or if they are safe. That will be the day when we, along with our sisters, have redefined manhood so that violence is not a part of being a man. Copyright © 2005, ACT Men Inc. All rights reserved.
How “Well-Meaning Men” Can Get Involved BY TONY PORTER
continued on page 10
What is a “well-meaning man?” A well-meaning man is a man who believes women should be respected. A well-meaning man would not assault a woman. A well-meaning man believes in equality for women and women’s rights. A well-meaning man honors the women in his life. A well-meaning man, for all practical purposes, is a “good guy.” We don’t need to beat up on well-meaning men, but instead to help them—help us—understand that with all our goodness, we have still been socialized to maintain a system of domination, dehumanization and oppression over women. There are three key aspects of male socialization that have created, maintained and normalized violence against women: 1. Men viewing women as “less than”
• V oice M ale
A Call To Men continued from page 9
2. Men treating women as property 3. Men seeing women as objects All three are major contributors to violence against women. As well-meaning men, we must begin to examine the ways in which male socialization fosters violence against women. We must examine the ways in which we “keep” women in marginalized roles that enforce and maintain our male dominance. As well-meaning men, we must explore and challenge the ways in which we continue to perpetuate the myth that women are the “property” of their husbands and intimate partners. One of the principal reasons that domestic violence continues to be seen in many of our communities as a “private” issue is our belief as men that “she belongs to him.” While we know it’s not true, nevertheless, that myth is deeply embedded in our socialization. As well-meaning men, we must unearth the roots of objectifying women. In a male-dominated society, an environment iscreatedwhichoverwhelminglysupports men’s objectification of women—from the music and entertainment industry, to corporate America, to communities of faith and the street corner. We must acknowledge, own, and struggle with the change required to end this reality. As well-meaning men, we must begin to examine the ways we separate ourselves from men who commit crimes of sexual violence and men who batter, while simultaneously giving them permission to do so. We make monsters out of them as a means of supporting our position that we are different from them. We pathologize their violence, blaming chemical dependency, mental illness, anger management, to name a few. We put a great deal of energy and resources into “fixing bad guys.” But the “bad guys” operate in the same realm of sexism and violence as we “good guys.” The only difference between them and us is that, at a certain point, we stop, while they cross the line into what “well-meaning men” define as illegal. The more attention we focus on them, the more we are able to maintain and strengthen our status as “good guys.” VM
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.
10 Things Men Can Do to End Violence Against Women
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.
10 Cosas Que Los Hombres Pueden Hacer
Acknowledge and understand how sexism, male dominance, and male privilege lay the foundation for all forms of violence against women. Examine and challenge our individual sexism and the role that we play in supporting men who are abusive. Recognize and stop colluding with other men by getting out of our socially defined roles, and take a stance to end violence against women. Remember that our silence is affirming. When we choose not to speak out against men’s violence, we are supporting it. Educate and re-educate our sons and other young men about our responsibility in ending men’s violence against women. “Break out of the man box”—Challenge traditional images of manhood that stop us from actively taking a stand to end violence against women. Accept and own our responsibility that violence against women will not end until men become part of the solution to end it. We must take an active role in creating a cultural and social shift that no longer tolerates violence against women. Stop blaming men’s violence on mental illness, lack of anger management skills, chemical dependency, stress, etc., which only excuses men’s violence.Violence against women is rooted in the historic oppression of women—sexism. Stop supporting the notion that men’s violence against women can end by providing treatment for individual men. Men’s violence against women is the outgrowth of men’s socialization. Accept leadership from women. Violence against women will end only when we take direction from those who understand it most, women.
Admitir y entender cómo el sexismo, la dominancia masculina y el privilegio masculino asientan la fundación de todas las formas de violencia contra las mujeres. Examinar y poner a prueba nuestro sexismo individual y el rol que jugamos en apoyar a los hombres que son abusivos. Reconocer y parar de conspirar con otros hombres saliéndonos de nuestros roles socialmente definidos, y tomar una postura para eliminar la violencia contra las mujeres. Recordar que nuestro silencio ratifica. Cuando elegimos no dar nuestra opinión de la violencia masculina, la estamos apoyando. Educar y re-educar a nuestros hijos y a otros hombres jóvenes acerca de nuestra responsabilidad para terminar la violencia masculina contra las mujeres. “Liberarse de la opresión del hombre”—Lucha tradicionalmente imagenes de el estado de ser hombre de que nos para activamente emprender una posición para terminar violencia contra las mujeres. Aceptar y reconocer nuestra responsabilidad de que la violencia contra las mujeres no finalizará hasta que los hombres sean parte de la solución para eliminarla. Tenemos que tomar un rol activo para crear un cambio social y cultural que ya no tolere la violencia contra las mujeres. Parar de responsabilizar la violencia de los hombres a las enfermedades mentales, a la falta de destrezas para manejar la ira, a la dependencia química, al estrés, etc…, lo cual solamente excusa la violencia masculina. La violencia contra las mujeres está enraizada en la opresión histórica de las mujeres—el sexismo. Parar de apoyar la noción de que la violencia masculina contra las mujeres puede terminar al proveer tratamiento individual para los hombres. La violencia de los hombres contra las mujeres es el resultado de la socialización masculina. Aceptar liderazgo de las mujeres. La violencia en contra de las mujeres será eliminada solamente cuando tomemos dirección de aquellas que lo entienden mejor, las mujeres.
Violence in Sports
The Head-Butt Heard Round the World By Tony Switzer
• V oice M ale
“ The head-butt was startling and violent, ‘a
classless act,’ completely unprovoked. Or was it? Could it be that Zidane was acting rationally, or at least not irrationally? What constitutes provocation?” Reuters
y now almost everyone with a TV has seen the image, at least once. With minutes left in extra time of the 2006 World Cup Championship soccer match featuring France against Italy, French national hero and international superstar Zinedine Zidane was walking down the field during a momentary lull in the action. Marco Matterazzi strode along several paces behind. Suddenly Zidane whirled around and marched up to the Italian. Without warning he delivered a head-butt to Matterazzi’s sternum. The Italian went down hard. Zidane was given a red card—ejected from his final match, having vowed to retire after the World Cup. He left the field in tears trudging past the golden World Cup trophy. The head-butt was startling and violent. Announcers and commentators called it “disgraceful” and “a classless act,” and it sure looked that way. It came from out of nowhere, completely unprovoked as far as the billion or so of us watching could tell. Or was it? Could it be that Zidane was acting rationally, or at least not irrationally? Was he provoked? What constitutes provocation? In the days that followed most of the international sporting world debated why he did it. What could have caused the great Zidane to lose his composure at the last moment of his career? It was seen from replays that Matterazzi had been harassing Zidane by pulling his jersey and illegally holding him during the action right before the incident. French teammates told how the Italians had been jostling, holding, elbowing, and verbally insulting Zidane the entire game. It was part of the Italians’ strategy, they said, to disrupt, distract, and, hopefully, provoke the French star.
