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Men and Masculinity

Edited by Caroline Sweetman

i: v

Oxfam Focus on Gender

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Oxfam UK and Ireland 1997

Reprinted by Oxfam GB 2000
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This book converted to digital file in 2010


Editorial 2
Caroline Sweetman

Men, masculinity, and 'gender in development' 8

Andrea Cornwall

Men, masculinities and the politics of development 14

Sarah C White

Disintegration conflicts and the restructuring of masculinity 23

Judith Large

The role of men in families: achieving gender equity and supporting children 31
Patrice L Engle

Violence, rape, and sexual coercion: everyday love in a South African township 41
Katharine Wood and Rachel Jewkes

'Crabs in a bucket': re-forming male identities in Trinidad 47

Niels Sampath

Gender workshops with men: experiences and reflections 55

Kamla Bhasin

New masculinity: a different route 62

Gonzalo Falabella G

Further reading 65
Articles and papers 68
Magazines, newsletters and journals 70
NGOs, organisations and groups 70
Internet resources 71
she ironically suggests that 'maybe the time

focus on men, their sense of them-
selves as 'masculine', and the has come to fully and effectively "exploit
relevance of this for development, the abundant potential" of men for the
is new for most gender and development benefit of development' (Geisler 1993).
researchers and practitioners. Over the Focusing on women alone simply
last decade, many development org- contributes to overload and exhaustion
anisations have altered the terminology for women, if they retain all the responsi-
they use to discuss women's subordi- bilities associated with their existing
nation from 'Women in Development' reproductive and productive roles, in an
(WID) to 'Gender and Development' era where the state can be relied upon
(GAD). This change in vocabulary reflects even less than previously to provide social
awareness of the fact that ideologies services (Folbre 1994).
surrounding gender roles and identities Ultimately, however, development
create obstacles to women's equal organisations must decide if they are
economic, social, and political participa- prepared to address the need to change
tion. Yet it is only relatively recently that gender relations. Continuing to work with
debates on economic and social policy women only for example, targeting
and 'the future of the family' have begun female-headed households as bene-
to bring men's gender identity, and their ficiaries of funds earmarked for 'gender
roles in the 'private' sphere, increasingly and development7 has allowed develop-
under scrutiny (Folbre 1994). ment organisations to side-step the
Men and masculinity need to be studied if uncomfortable issues associated with
power relations between the sexes are to 'interfering' in relations between men and
be changed for the better, and the potential women within the household (Varley
of individuals of both sexes is to be 1996). While it is true that female-headed
realised. Articles in this issue assess the households are frequently economically
implications for gender and development poorer, women living without a male
policy and practice of taking on a concern partner, father or son are potentially freer
for men and concepts of 'masculinity', to make decisions without fearing
arguing that this is long overdue. Gisela reprisals. In this sense, women living in
Geisler uses words previously used by male-headed households may well be
development agencies about women when 'poorer' than those living alone.

While development research and other forms of social differentiation,

practice has tended to marginalise the including, race, age and economic class.
issues of men and masculinity, research- While some women may benefit from
ers from other disciplines, including their position in a patriarchal society,
sociology, cultural studies and anthrop- some men are disadvantaged.
ology, have taken an increasing interest in Each man has varying 'success' in
studying men's gender identity and role. conforming to the norms of hegemonic
This work is distinguished by its focus on masculinity, depending on experience,
men's gender as an aspect of their identity, upbringing, and external context; con-
unlike previous work which, while formity to the ideal may also come and go
centring on men, ignored gender as an during the lifetime of one individual. An
aspect of social differentiation. While the example of how notions of masculinity co-
rationale for studying men and masculin- exist within one community is offered by
ities varies widely (Brod and Kaufman, Niels Sampath's article, which explores
1994), much of this research has been how different ideals of masculinity
informed by a feminist perspective. compete and evolve to fit changing
In her article, Andrea Cornwall suggests circumstances in a Caribbean community.
ways in which gender and development The sexual division of labour is a
practitioners could benefit from consideri- concrete expression of ideologies sur-
ng such new theoretical work into gender rounding gender identity. The ways in
issues. which women and men respond to
changes in the sexual division of labour
(including patterns of employment and
Linking the practical to the income-generation) are directly connect-
ideological ed to their sense of themselves as gend-
The concept of 'hegemonic masculinity' ered human beings. While ideas of men's
(Connell 1987) emphasises that many and women's work are seen in many
variations on the concept of 'masculinity' contexts as natural and unchanging,
exist within and between societies. This economic and political circumstances
challenges the idea that gender identity is oblige individuals to challenge or rein-
natural, unchanging, and 'given'. In each force these norms continuously. As Sarah
community, a particular form of mas- White explores in her article, the realities
culinity will be widely perceived as the of who performs which tasks may belie
most desirable, and as wielding the most gender ideology which labels certain
power a 'hegemonic masculinity'. activities as male or female (White, 1997).
Women, as well as men, may have a vested
Because hegemonic masculinities
interest in keeping up the illusion that
define successful ways of 'being a man',
gender ideology is being adhered to.
they make men who do not conform to
that idea seem and feel inadequate
or inferior (Cornwall and Lindisfarne Men's 'triple role' as fathers
1994). A power relationship exists
between men of different classes, races Writers in this issue and elsewhere discuss
and abilities, in addition to the power three distinct roles for men as fathers.
relationship which exists between men First, men as biological fathers; secondly,
and women (Hearn and Collinson 1994). as economic providers for the family;
As Sarah White highlights in her article in third, as what Patrice Engle, in her article,
this issue, certain men benefit more than terms 'social fathers'. In common with
others since gender identity cross-cuts more familiar analytical frameworks used
by gender and development practitioners 'masculinities imported from elsewhere
for example, Caroline Moser's 'triple are conflated with local ideas to produce
role' concept of women's work (Moser new configurations' (Cornwall and
1989) these three roles emphasise that Lindisfarne 1994,12).
involvement in both public and private In many industrial countries, oppor-
spheres is critical for family well-being. tunities for men to fulfil the role of sole
However, the way fatherhood is economic provider, bringing in enough
experienced by individual men varies cash to support the family, are diminish-
according to precedents and traditions set ing as changing global patterns of employ-
by wider society, current social and ment favour insecure, low-paid, part-time
economic conditions, and by the dynamics jobs for a female workforce. In the rapidly-
of particular families and the individuals industrialising countries in the South, a
within them. While the primary role of similar trend to employing women in
biological fatherhood demands no com- manufacturing and the service sector is
mitment to the family unit which it occurring. As Patrice Engle notes in her
creates, commitment from men is needed article, social policy-makers are currently
for involvement as economic providers addressing issues including increasing
and in 'social fatherhood'. While male numbers of female-headed households
fertility is a defining part of male identity
which receive no economic support from
cross-culturally, and the role of 'provider'absent fathers, and social problems
is also seen as important in most societies including escalating male violence in the
(even while individual men may in family, and rising crime among young
actuality reject this responsibility), being a
unemployed men and boys. In their article
'social father' i.e. meeting the day-to- on male violence in teenage sexual
day demands of caring for children is relationships in South Africa, Katharine
less commonly seen as an essential part of Wood and Rachel Jewkes argue that
the male role. attention should be shifted towards
changing the attitudes of men; gender
violence is not 'women's issue'.
Status, power and violence In both industrialised countries and
A Western ideal of hegemonic masculinity those where subsistence agriculture and
has influenced the course of global small-scale income generation provide
development, through and beyond the support to families, men's role in local
colonial era, and has continued to do this community-based decision-making is also
through shaping the organisational being eroded, through processes of
culture of development institutions 'modernisation', which have removed
(Gender and Development 5:1). An emph- decision-making from community level to
asis on men's role as economic 'providers' regional or state government bodies. In
comes from a polarised model of gender many contexts, the power of men in the
relations rooted in Northern industrialisa- community in relation to important
tion, of a male breadwinner with a wife decisions has lessened, or vanished. In
who performs unpaid domestic work in Kenya, Silberschmidt claims that men
the home, and ideals of physical strength, have become increasingly involved in
and solidarity between male workmates what were regarded as minor and
forged through struggles with managers personal decisions formerly taken by
(Connell 1993). These ideals have been women (Silberschmidt 1991).
exported through colonialism to mingle There is evidence that, in many situa-
with local notions of masculinity: tions in South and North, men's decreasing

sense of political and economic power One compelling view is that changes in
within the community is manifested in gender roles in the private sphere will
increased efforts to assert dominance only occur when domestic work and child-
within the household, marked by escalat- care cease to be seen as low-status
ing domestic violence (Segel and Labe occupations (Willott and Griffin 1996).
1990). As a woman in a Kisii community in From a livelihoods perspective, it can,
Kenya puts it, 'women became very busy, indeed, be seen as a rational decision for
men took the back seat and so they began to an individual man or couple to opt to
fight' (Silberschmidt 1991, p,44). conform to the norms that a man does not
Judith Large's article emphasises the take part in 'women's work'. The fact that
links between different kinds of impover- men's and women's status is not equal in
ishment, and violence at all levels of patriarchal societies means that there are
society. For young men in many countries, different costs involved in challenging the
a process of alienation is resulting from sexual division of labour. While women
the lack of economic options available to who perform 'men's work' may eventu-
them. Large highlights the links between ally be admired, a man is more likely to
the socialisation of boys, lack of livelihood lose status if he attempts to move across
options for young men, and their decision the dividing line. For example, a man who
to join armed groups. cooked might risk not only ridicule, but
might be banned from participating in
community decision-making (personal
Readjusting the sexual communication, Ethiopia). The question is
divison of labour how the necessary shift in attitude to
A frequent critique of approaches which domestic work can take place, given the
seek to involve women in development iterative nature of the link between
activities is that, if these are not linked to valuing the work, and the value placed on
diminishing their existing workload, the the gender of the person who performs it.
result will be simply to overburden them.
While development interventions have Men's attitudes to fertility
often, therefore, sought to reduce the time
and energy women expend in activities Men's role within the 'private' sphere has
such as fuel and water collection, they attracted particular attention from
have not tended to challenge the idea that organisations working on sexual health
domestic chores must necessarily be and reproductive rights. A typical view is
carried out by women and girls. that 'men should not only share the
Why is it so difficult to promote the benefits but also the hardships of birth
idea that men can do 'women's work'? As control, that is, they must assume their
mentioned above, changes to either rightful share of contraceptive responsi-
gender role are potentially threatening to bility' (Chikamata 1996,9).
both women and men since they question However, the nature of the current
personal identity. Not only is doing interest in men as a key to achieving
'women's work' unacceptable to many changes in sexual behaviour is being
men, but women themselves may be questioned by feminists. The typical
unwilling to allow part of 'their role' to be language used is of 'involving men' (IPPF
taken over by their partner (Engle and 1996). Yet men are already 'involved' in
Leonard 1995). these issues, as medical practitioners, as
Will gender roles eventually change in manufacturers and suppliers of contra-
the home as they are changing outside? ceptives, and as sexual partners who give
a negative answer to women's request to Harnessing men's potential
use contraception. Organisations who are
seeking to involve men are all too often Changes in the external environment
seeking only to change the response of cause men's and women's sense of self,
male partners to 'yes' regarding contra- and the relationships between them, to
ception and disease prevention. shift and potentially fragment. While this
process can result in crisis for individual
Critically, 'if little or no attention is
women and men, and their communities,
paid to the general picture including
it can also lead to positive change. But
both sexes rather than focusing the
how far can men 'cease to mourn the loss
spotlight just on the men there is the
of power and welcome the social benefits
potential for family planning programmes
and personal pleasures of changing?' (Mac
to reinforce the status quo in gender
An Ghail 1996,5) In her article on running
inequalities' (Helzner 1996, 5). Secondly,
gender training workshops with men,
in focusing on men alone, the valuable
Kamla Bhasin points out that it is not
understanding of the problem which is
immediately obvious how men's interests
gained by looking at the relationship
can be served by 'changing the system'.
between women and men is lost (ibid).
Related to this point is the fact that This pessimism is shared by many
studying and working on male gender different people from media commen-
identity has significant resource implica- tators to development workers who
tions for policy-makers in development. commonly respond to changing patterns
'[We] must carefully scrutinise where the of male and female employment, and
financial support and personnel are rising numbers of female-headed house-
coming from when men's services are holds, by condemning men for failing in
established, and not rob potential or their socially-ascribed role of 'provider'.
existing provision from other service Men tend to be characterised as feckless,
users' (Pringle 1995, 167). There is a irresponsible, and ultimately incapable of
danger that 'the concept [of masculinity] change, as Sarah White observes in her
may divert attention from women and article in this issue: '"good girl/bad boy"
gendered power relations' (Hearn 1996). stereotypes present women as resourceful
Development policy-makers need to be and caring mothers, with men as relatively
clear on their reasons for focusing on men autonomous individualists, putting their
and male gender issues, ensuring that this own desires for drink or cigarettes before
work is seen as additional work on gender the family's needs'.
issues which does not divert resources However, in common with all such
away from addressing the interests of stereotypes, this one conceals a complex
women. situation in which men are the victims as
well as women and children. When one's
Finally, advocates of human rights
could legitimately question the way men ideas of what it is 'to be a man' (or woman)
cease to fit the external world in which
are being co-opted into health debates, as
one operates, alienation or an 'identity
'instruments' to deliver a development
crisis' is likely to result (Silberschmidt
goal. This uncomfortably echoes the way
1991, 20). Writing stemming from the
in which women have been used as
'men's movement' frequently emphasises
instruments for delivering population
what men have 'lost' over the course of
control in the past. Ultimately, both men's
history, and what can be gained by
and women's rights to determine their
admitting this and redefining masculinity
own lives are compromised by this.
(Bly 1991). In his article, Gonzalo Falabella

G. discusses the efforts of a group of Hearn J and Collinson D (1994)

Chilean men to overcome the culture of 'Theorising unities and differences
machismo and define the 'Chilean new between men and between mas-
man'. In his view, it is not difficult to see culinities' in Brod H and Kaufman M (eds)
what men have to gain from challenging Theorising Masculinities, Sage:Los Angeles
restrictive gender stereotypes, which Helzner } (1996) 'Gender equality remains
hamper both women and men from the objective' in Planned Parenthood
exploring their full potential, and the Challenges 1996:2, International Planned
male-dominated systems which have Parenthood Federation:London
defined human development to date. IPPF (1996) 'A new look at male
involvement' Briefing Paper, 4 Nov-
ember 1996, IPPF:London
References Mac An Ghaill M (1996) Understanding
Bly R (1991) Iron John: a book about men masculinities Open University Press
Element Books:London Moser, C N (1989) 'Gender planning in the
Brod, H and Kaufman, M (1994) Theorising Third World: meeting practical and
masculinities, Sage: London. strategic gender needs', World
Chikamata D (1996) 'Male needs and Development 17:11.
responsibilities in family planning and Phillips A (1993) The trouble with boys:
reproductive health' in Planned Parent- parenting the men of the future
hood Challenges 1996:2, International Pandora:UK
Planned Parenthood Federation: London Pringle K (1995) Men, masculinities and
Cornwall A and Lindisfarne N (1994) social welfare, UCL Press
'Dislocating masculinity: gender, Segel, T and Labe, D (1990) 'Family
power and anthropology' in Cornwall violence: wife abuse' in McKendrick, B
A and Lindisfarne N (eds) Dislocating and Hoffman, W (eds) People and
masculinities: comparative ethnographies, Violence in South Africa, Oxford
Routledge:London University Press.
Davies M (ed) (1994) Women and violence, Shire C, (1994) 'Men don't go to the moon:
Zed Books:London language, space and masculinities' in
Engle P and Leonard A, (1995) 'Fathers as Cornwall A and Lindisfarne N (eds)
parenting partners' in Families in Focus: Dislocating masculinity, Routledge:London
new perspectives on mothers, fathers and Silberschmidt, M (1991) Rethinking men
children, ed Bruce J, Lloyd CB, Leonard and Gender Relations, CDR Research
A, Population Council, New York Report 16, CDR: Copenhagen.
Folbre N, (1994) Who pays for the kids? Willott S and Griffin C, 'Men, masculinity
Gender and the Structures of Constraint, and the challenge of long-term
Routledge: London. unemployment' in Mac An Ghaill M
Geisler G (1993) 'Silences speak louder (1996) Understanding masculinities Open
than claims: gender, household and University Press
agricultural development in Southern
Africa' in World Development 21:12
Hearn J 1996, 'A critique of the concept of
masculinity/masculinities' in Mac An
Ghaill M (1996) Understanding mas-
culinities Open University Press
Men, masculinity and
'gender in development'
Andrea Cornwall
This article focuses on the implications of recent work in feminist theory, and on questions of
masculinity, stressing the need to take account of the complex and variable nature of gender
identities, and to work with men on exploring the constraints of dominant models of masculinity.

rticles and training materials difference, and which return to the basic

A addressing 'gender issues' invari-

ably talk about women. As Gender
and Development (GAD) initiatives are
premises on which GAD is founded: that
gender relations are fundamentally power
specifically aimed at challenging and
correcting the effects of gender inequality, Gender and Development:
this may seem hardly surprising. After all,
the primary purpose is to work towards time to move on?
the involvement of women as equal The failure of many Women In Develop-
partners in the development process. But ment (WID) projects led to the realisation
the dilemmas faced by some of the 'other' that targeting women alone was not
gender, dilemmas that may equally be enough (Kabeer 1995). Drawing on the
regarded as 'gender issues', are rarely work of feminist academics in the 1970s,
given consideration. And gender training, and on the distinction between sex and
one of the principal strategies of GAD gender that came to influence much
practice, rarely speaks to men's experi- feminist work in the 1970s and 1980s,
ences as men. feminist development practitioners
By disregarding the complexities of borrowed the concept of gender as a social
male experience, by characterising men as construct. Feminist anthropologists
'the problem', and by continuing to focus demonstrated that taken-for-granted
on women-in-general as 'the oppressed', assumptions about women and men
development initiatives that aim to be reflect the ways in which culturally-
'gender-aware' can fail to address effec- specific ideas about women and men had
tively the issues of equity and empower- become 'naturalised' (see, for example,
ment that are crucial in bringing about Ortner 1974, Rosaldo 1974). Feminist
positive change. To make gender 'every- anthropologists contended that there was
body's issue', strategies are required that nothing 'natural' about the gender inequali-
take account of the complexities of ties that take different forms in different
Men, masculinity and 'gender in development' 9

cultures (see, for example, MacCormack Woman, the mainstream feminism was
and Strathern 1980, Moore 1988). disregarding differences between women:
In development, 'gender' came to refer black, non-Western, working-class and
to the socially constructed relations lesbian women had their own struggles
between women and men. The concept of and faced other prejudices (see, for
GAD offered a new approach to including example, Moraga and Anzaldua, 1981).
women in the development process; Western feminism and its category 'woman'
gender training became a 'means by which was of relevance only to particular kinds
feminist advocates and practitioners... of women and, some writers argued, failed
[sought] to de-institutionalise male to take account of the context of women's
privilege within development policy and situations (see, for example, Mohanty, 1987).
planning' (Kabeer 1995:264). 'Gender On the other hand, if one could no
analysis' offered tools for investigating longer talk of universals such as 'male
the material bases of difference between dominance' or 'women's oppression', and
women and men. Yet, gender analysis if it was philosophically unsound to
tells us very little about how gender continue to assert broad-ranging theories
identities and roles are experienced by about women's experience, then it seemed
individual women and men within that there was little space left for feminist
communities. Rather, it is used to politics. While in the early 1980s, some
delineate distinctions between what feminist writers had began to question the
women-in-general and men-in-general sex/gender distinction that had become
do, in order to guide planners. Sexual so fashionable (see, for example, Gatens
difference is taken as the starting point for 1983), by now, debates about the
analysis, and gross commonalities among usefulness of a category 'woman' and the
women and men are presumed. This concept of 'gender' for activism raised
crude and simplistic form of analysis further thorny questions (see, for example,
offers little in the way of understanding Scott 1989).
the dynamics of difference in commu-
nities. It tells us nothing of relationships
among women and among men, nor of the Useful new concepts
intersection of gender with other
The gulf between the academic world and
differences such as age, status and wealth.
those working in applied or activist fields
has widened as complex theoretical
language and concepts have come to
Bringing new thinking into dominate feminist writing. Dressed up in
development practice complicated terms and swathed in
While feminist theory has moved on and obscure language, much theoretical work
become more sophisticated, the impact of on gender has become almost completely
new thinking on development practice inaccessible to a casual outsider. In
has been limited. Tracking the ideas that essence, however, a lot of recent gender
have influenced GAD back to academia theory seems like common sense. We all
offers some insights into the shortcomings know from our own experience that how
of current practice. we feel or behave as women or men is
By the early 1980s, there was consid- influenced by the many different
erable unease in feminist circles about the messages we receive from others about
ways in which 'women' were being what is acceptable or appropriate; that
constructed in feminist writing. It became over our lives, being a woman or man has
apparent that by focusing on Universal different dimensions and that in different

settings we might behave quite differ- temple, at same-sex or family gatherings

ently, depending on whom we interact with. the ways in which a woman or man
New theoretical tools have given social interacts with others may be very different.
scientists the capacity to explore in greater And the ways in which people are thought
detail the processes through which gender of as men or women also vary with the
is locally constructed and the interactions context: consider, for example, the contrast
in which gender makes a difference. between the different masculinities and
Discourse analysis, for example, has been femininities in the 'subject-positions' of
extremely useful in understanding the power-dressed career woman, loving
ways in which women and men come to mother, or devoted wife; or between doting
adopt particular practices; work that father, beer-drinking lad, and dutiful son.
shows a number of different, sometimes When we analyse our own lives, we
contradictory, discourses about gender can see just how complex and contra-
offer the means to analyse how it is that dictory ways of thinking about gender can
people take up particular ways of seeing be. None of us live every moment of our
themselves and relating to others.' lives in a state of subordination to others.
Deconstruction the principle of taking And the relationships we have with people
apart taken-for-granted assumptions to around us may be 'gender relations' in the
explore the contradictions on which they sense that these are relationships in which
are based is equally valuable. Deconst- gender makes a difference (see Peters
ructing the category 'woman' or 'man' 1995), but are in no sense merely one-
reveals a host of assumptions, ideas and dimensional power relations. As women,
judgements, that can be understood in we may have sons, fathers, brothers, male
terms of people's experience and their friends or male employees in our lives
cultural context. with whom we have quite different kinds
of relationships than those with a male
Gender as a performance lover, husband or boss. It is, in many ways,
Analysis of the ways in which gender quite obvious that sweeping generalisa-
affects particular interactions, looking at tions about gender make little sense of our
Gender as a Performance (Butler 1990) or own realities.
in terms of the ways people make others
feel 'different' from them (Kessler and
McKenna 1978), offers new ways of
Missing masculinity? Men
exploring the contexts in which gender in gender and development
makes a difference. One of the most obvious gaps in gender
Each day of our lives and over the and development studies, where new
course of our lives, the identities we have tools and new approaches are needed, is
as women or men are not fixed or absolute, in relation to men. Old-style feminist
but multiple and shifting (Cornwall and theory dealt with them at one stroke: men
Lindisfarne 1994). Gender relations are were classed as the problem, those who
context-bound: in one setting we might stood in the way of positive change. And
behave in one way, while in others we while feminist activism stressed change in
might behave differently. Thinking in attitudes and behaviour on the part of
terms of what Hollway calls 'subject- women in coming forward to claim their
positions' allows us to consider how rights, it offered little more to men than a
people's behaviour relates to the specific series of negative images of masculinity.
contexts in which people interact. At Only by abandoning those attributes
home, at work, in the church or mosque or which are culturally valued as those
Men, masculinity and 'gender in development' 11

