[Breakingthesilence] reader update

miss moon tveye_ at hotmail.com
Ven 16 Juil 04:52:14 CEST 2004

kev to ad to your list

i text on economic position of women in serbia
text on collective workers organisation and the relevance of this to women
text on pornography,prostitution and economies
press release from local queer magazine after the hate attack again the 
editor here this sunday
xx jet

>From: "Kev Smith" <kevin.smith at gmx.net>
>Reply-To: "gender working group for the european people's global action  
>(PGA)<breakingthesilence at gendertrouble.org>"@lautre3.lautre.net
>To: breakingthesilence at gendertrouble.org
>Subject: [Breakingthesilence] reader update
>Date: Thu, 15 Jul 2004 19:15:44 +0200 (MEST)
>hello people
>OK, i am goign to try and lay out the reader on monday and tuesday, so if
>people want to send things then they should do it before the end of the
>as it stands there is-
>1) going to places that scare me - thoughts on challenging white male
>2) tips for white guys working for social change
>3) Taking The First Step: Suggestions To People Called Out For Abusive
>4) The yoruba myth
>5) The sexual harassment action plan
>6) maybe the short gender exercises i sent in a previous email?
>I thought that maybe we should contextualise this reader in terms of the
>process that has lead to their being this gender day during the
>conference...  does anyone have any idea who could write this at quite 
>I would also like to include somethign esle i am pasting into this called
>Homophobia: A Weapon of Sexism
>Nico, I have reservations about including your piece on mens work in
>anti-capitalist circles as it has raised a lot of controversy and
>disagreement (not just from fabian - from other peopel i have spoken to
>aswell) and i think that it would take a lot of reworking and discussion to
>get it into a shape that everyone would be happy with. what do peopel think
>about this?
>There is another text that i really like called "masculinities, violence 
>peace" that was translated into spanish and used in the pimiento verde.....
>it is a little bit academic, but i think that it covers some nice areas...
>again, i would like peopls feedback on this article, and i am pasting it
>into this email after the homophobia one.
>ok, hope everyone is well, apologies for long and potentially boring email
>Homophobia: A Weapon of Sexism
>Suzanne Pharr ~ http://www.cyfc.umn.edu/Diversity/Gay/siecus.html
>Homophobia and Heterosexism
>Homophobia works effectively as a weapon of sexism because it is joined 
>a powerful arm, heterosexism. Heterosexism creates the climate for
>homophobia with its assumption that the world is and must be heterosexual
>and its display of power and privilege as the norm. Heterosexism is the
>systemic display of homophobia in the institutions of society....
>It is not by chance that when children approach puberty and increased 
>awareness they begin to taunt each other by calling these names: "queer,"
>"faggot," "pervert." It is at puberty that the full force of society's
>pressure to conform to heterosexuality and prepare for marriage is brought
>to bear. Children know what we have taught them, and we have given dear
>messages that those who deviate from standard expectations are to be made 
>get back in line. The best controlling tactic at puberty is to be treated 
>an outsider, to be ostracized at a time when it feels most vital to be
>accepted. Those who are different must be made to suffer loss. It is also 
>puberty that misogyny begins to be more apparent, and girls are pressured 
>conform to societal norms that do not permit them to realize their full
>potential. It is at this time that their academic achievements begin to
>decrease as they are coerced into dependency upon a man for economic
>There was a time when the two most condemning accusations against a woman
>meant to ostracize and disempower her were "whore" and "lesbian." The 
>revolution and changing attitudes about heterosexual behavior may have led
>to some lessening of the power of the word "whore", though it still has
>strength as a threat to sexual property and prostitutes are stigmatized and
>abused. However, the word "lesbian" is still fully charged and carries with
>it the full threat of loss of power and privilege, the threat of being cut
>asunder, abandoned, and left outside of society's protection.
