Men & Masculinity Video Anthology

A Project of NOMAS
The National Organization for Men Against Sexism, Racism, and Homophobia

Barry Shapiro is the Host of the Cable TV Series Men & Masculinity now available as a DVD or two volume video anthology

Program Guide for the Ten Part Series
Men & Masculinity: A Video Anthology

Introduction

Barry Shapiro is a co-founder of NOMAS and hosts this ten part series on Men and Masculinity bringing attention to the twenty-five years of NOMAS' on-going, ground breaking contributions to combating sexism, racism, and homophobia. Program guests engage in illuminating discussions about male socialization, sex role identity, the prevalence and prevention of male violence, competition and hierarchies, male-female relations, privilege and prejudice, homophobia, parenting, men in prisons, the intersection of race, class, and gender, internalized oppression, and the "-isms." The series is comprised of interviews with authors, activists, therapists, and academics including Terry Kupers, Paul Kivel, Judith Newton, Victor Lewis, Hamish Sinclair, Darien Mitchell, Jane Ariel, and Martin Rogers.

Each program is approximately 25 minutes and is preceded by an introductory excerpt from NOMAS' Statement of Principles. NOMAS is anti-sexist, gay affirmative, anti-racist, and committed to enhancing men's lives. The running time for the two volumes combined is approximately five hours.

1. 'Boys Will Be Men'

Barry's guest, Paul Kivel, is a violence prevention educator and the author of several books, among which are: Men's Work (1992); Uprooting Racism (1996, revised 2002); and Boys Will Be Men (1999). In a warm and animated discussion, Paul describes contemporary men's "isolation, alienation, and frustration." Drawing on concepts and themes from all three of his books, he reminds us of the coercive power that traditional male scripts have on young and older men alike. Using his model of the "Act-Like-A-Man! box", he explains how male roles feed-on, and further homophobia, violence, male supremacist belief systems, the subjugation of women, and a diminished ability to feel and express emotions.

Stating that one can't discuss a child's gender without simultaneously and necessarily considering their race and class, Paul explains how social stratification affects child rearing. Since parents prepare their children for adulthood differently depending on what they believe society has in store for them, white professional middle class families realistically view different scenarios for their children than poor working class parents of color. Challenging all parents, but especially parents who are economically and socially privileged, Paul asks them if they are raising their children "to make a difference?" He offers two questions that parents might ask themselves about their child rearing practices: What will my children stand for?" and "Whom will they stand with?" Finally, Paul contrast the concepts of "male collusion" and "being allies (reference is made to Hamish Sinclair's work in ManAlive, a violence prevention program that will be the subject of a subsequent show in the series.) Barry describes the surprising successes he has had at a military establishment using one of Paul's group training exercises, "Stand up if you…," presented in Men's Work.

2. Men & Violence, Part I

Barry 's guests for this two-part discussion are: Hamish Sinclair, Founder and Executive Director of ManAlive and Darien Mitchell, a ManAlive facilitator in the San Francisco Jail's violence prevention program.

ManAlive is a court-sanctioned, spousal abuse intervention/re-education program. ManAlive teaches men how they can identify, control, and eliminate their violence. In the last 20 years, it has trained over 40,000 men in the Bay Area alone. Part I explains ManAlive's strategy for de-constructing male violence. Theoretical and actual training elements of the anti-violence program are discussed, such as: a man's choice at the moment of "fatal peril" (the moment just before he chooses to be violent); the ideology of male supremacy and the enforced subordination of women; naming one's "hit-man" (the defensively invented positive concept of oneself as a batterer), and how to create male support for the courage to be non-violent. (These two programs can, but need not be viewed in sequence.)

3. Men & Violence, Part II

Barry continues his discussion with guests Hamish Sinclair and Darien Mitchell.

Guests explain how ManAlive differs from "anger management" and other therapy approaches, by teaching men non-violence through deconstructing the ideology of male supremacy, it's pathetic rewards system, and the inescapable, toxic, socialization process almost all men go through. They illustrate how offenders in the 52 week program move through the four stages of denial, minimization, blame, and collusion-each one a technique for avoiding responsibility for their violent decisions. We are shown how the more subtle forms of violence that include verbal and emotional coercion operate and escalate into physical violence, and how the objectification of one's partner ("thingifying") and the use of their children to manipulate and control them are employed. We learn about ManAlive's extraordinary successes in curbing male violence in the San Francisco County Jail.

(NOTE: While recognizing that many men's anti-battery/domestic violence programs exist throughout the country, some more effective than others, NOMAS officially endorses only the New York State Model.)

