The Untold Story of the Pro-Feminist Men's Movement
edited by Rob A. Okun; foreword by Michael S. Kimmel
published 2014 • 6" x 9" • 464 pages • black & white photos
“Voice Male show[s] a way for men to live that is centered not on their masculinity, but on their humanity… many of the authors… such as Jane Fonda, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and Eve Ensler will be widely recognized. Chapters run the gamut of issues related to men’s identity, some of them dealing directly with men’s relationships with women or support of the women’s movement, while others address health, recovery from abuse, fatherhood, race, and GBTQ matters. Individual articles are generally strong, and vary from quite general discussions of men’s responsibility to stop violence against women, to very specific anecdotes. By uniting these diverse topics into a single work, Okun shows that the stereotypical tough, uncaring masculine ideal is unhealthy for society. Readers interested in gender issues will appreciate the strength of the individual articles and the book’s powerful message.”
“A very worthwhile introduction to the profeminist movement among men. It will reward both casual readers and serious students of the subject.”
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ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT SOCIAL JUSTICE MOVEMENTS YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF
VOICE MALE: The Untold Story of the Profeminist Men’s Movement takes you inside one of the most important social justice movements you may never have heard of—the social transformation of masculinity. Although it’s been underway since the late 1970s, it still largely remains under the radar of much of society.
Thematically arranged essays by leading experts and moving first-person stories illustrate how a growing movement of changing men has discovered in feminism the basis for redefining masculinity and creating healthier lives.
The longtime editor of Voice Male magazine, Rob Okun, introduces readers to men examining contemporary manhood from a variety of perspectives—from boys on the journey to manhood to men overcoming violence; from fatherhood and mentoring to navigating life as a man of color; as a gay man, and as a survivor. The voices of a chorus of women can also be heard in these pages.
Long recognized for articulating a hopeful vision of the future of men, Okun sensitively presents a vivid portrait sure to be accessible to a wide audience interested in what is happening with men. His many years as a gender justice activist have not just deepened his skill as a chronicler of the profeminist men’s movement but also helped to strengthen his voice as a spokesperson articulating men’s second act. Voice Male offers compelling evidence of a new direction for men and illuminates what’s around the bend on the path to gender justice.
Rob A. Okun is a widely published writer addressing issues related to men and masculinity. Editor of Voice Male magazine, he is former executive director of the Men’s Resource Center for Change, one of the oldest men’s centers in the U.S. A member of the board of the New England Center for Women in Transition, he maintains a psychotherapy practice in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Advance praise for Voice Male
“Finally a book for women to feel hopeful about men. Longtime editor of Voice Male magazine Rob Okun and a chorus of contributing writers chronicle a movement of men standing with women in the struggle to end violence against women and girls. But this brave book does more than that, revealing an emerging new man culture where men are reclaiming their tears and their hearts as they join women in creating a world where we are all safe and free.”
—Eve Ensler, playwright of The Vagina Monologues; author of I Am an Emotional Creature and In the Body of the World.
“When our children and grandchildren ask us what men were doing when women were changing the world in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, we can tell them to pick up this book. Voice Male accomplishes what The New York Times and virtually every other mainstream media organization has regrettably failed to do: telling the story of men—across class, race and sexual orientation—who responded to feminism not with defensiveness and hostility, but with support, solidarity, and a recognition that all along part of the program was about transforming men’s lives, relationships and health for the better. Voice Male deserves to take its place alongside such classics as Sisterhood is Powerful and The Feminist Papers as both a living document and a social history of these consequential times.”
—Jackson Katz, Ph.D., author of The Macho Paradox and creator of the award-winning film Tough Guise
“This book is a critical tool in dismantling what’s oppressive in male culture.”
—Renner Wunderlich & Margaret Lazarus, producer/directors of the Academy-award winning Defending Our Lives, Rape is and Rape Culture
“This rich compilation will inspire men from a range of backgrounds to think more deeply about what it means to be a man. From working to end gender-based violence and challenging destructive media messages, to examining their roles as fathers and partners, Voice Male is an invaluable tool for removing the obstacles that keep men from claiming their full humanity.”
