The root cause of woman abuse is the social, economic, and political inequality of women worldwide. For example, women earn less money than men, their work at home is under valued, and few politicians are women. If society now takes violence against women seriously, it is because women are working hard for this.

I quite remember how some of my friends use to tell me how they were asked to promise their fathers to have a sense of power, pride, confidence, mastery, control, and feel invulnerable.

I now ask myself this question, thus prestige and privilege, power and control, really makes you a man?

Many victims interviewed always has this to say, that they are been carefully scrutinized by their peers and that they do not want to betray any deviance from the prescribed rules for being a man.

They say they do not want to be standing alone feeling shame about their difference. So they prefer denying themselves in order to feel safe and accepted within a dominant culture that demanded them: "Be a man!"

What would it mean now if we were to create a culture in which men join together to reclaim these parts of ourselves that we once hid and denied? If we discovered that, as we peek out from behind our fear, we find the shy and smiling face of another, reflecting our own remembered wholeness.

What would it mean if together we found the courage to stand and face the dominant culture, saying with determination and pride, we do not want to "be a man"? We refuse the rigid box of gender conformity.

What if we created a community where we could feel safe and accepted in the infinite variety of our gender non-conformities?It would mean the end of the system of patriarchy, wherein the promise of power is leveraged by the threat of violence. Homophobia, violence against women, and war-the ultimate weapons of gender conformity-would disappear, no longer needed to prove and protect our "manhood”.

Men would show up in the full rainbow of our expressions. We would inhabit our homes and families, remembering the delights of nurturing relationships. And we would seek out the close, loving companionship of other men and other women. It would mean hope for the world in places where we have long felt only hopelessness.

I believe this is all happening now. Yes, it can often seem agonizingly slow and painful, and there is certainly plenty of overt and covert resistance; however, there is a tremendous wave of liberation moving through our world.

Men breaking free from the individual and cultural demand to “be a man” are one key ingredient in my “movement”.

It's time for us now to assert that we will not be boxed into masculinity by seductive promises of power or intimidating threats of violence. It's time for us now to break through our fear and isolation and come out as gender nonconformists who do not fit or accept prescribed rules of manhood. It's time for us now to call each other out of the shadows of the box with a welcome of acceptance and safety.

In this way we are creating a new culture where being a man is an open-ended, ever-expanding expression of possibilities. A workshop designed by Women entrepreneurs to educate men who abuse them on the topic "Being a Man".

Take action! This post was submitted in response to Ending Gender-Based Violence 2012.

Comment on this Post


You really hit the nail on the head here.

Social constructs of manhood not only trap women in a cycle of misogyny and violence, but it's a trap for men also. I gather you don't feel you fit into the prescribed definition of a "man," and you might feel ostracized by this. I thank you for standing up against these gender constructs for both men and women around the world.

Thank you for your participation in Ending Violence Against Women (EVAW) Campaign this year.

We certainly need men like you to join us in ending or at least reducing violence against women.

Hope you will continue to speak up for abused women in your community and everywhere else in the world via World Pulse!

Dr.Noriah Ismail Senior Lecturer Academy of Language Studies UiTM Segamat Johor Malaysia


Thank you for such a thoughtful -- and even encouraging -- message and for sharing your ideas here at the EVAW campaign. I hope you will shout your message from mountaintops and whisper it quiet corners. It needs to be heard again and again. My guess is you are a model of what you propose through your own actions, and that surely speaks volumes.

You phrased one answer to your What if? questions so beautifully that I am sure it will stay in my mind as we all work toward a more humane and empathetic world: "Men would show up in the full rainbow of our expressions."Yes, the rainbow is becoming more visible -- thanks to the messages of people like yourself. I hope the world will hear more from you.


Thank you so much Susa for your kind and lovely acclamation. In actual fact, I strongly believe the time has come for men to rally behind women deploying ways to provide them with an opportunity for involvement in public affairs, a means of political education and a channel for influencing public policy. Almost always, improvement comes through organized pressure from both groups and the more influence women have over policy through democratic channels, the more likely the world will reflect their concerns and aspirations, as well as meet the world's basic needs. I see this happening right now. There are certainly more to come from my side. Please stay updated.



The world needs more men who think like you!

It's really unfortunate to know that many men confuse being a 'man' with being a 'misogynist'. This is still true in many countries and cultures. But in fact, these two terms are the exact opposites. A real man, is not afraid of a woman's power and influence. He embraces and encourages it. Thanks for realizing this and inviting others to do the same.

Farnaz Calafi

I really appreciate your kind words and adding the exact version of it. Women are accorded low status than their male counterpart in some societies forgetting that Men are seen to command more respect in the same societies by the numbers of women they have as wives. This should even point to confirm without women, men are powerless.


Let me express my deep respect for what you are doing - you have a brave heart because you are not afraid to step out and say what you really think! and what you think is also GREAT, because you displayed such a deep understanding of women and that is a RARE case for a man, my applause for you! i agree with you completely and think that it is time to take a new look at the old gender-distinction approach and re-evaluate gender roles (if there ever should be any!) and break the gender stereotypes that do not work in our changed world anymore! Thank you from behalf of world community of women who suffer from those stereotypes every day while trying to conform to them! The more men like you - the happier women would be! Thank you!Keep doing what you are doing!it is extremely important for us!

Hi Isaac, I allowed myself to put the link to your article in a discussion we had with some World Pulse members on violence against women and how the current vision of masculinity impacts the situation. I thought your article was perfect to underline this issue. Thanks again!!