>Lesbians and Gay Men: A Threat to the Heart of Sexism
>To be a lesbian is to be perceived as someone who has stepped out of line,
>who has moved out of sexual/economic dependence on a male, who is
>woman-identified. A lesbian is perceived as being outside the acceptable,
>routinzed order of things. She is seen as someone who has no societal
>institutions to protect her and who is not privileged to the protection of
>individual males. Many heterosexual women see her as someone who stands in
>contradiction to the sacrifices they have made to conform to compulsory
>heterosexuality. A lesbian is perceived as a threat to the nuclear family,
>to male dominance and control, to the very heart of sexism.
>Gay men are perceived also as a threat to male dominance and control, and
>the homophobia expressed against them has the same roots in sexism as does
>homophobia against lesbians. Visible gay men are the objects of extreme
>hatred and fear by heterosexual men because their breaking ranks with male
>heterosexual solidarity is seen as a damaging rent in the very fabric of
>sexism. They are seen as betrayers, as traitors who must be punished and
>eliminated. In the beating and killing of gay men we see clear evidence of
>this hatred. When we see the fierce homophobia expressed, toward gay men, 
>can begin to understand the ways sexism also affects males through imposing
>rigid, dehumanizing gender roles on them.
>The two circumstances in which it is legitimate for men to be openly
>physically affectionate with one another are in competitive sports and in
>the crisis of war. For many men, these two experiences are the highlights 
>their lives, and they think of them again and again with nostalgia. War and
>sports offer a cover of all-male safety and dominance to keep away the
>notion of affectionate openness being identified with homosexuality. When
>gay men break ranks with male roles through bonding and affection outside
>the areas of war and sports, they are perceived as not being "real men,"
>that is, as being identified with women, the weaker sex that must be
>dominated and that over the centuries has been the object of male hatred 
>abuse. Misogyny gets transferred to gay men with a vengeance and is
>increased by the fear that their sexual identity and behavior will bring
>down the entire system of male dominance and compulsory heterosexuality.
>Masculinities, Violence, and Peacemaking
>by Bob Connell
>Though women have often manufactured weapons and serviced armiesand in an
>age of nuclear weapons are equally targeted it is historically rare for
>women to be in combat. The twenty million members of the world's armed
>forces today are overwhelmingly men. In many countries all soldiers are 
>and even in those countries which admit women to the military, commanders
>are almost exclusively men. Men also dominate other branches of 
>both in the public sector as police officers and prison guards, and in the
>private sector as security agents.
>In private life too, men are more likely to be armed and violent. In the
>United States, careful research by criminologists establishes that private
>gun ownership runs four times as high among men as among women, even after 
>campaign by the gun industry to persuade women to buy guns. (The average
>percentage of US men owning guns, in surveys from 1980 to 1994, was 49%.) 
>the same country, official statistics for 1996 show men accounting for 90%
>of those arrested for aggravated assault and 90% of those arrested for
>murder and manslaughter. These figures are not exceptional.
>There is a debate about the gender balance of violence within households,
>and it is clear that many women are capable of violence (eg in punishing
>children). The weight of evidence, however, indicates that major domestic
>violence is overwhelmingly by husbands towards wives. Rape is 
>by men on women. Criminal rape shades into sexual intercourse under
>pressure. The major national survey of sexual behaviour in the United 
>finds women six times as likely as men to have an experience of forced sex,
>almost always being forced by a man.
>Further, men predominate in warlike conduct in other spheres of life.
>Body-contact sports, such as boxing and football, involve ritualized combat
>and often physical injury. These sports are almost exclusively practised by
>men. Dangerous driving is increasingly recognized as a form of violence. It
>is mainly done by men. Young men die on the roads at a rate four times that
>of young women, and kill at an even higher ratio. Older men, as corporate
>executives, make the decisions that result in injury or death from the
>actions of their businessesindustrial injuries to their workers, pollution
>injury to neighbours, and environmental destruction.
>So men predominate across the spectrum of violence. A strategy for peace
>must concern itself with this fact, the reasons for it, and its 
>for work to reduce violence.
>"Natural" violence
>There is a widespread belief that it is natural for men to be violent. 