associated with masculinity could men femininity. Not all men benefit from and
reprieve themselves. It is hardly any wonder subscribe to dominant values. 'Hegemonic
that many men found this difficult. Not masculinity' can be just as oppressive for
only were they told that they should give those men who refuse, or fail, to conform.
up positions that put them at an advan- Yet, these men are often implicitly
tage, they were left without anything to excluded from being part of processes of
value about being men. changing and confronting gender inequality
Writings on men and on questions of because they are male.
masculinity are relatively recent, reflect- Gender and Development work currently
ing a belated recognition that men also offers little scope for men's involvement.
have gender identities. Over the last Resistance to messages about what may
decade, however, a great deal has been be interpreted as 'women's issues' makes
written on and by men. Some of this work more sense if the failure to adequately
could be seen as rather self-seeking, and analyse and address men's experiences
lacks the critical edge evident in feminist and gender identities is taken into account.
work. There are, however, a number of Without an approach to difference that
excellent contributions to this field that moves beyond static generalisations and
have much to offer practitioners, such as works with and from personal experience
Connell's (1987,1995) work. In an influential to open up spaces for change, men will
early article, Carrigan, Connell and Lee continue to be left on the sidelines and
(1985) outlined a theory of masculinity remain 'the problem'.
that drew on some of this recent thinking
to argue that although there are many
ways of being a man, some are valued Implications for practice
more than others and men experience So how can these theoretical tools be
social pressure to conform to dominant useful to practitioners dealing with the
ideas about being a man. They termed this concrete everyday problems of develop-
'hegemonic masculinity'. Not all men ment work? Firstly, they offer ways to
conform to the 'hegemonic' version; those build greater awareness of the challenges
who do not may find themselves disadvan- that men may face in coming to terms with
taged, and even discriminated against. changing identities and practices. If certain
Where the concept of 'hegemonic ways of being a man are culturally valued,
111350x11011)/ is most valuable is in showing then asking men to abandon these identities
that it is not men per se, but certain ways altogether without having anything of
of being and behaving, that are associated value to hold on to is clearly unreasonable.
with dominance and power. In each cultural But if men become aware that in their own
context, the ways in which masculinity is everyday lives they are already behaving
associated with power varies (Cornwall differently in different settings without
and Lindisfarne 1994). Some ways of being losing a sense of their own identities, then
a man are valued more than others. But it may be easier to recognise some of the
this is not to say that all men behave in this implications of 'hegemonic masculinity'
way. Attributes that are associated with without feeling attacked or threatened.
masculinity are not always associated with Secondly, by demonstrating that many
men: women too can possess some of these men do not actually match up to idealised
attributes. Not all men, then, have power; forms of masculinity, spaces can be
and not all of those who have power are men. opened up for reflection about how men
In each cultural context there is a range can be disempowered or marginalised.
of available models of masculinity or Rather than tarring all men with the same

brush, looking at dimensions of difference By working with men as human beings,

can offer ways in which men can begin to rather than constructing them as 'the
re-evaluate some of the difficulties they problem', addressing personal change can
face as men, and enhance awareness of have a wider impact on the institutional
situations in which the roles are reversed. changes that are needed for greater equity.
By recognising that men can also feel It is time to move beyond the old fixed
powerless, scope can be offered for men to ideas about gender roles and about universal
reflect on their behaviour towards those male domination. Time to find ways of
they feel they have power over. As behaviour thinking about and analysing gender that
is learnt, it can also be unlearnt and relearnt. make sense of the complexities of people's
Lastly, if empowerment means enabling lived realities. Gender and development
people to expand their 'power within' in currently lacks sophisticated tools for
order to have power to make their own understanding difference: is it not time
choices, then this can equally be applied in that we turned our attention to creating them?
work with men. It is often easier to resist Taking complexity seriously does not
change and remain cushioned by the mean that we need to abandon completely
comfort of familiarity. Behaving differ- fundamental feminist concerns with
ently can raise all kinds of anxieties and women's rights. The shattering of the old
threats, especially when identities might grand theories can be liberating, rather
be compromised. By deconstructing than robbing us of a place from which to
cultural assumptions about being a man, speak about inequality. We have the choice
awareness can be raised about the ways in to use arguments as strategies, without
which some of these assumptions leave swallowing them whole to mask the real
people in a no-win situation. And by contradictions they raise in terms of our
working from this analysis to build the own lives (see Fraser 1995). Where we do
confidence to choose to behave differently, need to be careful is in confusing strategic
men can be offered the means to empower arguments about women or men-in-
themselves to change. Men who have already general with the everyday experiences of
begun to embrace change are allies, rather real women and men.
than part of 'the enemy', and oppor-
tunities should be made to involve them Andrea Cornwall works at the Centre for
more in Gender and Development work. Development Communications, King Alfred's
If gender is to be everybody's issue, College, Winchester, UK
then we need to find constructive ways of Tel I fax: (0044) 1273672306
working with men as well as with women
to build the confidence to do things
differently. Just because some men occupy
subject-positions in some settings that This article draws in places on previous
lend them power over people, it does not work developed with Nancy Lindisfarne
necessarily mean that these positions are and on discussions with Garrett Pratt. I
congruent with all aspects of their lives am grateful for the insights I gained from
and therefore define them as people. sharing ideas with them.
Relatively simple tools, drawn from
applications of theoretical models, and the
practical tools of approaches such as
Assertiveness Training, can be used to
raise awareness of contradictions and of 1. One of the most accessible examples of
the knock-on effects of resisting change. this is Wendy Hallway's (1984) analysis
Men, masculinity and 'gender in development' 13

of gender identities and relations Mohanty, C T (1987) 'Under Western eyes:

between young women and men. feminist scholarship and colonial
discourses', Feminist Review, 30:61-88.
Moore, H (1988) Feminism and Anthro-
References pology, Polity Press, London.
Butler, J (1990) Gender Trouble: Feminism Moraga, C and Anzaldua, G (1981) This
and the Subversion of Identity, London: Bridge Called My Back: Writings By
Routledge. Radical Women of Color, Persephone,
Carrigan, T, Connell, R and Lee, J (1985) Water town, Mass.
'Towards a new sociology of mas- Ortner, S (1974) 'Is female to male as
culinity', Theory and Society 14:5.. nature is to culture?' in Rosaldo, M Z
Cornwall, A and Lindisfarne. N (1994) and Lamphere, L (eds) Women, Culture
'Dislocating Masculinity: Gender, Power and Society, Stanford: Stanford
and Anthropology', in Cornwall and University Press.
Lindisfarne (eds) Dislocating Masculinities:Peters, P (1995) 'Uses and abuses of the
Comparative Ethnographies, Routledge, concept of "female headed house-
London. holds" in research on agrarian
Fraser, N (1995) 'Pragmatism, feminism transformation and policy', in
and the linguistic turn' in Benhabib, S, Bryceson, D F (ed) Women Wielding the
Butler, J, Cornell, D and Fraser, N, Hoe: Lessons from Rural Africa for
Feminist Contentions: A Philosophical Feminist Theory and Development
Exchange, London: Routledge. Practice, Oxford:Berg.
Fraser, N and Nicholson, L (1988) 'Social Rosaldo, M Z (1974) 'Women, culture and
criticism without philosophy: an society: a theoretical overview' in
encounter between feminism and Rosaldo and Lamphere (op. cit).
postmodernism', Theory, Culture and Scott, J W (1989) 'Gender: a useful
Society 5. category of historical analysis' in Weed,
Gatens, M (1983) 'A critique of the sex E (ed) Coming To Terms: Feminism,
/gender distinction' in Allen, J and Theory, Politics, London: Routledge.
Patton, P (eds) Beyond Marx?
Interventions after Marx, Sydney:
Hollway, W (1984) 'Gender difference and
the production of subjectivity' in
Henriques, J, Hollway, VV, Urwin, C,
Venn, C and Walkerdine, V (eds)
Changing the Subject: Psychology, Social
Regulation and Subjectivity, London:
Kabeer, N (1995) Reversed Realities: Gender
Hierarchies in Development Thought.
London, Verso.
Kessler, SJ and McKenna, W (1978) Gender:
An Ethnomethodological Approach, New
York, Wiley.
MacCormack, C and Strathern, M (eds)
(1980) Nature, Culture and Gender,
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Men, masculinities, and the

politics of development
Sarah C White
Widening the gender perspective to include men and masculinities should broaden and deepen
our understanding of power and inequality, not only between men and women but in other social
relationships, and thus increase the effectiveness of development interventions.

n NGO in the Philippines was doing a shakoys in the market place. She had no

A study of household budgeting. Raul, acapital, so had not thought of the income as
male group member, was asked aboutsignificant. Now she realised that in fact it
his household's finances. The income came tocame to as much as her husband provided.
only half of the expenditure. Cautiously, the None of the income from the coconut wine
NGO worker suggested that perhaps his wifecame to the housekeeping anyway, he kept that
Anna also earned some income. Raul was for his own gambling and cigarettes.
enraged: he was the man of the house, he was (White, 1994:103-4)
the sole provider. He was the only one with
capital water buffaloes and coconut palmsExamples like this are common in the
with which to support the family. Anna, Gender and Development (GAD) litera-
sitting nearby, signalled to the NGO worker toture. They are usually used to show the
let it go. A few days later, the worker returned.significance of the 'invisible' contributions
This time Raul was absent. Anna spoke to him.of women to family livelihoods. But they
She had been thinking about how the family can also be read in another way. Certainly
managed. Up to then, she also had believed the story tells us something about women.
that her husband provided most of the family But it also, very importantly, tells us
income. But when they had done the accounts,something about men. Raul's sense of
she had seen it was not so. himself as a man required that he be the
Each morning, Anna said, she took on main provider for the family. This was
credit 1 kilo of flour and some sugar from the also the role prescribed for him by his
co-operative store. She made some cheap bread, society. The sensitivity of this issue is
shakoys, and took it to the school gates to sell. in his anger at the mere suggestion
In the evening she returned the flour and sugar that his wife might also be earning. Anna
to the store, and kept the income for signalled the worker to be quiet and chose
housekeeping. Twice a week, on market days, to speak only in her husband's absence
she took two kilos of flour, and sold the because she knew how central the idea of
Men, masculinities, and the politics of development 15

himself as the 'breadwinner' was to his if positive changes are to be achieved for
self-esteem. Peace at home and the women, men must change too.1
family's status in the community depend- This does not, of course, necessarily
ed on this. Even when Anna saw that her mean that issues of masculinity need to be
income was just as important as her tackled directly. Perhaps the most sustain-
husband's, she chose not to confront him. able kind of change comes from the
Gender identity is clearly as much an 'bottom up', as men are confronted by their
issue for men as it is for women. This is women's new assertiveness. A challenge
just beginning to be recognised in from Anna would force Raul to respond
development practice, with men's groups either defensively with anger, violence or
organised to discuss fatherhood or tackle withdrawal; or by welcoming the change
issues of alcoholism or violence in the in their relationship and re-working his
home. These are, however, very marginal sense of himself as a man within that. The
initiatives. Mainstream development difficulty is that gender does not belong
takes men's gender identities for granted, only to the particular relationship between
and even the move from 'Women in husband and wife, but to much broader
Development' (WID) to 'Gender and patterns of relationship between men and
Development' (GAD) did little to shake men, and between women and women. If
the overwhelming preoccupation with Raul decided to give up cigarettes and
women. Despite this, men throughout the gambling, he might well face ridicule from
world are behaving in ways that conform his male smoking and betting partners.
to their sense of what it is to "be a man' in Anna might find support from her friends,
their context; and women throughout the but she might also find that they, or other
world are manoeuvring within or contest- women in the family, counsel her to keep
ing this. In this paper I argue that agencies quiet, calling on ideals of feminine
and analysts should take seriously how submission. If Raul's male peers were
already questioning the conventions
this everyday practice affects develop-
together it would be much easier for him
ment outcomes, and suggest some of the
to change. Similarly, a male culture which
challenges that this involves for our exist-
condemns violence and values flexibility
ing approaches to work on gender issues.
makes a positive response to women's
challenge much more likely.
Gender as relationship The logic of this is clear. If women alone
The example of Raul and Anna makes it work for greater equality in gender
very clear that gender identities affect relations they will face an uphill struggle.
relationships. For Anna's contribution to It will be another kind of 'double day',
the family livelihood to be recognised where they have to take responsibility not
openly, Raul would need to accept a more only for changing their own ideologies
flexible model of male/female identities. and practice, but those of their men as
His refusal to do this meant that she had to well. Changing oneself is hard enough;
work a 'double day', taking on part of 'his' trying to change someone else often seems
responsibility for earning as well as all the doomed to failure. Coupled with this, the
child-care and domestic work. This is just intimacy, complexity, and entrenched
one example of a much more general rule. character of gender relations mean that a
Change in gender relations cannot take sustained campaign, following multiple
place in a vacuum. This is the foundation lines of attack, is called for. Women may
for believing that men and masculinities need to be the prime movers. But their
must be made an issue in gender planning: task will be impossible unless a dynamic

is generated amongst men to question precarious or artificial state that boys must
their personal practice and the ideologies win against powerful odds'.
of masculinity which it embodies. From a different standpoint, Deniz
Kandiyoti (1994) considers the tensions
boys may experience growing up in a
Men's private stories purdah society. She suggests that the strict
A theme in work on gender is the need to division between male and female spheres
counter the 'public' orthodoxy by listen- sets up a sharp contradiction for boys,
ing to 'private' stories. In the example who spend their first years in almost
given above, the public orthodoxy 'men wholly female company and then have to
are the breadwinners' was corrected by make 'an abrupt and possibly disturbing
Anna's private account of her earnings. entry into the male world' (ifrid:204). She
But to focus only on women leaves intact quotes Khan's (1972) observations on the
the 'public story' for men, and so perpet- contradictions of purdah in boys' develop-
uates a series of biases. ment, where the father appears as author-
In the gender and development litera- itarian patriarch leading a fearful or
ture men appear very little, often as hazy resentful son to side with his mother.
background figures. 'Good girl/bad boy' Something similar is suggested for Indian
stereotypes present women as resourceful society by psycho-analyst Sudhir Kakar
and caring mothers, with men as relatively (1981). The close identification of sons
autonomous individualists, putting their with their mothers in the first five years is
own desires for drink or cigarettes before abruptly severed as they enter the male
the family's needs.2 The overtones in this world. This 'second birth' is marked by
of colonial stereotypes about 'lazy natives' new, and increasingly stringent, discip-
are uncomfortable, to say the least. line. Unconditional mother love is replaced
Recognition of women's involvement in by conditional approval from men in the
the market needs to be complemented by family. Kakar sums up this process by
an acknowledgement of the part men play quoting a North Indian proverb: "Treat a
in the family. Emphasis on the opposition son like a raja for the first five years, like a
between women and men needs to be slave for the next ten and like a friend
balanced with investigation of the thereafter."' (Kakar, 1981:127).
conflicts and contradictions within and Both authors see this childhood experi-
between men. A first step in analysing ence as having life-long effects, with
men and masculinities, therefore, is to Kandiyoti in particular believing that it
explore the 'private stories' of men, and sows the seeds of later 'pro-feminist'
how they support or contradict the public sympathies in men. Certainly there is
ideologies of masculinity. much more affection, support and
Studies of boys growing up suggest a solidarity across gender lines than much
considerable struggle to establish an of the literature suggests. Regarding South
opposition between masculine and Asia, for example, great stress is laid on
feminine out of an earlier experience of son preference and the economic disaster
gender identity as more ambivalent and of having too many daughters in the
continuous. Unlike the imagery of estab- context of high dowry demands. A small
lished patriarchal power, most studies incident demonstrated to me how partial
show masculinity as rather fragile, this is. I was sitting with the father of the
provisional, something to be won and family with whom I stayed during my
then defended, something under constant research in Bangladesh, and some of his
threat of loss. As Gilmore (1990:11) male friends. Another neighbour joined
reverentially states, real manhood is 'a us, close to tears. He explained that he had
Men, masculinities, and the politics of development 17

had to leave his own home, as they were sexual performance, for example, appears
preparing for his daughter's wedding and as a significant area of male anxiety. Nick
he couldn't bear to lose her. The sympathy Hornby's novel High Fidelity is testament
with which the other men received him to this in contemporary Britain; Gilmore
showed that this was a common feeling (1990:74) echoes it for Trukese society as
they all shared. Nor was this an isolated he quotes Thomas Gladwin's (1953)
incident. It was reinforced by the consist- comment that intercourse is a contest in
ently easy and affectionate relationship which only men can lose.3 But the broader
which my host enjoyed with his six-year- context within which men negotiate their
old daughter, which allowed her even to relationships with women is their
criticise his behaviour within a framework standing in society with respect to other men.
of jokes and teasing. Tales of sexual exploits are thus common
As noted above, the ideology of male currency in male-male discussions, while
autonomy is a powerful one. Gilmore conversely, women's unlicensed sexual
(1990:223) expresses this in glowing terms: expression is a threat to male prestige.
That relations between men and women
Manhood is a kind of male procreation: its
rest on broader patterns of competition
heroic quality lies in its self-direction and
between men is illustrated by Penelope
discipline, its absolute self-reliance in a
Harvey (1994:76) in an example from the
word in its agential autonomy.
Peruvian Highlands. There, she says,
Attending to men's family relation- women may use courts against men guilty
ships offers a corrective to this. Countering of infidelity, but a man would never do the
the tendency she sees to concentrate on same, as to admit publicly that his woman
solidarity between women, Fonseca (1991) had been unfaithful would be to
notes that amongst slum-dwellers in undermine his authority before the male
Brazil, brothers were the most important hierarchical figure of the judge. Manhood
sources of external support to women. certainly does not appear to be self-reliant
Where households and families are much and autonomous. On the contrary, mascu-
more stable, as in Bangladesh, the family linity seems to depend chronically on the
is a formidable institution of social control. estimation of others, to be highly vulner-
The relations involved, of course, differ able to attack by ridicule, shaming, subordi-
according to gender and birth placing, but nation, or 'dishonourable' female action.
the fact of very distinct and demanding The stress on male status makes
expectations is constant. The interrelation masculinity largely a matter of public
of power and responsibility is very performance. But the sense of oneself as a
evident. An eldest son, for example, has man has also a highly intimate dimension.
considerable authority over his siblings, For a man I knew in Bangladesh, his whole
but it would be hard to argue that he sense of self began to crumble when he
enjoys autonomy. On the contrary, the discovered his wife was having an affair.
demands on him to assume family leader- Theirs had been a love marriage, and in
ship are often experienced in considerable the early years, he said, he considered
tensions between the interests of his natal himself the happiest man alive. His wife
family and conjugal unit. Men may have stopped the affair, but it then recurred,
more room for manoeuvre than women, and her husband never recovered. He
but the difference is a question of degree. suffered a series of mysterious illnesses.
A further check on the claims of male He stopped working, stayed lying in the
autonomy lies in the association of mascul- house in a darkened room, and avoided
inities with status. To some extent this is an community events in which he used to
issue between men and women. Hetero- take an active part. Deeply depressed, he

was no longer able to support the family. limitations faced by men and women.
He lost the capacity to lead, to take Another set of data testifies to the huge
decisions; although the oldest brother in advantage of men over women with respect
his own family, he allowed the others to to access and control over material resources;
determine even major issues. His status religious, organisational, and political
fell sharply, as his sons and brothers power; and rights over their own bodies and
became irritated and then despising, and those of others. Men may suffer too, but
respect in the wider community turned to structurally they dearly benefit from gender
whispers of scandal and then exclusion. inequality, even those who do not conform
While not conforming to dominant gender to society's ideas of what men should be.
models, this 'deviant' behaviour still Kandiyoti (1988) uses the term 'patriarchal
makes implicit reference to them (see Abu bargain' to explain why women collude in
Lughod, 1986). In a sense he became femi- gender subordination they know that
nised, as he withdrew from the outside even if they suffer while young, they will be
world. But his decline also had a clear rewarded later by gaining some power over
masculine script: he punished himself and other women. Men also strike various
his family through serious alcohol abuse.4 patriarchal bargains: they lose something,
but they also stand to gain much.
Counting the cost
The costs to men of models of masculinity
Gender, age, race and class
can be seen at the public level too. Perhaps What difference will studying men and
the crudest indicator in any 'quality of life' masculinities make to the frameworks we
index is the capacity to survive. The over- use to analyse gender in development? First,
whelming recruitment of men as fighters the competition between men that masculin-
by both state and revolutionary forces ity involves raises the question of whether
puts them in great danger. The highest gender may similarly generate conflicts
rates of homicide in the United States are between women. That gender does not
found amongst young black men. Men in provide an automatic basis for solidarity has
the North have a life expectancy consist- long been recognised. Molyneux (1985)
ently several years less than that of women, points out the diversity of 'women's
suggesting the costs of gender-related interests': some of which derive from their
occupational and consumption patterns. gender identity, but others from factors such
At a less stark level, many men suffer as as race and class. She proposes the notion of
they try to adjust their sense of themselves 'gender interests', for those derived
with the demands that society makes on specifically from structural inequality by
them. Many men are unable to build good gender. Practical interests lie in bettering
relationships with their children because one's situation within the existing system
they have to spend too much time away (such as women having access to affordable
from home working. Clearly, the current childcare). Strategic interests relate to
constitution of gender identities causes structural change of the system (for instance,
problems for men, as well as for women. challenging the assumption that domestic
Incorporating this into gender analysis work is women's responsibility).
is not straightforward. We need to go This framework can reveal how gender-
beyond saying 'poor men'; that men have based divisions between women may arise.
problems too, that both genders are Taking the example of Kandiyoti's 'patriarchal
disadvantaged. To do so risks undermin- bargain', it is the practical gender interests
ing any project for change in gender of older women which limit most strictly
relations, and so reinforcing existing the gender interests of their younger kin.
Men, masculinities, and the politics of development 19

