Yes, violence against women is a man’s issue. It’s not only a man’s issue (obviously, violence against women affects women and children and non-human animals and, and), but it gets tiring to read all the defensive responses when someone points out that it is also a man’s issue. This should be non-controversial. Given that
- societal and intimiate partner and sexual violence/abuse comes mostly from men
- men are most likely to be victimized by other men
- women who abuse tend to be taking on masculine gender roles
this is definitely a problem of masculinity that men need to address. Since gender roles co-exist, this is a problem of patriarchy, namely, the rigid, unrealistic (for most people) gender roles patriarchy imposes on us all. men need to participate in that conversation about ending patriarchy and replacing it with something more anarchistic — that is, lacking a rigid hierarchy, that is, allowing people to negotiate their gender roles on (inter)personal levels without culturally imposing a bunch of crappy baggage on us all.
In this way, feminism means liberation…for us all! The only people I hear complaining about feminism are those (usually men) who seem to fear “losing control” over women, and who often seem to view women as inherently narcissistic or sociopathic (and use that as a justification for their behavior).
Ironically, these dudes are also victims of patriarchy, as well, whether its the social shame/victim blaming of being a male victim of sexual/domestic violence or child abuse (though it is high for everyone), not living up to unrealistic expectations of “what it means to be a man,” (which leads to other men/women policing their behavior, shame and overcompensation), developing unhealthy and counterproductive views of women, having to navigate the minefield of homophobia, or any number of other issues. Feminism brings these issues up, like a societal-scale counselor, or a messenger. Each time we raise the issue, some men try to shoot the messenger rather than address the actual issue. Can you imagine how different the US would be today if people decided to shoot Paul Revere rather than heed his warning? ha!
Women have been asking for men to participate in these conversations for decades. Each year, more and more men listen to that call, and more and more men express the courage to step up and participate, for a number of reasons: for their own sake (because they are sick of patriarchy), for the sake of their loved ones, for the sake of their relationships, and for the sake of the social fabric of our society (a fabric that domestic and sexual violence and its patriarchal underpinnings rips to shreds), and others.
James Brown’s wonderful speech is an example of that trend toward liberation. Let’s keep on it!