This Week on Full Frame: The Plight of Men

Full Frame

What does it mean to be a man in today’s world? Well, when Full Frame set out to answer that question on this week’s episode, there is one thing we learned for sure: it’s a complicated question!

Traditional definitions of “masculinity” are being challenged in today’s world as shifting gender roles and greater gender equality take center stage. At the same time, although women seem to be encouraged to take on and shatter gender stereotypes, men face much more stigma for embracing non-traditional roles. So, how do our perceptions on gender empower men vis-à-vis women? And is a perspective shift required for the sake of the next generation of men and women coming of age in this era where social taboos are being challenged at every turn?

Tune into Full Frame on CCTV America at 7:00 PM EDT on Saturday, May 25, 2015. Or watch the live stream of the program here at www.cctvamericalive.com

Jackson Katz: The Macho Paradox

Jackson Katz

Jackson Katz

When Jackson Katz asks a room full of women what they do to avoid sexual assault, the list of answers he receives is endless. Some women have 911 on speed dial. Others check the backseat of their cars before opening the car door. Some use a male voice on their outgoing voicemail message or have mace attached to their keychains. When Katz poses this same question to men, the room, unsurprisingly, remains silent.

The result of this workshop activity begs the question: why is it that women are taught to live in fear of violence and men are not? Katz is the founder of Mentors in Violence Prevention, a gender violence prevention and education program that is trying to reshape the conversation surrounding that question. Rather than teaching men that they are at the core of the problem, Katz encourages men to see themselves as part of the solution.

In his book, The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help, Katz approaches gender-based violence not by blaming men or victimizing women, but by examining the root of gender-related attitudes. Abuse against women is and should be more widely viewed as a men’s issue, argues Katz. While female voices obviously play a large role in advocating for gender equality and safety, Katz hopes that the modern man will see the value of lending his voice to promoting widespread understanding of the issues that women face on a day-to-day basis.

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Katz also discusses how typically male dominated industries, such as professional football, are evolving in the way they deal with gender-based violence. He cites the NFL’s response to the infamous Ray Rice incident as an example of how the public reception of domestic abuse is evolving for the better. Instead of attempting to maintain neutrality, as large sports corporations often do in times of scandal, the NFL and the public openly condemned Rice for his actions. While condemning violence against females might seem like an obvious choice, Katz hopes that this reactionary change can create a ripple effect throughout the sports industry.

This week on Full Frame, Katz sits down with Mike Walters in the studio to offer a unique perspective on the fight for women’s rights through a male prism.

Follow Jackson Katz on Twitter: @jacksontkatz

Field Notes: Shifting Gender Roles

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Why is it that young girls are so often encouraged to play sports, be tomboys, or run for president, but young boys are never rarely encouraged to play with dolls, embrace femininity, or become stay-at-home dads? It’s an often overlooked double standard in today’s society, and many men say they find it oppressive.

In Orange County, California, 8-year-old CJ Duran plays with dolls, wears skirts, and adores the color pink. While CJ loves playing with girly toys and wearing heeled sandals, it may come as a surprise to many to learn that CJ is a boy. He identifies himself as gender non-conformist, meaning that he still prefers masculine pronouns and is not transgender, but simply prefers the societally-defined “feminine” things in life. With unwavering support from his parents, CJ is redefining what it means to be a young boy in the modern world.

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When CJ first decided that he preferred “girly stuff” over “boy stuff”, his mother, Lori, went online to do some research. When she realized that there were very few resources for parents who were learning to raise gender-nonconforming children, she was inspired to start her own blog, Raising my Rainbow. While embracing and documenting CJ’s journey has led the Duran’s to experience some alienation in their community, their journey has been inspiring to many.

The Duran’s are not alone in their quest to redefine gender norms. In this week’s field story, Full Frame contributor Sandra Hughes brings examines how traditional gender roles are being challenged in the most unconventional ways.
Follow Raising my Rainbow on Twitter: @RaisingRainbow

Shira Tarrant: Men Speak Out

Shira Tarrant

Shira Tarrant

Shira Tarrant is currently Associate Professor in the department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at California State University Long Beach. When Professor Tarrant was teaching women’s studies at an East Coast college, she realized her readings primarily focused on the female approach to sexism and feminism.

Shira Tarrant5

The number of male students in her classes was constantly increasing, and Tarrant hoped to find a book that offered a different approach to the issues she was teaching. Her search for such a book was unsuccessful, and thus she was inspired to publish Men Speak Out: Views on Gender, Sex, and Power. The book offers unique perspectives on masculinity and feminism from the voices of men around the world.

And while her classes are focused on gender studies, Professor Tarrant hopes to teach her students that men can use their position in society to redefine women’s roles, rather than conform to their stereotypes. Gender expression, Tarrant posits, has a range, and masculinity and femininity do not need to remain tied to their traditional definitions.

This week, Shira Tarrant sits down with Mike Walters to discuss men’s roles in society, and why feminism is an issue for all genders.

Follow Shira Tarrant on Twitter: @shiratarrant

Anthony Keedi: A Man’s World

Anthony Keedi

Anthony Keedi

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.

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, says Keeni, thus making it more difficult for many to accept his mission. 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.

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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.

This week on Full Frame, Anthony Keedi speaks with Mike Walters from Beirut about his overarching goals to redefine deeply traditional views on gender roles in the Middle East.

Follow ABAAD on Twitter: @ABAADmena

Full Frame Close Up: Humans of New York Revisited

The Watkins family.

The Watkins family.

When CCTV America cameraman Duane Watkins traveled to New York City on assignment in 2013 to film the Full Frame Close Up on Brandon Stanton, the man behind photography blog Humans of New York, he didn’t expect anything out of the ordinary. It was just another day on the job, but it changed his family’s life forever.

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When Duane and his wife Kristen discovered that they could not have children, they didn’t give up their dreams of starting a family. After realizing that profound love doesn’t only stem from biology, the two chose to adopt from Ethiopia.

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Their daughter, Chaltu, brought them so much joy that they were eager to adopt again and expand their family. As anyone who is familiar with the adoption process will tell you, adopting a child is not an inexpensive endeavor. Although the Watkins’ were ready to bring home a sibling for Chaltu, they simply did not have the finances necessary to move to the next step.

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Upon hearing Duane’s story, Brandon Stanton decided to put the power of the wildly popular HONY community to good use. With Duane and Kristen’s permission, he offered to share their story on HONY and ask followers for donations that would help them bring their son home. What followed was a fairytale series of events that truly celebrated the generosity of the human spirit.

This week’s Full Frame Close Up is a story that is very dear to all of us who work on this program; it also serves as a reminder of the profound joy that can be found in family and that the kindness of strangers is not a relic of a bygone era.
Humans of NY on Twitter: @humansofny