The practical and strategic dimensions of The primary context of this interaction is
gender interests thus set up difference, clearly one of class relations. It provides a
and the potential for conflict, both within text-book account of the reproduction of
women and amongst them. Common class inequality to the advantage of the
oppression can become a rallying cry for rich and the further impoverishment of
collective action, but by no means always the poor. But interestingly, both of the
does so. Establishing contradictions of protagonists also draw on their gender
interest within the subordinate group is identities. Bolai's position as labourer, and
one way in which dominance is secured. Fazlur's capacity as employer, are both
A second important implication of based on their identities as men. Both of
'counting men in' is the attention it brings them also make reference to their (gender)
to status, and to the connections between role as father in mitigating their part in the
gender, age, race and class. This suggests interaction. Bolai frames his acceptance of
that all these interests are dynamically the low rates of pay in terms of his respons-
related, shaping and being shaped by each ibilities as father, perhaps thereby re-
other in turn. Considering male gender claiming some masculine honour from an
identities brings out the extent to which otherwise shaming subordination. Fazlur
the apparently neutral 'class' or 'national' legitimates his refusal to provide a living
interest may in fact be implicitly related to wage by reference to his own need to
male gender stereotypes. An example may provide his son with a motorbike itself
help to clarify this. The speaker is Bolai, a a totem of masculinity in that village
Bangladeshi landless labourer. At the context. Bolai's bargaining strength is
time, 20 taka (including food) was the further undermined by his ethnicity a
average daily male wage in the area. minority Adivasi against Fazlur's
dominant status as Muslim Bengali. Class
Listen, let me tell you something. It was the
interests are thus expressed in gender-
lean time, and we weren't getting work
related ways, but the role that gender
anywhere. I'd come back home and my kids
were crying: Dad, I'm hungry; and I had plays is equivocal: it at once helps
nothing to give them to eat. So we went to structure the system of domination and is
used by both actors to bargain over the
Fazlur and asked if he had any work. He said he
had some earth work that needed doing, how terms of engagement.
much would we take? So we thought: it's the
lean time, there's no point in hustling and Masculinity and values
asking a lot. If we get six Taka we can just
about manage. So that's what we asked for. Development is concerned with the
practical. The great desire is to make a
So he said: O, my son's just bought a
difference. In this context, is not talking
Honda, six Taka, how can I manage that! So,
about masculinities a retreat into the
there we are, listening to the tale of his woes. In
abstract, a pursuit of academic interest
the end he says: I'll give you three Taka. Three
only? To answer this, it is important to
Taka for a day's work! So we thought and said,
review different aspects of gender relations.
Give us one Taka more, give us four. And he
We tend to see gender in dualistic ways,
said: O how can I manage that? I'll give you
with men and women as different and
three and a half Taka, take it or leave it, that's
opposing categories. But what are consid-
my last word. So we took it. What can we do?
ered 'masculine' or 'feminine' attributes
They know we have no choice.
(and these differ by social context) are
(White, 1992:47)
found in both men and women. Ian Craib,
a British psychologist and sociologist,

states that in the counselling groups with Masculinity and

which he has worked there was no simple development practice
pattern of men being aggressive or women
passive, as the imagery of masculine and If the argument of this paper is correct, it
feminine prescribe (1994:139). What this means that treating gender as solely a
means, is that gender is not only to do women's issue seriously underestimates
with persons, but also very importantly, the scale of the battle to achieve a more
with values. Connell (1995:223) brings just society. This has major implications
these two dimensions together: for the GAD approach, in relation to the
issue of 'empowerment'.
Masculinity is shaped in relation to an overall Empowerment has usually been
structure of power (the subordination of conceived in terms of women's growing
women to men), and in relation to a general self-confidence and ability to act ('power
symbolisation of difference (the opposition of to') rather than women 'taking power'
femininity to masculinity). ('power over') from men (see eg Moser,
As a set of values, masculinity is 1989:1815). Nevertheless, it is very clear
available to women as well as men. It was, that if women's empowerment is to be
for example, during Margaret Thatcher's sustained, it must be complemented by a
time as Prime Minister in the UK that the change for men. The scant attention so far
term 'wets' was coined for those members paid to male interests or needs has as yet
of the Conservative Party who did not resulted in relatively little fall-out,
agree with her hard line. The gender perhaps reflecting the limited success of
critique of the policies she instituted is many 'empowerment' initiatives. Never-
familiar with respect to structural adjust- theless, there are danger signs. Probably
ment (eg Elson, 1991). What is important the most lauded development programme
to recognise is that these outcomes are world-wide is the Grameen Bank savings
not coincidental, but derive from the fact and credit programme for poor women in
that the economic policies followed are Bangladesh. While still tentative, there are
inscribed in a particular model of reports that this programme has been
masculinity. It is also vital to note that this associated with an increase in violence
'macho' style of politics did not simply against women in the home (Goetz and
serve to advantage (some) men over Sen Gupta, 1994:19). It is possible, that the
(some) women, but to reproduce and violence represents men's 'struggle for the
intensify much broader patterns of domin- maintenance of certain fantasies of
ation by race and class as well. Different identity and power' (Moore 1994:154) in
styles of masculinity are developed the context of a public assault on estab-
historically, not given for all times and lished gender norms which has totally
places. Those now dominant are therefore failed to take their interests into account.
integrally interwoven with 'development' This may be too alarmist, but it is a real
through colonialism, the movement possibility. The 'backlash' against femin-
towards modernity, and now globalisa- ism in the United States and the establish-
tion. To explore masculinities therefore ment of neo-conservative men's groups,
represents not only a challenge to gender both black and white, provide strong
analysis, but to the power and culture of arguments for taking this seriously.
the development enterprise as a whole. Secondly, while gender-oriented
programmes broadly aim to make women
less poor, as well as 'more empowered',
they still tend to focus on gender in
Men, masculinities, and the politics of development 21

isolation from other social relations. states that 'men have problems too'? And
Considering masculinity, however, points even if it is accepted that men need to
up how gender also plays a part in the change, how is this to be brought about?
other relations of inequality which Should we be looking to establish men's
structure society. Changes in gender groups with a focus on gender, parallel to
relations should thus be expected to those which already exist for women?
challenge other kinds of power relations, R W Connell's review of the experience
by class, age and by race. This has two of men's 'consciousness-raising' groups in
practical implications. First, that working the West, suggests that this is not the best
for change on gender will meet all kinds of way forward. Men do not, like women,
resistance, from men and women defend- have a common structural interest in
ing their status with respect to age, class or changing gender relations. Despite the
race, not simply gender in itself. Second, struggles within and between them, they
that working on gender should bring out, still benefit overall from the existing
rather than obscure, broader issues of system. This means that men's groups are
inequality: amongst women and amongst inherently unstable and often short-lived;
men, as well as between the sexes. they tend to retreat from the political into
To take this on will mean re-orienting the personal; and can easily shift from
GAD practice from assuming gender as being pro-feminist to quite hostile, as men
the endpoint to making it the entry point become defensive at having to shoulder
for further analysis. As many have pointed all the blame for patriarchy (op cit:235-6).
out, the price of 'mainstreaming' (which is Connell suggests, therefore, that men are
still far from complete) has been a shift more likely to change in ways that benefit
from seeing it as a political issue (what women when gender relations are question-
had posed as universal excluded the ed in the context of another shared struggle.
interests of half of the human race!) to a The example he gives is the green move-
technical one, which could be incor- ment, which is not explicitly concerned
porated within the existing model of with gender, and yet in its methods of
development with only major adjust- organising and opposing the values which
ments. What has received less attention, is threaten the environment challenges men
that the focus on gender also blocked out and women to question the way they
other considerations. Gender became the operate, and to seek alternatives.
justice issue, women the 'minority' whose Working with men to question their
interests should be considered, 'social behaviour is one part of the enlarged
development' became, at least in some gender project. But making an issue of
agencies, very largely commandeered by masculinity also reverses the strong
'gender specialists'. Widening the picture tendency noted by Robertson (1984:305) to
to include consideration of men and 'study down', to investigate marginal
masculinities should not simply 'count groups and filter this information up to
men in', but also broaden and deepen our those in power. Instead, he argues, it is
understanding of power and inequality. important to analyse the powerful them-
selves, those who determine development
strategies, and so provide material to those
Ways forward below to inform and strengthen their
What does all this mean for development struggles. Making an issue of masculinity
practice? Does it simply amount to a water- therefore means not only focusing on men,
ing down of the manifesto for change in but on the institutions, cultures, and
gender relations, to a weak position which practices that sustain gender inequality

along with other forms of domination, such as Jelin (ed) Family, Household and Gender
race and class. This will involve questioning Relations in Latin America London:
symbolic as well as material dimensions of UNESCO/Kegan Paul.
power. It means working on, and recog- Gilmore, D (1990) Manhood in the Making:
nising the connections between, the Cultural Concepts of Masculinity, New
personal and professional, the politics of Haven and London: Yale University Press.
institutions and the global system. It will Goetz, A-M and Sen Gupta, R (1994) 'Who
involve men and women, black and white, takes the credit? Gender, Power, and
rich and poor working separately and control over loan use in rural credit
together to forge strategic alliances based programmes in Bangladesh', Working
not simply on where they have come from, Paper 8, Sussex: IDS.
but on where they want to go. Harvey, P (1994) 'Domestic violence in the
Peruvian Highlands', pp. 66-89 in
Sarah White is a lecturer in Development Harvey, P and Gow, P (eds) Sex and
Studies at the University of East Anglia, UK. Violence: Issues in Representation and
Tel: (0044) 1603 592327; Experience, London: Routledge.
e-mail: Kandiyoti, D (1988) 'Bargaining with
Patriarchy', Feminist Studies 2.
(1994) 'The paradoxes of
Notes masculinity: some thoughts on
1 Further examples of this point are given segregated societies' in Cornwall, A
in an earlier paper (White, 1994). and Lindisfarne, N (eds) Dislocating
2 This is the way, for example, that target- Masculinity: Comparative Ethnographies
ing women for welfare handouts or London: Routledge.
credit intervention is commonly justified. Molyneux, M (1985) 'Mobilisation without
3 This, of course, is open to debate from a emancipation? Women's interests, the
woman's perspective! state, and revolution in Nicaragua',
4 The association of alcohol (ab)use with Feminist Studies 11:2, pp. 227-254.
masculinity is, of course, a culturally Moore, H (1994) 'The problem of
specific one. explaining violence in the social
sciences' in Harvey and Gow, op. cit.
Moser, C (1989) 'Gender planning in the
References Third World: meeting practical and
Abu-Lughod, L (1986) Veiled Sentiments: strategic gender needs', World
Honor and Poetry in a Bedouin Society Development 17:11. pp. 1799-1825.
Berkeley: University of California Press. Robertson, A S (1984) People and the State:
Connell, R W (1995) Masculinities Oxford: An Anthropology of Planned Development
Polity Press. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Craib, I (1994) The Importance of Disap- Press.
pointment London: Routledge. White, S (1992) Arguing with the
Elson, D (1991) 'Male bias in macro- Crocodile: Gender and Class in
economics: the case of structural Bangladesh, London: Zed Books.
adjustment' in her (ed) Male Bias in the (1994) 'Making men an issue' in
Development Process Manchester: Macdonald, M (ed) Gender Planning in
Manchester University Press. Development Agencies: Meeting the
Fonseca, C (1991) 'Spouses, siblings and Challenge, Oxford, Oxfam.
sex-linked bonding: a look at kinship
organization in a Brazilian slum.' in E

Disintegration conflicts
and the restructuring of
Judith Large

This paper argues that as relief and development agencies attempt to address the dynamics of
organised violence and protracted conflicts which increasingly hamper or distort their work,
gender analysis and policy is in need of re-examination, and should be widened to take on the
issue of male gender identity.

formation have been superseded by

omali women comment on the trend
in Mogadishu to name male infants political violence linked to state disint-
'Uzi' or 'AK' (Mohamed 1996); egration and, in the context of systemic
Chechen women hide their sons in dark crisis, violence has become an important
cellars to avoid kidnapping or forcible part of economic and political survival'
conscription (Satterwhite 1996); and data (Byrne, 1995 4, citing Duffield 1994).
on child soldiers in 24 countries reveals
these to be overwhelmingly boys (Brett,
1996). UNICEF blames lightweight weap-
The complexity of conflict
ons for the 'frightening escalation' in the The 'disintegration conflicts' discussed by
number of child soldiers (UNICEF 1995). Byrne (ibid.) cover a spectrum of power
As Atsango Chesoni has stated: interests, civilian dislocation, high casualties,
groupings and regroupings of armies and
Peace is about transformation, and the quest para-military units. Conventional definitions
for peace entails a social reconstruction of of war are inadequate to convey the
masculinity that goes beyond male chauvinism complexities of the causes or nature of
to a masculinity no longer built on subjugation. contemporary conflict; for example, El-
Patriarchy needs to be transformed into true Bushra and Piza-Lopez observe that
brotherhood, a brotherhood that is capable of 'international' and 'intra-state' conflicts are
recognising women's sisterhood. (Chesoni 1995,8) not necessarily mutually exclusive
As a creative tension or dynamic, conflict categories. The Gulf War, for example,
may be an inherent factor in processes of was inextricably linked with other internal
change. Yet, in the last part of the twent- and regional conflicts (El-Bushra and Piza-
ieth century, 'wars of liberation or state Lopez, 1993).

It is clear that post-cold-war transitions That this picture seriously over-

include new extremes in disintegration, simplifies women's and men's roles can
civil war and so-called 'protracted social' be seen from literature; for example, as
or 'low intensity' conflicts. A UNICEF Moghadam has pointed out:
report published in December 1995 states
Standard texts on nationalism, revolution,
that 90 per cent of victims of conflict
Islamization, and state formation are rich in
are now civilians instead of soldiers.
detail on changing forms of class hierarchies,
Women and children constitute some
on national-international linkages, on causes
80 per cent of the world's refugees
of revolts, and on aspects of state capacity. But
(Beijing Report).
very little is explained regarding gender
Neither religion nor ethnicity provide
hierarchies, laws about women and the family,
an adequate explanation for the causes of
and concepts of feminine and masculine. And
intra-state conflict: we are witnessing in
yet, it is becoming increasingly evident that
some instances the massive manipulation
laws and discourses pertaining to gender are
of populations to carry out murder in the
central to the self-definition of political groups
name of a myriad of political interests. In
and, indeed, signal the political and cultural
many conflicts, the lines between political projects of movements and regimes
and criminal activity have become (Moghadam 1994).
blurred; armed attacks in Sierra Leone,
Liberia, Georgia, or Northern Ireland defy The Panos collection Arms to Fight: Arms to
clear-cut or traditional explanations in Protect (Bennet et al 1995) contains oral
terms of rebellion, armies, aims, or testimonies which document the
motives. Armed conflict seems to have complexities and differences in women's
become a means of transaction in the experiences of armed conflict, and the
illegal diamond trade in Sierra Leone, long-term implications of war and
drugs in Northern Ireland or Los Angeles, recovery. Women cope with the effect of
or protection rackets in Croatia. the destruction of family units, nursing
the disabled, caring for the orphaned,
playing a central part in ensuring the
Gender and armed conflict survival of members of broken commun-
War is men's business, so we are told. Indeed,
ities. They bear the physical and psychol-
ogical consequences of rape and other
a state's decision to resort to violence is seldom
forms of physical abuse which are used as
taken by women. Does this mean that women
weapons of war. Yet they may also be
are not affected by armed conflicts? On the
combatants, or participants in the hidden
contrary, conflict takes a heavy toll on them;
economy of armaments manufacture.
and it is generally they who, quietly and behind
the scenes, ensure the survival of their families Too neat a categorisation of 'men's
and even of their communities. (ICRC1995,4) business' and 'women's business' in
armed conflict is deeply problematic.
This quotation is typical of much of the First, the complex question of gender
gender and development literature on becomes an over-simplified one which
armed conflict, in its implication that men focuses solely on gender roles, giving the
control decision-making relating to armed impression that these are static. Denying
conflict, and that the fighting itself is an the 'male' roles that women take on in
exclusively male preserve, while women times of crisis for example, the
are both victims of violence and offer the combatant roles which women have taken
keys to survival and continuity in post- alongside men in liberation struggles
conflict situations. (including those in Algeria, Zimbabwe,
Restructuring of masculinity 25

Vietnam, and Eritrea) could be seen as Reasons for participation in

an integral part of the processes by which conflict
women are often relegated to less-than-
equal socio-economic and political roles If we analyse men's experience and
when war is over. Similar dynamics have identity in current war and disintegration
worked in former socialist states including conflicts, we find a complex identity issue
Croatia and Serbia, where a constitutional which undermines any simplistic assump-
commitment to women's equality under tion that violence and war-making is
socialism has given way to a conceptual- inherently characteristic of male human
isation of women as the bearers of sons to beings. The nature of involvement in
fight for nationalist struggles (War Report, armed conflict is dictated by many
September 1995). interlinked factors which shape particular
Second, attributes regarded as 'mascu- boys and men; a hierarchy of interests and
line' and 'feminine'1 can be possessed by power operates within the framework of
either women or men, and are not fixed masculinity. Men may be unwilling to
either between or within societies. Women's participate in acts of violence, yet the social
and men's gender identities and behaviour relationships in which they are caught up
fluctuate and change in response to pressurise them into complicity. The
external forces, including armed conflict. Guardian of 29.7.96 ran articles on both
For example, in the Panos study, Ugandan forcible conscription of young men in
women describe their new-found strengths South Sudan and male rape in Croatia. A
and independence, but lament the loss of report from Grozny in April 1996 stated:
identity and direction experienced by their
...the entire male population of Chechnya is
men, changes due in large part to the
subject to arbitrary detention at any time,
upheaval of war (Benner et al 1995).
where they are held in 'filtration camps',
Associating men with violence and beaten, tortured and sometimes killed. In
women with the making of peace can legit- addition to the stated military rationale of
imise violence as a natural, and therefore seeing if they are 'fighters', there seems to be an
unquestioned, aspect of male behaviour. economic motive for holding them as well:
Studies of national liberation struggles point families can pay ransom for their freedom
out that women often become active because (personal communication).
they see the need to defend their lovers or Poverty creates an economic motive
children because, that is, of their gender- which is a factor in the complex reasons
interests. The way that men's participation for both adults and children joining the
also is shaped by cultures of masculinity and military. While violent coercion is
gender-determined roles as fathers, husbands frequently the cause of both boy and girl
or lovers, sons and brothers, is not remarked children's joining in armed conflict
(White 1993,100). (Frankel 1995), children may also see
While many feminist critiques have membership of a combative force as the
defined militarism as masculine, develop- only means of ensuring their survival, as
ment practice has taken the concept of the social fabric of society breaks down
'gender' and applied it with a focus only and traditional support systems, includ-
on women. That women's positions, ing their own families, cannot provide for
interests and choices are influenced by them (Goodwin-Gill and Cohn, 1994).
their gender is recognised; the fact that Apart from receiving the material
men's situations are similarly affected by means of survival, boy soldiers may meet
gender is not. their need for more intangible forms of

nurturing, formerly provided within the celebration of 'manly skills, spear-

family or community, through developing throwing, riding, fighting and contests of
a form of father-son relationship with bravery' (personal communication, 1996).
commanding officers. This can lead to Over the past 300 years, this event defines
armies manipulating children's loyalty to Hiduks (front warriors) from Ooscuts (back
authority figures to force them to commit warriors) and celebrates a combination of
atrocities: 'as fighters, these boys excelled. 'bravery and physical skill' (ibid.).
Their commanders served as father figures, In many communities throughout the
and the children followed orders without world, the opportunities for men to define
hesitation or moral qualm' (Purvis 1995,4, their male identity through such physical
in the context of Liberia). The idea that feats are rapidly disappearing. Yet,
searching for a family substitute can be a positioning within male groupings in con-
motivation for boy children joining armies temporary society, removed from situa-
has also been referred to in the context of tions of violent conflict, are influenced by
Burma (Frankel 1995). these values in ways we do not always
recognise. Similar contests appear to occur,
for example, in the workplaces of modern
Conflict and contests in industry, with working-class men
constructing masculinity appropriating the 'warrior' definition;
In the late 1970s Paul Willis published while middle-class men, whose occupa-
Learning to Labour and opened up a whole tions involve them in the acceptance of
new set of questions about the construction rationality and responsibility, are thrown
of masculinity. Focusing on male hierarchies, back on the definition of masculinity as
Willis examined how ideas of masculinity 'not female'. Generations of men who have
were affected by, and themselves affect, found themselves in subordinate positions
relationships between men. In school have developed the view that activities
settings, his research suggested that the that are highly regarded and rewarded,
definition of masculinity was not imposed but from which they are excluded, are 'non-
from outside, but defined and contested by masculine' (Jordan, 1995).
boys themselves. Boys subordinate other In societies where physical strength is
boys according to behaviour based on no longer a prerequisite for men to carry
resistance to rules, expectations, authority out their everyday tasks, ideals of
of adults, and co-operative behaviour. The masculine strength are promoted through
subordinate realm was not outside of men cultural icons of physically forceful
(women) but sought, created and masculinity. The character of Rambo from
separated out from within the male group American films, is widely known in
(Willis, 1977). countries throughout the world. In Lesotho
Experiences of men in other cultures in the late 1980s, the armed forces regularly
and countries confirm that such processes visited the cinema to watch violent films
are a feature of male adolescence else- (personal communication).
where. To David Gilmore (1990) who
studies the ways boys became men in Subverting the 'warrior'
diverse societies, 'real manhood' is a
'precarious or artificial state that boys must discourse
win against powerful odds'. 2 Warrior Is it possible to harness the processes which
images and legendary feats are ancient and socialise boys into 'warriors', in conflict
universal. One example is the annual and in peacetime, to capitalise on the
Croatian festival at Sin).Sinjska Alka is a positive aspects of male socialisation and
Restructuring of masculinity 27

Kosovo Albanian blood feuds. etta, a folkl-

orist and elder, resurrected the idea of honour
in forgiving as equal to or higher than honour
through 'killing in the blood' (Jani, 1995).
Similarly, black township leaders in South
Africa succeeded in re-directing the violence
of youth gangs against each other by
subordinating their rivalries to the dominant
(and unifying) goal of majority rule and the
end of apartheid (personal experience).

