Letter to columnist Jim Meek regarding his column entitled, "Men's movement types
need professional help"
By Peter Davison
Dear Jim Meek,
I was just cleaning out my "men" binder and came across an October 1991 clipping of your thoughts that, " Men's movement types need professional help".
I am a founding member of the Men for Change group in Halifax so I am naturally interested in the media and public response "men's movements" receive. It's curious to me how there appears to be a backlash especially within our gender to the mytho-poetic aspects of the so labeled "men's movement." The bibles of "success" for men, namely Esquire and GQ, are perhaps understandably threatened by our challenge to the lies that our self esteem is dependant on what we "do" what we own or how far up the corporate ladder we've managed to scramble. I am both amused and saddened by their scathing and perhaps desperate attempts to justify the power man image by defeating all challengers with witty words in the safety of their glossy pages.
I can't include you with that gang as I feel know you through your column and in my assumption of your sensitivity to women's concerns. I am still unsure what motivates your October article.
I have welcomed the novelty to sit and talk with men about real things other than sports and finances. We talk about work, intimate relationships, parenting and yes our fathers. I suppose in a broad sense we are all in need of "professional help" because we feel rejection or misuse our power or have fears in our relationships. The affirming thing is that this, as I have come to realize once we share openly and honestly, is felt in common by other men.
It was an honest surprise to me having distinctly joined the group as a nonviolence activist for peace and the environment. However once we started to explore the Montreal Massacre I realized sexism and violence really have a person is political dimension that extend into the deeper roots of what it means to be socialized male.
I hope the article enclosed by Michael Kaufman says things a little clearer than I can. Our group is planning to meet with him during his commitment to speak at the Sexuality Conference, June 5-7 at MSVU, in case your interested.
I have only begun to explore some thoughts churned up by your article. I haven't even mentioned the work we are doing with the Halifax County School Board to develop class programs on masculinity and violence. Once we figured out the role of mentors in our lives it seems ever more important to speak to young men. Heck, Arnold Swartzenegger tells them about being male so why shouldn't we.