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Men’s Studies Association: 12th Annual Meeting

August 10, 2000 – Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO

Spreading the Word: Teaching Men’s Studies Beyond the Classroom

Christopher Kilmartin, Mary Washington College, Fredericksburg, VA

ABSTRACT -This workshop will focus on strategies for reaching the male campus population in places other than the classroom. The presenter has participated in several such efforts, including:
1. Gender-aware programming on fully respectful relationships for the general population of males as well as for specific populations of athletes, fraternity members, and military school cadets. These programs address sexual assault and sexual harassment, but also aspirational standards for relationships and the benefits that men accrue by striving for such standards.

2. The White Ribbon Campaign: Men working to end men’s violence toward women. A grass-roots effort to identify gender-based violence as a men’s issue and to get men involved in raising awareness of this widespread problem.
3. A theatrical presentation that stimulates men to re-examine their feelings about masculinity and about themselves (this performance will also take place at the conference).
5. The social norms approach to attitude change. An environmental intervention to correct the demonstrated distortion that college men underestimate other men’s discomfort with sexist behaviors in all male peer groups.
For programs 2, 3, and 4, the presenter has original research to demonstrate the programs’ effectiveness. It is expected that other workshop participants can also contribute their own ideas and experiences to growing Men’s Studies beyond the classroom.

Tufts University Men Against Violence: A Study in Personal Activism & the Importance of Vulnerability in Men’s Organizations

Zev Schuman, Tufts University, Boston, MA

ABSTRACT – This presentation/workshop will introduce the philosophy of ‘Personal Activism’ as it has been employed by Tufts University Men Against Violence (TMAV). I will share a 3-year history of TMAV, focusing on the development of the concepts of ‘personalist leadership’ and ‘spheres of vulnerability.’ My experience as Senior Co-Chairman of TMAV will demonstrate how a leadership that practices personal vulnerability can strengthen a men’s activist organization. I hope to show the essential importance of
addressing men’s comfort, or lack thereof, with feelings of vulnerability and the effects of these feelings on causes of men’s violence. As a student, I hope to receive input on these fledgling concepts and brainstorm with experienced professionals and academics on directions for testing or
propagating these ideas.

Gender Role Conflict & Psychological WellBeing: An Exploration in Men Enrolled to Attend an ‘Initiatory Weekend’

Christopher Burke, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, MD

ABSTRACT – The existing empirical literature consistently shows that younger, college ged men with higher levels of Gender Role Conflict (GRC) report higher levels of depression, anxiety and lower levels of self-esteem (O’Neil et al., 1995). However there has not been as many studies with older men, and of the studies conducted with older men, the relation between GRC and psychological well-being is more tenuous (O’Neil et al., 1995). The present study examined the link between the reported levels of GRC and
well-being in a sample of non-college aged men (mean age=43.92) scheduled to attend a weekend workshop offered by the ManKind Project, a mythopoetic men’s organization. Participants were sent a questionnaire before the weekend, part of which contained the depression and anxiety subscales of the Brief Symptom Inventory, the Rosenburg self-esteem scale (1979), and three of the subscales of the Gender Role Conflict Scale (GRCS). As
predicted, higher levels of GRC were related to significantly lower levels of well-being (p< .01) in this older sample of men. A modest statistically significant relation was found between age and two of the GRCS subscales (GRC declining with higher age). However different levels of GRC were found in the present sample when compared to both older and younger previously studied samples. In addition, a significant link was found between participants’ level of therapy experience and GRC, with higher GRC associated with more therapy experience, a direction opposite to that predicted. Future research directions are discussed.

Friendship Among White Middle Class Males

Don Levy. University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT

ABSTRACT – Rather than simply describing current patterns of male friendship, I explore how the manner in which men construct or fail to construct same-sex friendships affect not only their cross-sex relationships but their contribution to gender equality on a social level. The tension between belief and behavior in regards to sexism is addressed in male friendships. I argue that the manner in which men engage in friendship has a bearing upon the rate and depth of gender equality. Further research comparing the friendship patterns of men who self describe as pro-feminist and those who don’t is ongoing.

Male Insecurity and Violence?

Sarah Hautzinger, Colorado College, Colarado Springs, CO

ABSTRACT – Is the notion that men’s social insecurity may be meaningfully linked to male violence mere apologia, as critics argue, or a useful framework for analysis, policy and prevention? Drawing from long-term ethnographic research on masculinity and violence in Brazil, as well as a survey of cross-cultural research, this paper argues that the insecurity proposition offers important insights for distinguishing between different patterns of male violence. Related theories of male violence, including resource theory and status inconsistency, are incorporated in proposing two contrasting models of conjugal violence:the abuser/victim model and the contestatory model.

Traumatized by Other Men: Pain and Healing Among Survivors of Sexual Abuse by Professionals

Estelle Disch, University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA

ABSTRACT – Sexual abuse of men by men is only recently beginning to get the attention it deserves. Sexual abuse by professionals often has long-term devastating effects. In a study of sexual abuse by professionals, 17 men reported having been sexually abused by a male professional either as a child or as an adult (16 white, 1 Latino). In this paper I will briefly describe these survivors’ childhoods, the abuse, the effects of the abuse, their healing and empowerment strategies, and their lives now. Data from a 55-page questionnaire as well as from interviews with several of the men will be used in the presentation. Implications for
both gay and straight men will be addressed.

Issues of Concern: Men who have been sexually abused might find themselves upset by this paper. I will be available to talk afterwards with anyone who needs to consider how to get support about sexual abuse. I will provide printed materials about sexual abuse and other boundary
violations by professionals.

