May 21, 2013

Violence and Silence by Jackson Katz & a link to Miss Representation

by Jackson Katz

1) Approach gender violence as a MEN'S issue involving men of all ages and socioeconomic, racial and ethnic backgrounds. View men not only as perpetrators or possible offenders, but as empowered bystanders who can confront abusive peers

2) If  a brother, friend, classmate, or teammate is abusing his female partner--or is disrespectful or abusive to girls and women in general--don't look the other way. If you feel comfortable doing so, try to talk to him about it. Urge him to seek help. Or if you don't know what to do, consult a friend, a parent, a professor, or a counselor. DON'T REMAIN SILENT.

3) Have the courage to look inward. Question your own attitudes. Don't be defensive when something you do or say ends up hurting someone else. Try hard to understand how your own attitudes and actions might inadvertently perpetuate sexism and violence, and work toward changing them.

4) If you suspect that a woman close to you is being abused or has been sexually assaulted, gently ask if you can help.

5) If you are emotionally, psychologically, physically, or sexually abusive to women, or have been in the past, seek professional help NOW.

6) Be an ally to women who are working to end all forms of gender violence. Support the work of campus-based women's centers. Attend "Take Back the Night" rallies and other public events. Raise money for community-based rape crisis centers and battered women's shelters. If you belong to a team or fraternity, or another student group, organize a fundraiser.

7) Recognize and speak out against homophobia and gay-bashing. Discrimination and violence against lesbians and gays are wrong in and of themselves. This abuse also has direct links to sexism (eg. the sexual orientation of men who speak out against sexism is often questioned, a conscious or unconscious strategy intended to silence them. This is a key reason few men do so).

8) Attend programs, take courses, watch films, and read articles and books about multicultural masculinities, gender inequality, and the root causes of gender violence.  Educate yourself and others about how larger social forces affect the conflicts between individual men and women.

9) Don't fund sexism. Refuse to purchase any magazine, rent any video, subscribe to any Web site, or buy any music that portrays girls or women in a sexually degrading or abusive manner. Protest sexism in the media.

10) Mentor and teach young boys about how to be men in ways that don't involve degrading or abusing girls and women. Volunteer to work with gender violence prevention programs, including anti-sexist men's programs. Lead by example.

Violence and Silence

"Calling gender violence a women's issue is part of the problem. It gives a lot of men an excuse not to pay attention." ~Jackson Katz, author of The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and and How All Men Can Help

Jackson Katz, Phd, is an anti-sexist activist and expert on violence, media and masculinities. An author, filmmaker, educator and social theorist, Katz has worked in gender violence prevention work with diverse groups of men and boys in sports culture and the military, and has pioneered work in critical media literacy. Katz is the creator and co-founder of the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) program, which advocates the 'bystander approach' to sexual and domestic violence prevention. You've also seen him in the award winning documentary MissRepresentation." ~YouTube Link

PLEASE NOTE: You can watch the documentary Miss Representation on the WoN Cinema right now. It may not be on YouTube very long so be sure to set aside an hour and a half to see this important documentary before it's no longer available! Of course, you can always purchase the video on Amazon (I did!) and encourage the production of more documentaries like Miss Representation

You may also be interested in this post:

"The Rule appeared in a 1985 comic strip created by Alison Bechdel. One of Bechdel’s characters refused to watch a film unless it met three criteria: 1) it had to have at least two women in it; 2) who talked to each other; 3) about something other than a man..." ~The Bechdel Test and Miss Representation 


  1. Hi CZ, my web connection is slow so I'll have to amazon the video, but I read the link above, and it's still so hard to get to a place where gender difference is not in one way or another code for subordination. I watched for the gazillionth time the director's cut (Ridley Scott) of Alien last night. I compared it to his new stink bomb Prometheus, which purports to give the "backstory" to the first Alien. Prometheus features a "strong" female "heroine" but she is so cartoonish, unprofessional, and ridiculously impervious to body bashing that it might as well be directorial misogyny. This is the guy who gave us a real feminist film, Thelma and Louise; yet in Prometheus the three females are cartoons: the lab geek (a throwaway), Vickers, a robotic hardass, and Elizabeth, who takes so much physical abuse (including abdominal surgery while awake) while remaining physically capable of flinging herself across opening ground, that it's laughable.

