Chris Crass, Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, and Top 5 Men Who Are Doing the Most for Women's Rights

Upon researching for this article, I realized that the topic was harder than what I imagined it would be. The lack of visibility around men who are working towards addressing women’s rights issues is a testament to the binary society we live in, where women are supposed to fight for women and men for men. These men, through their work, show that women’s rights are not only women’s issues; they are human rights issues. I hope that more men will follow in the footsteps of these progressive men and challenge their male privilege and simultaneously challenge women who believe men have no place advocating for women.

Byron Hurt: Documentary Film Producer


When I was a student teacher in a high school summer enrichment program, I showed my students Byron Hurt’s documentary, “Beyond Beats and Rhymes”. An incident had occurred where some male students made a YouTube rap video shouting out female classmates who were thought to be sexually promiscuous. Needless to say, I was dismayed and unable to objectively express to my male students why their actions were so problematic. Mr. Hurt’s documentary examines the issues of sexism and violence. Through interviews with rap artists, fans, and academics, Hurt reveals the relationship between female subjugation and representations of manhood. Byron Hurt’s work doesn’t take a position of condescension towards the rap community and that’s what makes his work so relatable and proactive. (Photo Credit: Soul Culture Tv Blog)

 

Victor Rivas Rivers: Actor, Author and Activist


As a victim of domestic violence himself, Mr. Victor Rivas is an advocate for breaking the silence around domestic violence. He acknowledges that it isn’t only a women’s rights issue, but a family issue and a societal issue. Few men speak out about family violence, but Mr. Rivas does, and he uses his fame as a former athlete and actor to spread his own story. He emphasizes the importance of breaking the silence around domestic violence and the power of community support. (Photo Credit: VictorRivers.com)

 

Chris Crass: Journalist, Blogger and Activist


Women’s rights aren’t limited to issues of domestic violence or abortion. They should also challenge beliefs that are ingrained in our social consciousness. Chris Crass, self-proclaimed anarchist, blogger, and activist has written some really insightful pieces challenging white privilege and male supremacy. X-Y Magazine, a site Crass contributes to, describes his work as outlining “practical strategies for minimizing everyday domination.” In one personal reflection piece, Crass acknowledges the problems in his own upbringing: “Patriarchy and heterosexism also taught me, in subtle and blatant ways, that I was entitled to women’s bodies, that I was entitled to take up space and put my ideas and thoughts out there whenever I wanted to, without consideration for others. This is a very different process of socialization than most other people in this society.” (Photo Credit: Myspace)

Yashar Ali: Journalist, Blogger, Political Commentator


With articles such as “A Message to Women From a Man: You are Not Crazy,” Ali definitely stuck out to me as a progressive advocate for women’s rights. By challenging the gender roles that we all prescribe to on an every day basis, Ali encourages women to break free from the expectation set upon them to constantly validate men. One article he posted in Huff Post Women entitled, “He Doesn’t Deserve Your Validation: Putting the Fake Orgasm Out of Business” shows how even faking an orgasm during sex contributes and stems from an ideology that sex is for the sole benefit of men. I leave you with a stunning quote from this women’s right advocate: “This is how I see it: The fake orgasm is not compartmentalized from the rest of what women have to do. It sits at the core of a larger dismissal of a woman's needs and desires, extrapolating across all parts of their lives, work, life, home. Women are not simply a tool for our sexual pleasure ...” (Photo CreditElvertBarnes)

Eddie Vedder: Musician, Singer/Songwriter of Pearl Jam


Eddie Vedder is a supporter of abortion rights and his band, Pearl Jam, also played in the Rock For Choice concerts of the early '90s. In November of 1992, Vedder published an essay in Spin magazine about why abortion rights is not just a "woman's issue." And, according to FeministCampus.org, Vedder told Rolling Stone magazine in May 1994, "I'm usually good about my temper, but all these men trying to control women's bodies are really beginning to piss me off. They're talking from a bubble. They're not talking from the street, and they're not in touch with what's real." Vedder is a prime example of men who have been fighting for women’s right to self-determination for decades and using their musical influence and fame for a greater cause. (Photo Credit: Kata Rokka)


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Justine Gonzalez

Justine Gonzalez is currently pursuing her masters degree in Urban Policy from the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy. She has her BA in Sociology and Spanish from Smith College. While at Smith, she was a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow which allowed her to do independent research on the relationship between race, nation building policies and education. Justine is currently living in New York City where she was born and raised. Her interests range from immigration policy, social justice, race, class and gender inequality.

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