Thursday, September 29, 2011

Oh you don't get it? Allow me to explain...

Saw this over at Clarissa's place (which is chiming in on something from Womanist Musings) today and just had to chime in.
I can’t tell you how many times I tried to stop people from referring to Ukrainians with a certain offensive term only to have the offender tell me, “Oh, I know someone who is Ukrainian and she is perfectly fine with me calling her that.”
Those people are missing one vital detail when they use that defense for calling someone something they find offensive.

She points out the specific example of someone using this argument where the "someone" is actually their cleaning lady. I'm betting this person used some variation of the "But I don't get it!" excuse when using that word towards people who are offended by it.

For just a moment here I'm going to suspend mention of the employer/employee relationship in this explanation. That's not to say that it doesn't matter at all mind you. What I want to get at is an all encompassing reason why the "Oh, I know someone..." defense does not work. As in even if this cleaning lady is genuinely okay with it (and its not outside the realm of possibility that she might be) despite the employer/employee relationship it would not fly.

What the offender person does not get is that groups of people are not a monolith. One member of a group may not care about the use of a word that is generally offensive to their group while another may care very much. When that person is using it towards their cleaning lady that cleaning lady may truly not care about the use of it. However once the offending person goes on to use it against a different person its not the same. Let me share something with you.

One of my best friends from college is Indian. Despite him not being black there have been times where between ourselves he has called me nigga. Now like I say this man is one of my best friends and our relationship is close enough that I don't mind him using, we even had a conversation on this. However I made damn sure that while it might be cool with me there's a high chance using it with other black people will result in getting his ass kicked. And why is that? Because he doesn't have that same level of friendship with other black people that he has with me and said other black people would be justified in wanting to deliver said ass whipping. But I have to admit that its not one sided since I have called him a terrorist before.

The difference is the person they are talking to.

That cleaning lady might be fine with the use of that word but that cleaning lady is not Clarissa and Clarissa is not that cleaning lady. To leap from "she's fine with me using around her" to "its fine to use it with any Ukrainians" is to cast Ukranians as a monolith and that's not fair. We could be talking about the difference between that cleaning lady simply not caring and Clarissa having a racist experience with that word (but even if she doesn't she is still well within her right to declare that none shall use that word towards or around her).

I'm even willing to bet that people who do this think they are colorblind.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

You'd think Whoopi had threatened to cut off funding from the VAWA

The link here is to the Sept. 27 episode of The View which had a segment with Vice President Joe Biden.

During the segment (at about 20:00 into it) he talks about what he calls "The most significant thing I've done in my life.", The Violence Against Women Act. He speaks of the stories from various women that drove him to hold hearings that ended in the creation of the act.

First off don't let get me wrong. He has done tremendous good. There are a lot of women out there who are probably alive today because of that act and the changes it rendered. I am by no means trying to say that the VAWA should be ripped out of the books or anything drastic like that. However at about 27:34 we see something that folks don't like to admit to.

At 27:34 Whoopi Goldberg tells women that the way to get a man's attention is not to hit him. She also talks about how violence is bad all around and its something that kids should not learn.

You know what Biden said?
Of all the violent criminals behind bars and in jail they only have two things in common. One is they can't read and two is that they witnessed their mother or someone in their household being beaten by their father and then they repeat the act.
Yeah I know.

This is what I'm talking about. People don't like to talk about female against male violence. There is still some part of our society that simply doesn't want to acknowledge that a woman is capable of violence. I wonder if Biden is one of those that "knows" Mary Winkler was abused despite the only evidence being her own words. You can argue all you want about how women are abused more often than men are but when you start going out of your way to redirect mentions of female against male violence back to how women are the victims something is wrong. His comment in no way added to or responded to Goldberg's comment about women abusing men. And by the look on his face I almost get the feeling that he responded with that with the purpose of trying to skip past it. Wouldn't be the first time female against male violence was ignored.

I mean damn Biden has done good things for women and that is absolutely great. But there is absolutely no reason or excuse for actively denying female against male violence.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

We can't pretend they aren't out there

The Good Men Project has a set of posts centered around On Rape and Sexual Violence. There's good material over there but after looking though the posts I noticed something.

From commentor Jacobtk:
How sad that out of eleven articles only one includes a male survivor, and even that article fails to mention anything about sexual violence against boys and men. It is despicable and troubling, although unsurprising, that people at Good Men Protect seems to think that sexual violence against boys and men does not happen and is not worth talking about.
I think he has a point.

There is no question that there are male victims of sexual violence out there. There is also no question that of all victims they typically have the hardest time being heard (which are mentioned in that link I just dropped). For a series that's meant to "...get beyond that, talk about the issues through the sheer power of storytelling. To find a different way into the conversation, so that a thoughtful, intelligent, insightful conversation can be held." that collection of stories is awfully one-sided.

Now this is not to say that the posts they have up need to be replaced or anything. Just that there is a lot missing if they are hoping to have a "thoughtful, intelligent, insightful, conversation" on it. So why not show them what they are missing?

I myself am not a victim of sexual abuse but I know there are guys out there who are and they need a place where they can speak up about their experiences. I'm hoping that since The Good Men Project prides itself on being a (feminist) place for men they would not turn away such attempts at speaking up.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Weekly Mashup Stage 68

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.

Sperm bank turns down redheads: That's pretty messed up. I recall reading somewhere a few years ago that if current trends continue the natural red head would be extinct in about 300 years. Might be time to readjust that.

There are two things wrong with this pic.

Frenchman ordered to pay wife damages for lack of sex: Damn. So a woman divorced her husband over a lack of sex and then after getting the divorce goes back and successfully sues him for a rather large sum of money? That's just fucked up. Don't get me wrong I have no problem with her leaving is the sex life wasn't to her liking but to go after financial compensation for it? I think its safe to say that if the genders were swapped this shit would have been all over the place.