    In Alien, and in the Cameron sequel Aliens, Ellen Ripley is always believable. She's always human. Especially in the first one, where she's subordinate to men of higher rank, she moves believably into a position of authority and ends as sole survivor. At the end of Prometheus, Elizabeth is going off to find humanities "founding fathers"--that's right--they were all giant males. How did someone like Ridley Scott, who gave us an icon of female strength (Ripley) and friendship (thelma and louise) end up abandoning all that? He would not pass the Bechdel test.

    1. ps in Alien the creature was a menacing male figure with double-jaws. In Prometheus, the giant squid alien has multiple vagina-dentatas. In the thirty five years since Alien was made, film culture has gone backwards.

    2. I would literally fall apart if we had a 'slow' internet connection! I hope you got a chance to watch the speech by Jackson Katz which was excellent, too. I started posting about his TED Talk and then realized he was part of the Miss Representation documentary. Then by sheer luck, discovered someone had uploaded Miss Representation to YouTube.

      I have not seen Prometheus but having read your description of the female "heroine", googled a few reviews. The movie received good ratings from Rotten tomatoes, etc. so I narrowed my search to 'feminist reviews' and found critical commentary.

      I think most women are so accustomed to the 'male gaze' that we're oblivious to the misogyny. And some people justify cartoonish women as 'owning their sexuality'; even making fun of the male gaze by exaggerating her sex. But that kind of argument doesn't sit too well with me which could be a reflection of my age, I dunno. I take my feminisms very seriously.

      I'll try to rent Prometheus since it isn't streaming on Netflix but from what you've written and what I've read online, I might be hoppin' pissed by the time its over.

      Isn't it funny that in a day and age when male politicians cross their legs whenever Hilary Clinton enters the room, that the big scary monster in a movie would have multiple vagina-dentatas! LOL

      By the way, did you see the movie "Teeth"? Oh, the movies my daughter makes me watch, eh?

    3. "I think most women are so accustomed to the 'male gaze' that we're oblivious to the misogyny." No kidding... James Bond, anyone?

    4. I'm one of those people who gets an idea in her head and focuses on that idea until satisfied. Then another topic comes up and occupies my thoughts until it's time to let that one go, too.

      What I've noticed 'cuz I'm getting older now and have a history to look back on, is that those topics are perennial---meaning they come back again and again. I absorb as much as possible during each "blooming" and then the idea rests dormant for a winter or two.

      I can read the same article a year later (or five or ten years later), and gain a more complete understanding because time has passed in-between readings. This is a life-long process, becoming an authentic and liberated woman. Considering where I started, my life is a serious miracle. *grin*

      Many women write about being 'objectified' during the narcissistic relationship and sometimes we're criticized for allowing ourselves to be seen/used as objects. As if we must have a sordid past affecting our development because otherwise, we'd know ourselves as fully human and equal. We'd never hook up with a narcissist cuz we're just that evolved and wise.

      This argument makes me laugh because all we have to do is look at history and recognize socialization as the powerful determinant it is. Society pathologizes female victims of narcissists because it's easier to BLAME her, than look at ourselves and CHANGE society.

      I believe topics like Miss Representation need to be front-and-center of discussions about narcissism.

