Jackson Katz - Violence against Women—It's a Men's Issue [tekst, tłumaczenie i interpretacja piosenki]

Wykonawca: Jackson Katz
Album: TED Talks
Data wydania: 2013-02-11
Gatunek: Poetry
Producent: TED Talks

Tekst piosenki

Before I begin my presentation, I want to say it's a great honor for me to be part of a program with so many impressive women, and thank you to the organizers to invite me to be part of this. It's important that I say-- and that men say, when we do the work that we do, especially in the field of gender violence prevention that I'm going to talk with you about this morning-- it's important that we acknowledge that the growing movement men in the United States in a multicultural sense, and all around the world in an international sense, the growing movement of men who are standing up and speaking out about men's violence against women and going into parts a male culture that have historically been either apathetic about or openly hostile to women's efforts to engage them. That movement of men is indebted to the leadership of women on a personal level, on a professional level, on a political level, on an intellectual level, on every level. Women built these movements, and these are movements that are affecting in a positive way everybody; not just women and girls, but also men and boys. And oftentimes, men like myself get a lot of credit and public acclaim for doing the work that women have been doing for a long time. So, one of the ways that we can use the spotlight is to thank women and honor women's leadership going forward today, tomorrow, and into the future.

Now, having said that, I'm going to share with you a paradigm shift and perspective on the issues of gender violence, sexual assault, domestic violence, relationship abuse, sexual harassment, sexual abuse of children: that whole range of issues that are referred to in shorthand as "gender violence issues". They've been seen as women's issues that some good men help out with. But I have a problem with that frame, and I don't accept it. I don't see these as women's issues that some good men help out with. In fact, I'm going to argue that these are men's issues, first and foremost. Now, obviously they're also women's issues, so I appreciate that. But calling gender violence a women's issue is part of the problem, for a number of reasons.

The first is that it gives men an excuse not to pay attention. Right? A lot of men hear the term "women's issues" we tend to tune it out we think, "Hey, I'm a guy. That's for the girls. That's for the women." And a lot of men literally don't get beyond the first sentence as a result. It's almost like a chip in our brain is activated, and the neural pathways take our attention in a different direction when we hear the term "women's issues". This is also true, by the way, for the word gender, because a lot of people hear the word "gender" and they think it means women. So they think that "gender issues" is synonymous with "women's issues"; there's some confusion about the term "gender". And actually let me illustrate that confusion by way of analogy. Let's talk for a moment about race. In the U.S., when we hear the word "race", a lot of people think that means African American, Latino, Asian American, Native American, South Asian, Pacific Islander, on and on. A lot of people, when they hear the word "sexual orientation", think it means gay; lesbian; bisexual. And a lot of people, when they hear the word "gender", think it means women. In each case, the dominant group doesn't get paid attention to. Right? As if White people don't have some sort of racial identity or belong to some racial category or construct; as if heterosexual people don't have a sexual orientation; as if men don't have a gender.

This is one of the ways that dominant systems maintain and reproduce themselves, which is to say the dominant group is really challenged to even think about its dominance, because that's one of the key characteristics. A power and privilege: the ability to go unexamined, lacking introspection. In fact, being rendered invisible in large measure in the discourse about issues that are primarily about us. This is amazing how this works in domestic and sexual violence: how men have been largely erased from so much of the conversation about a subject that is centrally about men. And I mean illustrate what I'm talking about by using the old tech. I'm old school on some fundamental regards. I make films, I work with high-tech, but I'm still old school as an educator, and I want to share with you this exercise that illustrates on the sentence structure level how the way that we think, literally at the way that we use language, conspires to keep our attention off of men. This is about domestic violence in particular, but you can plug in other analogues.