Dublin Woman Accused Of Raping Baby Pleads Not Guilty: "A Dublin woman is given a $1 million bond after she pleads not guilty to charges accusing her of raping a 10-month-old male."

PCMH Name Change On Hold Because Of Trademark Troubles: At first I was going to ask what idiot would mistake Pennsylvania for North Carolina. Oh yeah...

Sweet Sixteen: An interesting short story on choice, necessity, and desire. This is a must read and its really short so won't take up much time.

State Won’t Pay For Transgendered Prisoner To Have Sex Change: Personally I don't think the state should be responsible for paying for a transgender person's sex change procedure. HOWEVER I do think that the state should be responsible for the safety of transgender people that are pre-op, post-op, or otherwise. Just because a conviction means you lose some of your rights that doesn't mean you deserve to be attacked in prison (which goes for all prisoners for that matter).

Hit that shit!

Calif. woman pleads not guilty in penis slicing: If there was ever a person that deserved a cruel (but not fatal) fate...

Review of Sapphire 'The Kid" Part One: I'm Nine: The first of a four part series of posts reviewing "The Kid" by Sapphire. "The Kid" is a follow up novel that takes place about ten years after the events of the hit novel "Push" (which was adapted to film under the name "Precious").

Wallace Kuralt's era of sterilization: A look into the work of the brains behind one of the largest eugenics operations in North Carolina history. And a stark contrast to the praise and worship he received in his day.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Yes, It Is

Clarissa asks, "Is the expression white trash racist?"

I would say yes. Just like any other racial slur you can think of white trash is a term meant to insult, disrespect, or otherwise harm a people of a specific race. That's it. You don't call Latino people white trash do you? You don't call Japanese people white trash do you? No white trash is reserved for white people just like the racial slurs against Latino and Japanese people are reserved for Latino and Japanese people.

It doesn't matter how long the American Slave trade lasted or how many innocent people were killed.

It doesn't matter how long the Britain tried to colonize various other locations around the world through violent and underhanded means.

It doesn't matter how many people have donned the hood and cape of the KKK.

It doesn't matter how many people are in the Tea Party Movement or how wrong their views are.

And there is not enough white privilege on this plane of existence to justify using it.

Yes calling someone white trash is racist and it needs to be removed from our language just as much as any other racist slur you can think of.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Are Women Addicted to Beauty?

I came across this post over at the Good Men Project a day or so ago. Tom Matlack has been pondering about women and beauty and asked a (rather) small sample of women a question:
I have written a lot about the acceleration of pornography and the sex trade in our country and its impact on both boys and girls. I am currently researching and just trying to get my arms around a related but different question: what is the relationship between the fashion industry and our concepts of gender? Specifically, how does fashion relate to the more obvious ways in which female sexuality is objectified?

The thing I am beginning to try to unpack is just how much of fashion occurs in an orbit that is unrelated to men. I am thinking of things like handbags, shoes, and the red carpet. Men truly don’t care or see it as a form of female sexuality. Many women care a lot.
An interesting and worthwhile question in my opinion.

There's no question that men play some role in why women put so much into fashion and beauty however I (and probably) don't believe that all responsibility for the relationship can be laid on men.

To any woman that answers this here I only ask that in the interest of fair play you also head over to Tom's post and respond there too.

That's it its time to move to a new commenting system

JS-Kit has been getting on nerves for the last few months. I've had comments not show up, comments show up days after posting, and I've had a few people say they cannot comment on my blog at all.

Its time to go shopping for a new commenting system.

I've got my eye on either Disqus or IntenseDebate. I've used them at other blogs before as a commentor but I've never done any serious blog administration on either of them (Ethecofem uses Disqus but April handles the bulk of that).

So have at it folks. What's your experiences with Disqus? With IntenseDebate? Care to recommend a different commenting solution?

Let me know what's up.

Troy Davis has been executed

Who was Jack the Ripper?

What happened to the Lost Colony?

Those are two of the many great mysteries in our world today. And thanks to the Georgia court system we may end up with another.

Tonight Troy Davis was executed after being convicted of the murder of police officer Mark MacPhail. His execution took place despite there being evidence and recanting of multiple witnesses which somehow did not cast enough of a doubt to at least take the death penalty off the table, if not prove him innocent.

Who am I kidding this won't go down in history as a great mystery. There won't be documentaries made about this 50 years from now to air on the History Channel. Troy Davis had the triple whammy of intersections when it comes to treatment by court systems. He was black. He was of low socio-economic class. He was a man. If one of those three were different he might have been spared (my money is gender). But he wasn't.

The fact of the matter is there is doubt and when there is doubt there is a lack of certainty. Yes he might have killed MacPhail. But now it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if he killed him not because no amount of apologizing (but I can imagine the "apology" being something to the effect of doubling down and declaring "to the best of my ability I was certain he was guilty at the time"), no amount of memorializing, no amount of restitution (which is pretty much "yes we did you wrong but since there's no true way to undo it take this money and stop embarrassing us so loudly"), nothing, absolutely nothing will bring Davis back. Even if its proven he was innocent and the killer is caught and brought to justice all that will do is leave the MacPhail family feeling bad for a few hours followed by trying to rub elbows with Davis family in order to save face after saying the "death penalty is the correct form of justice".

A man is dead. He might have been guilty. He might have been innocent. But to the Davis family does it even matter anymore?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Okay then let's talk about the laws

So we have Amp saying that choice for men is wrong because:
"The pro-choice status quo is one in which women and men are legally equal, when it comes to reproduction. The inequality that exists is caused by biology, not unequal laws, and disadvantages both sexes, not only men. And unlike legal abortion, so-called “choice for men” would have very bad consequences for both society and for children."
Neverminding the the whole choice for men thing in and of itself let's skip the biology and go on to the law.