>are inherently more aggressive than women, the argument goes. "Boys will be
>boys" and cannot be trained otherwise; rape and combathowever
>regrettableare part of the unchanging order of nature. There is often an
>appeal to biology, with testosterone in particular, the so- called "male
>hormone", as a catch-all explanation for men's aggression.
>Careful examination of the evidence shows that this biological essentialism
>is not credible. Testosterone levels for instance, far from being a
>clear-cut source of dominance and aggression in society, are as likely to 
>the consequence of social relations. Cross-cultural studies of 
>reveal a diversity that is impossible to reconcile with a 
>master pattern of masculinity.
>When we speak statistically of "men" having higher rates of violence than
>women, we must not slide to the inference that therefore all men are
>violent. Almost all soldiers are men, but most men are not soldiers. Though
>most killers are men, most men never kill or even commit assault. Though an
>appalling number of men do rape, most men do not. It is a fact of great
>importance, both theoretically and practically, that there are many non-
>violent men in the world. This too needs explanation, and must be 
>in a strategy for peace.
>Further, when we note that most soldiers, sports professionals, or
>executives are men, we are not just talking about individuals. We are
>speaking of masculinised institutions. The organisational culture of 
>for instance, is heavily gendered. Recent social research inside armed
>forces in Germany and other countries reveals an energetic effort to 
>a narrowly-defined hegemonic masculinity. Similarly, organized sport does
>not just reflect, but actively produces, particular versions of 
>We may reason, then, that it is in social masculinities rather than
>biological differences that we must seek the main causes of gendered
>violence, and the main answers to it. How are social masculinities to be
>understood? In grappling with this question, we are able to draw on a new
>generation of research, to which I now turn.
>Understanding masculinities
>In recent years there has been a great flowering of research on the nature
>and forms of social masculinities. This research, and accompanying debate,
>is now world-wide. It has moved decisively beyond the old concept of a
>unitary "male sex role" or a fixed "masculine" character structure.
>Empirical studies of the details of social life are necessarily complex, 
>some important general conclusions do seem to be emerging from this 
>as a whole. I will condense them into seven points, noting in each case 
>implications for peace strategy.
>     1) Multiple masculinities: Different cultures, and different periods 
>history, construct gender differently. In multicultural societies there are
>likely to be multiple definitions of masculinity. Equally important, more
>than one kind of masculinity can be found within a given culture, even
>within a single institution such as a school or workplace.
>     Implications: Violent, aggressive masculinity will rarely be the only
>form of masculinity present, in any cultural setting. The variety of
>masculinities that are documented in research can provide examples and
>materials for peace education. Edudcation programs must recognise diversity
>in gender patterns, and the tensions that can result from social diversity.
>     2) Hierarchy and hegemony: Different masculinities exist in definite
>relations with each other, often relations of hierarchy and exclusion. 
>is generally a dominant or "hegemonic" form of masculinity, the centre of
>the system of gendered power. The hegemonic form need not be the most 
>form of masculinity.
>     Implications:: Large numbers of men and boys have a divided, tense, or
>oppositional relationship to hegemonic masculinity. Clear-cut alternatives,
>however, are often culturally discredited or despised. The most powerful
>groups of men usually have few personal incentives for gender change. Other
>groups may have stronger motives for change.
>     3) Collective masculinities: Masculinities are sustained and enacted 
>only by individuals, but also by groups, institutions, and cultural forms
>like mass media. Multiple masculinities may be produced and sustained by 
>same institution.
>     Implications: The institutionalization of masculinity is a major 
>for peace strategy. Corporations, workplaces, voluntary organisations, and
>the state are important sites of action. Collective struggle, and the
>re-shaping of institutions, are as necessary as the reform of individual
>     4) Bodies as arenas: Men's bodies do not fix patterns of masculinity,
>but they are still very important in the expression of masculinity, which
>constantly involves bodily experience, bodily pleasures, and the
>vulnerabilities of bodies.
>     Implications: Peace education may often be too much "in the head".
