Men Need to be Present, and Not Defensive, in this Uprising Against Sexual Harassment

By Chris Crass (November 14, 2017)

If you are a man and hear “men are garbage” from women and people of other genders experiencing the daily reality of patriarchy and misogyny, I understand if the first reaction is to be defensive, to want to say “not me” or “that’s not fair” or anything to debate or cast doubt.

But I encourage us as men to be present in these painful and profound historical times of a popular uprising against sexual harassment, to be present to what women are saying, and ask “what are the experiences behind a statement like men are garbage, what is happening all around that reveal a profoundly destructive culture that raises boys to assault and harass women and girls as ‘normal’ male behavior”.

Ask, “how have a been raised in this culture, how do I participate in behavior that is garbage and normalizes it, and how can I actively work to build up culture that raises boys to be ‘beautiful’, ‘compassionate’, ‘intuitive of what others need and want’, ‘practitioners of consent and interdependence”, that raises boys and supports men to be feminist, to work for collective liberation.”

What are organizations of men working against sexism, against patriarchy that you know about – current and historical? And I am fully aware that there isn’t much, and what has been and is, is often quite small – all of the efforts I’ve been part of have been 6-20 men. But nonetheless, there is far more then what I’m aware of, and I believe we must build from what is, not what we wish was.

But there was also a time when almost all of the organizing with white people for racial justice was also tiny, small groups with little to no knowledge of each other’s existence. I remember twenty years ago talking about being a white people working against white supremacy and the vast majority of people, even activists (white and of color) looked at me with confusion, suspicion, or even concern (“what, you want to bring white people together to talk about racism? Only the Klan brings white people together to talk about race – to which my responses was, “yes, exactly, and until white anti-racists bring leadership in white communities, then white people are abandoned to the Klan”).

So with that, what organizations, efforts, individuals, do you know of currently and historically to help educate, organize, mobilize men for feminism, for gender justice, to end the nightmare of patriarchy?

Feminist men, in solidarity and alignment with people of all genders, must fight for the hearts, minds and futures of men and boys away from this death culture and towards feminist values, commitments, and actions.

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