Your personal invite to the UK’s 3rd National Conference for Men and Boys

A personal invitation to come along to this year’s 3rd National Conference for men and boys in Brighton & Hove from 26th September to 29th September.

To buy your tickets online today click here now.

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Cast Your Vote: What Kind Of Men’s Movement Do We Need?

YesNoAnne-Marie Slaughter, the former Director of Policy Planning for U.S. State Department has said that the world needs a men’s movement—so we thought we’d run a poll to see what kind of men’s movement our readers think the world needs.

To put the statement in context, Slaughter sparked an international debate with an article called “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All” that sparked a global debate about how women can (or can’t) balance family and career. Now she’s shifting her focus slightly to talk about how women AND men struggle with work-life balance.

“I really think we need a men’s movement, and you’re starting to see it,” she said this week. “Guys are starting to speak up for themselves about masculinity, about care-giving. You know, women are hypocrites this way, because we would go crazy if men treated us in the workforce the way we typically treat them at home — if a guy in the workforce assumed he was more competent than you are, and told you what to do — but that’s the way most women treat men in the household.”

So is she right and if so what kind of men’s movement does the world need? We’ve come up with 10 suggestions based on some of the key factions of the global men’s movement that we’ve come across over the years and produced a poll at the end of this post so you can cast your vote and tell us what kind of men’s movement the world needs.

Of course the 3rd National Conference for Men and Boys is open to everyone so if you want to come along and take part this year then please buy your tickets online today.

WHAT TYPE OF MEN’S MOVEMENT DOES THE WORLD NEED?

1.    A Men’s Liberation Movement

A global men’s liberation movement would be pro-feminist and focussed on liberating men from rigid gender roles on the past and helping men to address unhealthy male behaviours and develop and promote healthy masculinity.

2.    A Men’s Human Rights Movement

A global men’s human rights movement would tackle feminism head on and address all the areas of life where men’s human rights are under attack, with a particular focus on tackling laws, policies and initiatives that favour women and girls and discriminate against men and boys in the process.

3.    A  Men’s Rites of Passage Movement

A Men’s Rites of Passage Movement would ensure that all men and boys had the opportunity to take part in rites of passage work with the support of other men and help every boy make a safe and healthy transition into manhood in the process.

4.    An Integral Men’s Movement

An Integral Global Men’s Movement would seek to unite everyone committed to improving the lives of men and boys no matter what perspective they came from and seek out areas of common interest and opportunities to work together for the greater good.

5.    A Men’s Social Justice Movement

A Men’s Social Justice Movement would focus on areas where men and boys experience inequality or problems with their health, education, family life, personal safety, social care needs etc and take action to find solutions to these issues.

6.    A Religious Men’s Movement

A Religious Men’s Movement would help to solve the problems that involve men and boys by actively working to bring more men to God—with a focus on one religion only (whatever that religion is).

7.    An Interfaith Men’s Movement

An Interfaith Men’s Movement would work across religious boundaries to help solve the problems that involve men and boys by actively working to bring more men to a life of faith, no matter what that faith is.

8.     A Fathers’ Rights Movement

A Fathers’ Rights Movement would seek to ensure that every child knows the love of their father by tackling the failings of the world’s legal systems which favour mothers particularly when parents are separated.

9.    A Shared Parenting Movement

A Shared Parenting Movement would work to unite mums and dads to help men and women equally share the responsibility of caring for their children, looking after the home and earning money through a rewarding career.

10. A Men Go Their Own Way Movement

A Men Go Their Own Way Movement would encourage and support men to “go their own way” and live their lives free from any problems associated with being in a long-term relationship with a women.

So what kind of men’s movement do you think the world needs? Cast your vote below now. You can vote for more than one option if you want to and please feel free to share this page with others so more people can cast a vote today. Thanks for taking part, getting involved and taking action today.

And now you’ve voted why not join the movement towards the 3rd National Conference for Men and Boys and buy your tickets today.

What’s more important – boys or badgers?

projects-portraits-bodgerbadgerDo we care more about boys or badgers in the UK?

We noticed this cheeky little comment by the Throat Cancer Foundation (TCF) yesterday and thought we’d share it with you. TCF is campaigning for boys to be vaccinated against the HPV virus that causes some cancers. Girls are already vaccinated against HPV but boys are not.

This is a good example of how we put less time, energy and money into tackling cancer in men than women as we outlined in our recent post male cancer campaigns on the rise.

So when someone at TCF noticed that the Welsh government spent £1 million on vaccinating badgers last year they were prompted to quip:

“So, there are grants available to vaccinate badgers but we still do not vaccinate boys against HPV?  Now, TCF have nothing against badgers and are all for vaccinating as opposed culling the badger but surely we have to vaccinate boys to protect against cancer as a priority too!!”

