Jackson Katz – some fundamental questions

For many, it was Jackson Katz that made the revelation of men that are erased from conversations about violence against women – synonymous with ‘women’s issues’, the correlations between which are drawn in dominant Western discourses. This was a deeper delving into the subject of sexual harassment, rape and domestic violence – highlighting how we think about these issues, in relation to how we act about them. Katz then gave the example of language syntax, by comparing ‘John beat Mary’, with ‘Mary was a battered woman’, erasing John from the context.

There are numerous reasons for the popularity of Katz’s speech, many of which are centred on the conflicting issues it brings to the forefront. Is this a process of oppressing men by focusing on male acts of violation? Should we be focusing more on non-feminist oriented studies, studies of women that abuse male partners physically and emotionally, or would this further fuel gender inequality as a ‘women’s issue’?

“But for the record, my talk was centrally about men’s violence against women and children, and the fact that some men are clearly upset by that (“what about all the men abused by women?!”) is yet further evidence of some men’s discomfort with their needs and agendas not being center-stage 24/7.”

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