On campuses throughout North America, there are groups of male students who are speaking out against dating violence and in support of gender equality. It’s not always an easy job. For one thing, they up against a ton of fear. Of what? Fear among most guys of not being one of the guys.
They also face a lot of challenges, particularly how to have an impact on their campus. After all, they’re putting the time and effort into these groups not to pat themselves on the back, but to make a real difference in a culture that still celebrates violence, on campuses where parties might be titled “Bros & hos,” and where campus women still don’t feel safe but have to look out for each other at parties and at bars. To be successful, they need to find positive ways to get out their message to reach the guys around them.
They also face practical challenges such as how to work in partnership with women’s groups and how to deal with turnover from one year to the next.
It’s in this spirit that I’ve agreed to volunteer as part of the organizing team for next autumn’s very first, national conference in the United States of campus-based men’s gender equality and anti-violence groups. It’ll be a chance for pro-feminist men to meet together, share resources., trade their best ideas, discuss strategies, and simply find out what’s happening on other campuses.
It’s going be November 6-7, 2009 at St. John’s University, in Collegeville, Minnesota.