It would seem that offering boys the vaccination against HPV (as now happens in Australia) would be in line with the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).

The Covenant recognises the “right to health” of everyone which means “the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health”. Member states are expected to protect this right by taking specific steps to improve the health of their citizens and ensuring that everyone within their jurisdiction has access to the underlying determinants of health which includes a comprehensive system of healthcare, which is available to everyone without discrimination, and economically accessible to all. The Covenant also resognises the “right to cultural life” which includes the right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress.

You can find out more about the HPV vaccination for boys campaign at the  Throat Cancer Foundation website.

If you’ve got a view on vaccinating boys (or badgers) or you’re interested in any other men’s issues then why not join us for this years 3rd National Conference for Men and Boys.

You can book your ticket here today.

If men really do have problems, who or what causes them?

One of the aims of the 3rd National Conference for Men and Boys is to highlight the problems that men and boys face and bring together people who have solutions to some of those problems—as our short promotional video above highlights.

When we first came up with the idea of bringing people who think differently about men and boys together , we had to ask ourselves —what is the common thread that will unite all of these people.

We knew we couldn’t unite people around the causes of men’s problems, because there were too many conflicting views on what those causes are.

And we knew we would struggle to unite people around solutions, because the solutions people favour tend to differ depending on how they define the problem.

And so we simply decided to unite people around the facts that men had clear, measurable, undeniable  problems in terms of men’s health, male suicide rates, boys’ educational outcomes, fathers’ involvement in their children’s lives  and the amount of crime and violence involving men as victims and perpetrators.

And if people were concerned about those problems and interested in addressing them then, then we wanted them to come along to the National Conference for Men and Boys and start talking with other people about these important issues. This basic principle still underpins this year’s event and we’d love to see you there so do please click here to buy your tickets today if you want to get involved with this year’s conference.

As hosts of the conference it isn’t our role to enforce an opinion on what causes men’s problems and what the solutions are — what we attempt to do is ensure a mix of views are represented so all delegates can benefit from hearing a range of different perspectives. In doing this we encounter two dominant voices of dissent:

  • The pro-feminist voice that says the conference is too anti-feminist and doesn’t focus on the problems men and masculinity and the patriarchy causes
  • The anti-feminist voice that says the conference is too pro-feminist and doesn’t  focus on the problems that women, feminism and the matriarchal women’s movement causes

It is said that nobody is smart enough to be wrong all of the time so there is probably some truth in the fact that men, women, masculinity, feminism, the patriarchy and the women’s movement do play some role in the problems that men and boys face.

There are no doubt other causes too — pro-feminism and anti-feminism are far from the only perspectives in town — there are a whole host of other non-feminist perspectives that we welcome to the conference too.

One thing that is certain is this—when we start to look at all men and boys’ problems as a whole there is a clear domino effect between these problems.

If a father is not involved in his son’s life—whatever the cause of that fatherlessness—research suggests that his son will be more likely to struggle at school—if he gets poor results in school he is more likely to suffer poor health and live a shorter life—if he is excluded from school then he is at greater risk of offending and more likely to commit suicide—fatherless boys are also more likely to grow up in poverty, which increase their risk of premature death, suicide, poor education, crime and violence.

In fact you can take just about any issue that men and boys face and start to join the dots in this way and when you start to see the bigger picture you begin to gain new insights that go beyond your normal way of thinking about the problems that men and boys face.

So if you want to think differently about these problems, it doesn’t matter what your perspective is—if you are committed to making a difference for men and boys then you are very welcome to come along to the Third National Conference for Men and Boys this year.

To make get you book your place and come along to conference then please  click here to buy your tickets now.

Male Eating Disorders, Body Image and the Pressure to be a Success Symbol

Think Tanks, Labour Party, Conservative Party, Diane Abbot, Jon Cruddas, IPPR, Demos, masculinity crisis, fathers, thinking men, sector gathering,The number of boys in the UK with eating disorders is a timely reminder that we have a body image problem says the host of the Third National Conference for Men and Boys, Glen Poole writing in The Guardian.

According to new research by the Institute of Child Health at University College London, the number of diagnosed cases of eating disorders rose 13% between 2003 and 2009 with the highest rates of new cases found among boys aged ten to 14.

In March, teachers claimed that the promotion of ideal body images in the media is reducing boys’ confidence in their own bodies, a problem estimated to effect 51% of boys.

There’s a well-worn but useful saying in gender debates that while men look at women as sex objects, women look at men as success objects. In simplistic terms this translates into ideal cultural images of men who are strong and successful and women who are sexy and slim.