The infamous head-butt: French soccer star Zinedine Zidane (right) with Italy’s Marco Matterazzi.
Zidane is the son of Algerian immigrants and grew up in the slums of Marseilles. His first football was played on concrete with broken glass underfoot. He is widely admired for speaking out against and taking stands against racism in football. So it was widely noted when the French group SOS Racism issued a statement the day after the game, claiming they had been told by “very well informed sources from within the world of football” that Matterazzi had called Zidane “a dirty terrorist.” If Zidane were reacting to a racist slander, then I could almost support his reaction. In that case, Matterazzi would have really crossed the line. In many parts of the globe, racism has a shameful presence in football among fans as well as players. But two days after the game, Zidane
himself spoke. Apparently, it wasn’t a racist taunt that he had reacted to. Without being specific, he said that the Italian had insulted his mother and sister, repeatedly. Matterazzi denied it, saying, “I did not insult his mother. I would not do that.” A French newspaper hired a lip reader to examine the videotape and reported Matterazzi calling Zidane’s sister “a whore.” Is that justification enough? It makes sense, doesn’t it, that if someone trashes your sister, of course you have to headbutt him. Don’t you? Is there any choice to it at all? Do we accept that logic when fouryear-olds dispute a toy? Are we understanding when adults scream, curse, and drive wildly in acts of road rage? Do we accept the provocation rationale when a husband blackens his wife’s eye and says
react to deliberate, repeated provocation such as Zidane endured? Or worse? To be truthful, I don’t know for sure. I have to hearken back to the words of a man I met in Nicaragua. We were both there in the late 1980s living with villagers in the war zone and serving as witnesses to the military assault of the U.S.-funded “contra” guerilla army. Rick had been wounded three times in Vietnam, including getting his leg blown off. He endured years of depression, nightmares, alcoholism, and flashbacks. By the time I met him 20 years after that war, he had determined that he must renounce verbal, emotional, and physical violence in his own life, forever. He told me he knew that the violence and
atrocities he had witnessed were not the way forward. He said, “If it meant dying, then I would rather that than propagate a system that has been so unsuccessful.” Rick’s words have haunted and inspired me for years. I have not traveled as rough a road as he, but I have come to similar conclusions. Violence will stop only when we stop using violence to deal with our problems. And it has to start with me. And what about Zidane? Ultimately, he had a choice. Didn’t he? VM Tony Switzer works at theTexas Council on FamilyViolence.This article first appeared atwww.mensnonviolence.org.Commentsare welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 • Colorado: Boulder Cooperative Market, Boulder; Page Two, Boulder • Florida: Goering’s Bookstore, Gainesville • Illinois: 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; Men’s Resource Center of Northern New Mexico, Taos • 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
Write to email@example.com for more information on distributing VOICE MALE in your area.
“she provoked me” because she 1) went out with her female friends, 2) failed to serve dinner promptly, 3) spent too much, or 4) did something or did not do something? Should Zidane get a pass on this one? I am a soccer fan because of my 15year-old son. He has been playing and training continually for five years already. Of course, I am proud of every goal he scores. But I am most proud of Matt for what he didn’t do. Last year during a game a boy on the other team targeted him with hard and dirty physical play—an elbow to the ribs when the ref wasn’t looking, etc. Finally, when both went for the ball, he grabbed Matt by the shoulders and slammed him to the ground. Both went down in a heap; the other boy came up screaming and took a swing at Matt. I report with great pride that Matt merely took a step backward and said not a word. The other boy was sent off with a red card. He left the field belligerent, unhappy, cursing. The game resumed. Zidane’s teammate Thierry Henry addressed Zidane’s impoverished youth, saying, “You can take the man out of the rough neighborhood, but you can’t take the rough neighborhood out of the man.” Does this explain the head-butt? For some it undoubtedly does. The French public is standing by their man. A poll less than a week later found over 60 percent forgiving Zidane and accepting his rationale. I am conflicted as I take the position of condemning Matterazzi for his apparent slanders while still finding greatest fault with the Frenchman for choosing to answer words with violence. I am vulnerable to being called a naïve white boy who has only seen rough neighborhoods in the movies (mostly true). I don’t have Zidane’s experience or the experience of millions of men in this country of poverty, gangs, racism, and violence. I don’t have the same understanding about responding to racial and family and class insults (other than being called “trailer trash”). Still, I have come to the understanding that violence leads to more violence and initiating violence particularly pollutes our social environment. How would I
Intimacy and Porn: A Contradiction in Terms By Haji Shearer
• V oice M ale
hen I met the womanwhobecame my wife, my porn collection consisted of a milk crate full of magazines. Mostly over-the-counter stuff: some Playboys, Players, Hustlers and other magazines that had articles to read when you got tired of pursuing their primary purpose. The crate also contained an assortmentofhardcoremagazinesshowing couplesexploringfantasiestheartdirectors thought would keep men like me buying their product. I was a libertine and didn’t try to keep the stash a secret from my future wife. The porn was part of my sexual software, and sharing it with my real-life partner was designed to help us be on the same page. After all, I only bought images that turned me on, so it was a good way for her to get to know what I liked. Shortly after we hooked up, Jasmin perused my collection, seemingly unimpressed. She had been raised in a family far more libertine than I was and she was no stranger to photos of people having sex. Her lack of interest in the magazines didn’t bother me. I could enjoy them without her. I had also shown the magazines to previous girlfriends and, in my experience, women didn’t get excited about porn. I never shared my collection with male friends (I didn’t want to use a magazine after another man had touched it), but it was clear from conversations that I wasn’t the only brother with a stash. Jasmin and I made a commitment to eachotherandstarteddownintimacyroad, removing one mask after another as we went. Soon enough, she disclosed that she had been sexually molested as a child. Not long after that, she indicted my porn collection as a contributor to the sexual exploitation of women and girls that resulted in her own sexual abuse. Because she had been photographed as part of her abuse, her
sensitivity to porn was especially high. I wasblindsidedbytheideathattheselegally purchased photos could be a factor in the immoral, criminal cruelty endured by her and other abuse victims. I wasn’t, however, in a good position to argue with her feelings about being sexually molested. So, for the first time, I chose to address the ethical issues of porn. I imagined the models’life stories beyond the art directors’ fantasies. I wondered how many of them had been sexually victimized as children and questioned what the real-life women thought about the scenes they acted out. I came to the conclusion that most economically secure, self-respecting women would choose another career, and that by using porn I was playing into the subjugation of an underclass. This assessment led me to toss my collection with little remorse. Jasmin was pleased by my decision, but didn’t make a big deal about it as she probably would have if I had stubbornly held on to my right to keep it. Discarding the collection was, no doubt, one small piece of the long, intense, and largely successful healing of her sexual abuse trauma. Since making that heroic decision to upgrademysexualsoftware,Ihavedabbled with porn from time to time. When Jasmin and I met, I was in a Luddite phase and didn’t own a TV, much less a VCR, so my
porn viewing was limited to magazines. After each addition of TV, VCR, 56K, and finally high-speed Internet to our media repertoire, I explored the new delivery system to see if my feelings about porn had changed. The main improvement was no embarrassingtripstothemagazineorvideo store. The content was as I remembered it. My wife was patient with my occasional explorations. Because we are fond of sex and because the porn industry has staked a claim, erroneously as it turns out, as a purveyorofliberatedsexuality,Jasminmay have subconsciously thought she should enjoy the images more than she did. Neither of us is a prude. But, try as we might, the backstories of the performers bothered us and it became increasingly difficult to justify porn’s use in our happy marriage. And it wasn’t just how porn affects the women in the photos and films. As I continued to pursue my spiritual evolution,viewingpornographybecamea practice that was increasingly at odds with my own sense of integrity. About a year ago Voice Male published an article by one of its frequent contributors, journalism professor and anti-porn activist Robert Jensen. He argued that both performersandviewersofpornographyare degraded by their involvement. Personally, continued on page 22
Reflections on Men’s Loss, Grief, Anger, and Change
Finding the Way Through By Steve Cutting
“The first of the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism—Life is suffering— took on an ironic sort of attraction to me because it directly contradicted everything I had been conditioned to believe.”