—Judy Norsigian, Our Bodies Ourselves
“We are unaware of some of the most powerful ideas that shape our lives because they seem second-nature and obvious, which is all the more reason to hold them up for scrutiny, to turn them upside-down and inside-out so that we can see what they really are. Masculinity is one of those ideas, and anyone looking for a place to begin this journey of discovery can do no better than the rich collection of voices contained in this book.”
—Allan Johnson, author of The Gender Knot: Unraveling Our Patriarchal Legacy and Privilege, Power and Difference
“Rob Okun is a founding father of the pro-feminist men’s movement in this country, a leading voice in the urgent struggle to end gender violence around the world. In this important book, he combines decades of boots-on-the-ground activism with worldly-wise, psychological insight, presenting a chorus of men also fighting the good fight in this ongoing conflict. Profound, inspiring, and full of surprises, this anthology is a must-read for anyone committed to peace—and sanity—in the century to come.”
—Mark Matousek, author of Ethical Wisdom: The Search for a Moral Life, When You’re Falling, Dive and Sex Death Enlightenment
“Voice Male chronicles the contemporary profeminist men’s movement, providing a documentary record of activism, engagement, and personal reflection. Under Rob Okun’s able stewardship, Voice Male has provided an outlet for the full range of men’s engagement, from moral outrage to personal anguish, from political passions to, well, passion itself. At its best, VM has been a journey, not a destination, a shared space in which men could listen to each other, listen to the women who shared their experiences in its pages, and, most of all, feel heard by others. It has also been a place to explore the meaning of gender equality, or feminism, in our personal lives…”
—from the foreword by Michael Kimmel
“…great richness of detail and variety of context… Voice Male is much more than a litany of predictably formatted success stories… The variety of situation and tone coloring here is rich, deep and surprising; the book even includes poetry. Voices that chronicle broad social patterns mingle with other voices speaking intimately, drawing the reader in to situations not often discussed… The voices in this book need to be heard not only by other men but by women, to whom it may come as a revelation that men feel as frightened and oppressed as many of their mothers, sisters, partners and friends. To hear these voices is to see a vast landscape of fear—the fear that pushes men into controlling, dominating and sometimes violent behavior—but also a vast landscape of possibility.”
— The Valley Advocate
“An often overlooked aspect of contemporary feminism has been the changes wrought in men, or at least in those men who truly want to shift gender expectations and be more fully human. Rob Okun, a psychotherapist and the longtime editor of Voice Male magazine, celebrates these men in a 140-entry anthology… The volume serves as an excellent introduction to the sometimes contradictory, and typically thorny, activism of profeminist men and includes personal essays, research, poems, and polemics that range from raw personal accounts to scholarly commentary… It’s racially, culturally, and sexually diverse, with articles written by those who identify as gay, straight, bisexual and transgender… [Voice Male] is a potent, thought-provoking and insightful introduction to late 20th and early 21st century profeminism and an important resource for those wishing to end sexism once and for all.”
—Eleanor Bader, co-author of Targets of Hatred: Anti-Abortion Terrorism
“[Editor Rob A.] Okun chronicles how the [profeminist] men’s movement developed out of the women’s movement four decades ago. He writes, ‘Profeminist men hold the simple “radical” belief that gender and sexual equality are fundamental democratic goals and that women and men should each have the same rights and opportunities.” The most provocative section [of the book] focuses on the 2012 mass murder of children in Newtown, Conn. Writers ask questions about how the media framed the story: Why do so few people draw attention to the fact that 90 percent of the mass school shootings in the nation in the last 30 years were perpetrated by white men? Why isn’t there a national conversation about the link between men and violence and how boys can be raised differently?”
—Jan Gardner, Boston Globe
“The ‘gender justice movement,’ as Rob Okun calls it in his introduction to this essential book, is in fact almost entirely about women confronting misogyny, sexism, patriarchal power, domestic and sexual abuse and assault, and economic and political inequality. This book acknowledges that history... But... at its heart, [Voice Male] encapsulates... the growing pro-feminist men’s movement, a movement that seeks men's accountability for change, while bringing actual support to what women have rightfully sought: respect and equality.”
—Stephen McArthur, Vermont Woman
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