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Real Men Do Hit Women

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“The question remains about how to bring boys and men along in this ambitious work. Male violence is not simply a behaviour that can be turned on or off, but rather an entire complex of norms, values and practices with deep connections to the social, political and economic order. For men and boys, abandoning violence implies a significant break with the broader patriarchal context, to the point of imperilling masculine identity altogether. As noted earlier, the compromise offered by the ‘real man’ approach to violence prevention is to call for only a partial cessation of violence. Male aggression is re-envisioned as a potentially emancipatory force that can be directed against perpetrators of violence against women. This risks transforming violence prevention efforts into a platform for performances of aggressive masculinity.”

This article works to unpack the dual nature of violence prevention rhetoric, strategies, and campaigns that utilize violent language and militaristic imagery, subverting but also enabling stereotypical tropes of masculinity. It is argued that this serves to actually perpetuate the underlying power inequities of a patriarchal culture. Author, Michael Salter questions whether seeking to end men’s violence against women–and other men–without addressing power structures leaves destructive aspects of masculinity in place further engraining violence as foundational to the hegemonic construction of manhood.

– Brett Goldberg

Read the article via Meanjin.

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