Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Survivor’s Tales: Victims of Abuse, Come Forward

I'm really liking the roll that this guy is getting started:
Everyone, emerge from your hiding places. Spin your tale, weave the fabric. “Give me your tired, your poor. Your huddled masses yearning to be free,” as the poem goes.

Anyone out there pining to exorcise the demons shackling their legs, do it below in the commentary section. Leave no hurt and pain inside. Let it all out.

Regardless of your gender, age, race, religion, ethnicity, color, creed, or mental capacity, whatever part of the world you inhabit, all are welcome to provide their tales of abuse, neglect, and hurt from any girl or woman who dealt harm upon your person either in the past or present.

Let’s show everyone that abuse from women and girls are NOT isolated incidences, that we are neither anomalies nor less of a priority. The sooner society hears us as one voice, the stronger a shift can occur.
And in case you may be worried about how safe the space will be for you to share your stories bear this disclaimer in mind:
Note: This haven is intended to be safe, supportive, and validating for the survivors who comment. Any responses centering on patriarchy, male privilege, who has it worse, and excuses for the female perpetrators/bullies are not welcome. Take it elsewhere, please.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Weekly Mashup Stage 81

Merry Christmas folks! Once you've gotten all your gifts open and have stuff yourself with a big meal you know you're gonna be ready to sit back for some reading right? Then take a look at what I've found this week.

Ukrainian Feminists Are Brutalized in Byelorussia: "I understand that the reason why people don’t want to read them is not indifference. It is, rather, a sense of impotence. Nobody knows how the situation can be helped. I believe, however, that knowledge and awareness are the best – and the only – ways to help. If people in other countries know what’s going on, if they are aware of the facts, they are already doing a lot."

Survivor’s Tales: Victims of Abuse, Come Forward: "There are more survivors like me out there, recovering from and dealing with their trauma under the merciless haranguing wrought by female perpetrators or bullies. For those of you who fit that description, this will be your moment."

Either a penitent or a buffoon.: "Of course, it’s difficult to prove a broad proposition such as “women are granted more moral authority than men in sexual matters”, but men’s silence speaks volumes. Feminist thinker Thomas Millar says that men have “ceded the field” in talking about male sexuality, and says this is because men are a prisoner of privilege. But how privileged is a man who continually and strategically keeps his mouth shut?"

Even if the idea of "custody papers" may be above a 7yr old this is still pretty sad.

Police: Baby dies after underwater home birth: I'm betting it was just a horrible occurrence but I think this might be a case to stress the proper training of midwives.

12 indicted in forcible beard- and hair-cuttings of Ohio Amish: "Twelve members of a breakaway Amish sect were indicted on federal charges for allegedly shaving the beards and cutting the hair of Amish community members, the Justice Department said Tuesday."

Unprovoked attacks at heart of 'Knockout King': This is just brutal. There is definitely something wrong with our youth today that think such acts of violence are okay to carry out.

I don't listen to much violin music but when I do I prefer it like this. Stay classy my friends.

Take it easy!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Spiral of Despair

So I'm taking a break from Star Wars: TOR and catching up on blog reading. I was over at NSWATM when I came across a series on Nice Guys. In part 3 of the series there was a comment that caught my eye.
You can’t get relationships because you’re not conventionally attractive? Then the thing to do is obviously to go die in a ditch, right?
No, the thing to do is to learn how to be happy without a relationship.
To me that's easier said than done.

As I've talked about here before when it comes to relationships I'm basically 0-Infinity. Yeah its like that.

You see to me, one who has never had anything resembling success when it comes to romance and dating (and one sexual encounter to my name), the idea of learning to be happy without a relationship seems like a cop out. It doesn't feel like the idea of "be happy without a relationship" comes from a place of "this isn't working I'll just move on" but rather a place of "I'm just a terrible person that was a fool to think about wanting to try my hand at relationships".

Now as you can see my conclusion is not quite what RocketFrog came up with. Now by all means this doesn't mean that RF is wrong. In fact I don't even want to get into right vs wrong on this. What I do want to take a moment to note is how different people in the nearly exact same circumstance can come to such different conclusions. Further down my exchange with RF continues:
I know. I am such a person. Throughout my twenties I painfully and embarrassingly attempted to figure out how I could turn myself into something that could be attractive, lovable, and able to function in a romantic relationship. After having spent the better part of a decade in such a condition, I sat down and thought about it for a long time, and concluded that for a creature like myself, expecting romantic success is, in fact, unreasonable – much like aforementioned one-legged asthmatic wishing to win Olympic gold in the 100 meter dash.

I still sometimes feel very lonely, but have discovered that there are some unexpectedly pleasant side effects to opting out of the whole dating racket. I am trying to find my happiness – at least as far as my identity as a gendered creature goes – in that. There is a certain serenity in no longer having to perform in the “how can I turn myself into an attractive, real man” discipline.
Thinking back on my younger days it seems that I didn't really try too hard to figure out what I could do to change into that would make me attractive. No it seems I had given up on trying to fit the conventional idea of these things and went my own way fairly quickly (body image problems will do that do you). Problem is I have a hard time thinking that out of all the people I've crossed paths with the man that I've decided to be has been written off in terms of dating by all of them. Well in the past I had a hard time, I think I went my own way so long ago that I've been thinking on it for long its not that hard to believe anymore.

So where it seems that RocketFrog decided to leave the dating market and then realized that there was relief in not performing a certain discipline anymore I decided on not performing the discipline but then realized that I was out of the dating market after making the leap. But it gets worse.

Even though I don't want to perform the discipline and therefore seem to have been left out of the market I'm still left with the desire to date, have relationships, and have and be a companion. Now consider all that you see of people saying that everyone "is beautiful in their own way" or those who say something to the effect of "there's someone out there for everyone" or various other remarks and phrases meant to give encouragement to people with self esteem issues. Consider how those messages sound to a person who hears this stuff and still strikes out horribly. Or to one that has given up not because they have decided to find happiness elsewhere but because they see that despite there being so many different people with different tastes out there they are still lacking in success.

Now I'm not trying to make a play for sympathy here but I do think this may be worth looking at because I think these feelings are at the border of Nice Guy territory and I think understanding these feelings is a big step in helping such guys not cross that line (and maybe even bring back a few that did cross it). And I'll bet I'm not the only man (or woman) that is trapped in this cycle of dark despair.

So how about it guys (bear in mind I'm not excluding the non-men out there its just that is where my main focus lies)? Have you been lost in these feelings? Are you currently lost in their feelings? How did you overcome them or what did you try to overcome them but didn't succeed?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I wonder if its a Smuggler Thing or a Guy Thing

So I've been neck deep in Star Wars: The Old Republic (which I will from here on out call TOR) for the last few days. I fucking love that game so much that Skyrim (once I buy it in a few days) will pretty much exist for when I want a break from TOR or my internet is out. But I've been more mindful of things in recent times, things that I probably would not have batted an eye at just a few years ago. Check this out.

Now for those of you not familiar with MMORPGs (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) you are in the role of a character that is interacting not only with an online world but with other people that are also playing characters in this online world. Well a part of this online world are NPCs. NPCs are Non Playable Player Characters that you may or interact with in order to progress through the game. Most of them are just there as part of the scenery (much like extras in the background of a movie, just there to take up space) however there are certain NPCs that you will interact with in some capacity. This capacity could range from something as simple as talking to something as complicated performing a set of tasks (usually referred to as quests) to something as difficult as killing them (usually also part of questing). Now that that is explained a bit let's move on.

Many online games are set up so that the character (sometimes called avatar or toon) you play is chosen from a list of classes. A class is a archetype with skills, abilities, and talents that usually point to specific roles. For example a mage type class (wizard, sorceress, cleric, etc...) is going to be geared toward magical abilities (also meaning that you won't be much good in an old fashioned knuckle shuffle brawl, hey can't have everything). Sometimes people who play MMORPGs will make choices that would reflect the mentality of their class. Like for instance if you are a mage type class and had to choose between getting an ancient book or an ancient sword you would more than likely choose the book (and chances are you won't even be able to use the sword anyway). Now let's take class related choices to another level.

How about instead of a mage type choosing between an ancient sword or ancient book you and your mage are talking to someone and they mention an ancient sword and an ancient book and you now have the choice of questioning them further about the book or sword? Now with those two choices you have options. Obviously asking about the book would be more fitting for your class BUT if you wanted you could ask about the sword. With classes and choices established let's move on with specifics.