continued on page 23
After a long and contentious struggle, a family court interceded and concluded that our child would be better served by an In-Family Open Adoption. Fortunately, my younger brother and his wife were only too willing to adopt our child. Presently our child is doing well in my brother’s family, with two older, previously adopted siblings who seem to adore him. Because the adoption is in my family, I am fortunate to have contact and frequent visits with our child. Not so fortunate was our marriage. After the adoption, my wife and I were unable to work out our differences and have since separated and divorced. I have to say that I am truly sorry for the hurt I caused my ex-wife. She and I are at peace with our decision to separate and have accepted the decision to place our child for adoption as the most appropriate choice under difficult circumstances. On the other hand, the pain of losing custody of my child has given me the opportunity to reexamine choices I made in the past, both in my marriage and in other areas of life.
I made choices with respect to managing stress, frustration, and not getting what I want in certain circumstances that were inappropriate. At times I chose to respond to these stresses with impulsive rage and anger—which has had painful consequences and led to a period of loss and sadness in my life. Ironically, however, the experience of feeling sadness and grief over the consequences of my own behavior has been a necessary step toward understanding and changing it. After losing the right to be my child’s parent, I was already suffering from selfdoubt and a fairly serious depression. After my wife moved out, even though I intuitively understood it to be the right thing, my depression deepened. As it turned out her leaving, as painful as it was, became the beginning of a kind of catalyst for change where I gradually began to perceive things differently. Although it wasn’t by choice, for the first time in a number of years I began to spend a great deal more time alone, providing an opportunity to reflect on the repercussions of choices I had made. This time became a kind of vehicle for change and helped shift my focus inward toward the source of my own personal turmoil and angst, rather than outward toward blaming external circumstances. As a way of dealing with anger I began to pay more attention to Buddhism, which I had been aware of, but never seriously looked at. The first of the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism—Life is suffering—took on an ironic sort of attraction to me because it directly contradicted everything I had been conditioned to believe. The Buddhist principle of the impermanence of all things helped me understand my experience and provided some relief from the deep changes and personal losses I had endured.
nger is all the rage today. We have “road rage,” “air rage,” “supermarket rage,” even “public bathroom rage.” It sounds kind of funny, but for many people, including myself, problems with controlling rage and impulsive anger are nothing to laugh about. Unhealthy anger may be a problem for both sexes, but I’m going to focus on men’s anger, and suggest that by taking a look at what may lie behind our destructive anger, men have the potential to stop or at least reduce undesirable behavior that causes problems in their lives. By summoning the courage to look at the shadowy aspects of ourselves, we can experience personal transformation; we can rebalance our lives and become clearer, calmer, more accepting individuals. We can become builders instead of destroyers. A recent flyer for a course in anger management offered by the Men’s Resource Center for Change in Amherst, Mass., open to both men and women, contains this advisory:“Destructive anger can wreak havoc in a man’s life—resulting in ruined relationships, job loss, physical endangerment, health problems and trouble with the law.” How true that is. About four years ago I moved to western Massachusetts to be closer to relatives when after the birth of our child, my wife was diagnosed with a degenerative neuromuscular condition, severely limiting her physical movement. Aside from being a great personal burden to her, my wife’s illness became an issue for us when the Department of Social Services intervened out of concern that her condition might limit her ability to be an effective parent. DSS also raised concerns that I had notbeenemotionallysupportivetomywife, that I had frequently lost my temper, and that I had behaved inappropriately, even abusively, at times during our marriage.
• V oice M ale
B ook R eview
Girls Gone Wild
By Aviva Okun
riel Levy’s book Female Chauvinist Pigs compels us to consider the origins of “raunch culture” and what women have done to perpetuate its existence. Levy questions why women today try so hard to be “one of the guys,” and why they are so convinced that by acting like men they will achieve equality with men. Levy explores the different facets of American society that have been influenced by raunch culture through interviews with women from all walks of life—from high schoolers to middleaged women’s libbers, lesbian “bois” to straight women. Through her investigative research, Levy shows us a culture that has become infused with sex as a means of currency, something to be consumed and accumulated, where women believe that they can only achieve equality with men by acting like them and by emulating stereotypical male sexual desire. “Female chauvinist pigs” view sex as a commodity and not as a means of getting in touch with their own desires and fantasies; rather, they associate sexiness with how the mass media presents it to them. They view breast augmentation and pornography as sexy, they adopt a narrow, male-influenced view of expressing sexuality and sexual desire, and they scorn women who do not strive to be like men. They have the utmost disdain for the “girly-girl”—even though this is the image of women they are supposed to take pleasure in viewing. The female chauvinist pig is a contradiction on many levels. She believes she is achieving gender equality by making a mockery of herself and other women while actually reinforcing the objectification of women. Levy does not believe that these women have much success, if any, at achieving their goals of equality and sexual free-
Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture by Ariel Levy New York: Pocket Books (paper), 2006. 240 pp.
