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Credit: ModernGirlBlitz

I’ve been thinking about the perspectives I heard at a Male Accountabilty Forum I attended a few weeks ago and have been wondering what accountability for males in sexism means and how it should be practiced. In her book Feminism is for Everybody, bell hooks writes not directly about accountability, but about love:

“When we accept that true love is rooted in recognition and acceptance, that love combines acknowledgment, care, responsibility, commitment, and knowledge, we understand there can be no love without justice.”

I like the idea of male accountability as an act of love. It’s a good reminder that one of the main reasons I fight against sexism and male domination is because I love women and men who have been hurt in real, concrete ways by sexist oppression. Of course, then, I would want to acknowledge, care about and take responsibility for my privilege and the ways my actions affect others, particularly those who don’t have the same advantages societies have given me. As an act of love, committing to end sexism and male domination is easily something I would want to address in every part of my life.

Taking hooks’ definition of love as a que, here are some things we can do to practice male accountability from a place of love:

  • Think of acknowledgement as a complex understanding of our actions that includes a lens of oppression and dynamics of power.
  • Listen openly to other people’s perspectives as a foundation of acknowledging our actions.
  • Care about others and the ways our actions affect others.
  • Take responsibility for our actions and the direct impact they have on others in our lives.
  • Commit ourselves to ending the ways sexist oppression has directed our behaviors and thinking of others.
  • Fight against oppression wherever we find it in our lives, relationships, communities and societies.