Monday, November 30, 2009

My lovely Anastasia, drifting through The Night on Feathery Wings

Okay so I'm cutting it a bit close. I suddenly hit me today while I was at work that I had not done a song title link post on Voltaire. An interesting guy with interesting music. If I had to put a gener name to his music I'd calling Gothic Folk music. Go give him a listen. Oh and he also has a thing for making fun of Star Trek and did you may recognize his song "BRAINS!" from the show "Grim Adventures of Bill and Mandy". The following tracks are from his album "Almost Human".


Anastasia


The Night


Feathery Wings

Ah there we are and with 20 minutes to spare. See ya next month.

So according to Axe...



If a girl doesn't like a guy's hair its okay to liken him to a pig and the only way to remedy it is to style it in a manner that is girl approved.

This ad has been bothering me since I first saw it many months ago but I saw again tonight and I decided to make a post about it.

"And why make a post about it Danny? Its just a hair ad.", you may ask.

The reason is because this is one of those mainstream examples in which the insecurities of males is being played on. It would be one thing if they were just marketing this as a way to prevent greasy hair for guys who don't like their hair that way. No that would be too easy and might not sell as many products. So to make sure the message really gets home they chose to market it by playing to one of the main things on the mind of many teenage boys, girls.

Pretty much the ad is telling young boys that that hair style in and of itself is dirty (hence the pig), girls think its not attractive, girls don't like boys with hair like that, and the only way to get girls to like them is to use that product to make sure their hairstyle is girl approved. Now if this were an ad directed at girls I'm sure it would not be hard to realize this but since were talking about boys its a bit harder to come to terms with this type of advertising.

People for the most part don't want to believe that boys have body image issues. For boys themselves it goes against the years of training to make us think we simply don't have body image issues and to think so is to not be the real man (not to be confused with "being like woman", simply not being a man) we are supposed to be. For girls/women they may be thinking that if the boys/men in their lives are in conflict over this they that it is a sign that they are weak and, going back to what boys/men themselves think, will have nothing to do with a weak man. For those who advocate for girls/women they seem to only want to bring up the issues of boys/men when it suits them and leave them swept under the rug otherwise.

Just like every other walk of life men/boys have their own body image issues to deal with and it is not good to sweep them away and bring them up only when they are convenient to talk about.

So the next time you see one of those axe ads (and frankly I think the vast majority of them are offensive to boys/men) and want to laugh take a moment and ask yourself would want your hair style to be compared to a dirty pig and told to change your ways just to get girls (or boys) to like you.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Here we go again...

If you recall a while back I talked a bit about how critics (namely women and feminists) had already decided that a recently formed group with a focus on men was sexism, misogynistic, and anti-woman. You know the ones that say its not a zero sum were declaring that devoting a little time to helping men in and of itself is a detriment to women.

Well it seems the same thing is happening at Manchester University.
Manchester University has created the first official MENS Society – Masculinity Exploring Networking and Support – despite outrage from critics who claim the existence of such a group undermines women's ability to speak out for equality.
How exactly does men speaking up for themselves undermine women's ability to speak out for equality? Is this men's group actively trying to silence women's groups? Are they attacking women's advocates? Are they trying to speak on behalf of women? Apparently the very act of men speaking for themselves harms women.

If you look at some of the commentary from critics and detractors on this their criticisms undermine their very own messages about equality. Well that is if they think that part of equality is that everyone should have a fair voice. But let's take a look shall we.
Given that men already dominate political and economic life, British society didn't need "much more celebration of masculinity," claimed one critic.
This type knee-jerk reaction is very common among those who have a an anti-male stance on gender relations. Well not anti-male so much as anti-anything that might help the men. The backbone of the argument that men dominate the political and economic arena is assumption that men are a monolithic entity and all of them practice the same masculinity. Therefore since they are all the same and are all at the top there is no need for them to need anymore space. You see how that does not make much sense when you think about it? To presume that all members of any one class are already at the top and none need space is to lump them all together. To conclude that the interests of all the members of that one class are being addressed by those at the top is to assume that they all have the same interests.

I thought the point of equality was for everyone to have a fair voice. Yet some see fit to dictate for other people who already has a fair voice. "We are for equality for all people...but only certain people get to have a say."




Then you have some commentary that seems to answer its own question.
Olivia Bailey, NUS national women's officer, said: "Discrimination against men on the basis of gender is so unusual as to be non-existent, so what exactly will a men's society do? To suggest that men need a specific space to be 'men' is ludicrous, when everywhere you turn you will find male-dominated spaces."
So we have a woman that apparently knows what the real deal on discrimination against men is all about. Mind you this is going on in the UK so what the men over there are dealing with may be a bit different that what men here in the US are dealing with but I'll bet there is a lot in common. Being expected to act, dress, perform, etc. in a certain way in order to be considered a "real man". Child custody. Being silenced when victimized. Assumptions based on appearance. Paternal leave. Birth Control. Oh and people like Olivia here speaking on your experiences despite not being a part of your gender and even if they were their own life experience does not magically nullify the experience of the men that have been wronged in those ways (so please spare me the effort of pulling out a male feminist whose life and reality does not match mine in an effort to "prove" my experiences didn't happen or that they happen so rarely that no effort needs to go into addressing them).