First let's look at this story from last week in which it talks about a man that's been in the cross hairs of the child support system in Chicago, Illinois. Sean Harbin had been paying support for a child since 1991. Upon doubting the paternity of the child he stopped paying. Let me say that he was wrong for simply stopping payment over doubts with no solid proof so it makes since that his wages and income tax refunds were garnished.

Ten years later in 2001 he was excluded as the father of the child. But that didn't end the nightmare. The system continued to send him bills and he continued to go to court, representing himself because he could not afford an attorney (I guess unlike criminal cases family court cases don't have a requirement to provide a state attorney if one cannot afford one). An unidentified caseworker from Division of Child Support Services commented that even with the results saying he is not the father Harbin did not file the correct motion to have the payments ended.

Even with the mother coming forward to say he was not the father did not stop the system from ending the demands for payment (which sounds reasonable) although some of the back payments were forgiven. In the meantime Sean is still in the dark about what exactly he needs to do in order to get the demand for payment stopped. Oh and two months he found out they suspended his driver's license - back in 2009.


Second we have Ramsey Shaud of Crestview, Florida. Shaud had a relationship with Shasta B. Tew that went to a sexual level and in 2009 he learned that Tew was pregnant and was due to give birth in February 2010. Ramsey told Tew and her mother that he was willing and able to raise the child and even argued against her having an abortion and argued against her planning to put the child up for adoption. Sure you can argue that he was trying to control her body but she chose not to have the abortion. He even signed up with Florida’s Putative Father Registry (which is another conversation in itself) and refused to sign off on adoption paper work. In mid-December he got a note from her saying she was going to travel to Arizona and Utah for the holidays and planned to “stay on in Utah for awhile.” Here's where it gets interesting.

Ramsey registered on Arizona's registry but was unable to find out what the procedure was for protecting his parental rights in Utah (how convenient). He hires an attorney who faxes in the paperwork to register on Jan. 12 2010. The attorney also mailed mailed notice to the record office which was listed as received on Jan. 14. Plenty of time before that Feb. 2010 due date right? Tew gave birth prematurely on Jan. 15 2010. However Jan. 15 and the following Monday Jan. 18 were holidays in which the record office was closed. As a result the paperwork was not filed until Jan. 20, one day after Tew gave up her parental rights and the child was turned over to adoptive parents.

The rest of that article is pretty much a back and forth passing of the buck between Ramsey, his attorney, the adoption agency, and the attorney of the adoption agency.


So in one case we have a man where the legal system would rather waste precious time and resources by letting said man run around confused about what the procedure on terminating child support orders in hopes of getting as much money out of him and in another we have a case in which a man has to register to be a parent but may become one of many who may end up losing his connection with his child because of a holiday observance and a vindictive mother that would rather see a child put up for adoption than to see the child's father be in her life.

Bear in mind that this is not an attack on Amp. This an attempt at trying to shedding some light on the severe inequalities that quite literally get in the way of the father/child relationship. Inequalities that if resolved just might calm some of those angry men and might even diffuse some of that "choice for men" tension. I have to admit I'd stand a good chance of becoming pretty hateful if after conception I proceed to have little to no say in what the level of my relationship with the resulting child would be. As we can see here the system is more concerned with money than trying to foster the father/child relationship (and it seems President Obama only cares enough to complain but not actually do something) and the law literally allows a mom to decide if the dad will be in the child's life (and I find it amazing that hardly anyone ever says anything about these moms). So you got folks saying they shouldn't be able to just leave after conception and you got folks saying they should be able to stay after conception. When men are treated like that its no surprise they become blinded with rage and suggest extreme measures like this.

Although a part of me wonders. Wouldn't choice for men also make women more mindful of who they have sex with? I don't imagine many women would want to have sex with a man they think is just going to run out on them at the first hint of conception right?

We may not be able to do anything about the biological imbalances but there is pretty much no other excuses than misandry and greed behind legal imbalances like this.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Parole board denies clemency for Troy Davis

I had not posted on this because I was really hoping that at the last moment I would be able to post that Troy Davis would get another extension of his lease on life. And more importantly a chance to have some questionable evidence looked at. But it seems that is not the case because the Georgia state Board of Pardons and Paroles have declined to commute the death penalty sentence Davis is facing this coming Wednesday.

For those that don't know Troy Davis was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of police officer Mark Allen MacPhail. At the heart of the of the matter is there is evidence (including a witness that says she heard another man confess to the murder) that casts a shadow of doubt on the original conviction and it seems that this evidence is being ignored.

This is why I've grown so mixed on the issue of the death penalty over time. If Davis were to be sentenced to life without parole or life there would still be at least some chance to possibly prove his innocence (and its not that I necessarily think he is innocent however I think this evidence should not be ignored especially with a man's life literally depends on the outcome). At the worst if he is guilty then he dies in prison and never sees the light of day as a free man again. But if he is executed there is NO way to apologize, atone, ask forgiveness, and no amount of money paid to his surviving family will bring their Troy back to them. Which is this line is a bit painful:
“A future was taken from me,” said Madison MacPhail, unable to hold back tears. “The death penalty is the correct form of justice. … Troy Davis murdered my father, no questions asked."
I'm not trying to say that Madison (the daughter Mark was taken from) is wrong to be angry and I'm not surprised that she wants him dead but to say that taking his life is the correct form of justice is a bit much. In fact it sounds more like revenge than justice. I think justice would try to do its damndest to make sure the person that is going to die as punishment for a crime is the right person and there are a lot of people who really don't think it justice is working properly here.

Again let's say it turns out Davis was wrongly executed. Not to say that she would pursue such measures, but what if Martina Correia (Davis' sister) starts to call for someone to be killed because her brother was murdered in much the same way as MacPhail. (And I bet some of the same people that are advocating to have Davis killed now would suddenly change their tune if this happened.) It would just be a cycle of violence, hatred, and revenge. MacPhail certainly deserves to have his killer brought to justice but I don't think hate based revenge is the way to do it.

