Jackson Katz, educator and filmmaker

Tough Guise: Violence, Media and the Crisis in Masculinity

Thursday, September 6
7:30 p.m. – Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium
Mr. Katz explores the relationship between the social construction of masculinity and the widespread violence in American society, including the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech, Columbine, and elsewhere. Katz will provide the audience with conceptual and practical tools for reading both negative and positive media images critically, especially those connected with masculinity and violence. Co-sponsored by the sociology and anthropology departments.

Issue in Context
The past fifty years have seen serious challenges to conventional gender and sexual relations, which have reshaped people’s identities and experiences in the United States. Diversity has become more than just a statement of gender, racial, and ethnic uniqueness. People are embracing the idea of gender equality and more women are assuming positions of power and responsibility that transcend the domestic realm. Discriminated groups have been demanding their rights and claiming acceptance and visibility in society. These social movements are perceived as a threat by some men who react violently to the challenge of their dominant role. Jackson Katz points that the only field in which men still have an advantage over women is the “area of physical size and strength” which becomes paramount in proving their masculinity. This focus on force and muscle in America is borne out also in the media which has aided in shaping and solidifying the way we perceive gender. The media has reconstructed the image of a “real man” as a “tough guy”: a strong, invulnerable, and violent individual who is not afraid to prove his physical superiority. The tough guy front puts pressure on boys and men to conform to this ideal of manliness. The constant supply of images glamorizing violence and tough guy posing has had a profound impact on people’s behavior, attitudes, and choices. This phenomenon is reflected in the high rates of crime carried out generally by males against both women and men. Rampant violence in American society, as evident in the tragic school shootings in Jonesboro, or Littleton, Colorado, “needs to be understood as part of an ongoing crisis in masculinity”(Jackson Katz). Violent manhood does not have to be the norm in today’s society and change can occur by critically analyzing the current ideals of manhood, questioning their soundness, and challenging the institutions that perpetuate the myth of the “real man” as a “tough guy.”

About the Speaker
Jackson Katz has long been recognized as one of America’s leading anti-sexist male activists. An educator, author, and filmmaker, Katz is internationally recognized for his work in the field of gender violence prevention education with men and boys, particularly in the sports culture and the military. He has lectured on hundreds of college and high school campuses and has conducted hundreds of professional trainings, seminars, and workshops in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Japan.

Katz is the co-founder of the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) program, the leading gender violence prevention initiative in professional and college athletics. He is the director of the first worldwide domestic and sexual violence prevention program in the United States Marine Corps. Katz is also the creator and co-creator of educational videos for college and high school students, including Tough Guise: Violence, Media, and the Crisis in Masculinity (2000), Wrestling With Manhood (2002), and Spin the Bottle: Sex, Lies, and Alcohol (2004). His new book is titled The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help (2006).

Related Links
www.jacksonkatz.com Jackson Katz personal website
http://www.sportinsociety.org/vpd/mvp.php Mentors in Violence Prevention website
http://www.mediaed.org/ The Media Education Foundation – Challenging the Media
http://www.themachoparadox.com/ “The Macho Paradox – Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help”
http://www.xyonline.net/links.shtml Comprehensive collection of links and resources on men, gender, sexualities, and feminism