Showing posts with label leveraging privilege. Show all posts
Showing posts with label leveraging privilege. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Sublimation: The Weapon of Microaggression

The focus of this blog is on intimate partner violence. This may be the case, but many of the topics I write about, and much of the information I use to discuss these topics is intersectional with other layers of oppression. For the purposes of this post, I am going to use Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) as the example throughout, and will make a connection to current events and other oppressive layers toward the end.

While this article explores sublimation as a concept, as well as how it fits into the behavior of IPV perpetrators, to ground this conversation it's important to begin by defining and considering microaggressions.

Microaggressions, as a conceptual phenomena, were first identified by Chester M. Pierce in 1970 when he put words to his experience of subtle forms of racism that are ever present. A general definition of microagressions are that they consist of communications (verbal or nonverbal) toward people in oppressed groups that subtly enforce stereotypes, imply inferiority for the oppressed person's group, imply superiority of the oppressor group, and are often unconscious or unintentional behavior from someone in a privileged group (several examples can be found here). Further attempts to explore the mechanics behind microaggressions have yielded several additional components to the analysis. Derald Wing Sue proposed three subcategories of microaggressions:

  1. Microassaults: consciously chosen behavior (verbal or nonverbal) by an oppressor to display disdain, disapproval, superiority, or enforce inferiority of an oppressed person. These displays are "subtle" to allow for deniability, or claim that the oppressed person "misunderstood" or took the behavior out of context - making it dangerous to an oppressed person to call out because the thrust behind the behavior is to threaten and cause fear;
  2. Microinsults: demeaning comments and behavior toward an oppressed person that seem to be complimentary yet convey rudeness, insensitivity, or an attack on the person's identity. This subcategory is challenging due to the presentation being one of support for the oppressed person, but the energy behind the behavior is to attack, which makes it difficult to call out and address as well as to defend against;
  3. Microinvalidations: subtle exclusions and dismissals of oppressed people's experiences, identities, and individuality. This subcategory is particularly insidious as it undermines an oppressed person's agency by characterizing their decisions as unimportant, their opinions irrelevant, and their behavior irrational.
In my experience, oppressors hate being called out on, or even discussing microaggressions as a concept. This is a major challenge of antioppression work overall, and intervention work specifically, as perpetrators of IPV will defend their behavior by finding others responsible, by blaming situations, or by rationalizing their own destructive patterns of behavior.

It is important to consider that each of the previous subcategories end up working well for oppressors because they provide support for JUSTIFIED ATTACKS toward oppressed people, SELF-CENTERED REDIRECTION by insisting a statement was a compliment and expressing hurt due to being called out, or DEVELOPING INCREASED DISMISSAL of the oppressed person if they call out the behavior.

Some examples of these dynamics from perpetrators of IPV:
  • Comments an IPV perpetrator makes under his breath about a victim/survivor that are demeaning or blaming;
  • Making a victim/survivor flinch, then laughing about it;
  • Crude jokes at a victim/survivor's expense;
  • Undermining a victim/survivor's connections to family/friends by telling them derogatory details under a pretense of "care and concern";
  • Compliments about services the victim/survivor performs for the IPV perpetrator that have little or nothing to do with her personhood, identity, or personality;
  • Backhanded compliments that are barbed, such as "I know you're better than this," or "I know you love our children, but..."
  • "You're such a smart person, how could you do something so stupid?"
  • "That's not how it happened, and you know it!"
  • "I was only trying to help you and you got things all twisted up!"
  • "Why are you always so angry? If you weren't so angry all the time, maybe we wouldn't have all these troubles!"
  • "You can't make any decisions, then you complain when I make them for you - what do you want?"
  • Demands that the victim/survivor just tell him what to do, yet always finding reasons why those needs aren't valid, have problems, or are unfair.
Microaggressions are born out of privilege. When an individual is in an oppressor class, part of the privilege of that class is having little or no need to consider experiences of people oppressed by that layer of oppression. Often this is considered as oppressors being "blind," or that oppressed people are "invisible" (side note: there are ableist connotations to these terms which should be considered in their own right).

So what do we do about this? It's a real thing, victims/survivors of IPV feel these microaggressions constantly, yet it is a huge struggle to guide perpetrators to be able to identify that their behavior is oppressive on this level. Even if a perpetrator stops all direct violence and abuse, they may continue to be indirectly abusive, entitled, controlling, and harmful on several layers that can cause fear, pain, and ongoing damage to their family, since microaggressions are a foundational layer of harm toward an oppressed person.

