NI 444 - The changing face of masculinity - July, 2011

NI 444 - July, 2011

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The changing face of masculinity

A note from the editor

Nikki van der Gaag

Obsessed with women's rights?

‘Why are you so obsessed with women’s rights?’ my son George used to moan as I had another rant about rising rates of domestic violence or lack of equal pay. He paid me back as a teenager by putting a poster of naked women on his wall, knowing that it would provoke me. But his question masked a feeling that somehow I was not interested in stories of boys being treated badly, or men who were suffering, and he felt this keenly because he too was a boy.

Since then we have had many discussions and I think he understands much more why I feel women’s rights are so important. But he had a point. So recently I have been taking his advice and looking at this from a different perspective – a male one.

I have been talking to men from different countries about what it means to be a man and how this is changing. Men who want change, not only to ensure that we live in a more equal world, but because inequality damages both sexes. I also talked to women who were suspicious of the growing trend of ‘men for gender equality’. After all, they say, women are still abused, raped and discriminated against. Too right. Squaring this circle is never going to be easy. Which is why I wanted to explore the issue here.

There are other fascinating debates in this magazine, too – for example, the argument between Laurie Pycroft and Helen Marston about whether animal testing is needed to advance medical research. Danny Chivers writes about how big companies are moving in on biofuels, contributing to the global spike in food prices and depriving the Majority World of much-needed land. And Adam Beach, Canadian First Nations actor, talks about his new film Cowboys and Aliens.

Nikki van der Gaag for the New Internationalist co-operative.
www.newint.org

The big story

Serious business: young people in discussion with the author in El Salvador.

Serious business: young people in discussion with the author in El Salvador.

Photo: Nikki van der Gaag

Cooking up a storm

Change is brewing among men all over the world. Nikki van der Gaag investigates the promise this holds for both sexes.

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How much have men changed in the past decade? Not much, if you ask most women.

But something is clearly afoot. In the US and Canada, there is a panic about ‘the end of men’, who according to an article in the Atlantic Monthly, are becoming redundant with an ‘unprecedented role reversal now under way’.1 Newsweek ran a cover story on ‘reinventing masculinity’, analysing assertions that women are taking over the world – or at least the US.2 And Canada’s Glob...




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