Monday, May 31, 2010

The Wind is Calling me Back to Sleep, dreaming the June Mermaid.

I have an ear infection but that is no reason to put tradition on hold so let's get to it.

One of my favorite games for the Playstation is an RPG called Xenogears. Giant robots. Long engaging story. Awkward twists of plot. Awesome game. Even the sound track is great, which brings us to this post.

The Wind is Calling
This is the music used for a city you visit during the game called Shevat. It is an ancient city up in the shy and this theme is wonderful.

Back To Sleep
This is the little tune played when you sleep at an inn (to restore HP/MP).

June Mermaid
I haven't played the game in a while so even though I remember and love this song I can't recall exactly when it comes up in the game.

Well I'm off to finish final combat with this ear infection. Take it easy.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Should I split this blog?

With the two year anniversary of this blog coming up I've been thinking about something.

Since I started this blog I've been mostly talking about human rights stuff but I've had a lot of other stuff on here as well ranging from movies, games, anime, cooking, music, etc...

So I'm thinking if I should get rid of the other stuff and leave this place for nothing but human rights stuff.


Monday, May 24, 2010

How about, "Because we aren't women?" Revisited

A few days ago I did a post about a prostate cancer awareness ad. The ad basically plays on how men are not as open about their feelings and up to date on getting checked out for illnesses. Well the idea was nice but the execution was terrible. The makers of the ad try to raise awareness by asking men why can't they be more like women and push the point by having the men in the ad engage in activity that is normally associated with women, knitting. In that post from a few days ago I spoke about how that ad is trying raise awareness by playing on the stereotypes men keeping their emotions bottled up and not visiting the doctor regularly and how it was not necessary. Now I'm going to take a moment to explain why.

As anyone who grew/is growing up as a boy knows that we are socialized so that the only emotional range that we allowed to have is pretty much limited to lust and rage and the demand to keep them bottled up most of the time.

We are allowed to express our sexual desires (as long as said desire is about women but that's another story) because men are supposedly sexual creatures and according to The System we are all about the pussy, tits, and ass right?

Along with lust The System also says that we as men are aggressive and prone to fits of anger and rage (well its only okay when we are angry about certain things). And mind you this goes beyond simply being given a pass on being angry and giving in to rage but actually goes into the requirement that men be aggressive in order to prove themselves. Men being aggressive for other men to establish dominance. Men being aggressive for women in order showcase for them.

Now along with the limited range of emotions we are offered we are expected to bottle up anything that is not in those two categories. This would explain why men are "allowed" to do things for women as long as we trying to get some sex out of the deal but are called whimps when we try to do simply do something nice for a woman with no expectation of sex in return. This is why men are "allowed" to throw chairs, punch walls, and curse loudly over finding out that we have an ailment that may be a death sentence but are too afraid to simply cry about it.

It will be a better day for all when society gets used to the fact that we have more of an emotional range than anger and lust.

As for not visiting the doctor that comes from being raised to think that having to go to the doctor is a sign of weakness and real men are never weak. In addition to that we as men are often socialized to put aside our physical and mental safety in order to provide for our families. This is how you end up with guys who will ignore possible signs of poor health to keep on working. We think that if we stop for even the smallest moment to take care of ourselves we are being selfish and weak. Quite the bind to be in.

Now that that's out of the way I'll go back to saying that it is certainly possible to raise awareness and get men to start getting screened without framing in the manner of "men need to be more like women". In fact chances are if you are about to say something to the effect of "X need to be more like Y" then stop. When you say something like that ask yourself if you are really breaking any restrictions on X by telling them they should be more like Y? As I said a long time pick your words a little better and you'll be fine. Here is an example of what I'm talking about from the Feministing post I linked to (and found out about this ad from) in my first post on this a few days ago.

A commenter by the handle Hawk or Handsaw said:
as someone who has a 75% chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer in my lifetime, i think that holding up the breast cancer awareness campaign as the #1 gold standard for both developing personal responsibility and growing social awareness of how men should handle it is a good thing.

breast cancer has been effectively targeted culturally through personal awareness and by word of mouth between women. men, however, do not talk about prostate cancer. both of my grandfathers were diagnosed (one died) and yet my father still fights against having to go to the doctor about it (and he has some of the early warning signs). men need to start treating prostate cancer the way women treat breast cancer.

this is the whole point of the ad (along with using "macho" men (sports stars) to combat the uncomfortableness some men have) is that men need to get over themselves and treat this disease (the second leading cause of cancer death for men) the way women treat breast cancer. it isn't mocking women, it isn't making a joke of women, its saying that we need to be more like women. we need to take personal responsibility, we need to convince our friends and family to get screened. we need to talk about it. women aren't being belittled here, the women are what the men should be looking up to. we should be emulating them.
I have to say that the first two paragraphs of that comment really hit. The way that breast cancer has been approached over the last several decades is great and I would love to see prostate cancer handled in a similar way. However this commenter falls right into what the ad was doing in their third paragraph.

