‘All men must police men’ – experts ask to redefine norms | The Citizen

It is easier to raise a holistic and progressive boy than it is to fix a broken man, according to civil rights movement #NotInMyName secretary-general Themba Masango. Masango was speaking at the backdrop of the third African Union (AU) Men’s Conference on positive masculinity in Pretoria yesterday. Although gender-based violence (GBV) is mostly being attributed to men, Masango said they were of the view that violence against anybody was wrong. The problem is toxic masculinity There was nothing wrong with masculinity. The problem was when it became toxic. “Because you find that boys are competitive in nature, you find that…

It is easier to raise a holistic and progressive boy than it is to fix a broken man, according to civil rights movement #NotInMyName secretary-general Themba Masango.

Masango was speaking at the backdrop of the third African Union (AU) Men’s Conference on positive masculinity in Pretoria yesterday.

Although gender-based violence (GBV) is mostly being attributed to men, Masango said they were of the view that violence against anybody was wrong.

The problem is toxic masculinity

There was nothing wrong with masculinity. The problem was when it became toxic.

“Because you find that boys are competitive in nature, you find that when they are having a debate, be it with a man or woman, they end up saying ‘I will hit you’.

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“Instead of raising the argument, they want to raise their fists and that is a toxic trait. This is something we do not want,” he said.

“If you are having an argument or a debate with somebody, then you end up saying I’ll beat you up because I’m a man and you must listen to me; it doesn’t work like that. You need to have clarity on why you are losing the argument.”

He said it could be true that SA in particular needed more time to deal with issues of GBV.

Ramaphosa spoke at the conference

Speaking at the conference yesterday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said a world in which every African man, woman and child could live in true freedom and equality with their rights respected, upheld and advanced was being sought.

Such a world was within reach if the focus was on the prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls.

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“We cannot realise a society free of GBV without critically interrogating the assumptions around patriarchy, male chauvinism and sexism,” he said.

“It is these assumptions that lead young men and boys to believe women are property, that they are worth less than a man and that they are deserving of ill-treatment.”

“This is a conversation men need to have. Men are, in the main, the perpetrators of violence against women and girls. At the same time, it is men who have the power to bring about the change we so sorely need.”

Ramaphosa said the conference was about promoting positive masculinity.

“It is about challenging traditional stereotypes with being a man. It involves redefining the norms and expectations placed on men. Positive masculinity encourages men to embrace qualities such as empathy, vulnerability, emotional intelligence and respect for diversity,” he said.

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Ramaphosa said ending violence against women and girls everywhere was a collective responsibility, but when it came to the participation of men, that onus was even greater.

“We owe it to the women and girls of our continent to be better men, better fathers, better caregivers, better partners and better sons.”

‘Men need to hold each other accountable’

Masango said to eradicate GBV, men needed to hold each other accountable.

“They usually say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. For us to have hope, it is very important to remember the boy child, and train the young men to become progressive men of the future.

“We can have a change but all hands need to be on deck. It needs the government, civil society, business, the church fraternity and everybody to put their hands together…

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“It must be us as men who take the responsibility for one another and against one another.

“All of us need to make sure that even in our private spaces, we are progressive and not violent or toxic because there is no legislation in our home,” Ramaphosa said.

“Even at the AU summit, many of them who are talking are abusers. So, it is very important that even in our private space, we as men need to be able to call another out.”

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