Funny thing is by her asking that question and basically telling men they have no issues that need to be addressed she actually justifies their existence. I guess according to her the only issues men have to deal with is the oppression they impose on women.




And then you have those that just assume the worst of any activity in an effort to shut down anything that they think is a threat.
Caitriona Rylance, chair of Manchester Communist Students, said that while the society now claimed to be about "self-betterment" it's original aims were "Top Gear shows, gadget fairs, beer-drinking marathons and Iron Man competitions".
So what exactly is wrong with those activities in and of themselves? Nothing. I wouldn't dare question a women's group on campus having a beauty day with spas, massages, and shopping. Why? Because in and of themselves such activities are harmless. Yes they are typically associated with a specific gender but does that mean its a bad thing for that gender to indulge in that activity? So what if a woman wants to go to a club to check guys out. BFD if an man goes out to a bar to get a drink and talk to women. Does that suddenly mean they are against the cause? Yes there are things that can go wrong with those activities but that's a problem with those people that take it too far or "go there" not the activity.


If those critics were really interested in equality as they say they are wouldn't they take the time to give them a chance and see if this group is one they want to work with instead of treating it like a threat their eternal victim-hood status?

Kat Wall, the Oxford University's student union vice president for women hopes that he would work with the women's campaign to "facilitate a discussion forum on the issue of masculinity". I wonder if she is going to make the first move or does she have a timer counting down waiting for the time to complain that they aren't trying to work with women if he doesn't make the first move in time.

Just as what happened before with the group at the University of Chicago people are rushing to judgment on a group and basing that judgment solely on the who and not the what (kinda like people who decide whether or not something is sexist solely on the who instead of the what). If those men's groups do act out of line and start doing the things these people are accused of then yes by all means lay into them (which of course they will do with the "See we were right all along!" angle). I just wonder if these critics will be as vocal if groups like this actually do some good and shut down their prejudging statements.

I have to say that this is bit of a tell of the real intentions of some who call themselves advocates, activists, and so on for women. Last I checked the point of activism is to raise the level of consciousness and quality of life of everyone to a fair playing field. But from the words of some of these critics it is apparent that some actually have the goal of elevating some and hold others back (perhaps even the occasional effort to push them further down). Instead of listening to the voices of this subset just assume they are the same as the ones at the top. Instead of asking what concerns they have just assume they have no legitimate concerns because of their gender. Instead of waiting to see what they do just assume the worst from get go. The only people undermining the ability of women to speak out for equality are these women who seem to have a one sided sense of equality.



Other articles about this at the Guardian:
Jennie Agg questions why feminists and women's groups seem to be putting so much energy into shutting groups like this down.
Ben Wild, one of the founding members of the UKs first university MENS society, responds to the criticisms of such groups.

Beware the CAPS lock and NUM lock

Long time since I shared an echo but this is a very big one. In fact I'm a bit shocked I haven't covered it already.

When working in an environment that has usernames and passwords there WILL be a LOT of resets for them . And there is one reason for that.

Forgetting the NUM lock and/or CAPS lock are on.

You would not believe how many calls I get from people saying they are locked out and "know" that they typed their password correct. Chances are they are hitting the correct keys but have either turned on the CAPS lock for a form they filled out earlier or shut off the NUM lock key when reaching for the number 7 at the far right of the keyboard.

Mind you this only counts when dealing with case sensitive (meaning the program in question recognizes the difference between "A" and "a") passwords but there a lot of passwords that are case sensitive so this is worth keeping in mind.

As for the NUM lock just make sure you are hitting that Page Down/Page UP/7 or whatever it is you're reaching for. And also remember that sometimes the NUM lock may not be automatically coming on when you long onto you pc.

Tip: Most modern keyboards have CAPS lock and NUM lock indicator lights at the top of the keyboard either above the F Keys or above the NUM lock button itself to the far right. Usually the CAPS lock light is marked with a "A" and the NUM lock light is marked with a "9" or "1" (without the quotations of course). The indicator light being lit (usually green) means the lock is on and the light being off means its off.

So before you get to typing in your passwords make sure the CAPS and NUM locks are in the right position.

Monday, November 23, 2009

This is what feminism is talking about

Okay so I'm watching Trauma and during one of the last commercial breaks an ad came on about some of the people who have been nominated for the People of Year Award. One of the names that came up was Octomom.

No the announcer speaking on the ad did not say her actual name. In case you have forgetten (and I will admit that I had look it up real quick) her actual name is Nadya Suleman.

This is a problem. Regardless of what your stance is on the morality of her having so many children but to call her Octomon reduces her to her uterus. This is something that women have been having to deal with for ages and this, saga for lack of a better word, does not help with the destruction of that minimizing.