this is the whole point of the ad (along with using "macho" men (sports stars) to combat the uncomfortableness some men have) is that men need to get over themselves and treat this disease (the second leading cause of cancer death for men) the way women treat breast cancer.(Emphasis by me)

Okay while I'm not a fan of playing victim for attention I have to say that attributing the way men are about going to see the doctor is much more than use needing to "get over ourselves". We aren't talking about the local football hero that has a big ego and needs to check himself. We are talking about behavior that has been ingrained in us for ages. Its not a matter of us getting over ourselves its a matter of us realizing that its okay to stop and take care of ourselves.

it isn't mocking women, it isn't making a joke of women, its saying that we need to be more like women.

This person nearly has a contradiction going on here. In one breath they say its not mocking women but then treats women like they have some inherent quality that men need to emulate. Seeking medical attention is no more inherent to women than being a nurturing parent is inherent to women. In both cases the The System is benefiting from us thinking that they are inherent. Think about it like this. Would you say that in men need to be more like women in order to be nurturing parents or would you simply say that men can be nurturing parents? I know the wording sounds a lot a like but after listening to feminists talk about how acting like certain behaviors are inherent to certain genders I think I'm starting to see the difference.

we should be emulating them.

Again this comes off sounding like, from my example above, that Y is the norm and that X is some deviation than needs to copy Y in order to be okay.

In closing I have to say that the makers of the ad seem like they weren't trying to mock anyone or offend anyone (aka "their hearts were in the right place") but I think they could have done things differently and come out a lot better.

1. If they wanted to appeal to the "macho men" that don't get checked out on the regular they should have had those guys doing something such "macho men" (because admittedly while in the real world there is nothing wrong with men knitting a lot of macho men, the ones that are supposed to be the target audience, think there is) would be doing. Something they can actually relate to. Fishing, chess, football, etc...

2. From there that conversation could have gone down almost verbatim.

3. Instead of asking, "Why can't men express themselves more like women?" why not ask "Is your manliness really worth the risk of not finding out?"

My point is this ad is supposed to be about getting men to get checked out regularly and that can very easily be done without even mentioning women much less playing on the stereotypes of "womanly" activities.

I actually can't think of a title here...

Take a moment and read this over at TS's place.

What you have here is a case in London in which an 8 year old girl claimed that two 10 year old boys took her to the third floor of building in a secluded area and took turns raping her.

In an interview recorded the day after the alleged assault took place last year she told police about what had happened.

However during a cross examination last week during the trial of the two boys her telling of events didn't match up with the initial interview.

Now given that this is an 8 year old girl I can understand not throwing the book at here and trying to send her away for the maximum penalty possible (however considering how adult women pretty much have a free pass on false allegations I can't imagine "the maximum penalty possible" not being very much). However what the judge said really shocked me:
After she finished her evidence Mr Justice Saunders told her: 'No one is suggesting you have done anything wrong.

'I am the judge and I don't suggest you have done anything wrong. Remember that.'

Frankly that's some bullshit.

If it is indeed true that this young girl did fabricate a rape allegation in order to not in trouble with her parents then she did do something wrong. Its bad enough that people think false rape allegations don't do any harm to those caught up by them but its entirely something else that judges give them this sort of okay. Like I said I'm not saying she needs to go to hard prison or anything but that judge was in a position to at least tell her that what she did was wrong.

Had this been any other crime I'm finding it hard to believe that she would have been given a free pass like this.

Well go give a read over this update to the case from TS. The boys were found not guilty on one count of rape each but they were both found guilty on one count of attempted rape each.

According to Telegraph editor Philip Johnston the boys will be placed the sex offenders registry. Yes for basically playing a child's game of "I'll show you mine if you show me yours" or maybe doctor two 10 year old boys are going to be listed with people who have actually committed sexual crimes against innocent people.

This is precisely the thing that people are talking about when they talk about how things have gotten out of hand. Now I'm sure you may want to think that this is not out of hand because this is only one case of it happening. Well while you're patting yourself on the back over pointing out this is "not systematic" try to bear in mind that there are two young boys who lives have probably been wrecked before they really begin because a girl lied about being raped.

Here's to hoping that the appeals process goes in their favor.

Friday, May 21, 2010

How about, "Because we aren't women!"?

Okay so I'm surfing around today and I come across this. In that post is a link to an ad about prostate cancer awareness.