>Health, sport and sexuality are issues which must be addressed in changing
>masculinity. Active construction.
>     5) Masculinities do not exist prior to social interaction:, but come
>into existence as people act. Masculinities are actively produced, using 
>resources available in a given milieu.
>     Implications: The process of constructing masculinity, rather than the
>end state, may be the source of violence. No pattern of masculine violence
>is fixed, beyond all hope of social reform. Equally, no reform is final. It
>is possible that gender reforms will be overthrown and more violent 
>of masculinity re-introduced.
>     6) Division: Masculinities are not homogeneous, but are likely to be
>internally divided. Men's lives often embody tensions between contradictory
>desires or practices.
>     Implications: Any pattern of masculinity has potentials for change. 
>group of men is likely to have complex and conflicting interests, some of
>which will support change towards more peaceable gender patterns.
>     7) Dynamics: Masculinities are created in specific historical
>circumstances. They are liable to be contested, reconstructed, or 
>The forces producing change include contradictions within gender relations,
>as well as the interplay of gender with other social forces.
>     Implications: Masculinities are always changing, and this creates
>motives for learning. However, as any agenda for change is likely to be
>against some groups' interests, controversy and conflict is to be expected.
>These lessons are mainly drawn from research on local patterns of gender. 
>thinking about a strategy for peace, however, we must go beyond local
>contexts, and think at a global level too.
>Globalising masculinities
>The colonial empires from which the modern global economy developed were
>gendered institutions, which disrupted indigenous gender orders, and
>installed violent masculinities in the hegemonic position. This process was
>the beginning of a global gender order, and the colonisers' masculinities
>were the first globalising masculinities.
>In turn, the process of decolonisation disrupted the gender hierarchies of
>the colonial order. Where armed struggle was involved, the use of western
>military technology also involved some adoption of western military
>masculinity, and further disruption of community-based gender orders.
>World politics today is increasingly organised around the needs of
>transnational capital and the creation of global markets. Neo-liberalism
>speaks a gender-neutral language of "markets", "individuals", and "choice",
>but has an implicit view of masculinity. The "individual" of neoliberal
>theory has the attributes and interests of a male entrepreneur.
>Institutionally, the strong emphasis on competition creates a particular
>kind of hierarchy among men. Meanwhile the increasingly unregulated world 
>transnational corporations places strategic social power in the hands of
>particular groups of men. Here is the basis of a new hegemonic masculinity
>on a world scale.
>The hegemonic form of masculinity in the new world order, I would argue, is
>the masculinity of the business executives who operate in global markets,
>and the political executives and military leaderships who constantly deal
>with them. I call this "transnational business masculinity", and I think
>that understanding it will be important for the future of peace strategies.
>Peace strategies and masculinities
>There are many causes of violence, including dispossession, poverty, greed,
>nationalism, racism, and other forms of inequality, bigotry and desire.
>Gender dynamics are by no means the whole story. Yet given the 
>of weapons and the practices of violence among men, gender patterns appear
>to be strategic. Masculinities are the forms in which many dynamics of
>violence take shape.
>Evidently, then, strategy for peace must include a strategy of change in
>masculinities. This is the new dimension in peace work which studies of men
>suggest: contesting the hegemony of masculinities which emphasise violence,
>confrontation and domination, replacing them with patterns of masculinity
>more open to negotiation, cooperation and equality.
>The relationship of masculinity to violence is more complex than appears at
>first sight, so there is not just one pattern of change required.
>Institutionalised violence (eg by armies) requires more than one kind of
>masculinity. The masculinity of the general is different from the
>masculinity of the front-line soldier, and armies acknowledge this by
>training them separately. The differing masculinities that are hegemonic in
>different cultures may lead to qualitatively different patterns of 
>Some violent patterns of masculinity develop in response to violence, they
>do not simply cause it. An important example is the "protest masculinity"
>that emerges in contexts of poverty and ethnic oppression. On the other
>hand, some patterns of masculinity are not personally violent, but their
>ascendancy creates conditions for violence, such as inequality and
>dispossession. The case of transnational business masculinity has already
>been mentioned.