This is, sadly where sublimation helps provide insight into why microaggressions are so pervasive within IPV and in other layers of oppressive behavior.

Sublimation, in this context, is a term that is infrequently used. There are many reasons for this, but I think it is predominantly due to the fact that it is strongly associated with the psychoanalytic approaches of Sigmund Freud. In general, his theory was that individuals have inappropriate urges and to keep from doing harmful things, they have to sublimate those urges by doing things that meet those needs in more appropriate ways.

Consider the base thrust of microaggressions - in essence they enforce entitlement by oppressor classes to feel blameless, to feel superior, to put oppressed people in their place.

I argue that all of these things are about maintaining the status quo. 

A reason why perpetrators of IPV continue to harm their families, and why their partners continue to stay within that relationship are that perpetrators have excellent radars of what they can and can't get away with. They are good at knowing where boundaries are, and how to continually push them in small increments. In fact, the best manipulators are able to lead others to think they are making their own decisions, when the manipulator has set the environment so that choice may be the only one available (or the best choice of many bad choices).

The status quo of intimate partner violence is to make everything benefit the person who is abusive, oppressive, and has a pattern of ongoing harm. Even if they don't see it, ultimately that is what all these microaggressions serve to do. Keep things going the way they "should" be going (i.e. the way that serves the interest of the person being abusive).

As sublimation is the process of shifting inappropriate behavior into something more appropriate - microaggressions continually serve oppressors by pushing oppressed people into a status quo where the oppressor has greater agency, control, superiority, and value. In essence, one of the driving forces of oppression is to dominate oppressed people through sublimation. The goal is to force the oppressed to sublimate their (justified) outrage/hurt/agency into passivity - force them to conform to situations that constantly benefit those with power, those with privilege. When oppressed people respond, any response they have can be stuffed into a negative stereotype which blames the oppressed for any pain or discomfort suffered by the oppressor.

We're all human beings, we all have layers of privilege in different places. Think about one of those layers of privilege you have in your life. When interacting with a person who lacks the privilege you have, has there ever been a time you have said or done something you felt was a bit "off"? Maybe it was because you noticed a subtle response by that person, maybe it was because you reflected on what you did and you realized it was problematic? However you experienced that momentary reflection, were you defensive? Did you dismiss the other person's response because in your mind you had innocent intent? Did you get angry at the oppressed person's response because it made you feel bad, or at the very least uncomfortable?

Considering current events, where resistance is growing toward oppressive powers, oppressive privileges, and oppressive stereotypes - how do microaggressions fit in? How do well-meaning people STILL work to sublimate the experiences of the oppressed? Here's how: "Can't you protest peacefully?" "Why do THEY have to be so destructive?" "Why can't they just follow the law?" "Can't you tell me what I can do as a white person?" "Hey, I have ideas, why don't you listen to me first?"

These are ongoing complications for intervention work. They are also ongoing complications for antioppression work of all kinds.

Working against microaggressions requires active efforts by oppressor classes. Some examples:
  1. Ask others in your oppressor class for ideas on how to be supportive of those oppressed by your privilege, or at the very least ask oppressed people what they would like to be supported in their efforts without taking them over;
  2. REFLECT on your privilege, identify it, understand it;
  3. Lend your support to oppressed people by encouraging, listening, being guided by, and following their needs, their experiences, and their ideas;
  4. BELIEVE experiences of oppressed people - do not question the legitimacy of their claims;
  5. Do not expect oppressed people to trust you, listen to you, agree with you, or even care about your opinions or feelings;
  6. Don't make it about you;
  7. Identify how you feel superior to others - this is a HUMAN trait, we all have it. If you don't think you are superior to anyone, you are lying to yourself. It is a dynamic of privilege to think you are equal to everyone despite equality only existing as a fleeting and isolated experience;
  8. Identify how you think others are less than you - again, this is HUMAN. Sometimes we have superiority on a certain level, but other times we might just think certain people are somehow less valid - that's the "less than" belief, and if you know where those exist in your life, you can limit and recognize when they occur;
  9. Identify where you think you DESERVE something from others - it can be small, it can be large, but like the previous two, human beings all have a sense of deserving certain things, whether it be responses, compliments, attention, resources, patterns of tradition, or any number of things that you might take for granted because you see that as just a given part of your life;
  10. Constantly learn about other cultural experiences, history behind the experiences of others, and your own history that guides your beliefs and values. Find differences and honor them in yourself and others. Make other's experiences VALID, even if (especially if) they are radically different or even opposing your own.
I believe there is a great need for oppressor classes to LEVERAGE the privilege they have. I hold within my life a multitude of oppressor levels, and with that a great amount of privilege. Privilege is not bad, it is not evil, it is just the history of power a group has had that you personally are a part of (and a reflection of the priorities and values of society at large). Most privilege isn't earned, it is something you begin life with, and despite privileges shifting over time those privileges interact with each other in infinite ways. You can be ignorant to your privilege and easily be microaggressive, or you can be aware of it and use it to intervene, call out, give feedback to, and engage with other oppressors with the same privilege you have. People who are oppressed, since they are easily dismissed, insulted, attacked, and at great risk by oppressors often struggle to have the same impact. Use that privilege to empower those that have less power, encourage those who are struggling, support and listen to others you interact with, and extend as much non-judgment and self-reflection as you can during the process.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Merging Efforts: The Intersections of Domestic Violence Intervention, Men, and Masculinities