I'm sure you can see the problem but I'll tell you anyway.

I've grown extremely sick of people trying to raise awareness for an issue by portraying the target group in question as somehow inferior to another group and implying/saying that said target group needs to act like some other group in order to get right.

Here in this ad the break down is that men don't regularly visit the doctor and keep up on possible illnesses and express themselves "like women do". Because doing such things is an exclusively womanly trait right? Well it would seem that the solution here is to imitate those who do it right. So the guys in the ad are shown engaging in another "womanly" activity, knitting, while talking about prostate cancer.

Okay as I said above why try to raise awareness in a group of people by basically telling them, "You're doing it wrong. You need to be more like _____.". What's wrong with just displaying the positives of having one's prostate examined? No instead of having say one guy talking about how getting a check up allowed a problem to be seen earlier rather than later we're told that men need to act like women in order to realize that early detection is a good thing.

As a cis-male, meaning I have a prostate gland myself, I have to say I'm more than a bit offended to be told that I need to act like a woman to think to get checked out. (And please don't bother trying to tell me that I'm trying to say there is something wrong with being a woman. I'm not. Plain and simple I'm not a woman and that's that.)

It's not like we have to either pick raising awareness or break gendered expectations. Both can be done. Its possible to get people to do something important without banking on stereotypes.

I have officially mastered Law and Order: Special Victims Unit

I'm going to spoil the season finale of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit that came this past Wednesday. Tread carefully.

After watching this show since it started I've finally reached the point there I can now predict who the perpetrator is going to be about 95% of the time. Its all in one simple formula. Stay with me here:

No matter what misdirection you use during the episode and lead the viewer into thinking there might be a female perpetrator, throw in a sudden twist in the last few minutes (and the season finale that came on Wednesday night literally didn't twist until like the last 3-5 min.) that reveals it was really some male after all.

Despite my liking the characters of the show I've come to the conclusion that the writers of the show simply do not like writing stories with female perpetrators and on the rare occasion they do they will almost always throw in some sort of past in an attempt to "justify" their crime.

I've told myself before that I'm going to stop watching that show since the line of thought seems to be that only men can act out of pure malice but I think after about 10 years of watching it I'm hooked and only watch it out of habit now. But I think I may have some extra motivation this time. Dr. Melinda Warner (played by Tamara Tunie) was shot in the lung late in the episode and was carried off to safety. Her last line was, "Don't pick over me yet you vultures. I ain't dead yet." I'm kinda worried that this is a cliffhanger put in place because her return next season is still in the air. If she comes back they can say she lived, if not they can just say she died and bring in a new medical examiner. I will not be happy if she leaves the show. I really like her and she doesn't get enough camera time. I would be a shame to lose her.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Theater Thursday: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Spoiler Warning - Okay as the title says I'm going to be talking about a movie. Despite the fact that my Theater Thursday posts are more discussion than review I will be talking about what goes on during the movie and doing so I will inevitably bring up specific details about said movie. If I bring up specific details about a movie that you haven't seen yet this is what you call a spoiler. Now its up to you and your taste in movies to decide if you don't want to read said spoiler. So now that I have explained a spoiler I warn you. This post contains specific details about the movie mentioned in the title of this post that you may not want to read. Tread carefully.

Tonight I want to take a look at what I can say is one of my favorite movies of all time, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. But in a way that has just recently crossed my mind.

Okay when it comes to movies the The System pretty much says that when it comes to movies women want lovey dovey romance and men want kickass action. And oddly enough this movie (IMHO) does both pretty damn well.

As the story goes renowned disciple of the Wudan school of fighting Li Mu Bai (played by the awesome Chow Yun Fat) has grown tired of combat and wishes to retire to a life of peace. To formalize his retirement he gives his sword, Green Destiny (a powerful Chinese broadsword made by techniques lost to the ages), to his old friend Sir Te. While visiting his friend he meets Shu Lien (played by the gorgeous Michelle Yeoh), fellow Wudan student, and the sparks fly once again. Once again you ask? Well they have actually had feelings for each other for a long time but they could never speak up because Shu Lien was betrothed to Lu Mu Bai's master (who has passed away by the time the movie starts). Things start to get real interesting from there.

The following night after turning Green Destiny over to Te it is stolen. The thief Jade Fox, in an impressive show of acrobatics and fighting skills against Shu Lien, makes off with the legendary blade. A short time later we see that our young thief has a love interest of her own desert bandit Lo.

When it comes to fulfilling what The System says appeals to men and women in movies this movie has it all.