Restructuring masculinity
With narrow options to forge a livelihood
and the need to achieve pride in their man-
hood, contemporary youth cultures in
many contexts are currently recreating cycles
of violence as goals in themselves. In com-
munities at war, the lack of alternative
opportunities may cause young men to
volunteer, or become conscripts (Keen 1995).
This dynamic poses a profound challenge
for agencies working in community relief
and development. In a study comparing
Cinema posters, Acre, Brazil. Cultural icons Uganda, Mozambique, Somalia, Liberia and
of violent masculinity exert a powerful influence. Sierra Leone, Bradbury points out a number
of common featuresdemographic change,
subvert those which are harmful to society? the weakening of traditional authority struct-
Ellen Jordan attempted to do this. She carried ures, coupled with a global growth in youth
out studies in schools of rankings and culture and the failure of states to provide
behaviour in groups of boys. She found that adequate educational and socio-economic
in situations where there was violence, opportunities. He argues that these factors
including bullying, it was possible to 'reclaim' have led to young men's marginalisation
those attributes of leadership and team-player from society; 'the problems of youth is a
/warrior behaviour which do not depend on strategic issue which few development
agencies have begun to address' (Bradbury
forceful physical dominance (Jordan 1995).
1995,11). Without alternative aspirations,
A crucial part of the process, Jordan sources of livelihood and fulfilment goals,
discovered, was to 'find ways of defining the threat and use of violence is not a second-
masculinity with the unacceptable aspects ary mode of influence, but a structural
of the fighting boys' behaviour as the underpinning of hierarchical relations.
subordinate term, as characteristics of the Richards describes young male terroristic
weakling or the coward rather than the violence as a proven way of making political
hero' through emphasising that modes of capital, a medium of empowerment for men
masculinity exist which are based on self- who have nothing else. This is not violence
control and moral courage (ibid). born of innate aggression.
Another attempt to achieve a peace-
Bradbury suggests that the structural
making model of masculinity was made
factors which make armed aggression a
by Anton (^etta, focusing on the practice of

rational way of life for young men to role in rehabilitation. Yet an interesting
choose must be recognised and analysed insight in Liberia is that some commun-
as 'push and pull' factors (ibid.). To ities have their own way of reintegrating
provide alternative options and rebuild children back into society, through a ritual
youth confidence in their communities, initiation or 'cleansing' process, not
and in the state, obviously requires a major dissimilar to the initiation ceremonies for
investment in social development, partic- secret societies. This is one example of the
ularly educational and employment way in which people are able to draw
programmes (Richards 1995). This, with upon traditional institutions to deal with
informed campaigns on debt, structural the consequences of war (Bradbury, 1995).
adjustment and predatory corporate The pilot Stepping Stones programme
investment practice, is the 'macro' end of in Buwenda, Uganda, is a training pack-
possible development response (ibid). age designed to address 'HIV/AIDs
At the 'micro' level, concerns which are awareness, gender issues, communica-
currently being addressed by develop- tions and relationship skills' among
ment and relief organisations regarding young men. The programme is a response
the costs of armed conflict to men and to 'a need to address the vulnerability of
boys include psycho-social issues: recovery women and young people in decision-
from intimidation and from coercive making about sexual behaviour' (Welbourn
participation in atrocities. Participation is 1995). Stepping Stones considers young
often secured through the use of drugs, men's self-image needs and identity, and
deprivation of sleep, and the compulsory questions of conflict and mediation. Issues
viewing of violent war videos, not to considered include the pressures on men
mention classic 'blooding' techniques concerning money, tradition, alcohol
whereby young fighters are forced to kill abuse, peer pressure and social expectations.
members of their own communities or The programme recorded a decline in
families (personal communication). For domestic violence and alcohol consumption
example, young demobilised soldiers in after 16 months' community participation.
Sierra Leone have been assisted by the The UNHCR Women Victims of
Children Affected by War project, supported Violence Project in Kenya worked with
by UNICEF and Concern Universal policemen to discover their views of
(presentation by Sierra Leone delegates at women, of vulnerability, of violence and
INTRAC Conflict Management Workshop, rape in order to develop co-operative
November 1996). strategies with refugee women for the
In Liberia, a Children's Assistance reduction of rape and assault. (Gardiner,
Programme (CAP) for child combatants is 1996).
supported by MSF-Belgium and the U N.
The Children's Assistance Programme in
Monrovia has re-integrated several hundred
former adolescent warriors into Liberian This article has attempted to highlight the
society, focusing on ways of working with fact that, in situations of conflict, the
positive images of masculinity to assist failure to address men's gender interests
boy ex-soldiers to find ways to be 'men' in and identities is potentially lethal. The
a peaceful society. socialisation of young men must be the
It is important not to over-stress the next stage in gender analysis. Just as
role of development organisations in human needs theory contributed to
rehabilitation after armed conflict; development planning and practice,
communities themselves play the chief understanding gender-specific motiva-
Restructuring of masculinity 29

tion, options, and choices may assist our which are culturally associated with
strategies for breaking cycles of violence. the male and female biological sexes
'Gender' as an area of research and respectively' (Tunnicliffe, 1991).
action should be understood as belonging 2 Christopher McLean, author of Men's
to men and studies of masculinity, as well Ways of Being, suggests that these
as to women and feminist studies. The use jostlings are visible in many societies
of gender analysis for the formulation of quite early on:
development policy is at a critical stage. It In dominant masculine culture, the need to
is time to extend the simplistic analysis of 'be somebody' is exaggerated and extreme.
gender in conflict explored at the start of Competition and the struggle for power are
this article to take on the complexities of central. One only has to observe young
the ways in which women and men, girls boys to see how central this is to their sense
and boys, respond to situations of armed of self-worth. A simple walk turns into a
conflict. constant competition the first to the next
The socialisation of boys and young corner, jumping the biggest puddle,
men is of vital importance in under- throwing a stone further than anyone else,
standing the causes of conflict, allied to a walking way out in front of everyone else.
recognition of the structural factors which (McLean C (1995) 'Boys and education
are creating conflict in resource-poor in Autralia' in Dulwich Centre Newsletter
situations. Reclaiming positive cultural 213, London.)
traditions of manhood alongside those of 3 Andrew Metcalf's study of Hunter Valley
womanhood is an area of research in social miners has shown them claiming to be more
theory that needs to receive more attention masculine than owners and managers to
from development theorists and practi- compensate for their lack of power in the
tioners. In development and relief work, work place, while Paul Willis's conver-
the entry point for these wide issues seems sations with the fathers of his 'lads' revealed
to be innovative work in counselling and that though society at large might see
rehabilitation which takes male gender mental work as superior to manual and
interests and identities, and socialisation reward it accordingly, they boosted their
processes, into consideration. Support self-esteem by equating mental with
should be provided to communities in feminine.(Jordan 1995)
their efforts to re-integrate the survivors
and perpetrators of armed conflict.
Judith Large is a Fellow of the Department ofBeijing 1995 Platform for Action Report.
Politics and International Relations. She is anBennet, Bexley and Warnock (1995) Arms
independent consultant focusing on conflict to Fight: Arms to Protect, Panos.
and grassroots peace-building. Bracewell, W (1995) 'Mothers of the
Tel: (0044) 1453 757040 Nation.' War Report 36, September.
Fax: 751338 e-mail: Bradbury, M (1995) Rebels Without a Cause,
Care Report on the Conflict in Sierra
Notes Brett, R (1996) Study on Child Soldiers.
1 The terms 'masculinity' and 'femininity' Geneva: Quaker United Nations Office.
refer to characteristics which shape, Byrne, B (1995) Gender, Conflict and
inform, or construct behaviour for Development.' Vol. 1: Overview, BRIDGE
reasons deemed by a given society; the briefings on development and gender
'values, behaviours and attributes series. Brighton: IDS.

Chesoni, A (1995) 'Thoughts on sisterhood workshop at Oxford Brookes University,

and solidarity.' Wajibu, 10: 4. 4 6 November 1996.
Duffield, M (1994) 'Complex emergencies Olonishakin, F (1995) 'Women and the
and the crisis of developmentalism', Liberian Civil War'African Woman 10,
IDS Bulletin 25: 4. Brighton: IDS. September.
Duffield M (1994) Complex Political Purvis, A (1995) 'Beware the children' in
Emergencies with reference to Angola and Time 4 December
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School of Public Policy, University of and Sierra Leone: a crisis of youth?' in
Birmingham, UK. Furley (ed)Conflict in Africa, Tauris.
El-Bushra, J and Piza-Lopez, E (1993) Satterwhite, J (1996) Unpublished report
Development in Conflict: the Gender from fact-finding mission for Christian
Dimension, Oxfam UK/Ireland-ACORD. Peace-making Team of NGO's to
Enloe, C (1983) Does Khaki become you? The Chechnya, April.
Militarisation of Women's Lives,Pluto. Thorne, B (1993) Gender Play New
Frankel, M (1995) 'Boy soldiers: turning Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers UP.
killers into kids again' in Newsweek, 7 Tunnicliffe, S (1991) 'War, Peace and
August 1995. Feminism: an Expansion of Galtung's
Gardiner, J (1996) Report on UNHCR's Theory of Cultural Violence.' Pre-
Women Victims of Violence Project, sented at conference of British Inter-
Kenya, for CODEP workshop, Oxford. national Studies Association, University
Gilmore, D (1990) Manhood in the Making: of Warwick, December.
Cultural Concepts of Masculinity, Yale UNICEF (1995) State of the World's Children.
University Press. Willis, P (1977) Learning to Labour
Goodwin-Gill, G and Cohn I, (1994) Child Farnborough: Saxon House.
Soldiers: the role of children in armed Wallace, W (1996) 'Sudan's rootless war
conflicts, Clarendon Press, Oxford. children run wild',The Observer, 7 July.
ICRC Special Brochure (1995) Women and White, S (1993) 'Making men an issue:
War, Geneva: ICRC Publications. gender planning for the "other half."'
Jani, P (1995) 'The necessity of a reconcil- in Macdonald, M (ed)Gender Planning
iation process in North Albania', in Development Agencies, Oxfam.
Anthropology of East Europe Review, 13:1. See also:
Jordan, E (1995) 'Fighting boys and Chevannes, B 'The Male Problem: An
fantasy play: the construction of mas- Afro-Caribbean Perspective', Children
culinity in the early years of school', in Focus, 5: 2 (UNICEF).
Gender and Education 7:1.
Large, J (1995) The Work of Generations:
Gender Analysis and Future Policy
Directions, CODEP.
Lockwood and Baden (1995) 'Beyond the
feminization of poverty: gender-aware
poverty reduction' Bridge in Brief
Moghadam, V M (ed) (1994) Gender and
National Identity, Zed Books and
Oxford University Press.
Mohamed, F (1996) speaking at the
CODEP 'Beyond Working in Conflict'

The role of men in families:

achieving gender equity and supporting
Patrice L Engle
Fathers and men in families represent one of the most important resources for children's well-
being. Social services, including development interventions in the South, have hitherto failed to
take into consideration the major role of men in families, and its effects on women, on children,
and on the men themselves.

search for additional sources of support

recent UNICEF report concludes,
'If UNICEF is going to continue to for children (Bruce et al., 1995). The efforts
contribute to development goals on the part of the state, and many develop-
and gender equality...there will have to be ment organisations, to improve the welfare
greater efforts to involve men' (Richardson, of children by increasing male income
1995, p. 6). Similar concerns have been proved to be less effective than originally
raised by the Ford Foundation, Save the expected in terms of improving children's
Children, and many other NGOs. That nutritional status and health (Marek, 1992).
men should be involved in reproductive Not only has the income of men not
health programmes was a major recom- benefited children as much as expected;
mendation from the Cairo Conference on women are more likely to use their income
Population and Development. Despite for the well-being of children than are
this interest, social service and health pro- men (e.g., Jackson, 1996). Agencies have
grammes continue to target mothers and sponsored income-generating projects for
children, ignoring the role of men in the women, and the provision of credit for
lives of children. poor women. However, while approaches
In recent years, most development which focus on women have had many
interventions focusing on the well-being benefits both for women and for children,
of the family have stressed the importance there is considerable evidence that this
of the mother/child relationship, even in focus may increase the workload of
societies in which the father controls already overburdened women, reducing
decisions about the household and family their personal well-being and their ability
welfare. Economic instability, and the to care for their children (McGuire and
inability of institutions in both developed Popkin, 1990).
and developing countries to increase their This article surveys programme
contributions to families, have led to a initiatives, conferences, research, and

publications concerned with the role of ship are reported in the African countries
men in the family, organised by agencies of Botswana (46 per cent), Swaziland (40
such as UNICEF, The Population Council, per cent), Zimbabwe (33 per cent), and the
and the Consultative Group for Early Caribbean countries such as Barbados (44
Childhood Care and Development. per cent) and Grenada (43 per cent). Some
rates in the developed countries are
equally high, ranging from 38 per cent in
Social fatherhood Norway, 30 per cent in Germany, and 32
The concept of 'father' needs to be per cent in the United States (United
widened from a biological role to one Nations, 1995).
which emphasises socialisation and Many of these statistics reflect patterns
support of many kinds during childhood. of family formation which differ from the
Although this nurturing aspect of 'father- Western model of a nuclear family. In
hood' is recognised across cultures, the Botswana, which has a high rate of female
person who plays the father role may or headship, mothers live with their natal
may not be the biological father. Respons- families until their partners are well into
ibility for children may fall to the mother's their forties (many men are migrant
brother; or older male kin such as the workers in South African mines). Even
grandfather (Richardson, 1995). A 'social though support is customarily provided
father' may take responsibility for all of by the mother's family, these families are
the children a woman has, even though still reported as female-headed.
some were biologically fathered by However, residence of the father within
another man. The narrow concept of the household does not always imply
'father' could thus be appropriately either an economic contribution to his
replaced with 'men in families'. family, or involvement with his children.
Four of the major contributions men In the Caribbean, for example, many men
make to family life are: taking economic contribute to their children's upkeep, but
responsibility for children, building a have only a visiting relationship with their
caring relationship with children, children's mother; whereas others may be
reducing the chances of 'unpartnered co-resident in a household, but provide no
fertility',1 and ensuring gender equality in economic support for the family due to
the family (Family Impact Seminar, 1995; poverty, lack of employment, or spending
Richardson, 1995). The absence of any of on alcohol or drugs (Brown et al, 1994).
these will represent a problem for Research shows that if the presence of the
children's development; while taking such father is to have a positive effect, this
roles can enhance the lives of men. This requires some involvement of the father
new perspective has been seen as a threat with the child (e.g. Levine et al., 1993).
by feminists and others who have Research and programme efforts need to
struggled long and hard to bring women's look at the relationship between father
issues to the forefront (Engle, 1995). and child, rather than just co-habitation.

Fathers in families Forces affecting the family

The percentage of female-headed house- Two forces which may influence family
holds in developing countries ranges from formation and the role of men in families,
about 10 to 25 per cent, and has increased are urbanisation, and changing patterns in
gradually over the last decade (Bruce et al, women's employment, with underemp-
1995). The highest rates of female head- loyment of men. Urbanisation is charac-
The role of men in families 33

teristic of the industrialised regions of the of the children's cognitive performance than
world, which UN statistics cite as 77-78 the amount of time spent with the child.
per cent urban. South America is equally For men in many parts of the world, to
urban: rural, as is Northern Africa; and the have a 'caring relationship' with an infant or
rest of Africa and Asia are between 28 and 33 young child is a novel expectation. For exam-
per cent urban (United Nations, 1995). Urban ple, some participants at a seminar in Lesotho
populations are growing in all areas, in 1991 felt that the interactions that
especially in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. African men have with very young children
The changing gender composition of are rare, accidental, and of little importance.
the workforce in developing countries is (Bernard van Leer Foundation, 1992).
likely to have significant effects for men's For example, fathers in Zimbabwe,
roles (Evans, 1995). In the past two decades, were surprised to learn that they 'should'
women's employment, as measured in play with their children from birth onward;
national census surveys (primarily formal they expected to wait until the children
employment) has increased in all areas, could talk. However, for older children, the
except sub-Saharan Africa and Eastern pattern changes: in most African countries,
Asia. In comparison, men's economic fathers and grandfathers train older sons.
activity rates have declined significantly
everywhere except central Asia (e.g., US 81 Fathers' time in infant and child care
to 75 per cent, Latin America 85 to 82 per Worldwide, fathers spend significantly
cent, Southern Asia 88 to 78 per cent) less time in child care than mothers. Barry
(United Nations, 1995). and Paxson (1971) summarised ethnographic
reports from 186 cultures, and found that
the percentage of cultures in which fathers
Effects of fathers on had 'regular, close relationships' during
children infancy was 2 per cent, and 5 per cent in
Building a caring relationship and child-care early childhood, although the percentage
In the literature, 'father involvement' in which fathers were in frequent close
normally refers to the establishment of proximity was much higher (32 per cent
warm and close relationships between for infants, 52 per cent for young children).
fathers and their children. This can be However, some fathers do spend time
accomplished with relatively little time performing child-care activities. Jahn and
investment; the most important ingredient Aslam (1995) observed men living in
appears to be positive emotion and squatter settlements in Karachi, Pakistan.
attention to children. Although infants In 75 per cent of observations of children
initially show preference for mothers over being carried, the man was the carrier,
fathers, infants become attached to their even when the woman was present. How
fathers by the end of the first year of life, these patterns change with urbanisation
even if the fathers spend relatively little and increased maternal employment (and
time with them (Cox et al, 1992). decreased paternal employment) will be
important to investigate; new expecta-
In the US and Europe, studies have tions for father involvement may emerge
reported that fathers who were involved if alternative providers of child-care are
with their children contribute greatly to unavailable.
their children's intellectual, social, and
emotional development. Easterbrooks and
Effects on fathers themselves
Goldberg (1985) found that the quality of
One of the benefits of the changing roles
the interaction (the father's sensitivity to
for men in families is increased closeness
the toddler's needs) was a better predictor
to children. An extreme case is repres-

ented by men who take primary care for In Kenya and Malawi, despite lower
their children. This number is small, but is incomes, a smaller percentage of children
continually growing. These men often did in female-headed households were
not choose the role, but many express how malnourished than in male-headed house-
much the experience has meant to them, holds (Kennedy and Peters, 1992). In
and the importance of their attachment to Botswana, children in female-headed
their children (e.g., Davis and Chavez, households received more education than
1995, for Hispanic men in the US). children in male-headed households
(Kossoudji and Mueller, 1983).
Economic support for Costs of father's presence
children The presence of the father is not always a
Female-headed households positive force in either women's or
A contribution to household income from children's lives. Women may improve
fathers tends to be associated with their situation and that of their children by
improved child status; female-headed leaving an abusive partner. In a collection
and maintained households with children of studies of violence against women
are generally poorer than families with a worldwide, rates ranged from 20 to 60 per
male head, although there is considerable cent (Heise, Pitanguy and Germain, 1994).
variation depending on the social and It is possible that abuse of children is more
economic context of the female heads . common if a man is present in the family.
It is a truism in development circles The cost to the family of the father's
that female-headed households are consumption of food and resources may
among 'the poorest of the poor'. This point be a drain on the family budget, partic-
has recently been questioned, in relation ularly if he is not employed or is spending
to the degree of economic poverty, but money on alcohol or cigarettes .
also in relation to the degree of access that
such households have to decision-making Avoidance of 'unpartnered
within their communities and in wider fertility'
society (Varley 1996). Certainly, children
in female-headed households are not The third contribution that men can make
always worse nourished than those in to responsible fatherhood is to avoid
male-headed households. Studies show sexual encounters which risk the birth of
that negative effects of female headship unplanned and unwanted children. Few
are seen in Latin America, but not sub- cultures emphasise sexual restraint on the
Saharan Africa (Desai, 1991). part of young males. Rather than encouraging
Studies have shown that although the the use of contraception and sex education
father's income may have a positive effect to prevent the birth of unwanted children,
on food expenditures and child well- traditional cultures attempt to protect
being, these effects may be smaller than if young women through a combination of
the income were under the mother's strict religious constraints on sexuality, or
control (Hoddinott and Haddad, 1995; very early marriage (Richardson, 1995).
Buvinic et al, 1992). Women may be more When pregnancies do occur, families
likely to perceive children's needs, may may put great pressure on the couple to
develop stronger attachment to the child, form a relationship. However, increased
and social roles may dictate that women acculturation and urbanisation may
are responsible for obtaining food for undermine these supports. In a rural
children (Engle, 1990). Guatemalan community, the rate of
The role of men in families 35

unpartnered fertility has doubled in the ment (Richardson, 1995). Now many
past decade, from 6 per cent to 12 per cent groups are including fathers in their plans.
(Engle and Smidt, 1996). In the US, among However, gender equity must be included
teen mothers, 67 per cent of 'traditional' in all these discussions.
Hispanics were married, compared to only
44 per cent of 'non-traditional' Hispanics Legal protection for children
(Mirande, 1988). Establishing protection for children of
absent fathers may be quite difficult
(Folbre, 1992). For example, in Mexico this
Effects of gender inequality lack of protection is due to the deficiency
in the home of Mexican law (Brachet-Marquez, 1992).
Desertion is necessary in order to seek an
Gender inequality in the home, (
award for child support, but is not
having a greater amount of authority in
recognised in law if the husband returns
decision-making) has been associated
within six months. This means a man can
with increased rates of domestic violence
come and go for years as long as he spends
or restriction of life opportunities for
one night every six months at home.
women. Patriarchal control is often
associated with low rates of schooling for If a husband chooses to stop paying to
girls, low status of women, early age of support his child, the burden of initiating
marriage, and high rates of malnutrition legal procedures falls on the wife. Many
for children (Ramalingaswami et al, 1996). husbands simply claim insolvency (ibid),
Despite similar levels of income and and monitoring fathers' income is extre-
health care services in sub-Saharan Africa mely difficult. The scarcity of employment
and South Asia, rates of malnutrition in in Mexico has resulted in more and more
South Asia are almost twice as high. The men earning untraceable non-wage money.
authors explain this 'Asian enigma' as a Similar problems occur in other countries.
consequence of the extreme subordination
of women in South Asia: 'Judgment and Promoting caring relationships
self-expression and independence largely A community-based effort to build and
denied, millions of women in South Asia support fathering skills has been remark-
have neither the knowledge nor the means ably successful in the Caribbean. The
nor the freedom to act in their own and Caribbean Child Development Centre has
established fathers' groups, which have
their children's best interests' (ibid., 15).
formed an organisation called Fathers Inc.
Fathers, who are often non-resident with
Ways forward: promoting their families, follow a curriculum to learn
committed fatherhood parenting skills (Brown et al, 1994). Reasons
for the success of the groups are that they
International advocacy are men-only, and are initiated by men's
International conferencessuch as UNICEFs interest in their children (Caribbean Child
Innocenti Global Seminar (Richardson, Development Center, 1994).
1995), and the Population Council's Taller A second strategy is to bring fathers
Para Padres Responsables (Workshop on into schools and day-care centres, to help
Responsible Fatherhood) (Engle and with child care. To be effective at building
Alatorre Rico, 1994) are opening the caring relationships, these programmes
debate. The groundwork was laid for must increase fathers' interaction with
including men in reproductive health their children, rather than simply
programmes at the Cairo International allowing men to take part in the same
Conference on Population and Develop- activities as their children side-by-side.

