Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The War on Men You Say?

Even for all the various oppressions, harms, -isms, and discriminations that are in effect in today's world I'm not a fan of claims that wars are being declared on certain groups of people. I didn't really care for the whole "war on women" bit (and for all that is holy no I'm not saying that there are no oppressions/harms/-isms affecting women, of course there are) and I don't care for the title of this Fox News article by one Suzanne Vekner. Or the article itself for that matter.

Yeah, "War on Men" it says.

It's late so I'm just going to pick out some of the odd bits in this article.
Believe it or not, modern women want to get married. Trouble is, men don’t.
What exactly is troubling about men not wanting to engage the in the old ways of marriage?

Supposedly the reason men are not wanting to engage in marriage is because, "Women aren’t women anymore.". Vekner goes on to say that men have not changed much since the sexual revolution due to not having a revolution that demanded it. True there currently no point in history where one can point and say that this is the point where men revolted. But that doesn't mean that change is not happening for men.
Armed with this new attitude, women pushed men off their the men have nowhere to go.
For the time being it may appear that men have nowhere to go but that is only because it's still relatively new ground to us. And to clarify as cool as it would be to say that women pushed men off the pedestal, a lot of men actually jumped off the pedestal. And by that I mean that we are fed up with the binding expectations that pretty much put us on a path of guaranteed gloom and doom.
You’ll never hear that in the media. All the articles and books (and television programs, for that matter) put women front and center, while men and children sit in the back seat. But after decades of browbeating the American male, men are tired. Tired of being told there’s something fundamentally wrong with them. Tired of being told that if women aren’t happy, it’s men’s fault.
I have to admit there is truth to this. What else can you call it when you can take an issue where men/boys are most certainly getting a raw deal on and turn around and tell them that their gender has nothing to do with it or that since they are male the issue isn't that important or that so called male privileges override whatever harm is being done. When even those who call themselves progressives can with a straight face deny the things that harm men and/or bend over backwards to make sure they don't get too much attention (lest it take away from women) it makes sense there is only so much men are willing to put up with.
Contrary to what feminists like Hanna Rosin, author of The End of Men, say, the so-called rise of women has not threatened men. It has pissed them off. It has also undermined their ability to become self-sufficient in the hopes of someday supporting a family. Men want to love women, not compete with them. They want to provide for and protect their families – it’s in their DNA. But modern women won’t let them.
That's not fully accurate. The fact that women have made gains didn't threaten or piss men off (well not most of us). Those gains are good things to be sure but do you want to know what pissed men off? The fact that that even as women made those gains men are still being held back. And to make the cut even deeper those holding back attitudes are sometimes even coming from some of the very people support and praise the gains that women are making.

We aren't pissed because women making more money somehow undermines our ability to support a family and it doesn't keep us from loving women either. We're pissed because in this changing world we are being told that we should STILL be "the provider". Yeah we want to provide for and protect (but no it's not in our DNA, it's something we pick up along the way to manhood) their families but "provide for and protect" isn't limited providing from the outside (as in going outside the home to work and bring in money). It's not the gains of women that are interfering with that desire. It's the hypocritical  expectation that women should be free to change their ways while men shouldn't be.

I was just talking the other day about how even now men are still barely able to even giggle at a child's funny comment without being accused of being molester in waiting much less actually taking care of a child. Men are changing. There are people and forces that are opposed to that change. To the devil with those forces and people.

The rest of the article is nothing but bleating on about how men are slackers and women should embrace traditional femininity if they want to find marriageable men. Silly I know.

There's quite a bit disturbing here. First the idea that since men aren't abiding by the old ways means that something is wrong with us is absurd and it secondly it's pretty absurd to try to shape this into being women's fault.

This article smacks of an desperate attempt to undo the fact that men are waking up and are not wanting to run the old rat race anymore. Good for us I say. 

It's long over due for men to stop doing what others tell us we need to be doing and actually start doing for ourselves. If that means finding a woman to marry and settle down with fine. If that means getting cozy with the guy of his dreams fine. If that means being happy and single fine.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Is the sexism systemic and institutional enough for you now?

Do you by chance read Genderratic? Oh it's such an interesting blog that takes time to really get at the nuance of the various gender inequalities that plague our culture and society. In fact Ginkgo just put up a pretty telling post about something that seems to happens quite a bit. In this post he goes over a few incidents that have some common threads.

The post itself is of incidents (all pulled from Mens Rights reddit or separate links that have been posted at said reddit before) in which women saw fit to just interject themselves into a situation involving a man and a child. Well interjecting implies the situation was already going down so its more like they saw fit to create said situations. In fact in one story about a guy out with his sister at an amusement park the offending woman in question just walked up to the little girl and started questioning her, ignoring her older brother.

Stuff like this is not good. We have multiple examples of the following:

1. Woman accusing men of inappropriate behavior based on literally no other evidence that it's a man alone with a child.

2. Men being left stunned into silence and not defending themselves against such presumptions of worst faith.

Women not only thinking they are entitled to pass judgment on men based on nothing more than their gender but also thinking they are entitled to act on those judgements. Men raised to believe that these judgments are okay or at the very least being left with no systems of support to defend against them.