Besides the award is for the person of the year not body part of the year.

I really hope that if she wins the media will at least have the decency to use her real name on the cover of the magazines, newspapers, and websites.

Just to remind you her name is:

Nadya Suleman

Say it with me folks:

Nadya Suleman



So does that make me straight curious as well?

I was looking through my posts and noticed that while I did cross post this at ethcofem a few weeks ago I didn't post it here. So I guess I can't say I cross posted it then. Here goes.


Hey folks this is Danny (aka sanguinedream) from My Corner. I've been invited to become a contributor here and I just could not refuse.

Since Cacophonies seems to be up for a wide range of topics I'm gonna go left field for a bit and talk about sexuality for my introduction.

I'm sure you are more than likely familiar with the term "bi-curious" right? If not it refers to one is generally identifies as heterosexual or homosexual but has curiosities about romantic or sexual activities with people of the same (if you're heterosexual) or opposite (if you're homosexual) gender. So to be curious about romance or sex of the orientation opposite of what you identify with there is the implication that you have never done such things before. So what if you have no sexual or romantic experience?

I've called myself heterosexual for the vast majority of my life. Checking women out. Paying attention to women in porn (but not lesbian porn but that is another story for another day). Fantasizing about women. Par for the course for a heterosexual man (or homosexual woman) right? However about five years ago I opened up to thoughts about homosexuality. Checking men out. Paying attention to men in porn. Fantasizing about men. Par for the course for a homosexual men (or heterosexual woman) right?

Thing is I have no experience in either one.

So based on the fact that I have no experience in heterosexual or homosexual romance/sex does that mean that I'm in some weird limbo in which I'm straight curious and gay curious at the same time? Or can I just call it simply curious since without any experience I'm still at the starting point of discovering my sexuality? Just wondering.

So now my BMI is more important than my GPA?

Okay I can get down with having physical education requirements for graduating school. I agree that physical fitness should be a part of one's education if for no other reason than the fact that there are valuable life lessons that can be picked up on the court/field/etc... and used outside the sports arena. However this is where I draw the line.

It would seem that back in the Fall of 2006 the entering class of Lincoln University in Pennsylvania had a new condition added to their requirements for graduation.
Entering freshmen at Lincoln University have to get their body mass index, or BMI, measured. And if the result comes back above 30, the threshold for obesity, the students have to take a physical education class called "HPR 103 Fitness Walking/ Conditioning" or they can't graduate. Details here.


Now as I said there are most certainly benefits to being fit and you can learn life lessons in sports (like teamwork) but to have your diploma, you know that thing you've spent at least four years working and paying for, depend on having a certain BMI is just another barrier to the badly needed education people need in order to be competitive in the job market. Well yeah they give you an out with that "HPR 103 Fitness Walking/Conditioning" class but this really sounds like its just a class in which you are asked, "You do know that you are unhealthy, overweight, costing healthy people millions in healthcare dollars, and are likely to live a short unhappy life right?"

Damn I just thought that my study habits had to be up to snuff when I went back to college, looks like I will have to be in shape too.

Tip of the Fro to Shakesville.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Weekly Menu November 23-27 Extra Stage!!!

Thanksgiving is coming up and a staple of this time of year is the sweet potato. A few weeks ago I got a few pounds of them because that was the only way I could get them. So with so many sweet potatoes we've had to come up with other ways to eat them besides the usual puddings, pies, and baking. Out of nowhere this past Friday I decided I wanted some sweet potato pancakes. I went to the store to pick up some syrup and came across some oatmeal pancake mix. Curiosity took over and got it. What started off as one idea actually ended up as two.

Battered Sweet Potatoes
Yesterday my dad had the idea of slices some sweet potatoes up and pan frying them then topped them with cinnamon and sugar. Well there were about 4 leftover and I had the idea of dipping them in batter. This is as simple as it sounds. Just prepare your pancake batter (by mix, from scratch or however) and dip the sliced sweet potatoes into the batter then pan fry them. After frying them golden brown on both sides take them up and lay them in a plate covered in paper towels (to catch excess grease) and sprinkle with ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Enjoy

Sweet Potato Pancakes
This morning I got to my big idea. First I prepare the pancake batter. Just prepare it how you normally would. Set it to the side. I did this first because when the sweet potatoes are done you want to add them immediately to the pancake mix. Next I peeled and cut up a sweet potato and boiled it. As far as how much water try not to use too much. My point here is that you don't want to have to drain the water off the potatoes because that water is going to be holding some (if not most) of the natural sugar that came out of them during boiling. I got lucky this time in such a way that when they were cooked enough there was enough water in the pot that I was just able to dump them (potatoes and remaining water) right into the mixing bowl with the batter and mix and mash them up. Now since you have added another ingredient and more water you may have altered the consistency of the batter and may need to add more dry ingredients to counter it.

From there its a matter of making pancakes (and I plan to do waffles next time) like you normally would.