"For men" there are the fight sequences. There are two fight sequences that I really enjoy. Fairly early in the movie after Jade Fox steals Green Destiny she is at a tavern/restaurant when she is set upon by a rather large gang of thugs (really large, I'm talking 30+ cats). At first you think that there is no way she can take that many out at once. Oh not only does she proceed to take them all out but also managed to rack up a pretty serious repair (or should I say rebuilding) bill. She literally brings the house down. Nothing really philosophical here just a really awesome fight.

On the other hand later on in the movie out young Jade Fox meets her better when attempting to steal Green Destiny again and is pursued by the original owner, Li Mu Bai. During this confrontation its apparent that Bai is the Crouching Tiger and Jade is the Hidden Dragon. While not as action packed and intense as the fight I mention above this fight was simply beautiful and profound. After a stunning pursuit across treetops Bai confronts Jade about her potential as a great a fighter and offers to teach her the ways of Wudan and show her how to harness her power. At one point he even allows her to attack him and he not only counters her moves but he explains why her attack failed....all with a random stick.

Great action plus profoundness is a sure combination to satisfy most "men's tastes" in movies (bear in mind I'm speaking of the stereotypes not what men actually think). Oh and I also recommend the Jade Fox vs. Shu Lien fight at the Wudan temple.

In the midst of all this fighting there are also two love stories going on.

First you have the love between Li Mu Bai and Shu Lien. As I said they have had romantic feelings for each other for a long time but were never able to act on it because Lien was betrothed to Bai's master. Bear in mind that this story is taking place in a time and place where one didn't have the luxury of falling in love with and pursuing whoever they or fate wished. No when one was prearranged to marry someone they didn't have the option to just say no and not marry them for such action could disgrace one's entire family. And just as expected they don't get to truly express their feelings for each other until the very end of the movie when Bai literally uses his last breath, dying from the effects of poison, to kiss Lien goodbye. Okay I am not one for romance but I'll admit that this kinda hit me a little bit. I would go nuts if I went years not being able to show my love for someone. But I supposed that final kiss was supposed to make up for all those years. It was a nice moment but it seems to me they were both cheated.

Next you have the love between Jade Fox and Lo. Fox, a aristocrat, was sitting in a wagon in a traveling caravan when her life was forever changed when it was attacked by Lo and his crew of desert bandits. Lo introduces himself by stealing a comb out of Fox's hair. Not one to just sit and wait for help she goes against the norm and takes a horse and gives chase after the bandit. After a day or so of chasing him through the desert she finally catches him but he manages to get the upperhand and takes here. But something odd happens. Instead of doing the usual rape, pillage, and plunder. Fox and Lo actually spend several days hidden away and connect. Almost as fast as they connection starts it ends when Fox leaves to return to her own world. Lo manages to shake things up during the film when he reappears to claim the love of his life in the middle of all the strange happenings over the Green Destiny. I won't spoil how that goes.

So as you can see this movie, according to the stereotypes set in place by The System, is the perfect movie by way of having something to appeal to men and women. I personally enjoyed the fighting and the love stories so maybe this makes me odd but all in all despite what the stereotypes may say I stand by my thought that this is one of my favorite movies of all.

So what are your thoughts on this movie?

Is this a matter of Gay Rights?

Before you start trying to lay into me for the title of this post hear me out.

I'm sure you're already read about the couple in Malawi, 20 year old Tiwonge Chimbalanga and 26 year old Steven Monjeza, that were arrested last year when they threw an engagement party for themselves. They have since been convicted of "unnatural acts and gross indecency" and are looking at a 14 year sentence of hard labor.

Now there is not question that such a thing is horrible and unjust no matter what the characteristics are of the people in that couple however I'm wondering if this is being reported on accurately.

When I first heard about this I read that the couple was gay. For example in this coverage on Fox News they make no bones about calling them a gay couple. Now as we currently understand a gay couple is a couple formed of two people of the same gender identity. Well it would seem that they are not actually a gay couple.

I was reading a post at Questioning Transphobia that shows that Tiwonge Chimbalanga actually identifies as a woman. It would seem to me that based on that the people that are going on about the "gay couple" in Malawi.

Now this is not an attempt at trying to silence the people who are bringing attention to this I just question how the situation is being labeled. If one person is a woman and the other is a man isn't that a heterosexual couple? Again not trying to silence the injustice that homosexual couples go through just asking is it right to keep calling them a gay couple.

Chances are I'll never raise these questions anywhere but here because frankly I don't think I'll find a place safe enough to ask them without getting attacked. But hey that's what My Corner is here for.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

End of an Old Skool era?