And people, this is happening at the very same time we are hearing call after call for men to "step up" as fathers. Either men have the benefit of the doubt that children just might be safe around them as they answer that call (or benefit of the doubt that children just might be safe around men that make  comments in passing) or we continue on this path of damning any man that happens to be in the presence of a child.

It can't be both.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Once more, but not with so much feeling

A while back I did a post about music enhancing one's mood. To sum that post up what I was getting at was  that when you are in a certain mood that mood can be enhanced (for better or worse) by listening to certain types of music or a particular song.

Now that is all fine well and good. As I said in the initial post I've queued up music to help me focus on a particular emotion when working on something. There have been times where I've listened to music as an escape from reality. Times where I've listened to music to dwell on an event or person that I'd probably be better off not dwelling on.

But I think that sometimes, every once in a while, something happens. When pulling up music to go along with certain feelings and moods I think some of those feelings and moods are actually being left with that music. A power and an influence being left in that music. A transfer of meaning that if allowed to continue long enough could actually reverse the flow of emotion.

If you recall several months ago I was in a bit of despair due to thinking about how uneventful my love/sex life had been up to that point. Not finding too many people I'd want to chat up, plus being soul crushingly shy, and striking out the few times I actually built up the nerve make for a pretty lonely existence.

And before I knew it I had given that lonely existence a voice, but it wasn't quite my own.

Unable to apply my own voice it seems I simply borrowed the voice of the singer from Black Tape For A Blue Girl, namely the track "Given" (I've embedded this song at least 2-4 times here already this year, a link should do for now).

Instead of talking about the way I was feeling I just substituted someone else's voice for my own and just rode the wave of the feelings. While this was certainly an improvement over the way I was handling these feelings previously (ie, not at all) I don't think I was doing any sort of true long term healing either.

I say long term because a part of the healing process is to acknowledge how you feel on a subject, however that acknowledgement comes. The trick is to not get stuck in that acknowledgement and it gets even trickier when you consider that the thresholds for acknowledgement, stuck, and healing change from person to person.

For me personally "Given" actually did me a lot of good in terms of getting me to think about how I feel which I think is a vital part of the healing process. On the other hand I think that I was in the verge of getting stuck in those feelings which is how I ended up in the place I am now where hearing this song even when I'm in a good mood invokes the despair.

So I'm definitely not healed. Healing to be sure but I am nowhere near healed.

Let me ask:

Do you think that it is possible to listen to music for a given feeling for so long that the music gains an emotional charge that eventually allows for that music to actually change the mood of the listener? If so, do you by chance have a song that can do this to you?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Explosion Shaped Cupcakes, Talking Dolphins, Challenged Norms?

I get back home last night and while doing some surfing I find in my feed this post at The Consummerist, with two new ads for the Acer Ultrabook.

The first ad features Kiefer Sutherland deciding he wants to get into making cupcakes. But not just any cupcakes. No Jack Bauer does not simply make regular cupcakes. He instead, with the help of an assistant, records an explosion, with an Acer Ultrabook of course, and then utilizes software to actually bake a cupcake that looks like the mushroom cloud of an explosion.

The second ad stars Megan Fox who works on developing software that would translate the sounds a dolphin makes into actual human speech. And guess what type of computer Fox and her development team use? Yes they use Acer Ultrabooks obviously.

Now as interesting as these ads are one might think quickly and conclude that they are challenging the gender norms of "men don't bake" (even if you look at the popular male chefs like Flay and Legasse you'll see that they do mostly stove top and grill cooking, not a lot of baking) and "physically attractive women don't do science". But I'm not so sure.

First and foremost as interesting as the idea of Bauer making explosion shaped cupcakes this seems to fall into the trap of "when men do something that is considered outside of the scope of being a man said activity needs to be mannified", hence the explosions and threatening of people to learn the location of cupcake ingredients. And the Fox ad has similar caveats (like the "fat geeky guy that doesn't know how to act around an attractive woman" bit).

So I guess I'm asking this. Is Acer actually challenging gender stereotypes or are they just trying to score some cool points off of using them in some sort of hipsterish "ironic" way?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

And I didn't even get to wear it....

Last night was Halloween. Originally I had planned on dressing as a woman but the girlfriend talked me out of it (I think her motivation was not wanting me to shave my goatee). But she did bring up the idea of making a mask. So I did.

The above image is the final result of my work. Nice isn't it?

Too bad I never wore it.

My idea was to wear that mask with a suit and tie for a simple masquerade look. However in the end I ended up throwing on some black jeans, black tshirt, black thermal shirt, and black shoes and going out with my girlfriend and her daughter on her trick or treating rounds. And I have to say I had fun just looking at other kids costumes and decorations.

Later in the night I did go out to walk around the downtown area a bit but I just kept my black out stuff on as I didn't feel like changing and my mask really didn't go with what I had on.

It's a good thing I didn't because despite being told how active and lively the downtown scene on Halloween is it was dead, and not in a Halloween related good way. I walked around for about 20 and left.

But none of that matters for I did learn something from making this mask.

I actually have some degree of crafting skills.

Crafting Skill +1.

All in all a good night and I learned some stuff on crafting which I plan on utilizing in the future.

So how did you spend your Halloween last night?