dom. In fact, Levy believes that these women are boxing themselves in by subscribing to such a narrow definition of what sexuality is and who is allowed to be sexual. Many of the women she interviews even report not taking pleasure in sexual acts. In the first chapter, “Raunch Culture,” Levy demonstrates how raunch culture has evolved from a covert male society that exploited women for sexual pleasure to a national phenomenon in which women are expected to encourage this behavior and to enjoy objectifying themselves and each other. In “The Future That Never Happened,” Levy gives a summary of the women’s movement and the sexual liberation
movement and how these contributed to raunch culture as we view it today. Levy suggests that the rise of female chauvinist pigs came out of a need to rebel against the feminist movement and also as a response to a culture that encourages and rewards objectification of women. Levy continually comes up against resistance from women who deny that their sexual practices are objectifying and demoralizing. Sheila Nevins, an executive for HBO, explains that she enjoys her show G-String Divas because it’s sexy and fun. She does not understand why someone would make such a big deal out of it when there are so many other injustices that women face. She feels that it is worse to be out of touch with what’s cool than to be objectified. Levy also interviews women who have appeared in the Girls Gone Wild videos and who explain that for them, taking off their clothes and making out with each other on camera is a way to show how much they love their own bodies and how empowered they are. These women eagerly exploit themselves to win the approval of men. “People watch the videos and think the girls in them are real slutty, but I’m a virgin!” says one participant. “And yeah, Girls Gone Wild is for guys to get off on, but the women are beautiful and it’s…fun! The only way I could see someone not doing this is if they were planning a career in politics.” Levy believes these women are giving men permission to view them only as objects of their pleasure and not as people with desires of their own. They are teaching each other that they can only gain social status by showing off sexually. Raunch culture and female chauvinism are becoming such a societal epidemic that even our youth are displaying sympcontinued on page 26
The Locker Room and the Closet
Alone in the Trenches: My Life as a Gay Man in the NFL by Esera Tuaolo with John Rosengren Sourcebooks, Inc., 2006 278 pages
Gretchen Craig is the development coordinator for the Men’s Resource Center for Change, a quasi-avid reader, and the“jock” of her family. She is currently trying to finishthreebooksbeforeexploringherrenewed appreciation for the game of football.
he was. He openly describes periods of alcohol abuse and moments when he had suicidal thoughts. But what was more telling for me were his reactions to certain situations that arose in his life. His experience of playing in the Super Bowl, perhaps the pinnacle of an NFL player’s life, was tainted by his having to remain closeted. “I got depressed thinking that when Mitchell, my partner of three years, arrived, I couldn’t greet him openly with the affection I felt for him. I couldn’t show others my happiness at having him there with me.” Unfortunately, some of the more touching moments in the book are bogged down by weighty descriptions of football games and practices. While I do enjoy the
sport, I did not feel the need to know, for example, the details of certain plays that took place while Tuaolo was in college. Much like Moby-Dick, in which the whale chase sometimes plays second fiddle to in-depth descriptions of whale skeletons and blubber refinement,Tuaolo’s journey as a gay man is sometimes obscured by his vivid recollections of games gone by. At times I wondered how the book would have turned out if he had not had a sportswriter as his wingman. Another disappointment for me was that the book felt a little disorganized and unevenly paced. It’s mainly chronological—except when it isn’t. Tuaolo tells the reader about his painful encounters with sexual abuse on pages 55 (age 13) and 191 (age 6). This method of revealing certain pieces of information at seemingly random places in the telling of his life made me feel like he had been withholding something. It diminished the effect that his moments of open, brutal honesty had. As an introduction to gay identity issues for sports fans who have had limited contact with openly gay people, Tuaolo’s book works. His message is one of acceptance and hope, putting into plain language the emotional toll that living in the closet can take. However, for those looking for a more emotional or sophisticated autobiography of a closeted gay man, or for those who simply can’t take lengthy descriptions of gridiron X’s and O’s, Tuaolo’s book may not make the cut. VM
aybe I should stop going to the library. I go in innocently looking for diversionary (and sometimes educational) reading and come out weighed down by a stack of books that I couldn’t possibly get through without sacrificing other things in my life, like karaoke, or perhaps bathing. The last time I went in I came across a book that I felt some curiosity about, and thoughtVoice Male readers would be very interested in. I scooped it up, hurried back to VM headquarters (something like the Bat Cave, but a little different), and started reading. What I found was in some ways very interesting, but in some ways just disappointing. Esera Tuaolo, with the help of sportswriter John Rosengren, has written a book about his experience as a closeted gay man playing professional football. At times the book is emotionally candid, focused and insightful. As someone who has always had the luxury of having a sexual orientation that mainstream America finds acceptable, I found it truly eye-opening to read about the various factors that can push an individual into a closet of fear. In Tuaolo’s case, class was an important factor. He stresses that football opened doors for him that he would not have had access to otherwise, and he lived in fear that coming out would mean losing football, which would in turn mean going back to a life of financial struggle. He also thrived on the praise he received from coaches and fans when he excelled at the sport. He makes it clear that, for a long time, this positive feedback was enough to offset the negative homophobic comments that surrounded him and kept him feeling isolated. In addition to explaining why he was closeted, Tuaolo is also effective in expressing the pain that he felt while
B ook R eview
By Gretchen Craig
GBQ R esources
For more info or to submit new entries for GBQ Resources contact us at (413) 253-9887 Ext. 10 or firstname.lastname@example.org AIDS CARE/Hampshire County Contact: (413) 586-8288. Buddy Program, transportation, support groups and much more free of charge to people living with HIV. AIDS Project of Southern Vermont Contact: (802) 254-4444. 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: email@example.com 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 Main St, E. Longmeadow, MA; year-round, walk-in group with no fee or pre-registration; bereavement newsletter also available. For more information, call (413) 733-5311. East Coast Female-to-Male Group Contact: Bet Powers (413) 584-7616, P.O. Box 60585 Florence, Northampton, MA 01062, firstname.lastname@example.org. 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, 42 Green Street, Northampton.
• V oice M ale
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. 10.
