Men who benefit from multiple forms of gender privilege often do many things in their daily lives that directly or indirectly contribute to a culture of gender inequality. Despite this, there are many men working in a variety of disciplines who are sensitive to gender bias, and they are taking action to combat it. When a man has the insight and the integrity to say or do something in response to injustice, it makes a statement and is worthy of attention.
Men Taking Action in the Arts World
The Women’s Voices Theater Festival launched in the fall of 2015 in our nation’s capital. Seven theater directors, the majority of whom were men, built the festival to promote female playwrights by premiering their works over a six week span in most if not all area theaters. Many of the directors who volunteered to participate in this festival were men. A rousing success, the festival not only drew appreciative audiences but also allowed seasoned theater goers to experience and evaluate a host of female playwrights in a way new to the D.C. area. Men’s advocacy germinated this festival, and is a positive example of gender collaboration. As a result of her experience with the Women’s Voices Theater Festival, Molly Smith, director of Arena Stage, will stage half of the plays in the coming year by women playwrights.
Men Taking Action in the World At Large
“In Man’s Game, Mark Herzlich Is Standing Up for Women” is a descriptive profile in the NY Times pointing to male action against abuse of females. Herzlich stated “in the beginning, you’d call people out and tell them that something they said — locker room talk — wasn’t really funny . . . There would be jokes or something denigrating to women. It would be the kind of thing they would never say in front of a woman, but since it’s all men, they thought it was O.K.”
“A Brother’s Lesson in Rape Awareness” occurred when Matt Leibowitz, while attending Wesleyan University, took action. Troubled by the reputation of fraternities, Leibowitz inserted himself in the debate about college rape. He attended forums and sensitivity-training courses on sexual assault, then led some himself. The link is his story arguing that fraternity men can be feminists.