Visiting speaker expands on TED Talk regarding violence, gender

Section Editor

Consistent with St. Edward’s University’s common theme, “Expanding Human Rights,” the university brought Jackson Katz, a self-identified anti-sexist male activist, to campus to speak about violence against women on Oct. 3. 

This talk was a part of a larger series of human rights speakers and events on campus. 

The event was held in the Recreation and Convocation Center, and Katz gave a version of his popular Ted Talk, “Violence against Women-It’s a Men’s Issue.” 

By the time this lecture met St. Edward’s students, Katz was delivering his memorized talk with a musical quality. 

While the majority of his lecture was taken from the Ted Talk available on YouTube, Katz tailored his talk some to the audience. 

He had new material to say to this particular college audience. 

At one point in the evening, Katz said that he was going to speak loud enough so that “Ted Cruz and Rick Perry could hear (him.)”  

Katz made no effort to hide his political leanings. In fact, Katz talked explored so much information, some students found the lecture to be a bit disjointed. 

“I agree a lot with what he had to say pertaining to gender issues, but he wasn’t always clear with his message. During the Q & A, he did not fully address the audience’s questions,” Junior Austin Hestdalen said.

Other students also had something to say regarding Katz’s talk.

 “I thought his talk was really great and enlightening. He was a bit all over the place, but I think he got the point across and gave me a lot to think about,” Senior Alyssa Haney said. 

He began by conceding that much of the work in “Men’s Violence against Women,” as Katz maintains it should be called, began with the effort of women not men. The core of his argument is that “Men’s Violence” should be addressed by men. Katz discussed the work of feminist-linguist Julia Penelope in regards to victim blaming.

“Mary was beaten,” Katz said.  

He contrasted this sentence with “John hit Mary.” He explained by merely replacing the subject of a sentence, the internal meaning of communication is totally changed. 

his is how he propelled his ideas.

Katz argued that violence awareness efforts were not enough. He called for men to be leaders in feminist movements. Katz told the male students present to speak out against sexism, both interpersonally and politically.

St. Edward’s also selects a common text under each year’s theme. The common text for this year is “Half the Sky.”

Both “Half the Sky” and Katz’s talk are concerned with women’s rights. Katz said the scope of the problem could be illustrated by examining tax dollars. According to the CDC, the U.S. loses $6 billion annually because of domestic violence. Also, in this kind of violence, women are victims 75 percent of the time. 

Katz has conducted trainings, seminars and workshops in several countries including Australia and Japan to try and fight against men’s violence.

Katz commented on the appropriateness of having the St. Edward’s gym as the venue for the talk. He has worked heavily in sports. He is the co-founder of the Mentors in Violence Prevention program. 

This is the most active gender violence prevention program in professional and college athletics. Katz is also the director of a domestic and sexual violence prevention program in the United States Marine Corps.

After he spoke, he screened a few minutes of his new movie, “Tough Guise 2,” an addition to “Tough Guise: Violence, Media, and the Crisis in Masculinity.” The film discusses the negative depictions of male identity in popular culture. 

Katz argues that the strong tie of male identity to violence causes a vast degree of damage.