Kavanaugh (1992) describes a project to income unwed fathers' payment of child

create father and child nights at a day-care support through combined job training,
centre in New Mexico, USA. The success of job placement, payment enforcement, and
the programme was attributed to balan- fatherhood education projects (e.g., the
cing discussion with activities, promoting Public/Private Ventures Project, Achatz
attendance by making contact with men and MacAllum, 1994). Despite great diffi-
face-to-face to invite them, having a male culties in recruiting fathers into the
member of staff, and making a formal programme, the results have been encour-
contract with the fathers to attend. aging: child-support payments have
Levine et al (1993) created a manual increased, and men's feelings about
promoting methods to encourage the themselves have improved (ibid). This
involvement of biological fathers, or programme included a component labelled
'father substitutes', in pre-school pro- the Fatherhood Development Curriculum.
grammes in the US for low-income Once a week, the men in the project met to
children. Some of his suggestions include discuss issues of manhood and father-
becoming aware of cultural limitation on hood, and consider the mother's perspective.
the father role, providing men with a
variety of ways of being involved, keeping Educating children in broader gender roles
open to various kinds of men in the child's Education for children in responsible
life (e.g. grandfathers), and becoming fatherhood is likely to have a lower (social
aware of resistance both in the staff and and economic) cost than redressing current
among the mothers to men's involvement. problems through direct re-education for
Experimental studies have shown that fathers. Klinman (1986) developed a plan
short-term programmes focusing on child to give boys in junior high and high school
development and fathering can have (11-18) experience with young children
significant effects. Marked improvement through working in pre-school program-
was seen in the relationship of fathers to mes. In many societies, young men are
adolescents in Cameroon (Nsamenang, used as child-care providers as well as
1992), to newborns and young infants young women, and this helps their ability
to nurture.
after prenatal education in the US (Parke
et al 1979), and to pre-school-aged
Establishing rights to paternity leave
children after a ten-week father-only
Another strategy to increase father involve-
programme in the US (McBride,1991).
ment is to promote child-care leave for
These fathers reported feeling more
fathers, either paid or unpaid, and flexible
responsible for daily decisions about their
working hours. However, such opportunities
children, the kind of involvement which
are used by only about 10 per cent in the
men are least likely to achieve. The most
US and Sweden (Pleck, 1985). The low
effective programmes were those which
usage of paternal child-care leave may be
included mothers in separate training,
due to prejudice by employers, the desire
since the changes involved both parents.
of the wife to stay at home, or possible loss
of income for the father.
Combining fatherhood development and Father involvement at this stage also
job-training skills has the obvious benefit of alleviating the
Because a primary cause of lack of support workload of mothers. An approach which
for children appears to be too many had this aim was a Save the Children
obligations for men, programmes in the project in Vietnam (Richardson, 1995).
US have attempted to increase low- Husbands were told that they could
The role of men in families 37

reduce the health-care costs for their were received. In the months following
children if their wives were to work less the contest, oral rehydration therapy
during pregnancy and immediately post- (ORT) use increased by 60 per cent, and
partum. In the communes which received child immunisation rose to 90 per cent.
the messages, women had significantly Grandfathers were particularly interested
more rest days while pregnant, and higher in increasing their involvement with
birthweight babies, and men felt more children (reported in Richardson, 1995).
empowered to help their wives.
Paternity as an issue for social services Encouraging paternal
As stated earlier, a bias noted frequently responsibility'
by researchers into fathering has been the Following recommendations from Cairo,
exclusive attention to mothers and children reproductive health programmes have
within much of the health and social begun to target sex education messages to
service literature. According to Bolton men as well as to women. There is some
(1986), in the social service field in the concern that giving men the messages will
US, men are either providers, the 'good simply disempower women again, after
guys', or they are not providers, in which years of struggling to place reproductive
case they are the 'bad guys'. There is little control in the hands of women. Gender
awareness that some men may choose to equity as well as increasing the role of men
stay at home to take care of children, or must be the focus.
may be unable to work due to unemploy- There is also a growing attempt by
ment, lack of training, or disability. Social governments to establish male paternity
services need to recognise that many fathers at the time of the child's birth. In one
are trying to meet their obligations; there successful example in the US, almost two-
are only a few 1?ad' ones. They themselves thirds of unmarried parents voluntarily
may be in need of help; inability to meet the acknowledged paternity if they were
demands of being a provider often drives provided the opportunity during the first
men away from paternal responsibilities. In few days postpartum (Family Impact
health-care services, the role and signifi- Seminar, 1995).
cance of the father, which varies according
to cultural context, needs to be understood
if health-care provision is to be approp- Promoting gender equality
riate and uptake maximised. The role of The strongest predictor of improved
the father may be significant. For example, gender equity in the home is women's
in the US the father's opinion was one of education (Richardson, 1995) and related
the most important indicators of whether income-earning. Thus, increasing access
a mother went for prenatal care (Sable et al, to education for girls has been a major
1990) and breastfed. One recommendation focus of international pressure. In South
from Pakistan is to develop a two-pronged Asia, women's combined disadvantages
approach, continuing outreach to women, of lack of education, dowry, and young
but adding outreach to men (Jahn and age at marriage (10-14) result in low status
Aslam, 1995). in the family. In Rajasthan, India, a
In Vietnam, it was found that men had UNICEF project promoted education for
very little knowledge of UNICEF's 'Facts girls and delaying the age of marriage. As
for Life'. UNICEF organised a contest for a result of two- or three-day visits and
men, to survey knowledge of these issues, awareness-raising by a team of five
and write an essay. About 47,000 entries women, who met with male village

leaders and visited house-to-house, the their children of their involvement with
number of adolescent girls in school young children suggests that we must
increased, and the number of marriages work in this direction.
decreased (Richardson, 1995).
UNIFEM and the Bahai church were Patrice Engle teaches at Cal Poly State
able to change men and women's views University, San Luis Obispo, CA
about traditional male and female roles in e-mail:
Malaysia, Bolivia, and Cameroon through
the use of drama and song, and consulta-
tion. Men were helped to understand the
disproportionate workloads of women. 1 'Unpartnered fertility' is the procreation
As a result, spouse abuse and alcoholism of children with a biological mate with
have declined (Richardson, 1995). whom the other parent does not have a
social relationship.
At last, the critical role of men in families
for the well-being of children, women, Achatz, M and MacAllum, C A (1994)
and of the men themselves is being Young Unwed Fathers: Report from the
recognised. Men's involvement in the Field, Phila, Pa: Public/Private Ventures.
'private sphere' of the household and Barker, G, Loewenstein, I, and Ribeiro, M
family is as crucial to economic and social (1995) 'Where the boys are: Attitudes
development as the involvement of related to masculinity, fatherhood, and
women in the 'public sphere' of income- violence toward women among low
generation and community decision- income adolescent males in Rio de
making. Furthermore, the two are Janeiro, Brazil', Mimeo.
interlinked: many successful development Barry, H, and Paxson, L M (1971) 'Infancy
projects promoting women's participation and early childhood: Cross-cultural
outside the home have been aided by codes: 2', Ethnology 10,466-508.
support from sympathetic men. In the Bernard van Leer Foundation, (1992)
absence of such support, the potential 'Where have all the fathers gone?'
benefits for women, children and men Newsletter 65.
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There are a number of techniques social services delivery system: A false
which can be used to support men in their promise', in M E Lamb (ed) The Father's
parenting role while promoting gender Role: Applied Perspectives. New York:
equity in the home, but these issues must John Wiley.
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be those which are preventative, which Fathers: A Case-based Study of Family
work with the next generation of mothers Law and Child Welfare in Mexico
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need to support the non-traditional men Men and Their Families: Contributions of
who are striving to construct new role- Caribbean Men to Family Life, West
models for themselves. The benefits to Indies: Sprectrum Graphics.
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Violence, rape, and sexual

everyday love in a South African township
Katharine Wood and Rachel Jewkes

A research project with pregnant teenagers in an African township revealed widespread male
coercion and violence within sexual relationships. If reproductive health interventions are to be
effective, practitioners need to be aware of the level of gender inequity and powerlessness women
experience in particular social contexts and design interventions which challenge male violence.

n the past decade, sexuality has become inquiry of the study concentrated on

I an important area of research and

development intervention, in response
to concerns about reproductive health,
notably the spread of HIV/AIDS, and
contraceptive use, bodily reproductive
knowledge, and pregnancy, the emergence
of violence as a central issue in informants'
narratives led us to focus more on sexual
concerns about fertility control and global dynamics within adolescent relationships.1
population growth (Ulin 1992). The All but one of the informants inter-
predominant focus has been on educating viewed described assault as a regular
women, through sexual health pro- feature of their sexual relationships. We
grammes, to use contraception, and partic- discuss the implications of these findings
for promoting healthy sexuality. All too
ularly condoms, as ways of controlling frequently, health promotion interven-
their fertility and protecting reproductive tions fail to acknowledge sexual encount-
health (Dixon-Mueller 1993). However, ers as sites in which unequal power
health promoters frequently discover that relations between women and men are
although they can generate high levels of expressed. It is these power relations
awareness and concern among women which determine women's ability or
about contraception and sexually- inability to protect themselves against
transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted disease, pregnancy
they are much less successful in getting and unwelcome sexual acts. In the context
women to change their sexual practices. of unequal power, it is invariably men
In this paper we present findings of who determine the timing of sexual
anthropological research in an African intercourse and its nature, including
township in Cape Town among pregnant whether a woman should try to conceive,
teenagers. Although the original scope of and whether or not condoms will be used.

Power relations between men and forced himself on top of me. It was very
women take multiple forms, but in South painful.' Many girls reported that they
Africa they are commonly manifested as attempted resistance, but had felt forced
and imposed through sexual violence and to submit to the demands when assault
assault. An estimated 1.3 million rapes was threatened or carried out: 'he told me
take place each year (The Times, 1997). This that if I didn't want to do it, he would
background of violence as a part of force me to. He beat me up and forced my
everyday life worsens the problems faced underwear down.' These findings are in
by women in negotiating about sexual line with other recent research in South
activities, as possibilities of resistance are Africa, which asked girls about the
more limited, and the consequences of circumstances of first intercourse. This
trying to resist are potentially very serious. found that 30 per cent reported that they
were 'forced' to have sex the first time
(Richter 1996, Buga 1996, Jewkes 1997).
Male control over sexuality Repeatedly, the language of the girls'
Among the informants interviewed, it narratives was of compulsion: 'he made
was usual for male partners to define the me', 'he just pushed me and overcame
conditions and timing of sex. At the outset me', 'he forced himself onto me', 'he did
of the relationship, the men encouraged as he wanted with me', 'what could I do?'
their partners to understand teenage love Our informants stated that in the absence
affairs as necessarily involving penetra- of sexual knowledge on their part (which
tive intercourse: as one adolescent woman could potentially have been provided by
explained, 'he told me that if I accept him female peers but was not), their ignorance
as a lover we have to engage in sexual was reinforced by the male partners who
intercourse, and do the things adults do.' reportedly refused to explain what was
If girls accepted male requests to establish about to occur. For example, one girl had
a liaison, the agreement 'to love' here, as asked her partner what he would do, and
in other parts of South Africa where we had received no answer except 'you'll
have undertaken research, was equated see'. One teenager who was 11 years old
specifically with having penetrative when she first had sex described how,
intercourse and being available sexually. after the event, 'I met a friend of mine who
This equation appeared to derive from the told me to stop crying, and promise not to
men, who were reported to have explained tell my mother or anyone else, she told me
that sex was the 'purpose' of love and that that all the girls my age to do it, that I
people 'in love' must have sex 'as often as should go home, clean myself up and keep
possible'. Relationships were often con- quiet about what happened.'
tractual in nature, with the girl being Men continued using physical assault
expected to have penetrative sex when the to enforce the contract, beating their
man wanted it in exchange for presents of partners if they refused to have sex, with
money, clothes, school fees, and food. belts, sticks, and shoes, often until visibly
In most cases, the young women report- injured: as one teenager said, 'they don't
ed that men used violent strategies from care, they'll hit you anywhere, face and
the start of the relationship, forcefully all. You'd think they would at least avoid
initiating partners who often had no that, because your parents will see the
awareness about what the sex act involved: bruises and the injuries, but they don't
'he forced me to sleep with him in his care.' Physical assault was so common-
home, he beat me, made me take off my place that women stated that many of their
clothes, then made me lie on the bed and female peers saw it as an expression of
Violence, rape and sexual coercion 43

love: some of the informants used phrases infidelity (a practice which has been widely
such as 'he forced me to love him', and 'I reported anecdotally elsewhere in South
fell in love with him because he beat me Africa).
up', which expressed this contradiction. In
some cases, violence was said to be the
main reason why the girl continued to
Awareness of unequal
have sex; in the words of one informant, 'I power
continue because he beats me up so badly Since violence was perceived to be very
that I regret I said no in the first place.' common among married and unmarried
The extent of assault in adolescent people alike (and is very likely to have
relationships has been demonstrated in been witnessed in the home context), it
other research; in a study of 600 pregnant was accepted as an inevitable part of
and non-pregnant teenage women in Cape relationships. The South African teen-
Town, 60 per cent said that they had been agers interviewed were generally aware
beaten by the male partner 0ewkes 1997). of the power inequalities and double
The pregnant group, on average, reported standards operating within constructions
having been beaten more that ten times of love and sex, but resistance was complex
during their average of two years of sexual in the extreme because of male violence,
activity (Jewkes 1997). and peer pressure. As one girl explained,
Men also controlled the relationships 'as a woman you have no rights, you must
in other ways. Several girls described how keep quiet and do as the man wants'.
their partners had torn up their clinic In Jewkes' study, of the 60 per cent of
contraceptive cards in anger that they teenagers who had been beaten, only 22
were using contraceptives; thus for some, per cent of pregnant teenagers and 28 per
even protection against pregnancy in the cent of the non-pregnant control group
form of 'invisible' hormonal methods said that they had in the past left a boy-
appeared to be non-negotiable. friend because of assault (Jewkes 1997).
Informants reported being beaten not
only when they tried to refuse to have sex, Interactive models of
but also when they were seen talking to
another man on the street, when they
informed the men that they wished to The degree to which women are able to
terminate the relationship, and when they control various aspects of their sexual
were suspected of sexual infidelity. On lives is clearly a critical question for health
this last point, it was normal for men to promotion. Our research was a fairly small
sustain double standards, taking multiple and exploratory study, yet it underlines
sex partners for themselves, while the need for issues of gender power to be
disallowing their regular girlfriend from considered in the design and impact
even speaking to other men. Female assessment of HIV/AIDS and reproduc-
refusal to submit to sexual demands was tive health interventions.
interpreted by men as a sign that girls had To date, many of these programmes
other sexual partners and were 'worn out'. have promoted the use of the male condom,
Some informants reported control over based on a 'knowledge leads to action'
them being enacted and reinforced by model. The condom is seen as a simple
brutal means; gang-rape of adolescent protective device to be introduced into the
girls by the man's friends was reported to sexual act at the 'right' moment. This
happen 'often' in the community, as a way implies that the individual is an indepen-
of 'punishing' them for actual or suspected dent person who can make decisions

regardless of the opinions and behaviour Violence: an issue for men

of others, and of the wider social context
(Campbell 1995). This ignores the realities Although gender violence is recognised
of power dynamics, not least of which are internationally to be a common feature of
the gender inequities which structure women's daily experiences (Beijing
heterosexual relations. The fact that the Platform of Action 1995), most of the
degree of empowerment for women in literature discussing health and sexuality
their sexual lives varies widely according completely fails to recognise the implica-
to context points to the need for specific, tions of violent domestic contexts.
detailed, situational analysis as part of the In this South African setting, in which
development of locally useful inter- extreme disempowerment of women is
ventions. It is strikingly evident from our portrayed, it is apparent that for develop-
research, and confirmed by other South ment interventions promoting healthy
African research, that women commonly sexuality to focus only on women would
find themselves wholly unable to negotiate be wholly inadequate. The focus should
the timing of sex, and the conditions under be widened to consider the issue of gender
which it occurs. Many of them feel power- violence, and male behaviour. Male vio-
less even to protect themselves against lence against women is a major problem
pregnancy. Condom use is far from being across the world, while South Africa is
a possibility in their sexual lives. considered to have one of the highest rates
of a country not at war. Although the
The implications for health promotion
definition of abuse varies across societies,
are clear: an understanding of difference
derived from local analysis, and rein- cross-cultural research does indicate that
forced by a comparative perspective, is 'virtually wherever the issues have been
essential for interventions to be useful. As researched, a massive, under-recognised
researchers from the AIDS and Repro- burden has been unveiled' (Heise 1994:
ductive Health Network in Brazil have 1176). Four recent survey-based studies in
observed: 'strategies of health promotion sub-Saharan Africa, for example, demon-
for women in especially acute situations strate that 46 per cent of Ugandan women
of sexual oppression or violence cannot be and 60 per cent of Tanzanian women
the same as for women whose cultural or reported being regularly physically abused;
social setting offers them more effective in Kenya and Zambia the figures were 42
means for the negotiation of sexual and per cent and 40 per cent (Heise 1994).
reproductive practices' (1995,7). There is a danger of non-governmental
The questions which need to be consid- organisations (NGOs) neglecting work
ered in designing appropriate interventions with men. In fairness, in view of the
include: mismatch between the scale of the
How, why and when are decisions problem of domestic violence and the
made by individuals to have sex, and to scant resources available for work to
engage in specific sexual practices? promote its eradication, it is not entirely
How are gender inequities played out surprising that NGOs working in the field
and resisted in the community? For in South Africa have predominantly
example, how far are practices such as concentrated on providing crisis support
condom use and female sexual refusal for female victims though counselling,
negotiable and negotiated between refuges, or help with court interdicts.
individuals in different settings? Many organisations do not work with
How is individual control asserted men either as perpetrators or as victims of
when there is conflict? rape, because they prefer to allocate their
Violence, rape and sexual coercion 45

scarce resources to women. However, with pre-adolescent children; in terms of

there is a risk that in so doing, they may be developing alternative patterns of inter-
unwittingly promoting the idea that vio- personal interaction and reducing levels
lence is a 'women's issue', and suggesting, of violence in the country as a whole, this
even though most NGO workers recognise age group is crucial.
this to be false, that if a woman can be Basic needs for information must be
removed from one violent context, with met, including in the areas of reproductive
the necessary empowerment, she will be biology, contraception, sexually transmitted
able to prevent abuse of her body in future. diseases including HTV/AIDS, and condom
Our research suggests that there is a use. Our research has found that adoles-
need for NGOs to move beyond crisis cents of both sexes lack this information,
management to reducing the prevalence or alternatively have information which is
of violence by engaging with men as inaccurate or imbalanced.
perpetrators or potential perpetrators and Adolescents also need education on the
recognising the contexts of abuse within many meanings of love and sexual rela-
sexual partnerships. Not only should gender tionships. Our research has shown that
violence be made a focus of sexuality adolescent girls want to be able to have
intervention programmes, but attention relationships which do not involve sexual
should be shifted towards changing the intercourse, but are unable to do so
attitudes and practices of men. because this is the dominant model of
male-female interaction. One of the factors
associated with violence in adolescent
Incorporating men into relationships, which affects both sexes, is
gender programmes poor communication skills and a lack of
Work on gender issues, both research-and specific vocabulary with which to discuss
intervention-oriented, has long been sexual experience and desires. These skills
equated with work with women, without also need to be developed at an early age,
adequate recognition of the relational and and are vital if verbal communication is to
contextual aspects of their lives. Men have replace physical violence in relationships.
been largely ignored. The main conse- Interventions based on participatory
quence of this omission in the work of techniques such as workshops, theatre,
NGOs and the health services has been a and games, can enable communities to
set of assumptions about women's ability develop awareness and skills in this area.
to control their bodies and thereby achieve One example of a training manual for
and sustain sexual health: assumptions community workshops on HIV/AIDS and
which have significantly limited the communication and relationship skills
impact of interventions. which uses participatory methods is Alice
Within the South African context we Welbourne's programme Stepping Stones
can more confidently identify the (currently (1995) which has been used successfully in
neglected) potential of sexuality inter- sub-Saharan Africa in particular.
ventions which could be aimed at men, Another example of a participatory
rather than give examples of current good intervention used by community workers
practice, partly due to our own limited is developed countries is Man's World, a
experience in the NGO arena. Our research small-group game for young men, which
has provided pointers which we hope will focuses on issues of masculinity and
be further developed by both the education sexism and was developed by the B-Team
sector, and NGOs working with young (Resources for Boyswork) in Britain (1993).
people. There is clearly a need to work Development interventions like this which

focus on building self-esteem among Buga G, Amoko D, Ncayiyana D (1996)

children of both sexes are valuable, since 'Sexual behaviour, contraceptive practice
research repeatedly reveals an association and reproductive health among schooled
between low self-esteem among men, and adolescents in rural Transkei', South
physical abuse of women. Similarly, African Medical Journal 86 (5): 523-527.
developing attitudes of respect for pers- Campbell C (1995) 'Male gender roles and
onal autonomy, particularly of women, is sexuality; implications for women's
essential. AIDS risk and prevention', Social
The challenge is to put these ideas into Science and Medicine 41 (2): 197-210.
practice. There is no doubt that if sexual Dixon-Mueller (1993) 'The sexuality
health programmes are to become more connection in reproductive health',
effective in bringing about real change, Studies in Family Planning 24(5).
there is an urgent need for them to take Heise L, Raikes A, Watts C, Zwi A (1994)
the lead from recent research on sexuality 'Violence against women a neglected
and domestic violence, and incorporate public health issue in less developed
men fully into their focus. Unless the countries', Social Science and Medicine
spotlight shifts towards men, health 39 (9): 1165-1179.
promotion initiatives in the field of sexualJewkes R, Maforah F, Vundule C (1997) 'A
health will continue to be inadequate. case-control study of factors associated
with teenage pregnancy in peri-urban
Katharine Wood and Rachel Jewkes are based Cape Town' (Data being analysed).
at the Women's Health research focus of the Richter L (1996) 'A survey of reproductive
Medical Research Council, Private Bag X385, health issues among urban Black youth
Pretoria, South Africa. in South Africa'. Final grant report for
E-mail <> Society for Family Health.
The Times, 5 April 1997, London:UK.
Ulin P (1992) 'African women and AIDS:
negotiating behavioural change', Social
1 In-depth semi-structured interviews Science and Medicine 34 (1).
were conducted in Xhosa with 24 Welbourne A (1995) Stepping Stones: a
pregnant adolescent women, recruited training package on HIV/AIDS,
and interviewed in the township communication and relationship skills,
Midwife Obstetric Unit to which they London: Actionaid.
had come for antenatal care. The age Wood K, Jewkes, Maforah F (1995) Sex,
range was 14 to 18, with an average age violence and constructions of love:
of 16.4 years, and most had male adolescent relationships in a Cape Town
partners about five years older. township. Medical Research Council
technical report.
AIDS and Reproductive Health Network
(Brazil) (1995) 'Gender, sexuality and
health: building a new agenda for
sexuality research in response to AIDS
and reproductive health' (Unpublished).
B-team (Resources for Boyswork) (1993)
Man's World, London: Resources for

