Anthony Keedi: A man’s world

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Anthony Keedi calls himself a “reformed macho man,” and for good reason. The Beirut-based gender equality activist was feeling oppressed by his society’s definition of masculinity. He saw that within its culture, men are not only expected to be the heads of their households, and to approach challenging issues with aggression, they are also expected to be infallibly tough.
Seeking to change the way men treat women and what society finds acceptable as “masculine behavior,” Keedi now serves as the Engaging Men Program Manager at the ABAAD Resource Center for Gender Equality in Beirut, Lebanon.

Anthony Keedi: A man’s world

Anthony Keedi: A man’s world

Anthony Keedi calls himself a “reformed macho man,” and for good reason. The Beirut-based gender equality activist was feeling oppressed by his society’s definition of masculinity. He saw that within its culture, men are not only expected to be the heads of their households, and to approach challenging issues with aggression, they are also expected to be infallibly tough. Anthony Keedi spoke with Mike Walters from Beirut about his overarching goals to redefine deeply traditional views on gender roles in the Middle East.

At the ABAAD, Keedi patiently leads several initiatives that help men and boys view the societal role of women in a different light. Due to the ongoing conflicts in Lebanon and the surrounding region, patience is certainly required. With conflict comes social regression, thus making it more difficult for many to accept his mission.

“Conflict is the antithesis of peace, and equality cannot exist without peace,” says Keedi. “And these gender roles are so traditional and centuries long, that often people will fall into a role that they are aware of in that time of fear, rather than attempting that progress.”

He has, however, not been without success. Recently, ABAAD brought together the leaders of Lebanon’s four most prominent religious sects, who collectively released a statement condemning violence against women. In a culture where abuse against females is not uncommon, the impact was not insignificant.

ABAAD has also opened up several resource centers for men in Lebanon where men are free to learn about redefining themselves outside of their traditional societal roles. And in addition restructuring the gender-related ideals of men, Keedi also works extensively with youth across the region. He hopes that beginning the conversation early can help redefine the future of gender ideologies.

Anthony Keedi spoke with Mike Walters from Beirut about his overarching goals to redefine deeply traditional views on gender roles in the Middle East.

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