Monday, April 11, 2011

I Love Men

No, really, I do. I was mostly raised by men. My dad, two uncles, and grandfather (along with many many many cousins) were major influences in my life, especially early on. Throughout most of my life, I have had a mostly male circle of friends. I live with two men. I adore the men in my life (no matter how much they may drive me insane at times), and I wouldn't be who I am without them.

Which is why I feel the need to promote two cool projects I've stumbled across.

A Men's Project and The Consensual Project.

Lately Significant Other and I have been discussing Voces de Cambio quite a bit (he's working with me on that project) and the gender issues that exist both here, in Latin America, and across the globe. We both strongly believe the best way to combat violence against women and other gender violence is to treat the source: work with boys and young men to change traditional views of women and gender roles. While treating the symptoms, by giving women safe places and protecting and advocating for women is wonderful, the source of many of the problems these women face come from ideas held by the men in power around them.

Through early education with boys and young men, we can begin to alter traditional ways of viewing women in (often violently so) patriarchal societies. In Latin America, the concept of "Machismo" has been institutionalized and allows for the widespread violence against women in the region, as well as victim blaming and slut-shaming within personal circles.

Similar attitudes exist here in the states, and not only women, but men are worse off for it. A personal example: when Significant Other and I first became involved, a friend joked that perhaps Significant Other was gay. Over and over and over. One night while drinking, it became particularly irritating, so I snapped about how just because someone does not conform to your definition of masculinity, does not mean that they are gay. The basis? Significant Other's fashion sensibilities. Of which I am envious, as most days I look like a frazzled hot mess that might possibly be homeless (and yet he still calls me beautiful when I look like hell- It's why I keep him around).

AMP and The Consensual Project present a new way for men to look at and interact with women. A way that is respectful to all parties involved. By having men respect themselves and each other, they can then reflect their self-respect onto the women in their lives. It's a "Pay It Forward" kind of deal.

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