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. 24hour crisis line provides emotional support, safety planning, crisis counseling, referrals,
and emergency housing: (800) 832-1901. www.gmdvp.org;email:email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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, email@example.com, 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, 1:30-4:30; 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 low-cost HIV testing/counseling sites: (800) 750-2016. For Hepatitis C information and referral: (888) 443-4372. Both lines are staffed M-F 9am-9pm and often have bi- and tri-lingual staff available. Men’s Health Project Contact: Hutson Innis (413) 747-5144. Education, prevention services, and counseling for men’s health issues, especially HIV/AIDS. Springfield, Northampton, Greenfield. Tapestry Health Services. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 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: email@example.com 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 1-866-869-7341. Fax: 1-802-863-0004. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.safespacevt.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; email@example.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. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org,www.thesunshineclub.org. 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
Love Makes a Marriage By Mitch Sorensen
Mitch (left) and his husband, Allan.
continued on page 26
that got me to move to Massachusetts. I turned to him and said,“It’s not a babe, it’s a guy—and by the way, I am a gay man.” He paused for a moment and said,“You know, I am one of 10 in my family and we have one of everything. It’s not a problem for me!” There have been more of those positive moments since I met my partner than I can recount, and I feel blessed because of every one of them. I share all this here, and in this manner, as it was a series of events over time that made me realize I wanted to marry my partner. He is a wonderful, caring and affectionatemancommittedtomakingour relationship work for both of us, and he is a spectacular communicator when issues arise. I had never been in a relationship before where communication had come so freely, and I was in two very long-term relationships prior to meeting my husband. Our mutual love and respect for each other, as well as the love and caring our respective families have shown us both, helped me to understand that I belonged with this man. I wanted to be married to my partner, and the fact that he was another man was no longer a problem for me. I wanted to be at that place that earlier in my life I held in high esteem. While I understood that this marriage might be a problem for some members of my family, I also knew they had always loved me and supported me and that while they might not be as comfortable
Northampton area because of his community connections, and because I really loved the quality of life there. The vast majority of my Connecticut circle responded with something like, “Oh, you’re moving to Massachusetts so you can marry?” My immediate reaction to that was, “No, I’ve done that once (indicating my past marriage to my ex-wife and now friend), and it’s just not going to happen again!” I think I might have said,“No, that’s never going to happen again.” Well, we all learn that on occasion we have to eat our words! And truly, they are the best words I have had to recant. As our relationship grew and matured, I fell deeply in love with this kind, caring, affectionate and gentle soul. By the time the marriage of my daughter took place, my house was on the market and we were looking for a home in Massachusetts. This was clearly the guy for me, and my family’s acceptance of him as my partner was unanimous. His family, similarly, welcomed me with open arms. I received numerous comments from friends and work colleagues about how much more “settled” and calm and comfortable with myself I had become in the recent months prior to our move. I actually started to come out to a great many more people—not so much with the intent of doing so, but when the conversation led us in that direction. One of my business clients who did not know I was gay asked me who the “babe” was
O utlines • G ay & B isexual V oices
n July 30, 2006, my partner of three years and I became each other’s husband at Look Park in Northampton, Mass. Family and friends surrounded us and it was a wonderful, loving and caring expression of support from our two families and all of our mutual friends. The guest list included friends from Denver, San Francisco and Las Vegas. Like every major life decision, my decision to propose marriage was a process, not an event. When I met my future husband online, it was the furthest thing from my mind. The Goodrich decision (which led to legalizedgaymarriageinMassachusetts)was in the courts and, being from Connecticut, I was not very focused on the issue as I felt that it had little or no impact on me. On our first date, Northampton’s Gay Pride March and Rally in May 2003, Allan and I marched together in the Pride Parade. A first for me! As so many people yelled hello to my “marching partner/date,” I knew this guy was never going to be leaving the Pioneer Valley. He was just too connected to his community, and it became clear that if this relationship was going to go anyplace, the geographical focus of it would be in the Northampton area where he had spent the last 30 years of his life. And so began a two-year history of commuting back and forth between Hartford and Northampton as our relationship progressed. I had a major event coming up, my only daughter’s wedding in the Hartford area, for which I wanted to be living close by. This gave us an 18-month window before any decisions about moves had to be made. As our dating continued beyond the one-year mark, many of my local friends and work colleagues asked if Allan would be moving down or I would be moving up to Massachusetts. I indicated that eventually I thought I would be moving to the
“ I wanted to be married to my partner, and the fact that he was another man was no longer a problem for me. I wanted to be at that place that earlier in my life I held in high esteem.”
• V oice M ale
M en ‘ s H ealth
By Gregory Keer
itting in bed with a bag of frozen peas in my lap, I was in heaven. Never mind that I was enduring a steadily pulsing pain in the middle of my body. My wife was catering to me. She served me food, allowed me to nap for much of the day, relinquished ownership of the TV remote, and gave me long looks of adoration. For the first time in eight years—since my wife got pregnant with child number one—I was the center of attention. Thesecret?Fourlittlesyllables.Va-sec-to-my. In my proud state of convalescence, I had grand visions. Mostly, they involved variations on the following dialogue: Wendy: “We can’t have sex tonight. I might get pregnant.” Gregg: “Of course we can. I got a vasectomy!” (Insert image of me in superhero Spandex, bearing a giant VM on my chest for Vasectomy Man!) Certainly, my vasectomy would not preclude the other excuses of “I’m tired” and “Honey, the kids are playing Candy Land in the next room.” But this new state of male harmlessness would put me in the driver’s seat on all other occasions. I must admit that more readily accessible sexual activity was a motivator for getting snipped, though it wasn’t the only factor. My wife and I had reached the point of child saturation. Three boys were enough to keep us happy and busy. Also, after years of primarily relying on Wendy for the contraception, it was my turn to take over the responsibility. So, four months after Ari was born, I made a pre-op appointment for my little procedure (please don’t take the word “little” the wrong way). In Dr. Leff’s office, I felt a bit funny. It wasn’t just because the urologist was a family friend whom I had known since I was 12. It was the thought that, upon getting vasectomized, I would no longer be able to create children. I knew
“ I felt a bit funny: on getting vasectomized, I would no longer be able to create children. I knew I would still be a man, but this was an alteration of my identity.” I would still be a man, but this was an alteration of my identity. Then, as Dr. Leff explained the procedure, I realized this was one of the most grown-up things I could do. It’s one thing to decide to have children. It’s another to close the chapter on creating kids and concentrate on raising them. A week later, I found myself in the surgical chair, ready for this new chapter. Dr. Leff politely asked if I wanted to watch the procedure. I passed on the observation part (I was confident but not that confident) and opted for a verbal play-by-play. “Last chance,”the good doctor said, as he prepared to snip. “Let’s do this,” I said, chuckling nervously in my vulnerable state. With that, he cut, cauterized, and tied off the vas deferens in less than 20 minutes.The only evidence was two small red marks. At the end, a scene from Everything You AlwaysWantedtoKnowAboutSex,ButWere Afraid to Ask popped into my head, the one in which the sperm prepare for lift-off. In my sequel to this vignette, “workers” assemble for a big speech from the boss, who announces,“We’ve closed the factory.” Yep, my “boys” had officially retired. Barring a $10,000 surgery that could restore my baby-making ability, I was a new man. As Wendy drove me home, I announced, “Let’s go for lunch to celebrate.” “Will the Novocain last?” she said. “I’m fine,” I said with bravado. “I feel— oh, that’s a little sore. I need to lie down.” At home, I applied the bag of frozen peas to reduce the swelling, but the pain
never rose to the serious level. Maybe it had something to do with all the wonderful service my wife provided during the day and the loving hugs of my sons, who came home later. (I decided to leave out the details of Daddy’s doctor visit and opted for a “Daddy strained his leg” explanation.) By the next morning, I felt tender but not uncomfortable. I managed to coach my oldest son’s basketball game that morning and, aside from some ill-advised jumping up and down to protest a bad referee call, you would never know I was nursing my lower anatomy. About six weeks later I was pronounced sperm free. Today, I feel no difference in my body. Mentally, I’m rather proud. I’m even part of a club of friends I never knew had had vasectomies. As with so many other intimate details, most fellas don’t discuss getting clipped. Perhaps it’s because, physically, it isn’t as big a deal as it may have been for generations past. I’m happy to report that, while I’m no longer in the baby business, I’m ever more focused on just being Dad—and hearing a few extra “yeses” from my wife. GregoryKeerisasyndicatedcolumnist,educator, and on-air expert on fatherhood. His Family Man® column appears in such publications as L.A. Parent, Bay Area Parent, and Boston Parents’ Paper. In addition to writing for Parenting magazine and the Parents’ChoiceFoundation,Keerpublishes the online fatherhood magazine familymanonline. Keer can be reached at www. familymanonline.com.