'Crabs in a bucket':
reforming male identities in Trinidad
Niels Sampath
This article describes some of the ways in which 'masculinity' is understood. Looking at the
example of a community in the Caribbean, it suggests that social changes can offer opportunities
to deflect men's identities away from damaging patriarchal stereotypes.

of a real fear of, or actual experience of,

he Concise Oxford Dictionary
defines 'masculine' as 'characteristic domination by women (Spiro 1993).
of men,...manly, vigorous,...having Both masculinity and femininity are
qualities considered appropriate to a man'. cultural constructs and not universal
This definition does not allow for concep- human 'essentials'. Both are formed from
tions of masculinity differing according to 'bits and pieces of biological, psycholog-
context. Instead, through suggesting that ical, and social experiences' (Levant and
there is a single, logical, and unquestion- Pollack 1995, following Pleck 1981). This
able idea of what is 'masculine', the fact is accepted for femininity. Few, if any,
definition reflects the dominance of the books or journals are titled 'Femininity and
Western concept of masculinity. [insert topic of choice]'. Even as a plural,
The publication of this edition of Gender 'femininities' seems unpopular. Instead,
and Development is just one example of women's changing or changeable identities
how the notion of 'masculinity' is current- are stressed, usually in a positive sense. By
ly asserting a presence in the analysis of contrast, the stereotypes associated with
societies and their progression in the the Western idea of 'masculinity' seem to have
world. When dealing with both gender marked it down as the underlying reason
and development issues, one cannot, as for much that is wrong with the world.
has often been done, simply take masculin- Attempts at promoting 'new' male
ity and its apparently problematical patri- identities (for example, the Western 'New
archal values for granted (Gilmore 1990). Man' in all his permutations) are often
As one investigates different cultures and ridiculed or derided. While some women
communities, each of which is continually may say 'I am not a feminist, but...', some
changing over time, one begins to realise men will utter a similar phrase: T am not a
that men's voices, often reflecting different male chauvinist, but...' (Morgan 1992:11).
identities, are far from homogeneous. And for every committed feminist, there
While some men may claim to be superior are many women who, implicitly or
to women, they may also provide evidence explicitly and in both major and minor

ways, support the general male domination Until recently, masculine identity has
ideology, or masculinism as Brittan (1989) tended to be subsumed into studies of
has termed it, and will reject men and 'patriarchy' and its effect on society and
women who do not ascribe to it. women in particular, rather than studied
The conclusion to be drawn is that for its own sake. This model is often quite
many men, as well as women, feel a sense far removed from non-Western or non-
of entrapment within perceived stereo- academic thinking about gender and sex
types, whether the stereotype's alleged which people in most developing com-
agenda is 'good' or 'bad'. In reality, people munities assume and value. It also ignores
tend to 'mix and match' and, to use a the social importance of critical but subtle
Caribbean term, 'creolise' definitions and variations within 'masculinity', many of
concepts to suit their own personal circum- which work against men. I would argue
stances even if they are unable to articulate that this makes it less likely that construct-
or effectively react against any social discom- ive patterns of change will occur through
fort they feel.1 development interventions.
Although gender analysis is almost
unavoidably set within a framework of
largely Western-developed sociological
Caribbean men's 'reputation'
gender theory, there is every reason to and 'respectability'
suppose that the same discomfort with, Trinidad is an island in the Caribbean
and occasional resistance to, stereotypes that, although best-known for African-
also occurs across semi-industrialised Caribbean culture, is in fact quite multi-
societies and those undergoing Westernis- ethnic. South Asians, or East Indians as
ation or modernisation (Berreman 1973:23). they are known, form the largest ethnic
group. In addition, the economy is based
Masculinity with or on oil, and this industry has undergone
dramatic boom/bust cycles in the last
without patriarchy? quarter-century since independence. As
What is meant by 'masculinity'? Gender one can imagine, these conditions have
issues are primarily issues of personal produced a high degree of social and
identity, set within the contexts of cultural economic change. In particular, race and
and social definitions of sexual role. gender relations have been challenged by
Whenever the term 'gender' is used, it is changes in the labour market and increased
important to remember that one is not opportunities for women. With these changes
dealing with just a bi-polar concept of have come strains on what had been
male or female identities. Within a culture considered to be 'traditional' gender relations
or society, an individual can be faced with and masculine identities. (In the following
different desired, expected or fulfilled description I have italicized local expressions
roles within a life-time. The level of and they should be read as such.)
pressure to conform to these gender roles Women-centred studies and develop-
is not entirely uniform over a life-time for ment programmes have paid attention to
anyone. Gender identities held by women the common double-standards facing the
and men can be submissive, complement- emancipation of women (sexual and other-
ary, or dominant to each other, depending wise). African-Caribbean masculine identity,
on factors such as age and status. In this although often reinforcing that double-
sense, gender identity can often seem, to standard, faces a duality of its own in
the individual and community concerned, terms of man-to-man interaction. Wilson
almost independent of the other sex. (1969; 1973) originally outlined West
'Crabs in a bucket' 49

Indian reputation and respectability character- colonial or post-colonial society struggle

istics that are key aspects of male identity. to achieve the respectability that is assumed
Respectability involves those moral to exist outside their strata of society. As
decisions and actions that are seen as positively suggested above, going to church on Sunday
influenced by European colonialism and is one way of beginning this process. However,
the local pyramidal social structure based in the meantime they have to survive within
on class and colour. Respectability is a concept the crowded and extroverted community.
reflected by the norms of local genteel femin- Members of each gender nominally
inity: church-going and being 'well-behaved'. involve reputation as their stratagem. For men,
Reputation is a working-class, live-for- this usually takes the form of overt sexual
today enjoyment of the kind of hedonism banter and bravado. Women delve deeply
that is deemed as worthless by the respect- into the nuances of party-going and local
able sections of local society. It is a male concepts of fashion. The tactics of both
reaction to respectability (Littlewood 1993), sexes stress individual consumerism and
and also acts as a control upon men and extroverted display.
women who aspire to be respectable when In line with this, both men and women,
they are locally deemed to be nothing of but especially men, superficially tout the
the kind (Wilson 1969). Honour is given. idea that it is a free society: free for the
Honour is taken away. individual to do as he or she pleases. A
The local analogy is made to crabs in a strong reputation which emphasizes personal
bucket: before any one individual can 'freedom' is deemed important in the post-
escape and because of the posturing going slavery, post-plantation, post-colonial
on within the bucket, that individual is drag- environment. Having been the perceived
ged down by the others. Individuals in the perks of the colonial elite, heightened
'bucket' of poverty and subservience in consumerism and fashion are recognised

Creating contrast and enhancing masculine reputation by dancing outside a respectable wedding ceremony

as socially-constructed patterns of attain- way, the 'symbolic violence' of men trying

ment of freedom. And freedom is seen to to achieve a reputation effectively keeps
be necessary to ensure success on a day- women in the 'bucket' of social subser-
to-day basis, since it allows one to move vience. Again, it should be noted that the
well, as is said locally. One is unshackled values encompassed by reputation and
from perceived social constraints and one respectability can be endorsed, explicitly
can conduct social business on a wider and implicitly, by both men and women,
scale, not subservient to any other individ- to themselves, as well as to each other. The
ual. However, even with the possible excep- 'crabs in the bucket' analogy appears to
tion of some sports heroes and heroines, it apply to both genders at all levels.
is rare for men, as well as women, ever to Yet, at this point it must be stated that
reach a serene level of respectability by simply the above qualities have supporters, detrac-
enhancing their reputation in this way. tors, and 'conscientious objectors' amongst
Behaviour that enhances reputation is local people of both sexes (as do femininity,
the anti-thesis of respectability. If people feminism, male chauvinism, and the New
are seen to aspire to leave the 'bucket' they Man syndrome elsewhere). It is among
are branded as too bright, or too high. For this plurality of experience and opinion
example, in an urban Trinidad factory that opportunities for reform and develop-
setting described by Yelvington (1995), the ment may be found. A more rural and youth-
two characteristics define 'idioms of ful example further illustrates the point.
masculine control over women'. Men do In my own fieldwork study in a rural
not pass up an opportunity to test and Hindu East Indian village in Trinidad, for
verbally probe women's attempts at every professional flirt such as could be found
virtuous respectability. For in doing so, and in the urban factory, there was a hopeless
almost no matter what the outcome, men romantic who was socially paralysed by a
enhance their own reputation among other self-imposed boycott to avoid 'trying to
men. According to Yelvington (op.cit.) sweet-talk women into this and that'.
reputation has a 'symbolic violence' which Tabanka pertains especially to young
follows a continuum from gentle flirting village men: the word describes social
called sweet talk through to less acceptable belittlement, and sexual and moral shame.
but more aggressive methods of power It is usually applied to male African-
enforcement such as spreading malicious Trinidadians when a woman's affections
rumours or mauvais langue. are lost to another man (Littlewood 1985).
In such a traditional urban work situa- Indian adolescents (and here one must
tion women are left in a no-win situation include all unmarried men as well as teen-
balanced between either submitting at agers) have few opportunities to engage
some point to male advances or engaging in active heterosexual relationships. So
in deflective banter, usually in the form of the term tabanka has been extended by
returning the teases and taunts. In the first them to include the common state of
instance, they have plainly submitted, and unrequited love. Here a macho reputation
in the second instance, they deny them- has, for one reason or another, been pre-
selves respectability by reinforcing worth- vented, rather than lost. In this respect, the
less male reputation. While some women effect of the mocking which customarily
may succeed for a while in taking a third accompanies their predicament is different.
course of action, i.e. ignoring male advances, A 24-year-old individual known as
the reality is that many women choose not Pastor, who was once an enthusiastic
to put themselves in the situation at all by Christian convert who had mocked Hindu
avoiding the workplace altogether. In this idolatry, found himself longing for,
'Crabs in a bucket' 51

though not speaking to, a young woman Based on the Trinidadian urban and
hairdresser in the village who was rumoured rural examples, the problem it seems, is
to have broken off with a boy from else- that 'masculinity' is based on local per-
where. Pastor gave up liming (hanging ceptions of 'success'. Just as women are socially
out) with his pardners so that he could valued as 'sex objects', so men are valued
walk back and forth in front of her house, as 'success objects' in a context of reputation.
hoping for something spontaneous to The two values appear to complement
occur. His pardners in turn intensified his each other within a patriarchal paradigm.
tabanka: by belittling his situation (and the The question then becomes, how does one
woman) and telling him to 'make a move begin to escape that paradigm?
on the chick man, she's an old cat'.
Instead, Pastor sought solace in watch-
ing Indian films on videos where, for example,
Re-forming male identities
after years of separation, the hero and While it may appear as if gender relations
heroine might actually speak to each other are trapped in a static web, there are
before a painful death. He began re-attending possible ways forward. Because the local
Hindu prayer meetings. If he went shopping criteria of value as sex or success objects
for his family, people would ask him if he for both sexes are quite narrow, they tend
was going to buy gramazone, a defoliant to produce many variations of excluded or
commonly used as a suicide potion. compromised values and individuals,
While Pastor's ex-pardners made light which then quietly incorporate them-
of his situation, Pastor attempted to selves within the creolised environment
console himself with the relative security of, for example, multi-ethnic Trinidad.
of more traditional 'Indian culture'. Lack The unfortunate key word there is 'quietly'.
of 'modern' masculine success and not As in our own society, 'alternative' culture
moving well can be indicated by a reversion is often used as a defining contrast for that
to fatalism and a relative over-concentration which is largely hidden from the main-
on traditional sources (the domestic stream. By and large, there is still a paucity
sphere, dominated by women, is seen as of acceptable varieties of expression of
the haven of traditional culture). To quote masculinity in day-to-day activity within
one of Pastor's pardners: most national cultures. But often the
potential for change is already well in place.
Poor Pastor. He does want to make a move on
In Trinidad and the Caribbean, one has
the girl but he ain't gettin nowhere. He used to
the process of creolisation: a mixing within
mock them star-boys in Indian films and now
the accepted values of the dominant
he suffering just like they. Well, that is what
constituents. This takes place not just
does happen. Once you does lose courage to
between attributes of race, religion, or
take action, bang, tabanka does take hold and
ethnicity, but between any opposing or
you back sitting and scratching, doing nothing.
corresponding social characteristics on all
Pastor, it seems, could not be blamed levels, gender included.
for being attracted to the girl, but he could Miller (1994) points to a more positive
not successfully broker the dominating analytical future partly because he
cultural values involved. According to his effectively discusses Trinidadian gender
pardners, had he not mocked traditional issues without making them his absolute
Indian values in the first place and partly focus. He refers to a less gender-laden duo
retained their security he might have had of social characteristics he calls the
the courage he sought to establish a 'transient' and 'transcendent'. In some
successful 'masculine identity'. ways these still reflect reputation and

Christmas nor carnival would be quite the

same without the other; and each ensures
the other's survival.
What is interesting is that there has
been a perception in Trinidad that 'women
are [gradually] taking over carnival'. The
first indication of this was noted in the
1950s by Powrie (1988[1956]), but since
then it has accelerated. Some carnival
bands have a ratio of ten women for every
man. There are several reasons for this.
To begin with, women in Trinidad,
while hardly emancipated to their own
satisfaction, have nevertheless made some
strides in that direction. But their near
predominance in Trinidad carnival is due
to more than a simple trend. Carnival acts
as an escape valve, a time when notions of
traditional respectability do not apply. The
difference between everyday life and car-
nival is greater for women than for men.
Indeed, some women say: 'men in
Trinidad, they think every day is carnival.
But women must think of work.' And so,
Posing for passers-by women are more enthusiastic about carnival.
Ironically, many women can maintain
respectability. But Miller's analytical terms 'traditional' concerns about clothes and
apparently sort through the rest of society make-up, and domestic gossip through
and return to the gender puzzle without carnival, but now it can be done extra-
being trapped within masculinism's terms domestically and with a greater cultural
of reference. He makes a useful contrast purpose that they feel legitimises these
between carnival and Christmas. activities to the masculinist, paternalistic
Trinidad carnival is a hedonistic free- society in general.
for-all that tests the boundaries and allows There are also economic reasons for
for creative expression that is both male women 'taking over' carnival. Men have
and female. The action is on the street and traditionally been employed in plantation
non-domestic. The past has passed and and heavy and manufacturing industry.
the future is tomorrow, and for a few days These activities are in decline. The service
neither matters. In that sense, the carnival sector, including those economic activities
is an event which emphasises transience. maintaining carnival itself, is the growth
By contrast, Trinidad Christmas is, quite area, and here women predominate, and
apart from Christian religious aspects, a are making significant progress into
national cultural marker where various middle-management. Thus, women are
influences are appropriated for future increasingly likely to be the steady income
recall through family and long-term relation- earners and are invariably in charge of
ships. In its respectability and location in domestic finances. As a result, women can
the domestic female domain, Christmas set money aside specifically for carnival
transcends day-to-day life. Yet, neither bands and feting, whereas many men,
'Crabs in a bucket' 53

who feel obliged to try to 'party' (or lime as sphere, so that they can uphold a 'colonial
their get-togethers are known) on a respectability', is itself both Eurocentric in
constant basis, are invariably short of the its framework and ignorant of several
required cash.2 As women have involved areas of women's public interaction
themselves with carnival, they have (Besson 1993; Douglass 1992).
injected it with a transcendent quality to Women have, perhaps, found other
the point where it is now a year-round means of escaping from the 'bucket' than
preparatory industry. dragging others down. They have utilised
In the rural East Indian village where I the transient (carnival) and immediate
did my fieldwork, a similar shift has economic necessity (things that men might
occurred whereby what was once some- use for themselves to enhance their
what transient the existence of increas- reputation) to develop more permanent
ingly independent women has become ways of escape from subservience.
more transcendent. Within the space of a Men have had to adjust their identities
few years, families were no longer looking accordingly and at least try to delete that
for semi-arranged marriages for their component of male success which insists
young men to girls who could simply be that women cannot also enjoy 'success' in
mothers and 'didn't want to work'. 3 relation to their own. This may not always
Instead, a good education and a steady job go smoothly and might initially seem
have become something that young girls impossible. But in every sphere of life in
actively seek out. While young men drop the Caribbean, the diaspora population,
out of school and complain that there are both African and Indian, male and female,
no jobs to study for, young women seem has always had to make changes to 'tradition'.
to be less pessimistic (or perhaps less Changes to male identity would not be a
socially able to do anything outside the new experience.
home other than study or 'take courses').
The economic circumstances affecting
urban life have also affected the life of the
Development and male
village. Traditional sugar plantation work identity
has declined dramatically as has higher- Research into the effects of patriarchy on
paid work in the oil industry. At the same women has been relatively thorough, but
time local (non-plantation) agriculture this may have deflected attention away
and related sales and distribution, in from the fact that men are dominated by
which women have always had significant other men, and are denied alternative
involvement, are part of the new growth expressions that could be more benign to
in the service industries. While 'service' women. It is only with a recognition of the
has connotations of subservience, unlike potential for a range of identities that the
traditional industry where physical labour effect by men on men as well as women can be
was important, a reputation as sought by appreciated. Recruitment to progressive
men, is of little value any more. changes should then be easier. It is less
In both urban carnival and rural com- socially divisive if men and women are
munity life, it could be said that women dedicated to the same project.
have had less motivational investment in As I have illustrated using the example
the 'crab in the bucket' analogy. That has of Trinidad, different feminine and mascu-
always been a primarily male concern. line identities can exist despite an appar-
Indeed, academic criticism of Wilson's ently monolithic stereotype. Unlike the
theories stresses that the notion of the exclusivity of power and status which is
relegation of women from the public suggested by the traditional notion of

patriarchy, an inclusive tendency can be Douglass, L (1992) The Power of Sentiment:

fostered given certain conditions. Inclus- Love, Hierarchy, and the Jamaican Family
ivity, or 'non-crab-in-a-bucket' behaviour, Elite, Oxford: Westview Press
appears to be intrinsic in those areas where Gilmore, D D (1990) Manhood in the Making:
women have contributed to development. Cultural Concepts of Masculinity, London:
However, with regards to men, con- Yale University Press.
structive and inclusive conditions may be Hearn, J and D Morgan (eds) (1990) Men,
missed or not considered if the initial Masculinity, and Social Theory, London:
focus is purely on interactions between Routledge.
women and men, rather than on intrinsic Levant, R F and W S Pollack (eds) (1995) A
masculine/feminine identities. By examining New Psychology of Men, New York NY:
men's identities more closely, develop- Basic Books.
ment decisions could promote the positive Levant, R F and W S Pollack (1995)
aspects of masculine identities, assisting 'Introduction', in Levant and Pollack
both women and supportive men in the (eds) op. cit.
creation of less patriarchal societies. The Littlewood, R (1985) 'An indigenous
'problem' with masculinity is not mas- conceptualization of reactive depression
culinity itself, but how it is focused. in Trinidad', Psychological Medicine 15,
Niels Sampath is a research student at Oxford Littlewood, R (1993) Pathology and Identity:
University. the work of Mother Earth in Trinidad,
address: 20 Russell Court, Woodstock Road, Cambridge: Cambridge University
Oxford OX2 6JH, UK. Press
e-mail: Miller, D (1994) Modernity: An Ethnographic
Approach: Dualism and Mass Consump-
tion in Trinidad London: Berg.
Momsen, J H (ed) (1993) Women and Change
1 The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines in the Caribbean: A Pan-Caribbean
'creolise' as 'make [the] (language of Perspective London: James Currey.
[the] dominant group, in [a] modified Morgan, D H J (1992) Discovering Men
form) into [the] sole language of the London: Routledge.
dominated group.' Pleck, J R (1981) The Myth of Masculinity
2 See also Rodman (1971:172173). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
3 In Trinidad, the dowry system did not Powrie, B E (1988) [1956] 'The changing
survive the migration from India. attitude of the coloured middle class
towards carnival', in K Johnson (ed) (1988).
Spiro, M (1993) 'Gender hierarchy in
Burma' in Miller (ed) 1993
Berreman, G D (1973) 'Self, situation, and Wilson, P J (1969) 'Reputation and respect-
escape from stigmatized ethnic identity', ability: a suggestion for Caribbean
inBrogger,J(ed). ethnography', Man (NS) 4, 70-84.
Besson, J (1993) 'Reputation and respect- Wilson, P J (1973) Crab Antics New Haven:
ability reconsidered: a new perspective Yale Univ Press.
on Afro-Caribbean peasant women', in Yelvington, K A (1995) Producing Power:
Momsen (ed). Brittan, A (1989) Masculinity Ethnicity, Gender, and Class in a
and Power, Oxford: Basil Blackwell Caribbean Workplace Philadelphia PA:
Brogger, J (ed) (1973) Management of Temple University Press.
Minority Status, Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.