It is perhaps not surprising then that men in general are known to underestimate their body weight, while women tend to overestimate. As a result we have men convincing themselves “it’s all muscle” and women convincing themselves “it’s all fat”.

Recent research from Australia found that men with a high drive for muscularity, as in muscle dysmorphia of ‘bigorexia’, had a greater preference for traditional masculine roles, whereas men with a high desire for thinness (as in anorexia nervosa) displayed greater adherence to traditional feminine roles.

One study found that men were more likely to feel dissatisfied with their own bodies after they were exposed to pictures of muscular men, while another revealed that men’s body self-esteem was linked to how hopeful they felt about romantic relationships.

Glen says:

“Last week I was invited to the Government Equalities Office with representatives of charities like Men Get Eating Disorders Too to discuss body image and the role of fathers as potential change agents. I look forward to seeing some of those experts at this year’s conference and making sure that these important issues are given a wider platform.”

To read the full article see: Eating Disorders: how do we improve the body image of our boys and girls? 

To book you tickets the the Third National Conference for Men and Boys today see this page.

—Photo Credit: geishaboy500/Flickr

Time to Tackle Misandry and Dismantle the Matriarchy?

thinking men version 2We often hear about Misogyny and Patriarchy in gender debates – but not so much about Misandry and Matriarchy – so it was surprising to see Jack O Sullivan tackling the subject in today’s Guardian.

Jack is an occasional commentator on men’s issues – notably fatherhood – and has been around the debate since the nineties when he co-founded Fathers Direct (now the Fatherhood Institute).

According to Jack:

“Feminism has reinforced rather than challenged – or even acknowledged – matriarchy. It is an environment in which male spokesmen for change are unlikely to be nurtured. When they do articulate their views or concerns, they are often ridiculed or ignored by women. Misandry can be as nasty as misogyny and is as widespread (just check the internet). Smart men play safe and stay out of it. We’re so conditioned, we don’t even talk to each other.

“Why are we ridiculed when we talk about ourselves? Perhaps because men are assumed to be inherently powerful, with nothing to complain about. It’s a mistake. We urgently require an updated theory of gender that acknowledges there are, and always have been, discrete areas of female power and male powerlessness, not simply female powerlessness. Patriarchy did not rule alone. There was also matriarchy – and there still is.

“A revolution is taking place in masculinity, but much of it is below the radar and denied, even when well-documented. This transformation is about much more than “helping” women and addressing their complaints. If we want to hear about it, then we need democratic personal, private and domestic spaces where men feel comfortable to speak. That might generate a more open, less condemning public space. Until then, women will continue to find themselves shouting into the silence about issues that we need to confront together.”

For those who want space to talk about men’s issues then a great place to start is The Thinking Men event during this year’s conference on Thursday 26th September.

FURTHER READING:

To find out more about the Thinking Men event click here now.

To read Jack’s full article see The Guardian.

To read more about Misandry read Ally Fogg’s blog post here.

—Photo Credit: geishaboy500/Flickr

An Invitation to People Who Think Differently About Men and Boys

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An Open Invitation From The 3rd National Conference for Men and Boys

Dear Thinkers

Do you think differently about men and boys? Have you been drawn to the recent debate about “masculinity in crisis”?

If so we’d like to invite you to take part in the Thinking Men conference in Brighton this September.

The event is part of the Third National Conference for Men and Boys and will bring together some of the UK’s leading thinkers on men’s issues to explore what we have in common, how we think differently and what difference we can make by working together more effectively in the future.

We’re inviting a broad spectrum of academics, policy experts, political thinkers, media commentators, charity leaders, public sector bosses and campaigners on men’s issues to get together to think differently about men and boys.

And if there are people you think should be taking part in this conversation then we’d like you to send us your suggestions.

The day has four key elements:

  • A meeting of minds where you get the opportunity to connect with people who think about men’s issues in a similar way to you (eg people who have the same political perspective or values)
  • An opportunity to exchange ideas and information on key men’s issues such as boys’ in education, men’s health, male suicide, men and violence, fatherhood etc
  • Creative sessions where you can explore new solutions to old problems such as the changing role of men, engaging men in gender issues, making men’s issues a political issue etc
  • A time to reflect on the day, consider new opportunities and commit to take action.

We’d love you to get involved in this event  so if you’d like to take part in the Thinking Men conference on Thursday 26th September 2013 then why not take action now by:

Booking your tickets online today or getting in touch with us for more information

And whatever action you take do please free to forward this email to everyone you know who would be happy to hear about this event

Many Thanks

The Conference Team 

email: allmenproject@live.com

call: Glen Poole on 07981 334222 or David Bloodwood on 07776 001823