4. Men in Prison

Barry's guest, Terry Kupers, M.D. is a psychiatrist and author of Re-Visioning Men's Lives (1994); Prison Madness (1999); and co-editor of Prison Masculinities (2001). He has appeared in numerous trials as an expert witness on prisons and prisoner's mental health.

Dr. Kupers vividly depicts how the prison system both reflects and exaggerates the social hierarchies and interpersonal dynamics of men's relations in society. Through his characterizations of "top dog," zero sum game, and the "feminization" of those who fail to dominate others, we learn how the prison culture perpetuates some of the worst features of societal racism, sexism and traditional men's roles. He describes the special technologically inhumane treatment of maximum-security inmates, the impact that this form of incarceration has on prisoners' mental health while incarcerated and after release, prison rape, and the increasingly more violent criminal acts they commit after serving their sentences. We review the understandable yet unacceptable shocking rates of recidivism. Arguing that it is as if prisons were programmed for failure (if we thought rehabilitation was their goal) Dr. Kupers explains how the criminal justice system extends society's systematic exclusion of men of color from their communities, the workplace, educational institutions, and their families---with all the predictable consequences to children, families, the economy, and crime. (Fact-filled, frighteningly fascinating.)

5. Homophobia: Fact Over Fiction

Barry engages psychology professor, Martin Rogers, Ph.D. in a thought-provoking conversation about the spectrum of negative societal attitudes and behaviors towards gays and lesbians and the opportunities for changing them.

Professor Rogers, reviews some of the themes he has developed for his course on "Homosexuality" that he teaches at California State University, Sacramento. He delineates the several levels or degrees of homophobia (which is defined as the fear of all same sex relations, sexual and non-sexual). Beginning with the extreme case of repulsion or revulsion, Dr. Rogers goes on to show us how pity operates to demonstrate distain for gays and lesbians. Finally, he explains why tolerance is not the ultimate goal to strive for. In stead, it is full acceptance, rather than mere tolerance, that is the appropriate (although still socially elusive) attitude aimed for. He reminds us that, "Tolerance is a gift that someone with power gives to someone without power."

Through several revealing and emotionally touching stories, we see how homophobia operates to exact a steep price from straight and gay men alike-robbing fathers, brothers, and friends from feeling and expressing authentic emotions towards each other. Rogers reviews some current theories and research studies about the causes and expressions of homophobia and in the process dispels a few persistent myths. The question of how allies might "interrupt," stop, or discourage homophobic jokes, slurs, and/or misinformation in social situations is discussed as well as the risks associated with such interventions. (The program provides poignant examples of how homophobia deprives many men of wholesome male-to-male relationships and prevents real and symbolic bonds of affection from ever being developed and expressed.)

6. The "-Isms" From Another Point of View

Barry's guest for this program on racism, sexism, classism, and heterosexism is Jane Ariel, Ph.D., feminist, psychotherapist, and diversity consultant.

Dr. Ariel discusses the different perspectives represented by the terms "homophobia" and "heterosexism." Homophobia is described as the irrational fear of gays or lesbians or the fear that of being thought of as gay or lesbian. We typically think of homophobia as something primarily "straight" individuals have, but gays & lesbians are afflicted with it as well. Whereas heterosexism is understood as the entire range of personal, societal, cultural, and institutional oppressions imposed on same-sex loving people, or people who are thought to be same-sex loving. It is oppression based on real or imagined sexual orientation. Through the discussion of the concept of "internalized oppression" (the unconscious self hatred that target group members tend to develop as a consequence of the prejudice they experience or just know exists against their group in society) we learn that gays and lesbians themselves are inclined to become homophobic. Dr. Ariel explains how internalized oppression generates personal beliefs and behaviors that feed on themselves and hold groups and individuals in check. Addressing the issue of developing "allies," she exposes the danger that "competing oppressions," cause-where oppressed groups vie with one another to establish which one suffers the greatest oppression, thereby deserving the most attention and thereby complicating the struggles for liberation against all the "isms".

We're reminded that we are often members of both target and privileged groups at the same time. Men of color, for example, are target group members when it's racism that we're focusing on, but are privileged group members with respect to sexism. Dr. Ariel warns us that groups dealing with the "isms" including classism need to avoid falling victim to the same oppressive structures which they're trying to eradicate for themselves. She recalls the early history of the feminist movement when white middle class feminists alienated women of color when they failed to adequately acknowledge and address the special forms of oppression women of color experienced because of their race as well as their gender.

