On Thursday, December 15th, we’re going to be running a Featured Section on The Presumption of Male Guilt. We are looking for submissions that respond to the ways in which people and institutions presume that men are inherently guilty. Please send all submissions by noon on Wed, Dec 14th to Joanna Schroeder ([email protected]), Justin Cascio ([email protected]) and Lisa Hickey ([email protected]). Thank you.
On Male Guilt:
We are told that we can’t nurture small children, we aren’t emotionally supportive to our friends, we’re violent, we oppress women, and we’re sexual predators. Whether the topic is overt violence or other abuses of power–using financial, legal, political, or celebrity clout to gain an unfair advantage–there’s a presumption in every story that there is a victim and a bad guy. Why is “the bad guy” a “guy” at all?
Statistics don’t tell the whole story. If the numbers don’t represent what you believe to be true about men—you, the men you know, the men you admire—explain why. Which men are considered especially guilty by presumption? (Alaina Schaim’s article, The Legacy of Violence, is a sensitive look at the toll this takes.) What does this say about what we believe about masculinity? What are the responsibilities of good men to dispel negative stereotypes: Do we need to do anything special, or should we reject that burden and just be ourselves? What are the negative effects of these myths–does the backlash explain why we back away? (Hugo Schwyzer reports one dad who thinks he’d be arrested for hugging his teenage daughter: ) Who else loses out, when men give up?
We’ve heard from women what the effect is of this message on them: victim-blaming, the creepy guy narratives, the self-defense classes, the pervasive fear. What are the effects on us as men, to be seen as unable to contain our violent sexual urges, willing to use our strength to take from the weak, or be just another tool of the patriarchy?