Remember back in the day when you would come across a cassette tape of music you were really feeling and you got a blank tape of your own and copied it? Yeah. Toss it in your Walkman and go walking or lay it in the boombox and go cruising with it. Hell for a lot of us copying a cassette tape like that was our first act of piracy. Fond memories (and a tell on our age). Well despite the days of the cassette tape being long in this age of digital music and compact discs (which you regards to music you can argue its days are numbered) it would seem that the final nail in its coffin is coming.

According to tech blog Gizmodo, Sony is preparing to release it final cassette playing boombox. As you may know Sony with its Walkman portable cassette player was one of the leaders when it came to this old media.

I'm reminded of one particularly odd instance of copying some music to cassette (this was back with CD burners and blank CDs were still mad expensive). It was odd because instead of trying to copy another tape or CD I was actually trying to record some music from a video....from the video game itself. Wild I tell you. I hooked my Playstation up so that the audio output was feeding into my cassette deck where I captured the sound as it played. Oh and I did this with no TV. So aggravating back then but it is a fond memory now.

As you can see that boombox is pretty spiffy and will probably fetch a high end price so more than likely I will never own one. But I'm sure there will be plenty of ***RARE!!!!*** cassette players popping up on ebay.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Shoe on other foot?

So I'm reading this post over at Pelle's place today and get to thinking about something.

The post is about an article over at Daily Mail from several months ago. The article is entitled, "Why won't men date successful women like men?" by Zoe Lewis. Yeah from the title I'm sure you're expected something interesting right? Well don't get you're hopes up because oddly our writer basically sounds just like any other person who is full of themselves and just can't understand why people don't want to date them.

Let's take a look shall we?:
When a long relationship broke down a few years ago, my then boyfriend cited my intelligence as a reason that it wouldn't work. Did he mean I was too stupid? That he couldn't bear to be with a bimbo who couldn't hold a sensible discussion?

Sadly, it was quite the opposite. He told me that he just didn't want to go out with a woman who was clever and successful. He said it meant that I could never let any discussion go, or concede a flawed argument; I had to solve problems when they arose, and would argue political points with him.
Now while I'm not exactly full of relationship experience one thing I do have under my belt is listening to other people and this sounds a lot like women who have complained about men thinking they were so damn smart and wanted to assert their correctness at every turn and not wanting to let discussions go. In short accusing him of being an arrogant know it all. Weird that when the genders are switched it still gets construed to be his fault. So if a guy is too clever its bad because he's a know it all and if a woman is too clever its bad because he will not like her being clever.

Next up she managed to figure out one guy's problem after performing on stage:
An hour later, after watching me on stage and then networking with a group of high-powered theatre people at the aftershow party, he became distant. I knew instantly what the problem was: I was a self-evidently successful woman, he was a jobbing gardener, albeit a clever one. He barely said anything to me, merely mumbled an awkward 'Well done' and positioned himself in a corner looking glum with a beer.
Even though it eventually became apparent that this boyfriend felt emasculated by her success I think its weird that she somehow managed to see it coming by way of her performing on stage then going off to network with some theater insiders. Again if the genders were switched he would be the jerk for leaving her hanging to go rub elbows. Always having his mind on business when it should be on her.

Now on to something a bit more serious:
Much as I hate to say it, I think we successful women are to blame for men's reluctance to be with us. In the process of becoming Alpha women, we've lost our femininity. If we want to be happy in relationships, we have to get that back - even if that means 'unlearning' some of the things that have got us to the top. What do we want more - a relationship or a career?
I'm pretty sure she was being sarcastic when she said this but I'll take a swing at it just in case.

I think she is only partly correct here. I would not say that women are to blame for the reluctance of some men to be with successful women (blame is such a strong word and makes it sound like those successful women did something wrong which is of course not true) but I do think there is a bit of cause and effect. Contrary to what some may say when it comes to competing in the job place it is a zero sum game.

Even if you take gender out of the equation if you have 50 people going after one job there will be 49 losers. Well of course with more contestants coming for that job there will be more losers. And yes that has left a lot men feeling like they are incomplete aka failing at being a man for not becoming successful. Well a part of that feeling of failure comes from that fact that despite more successful women coming into the job place there are still a lot of women out there that judge men by their success in the job place. (So what I think may be happening is that some of those guys are thinking that if said successful woman has X amount of progress going on then she is going to expect him to have X + Y amount of progress (and yes there are women out there like that.) Not trying to give the greenlight for the behavior of such men, just thinking about where it comes from. Gotta figure out where the leak is in order to fix it right?

So I think that in order for happiness to be achieved there are at least two things that need to happen(and I say at least because I'm sure there are more). First society has to get used to fact that men don't have to be successful in order to matter. Second society has to get used to the fact that women can be successful.

