The other night, I attended a lecture featuring Tony Porter. Porter is an educator and social justice activist who challenges the social constructions of masculinity. He also argues that the so-called “good men” have a responsibility to speak out against their peers casual violence against women. This was an important point to make, as violence against women, has skyrocketed.
It was a good lecture. It was nice to see so many men there. The event was held at a local college. The school’s football team was there. I’m sure they were probably made to go, but it was still wonderful to see the young men absorbing Porter’s powerful message. Porter is specifically trying to reach out to younger men (“A Call To Men: The Next Generation of Manhood”).
Highlights from the lecture…
- The Man Box is the rigid roles men are forced/cling on to (e.g. have to always be strong) in our patriarchal society. Porter noted, “homophobia/heterosexism is the glue that keeps the box together.”
- Porter made the point that women’s survival in a male dominated society makes them know more about men, than men know about themselves. It’s similar to how black folks must learn how to safely navigate our white supremacist culture.
- Our society encourages men to stay disconnected from women and their experiences. While men are allowed to express anger, they aren’t allowed to show other emotions (sadness, pain, fear, etc.). This creates men who lack empathy.
- The media contributes to the limited images of manhood. He noted how The Rock has been criticized for playing a toothy fairy/in children movies.