If you are not familiar with Star Wars well my first question is how can you not have at least heard of it? I can understand you know of it but don't like it but never heard of it? Odd. Anyway Star Wars is a science fiction like fantasy story set in a "Galaxy Far Far Away". In the Star Wars universe we have smugglers. Their name is pretty self explanatory. Questionable morality, usually looking out for self, but when around they can be the wild card that can spell victory or defeat. Or Han Solo. The smuggler is one of several classes that you can play as in TOR and along with the gunslinging, smart mouth, and quick thinking comes the desire to charm, flirt, and sweet talk their way past every woman they cross paths with. And sure enough the smuggler class will grant you the opportunity to do just this.

I'm serious. My main is a human smuggler and for almost every single notable woman I've come across so far there has been the opportunity to flirt with them. But I will say that at least its not limited to "eye candy" type women. No no my dear smuggler has had the option to flirt with smart engineers, take no shit secret agents, and even a Senator. So far I've only tried three times and only one of those responded (and to top that off that one was actually in league with the guy that stole my ship at the start of my game). Yeah so along with shooting my way into detention centers (because anyone can break out of jail, try breaking into one), trying to recover stolen cargo with a bounty on my head, and weighing my conscience against my wallet (don't worry my conscience usually wins....) I also get to work on my romance skills.

But something is off.

First name a female smuggler/scoundrel type from the Star Wars universe. Unless you're into the books and comics you more than likely can't (and I'll admit that since I haven't touched a Star Wars book in nearly 10 years I've forgotten any that may exist). So here's my question.

Does the female smuggler have options to flirt with people like the male smuggler?

Now as any of you that pay attention to how gender roles are pressed upon men then you know that when it comes to being a man one of the defining traits of a "real man" is luck with the ladies and the smuggler is an epitome of this. The smuggler is supposed to be suave, smooth talking, and a hit with women. Leaving a trail of broken, cheated, and stolen hearts across the galaxy. Well how does that change if the smuggler is a woman? Would the female smuggler leave a trail of broken, cheated and stolen hearts across the galaxy? Would she have the options to flirt with the same women? Would the trademark charm that's the hallmark of the smuggler suddenly be deleted?

It would be interesting to experiment. Or perhaps someone reading this has rolled (fancy talk for "created") a female smuggler and knows the answer, thus saving me the trouble of running the smuggler's storyline again so soon?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Weekly Mashup Stage 80

You probably noticed I wasn't around much for the last few days. That's because I started playing Star Wars: The Old Republic. Long story short I FUCKING LOVE THIS GAME!!! Now that I've spent the vast majority of the last 48 hrs playing it (seriously we're talking like 2 14 hour shifts) and gotten the initial fix out of my system back to business. And what makes it so great is that I'm actually having to pull myself away from the game. Its keeping my attention and I actually WANT to play some more rather than just feeling like I'm just going through the usual grind. But anyway.

In an effort to build up the Ethecofem community into a place where any walk of life will feel welcome to come and discuss things we are looking for another regular contributor, preferably of the female persuasion to balance things out a bit, but anyone interested is welcome. We like a variety of viewpoints, experiences, and perspectives. And as always April is on the eternal lookout for guest bloggers as well. If you're interested drop a line at ethecofem[at]gmail[dot]com.

Also feel free to treat this as an Open Thread.

Circumcision is Africa’s best weapon against AIDS: Is it now? I guess they gave up on that whole sex ed thing. Look I ultimately have no problem with adults deciding what to do with their genitals but on the other hand I do have a bit of a problem with pro-circumcision messages become pop culture (Because on the real, 'As I begin to ask him a question, a woman walks toward the pews wearing a bright yellow T-shirt with blue lettering that says: “Want to get smart? Get circumcised.”' T-shirts?). I just wonder if African men are getting the education along with the cuts. As in are they being told that circumcision doesn't grant some immunity from AIDS/HIV and that even after having done they STILL have to be smart and safe about sex.

Apparently Black Hair Products Justify Racial Segregation: Its a damn shame I have to make this reminder but it is what it is. When you put a sign up saying "Whites Only", meaning that space is designated for white people only, you cannot defend that designation without invoking racism.

The New Machismo: Men Can Stop (Insert Horrible Thing): If you want men to "break traditional gender roles" don't try to invoke those same roles when it suits you.

Do You Want Me to Follow You?: Clarissa is rebuilding her blog roll.

How can you not laugh at that?

Good Men Project: I'm way behind on keeping up with that site and it looks like they just had another blow up of posts (looks like this time its another firestorm over feminism in general) so more than likely I'll never fully catch up.

The Lost Boys of Child Prostitution: I know I'm not the only people to notice that (at least in the States) child prostitution may as well be called girl prostitution. No I'm not trying to say that these girls should be ignored but what I am saying is that its a pretty regular occurrence that discussions, talks, stories, etc... on the issue will usually turn up nothing but girl victims. Well it looks like there are more boy victims out there than a lot of people are willing to believe.

WTF??? And yes at 0:28 that is a mom putting her son's hand on her ass as she is making out with him. I'm all for jokes but seriously couldn't they have at least swapped them around so the kids weren't making out with their own parents?

See ya next week!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hurt by Women and Girls: One Man's Account

Often times when talking about the issues that plague people we have a tendency to hold up the experiences of those who fit a nice little mold of what those who are harmed are "supposed" to be. We hold these experiences up as the template or the default of what that given issue is all about. The problem with that is when encountered with those who don't fit that nice mold things can get ugly. A person whose experience goes against the established norm can be shunned, pushed away, ignored, and have their lives dismissed. When this happens stories can be lost, cast aside, or pushed to the wayside altogether. This is one such story.

Living life on the far outskirts of traditional periphery, you notice the brilliant symphony of patterns in their streaks and curves, painting a vibrant collage of images teeming with life. At least, that’s how routines and personalities of the common man appear to me with my way of processing information.

But there’s the gritty, grimy side of set patterns; mentalities that knaw away at your resolve, uphold an ostracising status quo. If you’ve been through the brunt of it, the wounds aren’t quick to heal. Worse, you begin to wonder if there is a place out there for your situation.

Looking back on my childhood and teenage years, I was the unfortunate victim of nasty attitudes and abuse from boys and girls, men and women. United with the common goal of making life a living hell, something to survive day-to-day instead of take pleasure in, stripping their emperor’s clothes free and enforcing the goose-stepping conformity that befits the dark side of society.

For nineteen years, there was no escape. I had very little in terms of support to count on, no shelter from the hurt thanks not only to a harsh outside world but a dysfunctional personal safety net already worn and rotting. This nearly drove me to suicide at one point and I was only fourteen when those thoughts took wing in my mind.

Luckily, I had come to terms with most of the abuse. The unfortunate side-effect is I have to live with the wounds and any triggers associated to them, deal with the melodrama.

But I made a grievous error and only considered what one gender inflicted on me while ignoring damage the other dealt in equal measure.

That’s when it all began: Thirty-Two years old, severe anger and sadness bubbling to the top of the pot when recounting what the girls and women accomplished in cutting me down to size. I learned it was a mistake to file it all away and work through the shallow attitudes of those boys and men with no consideration for how the girls and women contributed to it independently.

These include the following experiences:

-At age six, I was diagnosed autistic. In order to be official I had to undergo a series of tests for the mind, hearing and co-ordination at a local general hospital. These came in the form of games tailored to measure and gauge “Normative” criteria. My mother and father would drop me off, leave me in the hands of various counsellors and support workers. Needless to say, it was not a good experience. They screamed at me, put me down for breaking rules, some even grabbing my arms and forcing “normal” motions out of them when I refused to participate in their chosen game or pick something up like a “Normal Boy”. One support worker once burst into the room during a hearing exercise I was doing wrong and became unhinged while I sat and quivered in the chair, shaking; a scared little six year old child. These counsellors and support workers were women.

- In Elementary School, on three occasions, I was attacked by a move of kids outside the rear exit doors. Some were my age, others older. They’d scream and shout into my ear, crowding me in an effort to disorientate my senses. I was lead around in a few directions until groups of hands reached forward and took hold of my pants. I tried to fight them off, but in vain as they yanked my pants down to the ankles then dispersed in gleeful amusement at their handiwork. Girls participated in the deed alongside the boys. I never told anyone about these incidents, not even my mom and dad for it was drilled into them, and me, that my “behaviour” was a problem in need of correction. So who’d believe an autistic “Behaviour Challenged” little boy like me?

-There was a group of girls in elementary school whom took pleasure in teasing me just to get a major reaction. When they succeeded in reducing me to an emotional cripple, they’d sneer and snicker.

-In high school, the young women called me “Weirdo” and “Retard”, mixing amongst the young men’s slurs directed my way in the halls.