Gender workshops with men:

experiences and reflections
Kamla Bhasin
During the last few years I and my colleagues have conducted workshops with men mostly
senior men, in decision-making positions in NGOs. This article focuses on my experience of the first
six of these: two were in India, two in Bangladesh and two in Nepal. My colleagues and I felt
confident, both as facilitators/trainers, and as feminists, to handle this task.1 As development activists
we now had enough experience of work at different levels, as trainers we were well equipped and
confident, and as feminists we were less angry, less emotionally charged and less confrontational;
we felt we could manage a useful and sustained dialogue with men on sensitive issues.

Although these days everyone can make

t was around 1990 that I first heard
demands for workshops on women's some 'correct' statements on women, most
issues for men. These came from different NGO leaders have not yet critically
quarters, for different reasons. Rural women examined their own behaviour and attitudes
said they were now quite aware of women's towards, and assumptions about, women.
issues, and it was time that their men were My willingness to have a dialogue with
given a proper 'brain-wash' (dimaag dhulai). men on women's issues is based on my
In contrast, women activists and develop- belief that men can and must change their
ment workers wanted workshops with men thinking, attitudes, and behaviour vis-a-
because they saw increasing tensions vis women, specially if they want a more
between men and women workers within just and equitable society. I believe that it
NGOs. They were dissatisfied with, and is necessary for women to challenge or
more articulate about, subtle and open persuade those men who are our partners
discrimination against women within in different struggles and movements, to
NGOs, and felt 'charity must begin at home'. reflect on women's issues; without a
As a response to the increasing aware- common understanding and shared
ness of women's issues, several donors started commitment to change gender relations, it
suggesting 'gender sensitisation work- is difficult to work with men (or with
shops for men' for NGOs supported by them. women) at home, in organisations, and in
Some of us women who were involved movements. I also start with the assump-
with training and keen to challenge patriarchy tion that if, I as a middle-class person, can
within development organisations also work with and in the interest of the working
recognised the urgent need to have a dia- classes, men can work with and in the
logue with senior male workers and decision- interest of women for a society without
makers from voluntary organisations. gender hierarchy.

The purpose of gender Workshops in Bangladesh,

workshops for men India, and Nepal
Our approach to gender workshops with All six workshops had 15 to 20 (men)
men is broad-based; we have tried to make participants, they lasted four to five days,
the workshops integrative and holistic. they were all residential, and all were held
The objectives of the workshops are: in quiet and very simple places away from
the distractions of city life.
to develop an understanding of gender
In three out of six workshops we found
and gender relations in the contexts of
that several senior men who had agreed to
other divisions such as class, caste, and
participate did not attend, and did not give
North-South divide;
any reason for their absence. Some of us
to create an atmosphere which
wondered if this might be because our focus
encourages the participants to reflect
was on women's issues. Serious classes and
critically on their own understanding
study groups are seen to be necessary for
of gender relations and gender issues
understanding issues like class, caste,
and on their attitudes and behaviour;
community organisations, environment,
to help participants to analyse the even account keeping, and office manage-
nature of development policies and ment; yet they are not considered necessary
programmes in general and those of for women's issues. 'What is there to learn
their own organisation in particular, in on women's issues?' seems to be the attitude.
terms of their impact on women,
It is this attitude which is the major
ecological sustainability, and equity;
hindrance in the way of serious reflection
to collectively evolve a vision of an
on the issues.
equitable and gender-just family,
community, and society and to develop
a strategy for its realisation; Reassuring the participants
to create a network of like-minded
Our first task in these workshops was to
people and organisations.
dispel some of the anxieties, insecurities, and
hostility that [male] participants bring with
As in all training sessions, I begin by them. Since almost all of them were attend-
affirming the participants, trusting them and ing a workshop on gender for the first time,
believing in their capacity to change, however some were quite anxious, and a little insecure;
painful the process of change may be. In every they were not sure how to respond or behave.
workshop we try to make men talk about Their insecurities and anxieties perhaps also
their personal lives and experiences, their stemmed from the fact that for the first time
personal relationships with women at home, both the facilitators and trainers were women
in the work-place, and in society at large, to and women who were well-known as
make them realise that, unlike other issues, feminists, development workers, and trainers,
gender can not be dealt with merely as an and as strong and confident people. During
intellectual discourse. Changing gender the first few hours of our interaction we hear
relations challenges each one of us to reflect remarks like:
critically on ourselves and to change, if
necessary. 'So, now we are in your hands...'
"We are ready to be butchered!'
'We have come to be brain-washed!'
'So, are you going to convert us?'
'You should really not bother to train
men, because it is you women who are
your own enemies!'
Gender workshops with men 57

These statements came in spite of our the context of larger, economic, political,
best efforts not to be provocative. But the social, and cultural systems and we
very fact of inviting men to a gender believe that changes in gender relations
workshop is provocative, especially for would require changes in other social
those men who know that a discussion on systems, and vice-versa. In this context,
women's issues will raise uncomfortable we inform them that our own past and
questions about matters which are normally present involvement and experiences
not addressed! We found that participants have been not only with women's issues,
who came from large and hierarchical but also with issues related to poverty
organisations, and who were in senior and development, caste, class, environ-
decision-making positions, were the most ment, human rights, and so on. We also
insecure, and, therefore, most hostile. clarify that we look at women's subordi-
nation as a system, and therefore for us it
is not a question of men versus women.
Starting with the personal We also make it dear that we neither have
We begin every workshop with personal ready-made answers for everything nor do
introductions where everyone is asked to we believe in dishing out the 'correct line' or
speak about his family background, present solutions. We ourselves are searching for
family status, his organisation, and his own answers and this search, will and should be
work. We also ask them to tell us about their an on-going, dynamic search.
expectations of the workshop, and the issues
they would like to discuss.
After this, we briefly discuss the
The issues
importance of personal introductions. Although the final list of issues discussed
Getting to know each other well, we explain, at these workshops is prepared in
is the basis for developing a common consultation with the participants, the
understanding and creating solidarity; and issues tend to be similar in every
in order to know each other well, we have to workshop and they are the following:
see each other as a 'whole'; we have to break
down the usual compartments between the The situation and position of women
'personal' and the 'official', between the and men in our society.
private and the public. The concept of gender.
Patriarchy as a system and an ideology
Starting with the personal also gives
and the origin of patriarchy.
everyone a chance to speak, and to build a
Analysis of development policies and
confidence that everyone has something
programmes in terms of their impact
to share and to give. It helps to create an
on ecology, on the poor, [especially on
atmosphere of warmth, closeness and
women] and on the Third World.
equality. At the same time, it gives an idea
of where each one of us is starting from, Analysis of NGO structures, policies
and what areas we would like to discuss and programmes from the perspective
and explore. This makes it easier to plan of women.
the workshop, and the level of discussion. Feminism and the women's movement.
Vision of a society without gender and
other hierarchies.
Clearing the ground Strategy for sustainable and gender-
just development.
In order to avoid misunderstandings, we
begin by saying that we do not look at On every issue, our attempt is to move from
gender issues in isolation; we see them in social realities to generalisations and concepts.

In order to get everyone to speak, we women and men may suffer within the
encourage small-group discussions of the family. The women's column gets quickly
issues listed above. As resource persons, filled. Each participant can suggest
our task is to fill in the gaps in the something female foeticide, female
discussions, add our views as and when infanticide, sexual assault, psychological
necessary, and provide conceptual and harassment, control over women's work
theoretical outputs. On issues with which and income, discrimination in providing
the participants may not be familiar, or on health care, education, and so on.
which they may have the wrong notions The participants have to think hard to
(according to us!) we do not hesitate to give point out the oppression men face within
lectures. Such issues are likely to be patri- the family. They can only come up with
archy, feminism, gender, the women's move- things like 'they are not allowed to cry',
ment, and feminist analysis of development. 'they also have to submit to stereotypes',
In all the six workshops, we found that 'they have to look after the women', and
the participants were well aware of, and so on. However, many participants get
quite articulate on: extremely upset when we conclude that
the family can be the location of injustice
women's double burden of work; and discrimination against women. We
the active participation of working- have been accused of 'wanting to break up
class women in production, and their peaceful families', and 'attacking local
contribution to household incomes;
culture'. During these discussions, we
the lack of participation by men in often find men becoming very insecure,
child-rearing and household activities; and as a result extremely defensive about
the widespread discrimination against the family. They express fears about the
girls and women in matters of food in-
disintegration of the family (which would
take, health care, and education;
of course mean loss of authority, comfort,
the lack of participation of women in and power for them).
major decisions within the family and
in all decisions in the community. We encourage the participants to reflect
on their own reactions. We argue that
The participants generate empirical data removing the prevalent inequalities and
in group discussions on the subordination of injustice within the family, can actually
women within and outside the household. It strengthen rather than weaken it. We also
is also easy for them to see how official encourage them to look at the family from
development programmes and also most the point of view of women. We provide a
NGO programmes have been male- historical view to show how in every society
planned, male-executed, and male-oriented. the institution of the family has been
changing in response to changes in the mode
and relations of production.
Some difficult issues
The problems arise when we try to draw Men questioning
conclusions based on the information they
provide. This is when we sense a certain patriarchy
uneasiness, resistance and hostility. Some men find it difficult to cope with the
To give an example: to explain the concept of patriarchy. They are ready to
position of men and women in the family describe atrocities against women, but
the most intimate and crucial social they resist looking at them as a system.
unit of all we ask the participants to put Some of them say: 'you can describe
on the blackboard all the oppression women's oppression, but you don't have
Gender workshops with men 59

to see it as a well-thought-out and planned Won't it destroy the most important

system. We men are not that vicious'. unit in society, i.e. the family?
One standard response to looking at
Although we face such questions all the
women's subordination as a system is that
time, we must confess to surprise and disap-
it came to India because of and in response
pointment when NGO leaders, who have
to foreign invaders. 'We Indians had to
been working for women's development for
subjugate our women when the Muslim
years, share all the usual misconceptions
invaders came'. (As if women in India
about feminism and the women's movement.
were free as birds before that!)
We had hoped that at least the senior staff
Another very common response is if would be better-informed, and would have
there is a problem, it is created by other thought seriously about these issues.
women. The 'woman is woman's worst
We normally ignore such allegations on
enemy' theory is supported with real-life
the first three days, and take up these loaded
examples of mothers and daughters in-
issues only after establishing a degree of
laws. Men who readily analyse caste and
rapport and some understanding of
class as systems seem to be too afraid (or
women's oppression, women's develop-
too intellectually dishonest?) to consider
ment, and so on. We realise that it would be
patriarchy as a system.
futile to reply to such questions with ready-
A third response is often in the form of made answers. Instead, we ask participants
a question: 'If you are against patriarchy, to list the issues which have been raised by
are you for matriarchy? Is that the solu- South Asian feminists, and examine them
tion?'. To help the participants to see one by one to see which of them are Western,
beyond hierarchies, we invite them to con- and so irrelevant to India; which are urban
sider the possibility of equality between and not relevant to rural women; which are
the sexes (equality, not sameness, because elite women's issues and therefore irrelevant
another accusation made in these workshops to poor women.
is 'you feminists want to be like men').
The board gets filled quite fast with a list
Some participants feel relieved by being
of issues dowry, rape, sex-determination
able to put the blame for everything on an
tests, female foeticide, equal wages for equal
abstract system. But to avoid complacency
work, property rights, land rights,
and stress personal responsibility, we
alcoholism, ecology, unionisation of self-
emphasise that all systems are maintained
employed women, job reservations, child-
by individual actions.
care, sexism in media, pornography the
list is unending! Even a cursory look at these
Feminism: much issues shows that none of them is Western
misunderstood and most of them are related to working-
class women. Issues like dowry, sex
In most workshops, the largest number of determination tests, or pornography, which
questions are about feminism and the might have been confined to the middle
women's movement: class earlier are no longer so today.
Isn't feminism or the women's move- After dealing with misconceptions about
ment imported from the West, and isn't feminism and the women's movement, we
it alien to our culture and religion? discuss why such misunderstandings exist,
Isn't feminism confined to 'five-star even among sympathetic men.
elite' women who have no idea of the In four workshops, we asked the
lives and issues of poor, rural women? participants who had said things like 'all
Why is feminism confrontational? feminists are urban, middle-class women,

with no understanding of the local more difficult for men to look at

culture', to substantiate their statements themselves as some one who is privileged,
by giving examples. In each case, we found who might be oppressing his wife or sister
that the statements had little factual basis, consciously or unconsciously or who
but were based on general discomfort with enjoys the advantages of being a man. We
feminism, or on some anti-feminist propa- encouraged men to talk about their exper-
ganda in the media. In two cases the anti- iences as a son, husband, father; whether
feminist sentiments were based on a single they thought they enjoyed privileges
encounter with 'an aggressive woman' or which women did not have, what they felt
'a woman who believed in smoking'. about that. Did they ever reflect on the
The only plea we make when we face gender differences within the family?
such generalisations is that judging a large Discussions were never really focused or
movement by the behaviour of one or two intense. We are not sure if this was due to
women is obviously neither accurate nor lack of time, poor planning, our inability
fair. We also explain that, for many of us, or resistance from the participants.
becoming a feminist is a long, arduous In contrast, women's workshops are
journey; none of us are perfect, nor do we very intense and emotional. In almost
have well-thought-out positions on every- every workshop some women break down
thing. Few of us practise all we preach. In while talking about the discrimination
this, we are no different from socialists, they have faced, the oppression or neglect
Gandhians or environmentalists. they have suffered. Men resist making a
shift from the mind to the emotions, from
the public to the personal. The rare male
Workshops and masculinity participant who is keen to explore his
How are these workshops different from personal relationships does not find many
those with women? There are obvious male partners, and ends up discussing
differences: the level of personal sharing is these issues only with us women.
much greater in an all-women workshop. Another difference is the subtle
Women are more prone to talk about their resistance by men to looking at women's
personal experiences while men are much subordination as a system. Women, on the
more guarded. other hand find it liberating to look at their
We find that men are quite happy to subordination in this way. Naming the
deal with abstract and impersonal theory, system, and assessing it dispassionately,
but they have little experience of talking is the first step towards dismantling it. It is
about themselves and their emotions. in the interest of women to name and
They seem to suffer from the 'brave boy', change the patriarchal system, but it is not
'strong man' syndrome. Men can quite so for men and hence there is resistance
easily talk about the subordination of poor and defensiveness among men regarding
women, but are often unwilling to look at patriarchy, especially to discussing it in
their own families. They seem trapped in a their own personal context.
terrible insecurity, anguish, and fear of the
family structure collapsing, their position
disappearing from under their feet. Women training men
We realised that for women, talking In spite of over 20 years experience and
about themselves is easy and also a our abundant grey hair, it is difficult for
release, because they feel oppressed and some men to accept us as resource persons
seldom find a supportive atmosphere to or to accept our authority; to admit that
talk about their experience. It is much we could teach them something. Men who
Gender workshops with men 61

consider themselves leaders are very nature, we think we perhaps have to learn
hesitant to admit that they have not to be circuitous, to take one step forward
studied or thought seriously about the and another sideways. After all, the
issue. Some of them constantly intervene, purpose of these workshops is to make
try to divert the issue, bring in irrelevant allies, and not more enemies.
matters, in an attempt to disrupt, making Improved understanding, and a desire
it difficult for us to remain calm. to move towards better gender relations,
The women resource persons are is evident when, towards the end of the
perhaps also considered to be 'interested workshop, the participants discuss their
parties'. The fact that it is easier for men to future strategy for women's development.
accept male authority became quite What they come up with is clear, compre-
obvious in one of the workshops when on hensive, and concrete. The written evalua-
the fourth day a male observer came and tions done at the end of every workshop
spoke eloquently about religion and are overwhelmingly positive. Most partic-
culture being most oppressive for women. ipants state that they learnt a lot, they
Everyone listened to him in great silence, were forced to think things through, they
while we had been heckled for saying were challenged to reflect on their beliefs
things half as strongly. This and other and behaviour. At every workshop they
similar experiences have made us realise recommend that such workshops should
that as women trainers we have to learn to be mandatory for all men working in
use power and authority judiciously. development organisations.
We feel it might be good to have a We do not succeed in winning over all
sensitive male as a co-trainer, someone the men. With one or two, the tensions
who can speak as a man, have a 'man-to- never subside. These men are unable to
man talk' if necessary, and who will not be accept women as trainers, and are not
seen as an interested party. A man in the open to admitting that they may need to
trainers' team may also blur the divide revise their attitudes. If developing a
which exists between women trainers and feminist understanding and conscious-
men participants. ness is a long, painful process for women,
it will be much longer and more painful
for men. These workshops can only be the
We need to tread gently first step of a long journey.
We need a far more sensitive approach to
(A version of this paper was published by
the way men are oppressed by gender. We
the International Council of Adult Education
have to realise that men who try to break
in Convergence XXIX;1,1996)
certain gender roles also pay a price; and
one must try to feel the same sympathy for Kamla Bhasin is Co-ordinator of the FAO -
their oppression, and not constantly NGO South Asia Programme and is based in
trivialise it by comparing it to women's. It Dehli. E-mail:
is difficult to look at men's oppression
under patriarchy seriously and sincerely,
without depoliticising or diffusing the
issue of women's subordination. We have Notes
no easy answers. 1 By 'we', I mean myself and women like
As trainers, we have to be much more Vasantha Kannabiran (India), Khushi
patient, detached and non-committal in a Kabir (Bangladesh), and Meena Acharya
workshop with men. We should also not (Nepal) who have been my partners in
be too confrontational. Much against our workshops with men.

New masculinity:
a different route
Gonzalo Falabella G
This article formed part of a presentation made by the Chilean sociologist Gonzalo Falabella at
the First Citizens' Forum for Tolerance and Non-discrimination, which tookplace in Santiago de
Chile in March 1995. The subject arose out of the experiences and conversations of a group of
professional men, who were searching for a new identity.

The writings of Robert Bly in partic-

hese ideas come from a group of
Chilean and foreign men who have ular his book Iron fohn (Bly 1991) had a
been meeting for two years, great influence on the group, especially
monthly. They came out of our attempt to initially. His statement that women are
take a new approach to life. The initiative marked out for pain, whereas men are
arose out of a weariness with some aspects distinguished by not showing their
of our lives, such as the excessive hours sorrow, not weeping for their problems
we work; our sense that we seek power (because, in fact, 'men don't cry'), struck
because it is intrinsically interesting to home with us. We saw the need to create
possess it; the lack of real intimacy our own forum, in which men who had a
between male friends, and our habit of common desire to share their feelings
reducing our conversation to politics; the could find mutual support. Throughout
tricks that life holds in store for you; and our journeying, our female companions
work. 'What do you do?' is interpreted by have helped us, often without realising it,
men as a question which purely focuses by just allowing us to watch them get on
on work. We are dissatisfied with the lack so well with their own struggles, support-
of attention that we give to our personal ing and loving each other to the extent of
lives, our marriages and our families, no inciting our envy!
matter what stage of life we are at. In time, we were creating our own
Competition, unpleasant 'machismo', masculine identity, a 'new man' in the
the power vice, and a lack of personal Chilean style. We agreed at the first
sensitivity are all the norm for men, and meeting that we were not just a group of
all are both influenced by, and in their friends, nor a support group, nor a therapy
turn influence, the fate of this country. As group, nor one which only wanted to
men, we would like to live in a less isolated respond better to our feminist comrades
way. However, our environment makes and their challenges. When we met a week
this increasingly difficult. ago two years after the group was first
New masculinity 63

formed we defined the group simply as regardless of the area in which they live,
'a forum where we can comfortably share ethnic origin, class, sex, educational
our experiences'. We are professional men status, or age. Understanding how all
who wish to know ourselves, and our these aspects of social identity affect
women, better. This wish extends beyond people's ability to participate allows men
our sense of status which is based on our to recognise, and work to change, gender
parentage, identity, and political opin- relations, in solidarity with women.
ions. We aim to lead more fulfilling lives
and become more complete, less isolated
The basis of inequality
As men we would like to say that the way
we are is not due to mere ill-will, or a
The sources of the search masculine conspiracy to overshadow
There are several sources for our search. women in society. There are social structures
First, the women's movement has helped and institutions which reproduce unequal,
to raise the consciousness of men, in Chile hierarchical, authoritarian relationships
and elsewhere. More recently the 'men's between the sexes. It is a culture based on
movement' (especially in the USA) has begun intolerance. However, in these same
to search for an alternative to traditional relationships, it is also possible to find
masculinity. new 'signs of the times' which show ways
Many different philosophical influ- of overcoming the negative aspects of
ences including Jungian and Eastern these relationships. In our view, inequality
thought, Mediterranean mythology, and between women and men in our society is
myths of the Chilean native people based on the following:
recognise a more integrated vision of men First, the traditional family is an
and women, and of 'male' and 'female' institution where male violence and
aspects of human personality. These ideas authoritarianism is reproduced. It also
of human nature allow both sexes to gain establishes extreme differences in the roles
self-respect, and allow a more diverse and of women and men, and emotionally
integrated development process for men castrates the male child. We feel that the
and women. Catholic church, and its fundamentalist
Likewise, research on the matriarchal vision of spirituality perpetuates many of
stage through which our societies passed the oppressive relationships and values of
(for example, Arroba 1996) has shown the family.
how positive this period was for human- In Chile, the system of the 'hacienda'
ity. Studying this period opens the way (estate or ranch) is a vertical and authorit-
for us to design a future society where the arian structure of total domination by the
inclusion of women in power is seen as landowner over his representative, by the
beneficial to society. representative over the superintendent,
We are also influenced by Marxism. In by the superintendent over the foreman,
its original concept of social democracy, by the foreman over the tenant farmer,
Marxism sees society governing itself as a and his oppression of his wife, her of the
political objective. Social democracy children, and they of the dog! Today, after
overcomes the limits of representation by almost 20 years of dictatorship and an
others, to allow everyone to deal with the entrenched 'hacienda' culture, which is
direct government of his or her own even present in the basics of trade union
society. This means different social classes legislation, many of these relationships,
and strata must be enabled to participate, with a modern veneer, can still be found

in companies that may possess modern a way of relating to each other. We believe
machinery, but retain archaic working that our search is part of a movement to
practices, recently denounced by the create a country that is more just, more
Minister of Employment himself. Much is tolerant, and where people work in
spoken about 'total quality' today in Chile, solidarity. Our own struggle as men is
but it is never more than talk, which few part of a wider battle to create 'a better
put into practice. country', in the last words of Allende.
The military is another powerful forum We would like to take pleasure in the
for promoting male authoritarianism, and positive aspects of our male identity. We
an anti-democratic national security. The are convinced that sexual equality in all
armed forces uphold the rigid control and fields and the development of our own
social relations of an earlier time. sensitivity will create more fulfilling lives
Traditional schooling (though teachers and better relations within and between
are now less respected by society), with its the sexes, both in work, politics and
lack of respect for the student's dignity, society. We would like to achieve gender
reduced freedom, artificial differentiation relationships which do not disintegrate
between the sexes and maintenance of into inequality in the home, work, society
sexual segregation, is another source of and politics.
conservatism in our society. This kind of There appear to us to be three ways to
education does not produce young men or achieve our development as more
women with progressive values, or integrated men. Firstly, we have to learn
stimulate creativity and innovation. to be intimate with each other as men,
The state also contributes to the within our group. Secondly, we need to
creation of gender inequality. In Chile, increase our level of intimacy with our
women only got the vote in 1949. The state partners. To begin with, we can do this by
is prejudiced against people who are radically redefining our roles, emphas-
differentiated from the norm; for example, ising our role in the care of our children
in every corner of the country, the state is and, through that, enabling us to have a
disdainful of the ability of people in the closer relationship with them. Thirdly, we
regions:'... we need to develop their skills need to relate these issues to wider social
to reproduce central commands', says one struggles outside ourselves and our
official statement. This is an affirmation of families. The object is to untie the hard
the different situations of subordination knots in society's fabric which have been
to which we have referred, of which the tied by authoritarian institutions. The new
subordination of women is a key example. masculinity forms a part of social change
However, in each of the institutions which is running through ourselves, our
mentioned above, there have recently families, and the institutions of wider
been signs of a breakthrough, however society.
small, against authoritarianism, rationalis-
ation and 'machismo' (male chauvinism). (This article was first published in Spanish
in the magazine 'Vida y Derecho' (Life and
Rights) Number 17 of the FORJA Institute.)
Some paths to follow
How do we respond as individuals to the
above issues? We would like our personal
development as men to go beyond mere
rivalry. What we are hoping to be able to
do is to find a substitute for competition as

