Date of this Version
Published in Journal of Gender Studies 26:4 (2017), pp 479-480. doi 10.1080/09589236.2017.1316893
In their book, Some men: feminist allies & the movement to end violence against women, Michael A. Messner, Max A. Greenberg and Tal Peretz outline the history and contributions by men to feminist, gendered, anti-violence activism. As empirical research, Some men is a formative work in two key ways: it is a historical overview of men’s place in feminist activism, and an inspiration for men looking into how to get involved.
The authors provide an in-depth examination of the kinds of anti-violence work men do and how that work has shifted over time, by relying on 64 life history interviews (52 men, 12 women) with North American anti-violence activists between the ages of 20 and 70. Taking an intersectional approach, the authors also describe how race, class, and sexual orientation shape these allies’ identities and their work. For example, most of the older men in their sample began by starting therapeutic men’s groups, primarily dominated by white men. Messner, Greenberg and Peretz further examine how and when men of colour made their way into the fold, followed by men of differing sexual orientations. Reasons for entrance into anti-violence work also varied. For a number of men in the earlier cohorts, it was the intimacy of experiencing or witnessing sexual violence first-hand that inspired their vested interest in advocacy work. Subsequent generations of allies, however, often found initial motivation from established institutions – academic coursework and community groups.