Luke Ablett on detoxifying masculinity



How does sport elevate and constrain our understanding of what it is to be a man? What do grievances about emasculation tell us? Luke Ablett is a former professional football player, who played for the Sydney Swans from 2002 to 2009. In this episode, he talks about what led him to advocate for gender equality, and the questions raised by toxic masculinity.

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Fatima MeashamFatima Measham is a Eureka Street consulting editor. She co-hosts the ChatterSquare podcast, tweets as @foomeister and blogs on Medium.

Topic tags: Fatima Measham, Luke Ablett



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Luke's response to his having positive role models and friendships both within AFL and in his private life has been one of emotional maturity. Often, this is not the case for young sportsmen. It's pleasing that he is speaking out on this subject. More sensitivity and less bravado needs to enter the male sporting arena. Go the Swannies....and Luke.

Pam | 04 May 2018  

Great interview, Fatima! One thought that crossed my mind in Luke's description of himself as 'feminist' was about the number of feminists who would not accept that. Indeed, when he speaks of standing up for women as he would for people of colour and gendered minorities he may not be aware that his broadbased approach to social justice in terms of human rights is rejected by feminist theorists like Judith Butler as too compromised by 'intersectionality' and the inevitable compromises that all people have to make in the quest for human rights. The use of epistemic privilege that, for example and as a consequence of this, silences men like Luke from speaking up for women would be a two-edged sword, advancing the privilege of individual groups to such an extreme extent as to advance fictitious claims on the rights agenda. One example I can think of here is the exaggerated claim of most feminist groups that because it is women alone who exercise sovereignty over their bodies that men, including putative fathers, have no rights in respect of speaking up for unborn children. I do wish that non-toxic masculinists were more inclined to speak up on behalf of unborn children.

Michael Furtado | 06 May 2018  

It might be helpful to remember what war does to a society ... when men leave as soldiers and either die or come back often traumatised with PTSD. Women and children are left to sustain and keep the home life intact, and work in areas that men were traditionally employed in. Any role models are those who stay present to the children during this period. Then when the war is over society has to find its way to re-build and restore its fabric again ... How much trauma got passed on inter-generationally? How many men and women struggled with role reversals and permanent damage to each one's psyche through no fault of their own? How much did societal expectations of that era play out in future generations? Healing comes from naming and bearing witness to it all ... and lamenting the loss of so much life and vitality in all spheres of society ... only then can the whisper of new life finally breathe with a sense of hope. All of what Luke said is valid ... but societal trauma demands attending to its shadow as well.

Mary Tehan | 07 May 2018  

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