Troy Davis is nowhere near the first man, black or otherwise, to be convicted and executed for a crime he did not commit. And while sadly the conviction rate on crimes will more than likely never be 100% correct I think more could be done to allow for grave mistakes to be corrected in some way. There is no way to correct the execution of an innocent man.

Fro tip to Renee.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Giving male victims a chance to acknowledge their pain

I'm talking about child sex abuse. Tread carefully.

As most people may have noticed when it comes to male victims of sexual assault the path is not easy. No I'm not saying that the path for female victims is easy but I am saying for male victims it can be especially difficult just by virtue of their gender. There is a new support group forming that may help those male victims.

Program coordinator Donna Foster comments:
"It's not like individual counselling because they'll have the opportunity to listen to other men tell their stories, and there's a whole normalization process that occurs within the group format.

They hear other men talk about their issues, and they realize that they're not alone."
You see one part of the script of being a man is that in the event that we are in pain (or in the event that we acknowledge that we are in pain) we must close ourselves off to others or face the possibility of having out manhood questioned. As a result we effective become an island. Countless men out there all trapped on our own little islands thinking we are alone in our pain. Although sometimes I wonder if its a matter of not thinking it happens to anyone else or a matter of thinking that as a man there is no one for us to turn to for help because "men don't need help". You may wonder why I'm talking about men when the article is about abused suffered as a child. That's because gender policing starts at an early age or did you think it only happened to women/girls? (Bear this in mind as you read the rest of this.)

Foster also explains another reason for why men may not be speaking up about it. First being that don't recognize it as abuse:
"We define sexual abuse as when there is an age and power difference between the two people who are in the relationship," Forster said, "so for men, they often don't realize they were sexually abused until someone starts telling them what that dynamic looks like."
I'm not fully sure what she meant here. It seems like she is saying that men do not see the age and power difference between their younger selves and their abusers, maybe. Or maybe that men see it but ignore it.

Not sure but as far as defining sexual abuse I think another thing that needs to be brought up is the belief that (at least with heterosexual abuse, as in by female abusers) men cannot be victims on a count of being male means we want sex all the time (and if the abuser is male then its just believed that deserved it since he was "too weak" to protect himself). In other words how can you sexually abuse a willing person and since they're guys they are always willing partners. When it comes to sex (heterosexual sex at least) boys/men are pretty much raised under the notion that we simply do not say no to sex for fear of having that all important sense of traditional manhood questioned. If you don't believe me think about the questions that follow when a guy says he's not interested in sex with a woman. Usually something to the effect of "what kind of man are?" or "you're gay aren't you?"

In addition to it not being seen as abuse there is also the matter of men not wanting to discuss it:
"The stereotype for men is that they're strong, able to protect themselves and that men aren't vulnerable,"
This feeds back into what I was talking about above about how men feel alone when it comes to child sex abuse.

Again men are raised to be strong and independent, invulnerable and tough. There is a very strong belief that such a man cannot be victimized. And in the event that a man victimized in such a way its not just a violation but a stripping of that manly facade that we are led to believe is so vital to our existence. Left with no way to properly cope with the trauma many men withdraw into themselves.

From there there could be attempts at self medication (addiction to drugs/alcohol), self esteem/confidence issues (thinking that since they were abused and thus not a "real man" they must deserve to be mistreated by the men and women in their lives), or even the chance of lashing out in the form of the abused becoming the abuser (either an attempt and regaining power and control or a belief that since no one cared about them then who is going to care about their victims), or other sorts of behaviors to get over a past pain that was never properly healed.

There's a lot of men out there that could use this programs help. I hope it takes off and does some serious good.

Fro tip to Toy Soldier.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Weekly Mashup Stage 67

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.

New Resolution Could Bar Parents From Knowing Baby’s Sex: "A Council of Europe committee has drafted a resolution that would instruct medical staff to withhold revealing the sex of the fetus in an attempt to prevent parents from “selectively aborting,” The Daily Telegraph reported."

DONE DEAL: ACC To Add Pittsburgh & Syracuse: "The ACC announced Sunday that its council of presidents unanimously voted to accept the two schools from the Big East. The move increases the ACC's membership to 14 and sends the Big East scrambling to replace two of its cornerstone programs."

Woman Sits Next to Dead Boyfriend for 9 Hours on Plane: You know I'd like to think that if I were in that position I'd be strong enough to do the same (mind you I would not think less of a person who could not).

UK police rescue 24 'slavery' victims, arrest 5 suspects: I'm a bit curious as to why slavery is in quote marks. If its unknown if they were used as slave labor then why not say alleged or something like that. (But at the same time I have to admit wondering if its in quote marks because their male victims...)

RIP Andy Whitfield.

"If Your Business Strategy Relies On Suing Others, You're Not A Business, You're A Leech On The System: "Canadian patent troll Wi-LAN has a long history as trying to tax any and all wireless innovation with patent threats. With the news that it's suing a bunch more companies -- including Apple, HTC, HP, Dell, Sierra Wireless and others, the company is merely cementing its reputation as a taxer of innovation, rather than a builder of anything useful. The company doesn't seem shy about this."

Myths About Circumcision: Pelle with a link to a set of myths about circumcision. Myth 2 alone should be enough to show that short of medical necessity circumcision on newborns is just wrong.

Take it easy!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Gender Symmetry Checklist

Okay I'm going to take a try at building a Gender Symmetry Checklist. The point of this checklist is to get all the cards out on the table when it comes to the various ways in which men or women are harmed/helped in terms of gender that are not quite fair to the other, or to men or women themselves. This is going to be a work in progress and I won't pretend to know all. So feel free to chime in with anything that you think should be added or something you wish to debate the inclusion of.

I will mostly be working with Amp's Male Privilege Checklist and ballgame's Female Privilege Checklist (I just linked them both over recently). I'm not claiming they are universal truth or anything but they are the two most solid ones I've seen in my experience. Don't be scared to mention others.

