Monday, August 19, 2013

bell hooks Monday: NOMAS and Ditching the Dominator Model

Been thinking a lot about whether men can get together with each other to work on shifting masculinities without falling so easily back into traditional masculinity and the misogyny that comes with it, partly because of the fucked up silencing that happened recently from NOMAS (details at Shakesville).

I'm starting to think that men, even really well-meaning men, should always work with women (and folks of all genders) when trying to transform traditional masculinities, or do any feminist work. (I recognize that this blog is guilty of that, and am thinking that through too.)  And yet that brings in other problems, of course: Men already ask women to do so much work in the world, and now we want/need to ask (some of) them to help us change? 



Not sure yet what to do, but it all makes me think of bell hooks infinitely deep contributions to men and feminism(s):
Before the realities of men can be transformed, the dominator model has to be eliminated as the underlying ideology on which we base our culture. We already see that within patriarchal culture men can be more emotional, they can parent, they can break with sexist roles, but as long as the underlying principles are in place, men can never be truly free. At any moment this underlying patriarchal ethos can overshadow behaviors that run counter to it. We have already seen that many men changed their thinking for a time when feminist movement was a powerful force for social change, but then when the patriarchal thinking that undergirds our society did not change, as the energy of the movement began to wane, the old order began to reestablish itself. Sexist thought and action that had been harshly critiqued during the height of feminist movement have once again become more acceptable. Clearly, ending patriarchy is necessary for men to have collective liberation. It is the only resolution to the masculinity crisis that most men are experiencing.--bell hooks, The Will to Change
The dominator model is so obvious in some of the exchanges between some folks at NOMAS and the women they're currently trying to gaslight--I also know that lots of men are working on ditching domination, and that (I think) they need feminism to do it.  
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