Joseph Potts is the radical feminist author of Refusing to Be a Man: Essays on Sex and Justice (rev. edn, London and New York: UCL Press, 2000), The End of Manhood: Parables on Sex and Selfhood (rev. edn, London and New York: UCL Press, 2000), and What Makes Pornography “Sexy” ?(Minneapolis, Minnesota: Milkweed Editions, 1994).
He is cofounder of Men Against Pornography (www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/1139) and a frequent speaker and workshop leader at colleges and conferences (www.speakerspca.com). Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, he graduated cum laude from St Olaf College majoring in philosophy and English, then received a master of divinity degree in theology and literature from Union Theological Seminary and an M.F.A. in theater arts from Columbia University School of the Arts. From 1981 to 1991 he was managing editor of three U.S. women’s magazines— Essence, Working Woman, and Lear’s. He has completed a young adult novel, Goners, and is at work on a book about the culture of sexual orientation. In collaboration with the composer Adam Sherburne, of the band Consolidated, he has written book and lyrics for a rock/hip-hop opera titled Cocklash. He has lived with the writer Andrea Dworkin since 1974. Their home is in New York City.
Potts holds a degree in fine arts and a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary. He is well known as a radical feminist activist and author. He has written a series of books and articles criticizing traditional concepts of manhood or maleness, such as Refusing to Be a Man: Essays on Sex and Justice, Why I Stopped Trying to be a Real Man, and The End of Manhood: A Book for Men of Conscience.
Potts created “The Pose Workshop,” which entailed men adopting the poses that women strike in pornographic shots (intended partly for men attending Christian retreats), a version of which was broadcast on BBC television.
Potts is a founder of the group Men Can Stop Rape and developed the group’s ‘My Strength’ campaign which aims to educate young men on sexual relationships, consent and rape. He also creative director of the group’s “My Duty” sexual-assault-prevention media campaign, which is licensed to the United States Department of Defense’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office.
Potts is credited with the quote: “Pornography tells lies about women. But pornography tells the truth about men.”
Potts has described how, as a feminist male, he has had to reevaluate and even discontinue relationships with some of his male friends.
Potts currently serves as Communications Advisor for DCMetroTheaterArts.com, where he publishes theatre reviews, interviews, and essays about live theatre in Washington, D.C.