>A gender-informed strategy for peace must, therefore, be sophisticated 
>patterns of masculinity. It must also be designed to operate across a broad
>front, broader than most agendas of sex role reform would suggest. The
>arenas for action to reduce masculine violence include:
>     Development: Schooling, child rearing and adult/child relationships in
>families, classrooms, play groups, etc (including the issues commonly
>thought of as "sex role modelling").
>     Personal life: Marital relations and sexuality, family relationships,
>friendship (including the role of sexual and domestic violence in
>constructions of masculinity).
>     Community life: Peer groups, neighbourhood life, leisure including
>sports (including youth subcultures as bearers of violent masculinities).
>     Cultural institutions: Higher education, science and technology, mass
>media, the arts and popular entertainment (including exemplary 
>in broadcast sports).
>     Workplaces: Occupational cultures, industrial relations, corporations,
>unions and bureaucracies; the state and its enforcement apparatuses 
>police etc).
>     Markets: The labour market and the effects of unemployment; capital 
>commodity markets both international and local; management practices and
>What principles might link action across this very broad spectrum? I do not
>think we should follow the model of gender reform that demands men adopt a
>new character, instantly become "the new man". Such hero-making agendas 
>what we already know about the multiplicity and the internal complexity of
>Rather, strategy for peace needs to be embedded in a practicable strategy 
>change in gender relations. The goal should be to develop gender practices
>for men which shift gender relations in a democratic direction. Democratic
>gender relations are those that move towards equality, nonviolence, and
>mutual respect between people of different genders, sexualities,
>ethnicities, and generations.
>Reshaping gender
>A peace strategy concerned with masculinities, then, does not demand a
>complete rupture with patterns of conduct men are now familiar with. Some 
>the qualities in "traditional" definitions of masculinity (eg courage,
>steadfastness, ambition) are certainly needed in the cause of peace. Active
>models of engagement are needed for boys and men, especially when peace is
>understood not just as the absence of violence, but as a positive form of
>The task is not to abolish gender, but to re-shape it; to disconnect (for
>instance) courage from violence, steadfastness from prejudice, ambition 
>exploitation. In the course of that re-shaping, diversity will grow. Making
>boys and men aware of the diversity of masculinities that already exist in
>the world, beyond the narrow models they are commonly offered, is an
>important task for education.
>Though the hierarchy of masculinities is part of the problem in gender
>relations, the fact that there are different masculinities is in itself an
>asset. At the lowest level, it establishes that masculinity is not a single
>fixed pattern. More positively, multiple masculinities represent complexity
>of interests and purposes, which open possibilities for change. Finally the
>plurality of gender prefigures the creativity of a democratic social order.
>For men, the democratic remaking of gender practices requires persistent
>engagement with women, not the separatism-for-men which is strong in 
>masculinity politics. The "gender-relevant" programmes now attempted in
>schools, which do not necessarily segregate boys and girls but attempt to
>identify gender issues and make them the subject of conscious debate, are
>important examples. Educational and social action must be inclusive in
>another sense too, responding to the differing cultural meanings of gender
>and the different socio-economic circumstances in which students live. A
>programme apt for suburban middle-class students may be very inappropriate
>for ethnically diverse inner-city children in poverty, or rural children
>living in villages.
>No-one with experience of struggles for peace, or of attempts at gender
>reform, will imagine these are easy tasks. Recognising the interplay of
>masculinities with strategies for peace is not a magic key. In some ways,
>indeed, it makes familiar strategies seem more complex and difficult.
>But it also, I believe, opens ways of moving past obstacles which both 
>movements and the movement for gender democracy have encountered.
>Dr Connell works at the University of Sydney.
>I'm not using my eyfa email address anymore
>please update your addressbook accordingly, innit
>I'm not using my eyfa email address anymore
>please update your addressbook accordingly, innit
>Breakingthesilence mailing list
>Breakingthesilence at gendertrouble.org

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