As we close this series for the month of August, Cristal and I would like to thank the men in our lives who bravely shared their experiences of manhood in relation to rape culture. We wanted to leave you with these lasting thoughts for you to reflect on as we continue to move forward with laws and initiatives around human conduct in the work place and beyond. We must heal--together. We can no longer let "boys be boys" if we expect them to become men. I mean REAL MEN, the type of men that not only see women in compromising situations, but DO something about it.
We must equip our young kings with the knowledge that their privilege comes at a price; that it is something that can be used for good in order to equalize the relationship between genders. When we speak about sexual assault, rape, and domestic violence, we understand that these grievances in society are deeply written in the fabric of our history. This is going to take a lot of undoing and reconditioning of what TRUE standards are for both men and women. As survivors of sexual assault, we are empathetic towards the reality that these things take time.
We will continuously revisit this subject on what masculinity means today, and how its fragile facade is not only harmful for women but men who are expected to adhere to compromising and limiting ideals of manhood. Our focus here at Herstory is ALWAYS on healing; but that must also expand beyond the ones that are hurt. This conversation must also include the ones that are doing the hurting.
We hope you are enjoying this series as much as we are! This month, Cristal and I have learned we are not only passionate about advocating for those who may feel alone on their journey towards healing from sexual assault; but other voices as well. As much as we focus on the importance of survivor's strengthening their voices, it is also incredibly important for us to include the other voices critical to a survivor's walk, that of their allies. Cristal and I are blessed enough to have supportive individuals in our walk; including the men closest to us. Last week we heard from Cristal's husband, James, on his response to Charlemagne's interview (see previous two posts) and this week I will be sharing the interview conducted with me and my boyfriend/best friend, Michael. :) We hope you enjoy their insight as much as we have!
Devin's Thoughts Pre-Interview:
My initial response to the podcast was obvious sentiments of disgust, anger, and disappointment. I was deeply saddened by the light-hearted tone and joking manner when Charlemagne shared his accounts of a sexual interaction with a woman from his past. But like Derrick Jaxn, who commented on the ordeal, it begs the question why conversations like these continue to happen in our culture without regard to accountability? Where is the accountability in upholding men for actions and behavior that compromise another person’s well being, in this case, the well-being of women?
To discuss our thoughts on similar topics related to the Charlemagne podcast is my partner and supportive boyfriend Mike; someone I am grateful is always open to listening and speaking from the male gaze on sensitive issues like rape culture.
Devin: What is your immediate reaction to the Charlemagne interview?
Mike: I never really had a lot of respect for him and what he represented. which might leave a lot of my responses biased.
Devin: Do tell...
Mike: He has built his personality and job on promoting a culture that exploits the very thing he was talking about during the interview. His privilege allows him to say whatever he wants to whomever he wants--and he's made a decent living off that. But his credibility was never in good standing with me.
Devin: Why do you think there hasn't been much media attention calling him out as @DerrickJaxn has on youtube?
Mike: His audience and the people listening to him regularly, expect him to say what he said and how he said it. So there won't be a lot of accountability for the foolery he was displaying for that reason. He’s a clown for that. unfortunately, his clownish antics will probably gain him added publicity.
Devin: Why do you think accountability is difficult in hyper-masculine spaces?
Mike:It comes down to respect. If "Tom" doesn't like "Larry" or respect him, and "Larry" calls him out for saying something demeaning towards another woman, Tom isn't going to hear it. Tom might just be saying whatever he is saying to show off his manhood. Respect=Masculinity/ Manhood even if it means at the expense of disrespecting someone else.
Devin: Why is it difficult to call out other men if women are objectified or are being harassed in public?
Mike: Some dudes don't want to get involved because a guy who is willing to be disrespectful to a woman is also the same dude who thinks he has something to prove. Unfortunately, some men don't speak up because there is sometimes a fear behind another man checking another man in public for his poor behavior. It often leads to physical confrontation. If you are willing to say something, be willing to defend yourself if it gets that far.
Devin: Why is violence the immediate jerk-response for guys who act like this?
Mike: The type of masculinity we're talking about...you know the one that is blatantly disrespectful and dudes just being 'mouthy' is soft. That type of guy now has something to prove to society and anyone who questions his remarks. He'll be like, "Oh you're questioning who I am," and he'll most definitely have something to say about it.
Devin: How do you feel hearing about or being around 'men' like that.