Yeah I know its not fancy but its a bit of a mix up from the norm and allows me to use up some extra potatoes.

Later.

Weekly Menu November 23-27

Okay so I know its been a long while since I did one of these but I haven't been up to anything noteworthy lately. But today I had one that I just had to put up.

Deer Fried Rice

Yes you read that right. Deer Fried Rice. I live in the country and wild game is plentiful. One of my dad's coworkers got some deer and decided to hook him up with some. I needed something to eat this week for lunch at work and I'm a bit low on cash. Remember necessity is the mother of invention.

About 1lb of deer meat cut into strips - Okay for those of you that have probably never seen a deer outside of tv you can use just about any meat you can get your hands on beef, chicken, pork, etc...

Cooked Rice - I used one of those Boil 'n' Bags of rice. Didn't need a lot so I didn't feel like cooking proper rice.

1 1lb. bag of Frozen Peas - Just one of those Bird's Eye bags of frozen peas on the steamer bag. But don't cook them yet, we're going to stir fry them.

1 can of Mushrooms - Simple can of mushrooms from the store.

For seasoning:
Italian Seasoning
Five Spice
Black Pepper
Garlic Powder
Ground Ginger
(But feel free to use your own choices)

First you gonna cook your meat in the oven. Spray a cooking pan and put some seasoning on it then lay your meat on top of it then put some more seasoning on of that. The effect is get seasoning on the top and bottom of the meat (so don't go crazy with it). Pour in about 4 tblsp. of vinegar and about 4 tblsp. and here is the key, cover the pan with tin foil. Place it in the oven at 200 degrees for about 1 hour (you will have to change the temperature and time depending on your meat). This would be a good time to prepare your rice by whatever method. Once it is finished cooking you will notice that there is some juice built up in the pan. SAVE IT!!! In fact just put the pan of meat to the side and we will get back to it later.

Okay let's get a skillet out put some oil in it and heat it up its time to fry it up. First off add your mushrooms and seasoning and let them fry for a bit. Next you want to add the frozen peas, still frozen, and cover the skillet. You want to let them go for about 5min. or at least until you can take one of the peas out of the pan and eat it and its not cold. Next you want to add the rice and mix it altogether and let it fry for a few more minutes. Now remember than juice that was in the pan of meat you cooked earlier? Add it and stir it in. The juice may seem to just sit there but it will evaporate and the rice will absorb it. Turn off the heat and you have Deer Fried Rice.

That's all there is to it.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Kyriarchy 101

If you recall last year I did a post on the concept of Kyriarchy. Admittedly I have not touched on it in a while but imagine my surprise when I came across this at Unapologetically Fat (a blog I just happened upon today, go check it out).

This post gives a good breakdown (complete with an example scenario) of how having one privilege does not make ones life golden. You should definitely read up on it and the other material on the blog.

Transgender Day of Rememberance

A day that wish did not exist or at least came to be under different circumstances. This day exists as a time to remember those who dared to defy the gender they were born into. This day exists to remember those who dared to defy the gender they were born into by changing their gender. This day exists to remember those who dared to defy the gender they were born into by changing their gender in a world where such changed is met with death.

Each person that is killed (harassed, abused, assaulted, etc....) is another reason why this day must exist. There is simply no reason that such sparks are being extinguished simply because they are not burning in specific manner determined by society. Every spark is unique and every spark is beautiful.

Transmisogyny and transmisandry are the poison that make this day necessary. They are excuses people use when attacking a person for not performing the gendered body they were born into They are the reason there are activists efforts exist to make this world a safer place for transgender people. Once such evil and hatred is removed perhaps one day this day will no longer be needed to bring attention to live lost. Hopefully one day this world will become a safe place for transgender people.

For those who wish to read up on this day and learn should take a look at these links:

Questioning Transphobia

Womanist Musings

Deeply Problematic

Feministe

Shapely Prose

Raising My Boychick

Random Babble

The Curvature

The f-word

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Drinking binge + past abuse + female = no time for rape?

41 year old Jenny Lee Mitchell of Sebastopol, Ballarat (in Australia) had sex with two teenage boys during a drinking binge. The incident happened in March last year after Mitchell bought a slab of vodka Cruisers and shared it with a 17-year-old boy, who was staying with her at her unit, and his younger friend. But the worst part of this isn't that she violated the young boy but that fact that she violated him and will not face any jail time for it.

How can this be you ask? Well it would seem that the judge presiding over the trial, Howard Mason, concluded that the abuse that Mitchell has suffered were what made her commit those crimes and thus were a mitigating circumstance and grounds to suspend her entire sentence of 2 years. Mason cited Mitchell's background in which she says she left home at the age of 14 and was held captive for 16 days and was raped* and assaulted by her captured for that period.

“You have been very much a victim,” the judge told Mitchell.

“The incident was spontaneous (and) you were acting out of character.”