-One high school girl, as I was working on a story during spare time in computer class, picked up what had been printed from the printer and read it aloud in a mocking tone. She then ripped it out (properly, though) and wrapped the contents around my body, calling me “Retard” and inducing giggles from others around my station.

-A young man, with his “Clique” of girls and boys, started taunting me while waiting for the school bus to arrive outside after classes were done for the day. Another young woman stood up for me but turned around and criticised me for not using harsh language to repel them. When I told her about my aversion to it, she wouldn’t hear it and joined in the clique and their heckling before leaving me alone at last.

-In high school computer class, we were asked to start a story of our own design then pass it around our station on disk for others to continue. I used a scene from one of my stories I had been working on. When it was returned to me, all my characters were turned into sex-starved, foul-language spewing maniacs engaged in an orgy, including a seven year old girl named Cynthia. So, child rape was ‘amusing’ to them. Again, girls did it with the boys.

-But the biggest experience I recall was having a crush on a girl who sat next to me in computer class. She was struggling with her assignments, getting nowhere. Me being the natural, kind-hearted Samaritan I was decided to assist her. We soon formed a comadre, working together on tasks that stumped us. She was appreciative of the gesture and our relationship soon allowed leeway to whatever was on our minds: life, background, anything went in terms of conversation. It didn’t matter that she had a boyfriend. Friendship was enough for me to accept. Until one day when she tried to force me into a game of “Show me your underwear” she initiated with the others. I refused but she still insisted I do it, goading me on. Again, I refused repeatedly, causing her to lurch forward in an attempt to pull my underwear up herself. I howled in protest, fighting her off. She stopped, sneered, and then laughed with the others.

-Days later, after her betrayal, I considered our friendship over. Walking the halls, I was suddenly thrust up against a row of lockers. Standing in front of me was my former crush’s boyfriend, his hand firmly on my shirt. He told me if I ever spoke to her again, he’d kick my ass. My former crush stood beside him, grinning the whole time.

Just the mere act of typing these horrid events out brings me right back to those times, front row and center. They are as fresh as they were years ago.

I now realized how much damage I accumulated in mind and soul thanks to these cruel females. But support was hard to find.

There were no articles or stories on how girls and women could hurt and bully boys and men. Everything was centered on boys bullying boys, girls bullying girls, and boys bullying girls. Never any examination of what girls and women could accomplish in the cruelty department towards the opposite sex.

Save for one online called “Boys Don’t Tell on Sugar-and-Spice-But-Not-So-Nice Girl Bullies”

In it, men in their late ages recount tales of bullying from girls that left an undeniable impression on them. From what the records say, the torment and harassment was no different from whenever a boy or gangs of boys had a similar appetite for exerting their power.

While very cathartic reading material, the information is severely dated and stuck in the late 90s to early 21st Century. Already the antiquity tarnished its relevance to my current situation.

When you’re a man like me hurt by girls and women as a child, it’s a lonely road with nary a reassuring passerby in sight. Society just can’t seem to wrap its mind around the notion of a girl or a woman hurting a boy or a man. They jump through all sorts of hoops to justify their behaviour -- Mental Illness, influence, they didn’t know any better -- while tarring any boy or man inflicting similar harms.

Doesn’t help that the repeated, popular narratives tend to reinforce what happened to me as irrelevant and my pain refutable compared to the majority of victims.

It happened to me with certain Feminists. These feminists told me, with no scruples, how my privileged status negated whatever I suffered since I benefited from institutionalised sexism as a pure, white male. They put me out to pasture, in the cold, minimising and invalidating the raw trauma and feelings it called up with sentences like “It’s worse for women”, “You’re an anomaly. Boys bully girls and other boys. That’s a fact.” as the less polite charged me with failing to check my privilege.

The only people who supported me when breaking my story out into the mainstream (on the internet, really) were the followers of Glenn Sacks and an assortment of male victims of female abuse at other sites, particularly Jacob Taylor of Toy Soldiers and some at Feminist Critics. I feared not fitting in because my abuse wasn’t of a similar nature compared to their injuries. They still welcomed me and I, in turn, found a commonality of being ignored and ostracised due to the gender of the attacker in our dealings with the mainstream.

As for feminists themselves, the good news is there were some I encountered currently who considered my experiences and didn’t treat me like an oppressor. They left all “Privilege” talk in the closet and validated what happened by telling me “Girls and Women can hurt just like any abusive boy or man.” To them, I was a survivor of serious abuse regardless of the perpetrators but felt it a bitter pill to swallow because their views were labelled “Anti-feminist” or “Sympathetic to MRAs” by the rest.

I’ve waxed enough on this so back to the subject at hand.

There was another consequence of these injuries. To this day, I’m anxious and afraid of assertive women. More of the feared capabilities of assertive women to hurt since I’ve experienced the same hard lined attitudes flouncing me badly as a helpless young man.

Stories in popular culture of strong female protagonists I’m careful to avoid if they’re developed at the expense of the supporting male characters. The latter are either made to be buffoons, ignorant, stupid, or couldn’t lead their way out of a paper bag. For the ones who are as strong as the female protagonist, they’re quickly rendered weak doormats by her aggressiveness, unable to defend themselves or fight back like I couldn’t.

For example, take Pixar’s new animated movie Brave coming out next year. Same formula: Strong, independent female protagonist, buffoonish and simpleton men where their masculinity is exaggerated for a cheap laugh or they’re the fodder for comic relief as the female protagonist is shown to be competent at everything as the men struggle to lift a weapon. It hurt me so much to see an animation company I believed in for their well-rounded characters of both genders and attention to story sell out with such a trite “grrl power” narrative.

As of now, I’m uncertain whether I’ll or not to see the movie as a whole when it reaches theatres.

Whatever your position is in gender debate and equality, you must understand that stories like mine count. You can’t dismiss them. And I don’t care who has it worse or not, dubious statistics included.

I exist and deserve to be heard and supported in equal measure. Casting it all off because of stereotypical notions about girls and women incapable of harm and how it would take away from all those supports that exist out there for females in need lends credence to the isolation men like me don’t deserve to be put through. Life should be about pleasure, not an endurance test everyday where all that matters is survival of the fittest and a tightening of the bootstraps.

With such ignorance still in existence it feels, to me, like humanity never progressed beyond the high school cafeteria. All around, assorted cliques join together at different tables. You sit alone since no will bother to acknowledge you even when you strain to appeal to their sensibilities or they give you the cold shoulder because you’re “Different”.

Switch them with the popular narratives mentioned earlier about bullying and abuse. They’re all talking about their experiences at different tables as related to the subject at hand. You go around sharing your tale of woe only to receive incredulous looks and sniggers of amusement.

Dejected, you sit back at your table in solitude as others pass you by with turned up noses.

The only solace is your tears streaking down, tumbling in slow motion into the food you’re eating. Tasting it reminds you of your humanity because you can taste your sadness, bon appetite.

Please don’t paint over me so I blend into the background where no one can see. The vibrancy is as valid as the everyday patterns I absorb with relish in everyday life.

This is a story that should not dismissed simply because the victim was the "wrong gender". Bullying is something that harms kids of nearly every single walk of life so to go around acting as if some variations of bullying aren't as bad as others is just wrong. First and foremost such attitudes leave a child with limited to no support (thus denying them the opportunity to properly heal and go from victim to survivor). Secondly leaves the bully with a free pass telling them that as long as they do bully certain kids they don't have to worry about being punished (and yes for a girl/woman to get such a pass on bullying, harassing, and probably abusing boys/men is an example of female privilege, don't waste time trying to twist it into the girl/women bully being the victim of sexism). All that does is feed poisonous attitudes that will come back to haunt all of us later.

(You'll notice that I turned off comments. I did so by request. If you absolutely must comment then by all means go to the original posting of this at Good Men Project, the link I gave near the beginning of this post.)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Good Man Indeed Stage 2

Unity with those like you is an important mechanism.

It gives you a place to belong.

It gives you a sense of security.

It gives you a community that you want to see flourish.

It can literally mean the difference between life and death.

But what happens when it goes too far? What happens when the very group dynamic that once kept you alive stands a good chance of getting you killed? Somalian Adam Mataan believes this line has been crossed and something must be done about it.
Clans form the bedrock of Somali society and identity, but political exploitation of their rivalries has blocked every attempt at peace since Somalia collapsed into war in 1991.
On one hand loyalty to one's tribe is what keeps people alive but when tribal loyalty is hijacked by those who twist it to their advantage terrible things will happen. Basically what it happening is that the desire to assert one's identity has been turned into a game of "Us vs. Them". A game that has had and will have disastrous results. In the face of this self destructive spiral Mataan has joined The Antitribalism Movement (ATM).
Their Anti-Tribalism Movement (ATM), which claims 53,000 followers, aims to eliminate the "spitefulness, discrimination and negativity" he says sectarianism breeds in Somali behavior.
The young people in this movement do not want to see the wars and feuds that have divided the clans and tribes of Somalia continue until the nation itself is destroyed.