This comes from the work of the feminist linguist Julia Penelope. It starts with a very basic English sentence: "John beat Mary." That's a good English sentence; "John" is the subject, "beat" is the verb, "Mary"'s the object; good sentence. Now we're going to move to the second sentence, which says the same thing in the passive voice: "Mary was beaten by John", and now a whole lot has happened in one sentence; we've gone from "John beating Mary" to "Mary was beaten by John". We shifted our focus in one sentence from John to Mary, and you can see John is very close to the end of the sentence, close to dropping off the map of our psychic plane. The third sentence, "John" is dropped, and we have "Mary was beaten", and now it's all about Mary; we're not even thinking about John; it's totally focused on Mary. Over the past generation, a term we've used synonymous with "beaten" is "battered"; so we have "Mary was battered." And the final sentence in this sequence, flowing from the others, is "Mary is a battered woman." So now Mary's very identity, "Mary is a battered woman," is what was done to her by John in the first instance. What we demonstrate is that John has, long ago, left the conversation.

Now, those of us who work in domestic and sexual violence fields know that victim blaming is pervasive in this realm, which is to say blaming the person to whom something was done rather than the person who did it. And we say things like, "Why do these women go out with these men?" "Why are they attracted to these men?" "Why do you keep going back?" "What was she wearing at that party? What a stupid thing to do." "Why was she drinking with that group of guys in that hotel room?"; this is victim blaming. And there are numerous reasons for it, but one of them is that our whole cognitive structure is set up to blame victims. This is all unconscious. Our cognitive structure is set up to ask questions about women and women's choices—what they're doing, thinking, wearing—and I'm not going to shout down people who ask questions about women. Okay? It's a legitimate thing to ask. But let's be clear: asking questions about Mary is not going to get us anywhere, in terms of preventing violence. We have to ask a different set of questions. You can see where I'm going with this, right?

The questions are not about Mary; they're about John. The questions include things like, "Why does John beat Mary? "Why is domestic violence still a big problem in the United States and all over the world?" What's going on? "Why do so many men abuse physically, emotionally, verbally, and other ways the women and girls and the men and boys that they claim to love?" What's going on with that? "Why do so many adult men sexually abuse little girls and little boys?" "Why is that a common problem in our society and all over the world today?" "Why do we hear over and over again about new scandals erupting in major institutions like the Catholic Church or the Penn State football program, or the Boy Scouts of America? On and on and on; and local communities all over the country and all over the world, right? We hear about it all the time: sexual abuse of children. What's going on with men? "Why do so many men rape women in our society and around the world?" Why do so many men rape other men?"

What is going on with men?, and what is the role of various institutions in our society that are helping to produce abusive men at pandemic rates? Because this isn't about individual perpetrators; that's a naïve way to understanding what is a much deeper and more systematic social problem. The perpetrators aren't these monsters who crawl out of the swamp who come into town and do their nasty business and then retreat into the darkness; that's a very naïve notion, right? Perpetrators are much more normal than that and everyday than that. So the question is, "What are we doing here in our society, in the world? What are the role of various institutions in helping to produce abusive men? What is the role of religious belief systems? The sports culture? The pornography culture? The family structure? Economics, and how that intersects with race and ethnicity, and how that intersects? How does all this work? Once we start making those kind of connections and asking those important big questions, then we can talk about how we can be transformative. In other words, how can we do something differently? How can we change the practices? How can we change the socialization of boys and the definitions of manhood that lead to these current outcomes. These are the kind of questions that we need to be asking and the kind of work we need to be doing, but if we're endlessly focused on what women are doing and thinking, in relationships or elsewhere, we're not going to get to that piece.

Now, I understand that a lot of women who have been trying to speak out about these issues today and yesterday and for years and years often get shouted down for their efforts. They called nasty names like "male basher" and "man hater" and the disgusting and offensive-- "Feminazi". Right? You know what all of this is about? It's called "Kill the messenger". It's because the women who are standing up and speaking up for themselves and for other women, as well as for men and boys, it's a statement to them to sit down and shut up: "Keep the current system in place, because we don't like it when people rock the boat, we don't like when people challenge our power; you better sit down and shut up" basically. And thank goodness that women haven't done that. Thank goodness that we live in a world where there's so much women's leadership that can counteract that.

