Jackson Katz is a middle-aged, self-proclaimed anti-sexism educator. In his 2012 Ted Talk, he opens with the statement, "I'm going to share with you a paradigm shifting perspective on the issues of gender violence." In a random moment of procrastination, I watched this Ted Talk because a friend had posted it on Facebook. The minute I heard the first words of the talk, I couldn't help but think of my Psychology of Creativity course. A Big-C Creative is someone who proposes paradigm shifts and culture-changing ideas. In his Ted Talk, Katz argues that gender violence issues are not women's issues, but a men's issue. Sexism is a gendered act, but it is not in the hands of one gender. Before I continue, Katz's talk is worth a watch:
In a university dominated by an overwhelmingly female student population, discussions of sexism and feminism are present everywhere around us; it is nothing new. Last year, the Damen Cinema was one of the only theaters in Illinois to show the documentary, The Hunting Ground, which discusses the prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses. I have the privilege to be educated about these things at Loyola, and I hardly think of this privilege as ground-breaking or paradigm-shifting, until I heard the Ted Talk by Jackson Katz.
Jackson Katz is a creative because he breaks the barrier between current cultural ideas of gender and how to handle gendered violence; he argues a point and then argues a solution.
Often in implicit cognitive processes, we perceive race to mean black, and we understand gender to mean female. Katz diagrams a sentence which proves his point, "the way we think...keeps the language off of men." People have become implicitly creative in defending the traditional stereotypes of gender. As a Social Work and Psychology student from a conservative catholic family, I have heard endless reasoning from "It's just the way God made men and women" to "The cave-men needed to hunt and the women raised the kids, it's how it's always been." Katz does not accept this. Katz argues that women are neither solely responsible, nor the sole victims of gendered violence. He says, "We are both victims of men's violence." This is familiar of Sternberg's element of perspicacity (meaning a quality of questioning societal norms and is willing to take a stand).
Taking a stand is Katz's solution. Creatives don't just have an idea and let it simmer into something great, they have the intrinsic and extrinsic motivation to find a solution. Sexism is a problem. Gendered violence is a problem. It's a men's issue. Katz proposes the Bystander Approach, and says "silence is a form of acceptance." It doesn't seem all that creative to say, "Speak up!" but in male culture, silence is common. The other part of the paradigm shift is the leadership component. Katz calls on adult men with power to take lead in this paradigm shift. While Katz may be intrinsically motivated by his passion and interest in gender-equality, not all men are like this.
I think men are often afraid to speak up for women because they think they cannot understand what it is like to be the victim of gender-based violence. This is the final reason I think Jackson Katz is a creative--why I think Jackson Katz has perspicacity. Currently, his video has almost 1.3 million views on Ted's website and over 1.5 million views on YouTube. He is using his environment--his resources--to propose a shift, to argue a point, and shift a culture.
Fighting sexism may not be ground-breaking, but how we go about it? It's time for men to take a stand. Gender Violence Issues are men's issues.