What I plan to do is categorize the items by what they relate to (sex, work, etc...) because I think that might be the best way to who both sides of the coin. And yes some of these things are going to contradict each other.

    When it comes to working:
      Men are expected to be the external providers*.

      Women are expected to be the internal providers*.

      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 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 while the wife works outside the home?")

      When women try break their expected gender role by seeking 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 vs Men are segregated into more dangerous jobs. (by Ampersand)

    When it comes to sex:
      Females** are expected to be void of sexual knowledge at all costs, lest their femininity be questioned.

      Males** are expected to overflowing with sexual knowledge no matter what, lest their masculinity be questioned.

      Females are expected to lack sexual desire until a male ignites their desire for them.

      Males are expected to be overcome with a never ending desire for sex.

      Women are discouraged from initiating contact vs Men are expected to initiate contact. (by Ampersand)

    When it comes to rape:
      Females are unfairly believed to indicate their sexual desire with how they act and how they dress. (Hence the mentions of "how she was acting with that guy" and "how she was dressed" when trying to discredit a woman's rape claim.)

      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.)

      Due to a believed lack of sexual desire in females and a believed never ending sexual desire in males it is often believed that it is impossible for a female to rape a male. (Hence why a lot of studies on rape often ignore female against male rape statistics, and why people try to play off alleged female against male rapists as the victim.)

    When it come to emotion:
      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)

    When it comes to child care:
      Women are expected to be experts on children and childrearing vs Men are assumed to be dullards on children and childrearing. (by Ampersand)

    When it comes to appearance:
      A woman who doesn't "feminize" her appearance by shaving legs, wearing makeup, styling hiar, etc., may be shamed. vs A man does "feminize" his appearance in the same ways may be shamed. (by Ampersand)

I think that's a good simple starting point. Like I said this list is not meant to be definitive by any means. Please by all means bring up other things I've not touched on here. The point isn't to try to tally up who officially has it worse but to get all the harms out on the table so that we can see what we are trying to deal with.

** - Shorthand for girls/women and boys/men.
* - External provider being one who works outside the home and Internal provider being one who works inside the home.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

30 Bigots and a Hatred of Gays

So it looks like the NC Senate has followed the lead from the NC House's decision to pass a bill to amend the state constitution to define marriage as one man/one woman.

From Pam's Houseblend:
The people of North Carolina will decide what civil rights I have regarding my personal committed relationship because I’m not heterosexual. I happen to be legally married (since 2004, where Kate and tied the legal knot in Vancouver, B.C. Canada).

In a vote of 30 to 16 the NC Senate has passed the bill as well.

If you live in NC you can go here to identify your Senator.

You can then go here to see how the Senators voted (notice that of the 46 who voted its a perfect partisan divide).

So as they say, "Shit. Just. Got. Real."

Yes it is real. Real as in now this coming May this amendment will be put up to a popular vote.

This could get ugly.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Gender Symmetry Checklist?

So you've seen The Female Pvielge Checklist.

So you've seen The Male Privilege Checklist.

And you've seen people talk about how the gendered oppression of men and women are closely related.

And then you realize you've thought about this in the past and then didn't give it much thought again...until someone puts a rather compelling and sensible name to it.

The Gender Symmetry Checklist.

So simple it verges on being diabolical.

If we are all in this together and we are all supposed to be helping each other out with each other's issues then why just compile them into one large list? Sure listing them separately may be done with noble intentions but in the end it usually comes down to an opportunity to point fingers at someone to blame and to show that a certain side are the ones that need help. Kill all that noise and put them all in one big list. And besides I bet listing them all together would probably get people who have focused all or the vast majority of their attention on one list to actually take a moment to look at how the other side is living. Not just "yeah they have some bad things going on too..." lip service but to really look at how the other side is really hurting when it comes to gender.

So to put it simply Amp, ballgame, Noahbrand, and Typhon Blue may just be on to something...

Looks like I have something to do tomorrow since I'm not going to work.

(I'll say this. Feel free to argue over the merit of specific items being called a privilege or oppression but there will be no talk of who "has it worse". My moderation on this will be swift and unyielding. Oh and one other thing, well actually three:

1. If you are going to argue that something is not a privilege then be ready to back that shit up. For example no, "that's not a privilege because there's no such thing as female privilege" is not back up. If you can actually attempt to argue/prove/show why female privilege doesn't exist then please do. And please be ready for counter arguments.

2. If you are going to argue that something not an oppression then be ready to back that shit up. For example no, "that's not an oppression because men as a class cannot be oppressed" is not back up. If you can actually attempt to argue/prove/show why male oppression does not exist then please due. And please be ready for counter arguments.

3. As far as trying to disprove a privilege stating that you don't like it is not enough to disprove it. Its very possible for something to exist despite not liking it. Fro tip to Paul on this one.)

What makes Chaz Bono a man?

Simple the fact that Chaz Bono says he's a man is what makes Chaz Bono a man.

Yes it really is that simple. And do you know why its that simple? Because when it comes to being a man its all about individuality. (Yes you will marvel at the badassitude of my Circular Citation Technique.)

Recently it was announced that Bono would be on the upcoming season of Dancing with the Stars. Personally I don't care about "reality shows" (can someone tell me what's "real" about all these show?) but apparently its of some value to Chaz and despite not caring about the show I do respect his wanting to be there because there's nothing wrong with that. What I do have a problem with is that some people seem to be unable to handle the fact that a transgender man is going to be on a show about dancing and will be dancing with a woman. Yeah and it would seem that the organization One Million Moms is among them. And they also seem to have a problem with a gay man who will be dancing on the show with a woman partner.

Big. F'n. Deal.

As far as I'm concerned Chaz, like man other men, is trying to be a man in his own way. And given that he is not hurting a single soul in his pursuit I don't see why there is a need to boycott his appearance on the show.

Just let the man dance dammit.