What makes this effort a bit different is that its specifically calling out tribalism as a cause of the conflict that plagues them. Unlike the older generation several of the youth believe that these strict divisions are what are tearing them apart.

I think this may be a valid point the ATM is trying to make. War between tribes can lead to nothing but pain and suffering for all involved, except for those that profit from them destroying themselves. Its one thing to have your group that you're loyal to cut that loyalty should never come at the cost of destroying others.

In world that spends so much effort highlighting and bad men of the world to the point that people ask if there are any good men left I have to say that Adam Matann is indeed a good man.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Yes. Oh yes. Oh fuck yes!!!

Remember a while back I talked about RISUG?

Its a male contraceptive that's been in development and human trials in India for nearly 15 years. And it sounds pretty awesome. Check it!

1. Its a shot administered to each vas deferens (via two small cuts in the scrotum) of a compound that when sperm come in contact with it are rendered unable to fertilize eggs.

2. The shots can be easily undone by a second injection of a compound that neutralizes the first, allowing sperm to fertilize eggs again.

3. Men in India have been using this method for the last 15 years and the prevention rate is nearly 100%. Its effectiveness is apparently better than condoms.

Well I was reading a spot over at Fathers and Families saying that the drug is being brought to the US. Also learned a few more things about the treatment.

4. If not selectively neutralized the compound can last up to 10 years.

5. The compound that's injected is almost as cheap as the syringe its delivered with.

This year the drug will be brought to the US under the name Vasalgel and will begin toxicology testing, and if all goes well animal testing will be next.

Personally I think its got a good shot considering that men in India have been testing it for nearly 15 years, the rate is nearly 100% effective, and its cheap. This is a real shot for men to get a simple, cheap, effective, and reversible method of contraception and give us more options and say so in our reproductive rights.

I like it!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Weekly Mashup Stage 79

In an effort to build up the Ethecofem community into a place where any walk of life will feel welcome to come and discuss things we are looking for another regular contributor, preferably of the female persuasion to balance things out a bit, but anyone interested is welcome. We like a variety of viewpoints, experiences, and perspectives. And as always April is on the eternal lookout for guest bloggers as well. If you're interested drop a line at ethecofem[at]gmail[dot]com.

Also feel free to treat this as an Open Thread.

Military Charges More Men with Bogus Rape Claims to Show it Takes Sexual Assault Seriously: I'm all for stopping sexual assaults in the military. However it seems like people are trying to solve the problem with a "get more convictions!" mentality rather than a "let's stop the rapists!" mentality.

Kim Kardashian: Domestic Abuser?: And actually manages to talk about male victim(s) without the usual "women are more likely to be victims...." disclaimer.

Why ‘Losing It’ Is Sometimes the Best Term for First Sex: An interesting way to think about "losing" virginity.

Stop the Chelsea moaning; she’s “somebody”: I've never heard it called "crony journalism" before.

In case you REALLY wanna do a Skyrim cosplay.

Health Over Weight: "“So, who do you want to look like?” The question catches me off guard. She smiles sympathetically, folds a stray piece of honey blonde hair behind her ear, and rephrases: “I find it's helpful to have a goal in place—a physical role model.” She grabs a dog-eared People from behind her desk and opens it."

Web Hogs!:"I have always felt that our customers buy connections from us to use them. Abuse them. Hog up big chunks of the web. Fill up those tubes! And to just generally consume what they are buying: a big fast broadband pipe, to use however they see fit.">

Who Has It Worse?: As TS says, "Why does it matter?"

Some say this woman might have a real claim of self-defense. Supposedly she was so scared for her life she sprays 20 people, picks all her items, goes through checkout, and walks away calmly.

Be back next week!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Has the spite towards sexuality gotten that far?

So last week Emanyea Lockett was suspended for two days for sexually harassing a teacher.

Did I mention that the "sexual harassment" was calling the teacher cute (well Emanyea says he said "cute" but the school is saying he said "fine")?

Oh yeah and Emanyea Lockett is 9 and in the fourth grade.

See the problem?

Now I will be the first to agree that the comment could be deemed inappropriate and there might even be a chance that Emanyea picked that term up from somewhere without fulling understanding it. In fact that's where my money lies. These days something as simple as "cute" can be emulated from just about anywhere from tv, games, music, other people, etc... But his Gaston County school deciding that it was worth a two day suspension? Thankfully the suspension was reversed but what kind of message are we sending?

Has it really gotten to that point where even the smallest hint of something that might be considered sexual is taken as such and harsh punishment is reined upon them? Take this story from a while back (also from NC). Jonathan Prevette was suspended for kissing a girl on the cheek (and supposedly the girl asked for the kiss). Again I can agree that such behavior is inappropriate in that setting even if the girl consented to the kiss. However just sending kids home isn't going to cut it.

What lesson does this teach? On the other hand explaining why such contact is inappropriate (and sneaking in talk about consent) would do these kids much more good and get them ready for when they get out into the world when they will be in situations where such contact is just fine (well assuming they are heterosexual depending on what happens here next May). Show and explain to Emanyea why calling a teacher fine is not okay. Show and explain to Jonathan why kissing the girl, even when she said she wanted him to, may be inappropriate.

Well I guess it'll set them up later for the demonization of their sexuality that is likely to come later.

A "real nigga" you say?

So a short while ago I dropped a post about DPhill and this XY Movement I've been hearing about. Personally I can't stand the guy's fashion sense but more importantly he's trying to make a statement. A statement that says a man should be free to wear whatever the hell he wants. Good statement right? Well I'm you've heard the "old" saying, "Haters gonna hate."

I'm seeing all kinds of tweet hate coming at this guy:
AllMightyOats: If I ever catch that nigga that started the XY movement .........

Words_Slurred: no no no no i am not supporting this shit you are one of the niggas i hate

WoderrDustin: this nigga @dphillgood a weirdo
So as you can see some real charming remarks.

But here's the thing. Its always been my understanding that a "real nigga" just does his thing and don't be giving a damn what other cats be on right?

If that's the case then why mess with this guy?

DPhill's display of manhood is in no way harming the image of the "real nigga". Its not like he's going around telling them that they aren't "real" if they don't rock tights and lip stick.

If anything he's just showing there is more than one acceptable way to be "real".

There's no way on this good and green earth I'd copy his fashion sense but the message. The message is what's important.

So rock on DPhill, rock on (one small gripe, I've heard some of his music and while not as bad as other rappers I've heard "bitch" a few times here and there).

Monday, December 5, 2011

Being A Man 101: Fashion, Appearances, and Looks

Pop quiz hot shot.

How does one "dress like a man"?

More than likely even if you don't want to say so you are thinking the usual attire that is associated with men. Fine suits. Lumberjack style flannel. Urban styles. Things that tell the world "I am a man!" right?

What if it didn't matter what a man dressed in?

What if a man were free to dress in whatever he wanted and didn't care what "dressing like a man" called for?

What if the phrase "dress like a man" were tossed to the side for the gender essentialist nonsense it is?

That's what it appears Dallas rapper DPhill Spanglish Man is trying to do.

Being called a pioneer of the XY Movement, DPhill (@dphillgood on Twitter) is hoping to lead the way for men to become confident enough to not just be comfortable with the narrow band of what's acceptable dress and fashion for men but to be confident enough to partake an any and all fashion they wish, including those usually forbidden to those who identify as men.

I like where his heart his. He's showing the world that being a man doesn't have to limit what is okay in terms of attire and looks. Being a man shouldn't translate into "can't wear lipstick" or "can never wear floral print cloths". He's trying to rock that boat and I got much love for that.

As far as I'm concerned this a very bold act of defiance against that old adage, "The clothes make the man." (Example: Mafia are some of the most well dressed people on the planet. You think that suit has any influence on their character?)

I much prefer the idea that "The man makes the clothes." And that's what he is doing. He is being a man on his own terms and he is doing his own damn thing with it comes to fashion and makeup.

(Fro tip to Mark Simpson.)

Link to the main hub for all the Being a Man 101 posts.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Weekly Mashup Stage 78

In an effort to build up the Ethecofem community into a place where any walk of life will feel welcome to come and discuss things we are looking for another regular contributor, preferably of the female persuasion to balance things out a bit, but anyone interested is welcome. We like a variety of viewpoints, experiences, and perspectives. And as always April is on the eternal lookout for guest bloggers as well. If you're interested drop a line at ethecofem[at]gmail[dot]com.