R esources Men’s Resources (Resources for Gay, Bisexual & Questioning Men, see page 18) 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 email@example.com
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.dadsdivorce.com www.dadsrights.org (not www.dadsrights.com) www.deltabravo.net 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 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Men Against Violence http://www.unesco.org/cpp/uk/projects/wcpmenaga.htm
• V oice M ale
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
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-feministmen’spolitics,frequentlyaskedquestions www.xyonline.net/misc/pffaq.html Pro-feministe-maillist(1997–)www.xyonline.net/ misc/profem.html Homophobiaandmasculinitiesamongyoungmen www.xyonline.net/misc/homophobia.html Magazines Achilles Heel (from Great Britain) www.achillesheel.freeuk.com
ROB OKUN Counseling for Men and Women, Fathers & Justice of the Peace Officiating at Weddings for Couples in Massachusetts & Beyond (413) 687-8171 RAOkun@comcast.net
Intimacy and Porn continued from page 14
I know using porn never left me feeling particularly proud. It was more likely to bring upfeelingsofshameafterthefact—seldom a good sign. My reflections sparked by the Jensen article inspired a revelation: Jasmin and I strive for intimacy in our relationship. Using porn hinders that. Whether alone or with my wife, viewing porn takes time and energyawayfromourunionandsquanders itonapseudo-relationship.Evenusingporn as a stimulus for marital sex is problematic because porn rarely reflects healthy modes of connection. Porn is wham, bam, thank you, ma’am—at best—and not reflective of the kind of sex I really want in my own life. No surprise, I find it easier to achieve sexual pleasure and intimacy with my wife when images of models paid to perform male fantasies are not playing in my head. There have been many critiques of porn from a feminist point of view. Although they have validity, I am not playing that drum. Those of us engaged in a struggle to redefine manhood for the new millennium must address the ubiquitousness of porn and decide whether using it for sexual stimulation is leading us toward enlightened masculinity or contributing to our being used as pawns of a corporate vision devoid of integrity. I’ve talked to many women besides my wife who are quietly disgusted by their male partners’use of porn, but just accept it as a fact of life. Porn is like sexual crack—a quick high that feels good as long as you don’t think about it too much. Its long-term negative consequences greatly outweigh any initial rush. I am not suggesting that porn be outlawed. I am advocating that men examine our relationship with porn more seriously. I stopped using porn because I’m committed to being the best lover I can, and porn doesn’t support that. There is better sexual software in my own imagination, as well as in enlightened approaches to sex found in Tantra, Taoism, and every male heart. It’s ironic: throwing away that milk crate full of magazines ended up being a giant step toward my true sexual liberation. VM Haji Shearer is a social activist who enjoys sex and who regularly writes for Voice Male. He lives with his wife and teenage son and daughter outside of Boston.
Finding the Way Through continued from page 15
sarily come about quickly, but I believe if one can muster the courage to look at the shadowy side of one’s own psyche, then the journey is worth it. Looking at these issues, painful as they are, has helped me in the struggle to control my anger and change my behavior. It’s been a difficult process at times, but through it all I have learned that with consistent effort, real personal growth is possible. VM SteveCuttingisanativeofwesternMassachusetts.HisfatherwaspresidentofBlair,Cutting andSmithInsuranceAgencyinAmherstuntil his passing in 1969, at which point the familymovedtoaBostonsuburb.Stevecurrently residesinChicopee,Mass.,enjoyswritingand is interested in men’s issues.
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
Fall 2006 •
Coincidentally, in one of my more desperate moments, at a relative’s house I came across the book When Things Fall Apart, a brief encapsulation of Tibetan Buddhism by American Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön. One of Chödrön’s key hypotheses is that often, only through life’s most difficult and painful experiences, if we can courageously look at them, can the process of alchemy take place that brings about insight, which leads to the wisdom to change. The essential message of the book is that by “staying” with the unease often created by life’s challenges—relationships, work, all areas of our experience—and not turning away, the fear becomes less threatening. As we sit with the unease, over time it becomes more familiar and thus less menacing to us. In Chödrön’s words we become “Spiritual Warriors,” gaining confidence and fearlessness as we move forward with anticipation and greater certainty into the uncharted waters of our future. At the same time, I began regularly attendingtheMRC’seveningdrop-inmen’s support groups, where the topics discussed aren’t limited to anger, and where I continue to find enormous camaraderie and support. I also began taking the anger management course I mentioned earlier, and that helped me a great deal as well. Now, when I feel symptoms of anger coming on—increased muscle tension, shallow breathing, judgmental thoughts—I treat them as a warning signal. They become almost a road sign, directing me to turn my attention inward. This process helps unmask the negative sensations for what they truly are: misperceptions and fictions created by an overly analytical ruminating mind. As Buddhism teaches, through meditation we learn to quietly observe uncomfortable bodily sensations and unsettling thoughts by letting them pass through, and not attaching to them. I have found that these“thought stopping” techniques, and meditation, help to better manage my anxiety and depression, as well as to curb my tendency to respond impulsively with knee-jerk explosive anger when faced with inevitable frustration and disappointment. If you suspect, as I do, that precipitous
anger may be in part caused by fear—particularly for men whose early impressions of manhood are often based on unrealistic ideals of invincible comic book character types and JohnWayne–style superheroes who display dazzling feats of machismo in the face of adversity—then it follows that for men, being able to look fearlessly at their weaknesses, uncertainties, and vulnerabilities may be a key to unlocking the prison of their hurtful anger. I’ve found that truly feeling the suffering and regret that may go with accepting responsibility for the consequences of one’s destructive anger is a necessary step if the anger is to be transformed. The methods mentioned above do not offer an easy fix and change does not neces-
C alendar Please send all Calendar Listings for events from December 1, 2006 (and beyond) to:
V oice M ale C alendar firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to : 236 N. Pleasant St., Amherst, MA 01002 Fax (413) 253-4801 Deadline for Winter issue: November 17, 2006 September 17 – Nyack, NY Festival of Peace on the Hudson Join the Fellowship for Reconciliation for a fun, friendly and festive time at the organization’s national headquarters. Celebrate community and honor extraordinary peace activists. The festival will include music, dance, kids’ activities, raffles, and more. Cost: Free Location: 521 North Broadway Info: www.forusa.org, 845-358-4601 September 17 – Agawam, MA Out in the Park Out in the Park presents its 10th anniversary event at Six Flags New England. A family friendly event with projected GLBT attendees of over 10,000. Cost: Tickets are $49.95 at the gates but advance discount tickets will be available. Location: Six Flags New England Info: www.outinthepark.com, www.sixflags.com/parks/newengland
• V oice M ale
September 20–22 – Charlotte, NC Becoming Part of the Solution to End Violence Against Women Men and women from all communities and professions are encouraged to attend this second annual conference. Sessions will include: The Man Box, Men’s Accountability, The Politics of Oppression, Building Coalitions, Networking and more. Cost: $275 Location: Charlotte University Place Hilton Info: www.acalltomen.com, email@example.com, 845-354-2556
October 7 – Northampton, MA Fourth Annual Men’s Walk to End Abuse This Walk is organized by the Men’s Resource Center for Change in observation of Domestic Violence Awareness Month to raise awareness of men’s responsibility to end men’s violence against women. The Walk is also a fund-raiser for the region’s domestic violence programs, including the
MRC’s MOVE groups. This year’s goal is to have 100 people raising $100 each to prevent domestic violence in the Pioneer Valley. Men, women and children are welcome. Cost: Free (walkers are encouraged to collect pledges) Location: Unitarian Society (rally) Info: www.mrcforchange.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, 413-253-9887 ext. 16 October 13–15 – Rhinebeck, NY Englightened Power: How Women Are Changing the Way We Live Discover how women are changing the way we live, work and think. A weekend of inspiring keynotes from speakers such as Yolanda King and Gov. Ann Richards, workshops, and a worldwide café conversation. Men and women welcome. Cost: $315 Location: Rhinebeck Campus Info: www.eomega.org, email@example.com, 800-944-1001 October 18–20 – San Diego, CA Women Peacemakers Conference This international conference on genderinclusive decision making for peace with justice is co-convened by the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice (IPJ) and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). Working sessions will let delegates engage with and learn from one another and build cross-sector networks and alliances. Cost: (contact organizers) Location: Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice, University of San Diego Info: www.peace.sandiego.edu, 619-260-7509 October 28 – Easthampton, MA Day of Meditation & Contemplation for Men The day, led by Chas & Ray DiCapua, will consist of formal meditation instruction and practice, as well as an opportunity to contemplate, as men, the significance of undertaking this practice. There will be a scheduled time for questions, answers and dialog. Cost: Suggested donation of $20-$30 Location: Insight Meditation Center of Pioneer Valley Info: www.insightpv.org, 413-527-0388 November 7–9 – near Denver, CO Elderhood: Giving and Receiving Blessings Any man over 55 who is willing to face his judgments, honor his shadows, open to the support of his lineage, take the risk of creating his own path, face his mortality, and
live his life for the good of the world soul is welcome to participate. Cost: $325–$450 (sliding scale—meals and lodging included) Location: retreat near Denver Info: www.mensleadershipalliance.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, 303-444-9066 November 10–12 – Bangor, PA Making Whiteness Visible: Working Toward a Multicultural Society This is a weekend event for white folks and people of color to recognize together the effects of a socialization that has maintained “whiteness,” keeping separation and racism in place—and then commit to do something about it. The retreat is led by Laurie B. Lippin, Ph.D., Founder of Lippin & Associates, a coaching and consulting group. Cost: $180 per person plus $30 for a copyofUnderstandingWhiteness/Unraveling Racism: Tools for the Journey. Room and board: $175. Location: Kirkridge Retreat Center Info: www.kirkridge.org November 16, 7 p.m, Amherst, MA Boy I Am Western Mass. premiere of Boy I Am, a film exploring the lives of three young femaleto-male (FTM) transsexuals, and featuring conversations with lesbian activists some of whom are concerned with the increasing visibility of FTM people. A discussion will follow the film. Co-sponsored by the Stonewall Center, Everywoman’s Center, Men’s Resource Center, UMass Women’s Studies and the East Coast Female-toMale Group Cost: Free Location: 101 Campus Center, University of Massachusetts Info: 413-545-4824 November 29–30 – Lexington, KY 8th Ending Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Conference This multidisciplinary conference is designed to provide continuing education to a wide variety of professionals, including mental health care providers, advocates, nurses, attorneys, educators, and law enforcement officials. Workshops will cover such areas as primary prevention strategies, working with children, and enhancing clinical skills. Cost: TBA Location: Marriott Griffin Gate Resort Info: www.kasap.org, erecktenwald@kasap. org, 502-226-2704
Looking to Connect? Try the MRC’s Drop-in
MEN’S SUPPORT GROUPS
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, 7-8:45 PM, at the MRC FACILITATED BY TRAINED VOLUNTEERS FREE & CONFIDENTIAL
(413) 253-9887, ext. 10
MEN’S RESOURCE CENTER 236 N. PLEASANT ST., AMHERST
T hank Y ou ! Publisher Says “Thank You!” The Men’s Resource Center for Change, publisher ofVoice 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 theirtime,services,andmoneytowardavision ofpersonalandsocialtransformation.Weare filledwithdeepgratitudeatthegenerosityofthe individuals and businesses listed below. Community Relations/Fundraising Ben & Jerry’s, Amherst Donated Space Network Chiropractic, Greenfield Northampton Council on Aging Fathers & Family Network Program Assistance Susan J. Loehn, Alice Newton, Allison Scobie-Lloyd, Haji Shearer In-Kind Donations Henion Bakery, Amherst Loose Goose Café, Amherst Interns Rob Brezinsky, Malcolm Chu, Jack Ferris MRC/Voice Male Volunteers Susan Craig, Jim Devlin, Michael Dover, Henry Lappen, Joe Leslie, Bob Mazer, Aviva Okun, Tom Schuyt, Gary Stone 2006 Northampton Pride Rally Volunteers Frank S., James R., Joe R., Mitch Fathers & Families Field Day Volunteers: David Abrami, Allan Arnaboldi, David Boutilier, Susan Craig, Jan Eidelson, Dot LaFratta, Mark Lantz, Joe Leslie, Aviva Okun, Russ Pirkot, Sheldon Snodgrass, Mitch Sorensen Sponsors: Amherst Pediatrics, Bart’s Homemade Ice Cream, Boston Red Sox Foundation, Gold’s Gym – Amherst, Dr. Stephen Jefferson Other: Amherst Department of Public Works, Groff Park
• V oice M ale
Special Events Planning Committee Allan Arnaboldi, Gretchen Craig, Jan Eidelson, Darren Engstrom, Mitch Sorensen
Asalways,weextendourgratitudetotheMRC BoardofDirectorsfortheongoingguidanceand support they give to this organization and all who are a part of it. We are also grateful for all ofourstaff,whoregularlygoaboveandbeyond 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.