*The following is a published journal article with citation: "Hall, C. M. (2019). Merging Efforts: The Intersections of Domestic Violence Intervention, Men, and Masculinities. Men and Masculinities, 22(1), 104–112."

Merging Efforts: The Intersections of Domestic Violence Intervention, Men, and Masculinities

First Published March 12, 2019
Feminist-focused activism and domestic violence services have grown in tandem, both developing analysis of systemic interventions for abusive men and in men’s role to address violence against women. Research on men and masculinities create a space for enhancing the view of toxic and healthy masculinities; however, analysis of masculinities without specific discussion on topics of intersectionality can avoid directly addressing men's violent behavior. There is a growing need to combine two focal points of work: honoring the foundations of anti-oppression work by encouraging non-abusive men to address their entitlement and disconnect from women, and motivating domestically abusive and violent men to choose respectful behavior that integrates healthy masculinities. Consideration for LGBTQ+ analysis of masculinities and opportunities for combined work are also explored.

Domestic violence intervention work, often focused on cis-male heterosexual offenders, faces challenges from community support and from offenders themselves when media, individuals, and researchers believe that such men are incapable of change. In doing work to end violence in relationships and to reduce toxic masculinities, change agents must believe in the possibility of working toward respect, health, and progress. The process of this change can be explored more concretely through a strong foundation and connection to women’s and gender studies, and domestic violence work needs to continue this connection rather than forgetting or abandoning it.

The history of domestic violence intervention work involves initial efforts at Emerge: Counseling and Education to Stop Domestic Violence in 1977, with several other initiatives starting soon after to address men’s violence against women (Adams 2003, p. 171).

The most identified and well-known domestic violence intervention program, the Domestic Abuse Intervention Program, also known as “the Duluth model” started in 1984 when Ellen Pence and Michael Paymar interviewed female victims of domestic violence and categorized experiences of harm within their “Power and Control Wheel (PCW).” While overall, their approach was designed to involve community involvement, coordination, and systemic review, classroom-style groups of domestic violence offenders focus on using the PCW to educate about their abusive and violent behavior in conjunction with a “control log” activity.

Since the early 2000s, national domestic violence intervention programs such as Emerge and Duluth have attempted to create a broader humanistic approach: Emerge through the use of motivational interviewing approaches and Duluth through a greater focus on their “respect and equality” wheel. Both programs have stressed the need to focus on the change they want to see in abusers, but dissemination of this approach is difficult within agencies and groups that lack coordination and communication with progress and advances outside of their own communities.

Part of the challenge faced by domestic violence intervention has to do with Duluth’s PCW, which identifies a category of control and harm labeled as “male privilege,” which includes examples such as “treating her like a servant,” “making all the big decisions,” “acting like the ‘master of the castle,’” and “being the one to define men’s and women’s roles” (Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs 2014a). While this wedge of the PCW is designed to be a starting point to discuss toxic masculinity and other forms of oppressive and entitled behavior, the challenge becomes that if individual interventionists do not have a nuanced understanding of men and masculinities, or a greater connection to community collaboration as practiced by the Duluth model itself, discussions and interventions can potentially become demotivational, alienating, and dismissive of respectful and healthy masculinities.