Monday, September 12, 2011

76 Cowards and a Hatred of Gays

So from what I hear from Pam the Republican control NC House passed the amendment to define marriage as one woman/one man. There's a good chance you hadn't heard about something that would certainly be a hot topic. You see what they did was come up out of the blue this past Friday and totally gut the language of an existing bill that was to be voted on today and replace it with this marriage amendment.

Quite the cowardly move right?

Well it looks like their punk move bold gambit paid off. In a 76-42 vote the bill passed the House.

It might be too late to stop that vote but its not too late to shine the light on this folks. That's right I'm putting these folks on blast.

If you live in North Carolina you can go to this registration page to see what member of the NC House represents your area.

Once you do that you can go to this page to see how your representative voted on this bill.

And now that I've done that its time to express my disappointment with Timothy Spear.

Time to ante up.

Representative Spear,

Today I learned of the vote in the NC House which led to the Defense of Marriage bill being passed. I must first say that for this bill to be called the "Defense of Marriage" is gravely incorrect. Exactly what is it about gay marriage the constitutes a threat that needs to be defended against? The rights of gays to get married in no way endangers the rights for heterosexual people to be married. Secondly I understand that House Republicans engaged in less than honest tactics in order to get this bill passed under the radar without people knowing about it. However it does surprise me that you would vote along with them. If this amendment passes the rights of gay citizens in the state of North Carolina will be dealt a tremendous blow not only on the issue of marriage itself but other issues relating to is such as hospital visitation, child custody, and death benefits. It worries me that you would support such a measure Rep. Spear.

Disappointed Citizen,

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Weekly Mashup Stage 66

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.

NM woman gets cavity search — and a hospital bill for it: On the real? Not to sound callous but I think it is very f'd up that someone thinks its right to violate a woman's body in one of the worst ways possible and then turn around and bill her for it. And an $1100 bill at that. Are we really supposed to believe it costs that much for a woman to put on a pair of gloves and explore all the bodily orifices of another woman?

Moby Dickery: In all fairness she has a point. Although I can't help but why they wen't with Moby Dickery instead of Ahabery. If anything when we engage in this behavior we are indeed acting like Cpt. Ahab, focusing on a target to the point of obsession. Yeah they could mean it in a sense of, "You're treating us like we are Moby Dick." rather than "You're acting like Cap. Ahab.". Or they just wanted a chance to use the acceptable jerk = dick association (one of those gendered insults that apparently okay to use in general society and in progressive spaces).

Researchers demo full-duplex wireless: double the throughput with no new towers: Oh I can't wait to see what sort of bullshit telcos come up with to justify either making this technology outrageously expensive or basically paying off the government to shut it down altogether.

MARINES on a dangerous mission in Afghanistan risk the wrath of their superiors by backing a new campaign to help estranged dads get better access to their kids.

Telling Kids "Don't Be Fat!" Is a High-Risk Message: True. And I'd expend that to adults as well. Its going to take something more than "Don't Be Fat!" to address fat in a safe, fair minded, and non-oppressive manner.

Why “kyriarchy” is a good word: "This is an interesting situation, though, because it’s obviously oppressing men, but it’s also contributing to the oppression of women. “Patriarchy” doesn’t quite work, since while the practices tend to favor men and oppress women, they also oppress men." This is part of why I think that despite the best intentions of the people that use it "Patriarchy Hurts Men Too" is pretty much lip service. Not something that was in the original plan but thrown in later to shut up the people who (correctly in a lot of cases) called out inconsistencies of ignoring male pain for the sake highlighting male privilege. Yes male privilege exits but you're kidding yourself if you think male pain does not exist (or that female privilege does not exist).

Sexual Charades in Seoul: An story of how the applying gender roles and expectations to sex and can lead to less than ideal possibilities.

A little something I've been jamming on recently.

Take it easy folks.

Friday, September 9, 2011

So it is paying off...

If you recall a while back I talked about my body image issues. And I also told you about how I began what I guess you could call self-medicating phototherapy right? Well today I just had a big milestone.

So I'm at work today talking to some co-workers when one of them pulls out her cell phone camera and tells me to turn around. Pause for a moment.

In case I hadn't told you before I almost always totally despised having my picture taken. I mean it was to the point where if someone told me to turn around I would cover my face before turning around just because I thought there was a camera behind me. There are even a few occasions where I would flip the bird. Unpause.

Low and behold I simply turned around and let her take the pic. And I even looked at it when she showed me the result.

Okay I know that doesn't sound like much in and of itself but let me tell you this is a huge breakthrough. I honestly don't remember the last time I've let someone take my picture under those circumstances (where it wasn't planned pic but a spontaneous "Hey turn around."). This is a good day for me.


Its complete.

After putting hard effort into trying to figure a logo out its shocking that it came to me so easily. All I did was put a "Men At Work" sign in the male gender symbol. As I often say here my way of being a man is a work in progress. A work in progress that will more than likely never be completed in my life time.

This one is the base black and white one but rest assured I'll be coloring the hell out of this thing.

So what do you think?

Next project: A new banner.

New Logo

A lot of blogs have a logo associated with them. A symbol that let's the reader know who they are dealing with. I hadn't put a lot of thought into one in the past but over the last few days I've been thinking about it and I've got one under construction. Now I just need to look up Creative Commons to make sure said image would be covered just like the text on this blog.

Once I finish the logo I plan to get to work on a banner to put at the top.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Ads, Reimagined

As you well know we live in a society that pretty much pisses on men and there aren't that many places where that's more obvious than advertisements of products that are aimed at men. Well if there is one thing I've learned in my new found efforts to define being a man in my own way its that most of those ads are pretty offensive. So why not re-imagine them?

Okay I don't have a budget to actually film re-imaginings of ads but I can sure as hell type out a description. I actually did something like this a long time ago with a Dos Equis ad. So let's get started.