Book Review continued from page 16
Outlines continued from page 19
toms. Levy discusses how adolescent women have been led to believe that pleasing men and boys sexually is the only way to gain status and power. They report that they don’t experience pleasure from their sexual acts but they continue to engage in them because they believe that is their only mode of upward social progression. Ariel Levy shows us the effects of living in a culture that glorifies the objectification of women and the commercialization and mainstreaming of sex. Under this system, women do not gain freedom or liberation; rather, they lose their credibility as members of society. Levy does not offer up suggestions of how to rectify this cultural phenomenon, but she does present various reasons as to why this culture has emerged. By discovering the root of the problem, perhaps solutions can be identified and society can begin the process of reeducation about what sexuality means and the different ways it can be expressed. And perhaps, through this reeducation, a culture can emerge in which women are free to express themselves sexually in whatever way makes sense to them, and in which women gain power and social acceptance through nonsexual means. VM
as I was with the concept of gay marriage, they would be there supporting me. Now came the time to ask the big question. Would he say yes? On a crisp autumn night in October, we made plans for a “date” in Northampton. After purchasing a home together we had spent almost all of our spare timeonrenovationandupdatingprojects,so adatewassomethingthatwasnovelandone we both looked forward to. We started out with a nice dinner and then decided to walk around Northampton and stop for drinks along the way. Our first (and last!) stop was the lounge in the old train station. I went to the bar and ordered a couple of beers while he went to find us some seating. Luckily a coupleofchairsinanintimatecorneropened up…and so did I. I returned with the beers, we toasted each other, and I popped the question. “I think we should marry,” I said. “Would you marry me?” The answer was a resounding yes, and the rest is history. The next step was to share the news with our families. The first to hear were my partner’s daughter and her husband. They gave us each a big hug and were ecstatic for us. When we shared the news with my children they were equally excited. Out of respect for my ex-wife I shared our news with her and she was emphatic: “I love you both and I’m coming to the wedding!” We were blessed with unanimous positive responses. Our wedding day this past summer was filled with the love with which we have been showered by family and friends in and out of the gay community. Our marriage is not only a sign of our love for one another; it is also a commitment to the cause: the cause of equal rights for all GLBT people and the right to marry whom one wants to marry. This has had another positive consequence for me: my political involvement in the fight for marriage equality and the effort to preserve this right in Massachusetts. We have been afforded an important right by the courts in this great state, and we all need to work to make sure that right is preserved. As a married gay man, I can tell you, the stakes are high. VM
Aviva Okun is a psychology major graduatingfromGoucherCollegeinBaltimorelater this year. She last wrote for Voice Male as a high school junior.
Conscious Communication October 5 - November 9 Amherst, MA This Conscious Communication class will help you learn to stay connected and competent in the heat of differences. Prior to the first class, individuals can come in for a free introductory workshop on Thursday, September 28, from 6 to 8 pm. Cost: $180 to $230 (sliding scale - includes all materials) Location: Co-Housing Common House Info: Karen Fogliatti: 978-544-3844, email@example.com
MitchSorensenistheexecutivevicepresidentof S&SManagementServicesInc.,inBloomfield, Conn.Hehastwogrownchildren.Mitchand husbandAllanresideinEasthampton,Mass.
Men’s Resource Center for Change Programs & Services
Administrative Staff Executive Director – Rob Okun Development Coordinator – Gretchen Craig Office Manager – Allan Arnaboldi Financial Manager – Paula Chadis Moving Forward Director – Sara Elinoff-Acker Intake Coordinator/Court Liaison – Steve Trudel Partner Services Coordinator – Jan Eidelson Anger Management Coordinator – Joy Kaubin Hampden County Coordinator – Scott Girard Group Leaders – Sara Elinoff-Acker, Karen Fogliatti, Scott Girard, Steve Jefferson, Joy Kaubin, Dot LaFratta, Susan Omilian, Bill Patten, Tom Sullivan, Steve Trudel Support Services Coordinator –Tom Schuyt Support Group Facilitators – Allan Arnaboldi, Michael Burke,JimDevlin,Michael Dover, Carl Erikson, Tim Gordon, Jerry Levinsky, Gábor Lukács, Bob Mazer, Tom Schuyt, Frank Shea, Sheldon Snodgrass, Roger Stawasz, Bob Sternberg, Gary Stone, Claude Tellier Youth Programs Supervisor – Allan Arnaboldi Board of Directors Chair – Peter Jessop Clerk/Treasurer – Charles Bodhi Members – Gustavo Acosta, Jenny Daniell, Tom Gardner,Yoko Kato, Gail Kielson, Jonathan Klate, 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: firstname.lastname@example.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 ■ShortTermGroups,Workshops,Presentations and Consultations for Young Men and YouthServing Organizations Contact: (413) 253-9887 ext.33
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 includesarticles,essays,reviewsandresources, and services related to men and masculinity. ■Children,LesbiansandMen:Men’sExperiences as Known and Anonymous Sperm Donors A 60-page manual which answers the questions men have, with first-person accounts 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 organizations. Many topics including:“Manhood in a Time of War”, “Fathering and Fatherhood.” Contact: (413) 253-9887 Ext. 20
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, and Greenfield. ■ Follow-up Groups for men who have completed the basic program and want to continue working on these issues are available in Northampton, Greenfield and Amherst.
■ 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
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).
AnEveningwithStevenSchoenberg ACCLAIMED RECORDINGS:
Pianoworks Three Days in May
AWARD-WINNING FILM SCORES:
PBS(NOVA,SesameStreet) Sundance Film Festival
Celebrate improvisational pianist Steven Schoenberg’s long-awaited return to the stage at a special concert to benefit the Men’s Resource Center for Change.
Saturday, December 2, 8 P.M. Sweeney Concert Hall Smith College Northampton, Mass. • A limited number of commemorative signed posters designed by renowned artist Barry Moser will be available for purchase. The concert will be recorded.
For more information, please call 413-253-9887 ext. 16 or write email@example.com.