The Duluth model, in its work to be more focused on respect and equality, has engaged men by considering “shared responsibility,” but the challenge is that interventionists outside of the Duluth model itself often do not directly address oppressive beliefs and behavior behind toxic masculinities. Suggested items in the “shared responsibility” wedge include “mutually agreeing on a fair distribution of work” and “making family decisions together” (Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs 2014b). Individual group facilitators might be able to have an engaging and thought-provoking discussion about sexism, heterosexism, classism, and other oppressions that become domestically violent, but again the responsibility and skill are totally dependent on that individual interventionist.

The Emerge model engaged in a more “political activist” approach in the 1990s, addressing oppressive language and calling abusers out on attitudes and beliefs that were hurtful. While Emerge lacks a concrete display such as the PCW, there are lesson plans addressing “the effects of domestic violence on women” and “disrespectful/respectful communication.” However, like the Duluth model, Emerge does not have any lessons which directly engage abusers in discussions of healthy and respectful masculinity, although it does have opportunities within discussions on respectful communication, exploring effects of domestic violence on women and children, and a consideration of what counts as abuse and violence.

One of the early domestic violence intervention programs, the Oakland Men’s Project, cofounded by Paul Kivel and Allan Creighton made several efforts to engage men in discussions of toxic and healthy masculinities in the form of the “Act Like a Man Box” and avoided use of terms such as “batterer intervention” instead choosing to call their interventions “Men’s Work.” Their call to engage all men in the work to end violence against women and girls has been mirrored by other organizations and efforts, but that work is often separate from direct interventions.

Domestic violence intervention shares many overlaps with research on men and masculinities, in some ways being a practical extension of that work. However, there is little interaction between the two groups, and to build effective interventions and more directly change toxic masculinities in male domestic violence offenders, this connection needs to be stronger and more direct. Part of the challenge in these connections involves the varied training requirements throughout the nation for domestic violence intervention work. State standards and protocols for programs and individual facilitators vary greatly; Colorado has 150 pages of rules (including detailed evaluation components), while three states have no guidelines whatsoever.

There are several reasons why states have created standards, but many do so through court and legislative rulings requiring that individual abusers receive education, intervention, or counseling as a consequence for domestic violence criminal offenses. This creates a certain quality of care for programs, but since this quality is so different between sites, and monitoring of these standards is often minimal, holding individuals and programs to a standard of analysis is very difficult.

As domestic violence is not a mental health issue, it invites analysis that considers belief systems, values, and meaning and where those interplay with toxic, unhealthy, disrespectful, violent, and abusive behavior. As much of the work has focused on where gender role training fits into those beliefs, there is opportunity for natural overlaps between this research and progress. Getting past the issues behind standards of programs and requirements for practitioners could be an excellent opportunity for future work.

Gender studies as an area of research and study has long focused on feminism, as well as LGBTQ+ studies. As time has led to differentiation between the two focal areas, both have often supported each other and worked together within their realms of research. There has been tension and distrust from both groups as masculinities studies have gained ground, influence, and garnered financial support.
A major source of this distrust can be seen in part as coming from elements of men’s studies that is directly and/or indirectly connected to Men’s Rights Activist (MRA) groups. These groups work to portray men as victims of women, victims of society, and victims of other men. Masculinities studies has opportunities to denounce and work directly against such groups by providing research and discussion that keeps men’s potential for violence in the foreground.

Molly Dragiewicz, a sociologist and noted researcher of MRAs, notes when reviewing “Some Men,” a book about men’s experiences in doing antiviolence work, “Some men interviewed in this chapter raise concerns about the use of antiviolence publicity as window dressing to disguise an underlying lack of commitment to organizational policies to address men’s violence against women and the structures that engender it” (Dragiewicz 2016, p. 312).

But why is it that men are challenged by taking a more direct and visible role in calling out violence as a part of toxic masculinities? Sebastián Molano wrote about some of the challenges faced by men by stating, “Many of the men (including me) working on gender issues are self-taught. We have arrived in the gender landscape as a result of different circumstances but rarely due to an ingrained interest. This is explained, typically, as men enjoying a series of privileges that do not push them to question the status quo” (Molano, 2015).

This mirrors the challenge with domestic violence intervention work, where engaging men in respectful and healthy masculinities reflections or in confronting toxic masculinities does not necessarily have any sort of guidelines, standards, or rules of foundation, training, or engagement. Molano goes on to state, “men who work on gender issues do not tend to have a solid conceptual framework on gender issues, vis-à-vis women. This affects their credibility but most importantly, it is exposed when men who are working on these issues try to build bridges of collaboration with women’s organizations.”