But one of the powerful roles that men can play in this work is that we can say some things that sometimes women can't say, or better yet we can be heard saying some things that women often can't be heard saying. Now, I appreciate-- that's a problem, it's sexism, but it's the truth. And so one of the things that I say to men-- and my colleagues and I always say this-- is we need more men who have the courage and the strength to start standing up and saying some of this stuff, and standing with women; not against them, pretending that somehow this is a battle between the sexes another kinds of nonsense; we live in the world together.

And by the way, one of the things that really bothers me about some the rhetoric against feminist and other battered women, domestic, and rape crisis movements around the world is that somehow, like I said, that their anti-male, but what about the boys who are profoundly affected in a negative way by what some adult man is doing against their mother, themselves, their sisters-- what about all those boys? What about all of the young men and boys who've been traumatized by adult men's violence? You know what the same system that produces men who abuse women produces
men who abuse other men. If you want to talk with male victims, let's talk about male victims. Most male victims of violence are the victims of other men's violence. So it's something that both women and men have in common: we are both victims of men's violence. So we have it in our direct self-interest; not to mention the fact that most men that I know have women and girls that we care deeply about in our families and our friendship circles and every other way. So there are so many reasons why we need men to speak out. It seems obvious saying it out loud, doesn't it?

Now, the nature of the work that I do and my colleagues do in the sports culture; in the U.S. military in schools, we pioneered this approach called the bystander approach to gender violence prevention, and I just want to give you the highlights of the bystander approach, because it's a big sort of thematic shift, although there's a lot of particulars. But the heart of it is: instead of seeing men as perpetrators women as victims, or women as perpetrators minutes victims, or any combination-- I'm using the gender binary; I know there's more than men and women; there's more than male and female; and there are women who are perpetrators and of course there are who are victims; you know, there's a whole spectrum-- but instead of seeing it in the binary fashion, we focus on all of us as what we call bystanders. And a bystander is defined as anybody who is not a perpetrator or a victim in a given situation. So, in other words, friends; teammates; colleagues; coworkers; family members; those of us who are not directly involved in a ? abuse, but we are embedded in social; family; work; school; and other peer culture relationships with people who might be in that situation. What do we do? How do we speak up? How do we challenge our friends? How do we support our friends? But how do we not remain silent in the face of abuse?

Now, when it comes to men and male culture, the goal is to get men who are not abusive to challenge men who are. And when I say abusive, I don't mean just men who are beating women; we're not just saying that a man whose friend is abusing his girlfriend needs to stop the guy at the moment of attack; I mean, that's a naïve way of creating a social change. It's along a continuum when we're trying to get men to interrupt each other. So, for example, if you're a guy and you're in a group of guys playing poker; talking; hanging out-- no women present-- and another guy says something sexist or degrading or harassing about women, instead of laughing along or pretending you didn't hear it, we need men to say, "Hey that's not funny." You know? "That could be my sister you're talking about." "Joke about something else." "Talk about something else." "I don't appreciate that kind of talk." Just like if you're a White person and another White person makes a racist comment, you'd hope-- I hope-- that White people would interrupt that racist enactment by a fellow White person. Just like with heterosexism, if you're heterosexual person and you yourself don't enact harassing or abusive behaviors towards people of varying sexual orientations. If you don't say something in the face of other heterosexual people doing that, then in a sense isn't your silence a form of consent and complicity? Well, the bystander approach is trying to get people tools to interrupt that process and to speak up, and to create a peer culture climate where the abusive behavior will be something seen as unacceptable, not just because it's illegal, but because it's wrong and unacceptable in the pure culture. If we can get to the place where men who act out in sexist ways will lose status, young men and boys who act out and sexist and harassing ways towards girls and women, as well as to its other boys and men, will lose status as a result, then guess what? We'll see a radical diminution of the abuse, because the typical perpetrator is not sick and twisted; he's a normal guy in every other way. Isn't it?