Understanding Masculinities, M Mac and final section of the book examines new
Ghail (ed), Open University, 1996. forms of politics about masculinity in
This is the first introductory text to Western countries, and discusses how men
examine the range of different theoretical can pursue social justice.
and methodological approaches to the
Theorising Masculinity, H Brod and M
understanding of masculinity. It brings
Kaufman (eds), Research on Men and Mas-
together overviews of theoretical debates
culinity Series, SAGE Publications, 1994.
with new empirical material, focusing on
Presents ideas borrowed from the disci-
different social and cultural areas, and the
plines that have fostered the study of mas-
wide range of masculinities that exist.
culinities: sociology, psychoanalysis, and
Masculinities, R W Connell, Polity Press/ ethnography. Explores issues such as power,
Blackwell, 1995. diversity, ethnicity, feminism, and homo-
Offers a comprehensive introduction to a phobia. Provides theoretical explanations
new field of knowledge and politics. It for militarism, sports, and the men's movement.
examines and assesses the history of
Dislocating Masculinities: Comparative
attempts to understand the nature of
Ethnographies, A Cornwall and N
masculinity by psychoanalysts, social
Lendisfarne (eds), Routledge, 1994.
scientists, and movements for social change.
Draws upon anthropology, feminism, and
Connell agrees that there is no 'one'
post-modernism to provide a challenging
masculinity, but multiple masculinities,
study of gender difference. Offers a radical
which can be understood through a social
critique of much of the recent writing on
analysis of gender relations. Contemporary
men and raises important questions about
developments are examined through a close
embodiment, agency, and the relation
focus on the lives of four groups of men
between masculine style and social contexts.
some working to transform gender relations,
and some resisting such transformations. Contemporary Perspectives on Masculinity:
Masculinities then moves to a larger arena, Men, Women and Politics in Modern Society,
and shows that modern masculinities are K Clattebraugh, Westview Press, 1990.
products of a 400-year history in which Newly updated, 1997.
gender was closely connected with empire Surveys the range of responses by men to
and the creation of a global economy. The feminism and puts political theory at the

centre of men's awareness of their own imprison men particularly machismo,

masculinity. Surveys not only conservative, which is shown to be deeply masochistic
liberal, and radical views of masculinity, and self- destructive.
but also alternatives offered by the men's
Language and Masculinity, S Johnson, U H
movement, spiritual growth activists, and
Meinhof, Blackwell, 1997.
black and gay rights activists. Each of these
This is the first extensive account of male
is explored both as a theoretical perspec-
language in the construction of masculinity.
tive and as a social movement.
Feminist linguistics has come of age. Yet,
Boys: Masculinities in Contemporary in more than two decades of research,
Culture, P Smith (ed), Westview Press, 1996. male speaking-patterns have been largely
Analysing the meaning of masculinity in taken for granted. Language and Masculinity
contemporary culture, this book examines asks several important questions. What
specific Western cultural male icons have we learned specifically about men's
(Muhammad Ali, Harvey Kitel, Jean Claude language and masculinity? Is it right to
van Damme, Dan Quale, and Newt Gingrich) assume that men's use of language is the
and critically examines male stereotypes mirror image of what have been con-
such as the cowboy, the father, the homo- sidered typically female patterns of
sexual, and the black terror. Written by interaction? And in what ways does the
cultural studies scholars from depart- study of language and masculinities throw
ments of film, media studies, English, new light on assumptions about language
women's studies, and sociology, the discussion and gender?
touches on almost every conceivable issue
The Making of Anti-Sexist Men, H
concerning the complex meanings of
Christian, Routledge, 1994.
masculinity in contemporary society.
Do anti-sexist men really exist? If so, who
The Making of Men: Masculinity, Sexuality are they and what sort of life experiences
and Schooling, M Mac an Ghaill, Open produced them? Based around eight
University, 1995. interviews with eight men who have
Mac an Ghaill makes a stand as an eloquent, responded positively to feminism, this
principled, and caring contestant on the book provides a full discussion of anti-
side of the oppressed. Includes chapters on sexist male attitudes.
schools as a masculinising agency; local
student cultures of masculinity; sexuality; Male Myths and Icons: Masculinity in Popular
learning to become a heterosexual man at Culture, R Horrocks, MacMillan, 1995.
school; young women's experiences of Surveys some of the important myths of
teacher and student masculinities; masculinity in popular culture, including
sociology of schooling, equal opportunities the western, the horror film, rock music,
and anti-oppression education. and pornography. The book argues that
popular culture does not simply present
Masculinity in Crisis: Myths, Fantasies and tales of male heroism and conquest, but
Realities, R Horrocks, MacMillan, 1994. also gives highly complex and ambivalent
Argues that masculine identity in Western images of men. The hero turns into anti-
culture is in deep crisis: old forms of hero; feminine and homoerotic material
masculinity are disintegrating, while men leak in; the male is often shown as the
are struggling to establish new relation- victim. Popular culture, while expressing
ships with women and each other. Male male hegemony, also reveals images of
identity is shown to be fractured and male defeat, damage and confusion.
fragile and truncated. Many stereotypes
Resources 67

Fatherhood Reclaimed: The Making of the Shifting marriage and divorce patterns,
Modern Father, A Burges, Vermillion, 1997. transformation in the workplace, the
What are the roles of the modern father? growth of the women's movement, and
How do fathers affect their children? Are development of the men's movement. All
good fathers born or made? Do mothers these social and cultural changes have
try and shut fathers out? This book changed traditional family roles and
challenges assumptions about men as forced a re-examination of how fathers
fathers, revealing that parenting behaviour and children interact. Fatherhood is a
is shaped less by biology than by social collection of theoretical and empirical
conditioning. Men's fathering instincts, research on fathers and families. Essays
strong and innate, are often sabotaged by by scholars such as Furstenburg, Seltzer,
cultural and social expectations. Draws on and Greif, examine differences in culture,
diaries ancient and modern as well class, nationality, and custodial status.
as on research and interviews with fathers
Men, Masculinity and Social Welfare,
from all social groups, to describe what it
K Pringle, UCL Press, 1995.
has meant and means now to be a father.
The first full-length study of men and mas-
Family Man: Fatherhood, Housework culinity in relation to social welfare. Con-
and Gender Equity, S Coltrane, siders the issues of the provision and use
Oxford University Press, 1996. of welfare services by men, and provides a
According to Scott Coltrane, two-job framework for understanding ways in which
families are now the rule in America, and men can alter oppressive power relations in
fathers are much more involved in raising welfare agencies and wider society.
children, and in housework. Reactions to
Male Responsibility in Today's Africa,
these changes range from grave mis-
Population Reference Bureau, 1996.
givings to a sense of liberation and new
Transcript of a radio programme in which
possibility. Family Man explodes many
four professional men from Kenya,
common myths about shared parenting,
Malawi, Mauritania, and Nigeria discussg
proves first-hand accounts of men's and
the changing role of men in their countries.
women's feelings in two-job families, and
Sheds special insight on male attitudes
reveal some innovative solutions to the
towards women and family planning.
problem of balancing job, family, and
other commitments. 'Reputation and respectability reconsidered:
a new perspective on Afro-Caribbean
The Modernization of Fatherhood:
peasant women', Besson, J, in Land and
a Social and Political History,
Development in the Caribbean, J Besson
R LaRossa, University of Chicago, 1997. and J Momsen (eds) Macmillan, 1993.
Documents shifts in social constructions This is a long-overdue re-appraisal of
of fatherhood, both as an institution and Wilson's landmark construction of
as an individual reality. LaRossa's histor- Caribbean masculine identity (see below)
ical analysis of yesterday's fathers shows that criticises it within the context of
the unevenness of social change, and provides contemporary gender studies.
a means of understanding the continuing
diversity of fathers and families. The Barbadian male: sexual attitudes
and practices G Dann, Macmillan, 1987.
Fatherhood: Contemporary Theory, Research,
A locally-produced sociological survey of
and Social Policy, W Marsiglio (ed), from
'Bajan'masculine identity, revealing as
the Research on Men and Masculinities
much about local analytical construction,
series, SAGE Publications, 1995.
as about the people themselves. .

The power of sentiment: love, hierarchy, Identifies the influences and constraints
and the Jamaican family elite, L Douglass, which affect the way in which male
Oxford: Westview Press, 1992. workers interact with children and their
An examination of how notions of sex and parents, and with other staff. Data was
power (largely masculine-based) filter initially gathered through a questionnaire
through a very hierarchical society, based sent to male and female staff in 77 family
on fieldwork from within the national centres run by the National Children's
'elite'. Home.
White Guys: Studies in Postmodern Domination
'An evaluation of the 'creolisation'
and Difference, F Pfeil, Verso, 1995
of Trinidad East Indian adolescent
Expose contradictions in the construction
masculinity', N M Sampath, in Trinidad
of white heterosexual masculinity in
ethnicity,K A Yelvington, (ed.) London:
American popular culture. Probes such
Macmillan, 1993
topics as the rock'n'roll bodies of Bruce
Seeks to include Trinidad's Indo-Caribbean
Springsteen, Axl Rose, and the late Kurt
community within the discourse of
Cobain; the 'male rampage' films Die Hard
masculine identity, while simultaneously
and Lethal Weapon and films of 'sensitive
'de-homogenizing' the predominantly
transformation'; and the curious yet
African/Indian discourses of previous
symptomatic activities of the men's
Caribbean ethnographies.
movement whose 'rituals' Pfeil has
investigated first-hand.
Men and Their Families: Contributions of
Caribbean Men to Family Life, Caribbean My Life as a Male Anorexic, Michael
Child Development Centre, Jamaica, 1995. Krasnow, The Haworth Press, USA, 1995.
A handbook for use in schools, churches, The autobiographical account of a young
and community settings to stimulate dis- man's ongoing struggle with anorexia.
cussions of issues such as the roles Sheds light on the little-known or
Caribbean men play in child socialisation discussed problem of male anorexia.
and cultural transformation; how these
roles and the roles women play can be
Articles and papers
strengthened, harnessed, and consciously
changed; to remind men and women of 'Status of Women; Status of Men:
the importance of their beliefs and behaviour Perspectives on Masculinity, Gender and
patterns; and to extend and enrich through Development with reference to
the recording of group experiences the Bangladesh', Paper for Edinburgh
collective knowledge and literature about Conference on Boundaries and Identities,
Caribbean families and family life. S C White, University of East Anglia.
Includes guidelines for discussions of Argues that the failure of Gender and
male family roles, and step-by-step Development literature to attend to the
instructions that facilitators can use while gender dimension of male identity
planning workshops. seriously inhibits our understanding of
gender relations by leaving men vulnerable
What's He doing at the Family Centre? to stereotyping as patriarchal figures. The
The Dilemmas of Men Who Care for study of masculinity can contribute
Children, S Ruxton, National Children's significant questions to the dominant
Home Action for Children, 1993. models of gender analysis, particularly
Explores why so few men work in family those used within the gender and develop-
centres, and the dilemmas of those who do. ment context.
Resources 69

'Technology and Masculinity: The Case 'Flirting in the Factory', K A Yelvington,

of the Computer', M Lie, The European Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
Journal of Women's Studies 2,1995 (N.S.)2,1996;313333
Asks why women become 'invisible' when As a participant-observer within an urban
working with technology. Suggests that it Trinidadian electrical-goods factory,
may be because technology is so closely Yelvington analyses notions of erotic
connected to men and masculinity that identity along the axes of ethnicity, class,
activities within this field are categorised and gender.
as something else when they appear in the
heads and hands of women. Argues that 'Reputation and respectability:
in order to understand women's relation- a suggestion for Caribbean ethnography',
ship to technology we also have to study P J Wilson, Man (N.S.) 4,1969 7084.
men and masculinity. P J Wilson Crab antics, New Haven:
Yale University Press, 1973.
'Men at Work', M Hequet,
Wilson's benchmark notions of masculine
Training Magazine, January, 1995
reputation/respectability created the
Report on a men's 'efficacy seminar',
analytical paradigm around which all
designed to 'foster collaboration in today's
other Caribbean analytical ethnographies
diverse workplace, and to acknowledge
revolve, whether in agreement or not.
the unprecedented turmoil' men are expe-
riencing in their work and family lives.'
'Space for a Man: The Transformation of
The seminar included lectures on how
Masculinity in 20th Century Culture',}
men grow up, and on men's relationships
Frykman, Reproductive Health Matters 7,1996.
with their parents and peers at work. It
Looks at how current struggles to define a
emphasised communication and relation-
male identity, based in the home, lead to
ship building, 'because that's where men
highly diverse definitions of what is
need the most help.'
typically masculine. It uses Sweden not
'Men, Masculinity and Feminism', just as an example of equality, but also as
W Cloete, Siren News 3:1,1995. an illustration of how plastic and complex
Argues that the central problem about masculinity actually is.
masculinity, is that it did not exist until
'I'll Show You Mine If You'll Show Me
feminist attacks on the political and social
Yours', G W Dowsett, Reproductive Health
theory that assure men and their
Matters 7,1996.
masculinity a privileged social position;
the gay rights movement also placed Describes the growing gap between gay
masculinity in the spot light. Explores and non-gay men and women, with regard to
issues around the relationships between relations with women, differences to
gay men, feminism and gender identity. feminist thinking, concerns of daily life,
dealing with the HIV/ AIDS epidemic and
'Modern Swedish Fatherhood: sex. Challenges feminists and hetero-
The Challenges and the Opportunities', sexual men to address the issues of homo-
G Swedin, Reproductive Health Matters 7,1996. sexuality and homophobia as an integral
Discusses the consequences of changing part of understanding masculine hetero-
Swedish views about fatherhood, and sexual sex, masculinity and sexual politics.
shares some experiences of fathers'
training groups, and the ways in which 'Men's Needs and Responsibilities',
men's parenting skills are growing and special issue on Planned Parenthood
Challenges, 1996/2
bringing them closer to their children.
Articles challenge the popular image of

man being the initiator in sexuality and Achilles Heel

being in control of it. Suggests that both Biannual publication that acts as a forum
men and women suffer from the dis- for discussion of men and masculinity.
crepancy between the superman myth Achilles Heel, 10 Ashbourne Grove,
and the reality. Articles include: London, SE22 8RL, England.
masculinity and the male role in sexual
M.E.N. Magazine
health; finding the right sexual health
Its mission is to provide information,
services for young men; Arab World male
support and advocacy for men. Articles
programmes; and converting Bangladesh's
have focused on men and grief, domestic
influential religious leaders.
violence, gender and reconciliation, love
'Men in the Lives of Children', and betrayal, and reports on men's
special issue of Coordinators' Notebook: national conferences. M.E.N. Magazine
An International Resources for Early Editorial Office, 7552 31st Ave, N.E.
Childhood Development 16,1995. Seattle, WA 98115
Includes articles on men and their For a sample issue, send e-mail to
children, and gender relations and
conflicts in fathering in Africa, Asia and

NGOs, organisations and

Magazines, newsletters and
journals Men for Non-Violence (NZ) Inc
National umbrella group for organis-
Men in Families; Hombres en Familias ations throughout New Zealand which
Publishes information about fathering work with violent men in their commu-
research and intervention programs with nities helping them to change their
the aim of sharing information and abusive behaviour. Men for Non-violence
expertise in the Americas. Published in (NZ) Inc, Box 10 632, The Tefrace,
both Spanish and English. Wellington, New Zealand. Tel: (04) 499
Patrice Engle, Ph.D. California Polytech 6384. Fax: (04) 499 6387.
Institute, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407 USA.
Men for Change
Journal of Men's Studies A pro-feminist organisation for men,
Male feminist magazine available from dedicated to working with women to
the Men's Studies Press. PO Box 32, promote gender equity and end sexism
Harriman TN 37748-0032, USA and violence.
Working with Men
This quarterly newsletter looks at issues
related to masculinity and sexism, in
health, education, probation, careers, American Men's Studies Association
social work, youth work, community An organisation dedicated to teaching,
work and other professions. Focuses on research, and clinical practice in the field
practice and related issuese. Working with of men's studies. Its objectives are to
Men, c/o 320 commercial Way, London, encourage the refinement of the parameters
SE15 1QN, UK. Tel: 44 0171 732 9409 of men's studies, to generate theory and to
develop methodologies of the study of
masculinity from a perspective that eschews
Resources 71

oppression in all forms.AMSA Membership Internet resources

Office, 329 Afton Ave, Youngstown, Ohio,
USA 44512-2311. Tel: (1) 216 782 2730 Full-Time Dads The Online Magazine
Father to Father Supports and encourages men as fathers.
A national American effort to unite men in 'Through open exchanges of ideas, we can
the task of being a strong and positive force in end the isolation and become better
their children's lives. Plans to expand and fathers.' Includes reviews of books on
enhance existing father support programmes, parenting, kids, fatherhood, and articles
create new opportunities for men to come on issues such as homeschooling.
together in their role as fathers. Martha
Erickson, Univ of Minnesota, 1985 Buford Ave, m/fulltdad/index.html
St Paul, MN 55108 Tel: (1) 612 6221212 FatherNet Information on the importance of
f.html fathering and how fathers can be good
parents and parent educators. Includes
Real Men
research, policy, and opinion documents
An anti-sexist men's organisation dedicated
about the factors that support or hinder
to eliminating sexism, misogyny and male
men's involvement in the lives of children.
violence. Contrary to the popular stereo-
Includes research papers on young unwed
type about 'real men' as macho tough guy,
fathers and welfare reform encouraging
it is important for men to rethink and work
responsible fatherhood.
to change traditional masculinity. Real
Men, P.O.Box 1769 Brookline, MA 02146,
USA. Tel: (1)617 782 7838
Men Against Domestic Violence Fathering Magazine
A coalition of men working to address the An online magazine that includes articles
issue of domestic violence against women. on the joy of fathering, the importance of
Babtunde Folayemi, 814 Laguna St., Santa fathers, fathering fiction, fathering advice
and fathering in the 1990s.
Barbara, Ca. 93101
International Planned Parenthood
Foundation Working for Justice... Ending Violence
Has published reports on men's support A website for profeminist activists. Provides
of family planning and their need for more a forum for activists working to end
effective contraception; sex education violence and oppression, in particular,
from a male perspective; male hormonal profeminist men's activism to end violence
contraception; and on the male-friendly against women and children.
approach to family planning in Africa.
Regent's College, Inner Circle, Regent's 5863/
Park, London, NW1 4NS, UK PROFEM mail list
Tel: (44) (0)171 487 0741 An internet mail list that focuses on men,
Fax: (44) (0)171 487 7950 masculinities and gender relations
E-mail: promote dialogue and networking among
Population Reference Bureau, Inc men and women concerned with gender
1875 Connecticut Ave NW, Suite 520, justice and the elimination of sexism.
Washington DC 20009 Supports men's efforts towards positive
Tel: (202) 483-1100 personal and social change. Circulates
information on new initiatives, research

and resources. To subscribe, send an e-

mail message with "subscribe profem-1"
To unsubscribe, send the message
"unsubscribe profem-1 to
Canadian coast-to-coast, pro-feminist,
gay affirmative, anti-racist, male positive
network. Includes articles on topics
relating to men, gender, politics, pro-
feminism, progressive social change and
spirituality. A mensnet/
XY Magazine
An Australian nonprofit internet maga-
zine about men and masculinity. A space
for the exploration of issues of gender and
sexuality, and practical discussions of the
hows and whys of personal change. XY is
male positive, pro-feminist and pro-gay. A gorki