Mike: I don't voluntarily put myself in situations like that like these are not the men I kick it with. But dudes like that are just and try to get some laughs and attention. If it's not about cars or money, they'll belittle women-- they're gross. period.
Devin: Is it possible to see more forms of accountability for men's actions in the future? If so, what would that look like?
Mike: I think it is possible. But men need more examples...better examples and healthier examples of masculinity. The reason a lot of dudes act out, and get away with it like Charlemagne is that of their privilege, society EXPECTS that out of them!
Devin: like that whole "boys will be boys" sentiment.
Mike: Yea--boys will be boys because we LET THEM. If we had better role models, mentors, and fathers, there would be less of this garbage going around and being popularized.
Devin: Gracias, mi amor! <3
After the interview, we continued talking over dinner, because my mental wheels were obviously turning!More often than not, the only image of masculinity displayed in our society is compartmentalized in the most rigid categories; of being "tough", "aggressive" or powerful. Not showcasing other forms of masculinity, like the kind expressed by @DerrickJxn, limits the options of choosing better for men who listen and observe this type of content. There is so much more to be discussed and called into question. But one thing is for certain, our ideas of what being a man means in today's society is needing some serious male-grooming (see what I did there) and we at Herstory, are determined to present more examples of this in future posts to come!
Thank you for reading, supporting and healing with us!
With Love and Solidarity,
Devin Marie and Cristal Lowe
Preparing myself to interview my husband, James, on sensitive subject matter, like rape presents a different dynamic to our relationship. We both understand rape and sexual assault on a personal level, from my own experience, and he has supported my efforts in empathizing the experiences of others as well. The interview in itself made me feel rage in a way that I can't even begin to explain. Internally, I was hoping that my husband's answers are not against how I feel or reveal too much honesty in reality through the male-gaze I may not have been prepared to hear. However, pushing my feelings aside, we sat down, and watched the reaction video of Derrick Jaxn on Charlemagne's insensitive reflection on a sexual assault experience.
Cristal: What is your immediate reaction to the Charlamane interview?
James: My thoughts are deep and in some way raged that grown man would just simply laugh at the fact and thought that someone was potentially raped/ or raped abuse of trust. It seams that think just think because of there status of who they may apparel to be to a public eye anyone and everyone would just want to sleep with them but as Charlamane told on him self she was pass out drunk basically not knowing what was going on there for that is raped.
Cristal: Have you ever been in a hyper-masculine setting if so what is the environment like?
James: Thinking back yes I have in my early teen years at school, a couple of male friends would hang out together and talk about females and who they had sex with of course those they talk about was consented sex, so I never understood if they both chose to have sex why some males would talk down on the girls they called girlfriends or chose to have sex with. Although I knew it was wrong at such a young aged I was told by older man, gang members in the neighborhood that females are worthless and are only to please man there for I would laugh at there comments even though I knew it was wrong. As I got older I understood the truth from what I was though to think and I would not let those conversations come across me and simply correct what wrong and what right.
Cristal: Why do you think accountability is difficult in hyper masculine spaces?
James: I believe it all goes back on how you where raise and was told to believe weather it right or wrong, Most man care about there pride and ego thinking that the more women you sleep with the more you will be admired within your circle and calling you a man bc of such thing that men are though simply man are player its all about pride and seen what man slept with more woman, but the truth is that it starts at the home any how they chose to raise you at a young age if you raise your boys to respect and constantly tell them right from wrong and no means no no matter what the next boy might say then you have planted a seed that can only continue to grow and eventually that boy will hold accountability to his peers from wrong.
Cristal: Why is it difficult to call out other men in women are objectified or are being harassed in public?
James: Aging I believe it all starts at such a young age and how people raised there boys. often boys/ men are called soft/week for standing up for a women as if women are less worthless than any other human (men) for example Terry Crews coming out man bash him some may had laugh and made memes about him that just shows that other men have a mind state that man are supposed too be taught and not soft or week there for I believe some man just stay silent in order not to be call names or look at in a certain way.
Cristal: Is it possible to see more forms of accountability for men's actions in the future? If so, what would that look like?
James: I think it is possible for forums of men to talk about the importance of protection of women but it would take some time to achieve. I think it would be a large amount of men who have in some way physically or mentally hurt a women they love wanting to hear ways they can change and be better there ways and relationship or make a difference to help those man be more accountable in preparing themselves to begin in a relationship.
