REAL MEN and the dominant story Smart Rich No self control Brags Physically strong Takes care of his own Married Wise Self-made Shows no emotions Surrounded by women Demands respect Takes up space Invulnerable Charitable Has power over others
Dominant and Counterstories Dominant story of manhood: values and messages associated with a shared understanding of what it means to be a man Counterstory: resists the values and expectations of masculinitys dominant stories, and opens space for alternatives Adapted from Hilde Nelsons Damaged Identities: Narrative Repair
Examples of Dominant Stories from Maxim Magazine Cover Headlines Sex Express! How to spot the girl with the condom in her purse Two Billion Women… time to get busy! Three Extra Inches Please! Can surgery turn your toothpick into a baseball bat? Any Woman Anytime 8 pick-up tricks than never fail (we bar-tested em) Mind Control Made Easy! 22 ways to make people do whatever you want Filthy Stinking Rich Cash so quick its like stealing! Mexican Gladiators Border town brawlers fight for cash and glory Take Down a Terrorist! The tools and skills you need to take control now!
Dominant stories about the Caribbean How do you think outsiders view people from the Caribbean? What are some stereotypes about the Caribbean and Caribbeans?
Two Kinds of Counterstories The unintentional counterstory: Nate The intentional counterstory: A Men of Strength Club Member on a city bus
Positive Counterstory Messaging through Strength Mediaworks
Positive Counterstory Messaging through Profiles in Strength Website Feature CJ Jim, Submitted by Aleticia Tijerina. Why Aleticia would like to honor CJ Jim: CJ is a 15 year old football player and ceremonial dancer. He is stopped by others in school and told that he is one of the kindest boys in school. Young women tell me that CJ listens to them and rarely interrupts except to encourage them to make good decisions. James Shannon, Submitted by Angela Slack. At first glance you would think James is a mans man. He is a police officer who has re-enlisted in the Army reserves. He is very straightforward; by that I mean he can be pretty brash. The side some don't get to see is how wonderful, caring, compassionate, and supportive he is. He has supported me and the work I do (domestic violence agency) to the extreme. He has defended me to his superiors and to his buddies and fixes the toilets in our shelter and fixes cars for the women I serve. He has also been supportive of me in my emotional times of need, such as dealing with the rape I endured.
Positive Counterstory Messaging through Information Sheets
The Strength Approach to the Counterstory Moving away from physical strength toward… …STRENGTH as speaking up for whats right … STRENGTH as speaking from the heart … STRENGTH as a commitment to others and community
Appreciating the Positive Counterstories that Already Exist through the Strongest Man You Know Exercise Who is the Strongest Man you know or knew? What are the attributes that made him a Strong Man? How did he show strength through his interactions with other people?
Appreciating the Positive Counterstories that Already Exist through the Strongest Man You Know Exercise Strong men are… Considerate Caring Good fathers Able to Take care of us Good listeners Empathetic Able to Provide for us Able to Overcome hardship Generous Able to change Able to admit mistakes Able to stand up for what they believe
Rape as a Mens Issue Another way for men to show strength is by speaking out against rape and sexual assault. Why is rape not just a womens, but also a mens issue?
Rape as a Mens Issue Men Rape Men are Raped Men are Confined by Rape Men Know Survivors Men Can Stop Rape
Creating Positive Counterstory Space through The Men of Strength Club Multi-session clubs for young men ages 13 to 22 that: provide a safe space to examine dominant and counterstories of masculinity highlight nonviolent models of male strength mobilize young men as allies with women serve as hubs for young mens activism
Key Principles for Creating Space for Counterstories with Men Stay Positive Put Trust and Relationships at the Center Meet Men Where They Are Approach Men as Potential Allies rather than Potential Perpetrators
Things to Remember Trust the Process Its Okay to Wait on the Tough Issues Acknowledge our Struggles Celebrate our Successes
Collective Action as the Counterstory Examples of Community Strength Projects Black History Month Film Festival Barry Farms Field Clean Up Building Community Strength Day MOST Club and Sister Action, Sister Strength Partnership Strong Words Essay Contest
30 Days of Strength WHAT IS 30 DAYS OF STRENGTH? Its a way to stand strong together as young men and women working to end sexual and dating violence. Its a way to take action instead of standing on the sidelines.
Individual Action as the Counterstory First a question: Line X is most similar in length to which line, A, B, or C? X________________________ A ______ B ___________ C________________________
Action in Relation to Social Conformity and Social Norms Solomon Asch Study Perceived social norms shape behavior Large majority of test cases went with social norm of group, rather than what they individually believed
Action and Visible Allies Asch re-ran the study With one visible ally in the room, the large majority of test cases went with what they individually believed Need for individual men to express what they truly believe, to be the allies for other men to find strength to speak what they know is true
Barriers that Prevent Men from Becoming Allies with Women Men socialized not to pay attention to womens voices Men worry about being stereotyped Men sometimes see themselves as victims of sexual and domestic violence Men who dont perpetrate believe violence against women is not an issue for them Men who care about violence against women feel they are the only man who does Men are socialized not to collaborate Men of color and gay/bisexual men may feel unwelcome if organization/agency does not also look at racism and homophobia as essential aspects of its work
Overcoming Barriers that Prevent Men from Becoming Allies with Women What are some barriers that men in the Caribbean face to working with women on this issue? Why might some men be reluctant to speak out against sexual violence?
Overcoming Barriers that Prevent Men from Becoming Allies with Women What are some ways that men across the Caribbean can work together to end sexual violence? What are some things you can do in your home town to end sexual violence?
Men Can Stop Rape Key Components of Our Work Strength Trainings and Workshops The Men of Strength Club Community Strength Projects Club members apply what they have learned to the broader community Strength Mediaworks My Strength Is Not for Hurting Men displaying moral agency and decision-making Technical Assistance for Youth- Serving Professionals
All is connected…no one thing can change by itself. -Paul Hawken GROW THE COUNTERSTORY
M E N C A N S T O P R A P E PO Box 57144 Washington, DC 20037 www.mencanstoprape.org Joseph Vess Consulting and Training Coordinator 202.265.6530 email@example.com