24, 2006 - tHE TAMPA TRIBUNE
The Macho Man
KARLA JACKSON firstname.lastname@example.org
If you believe what you see in movies and on television, a "real
man" should have the muscles of Jose Canseco, the humility
of Terrell Owens, the patience of Russell Crowe and the self-control
of Danny Bonaduce.
Never mind that Canseco's muscles were
the result of steroids; that Owens' ego has cost him more than
$750,000 this season; that Crowe could have gone to prison for
assaulting a hotel clerk; and that Bonaduce got drunk, threw temper
tantrums and slashed his wrist during the filming of his "Breaking
Bonaduce" reality show.
That's just what guys do, according
to popular culture.
"Violent masculinity is a cultural
norm in the United States. It's not aberrational behavior,"
says Jackson Katz, a feminist activist, educational video maker
and author of "The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women
and How All Men Can Help" (Sourcebooks: $16.95).
Katz, 45, has been working since college
to put an end to the cultural damage he believes is caused by
the stereotype of the uber-macho male so prevalent in movies,
television, music, video games and other forms of mass media.
He will be in Tampa on Feb. 2 to give
a multimedia presentation on his theories at a benefit dinner
for The Ophelia Project, a girls advocacy group.
Of course, most men don't advocate the
dangerous hyper-masculinity so common in pop culture, Katz says.
But too many of them dismiss its damaging effects or feel powerless
to object to it, he says.
"If you say anything, you're accused
of being a censor, or that you don't have a good sense of humor,"
he says. "But there are an awful lot of men out there who
... don't feel represented by this stuff, and those men don't
have a voice."
Katz takes issue with people who say,
"I watched violent movies and I don't kill people. I listen
to Eminem and I don't cut up people and put them in my trunk."
They are missing the point, he says.
"It's not about imitation,"
says Katz, who, in 1982, was the first man to graduate from the
University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a minor in women's
"The larger problem is that boys
and men are growing up with innumerable images of men acting out
in violent and abusive ways. It has the effect of normalizing
the behavior. The more violence you see, the more normal it becomes,
and the more desensitized you become."
He points to the rampant popularity
of professional wrestling and celebrities such as Howard Stern
as examples of how violence and misogyny have become acceptable
to the public at large.
"Wrestling is like a cartoon world,
where men are big brutes and women and girls are two-dimensional
caricatures of human beings," says Katz, who produced an
educational video, "Wrestling With Manhood: Boys, Bullying
& Battering" in 2002.
He'll show examples of what he's talking
about during his Tampa appearance.
"The level of domestic and sexual
violence in professional wrestling is out of control," he
says. "They'll claim it's all scripted and acting, but that's
what makes it normative."
One clip he'll show depicts the Bay
area's Hulk Hogan holding a woman by the hair and making a fist
as if he's going to punch her in the face.
"He's motioning to the audience
as if asking them, 'Should I do it?' And they're cheering him
on," Katz says.
Another clip shows Vince McMahon, founder
and chairman of World Wrestling Entertainment, forcing a woman
to strip down to her undergarments in order to earn his forgiveness
for a perceived slight.
"It's like a forced strip show
while the audience is cheering him on," Katz says. "Then
he makes her bark like a dog. It's a form of sexual sadism, and
this is on mainstream TV."
Wrestling fans argue that it's Katz
who doesn't get it.
"I think the critics don't really
understand [professional wrestling] and don't view it as the fans
do," says Gary Davis, a spokesman for World Wrestling Entertainment.
"It's a combination of soap opera, variety show, grand adventure
and theater all rolled into one."
Fans "have an affinity with the
stars, but that does not carry over into trying to play out the
stories they watch on television in real life."
He dismisses Katz's assertion that televised
wrestling makes violence and abuse seem like a normal part of
"I think it's the total opposite,"
he says. "What probably has a greater bearing on how you
treat women and how you look at violence is the environment you
"The type of things we do in wrestling
don't translate into what people are doing in real life. I don't
see anybody being arrested for homicide by folding chair."
From Bogey To Arnold
On television and in the movies, Katz
points out, the stereotypical "tough guy" image has
become more threatening over time. He compares Humphrey Bogart
and the small pistol he used in many movies to Arnold Schwarzenegger
and the submachine gun he carries in the "Terminator"
"Visually, they are ratcheting
up what it takes to be menacing," Katz says. "Would
young guys today be intimidated by Bogey with his little .38?
I doubt it."
The fact that it takes more firepower
and gore to get a reaction from kids is proof of what he's talking
about, Katz says.
"Should [a boy] be able to walk
into a movie theater and see people being killed in all kinds
of brutal ways and not flinch or be squeamish? A lot of young
guys will brag about being able to watch that stuff," says
Katz, who has a 4-year-old son.
"What they're bragging about is
the damage that has already been done to their psyche."
Those boys grow into men who don't feel
empathy or compassion, and the cycle of violence escalates, he
Breaking the cycle will take decades
of effort by men who aren't afraid to be called sissies because
they speak out against violence.
