Redefining Masculinity In The Age Of #MeToo
According to metoomvmt.org, nearly 18 million women have reported a sexual assault since 1998.
The #MeToo movement is successfully raising awareness, but moving forward, how do we cultivate healthier attitudes in men—and boys—to end these unwanted actions?
There’s a lot of anger towards powerful men and the way our society is structured. So, how can that anger be fueled into an acknowledgement that men are going to have to be positive agents of change and not just targets?
Vermont Edition spoke with author and educator Richard Hawley and with Keith Smith, the men's outreach coordinator at UVM's Center for Health & Wellbeing, about how men and boys can be educated and mentored to end this pattern.
“I think we have to begin including men in the conversation more," says Keith Smith, the men's outreach coordinator at UVM's Center for Health & Wellbeing.
"When I first started my work, most of that was about prevention ... I've been working with Dr. Michael Kimmel for the last year and we're looking to engage men in a way that we haven't and stop seeing them simply as possible rapists and seeing them as allies."
"It's not about teaching it — it's about modeling."
When asked about how to get men and boys to feel invested and engaged, author and educator Richard Hawley says that “it’s not about teaching it — it’s about modeling it.”
“[E]very boy and every girl passes from sexual acquiescence into a full sexual potency with all those feelings and all that capacity and so forth,” Hawley explains. ”And I think in our culture right now what are the guides: Who is guiding and leading that process? Who's inspired you that in a healthy way?”
Not many people, say’s Hawley.
“And that's a big problem: not many people are,” says Hawley. “Not many people are held to those kinds of relationships. Forming those relationships with men and women who will model that for emerging boys is the answer.”
The way forward
Looking forward, Smith says he remains optimistic.
“I've seen some great changes through the years. The group of men that I work with at 1-in-4 are really amazing young men who take their time and energy to address these issues. And that's very very hopeful,” Smith said.
Broadcast Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.