Now this is not the first time a rapist has brought up their own abuse in order to explain away why they raped someone. Its very likely true that the things she say are true and she was raped and abused as a young teen but that should not be an excuse for turning around and raping a child herself. Its not acceptable when male rapists try it but as a woman it seems to be a valid defense.

This instance of female sentencing discount a knife in the back of the child she raped essentially telling him that the fact that she is an alcoholic and was raped in the past takes precedence over his own violation.

So much for the "best interests of the children" eh?

* - If you look at the original article you see that the word rape doesn't even come up until they are talking about he past. Apparently she "had sex" with a young boy but she was "raped" when she was a young girl.

Tip of the Fro to Toy Soldier.

Commiting racism to record a documentary on racism?

Filmmaker G√ľnter Wallraff wanted to make a documentary on the experience of black people in Germany today. Now most of time when people want to make a documentary on a subject they go out and talk to the people in question right? Not Wallraff. No no he decided to immerse himself into the project and get a first hand account of what its like to be black and to do so he donned that costume. Yes blackface.

Once again we have someone that either totally missed boat on recognizing that painting one's face to imitate another race is not artistic, funny, or edgy. It's racist. Critics are speaking up on this.

Noah Sow, a black journalist, academic and musician, said in an interview with the news website Tagesschau.de commented, ""He is using white privileges. He is mimicking suppressed minorities and earning money, attention and even respect."

While I totally agree with Sow's second sentence I think the first one is a bit off base. The fact that Wallraff is white isn't the problem for even if he were Indian, Native American, etc.... he would still be donning blackface in an effort to "understand the black experience". The second sentence is on point though explaining that in his efforts he was mimicking a minimalized experience for profit.

Tahir Della, a spokesman for the Initiative of Black People in Germany (ISD) weighed in by drawing parallels between Wallraff's methods and minstrel shows.
"[Those shows] came about because blacks weren't allowed to perform in clubs and theaters, so whites dressed up to caricature them,"

This taps on my problem with this.

Wallraff could have very easily spoken with 300k to 1/2 million black people that live in Germany today. He could have hired some of them to log/chronicle/record their lives for a period of time. If he wanted to get an idea of the black experience in Germany he could have interacted with actual black people in order to get the info. But instead he decided that he pretending to be a black person was more informative?

Perhaps due to his background as an undercover journalist he has concluded that the best way to experience the life of the subjects of the story is to live himself. Now that sounds like a noble (and dangerous) idea and he probably thought that by doing it himself he was just depending on someone else to tell it to him. Nothing wrong with having the drive to learn for yourself however when that drive leads you to ignore the very people you are trying to report on the experience of you have to wonder how informed you will be from the coverage.

He went undercover as a black person for some limited amount of time. That's fine well and good until you realize that his few months or however long it was it is only a drop in the bucket compared to the life time of people who live it day in day out for the entire lives and will never change. Yeah I could put on whiteface (which for the record is racist like blackface) and straighten my hair and pretend to be white for a few days but its nothing when considering that actual white can't take off their makeup at the end of day. When actual white people apply for jobs they have to actually check that box for their race. When actual white people get into the dating scene they are going to be dating as a white person.

So in his effort to film a documentary about being black in Germany he actually managed to leave out a large chunk of, well, the experience of being black in Germany. And besides even if blackface wasn't racist he would only get one portion of the experience, the black man. There are also black women. And even beyond that there still sexual orientation, religion, gender presentation, etc.... many many things that he as one person cannot hope to account for.

Wallraff I can appreciate your efforts but the next time you want to learn about the experience of a group of people you may want to start by getting some words from actual members of that group.

Monday, November 16, 2009

First, Last, and Only Line of Defense?

So there is this article about a study done 965 men in Uganda that concluded that men with larger foreskins were more likely to contract AIDS virus. It is believed that the "foreskin has many immune cells called dendritic cells, which may provide a route into the body for the virus."

Well par for the course when there is a bit of evidence that the foreskin may increase risk for contracting AIDS they go for the old "chop it off!" solution.

Here's the thing. Did this study by chance evaluate the genital hygiene and sex education of those 965 men? Perhaps they don't realize that keeping their penises clean and being aware of sexually transmitted diseases could decrease the risk as well. But I doubt that. These days it seems like people are just aching for a chance to cut foreskin when they can.

I would really like to see some evidence that proper sexual education and genital hygiene are so incredibly ineffective in preventing the transmission of AIDS to these men that something as serious as circumcision is the only resort (which is how a lot of folks are treating it these days). In most cases of most illnesses the removal of body parts is usually the very last resort when all other options have been exhausted. Except in this case in which circumcision is being touted by some as the first and only resort.

Why is that?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The next day

I just posted a little while ago about the recent flooding in my area. Well I also said I was waiting for my batteries to recharge so I could get pictures today. Well here they are. These are about 28 hours later.

I guess if the media won't talk about it...