7. The Intersection of Race and Gender

Barry interviews Victor Lewis, Director of the Center for Diversity Leadership and Past Co-Chair of NOMAS-The National Organization of Men Against Sexism, Racism, and Homophobia in this two part program on race and gender.

The conversation begins with a discussion of how the terms "racism" and "white supremacy" are sometimes used to distinguish personal prejudice from the much more serious institutional forms of discrimination and oppression and the worrisome cultural ideology alleging the inferiority of non-whites. A six minute clip from the now famous documentary Color of Fear, is played. Some 40 million people have already viewed at least part of the documentary in which Mr. Lewis passionately confronts the spoken and unspoken assumptions held by many white people in their discussions of race and racism. He reflects on what it's like watching this clip seven years later and how his thinking has evolved on some of the issues raised. Mr. Lewis addresses the micro and macro indignities experienced by people of color in a white dominated society. He speculates about what conditions must exist before people of color can realistically develop trust, work with, and personally relate to white people with dignity. Some of the obstacles mentioned include: assumptions about who gets to define the terms of social interaction; the difficulty of breaking through the denial of how much racism remains, and how it still oppresses people of color. Attention is given to the resistance of many white people to acknowledging the necessity for and historical difficulty of following the leadership of people of color, even in matters concerning their own liberation struggles!

8. The Future of Race and Gender

The conversation between program host Barry Shapiro and the Director of the Center for Diversity Leadership, Victor Lewis is continued. (This program has also been titled "The Future of Race & Gender.") An explanation is presented for why the critique of "patriarchy" or the global system of male dominance that the feminist movement of the 60's & 70's put forward was not as enthusiastically embraced among women of color as it was among white, educated, heterosexual middle class women. On the theme of black men in the struggle against sexism and the oppression of black women, Mr. Lewis locates black men as "sandwiched" between white supremacy (where they are the targets of oppression) and male supremacy (where they enjoy a modicum of power over black women, by virtue of the ideology of universal male supremacy). By pointing out the consequences of candor, Mr. Lewis helps us to understand why people of color are often reluctant to discuss the issues of cross cultural or inter racial conflict existing among and between communities of color in front of white audiences. Finally, he addresses the myths that black people in America are more homophobic, xenophobic, and ethnically biased than others, offering a compelling analysis of how and why these myths arise and continue to circulate mainly unchallenged.

9. Twenty-Five Years of Changing Men, Part I

Barry Shapiro hosts the last two programs on Men & Masculinity, interviewing Judith Newton, Professor & Director of the University of California, Davis' Women's & Gender Studies Department. Both Newton and Shapiro attended the 25th Anniversary Men & Masculinity Conference, in Colorado Springs, CO sponsored by NOMAS-the National Organization for Men Against Sexism, Racism, and Homophobia. They share their experiences with NOMAS and Men & Masculinity Conferences over the years and review the highlights of the recent Conference. Prof. Newton describes NOMAS' unique place in the spectrum of men's movement organizations. What all the men's movement organizations share is a commitment to questioning traditional male roles and advancing a more compassionate, emotionally expressive and less selfish male identity. What distinguishes NOMAS are its fundamental and inter-related core principles of anti-sexism, anti-racism, gay affirmation, and a commitment to enhancing all men's lives. Moreover, it is an activist organization, encouraging men to challenge all of society's institutions to deal progressively on all of NOMAS' core values.

Highlights of the Conference TWENTY-FIVE YEARS OF CHANGING MEN: History, Progress, and Opportunities," are discussed and include: Jackson Katz's documentary "Tough Guise;" Nick Sarchet's odyssey of transgender stereotypes and oppressions; Allen Corben's workshop on the Promise Keepers, Craig Norberg-Bohm's three part workshop on local organizing and social marketing campaigns to end male violence; and much more.

10. Twenty-Five Years of Changing Men, Part II

Barry Shapiro hosts this the last program in the series on Men & Masculinity, continuing his conversation with Judith Newton, Professor & Director of the U. C. Davis Women's & Gender Studies Department. Both Newton and Shapiro attended the 25th Anniversary Men & Masculinity Conference, in Colorado Springs, CO and share their highlights of the Conference. Topics include: Michael Kimmel's Key note speech-"Manhood in America" (redefining what it means for men to be pro-feminist today); Prof. Robert Brannon's comprehensive review of NOMAS' impressive 25 year history, Victor Lewis' full day workshop on diversity, prejudice, and the Color of Fear; and "The Dialogues Not Taking Place Between Men and Feminist Women", plus much more.