Gender-inclusive responses to a world in crisis
Gendemic is an online magazine that strives to promote political and social change for a world in flux. The site was inspired and founded by activists from the men and boys’ charity and wellbeing sector, and this is likely to be reflected in our content. However, this site can never be just about men and boys.
At Gendemic we believe the welfare, wellbeing and fulfilment of men and women are inseparable and intertwined; that the lives of men and women alike are improved by the dismantling of restrictive gender norms, gender stereotyping and structural oppressions of all kinds. We fundamentally reject the notion that men’s activism is in competition or opposition to the women’s sector, and consider ourselves both parallel and allied to our friends and colleagues in the women’s sector.
We recognise that gender is a fundamental cornerstone to the structure of our society, for better or worse, and plays an commanding role in determining the lives we will lead, our fortunes and fates as individuals. For that reason it must also play a central role in the solutions we seek to our problems as a society.
We recognise too that oppressive gender structures which permeate society are inseparable from other forms of social oppression such as racism; homophobia, (dis)ability, class inequality and transphobia, and the ways people experience gender is intrinsically tied to all other axes of social justice. We will always strive to be inclusive and intersectional in our approach.
Gender, we believe, is socially instilled, socially conditioned and socially enforced. This means that delivering social change and progress is a social, cultural and political challenge, not an individual self-help project. Gendered issues are not a consequence of personal weakness, inadequacy or moral failure, they are failure of culture and politics.
While we will carry opinion pieces and editorials, this is not a site to visit for hot takes and fiery debate. Most of our content is by and about those on the frontline of social change and activism, and our principle objective is to support their work and highlight their successes.
We are solutions-focused and our content will always aim to be constructive. We are not here for squabbles, to argue with or take down other media, or to criticise other activists. Rather than use our energy to criticise what is said by others, we aim to be the media we want to see and support the activism in which we believe.
Gendemic is a not-for-profit magazine and all content is provided and produced by volunteers. If you would like to write for us or get in touch for any reason, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Gender-inclusive: a definition
‘Gender-inclusive’ is a term commonly used in the men’s charity and wellbeing sector to describe practical approaches and modes of thinking that include gender at the heart of their analyses and solutions, and ensure that both/all genders are fully acknowledged, respected, included and cared for within the spectrum of social policy.
This does not mean that gender-inclusive charities are working directly and equally with people of all genders, although some do. Most have a specific gender focus, but they expect to be considered alongside, parallel and equal (and never in opposition) to other organisations doing equivalent work in the other sectors.
We believe the people best placed to analyse, understand, explain and advocate for causes are those affected. It is integral to the idea of gender-inclusive activism and policy that women’s situations, experiences and needs are best understood and represented by women and their representative organisations, that men’s situations, experiences and needs are best understood by their own, and LGBT+ representation is found both within and beyond those sectors. This is a principle we will try to reflect at Gendemic.
Gender-inclusive approaches do not require numerical equality or balance. There have been long and intricate debates within the realms of domestic violence research, for example, as to whether female-perpetrated DV is much less common, equally common or even more common than male perpetration. Our position at Gendemic is that this is of purely academic interest – every victim deserves support and assistance and every survivor deserves justice, whether they belong to a gender that is a majority or minority of the total makes no difference to that.
The term is perhaps best understood in contrast to the alternatives – ‘gender-neutral’ or ‘gender-exclusive’.
A gender-neutral approach discounts the role of gender, whether in terms of social scripts and traditional gender roles, or as an analysis of power and social oppression..
A gender-exclusive approach is concerned exclusively with issues affecting one gender only.
Anyone who is familiar with the politics of issues like domestic violence or sexual abuse will have encountered advocates for both gender-neutral and gender-exclusive approaches. It is our position that gender-neutral approaches fail to properly represent the lived experiences of survivors and victims, whether male or female, and whether or not they have an LGBT+ identity. Gender-exclusive approaches commonly deny or discount the suffering and needs of many victims and other people affected. Only a gender-inclusive approach offers fairness and inclusive justice.
While gender-inclusive approaches most commonly refer to activism around men’s issues, the exact same principles are desperately needed in situations where women/girls are an overlooked minority, such as suicide prevention or the needs of autistic children. This is another principle we hope to reflect in our content at Gendemic.