  2. "We want our friendships trouble-free because we sure don’t want be affected by a friend’s bad energy thus attracting misery into our own lives. This is an adolescent definition of friendship rather than a maturing and deepening understanding of the vicissitudes of life." This from your linked post (I don't see it above now) on "support" and friendship (2010). Please re-link it CZ, because it's super-important. I just left a comment on it, but I wouldn't have seen it if you hadn't linked it. I think it's a brilliant post, direct, important, about friendship as a responsibility. love CS

  3. Ok, got it back, below:

    1. You must mean the three recommended articles at the bottom of the post? I don't have any input on which posts are recommended by the widget. Having a post about "Supportive Friends" pop up at this point in your life, must be a sign. Some kind of spooky supernatural sign from the Universe. Was it serendipity or synchronicity or sheer coincidence? You be the judge. *grin*


    2. Wow. The widgit didgit? (sorry). That IS synchronicity, because it was after reading that that I wrote my friend about my responsibility to our friendship. holy crap!
      No, never saw Teeth but I knew about it. Btw, Prometheus got trashed by all kinds of reviewers. Some of them had me laughing out loud. You might Google "Prometheus, black goo, absurd" and see what comes up. ;-)

    3. You know how much I resist ideas like the Law of Attackshun and stuff like that; but I can't help but wonder about the timing of that post.

    4. I love the Jackson TEDvideo, and sent it to everyone. I am thrilled to hear a man say things I have always wanted said by the male gender. Male violence against women addressed by males. Fantastic.

    5. Awesome! I have watched this video three times but so far, no one has said it impacted them the way it did myself. I think it's a fantastic speech (long overdue). I forwarded it to several people, too (not my X though. ha! jest kiddin')

      Thank you for commenting. I feel much much better now. I kinda wondered if I were stuck in the dark ages and this speech wasn't nearly as profound to other people as it seemed to me. Well, people get so busy in the summertime and sometimes they don't have access to the Internet either. It's so easy to spend an entire DAY watching excellent videos on YouTube! I know 'cuz I've done it. Oh, the luxuries of retirement!!


  4. Hi CZ,
    I finally had a chance to watch Miss Representation today--your link had expired, but I found it on YouTube. Wow. I couldn't believe all the nasty statements the pundits make about female politicians and other powerful women. I mean, of course I know it's done and have heard them, but put all together like that it really had an impact on me. It's infuriating that strong, accomplished women are still judged by their appearance. Argh.

    I have long thought that the ideal of feminine beauty, our radiance, is grossly misinterpreted by the media, and sadly by so many women themselves. Women who buy into the belief that beauty is about how many men they appeal to are practicing a form of misogyny themselves. Feminine beauty will always be about radiance, but if only we could shift the focus to radiance from within rather than superficial radiance.

    It's a really important topic, and one I should think about more. Thanks for posting it.


    1. Miss Representation is a great documentary for waking people up to the effects media is having on society---from young and old, male and female. My first book on the ideals of feminine beauty was written by Susan Brownmiller in 1984 titled "Femininity". That was a huge wake-up call for me, having been one of "feminized" women. Not long after reading her book, I left my home without makeup on and nearly had a panic attack. Now I have panic attacks if I'm wearing make-up. ha!

      That's minor though compared to what's happening in the media. Reducing all women (even brilliant politicians and CEO's) to sexual objects is blatant misogyny.

      I agree that combining many of the 'sick' media comments we've heard the past decade, made a powerful statement in the film. We so accustomed to sexist commentary (and insulting comments about her outfit, her hair, her pantsuit, her wrinkles) that we don't even notice it. Then we peer into the mirror and "mirror" what society has taught us: to hate ourselves.

      I also watched a great documentary called "Makers: women making America" on PBS. It's on the PBS website. That three-hour film documents primarily second-wave feminists confronting sexism in the 60's and 70's. And I just finished a book called "Feminist Chauvinist Pigs". I plan on posting about that book soon...IF I can sit at my computer longer than half an hour!!


    2. I'll check out the documentary and Brownmiller's book...I searched "Femininity" on Amazon without narrowing it to books, and it was kind of funny what came up. Everything from feminist books to hip-hop albums to bras. lol. Goes to show what a big subject this is, I guess.

      FCP's sounds fascinating. Will look for your post on that. XX00, Kitty


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