Also feel free to treat this as an Open Thread.

Revealing Post on Reddit’s “TwoXChromosomes”: Even taking the negativity of that place the folks at Spearhead got me to realize two things with this post. First the presumption that men are violent is pretty bad when a woman can't even have a non DV injury without people making assumptions. Second is the expectation that men are supposed to be "the protector" is pretty much unfocused aggression. Yet people have no problem with that unfocused aggression as long as it suits them.

1st Penn State Abuse Suit Comes From New Accuser:"The first sex-abuse lawsuit filed against ex-Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky comes from a man who says the coach abused him more than 100 times."

Maine DV Establishment Ignores Woman’s Killing of Husband: My money says that Richard Jeskey's death at the hand of his wife Roxanne was not even counted as a DV related death. Some of that stick your head in the sand math where if you don't call it DV then DV didn't happen.

Married to a pedophile:So let me get this straight. The man that witnessed Sandusky raping a boy should be raked over the coals but wives that may know their husbands are abusing children need the consideration that they may have some reason for not speaking up?

Kindle Fire vs. Nook Tablet: which one should you buy?: Trying to decide between the Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet? Ars Technica may be able to help.

Okay I know the guy was pissed but that's just cold.

Life After a Guilty Plea to False Charge: If a 15 year old boy can be punished for a crime that did not happen then why is it so hard to punish a 14 year old girl for a crime that was actually committed?

SciFriday: I'm Not Against 3-D, Just Annoyed By It: After watching the new Harold and Kumar Christmas movie, Green Lantern, Puss N Boots, Resident Evil 4 (the movie of course), Immortals and a few others I have to agree. I missed Avatar in theaters but I have yet to hear anything negative about it was in theaters. These days 3-D is more of a money grabbing gimmick than revolutionary film technology.

Students Speak on Photoshop and Body Image: Personally I don't pay much attention to celebrity and model photos (but I do admit that my own body image is part of the reason for that) but I do think talking about them being photoshopped and how this knowledge affects the body image of people.

Oricon Poll: Views on Turning Anime/Manga into Live-Action: So it looks like America's not the only place where live action adaptations of anime/manga are not received well.

Jewish Intactivism Part II: It would seem that even some members of the Jewish community are starting to speak out against circumcision. Personally I think that's a good thing. (Fro tip to mensactivism.org.)

Student Sparks Debate With Dorm Room Confederate Flag: Like the Swaztika, could the Rebel Flag have been appropriated as a symbol of racial hatred rather than having been created as a symbol of racial hatred?

I'm not sure about the context of that hit however Drew makes good points that need to heeded.

See you next week!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Good Man Indeed Stage 1

It pains me to know that if this man had committed some sort of crime or got involved in some major scandal the whole world would know who he is and he'd be all over the media. But since he is a man doing something commendable, speaking up on behalf of children raised by gays, not many people will know who he is or what he said.

A good man indeed Zach Wahls, a good man indeed.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gender Symmetry Table (v1 no doubt)

Things have been pretty hectic and I'll be honest I kinda sorta forgot to come back and post this. Trying to bear in mind some of the feedback from last time I'm going to give the table a try.

Now as last time this is by no means an attempt at an all exhaustive listing of every single instance of symmetry in relation to gender. Or at least I can't do that on my own (frankly no one person could). Nor is it meant to be a scoreboard to point at when trying to say that one side doesn't have it as bad as the other. Instead this is meant to get people thinking about what needs to be worked on.

So I present to you the Gender Symmetry Table v1!

The first column (from the left) are the expectations of, the second column are the expectations, and the final two columns are variations of those expectations (this would be where iintersectionality would fit).

Gender Symmetry Table
Men are expected to be the external provider.*Women are expected to be the internal provider.*Working class men are expected to work demanding jobs which take even more time away from their family.Working class women are expected to be internal and external providers when the need arises.
Men are expected to sacrifice time with the family for the sake of career.Women are expected to sacrifice career for the sake of time with the family.
Men are expected to be external providers in order to verify their manhood.Women are expected to be internal providers in order to verify their womanhood.
When men try to break their expected gender role by spending time with the family ulterior motives are suspected (ie, "he's only around children so he can molest them", "what kind of man stays at home with the kids?")When women try to break their expected gender role by spending more time on a career ulterior motives are suspected (ie, "she must not have a man in her life", "what kind of woman works outside the home?")
Women are segregated into lower-paying jobs. (by Ampersand)Men are segregated into more dangerous jobs. (by Ampersand)
Males** are expected to be overflowing with sexual knowledge no matter what, lest their masculinity be questioned.Females** are expected to be lacking in sexual knowledge at all costs, lest their femininity be questioned.
Males are expected to be overcome with a never ending desire for sex with any and all women.Females are expected to lack sexual desire until a male ignites their desire for them.
Women are discouraged from initiating contact. (by Ampersand)Men are expected to initiate contact. (by Ampersand)
Females are unfairly believed to indicate their sexual desire with clothing and behavior. (Hence the "how she was acting with that guy" and "how she was dressed" slut shaming of female victims.)Males are unfairly believed to indicate with sexual desire by being male. (Hence the idea that males are always consenting to sex therefore there is no way to rape a male.)
Men are expected to not show emotion; men showing emotion are considered weak and vulnerable. (by Desipis)Women are expected to show emotion; women not showing emotion are considered cold and uncaring. (by Desipis)
Men are considered to be emotionally independent; men requiring emotional support (especially from someone other than a sexual partner) are considered weak and vulnerable. (by Desipis)Women are considered to be emotionally supportive of others; women not emotionally supportive are considered cold and uncaring. (by Desipis)
Women are expected to be experts on children and childrearing. (by Ampersand) Men are assumed to be dullards on children and childrearing. (by Ampersand)
A woman who doesn't "feminize" her appearance by shaving legs, wearing makeup, styling hiar, etc., may be shamed. (by Ampersand)A man does "feminize" his appearance in the same ways may be shamed. (by Ampersand)

* - External provider being one who works outside the home and Internal provider being one who works inside the home.

** - I'm using males/females in place of having to spell out men/boys and girls/women constantly.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Weekly Mashup Stage 77

In an effort to build up the Ethecofem community into a place where any walk of life will feel welcome to come and discuss things we are looking for another regular contributor, preferably of the female persuasion to balance things out a bit, but anyone interested is welcome. We like a variety of viewpoints, experiences, and perspectives. And as always April is on the eternal lookout for guest bloggers as well. If you're interested drop a line at ethecofem[at]gmail[dot]com.

Also feel free to treat this as an Open Thread.

What Blogging Has Done for Me: Mainly what its done for me is to help me clear my thoughts and to develop them.

Where Are All the Plus-Size Male Models?: I personally don't give a damn about the modeling world but it is work asking where the plus sized men are I think.

Alleged Sandusky Victim Forced Out Of School Due To Bullying: It wasn't cool when it happened to Amber Cole and the countless other sex crime victims and its not cool now. And by it I mean shaming sex crime victims.

With Boys on Girls Swim Team, NYT's Support for Gender Equity Takes a Sudden Dive: Damn shame. I thought we were all about the gender equality...

Breaking the Silence: A Practical Guide for Male Victims of Domestic Abuse: "A book for men in abusive situations as well as those who are trying to help – from friends and relatives, through to professionals."

Australia: Mother Cuts Off Father’s Access, Is Rewarded With Sole Custody: "In a decision that suggests the “shared care” law introduced by the Howard government was effectively dead, a full bench of the Family Court said “the mother would ignore any order for contact” and, as a result, it was pointless to order her to co-operate." What? So its in the "best interests of the child" to grant custody to a mom that would rather disobey a custody agreement?

For 'Akira,' If You're Asian, Forget It: Dammit. After this I think I can safely say that I want Hollywood to leave anime alone.

Utah Woman Puts Video Game-Obsessed Husband Up for Sale on Craigslist: I guess dumping him wasn't going to get her enough drama queen points so she had to ante up.

Because I was feeling a bit nostalgic.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Adventures of Uncle Danny Ep. 1

Okay as you may know I dread the idea of having kids. This dread sky rocketed tonight.

I'm up visiting my brother today at his place and my sister came into town as well. Long story short at about 6pm I was on my way to taking my 3 nieces (12, 12, 7) out to Adventure Landing (something like a Chucky Cheese, Celebration Station, Dave and Buster's, etc...).

My heart rate shot up at the thought of having being their guardian for a few hours. Every worst case scenario shot through my head like I just knew something bad was going to happen. Thankfully nothing bad happened. They played some games for a while (and got to see their uncle play DDR), grabbed some shakes (Cook-Out owns your face), and headed back.

