Episode 36

Published on:

15th Nov 2023

Why Feminism is Good for Men - Jens van Tricht (Emancipator)

How can men contribute to gender equality and justice in the world? What can they learn from feminist approaches? How can they break free from the limiting expectations of what a 'real' man should be, and become more fully human? In this episode, we talk to Jens van Tricht, the author of an inspiring book 'Why Feminism is Good for Men', now translated from the original Dutch into English by Liz Waters - and launched with this episode of Now and Men! The book offers an accessible and hopeful perspective on men and masculinities, connecting the personal and the societal, the abstract and the concrete, the theoretical and the practical, the serious and the playful. 

Jens describes himself as an 'idealist, anarchist, and feminist'. In our discussion, we explore Jens's own journey and how these influences have played out: from childhood questions about gender norms, to teenage angst and punk music, the Amsterdam squatter and anarchist movements - and finding direction through Women's Studies, personal growth and feminist practice. 

Drawing on these experiences, ten years ago Jens founded Emancipator, an organisation which promotes gender equality and social justice by engaging with men and boys about issues including work and care, violence and safety, sexuality and sexual diversity. Jens is also a board member of the MenEngage Global Alliance.

We cover the following topics in this episode:

  • What led Jens to write the book and why feminism is good for men (01:04-05:49)
  • Jens's experiences as a child and how these influenced his thinking about gender (05:49-13:31)
  • His 'journey' into feminism and formative experiences as a teenager, e.g. punk music and the Dutch squatter movement (13:31-20:20)
  • Being a man in Women's Studies (20:20-25:47)
  • What 'men’s liberation'/'emancipation' means (25:47-31:38)
  • Seeing oneself as a human being rather than a man (31:38-35:06)
  • Holding oneself to account as a man (35:06-39:18)
  • Emancipator's approach to working with men (39:18-42:34)
  • Why the process is so important (42:34-48:42)
  • Why relationships, sexuality and intimacy are such vulnerable and insecure domains for men (48:42-51:10)
  • The context of The Netherlands and its upcoming election in debates about masculinity and gender equality (51:10-55:25)
  • Wrapping up (55:25-59:58)
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About the Podcast

Now and Men
Current conversations about men's lives
What's it like to be a man in the 21st century? How are feminist issues relevant to men and boys? How can we engage in productive conversations about gender equality? These questions are being discussed more than ever.

Our monthly podcast delves into these issues with experts such as practitioners, activists and academics. In each episode, you’ll hear in-depth conversations about a wide-range of topics connected to masculinity and the lives of men and boys, such as preventing gender-based violence, promoting active fatherhood, and supporting men's health.

The podcast is hosted by two social science researchers, based on the opposite sides of the world: Sandy Ruxton from Durham University's Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse (UK) and Dr Stephen Burrell from the University of Melbourne (Australia). If you would like to give us your feedback, suggest a guest, or have a question you'd like us to discuss, get in touch at nowandmen@gmail.com. And if you like what we do, please share us with your friends, and leave a review on Apple podcasts!

About your hosts

Stephen Burrell

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I am a Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Melbourne, Australia, where I moved to at the beginning of 2024. My research is about men, masculinities and violence. I am particularly interested in the prevention of men's violence against women, building gender equality, addressing environmental harm, and promoting an ethic of care among men and boys. In my spare time I'm a big fan of drinking tea, being in nature, eating vegan ice cream, and listening to heavy metal music. I'm also a trustee for White Ribbon UK.

Sandy Ruxton

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Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Sociology at Durham University (UK). Independent researcher, expert on men and masculinities. Previous policy work on human rights, children and families, poverty and social exclusion, and asylum and migration. Programme experience with boys and young men in schools, community, and prisons. Steering Committee member, MenEngage Europe. Volunteer for OX4 Food Crew. Chess-player, bike-rider, tree-hugger. Great grandfather edited Boy's Own Paper, but was sacked.