And her closing paragraph:
Successful women have reached crisis point and maybe we have to acknowledge we can't undo our evolutionary changes. Perhaps long-term relationships aren't a reality for very high achievers, and maybe we have to accept that our careers will have to be a substitute for love, however sad that might be.

A woman's capacity to be successful isn't something that needs to change (considering that the mere capacity for success is not inherently good or bad, there is potential for either) so there is no need to dwell on that. Long term relationships not being a reality for high achievers is something that men have struggled with for ages. Yeah you can point out how a lot of men have big time careers and families but also look at how a lot of those men seem to have picked career over family by way of how much time they (don't) get to spend with family, the insane hours they work to maintain the home, and how estranged they feel with their own lovers and flesh and blood. (And then there is the havok that wrecks during divorce. On one hand he had to put most of him time into work in order to support the family but come custody time that very same hard work is used against him to keep him from the very kids he was busting his ass to support. But that's another story for another day.)

The whole relationship/career balance is a very sensitive one from what I can tell. Maybe with more mingling of the genders on both ends we may get some insight into just how to maintain that balance.

The violence wasn't even necessary

In my efforts to catch up on the blogging I've missed in the last few days I nearly forgot this from LorMarie.

So according to the girls the recorded the video one girl was trying to show another some dance moves while another recorded and during the lesson the boy in question started to mock them. Well apparently teacher Sherry Davis didn't like it so she proceeded to attack him.

Okay you can say what you want but I dare you to do two things:

1. Explain how a violent reaction to a kid mocking another's dance moves (and as far as I can tell the girls hadn't so much as complained about the boy mocking them) is justified.

2. Explain how if this were a male teacher and female student it would not have been all over the media by now. In fact LorMarie's spot is the only place I've seen this mentioned.

Being a guy and being a virgin

If you're a guy (or grew up as a guy at least) then more than likely you went through the feelings of wanting to have sex as soon and as often as possible. Why is that?

Well simply put while The System is pressing the idea that a female*'s virginity is precious treasure that she must protect at any and all costs (and to lose it, even without her consent, is a terrible thing on HER part) it is also pressing the idea that a male*'s is a curse that must be dispelled as quickly as possible by having sex with a female (and to not lose it, even he doesn't want to, is a terrible thing on HIS part). Pretty fucked up on both sides right? I wanna take a moment to do what a lot of people seem to not want to do. Let's talk about a male's virginity for a bit.

You ever notice how guys are pressured to have sex as soon and as often as possible? I mean goodness its like having an active sex life was integral part of being a man or something. Oh don't worry its not. I've managed to be a man for the last 10 or 11 years or so and I've been able to do it just fine without getting into that whole sexually active thing.

Hear me out hear me out. Now I'm sure that a lot of you folks may want ask me what kind of man am I to have never had sex (and nearly 30 at that) and to that I only say I'm a man that's never had sex (despite Facebook's constant bombardment of ads telling me about all the hot single women out there).

Okay now that you've gotten up off the floor let's continue. I think its a big problem that things have gotten to the point where it seems like a guy's top priority is to have sex as soon as possible (and this mentality may lend a hand to why people seem to not react to woman/boy rape as harshly as man/girl rape). As I said being a man is not dependent on my sex life. Truthfully in these changing times of gender roles its hard to pin down what is man and what is woman one of the last things we need is for a single thing to become a central part of the identity of either and that is what has happened to men and our sexuality.

I will have to ponder on this some more.

* - I use this to save the trouble of constantly typing girl/woman and boy/man. That's all so don't bother trying to tell me what I mean by it.

Pop Quiz

Despite there being parts of The System that are very damaging to men and women why is it that in most discourse The System is still talked about in a way that only highlights the benefits that some (and I mean a very damn few when you really look at it) men receive?

If "Patriarchy Hurts Men Too" why do people still act like its there to benefit "men as a class" even though when you look at the numbers that's not quite so?

Despite there being very big ways in which the system favors women over men why are these ways often (and I think intentionally) swept under the rug like they don't happen or are spun in a matter to make it look like it actually benefits men?

Just wondering.

A bit torn on this video I am

Okay a while back Rihanna, American pop singer if you don't know, released a video entitled "Rude Boy". When it first released a few months ago there was some contention over whether it was a woman being upfront about her sexuality or just a flipping of the switch on the way male rappers talk about women. I finally got around to hearing the lyrics tonight (the youtube link below displays lyrics instead of the actual video) and I have to say that for the most part I'm really not seeing how this is different from the lyrics you hear from most male rappers as they talk about women.

For the most part male rappers are talking about how they like their women and what they want to do with them and how they want to have sex with them. Yes there are a lot of male rappers that do reduce women to their body parts and just get right nasty but for the most part I'm not feeling it here, just as I don't feel it in the majority of the male rape lyrics. However there is one line that concerns me a bit.

