The ManKind Project USA launches a campaign for men stepping up in response to the #MeToo movement.
#IAmResponsible reflects the New Warrior’s commitment to our values of accountability, integrity, authenticity, generosity, respect, multicultural awareness, leadership, and compassion, and reflects the MKP USA mission statement:
“MKP USA creates a world where men act on their individual and shared responsibility for the future of humanity by initiating and supporting men on a path of emotional maturity, spiritual awareness and deepening community.”
It also reflects the Institutional Stand Against Abuse that MKP took in 2009.
#IAmResponsible takes a stand, that as men committed to individual and collective evolution, we take responsibility for creating the society we want to live in and share for the generations to come. We are responsible for the GOLD and the SHADOW of masculinity, for the gentleness, fierce caring, and protection, AND for the abuse, violence, and domination. We are responsible as creators and as role models. We are responsible as victims and as perpetrators. We recognize the pervasive systemic factors that promote abuse of power and teach harmful gender roles to both boys and girls.
The letters below are from the MKP USA Past Chairman – Julien Devereux, Current Chairman – José Antonio Mondelo, and Chair Elect – Ed Gurowitz.
Thank you to all the incredible New Warriors who have stood up in support of women and men saying #MeToo. Thank you to those men who have shared their own #MeToo stories. Thank you to those men and women who have taken ownership of the ways they have participated in the culture of harassment, abuse, and objectification the movement is calling out.
MKP USA Communications & Marketing Director
How ‘me too’ is real for me.
MKP USA Chairman
My heart breaks, and my resolve to continue being part of the solution grows.
As a man, and Chairman of the ManKind Project USA, I am heartened to see the outpouring of compassion and empathy, the energy, and also the concrete statements of commitment and accountability from so many MKP men in response to the #metoo movement.
What I would like to see is men supporting all the people coming forward, with deep listening, compassion and presence. I hear you, I see you, I believe you, and I support your speaking out. I am also deeply impacted by the number of courageous men sharing their own #metoo stories, and by those men standing up to be accountable for their actions.
#IAmResponsible. I am responsible for encouraging my daughter and the women in my life to speak out and hold me and other men accountable.
I’m responsible for creating male culture that honors men and women, free from abuse.
I also want to honor the woman of color who began the MeToo campaign over 10 years ago, Tarana Burke, who founded the “Me Too” movement in 2006 because she “wanted to do something to help women and girls – particularly women and girls of color – who had also survived sexual violence.” (learn more.) It is easy to lose track of the people on whose shoulders we stand. It’s right that the movement she began is now getting the recognition it deserves.
by Ed Gurowitz
You’ve seen it by now – it started with a simple statement:
If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote “Me too.” as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.
That’s all it took to open the floodgates – thousands of women have said “Me too,” and some have told their stories as well.
And then some men began to step up. “I believe you.” “I hear you.” “I’m sorry” and to own their history of harassment, assault, and even rape with #ItWasMe and other hashtags.
It may be that an unintended consequence of the #MeToo campaign will be that men began to own their history of domination toward women.
I have to say, I am responsible from the male side – I’ve harassed, I’ve assaulted, I’ve coerced, I’ve refused to take “no” for an answer until women were worn down by my insistence. To all the women who have been in my life, I say I am sorry, please forgive me, I thank you, and I love you.
If you are a man who has related romantically or sexually to women, and you are willing to take an honest, no-nonsense look at your life, I predict you will find that in some way, you have done this too.
So what does this mean – does it mean “men are dogs,” or “boys will be boys” or some other platitude on either side of a blame-based argument? I don’t think so. Is it toxic masculinity? Without question. But where does it come from? The answer to that question lies, I believe, in two intertwined concepts – internalized oppression and internalized domination.
Internalized oppression is a phenomenon experienced by members of both groups, those who are oppressed, and those who benefit from oppression. The term internalized domination is sometimes used to further differentiate the impact of the phenomenon on the two groups.
Internalized domination means that the members of a dominant group come to hold their dominant status as true. That is, they are dominant because they are superior, and this is held not as a belief, but as a fact. In a complementary phenomenon, internalized oppression means that the members of a subordinate group see their subordinate status as true, and even see themselves and others in the group as the dominant group sees them.
Combine those two complementary phenomena and you have a perfect recipe for victimhood – men are “victims of their biology” and women are “victims of men.”
Women standing up and speaking out breaks the rules of internalized oppression. It is an important action in stopping the violence. Men owning their internalized domination – recognizing it, taking responsibility for the fact that it is a myth and not a fact, committing to a healthy masculinity that disavows dominance, and acting accordingly to stop the cycle of violence, along with the actions of women who stand up, will go a long ways toward ending the cycle.
That is what I believe we men in MKP are about. One good man with other good men creating a new, healthy masculinity. As it says in the context statement, “Today, right here, we are co-creating a new way of being for men.”
Men we have met the enemy and it is us
by Julien Devereux
When I heard Donald Trump’s sidebar locker room chat that went viral, I had to ask myself two questions. Are there any videos of me out there in Cyberspace that convict me as thoroughly as Trump’s did for him. I don’t think so, at least not after 34 years sober. The second question: Is Trump telling the truth, is this just “locker room” talk that men engage in and it is normal. I have to say that in my generation, Boomers, growing up in the 50’s and 60’s, yes, it was. Certainly, the jock, redneck mentality engaged in this but even those of us who were hip, slick and cool, disrespected women, used new age angles to get sexual favors, bribed with drugs, backstage passes, etc. I would have to say “me too”.
I have stumbled upon what I think is the new definition of pornography. It used to always imply that sex was being exploited to make money. Someone’s sexuality, usually a woman but now men as well and sadly children have always been exploited this way. To me what is pornographic is to take something sacred, like the human body, and commodify it in order to sell it, buy it, achieve power over another person. In fact, pornography cannot be created without demonstrating a system of power of one perspective over another. It is always about power, sometimes about sex.
The #metoo movement is evidence of rising feminine power that needs to be respected and honored. These are the women we have been waiting for that won’t let us get away with what we have done for centuries, exploit them without consent. A study revealed that couples who engage in bondage and S&M sex games actually do well with consent. They ask each other what they like and what feels good. No assumption that you can just “grab them” and if you are rich and famous get away with it. This is all about power, not about sex.
The entitled patriarchal notion that I can treat any person or parts of their bodies as if they were a commodity that belongs to me is long overdue to be discarded. In my own self development as a married man of 44 years and a father of two daughters, I have been educated by women who care enough about me and themselves to not let me get away with this stuff anymore.
In my early work career, I was approached sexually twice by older women in positions of authority over me. I politely ignored or declined those advances and received no retributions. In fact, one of the women was terminated. So in the world of sexual exploitation in the workplace, even as a victim I had privilege. The women who approached me were women who weren’t so certain that the dominant culture around them, as in Hollywood or Politics, would provide them a hiding place and turn a blind eye to the things that were going on. That’s changing as I write this.
The women who are coming forward, some my contemporaries, now have enough financial and or political power that they cannot be hushed up or bought off. These are the women that will help us men find what we have been looking for, a daring way out of our shamed sexuality that prevents us from being what we want and what they want: grown mature men.