Interrogating Corporate Cultural Hegemony: Racial and Gender Coded Discourses of Identity, Work and Social Control

Brian Klocke, Colorado University, Boulder, CO

ABSTRACT – This paper will focus on the overlapping systems of corporate cultural hegemony, patriarchy and white supremacy. The core values of mainstream western
culture have become synonymous with corporate values. Corporate values have developed within a pre-existing system of patriarchy and white supremacy. bell hooks addresses these intersecting systems of oppression in her term, \”White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy.\” Corporate power in the US historically has been and continues to be white, male, upper-class dominated. Patriarchy has
furthered male domination over women, over nature and over marginalized men who don’t fit into or support the dominant paradigm. Since corporate hegemony developed out of a historical system of patriarchy and white supremacy,
hyper-masculine and racialized values are integrated into corporate values. This paper, drawing from the work of Patricia Hill Collins, applies the metaphor of the slavery-era plantation to the U.S. historical discourse around identity, work and social control. Historical topics covered are: the Industrial Revolution and the invention of industrial morality; white supremacist movements from the1860s to 1990s;
changes in management control from Fordism to Taylorism to Flexible Production and Socio-Technical \”Empowerment\”; and the \”modern plantation\” in society today. The paper will also examine the rearticulation of racial and gender coded projects in debates about two contemporary social issues, welfare and affirmative action.

Evolution and Male Homosexuality: The Gay Gene, Male Femininity and a Few Other Good Reasons Why Men Have sex with Men

Stephen Forssell, University of Denver, Denver, CO

ABSTRACT – The nature vs. nurture argument concerning the etiology of homosexuality is an old and contentious debate. The early 1990’s saw a surge in psychological and biological evidence in support of the importance of nature, none more prominent than the discovery of the so-called “gay gene”
(Hamer et al., 1994). More recently, a swing toward the environmental has occurred, encouraged largely by a lack of corroborative evidence to support the Hamer et al. findings. The maelstrom of media hype and sociopolitical debate surrounding the “gay gene” appear to have clouded the issue, however, giving undue credibility to attempts to discredit a genetic link to sexual orientation. Lost in the chaos is the fact that evidence supporting a genetic component to sexual orientation continues to hold, providing
credence to theories that homosexuality has a part in the grander scheme of the survival of the species, an evolutionary role in the reproductive success of homo sapiens. Many evolutionary theories are indeed fatally
flawed. However, many are valid and hold promise for explaining why homosexuality is ubiquitous throughout history and across species. Moreover, sound evolutionary psychological principles can help explain the great range of variability in sexual behavior and diversity of expression in
gay men, including why many are predominantly gender non-conforming and others are not. This paper will review the evidence for various volutionary theories, and propose new areas of inquiry regarding the etiology of male homosexuality.

Double Injustice: Sex and the Crisis in Childcare Employment

Stephanie Chastain,Ph.D., Director, Friends of Folks in Care; Lecturer, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

ABSTRACT – This paper outlines a text in preparation, a text that challenges the injustices imposed on both men and women in the childcare workforce. It focuses on particular experiences and case studies to examine the design and
presentation of the corresponding and conflicting stereotypes that both exclude men from the childcare field and press women into it. The paper questions the sexual and biological foundations attributed to the relationship between children and the gendered and sexual beings that care for them. Finally, it explores the ways that our particular division of labor has manipulated and controlled access to children by both sexes. (Marx, Engels, Freud, Foucault, Mead, Masson, Chodorow)

Adolescent Fathers

Candan Duran-Aydintug, Ph.D., Susan Wigington, Adam Brittain, University of Colorado, Denver, CO

ABSTRACT – This study is a part of our bigger \”adolescent fathers\” project. This project focuses on father identity, informal and formal support, and interaction/involvement of the father with the child. In this paper, with the aim of understanding the formal support available to teen fathers, the preliminary results of our study in a formal organization dealing with training adolescent fathers will be presented. Data are collected based on observations, in-depth interviews, and participant observations. The program
is introduced and its workings are outlined. How this program relates to the lives of the adolescent fathers and feedback (directly from these fathers thesmselves and from the researchers) are presented with suggestions for future

Mothers and Sons: Feminism, Masculinity and the Struggle to Raise our Sons

Andrea O’Reilly, York University, Ontario, CA; Association for Research on Mothering

ABSTRACT – This paper, developed from my forthcoming edited book on Mothers and Sons, seeks to move forward the feminist dialogue on mothers and sons and to shed new
light on this important relationship that has increasingly engaged the minds and hearts of mothers and feminist academics alike. This paper will reflect upon what emerged as the three central, albeit overlapping, themes of the book. The first section “Mothering and Motherhood” looks at women’s mothering and considers the various ways that the institution of motherhood oppresses women, circumvents mother-son attachment and causes boys to be raised sexist and masculine, as it is defined in patriarchal culture. The next section, “Men and Masculinities” examines the various ways feminist mothers seek to dismantle, destabilize, and deconstruct normative patterns of male socialization and traditional definitions of masculinity. “Mothers and Sons: Connections and Disconnections”, the section that concludes the book, challenges the assumption, both lay and academic, that sons must separate from their mothers to achieve psychological wellness and maturity. The contributors contend that in fact it is mother and son disconnection that harms men psychologically. This section imagines and investigate ways to foster mother-son connection; as well it identifies and interrogates those cultural forces that cause disconnection.

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