One of the biggest drawbacks if living off the beaten path is that when something happens it won't get reported unless its a horrible crime. Its been flooding in Eastern NC for the last few days and hardly anyone is talking about. Mind you nothing major just flooded roads and thankfully no one has been hurt but it kinda makes you feel bad that your hometown is flooded and no one talks about it because you don't live in Beverly Hills (yeah media would get footage of every drop of water if that place was flooded).

But then I realize that I have my own corner of the universe to talk as a please so why not put it to good use. I took some photos and dropped them into a small album yesterday just to show what its looking like.

I would have taken more pics today to show how much worse its gotten but like a silly person I left my camera on all night while hooked to my pc to upload the photos so they are recharging. Once they are charged I'll have another set of photos to share.

And as a bonus I took a small vid clip to show how deep the water is. Yes I was bored enough to add my own music to it:





Edit: Here are pics of what it looks like today.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Finding the positive in masculinity

With the way gender relations are these days its extremely easy to demonize masculinity and only highlight the negative things associated with it (and even try to imply that such negative things are inherent in masculinity).

I'm sure there are those that think misogyny is an integral part of masculinity and what it is to be a man. Some who believe that a man must be the external provider (by that I mean providing by working mostly outside the home whereas women are traditionally expected to work inside the home or an internal provider) is an inherent part of their masculinity. Violence is often associated with being male. And I'm sure the list of negatives could go on.

Anybody care to think of some positive things associated with being male or embracing masculinity? Not quite so easy eh?

Personally I been wondering for a while if anyone else was going to ever take enough time from attacking the male image to ask this and it seems that Courtney E. Martin has gotten around to asking that.

Its real easy to point out the bad things about masculinity in an effort to change them but at the same time current positives must be nurtured and new positives introduced if there are any. And big part of nurturing the positives* is examine the basis behind them. Let's take a look at two such positives.

Protecting people - Now at face value this seems like a good virtue for a man to have right? Yes but think about why the desire to protect people is attached to masculinity. For the most part as men we are expected to protect simply because we are men. In other words because we are men are supposed to protect others, namely women and children. Can you say a given virtue is a good thing to have when it is forcefully imposed upon you simply because of you gender? This is a part of thedisposability of men that dictates that a man's life is worth less than that of a woman or child. It would seem that to men that do take on harm for the sake of others would be doing so because it is the right thing to do rather than a gender imperative based on having one's worth based on gender.

Being an external provider for family - This is somewhat related to the desire to provide protection I mentioned above. As it has been for a very long time providing resources (ie; money) by from working outside the home is extremely demanding and is often dangerous**. So in an effort to protect the women from the demand and danger of being an external provider men have often taken upon themselves to work outside the home. At a quick glance this sounds like a noble deed on the part of such men but if you think about it how many men have taken on this demand, danger, and burden simply because they figured that since they are men it is their gender based duty to so?

These are some of the things that while should be included in a new masculinity, as long they examined to make sure they are included for the right reasons.

So Courtney does bring up what is a crucial part to redefining masculinity and an important goal for the men's movement (which she spends a paragraph attacking and painting feminists be the poor innocent victims that have never done anything wrong).

* - Now after reading these some of you may want to say, "But Danny these are parts of femininity as well." Well that is true but I'm talking about masculinity. On the other hand some of you may say, "But Danny these are parts of being a good person." Well that is true as well but along with being a good person I am also a masculine person and these values are good to have whether one embraces masculinity, femininity, neither, or some of both.

** - Now his is not to say that being an internal provider is free of demand and danger. Just pointing out how demanding and dangerous being an external provider is and quite frankly while the demand can be the same I think it can be safely said that the danger is higher for external providers.

Looks like some people have recovered from the shock

I guess that people are still so shocked that the main suspect in the murder of 8 year old Sandra Cantu is a woman everyone just stopped talking about it. But thankfully the system is still working on it.


A trial date is expected to be set at the next hearing on December 4th with a hearing to suppress evidence is set for February 12th.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Why is male sexuality considered dirty?

As you can tell by the title I'm getting straight to the point. For the most part male sexuality is generally regarded as a dirty and disgusting thing and that's a problem. Unlike female sexuality which regarded as a pure and delicate flower (which isn't all sunshine and rose petals either from what I understand) male sexuality is something that is supposed to be rough, ugly, nasty (which is why people refer to a woman that has had sex with a man as "defiled" or "unpure").

As men we are expected to be the dark side of sexuality (with female sexuality being the light side). On that side we are supposed be hungry sex beasts always on the hunt for the next romp under the covers. While some may find this image to be alluring and attractive it can be quite destructive.

What do we usually see in pop culture when it comes to men and sex? "Hot" bodies (hot being defined in very narrow, sexist, and homophobic terms), willing to do anything to get it (even violating and attacking people for it), its the top priority (even over career, friends, and family).