Men and Masculinities studies need collaborations with feminist organizations and need the analysis of gender through the lens of privilege and power men hold over women. The expansion of that lens to consider the intersectionality of other oppressions needs to be continued.

Research on intersectional oppression and the perceptions of invisibility experienced by marginalized individuals can provide guidance in understanding how women’s experiences are easily overlooked by men. In exploring social invisibility, Pérez and Passini found that the more areas of privilege that individuals held, the easier it was to overlook or avoid people without privilege. Their research focused on multiple layers of identity, including gender and sexism, and their conclusion was that, “participants avoid visual interaction with people belonging to social minorities, presumably in order to prevent them from seeing themselves through the eyes with which the minority would see them” (Pérez & Passini 2012, p. 873).

Since 2017, when #MeToo gained international attention and sparked an increase in awareness and validation for women who are sexually and physically victimized by men, the invisibility has been waning, particularly as Sandra M. Gilbert notes:

Thousands and thousands of victims are cafeteria workers, file clerks, undergraduate and graduate students, ambitious young paralegals and overworked line cooks, electricians and rookie cops, junior high school students, and even, God help us, younger girls, sometimes even kindergartners. The labyrinth is the quotidian workplace—the winding corridors of the school or the office, where sexual aggression all too often accompanies power. (American Scholar 2018, p. 18)
With this rise of visibility, masculinities studies has an opportunity to join with domestic violence researchers in assessing appropriate responses to offenders, discussing the impacts of men’s violence on women and children, and overall working to provide avenues for repair.

Unfortunately, with the arrival of Donald Trump as President of the United States of America, the landscape of masculinities in overall US culture may have serious shifts toward attitudes of entitlement and traditional gender roles, embracing foundations of toxic masculinity that are fundamental aspects of MRA belief systems. This creates a need to be intentional in having conversations with MRA individuals and groups to find methods of analyzing toxic masculinities and to possibly learn more about shifting beliefs toward healthy and respectful alternatives.

As a part of working toward respectful and healthy shifts, Men and Masculinities (and domestic violence) studies need to be cautious to remember how gender intersects with other categories of oppression, otherwise it can potentially lead to other forms of invisibility within the work. Chris Beasley notes ,“specifically naming violence as ‘the problem of men’, with regard to violence in communities which face racist marginalisation, is not straightforward. The strategy may be viewed as not so much as ensuring men are rendered responsible but as potentially eliding histories of racism/colonialism, thereby ensuring that dominant white cultures are not associated with responsibility” (Beasley 2015, p. 574).

A focus on toxic masculinities still needs to be balanced with understanding healthy and respectful masculinities, and while there have been several attempts to be more positive about men, careful balance is critical. Englar-Carlson names the challenge of working within that balance:
For many individuals, the idea of empowering men or identifying strengths may seem foreign or downright antithetical to someone who is working to reduce male power, privilege, and sexism. A central concern could be that advocating for a positive psychology of men, or positive masculinity, may gloss over the dark side of masculinity and may be associated with supporting patriarchal structures. (Englar-Carlson & Kiselica 2013, p. 401)
Englar-Carlson offers an example of maintaining both the sense of the toxic and the sense of the healthy:

Loyalty is commonly identified among men as a desirable trait because it can strengthen relationships, build trust, and show support of others. However, when used in a rigid manner, loyalty has the potential to reinforce traditional positions of male privilege (e.g., protecting other men at the expense of truth and justice) and mask independent thinking. It is the ability to be flexible in the enactment of male strengths and knowing when it is adaptive that is critical. (Englar-Carlson & Kiselica 2013, p. 402)
Being flexible is crucial in understanding the ways behavior, gender role training, and even violence itself can be potentially toxic and destructive, but also where it may be healthy or embody a context wherein the violence is protective to self or others. Research and writing needs to be careful to nuance approaches and make sure both sides are considered.

Intersectional overlaps need to be intentional by including the experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) community and other nonbinary sexualities. While masculinities papers and research often consider, or even focus on, gay masculinities, an aspect of sexualities that is missing both within domestic violence intervention and masculinities work is a more expansive focus on sexuality beyond heterosexual/homosexual/bisexual.