After the conversation I had with my husband; I learned a bit more of the way he was raised and was able to understand how one's upbringing shapes a lot on how we respond and relate to women in our society. I can't be upset at something that he went though, but I definitely felt some kind of way hearing of how his past influenced so many of his beliefs. We both could agree that it is our responsibility as parents, to raise our son to respect women. To teach him what consent means. I have always expressed to my daughter that no matter what anyone says she can trust and tell me anything and that I would not be mad; that she does not have to have fear in telling me anything she may witness or go through. Likewise, this experience has taught me to express this same sentiment of importance to my son, and that my experience as a survivor of rape is an example of pain that should never be repeated. It is our responsibility to condition our kids in love, and respect for themselves as well as others they interact with throughout their lifetime.
This month we are unpacking the many complexities behind hyper-masculinity and its affects on rape culture. Cristal and myself make a great effort of speaking about rape culture from a place of hope due to our own experiences and the redemptive power of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
We continue to believe that these acts of violent and inconceivable behavior could change when we as a culture heal and change as well. That being said, we are not naive to the fact that the dialogue around the topic of rape and sexual assault is often a he-said/ she-said basis. There is often a divide in conversations between victim and perpetrator, rapist and rape survivor, or antagonist and protagonist in every story. Our goal isn’t to do much identify who is the rapist and rape survivor in these stories. Our mission is to further the conversation beyond “one specific unfortunate event” to a cultural issue, needing cultural education and healing regarding such topics.
This subject is incredibly important when we discuss the prevalence of rape and varying degrees of gendered violence in our world. Cristal and I have conducted interviews and reflected on the different perspectives on rape culture from perspective of men closest to Cristal and myself. Our hope again, is to better unpack the standards and expectations that come with being "a man" in society.
Context Behind the Interview:
In order to frame these interviews properly, we wanted to give our interviewees some context for the questions they will be asked. In a recent YouTube video, YouTube personality (@Derrick Jaxn) called out radio personality and author charlamagne for his alleged acts of sexual misconduct with another woman.
((After listening to the same interview about his encounter with the woman, we did want to for-warn our readers that this is trigger-sensitive and want to respect your journey in healing as the content may be overwhelming to hear. ))
His interview mirrored many conversations that often take place in hyper-masculine/ privileged spaces as Derrick Jaxn reflected. On the other side of this disturbing interview, Derrick Jaxn revealed another aspect of masculinity worth evaluating and applauding. It was in this moment of “calling-out” another man’s inappropriate behavior we see a positive example of “Manhood” displayed. We believe there are more men like this; and we are hopeful we'll discover similar stories in future days to come!
We’ve included the link for the video as well for your review. Feel free to leave any comments or questions throughout this series because next week, we will be sharing our reflections and interviews from the men closest to us!
God bless you and as always...
we send our love and solidarity,
Cristal Lowe & Devin Marie
This month we are unpacking the many complexities behind hyper-masculinity and its effects on rape culture. Cristal and myself make a great effort of speaking about rape culture from a place of hope due to our own experiences as well as the result of the redemptive power of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
We continue to believe that these acts of violent and inconceivable behavior could change when we as a culture heal and change as well. That being said, we are not naive to the fact that the dialogue around the topic of rape and sexual assault is more often than not, a "he-said/ she-said basis". There is often a divide in conversations between victim and perpetrator, rapist and rape survivor, or an antagonist/protagonist in every story. The problem when having this limiting perspective on societal issues like these is detrimental and ultimately a hindrance to a cultural shift in the way we think about these issues affecting so many in our population.
In a perfect world, organizations like ours work diligently on cultivating a community of “woke” individuals on topics regarding the well-being of humankind (that’s the hope right?) It is our responsibility as content creators to speak on the difficult topics, whether these topics range from racial literacy in America or the prevalence of gendered the violence in our world, and especially if they happen to intersect. Cristal and I have made it a point to not only hold the hands of other survivors in their walk towards healing but also invite our allies into the conversation. We can’t overlook the parts to the story much of the public ignores, including point of views that are critical to finding a solution. For this reason, we have conducted interviews and conversations on subjects related to rape culture from the perspective of men closest to Cristal and myself in hopes of better understanding the standards and expectations that come with being "a man" in our society in the climate of fem-affirmative movements and agendas. Stays tuned as we take intimidate accounts from men and their experiences around such subjects!
With love and solidarity,
Cristal Lowe and Devin Marie
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