But one thing tripped me out about the whole ordeal.

You see they wanted to go there in order to have a chance to spend more time with me.

For reasons I recently covered that doesn't register well with me.

Now its true that I don't see them often (in fact one of the 12 year olds lives in Texas so I'm lucky to see her more than once every 2-3 years) but even with that in mind I don't understand why they want to spend time with me. I'm an emotionally dying eternal sad sack. What kid wants to be around that?

Oh well disaster didn't happen so I guess its a good thing and I should let sleeping dogs lie.

But I stand by my word when I say that Uncle Danny has no desire to become Daddy Danny.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

When Fan Service goes too far

Fan Service: As the name implies fan service is the servicing of fans. In the context of anime and manga fan service is putting something into an anime and/or manga just for the sake of servicing fans.

Now that that is out of the way let me tell you about High School of the Dead.

In what could be present day Japan out of nowhere zombies appear and start to attack innocent civilians. The events of High School of the Dead center around Takashi, Rei, and their five companions as they cut, bash, drive, shoot, and run their way to safety.

Its a simple sounding story that you would think was just thrown together to score on the recent interest in zombie fiction. But truthfully its a pretty good work. In addition to the hordes of undead that make the back drop we also have the personal issues of the characters trying to fight their way to freedom. All in all it works really well (except for Takagi, with the way she treats everyone especially Hirano, I truly wish that pink haired know it all would die, violent preferably). But there's one small problem.

Well actually several problems.

Truthfully they aren't that small (but that's not the issue in and of itself) and the way they come up isn't that small either.

Remember what I said about fan service? High School of the Dead is plagued by it.

Here is a link to the first half of the first episode. Go check it out and come back. Don't worry I'll still be here.

Oh you're back already? That was fast.

Did you see what I was talking about? If you didn't (and honestly the only valid reason you didn't see is because you either could not or did not watch it) then I'll inform you. That show is riddled with tit and panty shots.

I mean damn I can get with some fan servicing because ultimately shows are made for fans and a show with no fans will fail. But goodness there are parts in this series where the shots are gratuitous well past the point of making sense.

Now don't get me wrong I'm not trying to say that any show that has any such shots is bad. Physics accounts for some of that stuff because truthfully tits do jiggle sometimes and if a girl in a skirt moves a lot (especially with all the running and fighting these girls do) yes they will fly up. On the other hand its pretty obvious a lot of those shots are there for the sake of being there, not because they would happen naturally or just throwing in a little extra for the fans.

I'm not trying to argue against sexually explicit material or anything. Its just that the way this was done I think its a pretty strong display of thinking that boys (the target audience of this and a lot of anime) are so low brow that we can't get into something without sexualizing girls.

Damn shame that is.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I'm back!

I actually got back in Sunday night Monday morning (at nearly 4am) but I had to take my dad to the doctor for a followup yesterday and it was back to work today.

Got a few spam comments but other than that all seem's to have been well while I was gone.

We now return you to your regular scheduled programming.

Monday, November 21, 2011

I find his lack of faith disturbing...

Oh Shatner done fucked up now.

Carrie Fisher responds.

As Fisher opens with they are two different things. If you want to see some shit that might be real in 2 or 3 centuries then watch Star Trek. If you want engaging characters that you actually care about then watch Star Wars.

Simple as that.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Weekly Mashup Stage 76

In an effort to build up the Ethecofem community into a place where any walk of life will feel welcome to come and discuss things we are looking for another regular contributor, preferably of the female persuasion to balance things out a bit, but anyone interested is welcome. We like a variety of viewpoints, experiences, and perspectives. And as always April is on the eternal lookout for guest bloggers as well. If you're interested drop a line at ethecofem[at]gmail[dot]com.

Also feel free to treat this as an Open Thread.

PETA targets Mario over raccoon suit: Yes you read that right? Never mind this is a revival of a nearly 15 year old powerup...

Thoughts On The House Judiciary Committee's Hearings On SOPA: Mike Masnick sharing his thoughts on the SOPA hearings. Which by the way were pretty heavily stacked in favor of those who support the bill. Any surprises?

Christian Baker Faces Boycott For Refusing to Make Lesbian Cake: Pro-gay activists have launched a boycott of an Iowa baker who declined to create a wedding cake for a lesbian couple based on her religious beliefs.

Victory—In Face of Opposition, Leahy Scraps VAWA Draft Provision Which Lowers Evidence Standards:"Fathers and Families wants abused women (and men) to be afforded the protection they need. However, we have relentlessly publicized and fought the common problem of false allegations being used as child custody and financial maneuvers in divorce. And one of the key components in this fight is to replace the “preponderance” standard with the “clear and convincing” standard."

Teacher accused of making first-graders rub her feet: What's with all these stories about teachers acting a fool and harming kids? Its like they are worse than the students...

A Dose of Stupid v.56: I have to admit that as much as I don't care for what Futrelle does I at least expected him to be honest...that ship seems to have sailed if what TS says is true.

Tyler Mali, standing up for teachers.

Take it easy people!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

So about that attempted rape in the new Harold and Kumar...

(I'm talking about the new Harold and Kumar Christmas movie. Well one specific scene to be exact. And its an attempted rape scene at that. Tread carefully.)

Yeah you heard me.

After being drained from sleeping in a hospital waiting room all week I needed a release so I decided to hit up the movie theater to catch something. Well when I got there the only thing that was playing anytime soon was the new Harold and Kumar Christmas movie (I was hoping to see Three Musketeers but its dropped in popularity and only played once that day, hours before I got there). I hadn't seen the second one but loved the first one so I went for it.

To put it quickly the film takes sometime after the second movie (Guantanamo Bay) and Harold has married Maria, moved out to the suburbs, and are trying to start a family (I have to admit I laughed when early in the movie Maria tells Harold to, "Fuck a baby into me!"). On the other hand Kumar doesn't seem to have changed much and is still a lazy pothead. Out of the blue Kumar gets a package labeled to Harold. He hesitates taking to him but does in the end. Long story short Kumar burns down Harold's tree (which is actually his father in law's, played by Danny Trejo) and the rush is on to find a replacement tree.

On one of their stops they end up at a party with one of Kumar's friends who is there to have sex with an online friend and the hope that they can get her Christmas tree for Harold. Well when said friend goes up to the bedroom to have sex with is online friend (who by the way is named Mary and she's a virgin...) he realizes that her father is a rather notorious mob boss. Here's where things go bad.

He tries to stop having sex with her but with her top of him she refuses to get off. Not only does she refuse to let him go but she reached under the covers and attempts to for his penis into her vagina (he complains that he can feel her nails digging into him). From what I gather he is able to get away from her before being raped and runs downstairs in his underwear. What does she do? She storms down after him mad and declaring that someone is going to fuck her tonight. At which point she grabs Harold and tries to take his pants off of him right in the middle of everyone.

You see the angle is that no guys will have sex with her because her dad's a mobster but she is anxious to have sex.

Now I can understand really wanting to have sex and I can imagine that it would be terrible to not be able to find a sex partner for reasons beyond one's control. But none of that really justifies forcing someone to have sex against their will.

You can call the guy a jerk, coward, or whatever for not wanting to have sex with a mob boss' daughter but its his choice to not have sex. Being a sexually attractive virgin that is anxious to have sex doesn't override the fact that the guy doesn't want to do it. And even if Harold weren't married there's nothing wrong with him not wanting to have sex with her either.

And I really don't appreciate how its being used as a comedy device either.

Raping guys or attempting to rape guys doesn't suddenly become funny when the rapist/attempted rapist is a horny woman.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The only good touches for men are sexual?

I've been on a bit of a self diagnostic kick lately and have been reminded of another part of me that's probably a bit lacking.

Last week titfortat told me:
You can a have a Massage at our wellness clinic(on the house). It sounds like you could use one. :)

To which I responded with:
That's another one of my oddities. I don't do a whole lot of that human contact stuff. Its not that I have a phobia or anything that limits it it just doesn't happen.

Well I was going to revisit this later on but Ozy's touched on it a bit so now's as good a time as any.

Virginal men, especially if they don’t have romantic relationships, are often touch-starved. There is one acceptable way for men to get touched: sexually. Casual cuddles with friends are Not Allowed. Woo, homophobia!

For the most part growing up with the script of being a man shoved down our throats most of us were raised with some odd messages with regards to touch. When we're young touching is fine among family but even that has a shelf life (I'm betting I'm not the only one that kinda shied away from physical contact with even my parents as I hit my teen years). Once the teen years hit it seems that out of nowhere the only acceptable type of touching is in a romantic or sexual way. Well for those of us who are not touching or getting touched in those "appropriate" ways things can get pretty lonesome.