"Is you big enough?"

Now at face value (and I'm sure that's what a lot of women will say it means despite assuming the worst faith when its the other way around) this could be as simple as expressing her preference for a large penis. On the other hand its worth bearing in mind that penis size is one of the most common ways to shame a male. A woman's boyfriend does or says something she doesn't like? Insult his penis size. A woman wants to just hurt a guy's feelings? Insult his penis size. A woman in a heated argument and want to really stick it to him? Insult his penis size.

What I'm saying is that while she may not want to intimidate guys as a guy I can very easily understand how some guys would take this as an insult. Now I'm sure you're ready to just shrug this off as him being over sensitive about his penis size and he needs to get over himself. (Oh and before you try to lay the responsibility for this on the male ego I think its worth noting that if it is the fault of the male ego women seem to have no problem exploiting it when it suits them as I listed above.) Sure. But are you ready to say the same the next time some lyrics come along about women's bodies?

In the end Rihanna probably meant nothing by it (intent and all that) but I would not be so quick to dismiss the words of those who may be offended by it.

A blast of ultrasound waves can do what?

Scientists and their wonderful brains. It would seem that some folks at University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill to be exact, there are several UNC campuses in NC) have learned that blasts of ultrasound to the testicles can temporarily stop sperm production. Not only that but the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has given a $100,000 grant to continue clinical trials.

I tell you what along with other recent developments it seems like we are not too far off from a time where a guy can go to the doctor and get a prescription or go in for an outpatient treatment for birth control.

To be exact though this particular method is only temporary with sperm production only being stopped for about 6 months and even when the procedure is done that only stops production of new sperm cells for the timespan. That seems to mean that any sperm that are already present in the testicles at the time the they are hit with the ultrasound blast are not killed and are thus still able to fertilize an egg, thus causing pregnancy. Sounds like to get the full effect a guy would need still ejaculate the last of his remaining sperm in order to actually be infertile for the timespan.

So it seems that researchers (and funders wow The Gates backing this is a pretty big deal, well at least to me) are finally starting to see that there are men out there who want methods of birth control beyond condoms.

Who knows maybe by the time I get around to that whole sexually active status thing there will be multiple birth control options for me to choose from.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

And here I was thinking I was best at something else

Tip of the Fro to Melissa.

So we have Ken Burger of The Post and Courier attempting to call out fattists. By fattist we mean a person who discriminates against people based on them being fat. While at first he seems to be doing a good job of it:
You know, people who complain about obese people taking up too much room on airplanes, lapping over from their seat into yours.

They also roll their eyes when they see overweight people in line at the grocery store with a basket full of Twinkies and powdered doughnuts.

If you are a fattist, you might be the type who always points out fat people in the mall, or wonders out loud how they poured themselves into those jeans.
He seems to be doing good things here right? He points out behaviors that may indicate a hatred of fat people. All well and good.
The one thing that's not mentioned in all these plans and studies is the embarrassment factor of being fat. That's where fattists come in.
He even manages to mention that in all the rush to address weight issues in today's population one thing that seems to almost never come up is the embarrassment, harassment, one may face for being fat. However he fucks up royally at the end.
Unfortunately, it's counterproductive. It only makes overweight people feel worse about themselves and they instinctively do what fat people do best -- eat.
(Lil Jon imitation) WHAT?!?

So being fat means that the best thing I (and Melissa and all the fat people throughout the land) am good at is eating? Never mind all of my other skills. Fuck my skills with computers (I work in IT for a bank). To the devil with Melissa and her blogging skills. Damn what the hell else we can do right?

Yeah this guy sounded like he was trying to call some attention to the way fat people are treated and reveal fattists for who they are. Turns out he may be one of them.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Melissa Huckaby pleads guilty to murder

I read over at Toy Soldier's place that Melessa Huckaby took a plea deal for the murder of Sandra Cantu. Originally charged with the kidnapping, rape, and murder of Cantu, Huckaby's deal was for her to plea guilty to the kidnap and murder charges and in exchange all other charges, including the rape, being dropped.

According to Assistant Court Executive Officer Sharon Morris, Huckaby now faces a 25 years to life sentence.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Its good to know there's a feminist on that...

Yeah apparently someone opening a NSFW (not safe for work) email with topless women in it is a reason to circle the tanks.

He wasn't objectifying women.
He wasn't engaging in hatred of or misogyny of women.

He opened a personal email that was NSFW and had to close it real quick. And I have to give a shoutout to the person that edited that video to make it look like he was looking at it for a long time but rushed to close it when he thought he had been caught.

