Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Disposable Men?

I was checking out a post at Pelle Billing about the necessity of a men's movement when someone brought up male disposability. What is this you may ask. Allow me to explain.

Throughout history and the world regardless of what some may say the vast majority of men in most populations are often regarded as disposable cannon fodder to be used and tossed away at a moments' notice. Want to overthrow a warlord in a foreign nation? Keep throwing military men at them until they are taken out. A woman needs help? If a man does not do everything up to and including put his life on the line to save her then he is not a real man.

For ages despite how successful he might be, how big a fortune he amasses, how wonderful a family he may have, a man's worth is often measured by how willing he is to take damage, hide his feelings, withstand pain without complaining, and/or give up his life. This willingness is perpetuated by society because the loss of these men's life usually leads to a net gain for society or some portion of it. So what if men (and sometimes boys) are severely injured (mentally, physically, etc...) or worse?

From an early age boys are taught that "real men don't cry" and that suffering for the sake of others is a measure of our masculinity. We learn that no matter how much pain we suffer no matter how we may feel about it we are supposed to be able to take it. Such a mentality is very damaging for us. We end up thinking that our own feelings don't just don't matter but are getting in the way of being a man and should be eliminated. We grow up thinking that sense we are men our own lives don't matter when compared to those of women and children (which makes me glad I've never been on a sinking ship because I'd really hate for my manhood to be measured by my willingness to give up my life for women and children because they are more valuable.

This is much bigger than the feminist lip service of "Patriarchy Hurts Men Too." (which usually doesn't go too far beyond those words). This is not just some side effect of oppressing women. Its not a privilege its oppression. This is a burden that has been cast squarely on men for years and its a burden that is long overdue for being lifted. This is a shadow that us men have to cast away because it is literally killing us. Don't cast it away for women, don't cast it away for children. It is important to look out for others but guys sometimes we need to make sure we look out for ourselves as well.

(This is definitely something I will have to come back to.)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

I still say the accused should get annonymity as well...

In most cases of accuser/accused things go normally and there is little stigma in the form of pre-drawn assumptions and conclusions about the accuser and accused. For some odd reason however all that goes out the window when it comes to rape. When one person accuses another of the horrible crime of rape often times battle lines are immediately drawn between two camps.

In the first camp you have those that assume that there is no way that the accuser can be lying because of how serious rape is. This bunch is usually made up of people who advocate for victims' rights and while there is nothing wrong with helping victims sometimes these people can go too far and fling some pretty wild things. Some will just state that the rape must have happened if the accuser is talking. Some will assume the accused is guilty because of their character. ("He is an ass so he must have done it."/"If he didn't rape HER he more than likely raped SOMEONE."/"He is a privilege jerk that has probably done something to someone in the past and now its come back to him.") In short once the accusation is made and case breaks these people can go from 0 to guilty in no time flat.

In the other camp you have those that will go to the greatest lengths to profess the innocence of the accused. The people of this camp are usually made up of those who insist that the accused must be innocent and while the accused should get a fair chance at clearing their name these folks can go too far. Some of them will declare that the accuser must be lying and is only trying to cover her own ass. Some will assume the accuser is lying because of their character. ("She likes sex so she must have wanted it."/"She probably had buyer's remorse and is crying rape for revenge."/"What was she wearing, drinking, etc...that nigh?") In short once the accusation is made and the case breaks these people can go from 0 to non-guilty in no time flat.

Well despite the war that these two camps get into there is one thing that shines pretty clear to this fence-sitter (the ones that actually wonder what happened before assuming innocence or guilt) here. Even though both the accused and accuser may have their lives, names, and reputations drug through the mud to hell and back most of the time ONLY the accused has to go through such treatment in full view of the public while it is a very rare occurrence for the accuser to do so. Why is it that knowing full well the emotional charge that is carried with a rape accusation the identity of the accused is instantly plastered all over the place while the identity of the accused is a tightly guarded secret?

Look at the latest big time example in Pittsburg Steeler quarterback Ben Rothesburger. He has just been accused of raping a 19 year old woman on year ago in a hotel. As soon as the story broke (despite seemingly intentional efforts to suppress the story) Ben's name was all over the place and the two camps I mentioned above are already in full swing.

So you have an accuser whose identity the public is not allowed to find out about which allows for this woman to (relatively) safely accuse Rothesburger from the shadows. Yes there are people trying to assassinate her character but bear in mind they are trying to assassinate the character of an anonymous woman whereas the those trying to assassinate his character are taking wide open shots at a fully identified man.

I'm getting a bit muddled here so I better end this.