As I was telling titfortat in the comments of that post I've never had a massage before. Well it actually goes beyond laying on a table wrapped in a towel and getting rubbed down. In a short bit of thinking I can only count 2 times in my life that I've ever been touched in a massaging manner in a non professional setting. Hell the only time I hug people is when the other person reaches for me first.

But anyway when it comes to being a man and touching it just seems that that, like most other, line of emotional support is forbidden to us as a part of how we are conditioned to fulfill our role in The System. No we are supposed to rock hard stoic creatures in order to charge forth and do all that we can to make The System stronger (namely in the way of labor as external providers). Because really what kind of "real man" would look for emotional support when should be out there making some faceless power structure more money that it knows what to do with (well at least it knows not to actually include the people whose backs were broken for that profit).

Maybe that's the point of "allowing" us touching for sexual and romantic purposes. A little outlet so that we don't get totally touch-starved, as Ozy says. Well when tying the only "appropriate" touching to something like relationships and sex that leaves a lot of guys hanging. Guys who just don't feel like being in relationships. Guys who do have little to no success in relationships. Guys who aren't interested in relationships with women (because let's face it even among "appropriate" touching for guys gay guys still get pissed on in terms of displays of touching and affection). Guys who are soul crushingly shy when it comes to expressing desire for affection.

Come on I know I'm not the only thinking about touching and guys (okay some of us may be thinking about touching guys right now but that's cool too). Don't be scared to share.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Weekly Mashup Stage 75

In an effort to build up the Ethecofem community into a place where any walk of life will feel welcome to come and discuss things we are looking for another regular contributor, preferably of the female persuasion to balance things out a bit, but anyone interested is welcome. We like a variety of viewpoints, experiences, and perspectives. And as always April is on the eternal lookout for guest bloggers as well. If you're interested drop a line at ethecofem[at]gmail[dot]com.

Also feel free to treat this as an Open Thread.

I don't have a lot this week on a count of being in the hospital with the dad all week.

Old Fashioned 'Pirates' Steal 6,000 Copies Of The New Call Of Duty Game: Because that's how REAL pirates roll kid.

If it had been a woman…: You'd think people would be over this "women are morally superior to men" stuff by now...

NC Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation: "Gov. Bev Perdue established the N.C. Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation. In the 2009-2010 legislative session, the North Carolina General Assembly provided funding for the Foundation to begin planning to carry out its mission to provide justice and compensate victims who were forcibly sterilized by the State of North Carolina. The Foundation will function as a clearinghouse to assist victims of the N.C. Eugenics Board program. Foundation staff also supports the Governor’s Task Force to Determine the Method of Compensation for Victims of North Carolina’s Eugenics Board."

Boy thought eight years of sexual abuse by sister ‘was normal’: A display of how damaging sexual abuse can be to a child when the abuse starts are a young age.

I know I'm not the only one that feels this way.

Two Items: Metalwala Update; Virginia to Seize Assets of Child Abductors: For as many episodes of Law and Order I've seen that are "ripped from the headlines" I'm at a bit of a loss to see it happen in reverse.

Black Women of Playboy: Eat your heart out Lindsay Lohan: Yep.

APNewsBreak: Inmates with mental illness neglected: "Years of budget cuts, hiring freezes and high turnover led to staffing shortages in critical jobs, especially nurses and doctors. Staff failed to maintain up-to date records, track medications or respond to calls for medical help."

Something for the anime fans.

Friday, November 11, 2011


After sleeping in a hotel for a week and working at a different branch I was finally able to bring my dad home from the hospital today. He had his gall bladder removed (which the surgeon later said was on the verge of shutting down) and all seems to be well.

Now its time to catch up on things I missed.

If you see someone who wore the uniform, thank them

Today is Veteran's Day. A day to honor those who have fought to defend our country over the course of its relatively short history.

So to all the folks who put on the uniform to say, "I am offering my life to protect yours.", Thank You.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Book Review: Percy Jackson and The Olympians

(I'm talking about the Percy Jackson books and will be spoiling them. Tread carefully.)

So a few days ago I knocked out the last two entries in the Percy Jackson and The Olympians books (series of 5) by Rick Riordan and I figure I'll take a chance to brush up on my review skills.

The Percy Jackson series is set in modern day United States (the characters travel all over the country) but in this setting the Greek gods have not completely faded into the realm of myth but continue to live on and are still up to the same tasks and tricks they were up to during height of the Ancient Greece. And speaking of tasks (and tricks) it would seem that there is one trick that really gets this series going.

You see just as in the distant past gods and goddesses of the Greek Pantheon had children by mortals. Such children are known as demigods or half-bloods. And like their divine parents these children possess powers that are far beyond mere mortals. Well I'm sure you can imagine that children with such powers must be properly cared for or bad things will happen. And that is the purpose of Camp Half Blood.

Similar to the Xavier School for the Gifted, Camp Half Blood is a summer camp that exists to show demigods how to use their abilities. Well that's not all truth be told. Just as the gods and goddesses still roam the earth today so do many of the monsters, terrors, and threats that we regard as myth and legend. And such things can be very perilous for children who are not equipped to fight them.

Enter Percy Jackson. A young boy who is about to find out that he is not just some random delinquent. No he is a son of the mighty sea god Posiedon, and danger is approaching. With the help of a young satyr by the name Grover Percy makes his way to Camp Half Blood where he learns of The Great Prophecy, and unravels his role in a battle that will determine the fate of the world.

All in all I liked the books. Similar to other fictional characters who are destined for greatness (coughcoughcoughHarryPottercoughcoughcough) Percy has best friends (Grover and Annabeth, daughter of Athena), bullies (Clarisse, daughter of Ares), and outright enemies (Luke, son of Hermes). Also like our magical friend Percy must fight under conditions that even the adults in his life may consider insurmountable. But I must say that I think these books offer a better mixing teen life with the main content of the story (personally I think Rowling doesn't mix in enough teen life and Meyer uses too much).

Riordan also does a good job of injecting classic tales into the modern world. The Labyrinth of the Minotaur? Its an underground maze that stretches across the entire US. Mount Olympus? The home of the gods and goddesses will move throughout the ages to the "center of civilization", therefore it hovers over New York City, on the 600th floor of The Empire State Building. The island where Odysseus and his men wasted away several years drinking and partying without noticing the passage of time? Its portrayed as a casino in Las Vegas where those trapped inside are free to eat, drink, and play for eternity and will never experience the passing of time (our heroes meet a pair of 12 year old twins, who have been in there since the early 1940s). And making Ares, god of war, a leather clad biker? Brilliant.

And don't think that only the sunny side of a hero is shown. There are quite a few occasions where heroes are portrayed as selfish and callous towards others. Remember the story about the Labor of Hercules where he had one day to clean out a set of stables that had not been cleaned in 30 years? Well in book 4 Percy takes on the task as part of deal for aid and marches down to a nearby river to clean them in the same manner Hercules did (in fact they haven't been cleaned since Hercules did it, which would have been centuries ago). However he is stopped dead in his tracks by the spirit of the river and she was NOT happy. She was mad and promptly told him off how Hercules talked her into using her river last time and how the massive amount of manure poisoned the river and made her sick for decades (but worry not she did give him a clue to another way to complete the task). Showing that gods, and their children are not perfect creatures.

One other thing that I really liked about the series is how the story is told. The story is told like Percy is narrating a flashback. Also I love the sense of humor and casual nature of Jackson's attitude. He could be staring down the barrel of a beatdown from an angry daughter of Ares or about to drop a few hundred feet or about to mauled by a mythical creature, he still has the time for witty commentary. And I love the chapter naming.

One last thing. If you are touched by the subject of rage, revenge, and the pain associated with them then this book can actually get pretty powerful at times (especially the last 2 books).

Unfortunately the series is not perfect.

First off I understand that being based off of Greek myth the vast majority of the characters are going to be white but from what I can tell there were damn near no people of color throughout the entire series? (It is worth noting that while Grover's character art would make you think he would be played by a guy with red hair his role was actually played by Brandon Jackson, a black guy in the 2010 adaptation of the first book, The Lightning Thief.)

There's a matter of its use of dyslexia. The learning disability is a manifestation of a demigod's brain being hard wired toward Ancient Greek, not English. Meaning that when they read English in the back of their minds they are trying to read it as Ancient Greek and modern medicine interprets this as dyslexia. Not sure how I feel about an actual learning disability used like that in literature (mind you I am not dyslexic so I can't really speak on this with any definitiveness).