For those men who do try to achieve this they may very well be allowing this image to overwrite their own interpretation of what their sexuality is to them. For those men who do not try to achieve this or try and fail to achieve it it can be much worse. They are constantly called into question. Not wanting to have sex with a woman for, well any reason whatsoever? He must have a problem. Not the type to constantly hit the bar and club scenes looking for sex? Something must be wrong with that man. Not having sex with women because that's not your orientation? That's when the attacks really start. For along with the assumed predatory nature, forcefulness, and other unpleasant things associated with male sexuality there is also an assumption that is heterosexual.

And somehow this is what men are supposed to be striving for in terms of sexuality?

I know this isn't much but my goal here is to get some discussion going on the state of male sexuality. What do you think?

Weekly Mashup Stage 2

Fairly busy week and I saw a few things I didn't get to comment on much so I'll share them here.

Men's Rights Groups have become frighteningly effective: Kathryn Joyce tries to paint MRAs as dishonest lunatics who have power....

The Fact Free message of feminists: ...and Toy Soldier reponds.

Winners and Losers: Meadester somehow goes from The World Series, to small time cops trying crack down on trading sex for tickets, to illegal drug vs. alcohol and tobacco use in one post.

Vampire Hotties: Renee takes the time to admire sexy vampires.

Drop It Like Its's Hot: Renee's own weekly roundup.

In The Darkest Night, sitting with the Angel of Light under the Moon Nocturnal

Yeah its not the end of the month but I'm still feeling nice from my birthday and decided to share some more music. This time I'm bringing you some tunes from Autumn's Grey Solace. They are what play what I recently learned is called ethereal and shoegazer music. I have no clue where people get genre names from but I like the music and that's what matters. You know I like the light ethereal (and almost always female) voices and this is a great example of it. Go check them out at Projekt.


In The Darkest Light


Angel of Light


The Moon Nocturnal

I'll be back at the end of the month!

Friday, November 6, 2009

I'm 29 today dammit!

Today is my 29th birthday and I celebrated by taking a Fuck It Day.

I had two simple objectives.

1. Oil Change - A dude's vehicle was like 1500 miles overdue for a change. I'm going on vacation in about a month (which is really a journey to find my Swagger, I'll get back to that another day) and it needs to be in top shape.

2. Meeting an old friend - I managed to take a few hours to hang out with a friend from high school I had not seen in years. Simply sat down and talked about this and that and here and there. Amazing what one can go through after ten years.

Both objectives were completed and all is well in my universe. And I did it all by taking a day off for the first time in over a month (the last 2 weeks of which I was stuck covering for another guy).

Bonus objective - I managed to see the new movie Fourth Kind. It was pretty good but I would not recommend you paying the big ticket prices. Maybe a Sunday matinee.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Hatred of fat men revisitied

Today I came across this article on weight issues in relation to gender.

When feminism talks about weight issues it only makes sense that they will be more focused on the weight issues of women. Nothing wrong with that right? Well seeing as how many feminists say they are interests in making the world a better place for all people it makes sense that they will from time to time talk about men and the things they face. Nothing wrong with that right? Well the article made reference to an old post by Kate Harding:
Not so an obese man. A rather fascinating blog on the subject has been created by Kate Harding who feels that fat men need feminism as much as fat women. She makes the intriguing point that fatphobia directed towards men is steeped in misogyny. That female fatness is considered to be an affront, and fat men are often feminised by society.
I took a bit of a look down memory lane and found what I think is the post he is thinking of.

I commented on that post back then back when I had was naive enough to think that a movement that is supposedly about equality would actually tap on the issues of everyone equally. Looking back on that I can see where I wrong to think that men should have equal footing to women in feminism...however I think there is still something deeply amiss here.

This article and that post of Kate's seems to imply that fat hatred of men is depends on hatred of women when that is not entirely the case.

Yes I've had my share of tit jokes and have been called soft but most of what large men have to deal with is a simple attack on their masculinity. The reason people insult fat men in such a manner is because at the base of it the attacker wants to attack that man's masculinity and feminizing said man is only one weapon in their arsenal and it is not the worst one. The goal of the attack isn't to compare said fat man to a woman but to unman him.

In this post I did a short while ago about making huge men out to be rapist there is much more going on than a hatred of women. This is an example of reducing large men to fat mindless beasts that will violate a person for sex (although I find it odd that fat men can be lazy slobs that aren't intimidating and massive rapists on the prowl that are a threat to people at the same time. I guess it depends on who you ask.)

Remember when I talked about Blob from X-Men Evolution and how he was pretty much a big dumb muscle throughout the entire series? That was about taking the creators of that show pretty much had a large male character and did nothing with him but play to the stereotypes.

While feminism has things to offer fat men when dealing with the things we face I get the feeling that things like this:
And fat men as portrayed in the media can sometimes be exaggerated examples of masculinity (also as portrayed in the media) — meat-eating, sports-watching farting machines. But if somebody wants to be truly nasty or threatening to a fat man, they tend to start by equating them with women.
I get the feeling they are trying to imply that the root of fat based misandry is misogyny.