As you can see this is one of those "He's too much of a coward to tell his wife the truth so he has to come up with a fast lie" ads. This one is for Lifesavers but I'm pretty sure Twix did a run of these a year or so ago.

So I wonder how things would go differently if we take out the notion that a guy is so afraid of what his wife might do that he has to lie to her (and the notion that the wife won't be able to handle the truth). I'm going to cut in at where he give his "explanation" of the Muffin Top*.

"A Muffin Top is in reference to when a woman wears a pair of pants (usually jeans) and they are tight enough that some of the fat around her torso hangs over the waist of her pants. Some regard it as a relative of Love Handles. In many cases the use of this term is in a insulting manner in an effort to tease and harass a woman about her body fat."

Now I really don't know what the wife would have said after that given that I am not a woman (and therefore do not live the experience of being a woman with fat) nor do I have a Muffin Top (in my experience men with this similar phenomenon have ours refereed to as "fat", our "gut", "belly", and sometimes "love handles"). But by all means if you wish to fill in the wife's reaction feel free to.

My point is that men are not cowards that are afraid to tell their wives the truth and women are not children that can't handle bad news and those are two stereotypes that really should not be allowed to live in.

I may do this more often although I don't watch a lot of tv so if you come across an ad that you think could use a re-imagining drop a link or an email on me (dannybois-dot-corner-at-gmail-dot-com).

* - For the record in my mind there is nothing wrong with a woman with a Muffin Top. Its not like fat actually disqualifies one from being considered attractive right?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Democracy and Fairness? How about Homophobia and Conservative values?

Anti-gay offensive continues.

Oh these folks are smart. The war in the Middle East? The economy that's circling the toilet? (Any other thing that's messed up in this country.) No those aren't things that these folks want to unite across the party lines. It would seem that members of the Black Church are coming out in support of an amendment to define marriage as one man one woman.

I'm still listening to this as I write this post (because I really don't think I can actually finish all 27min of it) and so far I'm really "liking" the part where one gentleman proceeds to use two locks and two keys as an example of why a homosexual marriage cannot be consummated at about 5:50. I guess according to this guy homosexual sex is not a valid form of consummation. He does the whole, "two locks don't go together, two keys don't go together" thing. My dick is not a key and I bet that even a lot of straight women don't think of their vagina as a lock. This comparison fails if for no other reason than the simple fact that a lock/key are an exact matching set that can only match each other. A key can't just open any lock and a lock won't accept just any key. Say it with me now: Humans don't work like that.

It gets real good at about 6:30 he asks how one can physically describe a gay person without mentioning sex. What the fuck kind of sense does that make? Yes he tries to imply that since gays don't have immediate physical characteristics they don't suffer any oppression. Damn. And to make it even worse he has the nerve to say that he is offended when gays liken their struggle to civil rights activists. How in the hell do you tell a group that has suffered obvious oppression that they haven't suffered so and then get mad when said group likens their struggle to yours? I'll agree that people shouldn't play the "my oppression is like yours" game but you kinda lose your thunder when you make that statement after basically claiming they don't suffer by way of saying oppression requires specific criteria.

Yeah and that's only about the first 10min of the video.

Good luck with this one but if you are offended by blatant disregard for oppression (in this case of gays) you may not want to watch it.

Fro tip to BlueNC.

And people wonder why geeks are shy about their passions

Making my daily rounds when I see a post by Daisy in which she comes to defense of geeks, who are being attacked by Alyssa Bereznak of Gizmodo. Well I consider myself a geek so of course I can't just let such an attack go with no response.

From the sound of it Bereznak doesn't like the idea of dating a guy who is really deep into Magic: The Gathering (for the record the only reason I don't play that game is because I live in an area where there is ZERO presence of that game, but even then I'd only be a casual player). That's fine, well, and good. I'm sure as you are reading this post you can think of some hobby-turned-way-of-life that would be a turn off in a potential partner. I have to say that if I met a woman who was this deep into Magic it may be more than what I'm willing to deal with (and unlike Berenzak I actually have some casual interest in the game). However there is a huge difference between something being a turn off and going on rude a rant. (And while she is free to choose her dates as she pleases it would take more than a few dates to figure this out with the info she gave in that post.)
I later found out that he infiltrated his way into OKCupid dates with at least two other people I sort of know, including one of my co-workers. Mothers, warn your daughters! This could happen to you. You’ll think you’ve found a normal bearded guy with a job, only to end up sharing goat cheese with a world champion of nerds. Maybe I’m an OKCupid arsehole for calling it that way. Maybe I’m shallow for not being able to see past his world title. But if everyone stopped lying in their profiles, maybe there also wouldn’t be quite as many OKCupid horror stories to tell.
Infiltrated his way? What the what? If I didn't know any better I would say that this woman thinks this guy owed it to her to put literally his entire life into his OKCupid profile or something. And on the real, "'warn your daughters"? He has a hobby that he takes to a level that she doesn't like. Cool. But there is no need to act like the guy sexually harassed her or something. She's talking like she met a guy that will eventually pop up on "How To Catch A Predator" on Dateline.

But just for a moment I'm going to "turn the chessboard around" for a bit (and if you get that reference then you'll know I'm an anime geek).I'm betting money there is a good chance that he doesn't plaster his Magic: The Gathering life all over his online profiles specifically because of women like this. Perhaps he wants a chance for a woman to get to know him and is worried that if he mentions Magic too soon it will scare said woman off too soon.

You see even though geek is chic when you get down to it there are still a lot of people out there who simply refuse to have anything to do with anything that might be interpreted as geek culture simply because it might be geek culture (basically meaning as long as you have the look but don't have the actual geek cred to back it up you're fit for mainstream interaction). I have to say that when I'm in conversation with new people the geek culture in me slowly reveals itself unless there is something that gives it an early nod (like say when the conversation starts off about Magic: The Gathering, no need to hold back I'll go all out, with the relatively little bit that I know).