In closing what I'm wonder is why is it that only the accuser gets the protection of anonymity while the accused has to suffer from getting drug through the mud (and stop erasing the suffering of the falsely accused with that BS that the "real" victims of a false accusation are the actual rape victims that left too scared to speak up) in public regardless of guilt or innocence? I suppose in an ideal world the court of public opinion would reserve judgment in rape accusations but this is not an ideal world and as of right now the accused is definitely getting the short end of the stick here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

He is black and he is a man

In all this talk about the racist treatment Henry Louis Gates, Jr. that I'm reading from the various blogs I read I've noticed something is missing.

No the people that are rabidly chiming in are pointing out the racist treatment of the cops that arrested him at home.

Yes the various bloggers are using this as an opportunity to point out the racial tension that has existed between police and black men for ages.

But I just showed you what they are missing. Everyone is going out of their way to point out the racist treatment black men like Gates have been the target of but no one is willing to talk about the sexist treatment they are on the receiving end of though. I can hear you now, "But Danny the reason he was treated that way was because of his race." And to you I say, "Ah but you are half right. Watch."

I'm sure you know that the different combination of classes we make up have a bearing on how other people treat us and the police are no different. Even if you just look at black woman vs. white man vs. black man vs. white woman and how the police will treat them differently you can see that the the specific combination of race and gender will alter things. They think black women are ghetto project cases, white women are damsels in distress, white men are simply trouble makers and black men are violent thugs that must be dealt with as quickly and harshly as possible. And I'm intentionally keeping it simple because all those statements go out the window when these people cross paths, you add in other classes (sexual orientation, races beyond black and white, religion, etc...), and you put them on different sides of the given situation, and do other things.

Even if you just look at black men and black women you can see how racist law enforcement also throw in sexism in their acts of hatred. Now while both black men and black women can victims of all sorts of violence black women are mainly subjected to sexual violence whereas black men are mainly subjected to straight murder. And if you look this actually goes back to the slave trade.

What I'm trying to say is that the reason Gates was treated that way was because not only his race but also because of his gender. But hey I suppose its good that people are at least talking about it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

This is what feminism is talking about

I myself don't claim to be a feminist and if you read my corner here you'll notice that I'm not the biggest fan of feminism but while I disagree with them on a lot of things this and this are 2 things that I can very clearly see eye to eye with them on.

The first story is of Sudanese women being lashed for wearing "indecent clothing". What was the indecent item you ask? Pants. Yes these women were punished with a physical beating for daring to wear what I wear every single day as a matter of routine. Think about that for a bit.

There are women in this world who are being limited against their will to wearing "women's garments". Perhaps they prefer pants to dresses. Perhaps they were experimenting with something different. Hell it doesn't really matter why they wore pants what matters is that the powers that be in that area of the world for "committing an indecent act or one which violates public morality or wearing indecent clothes", a charge that 3 women are awaiting hearings on received.

Women in this part of the world (the United States just so you know) get up in the morning and have a choice of several garments for their lower halves ranging from skirts, to dresses, to shorts, to pants and all in between (accounting for dress codes where applicable of course). What a day we live in when the garments one chooses can be dictated by law.

The second story is of women in India who before being able to participate in a state sponsored mass wedding were required to submit to an examination to verify that they had not participated in premarital sex. Along with being allowed to participate in this mass wedding the test was also required in order to qualify for a gift of 6500 rupees.

What a way to enforce the traditional value of making sure women of this culture remain pure for their future husbands. Not only are many of the women who attend these weddings basically forced to stay pure in order to go through them but many of them are also poor and the alure of a cash gift can be quite an incentive to save oneself.

Remember the people in these situations folks. These are some of the reasons that feminists do what they do.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Way to be selective...

There is a post at Feministing today about the reversal on reversal of the Ricci v. DeStefano case. Regardless of how one feels about the first decision or this recent decision to reverse that first decision there is nothing wrong with wanting to talk about it. However when talking about it there is no need for a blatant disregard for past decisions on various -isms.
...why is racial discrimination only considered an offense when it is women or people of color being biased against whites?

What a nice way to disregard all the past lawsuits launched and won over sexist, racist, ageist, and who knows how many other discriminatory practices.

I find it very amazing how people can manage to remember to lump all whites or all males together when its time to blame them for something but then turn around and forget about them when it comes time to acknowledge their efforts. For this country to be run by rich old white guys that don't care about anyone that isn't like them there sure as hell someone out there helping these people get justice for being wronged.

Thankfully someone did call her out on this question (although I'm not sure if its a good thing or a bad thing that no one else said anything):

Denny's, Abercrombie, Apple computers, Morgan Stanley, Wal-Mart, and about a zillion other rightfully sued companies would beg to differ. I'm sure they wish you were right, but you're not and they were not.

Racial discrimination is wrong no matter who the perpetrator is and no matter who the victim is.(Links added by me.)

It's one thing to say that there is still a lot to be done but to ignore the fact that wrongs are being righted and injustices are being corrected (or compensated as best as possible) when it is convenient undermines the people in the system that are trying to make things right for those victims and it erases the victims that were wronged.