The reason people hate on fat men is because in their warped sense fat men are not "real men". That's it. For some reason we have not met some part of the ideal image of what a man is supposed to be and for that deserve to be attacked. Yes feminizing is a tool for this but removing that tool will not remove the problem that fat men are still seen as not worthy of the mantle of manhood. That's why we have the Homer Simpsons, Peter Griffins, and so on who seem to have an inverse proportion of size and intelligence (i.e the larger they are the dumber they are). That's why almost any medical drama you can think of has an episode (or subplot of an episode) that deals with an overweight man and people go straight to his diet and lack of exercise (which is why I smiled at the House episode "Que Que Sera" when the overweight man's problems turned out to be cancer after about 40min. of being told it must be his weight). That's why fictional characters of our size are usually brainless muscle.

Add that to the fact that (at least to me) feminists tend to only bring up the issues of my reality when it suits them (and sometimes not accurately) and you have why I'm not clamoring to join them. Not saying they are a movement of man-haters but frankly they don't speak to my reality.

Now I'm sure there are people that would go straight to saying I'm crying "what about teh menz?" in this post. Did I say that feminism should turn its main focus to the plights of men? No. I am saying that feminists can at least do me the pleasure of speaking accurately when they see fit to speak on my reality (or at least ask, I'll more than likely tell).

A primer on quoting

ballgame over at Feminist Critics has provided a primer on quoting people in blog discussions.

I kinda mess up on quoting every once in a while so I guess it can't hurt to share this with anyone else who might want to freshen up.

Thankfully it seems to be already gone but...

Saw this today at Feministing.

Yes there is (or at least was because now that I'm home trying to find the group I've had no luck so maybe its already been taken down) a group out there called "Not Getting Raped by a Huge Black Guy". There are four major problems with that title. Now I'm sure most of the posts people do in this on this are going to talk about the "Rape" and "Black" and maybe touch on "Guy" a bit so I'll take on "Huge" and since its gendered I'll touch more on "Guy".

When talking about large men its not uncommon to stereotype us as angry and violent. Hell I still remember taunts about not making the fat kid angry because he'll sit on them. It's bad enough that men are typed to be violent angry and predatorial but it gets even worse when they guy has a few extra pounds.

I've had plenty of experiences in which women see me and switch to the other side of the street of make eye contact with me to size up my intent or things to decide if the fat black guy is going to attack them. Yeah there may be other reasons they are looking a me but I'm not silly enough to think that my size has never been one as well. A black man has enough to deal with when it comes to be cast as a sexual predator looking for the next woman to violate adding the weight doesn't not help.

Well at least the group seems to have already been dealt with and taken down but in my looking I did find another group called Not getting anal raped by a big white guy. They may not have it the same as us but changing the race to white does not erase all the problems of such an offensive name and it also has a picture of another WWE wrestler named The Big Show. And hell doing more searching turned up Getting Raped by a Huge Black Guy with a picture of who I think is a former WWE wrestler.

There's so much going on here that I'm burning out. Just a bunch of bullshit.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Am I weird for making such an association?

This past weekend I went to a small fetish party. Nothing too big just someone giving massages, a bit of electroplay, and of course spanking while tied to a St. Andrew's cross. But nevermind that my thoughts are about something else.

This was also a costume party (by the way I'm seriously thinking about dressing up as the Clown with Tear Away Face from Nightmare Before Christmas next year) and since there was some fetish stuff going on there were quite a few couples dressed in sub(missive)/dom(imant) gear, including the two friends I went with. One thing that nearly all of them had in common was that the sub wore a collar with a leash attached that was held by the dom.

I know how crazy this may sound but there is just something about a collar (even in a consensual context) that just makes me think of how African slave were sold and displayed in market places as if they were possessions. Now don't get me wrong I'm not trying to start a crusade to end the use of collars. It just kinda weirds me out when I see other people wearing them.

In the context of slavery there is no doubt that the use of collars and rope to bind people was not consensual whereas the subs among fetishists are clearly consenting to their dom's use of such things. But somewhere in their I'm either missing something or adding something that should not be there. Yet to make it even more odd when it comes to binding hands and tying people up I have no problems with it and in fact I personally enjoy having my hands tied. But one thing I firmly put my foot down on is no collars which if I even did form a relationship with a dom I don't think it would be a problem (assuming they are a proper dom).

Even though it is clear that the dom is in control the relationship between sub and dom is one of trust and respect. The dom may be giving the directions and orders but at the heart of the relationship the dom knows there are boundaries that are not to be crossed and there are things that the sub just will not do. To even attempt to make the sub do things they have stated are outside the realm of what they are willing to do is a violation of the trust and the sign of a dom that needs to be avoided.

And I doubt I'm the only one that made the connection. While I was there that night I was talking to someone (black guy) and he was talking about how the spanking reminded him of slavery.

So I guess I'm wonder if seeing a person wearing a collar triggers thoughts a slavery with me, while the site of a person being tied up and spanked doesn't, does that make me weird or something?