Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Tough Guise

I had the opportunity to attend lecture a few years ago by Jackson Katz, writer and contributer to "Tough Guise" a commentary on masculine identities in the U.S. at the dawn of the 21st century. It was very appropriate at the time when there was a surge of school violence - Columbine, Springfield, etc. - and he pointed out the lack of discussion in the media of the very apparent fact that this violence was being perpetrated by young men - not young women. The term "youth" avoided the issue that young men were responsible. The media covered the stories saying "youth involved in school shooting." But in reality is was young men engaging in these violent assaults. He had a call for action to examine these issues. I remember the effect his presentation had on me and the realization that men did not have the established networks to deal with these types of issues. In fact, building those types of networks was counter to the American perception of masculinity. Community outreach on these topics is so important and unfortuantely these types of assualts are still happening over and over. I guess I still have questions about how to address this type of violence...why don't men - the collective men- take a leadership role in addressing these problems? Below is a description of the Tough Guise project. BTW I think this blog is great!

Tough GuiseViolence, Media & the Crisis in Masculinity

While the social construction of femininity has been widely examined, the dominant role of masculinity has until recently remained largely invisible. Tough Guise is the first educational video geared toward college and high school students to systematically examine the relationship between pop-cultural imagery and the social construction of masculine identities in the U.S. at the dawn of the 21st century.

In this innovative and wide-ranging analysis, Jackson Katz argues that widespread violence in American society, including the tragic school shootings in Littleton, Colorado, Jonesboro, Arkansas, and elsewhere, needs to be understood as part of an ongoing crisis in masculinity.
This exciting new media literacy tool-- utilizing racially diverse subject matter and examples-- will enlighten and provoke students (both males and females) to evaluate their own participation in the culture of contemporary masculinity.


Kelsey said...

First of all, Jackson Katz is amazing. Second, I think it is so important that you bring this idea that is a few years old now back to our present minds since there has been, yet again, a recent surge in male-perpetrated school shootings.

It is SO IMPORTANT for male groups to form and work on redefining masculinity. Primary prevention is key - it's just that starting these groups and movements is so difficult to do since "real men" don't work towards feminist goals. I love that I've seen some male groups lately forming to work around these issues. I would LOVE for them to start collaborating with PWCL to work on the social change piece of our mission.

Linda said...

Rebecca S -

I am SO happy to see you blogging here!

Secondly, I agree with Kelsey. It is really important to come back to these ideas again and again, particularly as they can get put on the backburner as we struggle to meet the responsive need of those reaching out for help.

Thank you for adding your voice!