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#449: “How can I protect you in this moment?”
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#449: “How can I protect you in this moment?”

An interview with Amanda E. Machado, author of “The Abstract Rage To Protect”

Welcome, new subscribers, and welcome back, loyal readers! I’m happy you’re here.

Today’s issue is dedicated to an interview with Amanda E. Machado, the author of “The Abstract Rage To Protect,” June’s article of the month.

First published in The Adroit Journal, “The Abstract Rage To Protect” is about masculinity, the need for men to protect women, the violence that follows, and what we can do about it.

I highly encourage you to read the piece (if you haven’t already), then listen to the interview, then sign up for our discussion on Sunday, June 30, 2:00 - 3:30 pm PT. I’d be very happy to connect with you in conversation.

Sign up for the discussion on June 30

⭐️ About the article

“There is a difference between a man’s sense of protection and a man’s sense of violence,” a male friend once reassured me. But I never could tell the difference.

When Amanda E. Machado tells men that she was once sexually assaulted at a festival, with her ex-boyfriend nearby but lost in the crowd, they instantly become ashamed of him. “How could he let this happen?” they ask. “He was supposed to protect you.”

In this enlightening essay, Amanda explores notions of masculinity, weaving personal experiences with the work of Phil Christman, a lecturer at the University of Michigan. Christman writes, “When I try to nail down what masculinity is — what imperative gives rise to all this pain seeking and stoicism, this showboating asceticism and loud silence — I come back to this: Masculinity is an abstract rage to protect.”

The biggest problem with this “abstract rage to protect,” Amanda argues, is that there is a fine line between a desire to protect and a desire to inflict violence. “The aggression men learn to protect the women they love, becomes exactly how they hurt the women they love.”

⭐️ About the author

Amanda E. Machado (she/they) is a writer, public speaker and facilitator with ancestry from Mexico and Ecuador. Their work has been published in The Atlantic, Guernica, The Washington Post, Adroit Journal, Slate, The Guardian, Sierra Magazine, among many other outlets. In addition to their essay writing, Amanda is also a public speaker and workshop facilitator on issues of justice and anti-oppression for organizations around the world. They are also the founder of Reclaiming Nature Writing, a multi-week online workshop that centers the experiences of people of color in how we tell stories about the outdoors.

Amanda currently lives on unceded Ohlone land in Oakland, California.

⭐️ About the interview

Alongside fellow Article Clubber Sarai Bordeaux, I got a chance to interview Amanda a few weeks ago. It was an honor. We discussed a number of topics, including:

  • that we all have a desire to be protected

  • that we’re socialized that protection must be physical and therefore may involve violence

  • that we have a collective responsibility to find ways to redefine protection

Most of all, I appreciated Amanda’s generosity. It was clear that their thinking is expansive and non-judgmental. Listening to Amanda got me to want to be more imaginative in how I support others and how I show up for other people when they seek emotional protection. And it made me excited to discuss their piece with you.

🙋🏽‍♀️ Come Join Our Discussion on June 30

I urge you to join us on June 30 as we discuss our article of the month.

If you’re interested, I’ll be sure to get you all the info you need, including the Zoom link and this version of the article, where you can annotate and share your thoughts with other Article Clubbers.

If this will be your first time participating in Article Club, I’m 100% sure you’ll find that you’ll feel welcome. We’re a kind, thoughtful reading community.

What do you think? Interested? All you need to do is sign up below. Or reach out with all of your questions.

Sign up for the discussion on June 30

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