Research on asexuality is scarce, and testing instruments on sexuality often ignore or minimize asexual spectrums of sexual identity and sexual orientation (Hinderliter 2009); although there has been some work on developing scales to measure asexuality more recently, relying on open-ended questioning (Yule, Brotto, & Gorzalka 2015). Initially, sexuality research looked at a spectrum from heterosexual to homosexual and categorized any other sexuality as the “X category” (Kinsey, Pomeroy, & Martin 1948). In more recent times, considerations of sexual orientation as something distinctly separate from romantic orientation have been discussed and expanded within asexual communities.

Asexuality sites fiercely debate aspects of sexuality needing to include “romantic orientation” as being separate from “sexual orientation” and the need to differentiate between the two and acknowledge space and presence of those individuals who may not be interested in sexual activity but are romantically and socially attracted to others (Amy/amygdala 2013).

This concept, as a view of sexuality that is inclusive not just of the “big three” sexual orientations, but other concepts behind an individual’s identity needs to be more explored within masculinities as well as the domestic violence community.

One major reason for this need is the probability of male domestic violence offenders having a characteristic of being heterosexually oriented to a female partner, but not being interested in a romantic/social connection to women. This complicated combination of identities can explain some levels of toxic masculinities that have not been fully explored.

Another challenging aspect of masculinities work that focuses on gay and bisexual males is the often-overlooked aspect of sexism among these men. Authors at various LGBTQ+ organizations and media have noted some of these issues, one stating, “The topic of misogyny among gay men is a difficult one to broach. In my experience, men either simply refuse to believe the phenomenon exists, or the conversation is quickly derailed” (Faye 2015).

This is not to say that the study of masculinities within the LGBTQ+ community are demonstrating sexism in their work; however, inclusion of forms of oppression beyond heterosexism and homophobia is still necessary in masculinities research, even from within an LGBTQ+ focus.
Emerge has been working with domestic violence offenders within the LGBTQ+ community since the mid-1990s. Culturally specific LGBTQ groups for perpetrators has influenced their work with heterosexual male perpetrators, leading to greater understanding of oppression dynamics and guiding more nuanced interventions while offering a broader ability to inform and work with victims and survivors.

Much of the challenge in both domestic violence intervention and masculinities research is in seeing sexuality in binary terms, both within orientation, but also within making decisions to explore the “most common” sexual preferences and excluding (or being invisible to) how all human sexuality informs work with men.

Domestic violence continues to evolve within the LGBTQ+ community due to work by experts in the field of intervention as well as within agencies that provide advocacy and support for victims and survivors. Some of these nonbinary sexualities, as they are still being explored and understood, need to also be given support and advocacy for victimization, and perpetrators need to be held accountable for change. To avoid stifling progress, we need to start expanding our understanding and research, and we must become as aware of what we leave out as of what include in our work.

The reality of Men and Masculinities work and of domestic violence intervention is that we are at the infancy of their scholarship and not far removed from the foundations created by feminist analysis. Domestic violence intervention has a history of being corrupted by a lack of connections, distancing programs, and individuals from both national efforts and others doing the work. Siloing of resources, advances, materials, curriculum, and even intervention approaches has prevented progress and created rifts within the field. Negative and shame-based focus on perpetrators has created an imbalance in making individual and societal change toward respect and health in relationships.

We find ourselves in a new stage of development within this field. Where we can become inclusive of nonbinary sexuality and romantic connections. Where we can consider what it means to be balanced within concepts of toxic and healthy masculinities. Where we can confront male apologists and call out misogyny at the same time we can build awareness of the invisibilities we can easily fall prey to.
Tal Peretz lists five reasons to study Men and Masculinities that support this ongoing evolution:
  1. Making Men and Masculinities the focus of research helps to keep men’s hurtful behavior visible;
  2. Gender, as an intersectional matrix of domination, informs our knowledge of other forms of oppression;
  3. Disrupting the perception that men’s experiences are “natural” illuminates the possibility of change;
  4. Research suggests momentum toward egalitarian patterns comes from a focus on masculinities; and
  5. Investigating masculinities offers valuable information for feminist projects. (Peretz 2016)
How better to leverage privilege than by using the study of men to further work to end suffering and harms toward all oppressed populations? A fully synthesized approach could grow both fields in addition to leading us to a clarified foundation upon which to confront oppression.

Declaration of Conflicting Interests
The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.
The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

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