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.