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Men's Work: How to Stop the Violence That Tears Our Lives Apart Paperback – October 7, 1998
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From the Inside Flap
In a world that thrives on aggression and physical force, male violence has become an all-too-frequent response to the frustrations and anxieties that fill men's lives. As a result, the lives of women and children have suffered dramatically, as society has come to tolerate their victimization.
Using the unique program at the Oakland Men's Project in California as a basis, Paul Kivel, one of its founding members, shares an extraordinary approach to stopping male violence. The key is understanding and evading the cultural forces that box men in and often reward them for violent behavior. Through exercises, thought-provoking questions, and intense self-examination, Men's Work helps men learn new rules and new roles in personal relationships and in the world at large.
Men's Work gives back to men the power and responsibility they need to unlearn the lessons of control and aggression. Going beyond the mythology of the current men's movement, this revolutionary work identifies and develops the social and political framework on which to place men's individual efforts to recover their humanity. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Paul Kivel is a trainer, activist, writer and a cofounder of the Oakland Men's Project. He has personally developed and conducted hundreds of workshops, training thousands of teens and adults on such topics as male/female relationships, alternatives to violence, racism, family violence and sexual assault, parenting, and diversity issues. He has worked with public and private schools and universities, government agencies, youth recreation and leadership programs, juvenile corrections, jails and prisons, and with community based organizations. His essays have been published in books and magazines and he has appeared on local and national TV. Paul Kivel is the author of several books including Men's Work: How to Stop the Violence that Tears Our Lives Apart, and Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice, which received the Gustavus Myers award for Human Rights in 1996. He is also co-author of several widely used curricula including Making the Peace, Young Men's Work, Helping Teens Stop Violence, and Young Women's Lives. His most recent book is Boys Will Be Men: Raising Our Sons for Courage, Caring, and Community. Paul Kivel lives in Oakland, CA, with his partner and their daughter and two sons.
Top customer reviews
What this book is is a comprehensive rundown of most types of male violence in our time and place. This encompasses relationship violence, racism, male privilege, pornography, child abuse, drug abuse, negative stereotypes etc.
Here you can learn about the worst-of-the worst in male violence, from someone whose experience comes from prison and school outreach programs. As expected, the revelations of the basis of violent thought in childhood, upbringing and cultural conditioning is explained with great insight and nuance.
For a man, this provides a very long checklist of behaviors to measure one's own violent tendencies. For a woman, this provides insights into how violent men are raised, how they think, and what kind of people they are.
One poignant part is the author's remark that child molesters and wife batterers look and normally act just like normal people. No fangs or horns or anything. I feel that this is healthy, to assume that violent people are human beings before attempting to fix them. If you want to change someone's mind, you can't ignore them or treat them like monsters, but it helps to empathize with them and help them unpack who and what taught them to behave in a way that hurts others. Some people don't have it in them to break bread with sinners, but thank god for those who do, such as the author.
If you are looking for a book that runs the gamut of male violence, this one seems pretty thorough and practical. Although it colors outside of the lines in going into collective bargaining and autobiographical content, the focus is narrow with no time spent on explaining edge conditions, nonviolent communication techniques, anger management techniques, any techniques at all really.
This book does not acknowledge that women could be violent, or that pornography could be healthy, that women consume pornography, that not all men are naturally violent. This book portrays one type of father, who is unaffectionate, unsympathetic, aggressive, distant, and reinforcing of patriarchal stereotypes. It reminds me of the deeply conflicted marine corps father in American Beauty. I've seen dads just like this, they're real, out there ruining families right now, but they're a bit of a throwback and I'm not sure they're the norm. Anyone who reads this book at some point will say "you're right, but that's not the whole story". There's some emotional violence in this book towards (stereotypical) masculine tendencies that are not always unhealthy, such as protectiveness, toughness and attraction to women's appearance. To take indiscriminate violence against masculinity to heart, a male reader may subtly hate himself for his innocent harmless natural traits.
I feel an excellent companion to this book is [...]. Once Men's Work has identified your unhealthy ways of expressing negative feelings, nonviolent communication will help the reader resolve their problems with empathy, and no doubt more effectively.
Men's Work: How to Stop the Violence That Tears Our Lives Apart