The Gustavian Weekly

Moe lecture on gender, violence, masculinity

By Madison Pettit Staff Writer | March 9, 2012 | News

Annual lectureship brings Jackson Katz to discuss men’s role in ending sexual violence and the misrepresentations of what it means to be a man

Focusing on the violent culture of masculinity, Dr. Jackson Katz, guest speaker of the twelfth annual Moe Lecture, will challenge unhealthy models of masculinity by looking at the ways it hurts both women and men.

The lecture will take place at 7:00 p.m. on March 14 in Alumni Hall. The discussion following his lecture will be moderated by Assistant Dean of Student Pete Meagher.

Following the attempted sexual assaults in Spring 2011, the gender, women and sexuality (GWS) program felt it was the right time to invite Jackson Katz, whose lecture is titled  ”The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help,” also the title of his book.

Sponsored by GWS, the Moe Lecture’s purpose is to bring leading scholars or activists to campus in order to help the community think about gender and power in new ways.

Katz is the first Moe lecturer to deliver a lecture regarding masculinity. Submitted.

Since the inaugural lecturer in 1997, Katz is the first to focus on the issue of masculinity.

“It is easier for a man to speak to other men about this sort of subject than it is for a woman. Society spends so much time focusing on women in relation to this issue, but violence against women and against other men is a problem for men too,” Professor Jill Locke, GWS chair said.

An educator, author, filmmaker and one of America’s leading anti-sexist male activists, Katz is internationally recognized for his groundbreaking work in the field of gender violence prevention education with men and boys, particularly in the sports culture and the military.

He is the creator and co-creator of educational videos for college and high school students, including Tough Guise: Violence, Media and the Crisis in Masculinity, Wrestling with Manhood and Spin the Bottle: Sex, Lies and Alcohol.

“Katz opens up a lot of different perspectives and trains of thought. I have watched Tough Guise at least five or six times and I leave with a new take-away each time I do. He gives you a lot of resources and vocabulary to better pursue discussions of gender and power,” Junior Josh Connell, member of M-Pact, said.

M-Pact, the student-led organization concerned with discourses on masculinity and gender roles, jumped at the chance to help in promoting the Moe Lecture upon hearing that the guest lecturer would be Katz.

Many of the core values and philosophies promoted by Katz are held in common by M-Pact.

“One of the reasons I really love Katz’s message is that he goes beyond simple awareness and focuses on some of the key underlying societal problems such as the prevalence of male violence in the media and the pressures put on men to be ‘manly’,” Senior Matthew Swenson, member of M-Pact, said.

While Katz raises the issue of violence toward women and other men in terms of masculinity, the lecture is not solely geared toward the males.

“The violent culture of masculinity is an issue applicable to both genders. Women play a role and have a stake in it too. This is a very deep-rooted issue that will not be solved overnight,” Swenson said.

After the lecture, a break-out session will allow the audience time to ask questions in a more informal setting. The morning after the lecture, Thursday, March 15, students will have the opportunity to participate in workshops with Katz at 9:00 and 10:30 a.m. Attendance to the lecture is free and open to anyone who wishes to attend, no ticket required.

“Everyone should come because the issue of gender violence affects each and everyone one of us, and we as a community have to continue this work for social change.  Plus, Katz is an extremely dynamic and engaging speaker, and he will make you think of these topics in a whole new way,” Swenson said.

Also occurring at the time of the lecture, the second wave of “gender-bending” posters will be premiered around Alumni Hall before they are dispersed around campus.

Made possible by the work of the Womyn’s Awareness Center, M-Pact and Media’s Effects on Gender in Society (MAGS), each poster features a student model making statements about their gender.

“Gender imposes a lot of perceptions and expectations on us. We wanted to impose a freer view of our identities not confined by our genders. The initial project featured only 25 students but the response was overwhelmingly positive so the second round will feature 125 new posters,”Connell said.

The Moe Visiting Lectureship is endowed by Robert and Karin Moe in honor of their daughter, Kris Burke Moe, class of 1984. Since its inaugural year in 1997, the Moe Lectureship has afforded Gustavus the opportunity to bring top feminist scholars to campus from the fields of biology, English, nursing, philosophy, history and theatre.

“The biggest thanks for providing this opportunity goes to the Moe family, whose generosity endowed this lecture. Operating out of our normal budget, this would never be possible. People are coming from all over the state and from other colleges to hear Katz. This really is a resource to the community,” Locke said.

Following the discussion, Katz will be available to sign books. Copies of The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help can be found in the Bookmark.

“Katz is a big deal, whether people know it yet or not. If students do not know who he is now and find out later on, they will be kicking themselves for not going to this. It is a perspective-altering experience,” Connell said.