When it comes to having to prove oneself in regards to sexism I think it falls short a bit. Early on in the series Ares, despite his daughter Clarisse's great accomplishments such as being leader of the Ares children who attend Camp Half Blood, shows his contempt for her being a girl. In fact at one point when Clarisse fails a task Ares literally says something to the effect of, "I bet one of my sons could have done it.". Now that's not the problem I have with this because such sexism is indeed real (but rest assured Clarisse gets busy in the final battle by killing a creature that was closing to killing all the heroes, including Percy). My problem is that there was really no reference to how boys are regularly expected to prove their manhood. With Greek myth being the source material you would think that this would come up a lot and be more direct but its not. And remember what I said about how heroes are not always portrayed in the best light? Yeah that's the exclusive province of men (feeding the myth of the moral superiority of the female).

There was pretty much a GLBT shut out on this one too.

In the end I liked the series. It does suffer from many of the failings that are commonly seen in today's literature but I think it does a good job of blending past myth with the present world and readers (regardless of age) could possibly learn some good lessons from reading this series. I won't call them a must read but rather a very good read. I give it 3.5 Riptides out of 5.

Alright I'm off to go read the Secret Circle Trilogy. Take it easy!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

That's what I'm talking about

You know I want to see fathers succeed in being parents. You also know that a lot of people say they want fathers to do their part. You also know that a lot of those same people will turn blind eye and deaf ear to the very fathers that are trying take on the responsibility of being a father, if not contribute to the denial of them doing so. That's why I'm a bit glad (a bit more glad that the folks I'm borrowed this link from) to see that New Zealand is actually offering courses for teen dads.

This is a good example of just what responsible dads in the States should be getting. They should be getting help, not scorn followed by hypocritical whining about men needing to "step up".

I wonder if there is something in the States like this...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Well it is my birthday and all...

Okay so I'm settled in the hospital with dad. Don't worry its been confirmed that they are gall stones (which is good to know because he was scared as hell that it was cancer, for good reason). So neverminding the fact that I'm spending my birthday in my dad's hospital room I've come to a conclusion. I've been thinking it for a long time (remember all those times where I've hinted towards my emotional state but always said I'd come back to it later?). Actually I think I've known it for a long time but just didn't want to admit it. Here goes.

Emotionally speaking, I'm dead on the inside.

I've been with my dad over the last several days after rushing him to the ER at 5am on Thursday morning. From that, to hearing him moan in pain (and asking for something to relieve it), to seeing him almost tear up thinking the blockages in his pancreas were tumors. The whole time my emotional response has been limited to extreme aggravation at relatives that think calling me every hour is going to generate progress.

Maybe its just the way that I've been raised to think how people should act in stressful times like this but I think something is really wrong with me. And this is not an isolated case.

Back in 2004 when my mom died I was literally the only person in my immediate family that didn't shed a single tear. No choked voice, no water eyes, just some sadness. Same thing when my grandmother died about 2 months after that.

When I was in high school and the vice principal died same thing. Imagine sitting in a church full of crying friends, family, and students and not have any sort of reaction on your face.

In college caught a buddy home for a holiday but before heading out we stopped to his aunt and uncle's house. The uncle had a heart attack while we were there. He passed away but I remember the EMTs on the scene and the aunt thanking me for how calm I was and how well I kept their kids from panicking, who were small children at the time (and mind you I don't even like kids that much).

Its just this weird thing about me that causes me to be deathly (maybe not the best word) calm in situations that would terrify normal people or at least cause some sort of other noticeable reaction.

To this end I've gotten to the point where I simply don't want to be in such situations anymore. I feel like people are looking at me and thinking, "What kind of souless monster can go through this with such a blank expression?". Don't believe me? How many times have you seen people say something like, "If you don't (display expected emotional response to this pic/story/ect...) then you have no soul."

This is part of the reason I don't want kids. I don't like the idea of raising soulless kids.

Well enough of that for now.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Weekly Mashup Stage 74

Dammit I thought I scheduled this before I went out of town this past weekend. Sorry.

In an effort to build up the Ethecofem community into a place where any walk of life will feel welcome to come and discuss things we are looking for another regular contributor, preferably of the female persuasion to balance things out a bit, but anyone interested is welcome. We like a variety of viewpoints, experiences, and perspectives. And as always April is on the eternal lookout for guest bloggers as well. If you're interested drop a line at ethecofem[at]gmail[dot]com.

Also feel free to treat this as an Open Thread.

State Sen. Forrester dead at age 74: "Long a champion of banning gay marriage in North Carolina, he stirred controversy in September for calling Asheville a “cesspool of sin.” He also drew fire from gay rights groups. In an interview with The News & Observer earlier this month about the controversy, Forrester said he was suffering from health problems but did not elaborate." I would like for opposition to gay rights to not get their way but this is terrible. Best of wishes to his family.

Concerns Are Raised About Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes: This shit is a SyFy Movie of the Week waiting to happen....

CA Audit of CPS Reveals Sex Offenders Working in Foster Homes: This can't be good.

Fred Phelps attended Bob Jones University; rape-apologist now on BJU board: "Bob Jones University is currently pretending that Fred Phelps did not go to their school. Is that FUNNY or what? I can remember when they would have been proud, but demonstrating at the funerals of Elizabeth Edwards and Steve Jobs? Even too embarrassing for BJU!

At left, courtesy of fabulous Camille Lewis (BJU-purge victim), is Fred Phelps' 1948 yearbook photo from Bob Jones University. Although they can try to hide their nasty history, they CAN'T erase old yearbooks owned by students."

Men’s Rights Fight Breaks Out On Wikipedia: Have your opinion of MRAs by all means but back handed tactics like this are not right. I'm sure its not some feminist conspiracy but I have to admit that this is some pretty interesting timing considering that there's be a bit of noise lately over the gender disparity in Wiki contributors.

Is there a double standard between male and female sex offenders?:Yes.

Marketing To The Maxim Set: Axe realizing that telling teen guys that they are smelly pigs that no woman would want to get close to was not the best way to market their product?

A little something I whipped up this week.

Friday, November 4, 2011

If you say it, they may respond

If you recall last week I went to Dr. Pepper's Contact Us section and sent in my thoughts on the new Dr. Pepper 10 ad. I was checking my email over the weekend and saw that I got a response. Not just some system generated, "We are glad you contacted us..." bull but an actual response in which someone read what I wrote and responded back. Check it out.

October 26, 2011
Thank you for writing to us about Dr Pepper TEN and allowing us to respond to your concerns. I am a woman who loves the full flavor of Dr Pepper TEN and the fact that it’s only 10 calories. When I first saw the tongue-in-cheek advertising campaign and the tagline, my reaction was, “I’ll be the judge of that.” In other words, no one is going to tell me what I can eat or drink.

We hope you, too, will come to see our advertising campaign for what it is, a humorous take on the many men who are worried about their waistlines but are too “manly” to drink a diet soda.


Consumer Relations

To which I responded:
I can appreciate the concept of "I'll be the judge of that." being used to advertise the product that leaves me wondering about "many men who are worried about their waistlines but are too “manly” to drink a diet soda" you commented on. Yes it is true that there are men who worry about that, however does that really mean they should be taken in a humorous light when they could see this ad as teasing them, thus justifying their fear about said soda?

Your point that it doesn't have to be that way is a valid one, I'm just a bit concerned about the way its addressed in the ad. Surely as a woman you may have certain fears and worries. How would you feel if someone made an ad in which they made fun your fears rather then actually seriously addressing them?

Thanks for the response.

I really do like the idea that there are women out there who will respond to said ad with a "I'll be the judge of that" attitude. My problem is I don't think this ad does much good for men, especially the ones who are caught up in this idea that they need a "manly" version of a diet soda. I'm guessing this woman who responded was thinking about the ad as a woman being told, "This soda is not for you." to which I don't blame her for thinking, "I'll be the judge of that.". But let's take a moment to think about the men who believe this hype.

You have a guy that for whatever reason wants to try a soda that tastes good and isn't as bad for you as most sodas on the market. Let's say this guy is turning away from other so-called diet sodas because they aren't "manly enough" for him. Then he sees this ad. Instead of getting the message that being manly isn't a vital criteria of a diet drink he gets the idea that he should get Dr. Pepper 10 because its made for men, not those little women. How healthy can that message possibly be for anyone?

I stand by my original statement that an ad showing a man drinking it and saying while it may be targeted at men anyone can drink it would hit a much larger audience than targeting a narrow sub-set of men to drink because its "for men only" and and a sub-set of women who are going to drink just because they were told not to.