Jackson Katz: Violence against women – it’s a men’s issue

The term women’s issue is problematic for Jackson Katz. The term makes problems of gender violence, which include domestic violence, sexual violence, sexual harassment, and sexual abuse of children to be viewed as women’s issues that good men help to eliminate. The problems are not seen as men’s issues. He argues that gender violence issues are men’s issues. Men tend not to pay attention to gender violence issues because they are viewed as women’s issues. Many people think the term gender refers to women; hence, the term gender violence is synonymous with women problems. The dominant group gets no attention. Calling gender violence issues women issues are also part of the problem.

Katz talks of privileges of dominance. In the discussions involving gender violence issues, men and masculinity are exempted. He says that the large groups “have been rendered invisible in large measure in the discourse…” (Katz). As a result, they exclude themselves from the problems that are primarily theirs. According to Katz, the principle aspect of privilege and power is the ability to go unexamined. The dominant groups in the society are not challenged and their privileges and power are not examined. This group lacks introspection or self-awareness. The privileges of dominance relate the language.

The language used to discuss issues of gender violence excludes men. This relates to the privileges of dominance. Language demonstrates ones thinking. People use passive voice to discuss issues of gender issues. Using passive voice, for instant “Mary was beaten” (Katz) erases the perpetrator leaving Mary who is the victim. The use of passive voice shifts the focus from the perpetrator to the victim.

Katz advocate for a shift in ways of thinking about gender violence. Society views issues of gender violence as women’s issues while in reality, men are the key perpetrators of the violence. The society should change in the type of questions they ask in case of incidents of violence against women. Society needs to ask questions such as why domestic violence is rampant in many parts of the world, and the role of various institutions towards eliminating domestic violence. The answer to this question will help in perverting the violence. The society should change the habit of blaming the victim. Asking questions such as “What was she wearing at that party?” Will only intensify the situation. Society needs to shift from the cognitive structure set up to blame victims. The key focus needs to be shifted to the perpetrators. In addition, society should change the way they view men who fight against gender violence. He says that men should break the peer and cultural pressure that prevent them from fighting against gender violence (Katz).

The questions that Katz discussion creates are; should men be involved in the fight against violence against women? This raises more questions about if women will agree to work with the people who perpetrate violence. Is Katz eliminating women as possible perpetrators of gender violence? Katz argues that gender violence is a men’s issue rather than women’s issues. This means that men are the perpetrators of domestic violence. This seems to eliminate the possibility that women can sometimes provoke violence against them. Katz advocates for more men to stand up for women and not against women, yet he says they are in the front line in assaulting women. According to him, men do not pay attention to gender violence since violence is viewed as a woman’s issue.

Works cited
Katz, Jackson. “Violence against women—its a men’s issue.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, Feb 11, 2013. Web. 23 Nov. 2013.

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