Now, among the many great things that Martin Luther King said in his short life was, "In the end, what will hurt the most is not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." "In the end, what will hurt the most is not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." There's been an awful lot of silence in male culture about this ongoing tragedy of men's violence against women and children, hasn't there. There's been an awful lot of silence. And all I'm saying is that we need to break that silence, and we need more men to do that.

Now, it's easier said than done, because I'm saying it now, but I'm telling you it's not easy in male culture for guys to challenge each other, which is one the reasons why part of the paradigm shift that has to happen is not just understanding these issues as men's issues, but they're also leadership issues for me, because ultimately, the responsibility for taking a stand on these issues should not fall on the shoulders of little boys or teenage boys in high school or college men. This should be on adult men with power. Adult men with power are the ones we need to be holding accountable for being leaders on these issues, because when somebody speaks up in a peer culture and challenges and interrupts, he or she is being a leader really, right? But, on a big scale, we need more adult men with power to start prioritizing these issues, and we haven't seen that yet, have we?

Now, I was at a dinner a number of years ago, and I work extensively with the U.S. military; all the services. And I was at this dinner and this woman said to me-- I think she thought she was a little clever, she said, "So how long have you been doing sensitivity training with the Marines?" And I said, "With all due respect, I don't do sensitivity training with the Marines. I run a leadership program in the in the Marine Corps." Now, I know it's a bit pompous-- my response-- but it's an important distinction, because I don't believe that we need a sensitivity
training; we need leadership training. Because, for example, when a professional coach or manager of a baseball team or a football team-- and I worked extensively in that realm as well-- makes a sexist comment; makes a homophobic statement; makes a racist comment, there'll be discussions on the sports blogs and in sports talk radio and some people will say, "He needs sensitivity training." Other people will say, "Get off it." "You know, that's political correctness run amok. He made a stupid statement; move on." My argument is he doesn't need sensitivity training; he needs leadership training, because he's being a bad leader. Because in a society with gender diversity and sexual diversity and racial and ethnic diversity, you make those kind of comments you're failing with your leadership. If we can make this point that are making to powerful men and women in our society, at all levels of institutional authority and power, it's going to change. It's going to change the paradigm of people's thinking.

You know, for example, I work a lot in college and university athletics throughout North America, right? We know so much about how to prevent domestic and sexual violence, right? There's no excuse for a college or university to not have domestic and sexual violence prevention training mandated for all student-athletes, coaches, administrators as part of their educational process. We know enough to know that we can easily do that, but you know it's missing? The leadership. But it's not the leadership of student-athletes; it's leadership, but the athletic director, the president at the university, the people in charge who make decisions about resources, who make decisions about priorities in the institutional settings, right? That's a failure, in most cases, of men's leadership.

Look at Penn State. Penn State is the mother of all teachable moments for the bystander approach. They had so many situations in that realm where men in powerful positions failed to act to protect children; in this case, boys. It's unbelievable, really, but when you get into it you realize there are pressures on men. There are constraints within pure cultures on men, which is why we need to encourage men to break through those pressures. And one of the ways to do that is to say there's an awful lot of men who care deeply about these issues. I know this. I've worked with men and I've been working with tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of men for many many decades now; it's scary when you're thinking about it, how many years. But there are so many men who care deeply about these issues, but caring deeply is not enough. We need more. We need more men with the guts, with the courage, with the strength, with the moral integrity to break our complete silence and challenge each other and stand with women; not against them.

By the way, we owe it to women; there's no question about it, but we also owe it to our sons. We also owe it to young men who are growing up all over the world in situations where they didn't make the choice to be a man in a culture that tells them that manhood is a certain way; they didn't make the choice. We who have a choice have an opportunity and responsibility to them, as well. I hope that, going forward, men and women working together can begin the change in the transformational happens that future generations won't have the level a tragedy that we deal with on a daily basis. I know we can do it. We can do better.

Thank you very much.

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