However Bereznak just confirmed why geeks are still finding it necessary to hide their passions in hopes of finding a date. No telling how many geeks read this and decided they better keep stuff like that quiet if want a chance at romance.

I wonder if its something like this with women who are really into cars and they have to hide their love of cars thinking, and in some cases experiencing, it would be a major turn off for guys.

Thanks for the defense Daisy. A tip of the Fro to you.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Danny's Law

I just read up a concept that the folks at No, Seriously, What About Teh Menz? called Ozy's Law. It goes a bit like this:
Any theory or ideology that is based on a big and usually bullshit generalization about women invariably carries with it an unspoken corollary: a big and usually bullshit generalization about men. And vice versa.
Pretty sound right?

Noah and Ozy give a few specific examples of presumptions/tropes/etc... that affect either men or women and give the complimenting presumptions/tropes/etc... that affect the other. What I think they are trying to do is call everyone together to get folks to recognize that EVERYONE is getting shit on in terms of gender in some way or another and the ways in which one gender is harmed almost never exist without a matching harm on the other gender (you can try to argue intensity or "who has it worse", but you'd be hard pressed to find a presumption that something only affects one gender or the other). But for as great and encompassing as this law is I think there is side effect that, if not properly addressed, could very well destroy the good will that Ozy's Law promotes.

You see one reason that people have never been able to come together in a mass united front in the gender discourse is because there are people on all sides that so adamantly insist that their side is the hardest hit and therefore they should get help first. Or those who adamantly declare that their side is only one being harmed. Or screaming down people on the other sides demanding that those other sides should ignore their harms (and they might even try to redefine the language in a weak sauce ass attempt to prove they don't exist) and come to help them. Or people, after having their harms ignored for so long (even by those who claim to be concerned for all people) they've pretty much written off others and any hope of civil discourse with them.

So Danny's Law is pretty much:
Before true progress can be made people with past grievances must be given at least a fair chance to have said grievances addressed.

Attempts at forcefully suppressing said grievances will almost certainly end in failure (failure being the loss of a potential ally). I'll admit that I was about this close to unleashing such anger over there but decided to bring it here instead. And while I respect the fact that they don't want that kind of stuff at their place I think its something that will eventually have to come up. Yeah it would be nice if everyone just suddenly put their grudges aside and we all started singing hymns together but that shit ain't gonna happen. Or at least it won't be easy. Plain and simple while Ozy's Law is a good start I just think the resentment, rage, anger, grudges, and ill will needs to be addressed (and notice I say addressed, not just dismissed with condescension) or else true progress will remain a pipe dream. What do you think?(Like I said I bet the folks over at NSWATM don't want people to air out their grievances over there but feel free to do so here. Just bear in mind while I'm willing to let people bring up their grudges that doesn't mean that this is an open range to insult people. We're talking legitimate complaints here.)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Weekly Mashup Stage 65

So now that my volunteer time with the local fire department on recovering from Irene is over (but don't let that fool you, there are still a lot of people that will be needed help as there are areas that are STILL underwater a week after Irene came through) I can get back to running things here. Well after I get my sleep fixed (going to sleep at 2am and waking back up at 6:30am is not cool when just working but when working and volunteering its suicide) that is.

State holds off on all-boys charter school; possible bias against girls cited: "State officials are withholding a decision on a key planning grant for a proposed all-male charter school in Madison over their concerns the concept discriminates against girls." What?

Michael Sanchez Gets Back His Abducted Daughter After Almost Four Years: So what's the value and purpose of the Hague Convention again?

Boys believe discussing problems is a waste of time and weird, says study: Speaking as a man who was once a boy I don't think they are digging deep enough with at least some of those boys. I can totally see how some boys would say that talking about problems was a waste of time in an effort to not have to admit that it would feel embarrassing. Remember, the script of being a boy/man says to NEVER ADMIT TO WEAKNESS.

Let me know when its two guys using His & His formulas (because I'm pretty sure KY has a line of His & Her products. Why not sell them separately so couples can pick and choose as needed?

Maybe the Opposite of Man Is Not Boy OR Woman but… Uhm… “Dick”: Maybe its me but I feel a bit uneasy to talk about jerkish behavior by men on a site that supposed to be about men using a term that pretty much says "that person's committing of jerkish behavior is related to them having a dick". While there are contexts and instances where that may be true I just don't like the idea of associating bad behavior to a body part that neither inherently positive or negative and quite frankly has no influence on said jerk's behavior.

Scandal Surrounding Maine ADA Mary Kellett Goes International: So when exactly did "ruin the lives of as many men as possible by any means necessary" start getting passed off as "doing something about sex crimes"? And how in the world is Kellett still running wild when NiFong was promptly shut down after that Mangum case a few years ago?

With All Of Its Choppers In Iraq, Vermont Has To Borrow From Other States To Respond To Irene: Well now, wouldn't those choppers have come in handy if they weren't....otherwise occupied?

Outrage at comedian's sex abuse discharge: So now a child molester's ability to find work takes precedence over making sure that child (and other children) is safe? Apparently part of his defense was that he thought it was his partner. Yeah we are supposed to believe that he was so drunk he can't tell taking off the pants of a grown woman from taking off the pants and diaper of a small child. Perhaps it was an "extraordinary" event but I don't think being drunk should protect this guy from stripping a child in preparation to have sex with her.

A girl who was statutorily raped gets her abortion paid for by the taxpayers; a boy who was statutorily raped is obligated to pay child support if his rapist decides to keep the baby: Well now...

Blood, sex, boundaries, and coercion: So does this mean that according to some feminists the only two reasons a man would not want to have sex with a woman while she is on her period is because he has some blood phobia or misogyny? Yeah that's some real progressive action going on there. I guess next week some of them will say the only reason a guy doesn't like pink is because he hates femininity.

That's my face after looking at my Google Reader after being away from it for a bit over a week. Damn. I'll try to get to that this coming week.

Take it easy folks.