In the course of our work on gender based violence, we have learnt tremendously from women about their notions of justice, resilience, violence and discrimination- moving beyond acts of sexual violence, to delve deeper into daily practices that create cultures of normalization and acceptance. This includes the family structure, divisions of caste, class and religion, and the tendency to blame survivors of violence, leading to isolation and grief.
While there has been a concentrated and necessary effort to build women centric approaches, for livelihood, access to education, and support in the case of violence, we also feel it is necessary to engage with constructions of masculinity, in moving toward a gender equitable society. Dismantling patriarchal attitudes, beliefs and behaviours requires a conversation across the spectrum of gender and sexuality.
We have facilitated workshops and engaged with men and boys informally across our work- in 2021-2023 we hope to consolidate this work through an ethnographic action research on practices of masculinities. We wish to understand the ways in which boys and men construct their identities, and how it is linked to the structures and contexts they inhabit. We also hope to learn more about the linkages between masculinity and sexuality. The research study will be two fold: collating diverse approaches toward engaging with masculinities, from civil society, unions, movements, legal spaces and artistic practices ; working in collaboration with community based researchers to understand the daily practices that consolidate and influence masculinity in two geographical locations in the country.
We hope to produce a short film and a handbook containing approaches, insights, challenges and reflections that can inform future work on engaging with boys and men, and constructions of masculinities.