Sexism and violence against women has very much been in the news in 2014. Canadians have been shocked by allegations of sexual violence and harassment by former CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi and two Liberal MPs suspended by Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. People around the world are talking about multiple accusations of rape swirling around legendary comedian Bill Cosby. And there have been a host of controversies dealing with sexism in the workplace and beyond: just this month the Rotman School of Management in Toronto apologized for handing out an assignment to students many considered brazenly sexist.
While women have made considerable progress towards achieving equality over the past 100 years, negative male attitudes towards women continue to present a serious problem to society. How realistic is the expectation that this will ever really change?
"I'm optimistic about men," says Terry Crews, former NFL player turned actor. His successful acting career has seen him take on some typically "macho" roles, so when word got out that he wrote a book called Manhood: How To Be a Better Man - or Just Live With One, and was championing feminism, people took notice of what they called his "softer side." He wrote the book as a response to his realization that he had outgrown the confines of stereotypical ideas of masculinity, as he understood them — acting tough and getting into fights, never showing emotion, feeling superior to women.
The Agenda's Elamin Abdelmahmoud interviewed Crews after his keynote speech at this year's White Ribbon Campaign conference: What Makes a Man. As well as being optimistic about men's abilities to outlive stereotypes, he also talked about his personal journey to understand that women are his equals; that men are perhaps afraid of feminism; and why it's important for him to be a good role model for his children. He touches on current high profile sexual assault allegations by saying he's as concerned about everyday instances of harassment.
The Agenda's interview with Crews went viral, making it one of our most viewed videos of the year. Elamin Abdelmahmoud talks about why.