"Social change is a messy process,"
Katz says. "We need more men with the guts to stand up and
say abusive behavior is abusive behavior, and it's not right,
and it doesn't make me less of a man to point that out."
on February 20, 2006 by The London Free Press, London, Ontario,
Violence All Men´s Problem
by Ian Gillespie
I've always thought it wasn't my problem. I mean, I'm not a rapist.
I don't beat my wife. I'm just a regular guy. So, when talk turns
to sexism, misogyny and violence against women, I furrow my brow,
nod my head and show concern.
But in the back of my mind, I'm thinking, "Some guys are
jerks, but I can't help it."
Jackson Katz begs to differ. As far as he's concerned, I'm part
of the problem.
"We need to set the bar a little higher for what it means
to be a 'good guy,' " says the California-based activist.
"Just saying, 'I'm not a rapist' doesn't quite get there."
Katz is one of the continent's leading experts on violence prevention.
An all-state football player who grew up in Boston, Katz has created
several award-winning videos, wrote a new book due out next month
(The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can
Help) and co-founded the Mentors in Violence program -- a large-scale
attempt to enlist collegiate and professional athletes in the
fight against violence against women.
If that's not enough, he also appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show.
But according to Katz -- who is scheduled to talk about his ideas
Monday at the London Convention Centre -- I'm the kind of guy
who helps produce hundreds of thousands of abusive boys each year.
"Our participation in consumer culture has consequences,"
Katz says. "And men need to think critically about how our
consumer dollars contribute to a system that reinforces sexist
beliefs and attitudes."
Now, just a minute. I don't buy Hustler magazine and I don't
rent pornographic videos.
Mind you, I'm not going to rush to change channels if one of
those Victoria's Secret shows comes on or that Sports Illustrated
And, hey -- did you catch Halle Berry in that James Bond flick
on TV the other night? Wow, is she hot or . . . .
But I'm a good dad. Why, just the other night my sons and I were
watching a bit of WWE wrestling on TV and we just had to laugh
when that buxom bimbo Victoria climbed into the ring and . . .
Somehow, I think this is what Katz is talking about.
Although Katz agrees today's young people are more informed about
these issues than their parents were, he also argues there's more
sexual violence than ever.
"There's a level of callousness and brutality that's entered
the culture that was not around a generation ago," he says.
"The coarsening of the mainstream media culture is implicated
in some of the attitudes and behaviours we're seeing being played
out by boys and men."
Katz recalls an incident during his high school days (I recall
a similar one at my school) where some senior male students created
huge cards depicting numbers 1 through 10, then graded female
students walking past.
But now, he says, that type of degrading behaviour is a regular
part of mainstream entertainment -- like Howard Stern's radio
Some, of course, will argue most listeners understand and appreciate
the satiric nature of Stern's shows. Others will point out most
young men who watch a film involving violent behaviour don't immediately
go out and imitate it.
Katz says that's a simplistic argument.
"The larger effect is desensitization and normalization,"
he says, adding that for many young viewers the damage is already
"In my judgment, healthy human beings should not be able
to watch, even in a fictional context, people brutalizing each
other without thinking it's a problem."
In the end, he says, even "regular guys" like me have
to share the blame.
"If you yourself are not abusive, but the men around you
are and you don't challenge them, then your silence is complicity
in their abuse," Katz says.
"I think we need a broader understanding of our responsibilities
Copyright © 2006 The London Free
St. Paul Pioneer
Posted on Thu, Mar. 23, 2006
by recent headlines? These sex cases just grim reality
By Ruben Rosario
Let's get real here. People are shocked
that a Roseville high school girl was blackmailed into giving
oral sex to a male student and several classmates and friends.
People also are shocked that a 16-year-old runaway in St. Paul
was held captive against her will for weeks, beaten, locked in
a closet and forced to prostitute until she escaped.
Disturbing? No doubt. Shocking? Come
on now. These are just slight variations on an old theme that
continues to spawn new predators and claim new victims.
Rent "Hardcore,'' a movie shot
back in the day — 1979 — that stars the late George
C. Scott and chronicles a desperate Midwest father's attempts
to rescue his runaway daughter from the clutches of porn filmmakers
and pimps in Hollywood. The "Minnesota Strip'' has long been
a name associated with the naive young arrivals from the heartland
who are preyed upon by pimps working the bus terminal depot in
New York City's Times Square.
Check out your frequent high school
and college sex scandals involving boys or young men drugging
or running a "train'' — slang for gang rape —
on defenseless girls and having the audacity to put the depravity
on film. And these are just the ones that get reported or busted.
Better yet, talk to local sex-crimes
cops, social workers, child-protection investigators and others
who deal with this filth daily here in the Land of 10,000 Broken
Young Souls. In the past two years, the feds have sent nearly
a million dollars to St. Paul cops and two nonprofits to deal
with the local human-trafficking problem.
Spare me the apple-pie reactions to
these latest cases. We should have moved way beyond shock by now.