The worse thing here is that he was checking his personal email while he was supposed to be working. That's it.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Theater Thursday: A Tale of Two Sisters

Spoiler Warning - Okay as the title says I'm going to be talking about a movie. Despite the fact that my Theater Thursday posts are more discussion than review I will be talking about what goes on during the movie and doing so I will inevitably bring up specific details about said movie. If I bring up specific details about a movie that you haven't seen yet this is what you call a spoiler. Now its up to you and your taste in movies to decide if you don't want to read said spoiler. So now that I have explained a spoiler I warn you. This post contains specific details about the movie mentioned in the title of this post that you may not want to read. Tread carefully.

This week I decided to try some Korean horror and sat to watch "A Tale of Two Sisters". I have to say that I think it looks like these folks have the suspense thing down pat.

The movie starts with sisters Su-Yeon and Su-Mi returning from the hospital after the death of their mother. After returning home to their father Mu-Hyun, who has remarried to a woman named Eun-joo, Su-Mi begins to experience strange visions and odd dreams. Becoming suspicious of her new step mother (whom she thinks is also abusing her sister Su-Yeon) Su-Mi tries to discover the source of the strange events. From there dark secrets are revealed as the source of Mi's dreams, Yeon's abuse, and circumstances behind their mom's death come to light.

If you aren't familiar with Asian horror movies its worth noting that they tend to go for a few suspenseful moments rather than a constant barrage of freakishness, gore, and violence. To me that's a lot scarier because its harder to predict when a shocking moment will happen. But enough of that I want to get to the meat and potatoes of it.

In the end it turns out that the older sister Su-Mi was imagining Su-Yeon's presence throughout the entire movie. Even at the start of the movie when the sisters came home from the hospital Su-Mi was the only one coming home accompanied with a vision of her little sister. And she wasn't coming home from the hospital over her mom's death, she was coming home from a stay in a mental ward.

To be so unable to cope with reality that you manage to alter your perception of it. That's got to be terrible. Mi and Yeon were inseparable and Mi was just not able to handle her death which took place at the same time of their mother's death (in fact they are somewhat related).

So I have a question:

Do you have loved that you love and cherish so much that your very mental state could come under fire if you lost them?

I can understand that such a question seems hard to answer. First it requires you to think about what person you love that much and then think about losing that person. Who would want to think about losing someone they love that much? But as I think about that question I find myself unable to think of a single person in my life whose loss would trigger that effect. That leaves me wondering.

As humans we put a lot of value on forming bonds with each other. As we live our lives it is natural to grow extremely close with loved ones. But as I think about my answer to that question I wonder if there is something unnatural about me. Is there something wrong with me for not thinking that I have bonded with anyone, friend, family, or otherwise that strongly or am I thinking too hard about it (it does seem odd to judge my humanity by whether or not my mental status would be severely altered by such a loss)?

Well enough about my answer to this. I want to hear what you (yeah you reading this right now) have to sway about it.

See you in two weeks.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Yeah this is what I'm talking about....

You remember a while back when I did that post on how its been ingrained in our language to associate negative or unlikable jerk like behavior with the word dick (for the two of you that don't know dick is a slang term for the penis, male genitia)? And I also mentioned how misandrist and hateful it is towards penis carriers to have such behavior linked to their genitals as if having a penis is what makes those people do the horrible things they do? Yeah well someone's decided to take it blogsphere.

I found this little gem while looking at Feministe's Shameless Self Promotion Sunday post. Not a whole lot of information on the page so it could very well be there for the sole purpose of pissing people off or they just don't to reveal any part of their identity. The reason really doesn't matter here what does matter is that this blogger has decided to open up a blog call Dick Dujour which appears to be dedicated to calling people who do horrible things and calling them a dick. Real insightful I know.

Now the people profiled have said/done some pretty horrible shit and need to laid out for what they are. Unfortunately this blogger seems to think that they are really sticking it to them by calling them male genitalia. That's not good.

While it is important to point out bad behavior when it happens it is also important to be mindful of how we do it. As one who has a dick I can say that it takes more than having a penis to do bad things. And the blogger seems to knows on some level since there are women (one being Sarah Palin who has had kids therefore making it highly unlikely, but not impossible, that she has a dick) profiled on the site. They probably think they are being cool or something by attributing a woman's bad behavior to a body part she more than likely does not have.

But anyway enough of the ranting. To recap having a penis is not a surefire indicator of a bad person or bad things to come it doesn't make you sound hip, cool, radical, feminist, or whatever you think passes for acceptable. It makes you sound like an ignorant jerk. So I think we will all be a lot better off once we as a society realize that such gendered language is not only not doing any good but is actually harmful.