"I believe the shock is there in
the high school case because the offender is not a stranger, it's
not a Level 3 sex offender, it's not an adult male wearing a trench
coat — it's a high school student,'' says Nancy Sabin, executive
director of the Jacob Wetterling Foundation, a St. Paul-based
nonprofit that addresses child sexual-abuse issues.
"But this happens quite often;
oral sex has almost been diminished into a handshake,'' she adds.
"The problem is that we are sending mixed messages to our
boys and young men. They don't think what they are doing is wrong.''
She cites a recent study that estimated
the amount of quality time parents spend on average with a child
daily is 22 minutes. "Where do you think they are picking
up that moral boundary?''
Well, mostly peers, the boob tube and
an entertainment media and culture that are perhaps unprecedented
in its objectification of females. It's no "shock" that
perhaps the most profitable business on the Internet is the porn
industry. This is not just a crime problem. This is an entrenched
Jackson Katz, a lecturer, former school
jock and founder of Real Men, a Boston-based anti-sexist men's
group, touches on this theme often in his soon-to-be-released
book. "The Macho Paradox'' (Sourcebooks, 2006).
Katz writes: "But any serious attempt
to help boys think through their decisions about how to treat
girls has to examine those places in male culture where sexist
and abusive behavior is presented as normal and masculine and
even expected — and where there are no real consequences
for hurting people, including Internet pornography."
He cites the hit movie "American
Pie,'' whose central character arranges to videotape himself having
sex with a Czech exchange student and broadcast it on the Internet
"When American Pie was released
in 1999, critics hailed it as good clean fun,'' Katz writes. "Practically
no one mentioned that one of the main plot points turned on the
lead character's stumbling attempts to commit an unforgivably
cruel and sexist act — the type of act that ruins lives
when it happens in the real world."
Sabin hopes that the boys allegedly
involved in the Roseville incident area are dealt with, but not
just by the criminal justice system.
"This is an opportunity to intervene
in the lives of young men who think this behavior is OK,'' she
The story broke the same night Sabin
and Roseville police officials spoke at a community notification
about a Level 3 sex offender moving into the suburb.
"The offender had unforced sex
with minors,'' Sabin says. "I mentioned the (male student)
and basically posed a question: Is he also not a sex offender?
As long as we keep denying we have this problem — that it's
just strangers and not kids like this — we won't be able
to fix it.''
If we do ever get it, that would be
Rubén Rosario can be reached
12, 2006 | The dartmouth
Katz challenges men to prevent sexual
By Amanda Cohen, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Using a different approach to sexual violence prevention at "More
Than a Few Good Men," a dinner discussion held in Collis Common
Ground Tuesday evening, speaker Jackson Katz challenged men to tackle
a problem that has historically and inaccurately, he attests, been
designated as a women's issue. Unlike many other violence prevention
programs, Katz's speech was geared toward men, and he labeled sexual
abuse and domestic violence as very much a man's problem and focused
on what men can do prevent their occurrence.
"The source of the problem is not women's and girls' behavior,
its men's behavior. True prevention means going into male culture,"
said Katz, who founded the Mentors in Violence Prevention Program
at Northeastern University.
Katz was careful not to accuse men of perpetrating sexual abuse
and domestic violence, but instead emphasized the importance of
having good men stand up.
"Just saying I'm not a rapist, just saying I don't beat my
girlfriend, is not particularly impressive to me. We need so much
more from men then what we've been getting on these issues,"
The mostly male audience was comprised largely of Dartmouth football
players who were encouraged by Head Coach Buddy Teevens '79 to attend
the event. Football player Julian Collins '08 appreciated Katz's
assessment of the problem and suggestions to help.
"Instead of just teaching women what to do, he wants men to
have an active role in it as well. It's a really good message,"
Katz began by exploring the root of the problem: the pressure on
males to comply with misogynist behavior and the risks a man takes
if he stands up for a woman when male friends express violent behavior.
He asked the audience for the names that men use to describe other
men who stand up for women's rights. Many of the terms listed threatened
a man's masculinity or sexuality, which Katz looked at more closely
to reveal the irony of the pattern.
"The implication here is that because we care about women,
and girls -- our mothers, our daughters, our sisters, our wives,
our girlfriends and other women -- because we care about women,
we must want to have sex with men," Katz said. "If a man
must be gay to care about women, that means that heterosexual men
must not care about women. Isn't that disturbing when you draw it
Towards the end of the discussion, Katz showed video clips to emphasize
how the media perpetuates the male-culture society, which he believes
is at the base of male violence, including one which showed the
increasing size of the male body through time. As male bodies grew
more powerful, the ideal woman's body has become more frail, he
said. Katz attributed this change to male overcompensation for the
threat women pose in professional society.
"It's pretty true to show how manhood is evolving," Collins
said. "[It makes you ask] where's it going to go…I thought
it was really eye-opening."
Katz also spoke about using civic and personal responsibility as
a way of preventing sexual violence.
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