Monday, November 11, 2013

What the uniform says to me...

Today is Veteran's Day and to me that means a lot.

For me putting on that uniform means that you are willing to fight and if need be die in order to protect me and my country. You can't tell me that that is not a big deal.

To everyone that once wore that uniform.

To everyone wearing that uniform while stationed somewhere around the world.

To everyone that plans to wear that uniform.

Let me say Thank You.

Friday, October 25, 2013

So I guess "shopping while black" is real

College student Trayon Christian decided he wanted a belt from Barney's (a luxury item store located on New York's Madison Avenue) and he did what most people do when they want something but don't have the money right away. He saved up for it. Nothing wrong with that right?

Trayon saved up the $350 for the belt and in April made his way to Barney's to purchase it. From what I can tell he didn't have any problems at the store but rather his problems started once he left the store.

About a block away an officer stopped Trayon and questioned him about his purchase, wanting to know "how a young black man such as himself could afford to purchase such an expensive belt" according to Christian's lawsuit that he is filing against the city and Barney's

Why a lawsuit? Apparently showing the receipt for the transaction (and ID) was not good enough for the officer and he was cuffed and taken to a police station while cops contacted his bank to confirm his identity and that he was the owner of the account.

Eventually everything checked out and Trayon was released. But the damage has already been done. The young man has already returned the belt to the store and it taking legal action.

Obviously the police were out of line. The officer went way beyond reason when checking his identity. While the store has released a statement claiming they had nothing to do with the situation that makes me wonder exactly how the cop knew to stop Trayon and question him about the belt. There are a few plausible reasons but they would be speculation at best.

Fact of the matter is this is story of a black man that couldn't even go buy a blasted belt without being reminded that he is a black man.

So much for a post racial society.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

To my fellow MRAs: Justice, Not Revenge

There are a lot of people from all walks of life from all sorts of groups trying to make the world a better place for everyone. Now yes there are times when the definition of "better" is up for debate however one thing is clear. For the record while I'm still on the fence about what group I stand with I guess you could call me an MRA. I see a lot of what they are saying but at the same time I don't agree with some of the things they say.

For one (despite being a Scorpio) I know that revenge is wrong and I don't want to support. Well it seems there are MRAs out there that think otherwise. They seem to think that taking revenge will correct the ways in which men are oppressed, harmed, and mistreated.

Revenge won't level the playing field.

Revenge won't resolve the injustices.

Revenge is not better.

Case in point the Men's Business Association's own Naming and Shaming Women Services.

The voice behind the video is Peter Nolan. Its a pretty long presentation (and I haven't had a chance to watch it all) but there are some things that need to be worked out a bit here.

From what I've seen its a service that is tasking itself with reporting and posting information on women who are accused of crimes and bad behavior. Also there is something in there about promises to serve on juries. I'm still trying to figure that one out.

There is no arguing that there are women out there that engage in bad and criminal behavior and there is no arguing that women are often treated with kids gloves when they do so.

I also know that there are sentiments and attitudes that support doing what this service proposes to do to women to men.

However what this naming and shaming service is doing isn't leveling things out, its escalating them to another level. A dangerous level. This service is turning revenge (and possibly scare tactics) into a business.

And with his pitch being so dangerously seductive, it could be quite a lucrative business.

A lot of the things that Peter says are true (but nowhere near all of them). Yes there are ways in which men are mistreated and ways in which women are privileged however none of those things justify building a business model based on publicly destroying people.

Even though Nolan's service sounds like it will be keeping things legitimate (which includes doing research on claims, investigating those that sign up for the service, and collecting dues) it will only serve to drive the wedge between men and women further.

I can understand why men would want to create something like this and I understand why men would want to sign up for it. But in the end not only will not not solve the problems that men face but will actually create other problems and prove to be counter productive. It will just result in a bunch of people trying to find wants to shame others on the internet like Don't Date Him Girl and Register-Her have done before it.

What is helpful is stuff like sharing the stories of abused men and calling out Temple University who, as far as I can tell, have not reinstated a male student that was kicked off the football team, stripped of his scholarships, and expelled over rape charges that have since been dropped.

But encouraging people to strike out against women in retaliation for such mistreatment? No way.

Thankfully so far the guy appears to not have much of a following and the bit of chatter I've seen among other MRAs is that he is going off the deep end and he has gotten into conflict with Paul Elam and GirlWritesWhat.

That's not justice, that's just revenge and revenge is not going to fix the collective messes we are in.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Depending on how you tell the story....

(There's a small bit of violence here so tread carefully.)

If you are into football I'm sure by now you heard about what happened after the NY Jets vs New England Patriots (Jets won) game this past Sunday. Take a look at a portion of an altercation that involved a man punching a woman. The hit is shown from two different angles and in slow motion so be sure to watch all the way through.

With that in mind take a look at how the NYDaily News covered this incident.

First off they title their coverage as, "After extremely tight Jets victory over Patriots, male Jets fan punches female Pats fan in face". This completely ignores the fight between two women at the stadium, which is where all this started (according to a quote at Deadspin). Then in about three paragraphs the man is called a goon, a punk, and a coward. Also there is lamentation about why security didn't go after the guy and finally the last 2/3rds of the article is about the game itself.

(Edit: And to add insult to injury The Daily News has run a follow up article where they mention his name in the title, have several photos of him, and then turn around and say they decided not to disclose his name. Yeah....)

What did Deadspin have to say about it?

"What do you expect from a jamoke in a Wayne Chrebet jersey and green camouflage pants?"

Here is the Huffington Post quoting a fan saying they hope the man is held accountable for his actions.

The NY Post ran its own article simply saying, "Jets fan socks woman in the face".

And here's a writer at ending by saying, "Coming off a week of poor sportsmanship by multiple fan bases, this goon hitting a woman continues to display the devolution of our dystopia."

Did you notice something?

The majority of the coverage on this is being billed as, "Man punches woman." when its actually a case of, "Woman attacks man, man punches back."

Why the spin?

In this age when we are supposedly so progressive are we really still uncomfortable for holding a woman responsible for her actions or at least calling her out when she is wrong?

If you look at the stories I linked to only a few of even acknowledge that (as the video shows) he was being dragged away when she charged at him and swung first and THEN he punched her.

So why is no one calling for her head? Why is no one calling for her to take responsibility for her actions? Why aren't news outlets rushing to publish her name and photo?

At best you could argue that this is mutual violence and MAYBE argue that he shouldn't have hit BACK (and that back is important) but I think this it is entirely unfair to say that he is the one in the wrong.

Don't think this has nothing to do with gender. Some of the commentary around this incident has been about how a man shouldn't hit a woman and how a man hitting a woman is a sign of bad times and all that. If that's the case and a man should not hit a woman then why was no one doing anything to protect this guy from that woman to start with?

After he punched her back one of the guys in the crowd suddenly stepped up and swung on him. Where was this courage a few seconds earlier when she was swinging at him?

That's what it all comes down to. Even so called progressives have no problem with the female privilege that woman just exercised in being able to strike first and STILL be treated like the victim.

I guess "....being held accountable for one's actions." isn't a part of the radical notion that women are people.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Open Letter to a Frat Brother on the view of masculinity

(No folks this is not an official return. I wrote this post today and while I'm waiting on a response on having it published at Good Men Project I decided to run it here. Enjoy.)

Dear Frat Brother,

By now I'm sure that you have noticed that the email you recently sent out about “Luring your Rapebait” has gained quite a bit of attention and quite a few responses.

As others have said there is a lot going on that's unhealthy when it comes to dating and having sex with women. And while that's true I noticed something in the very first paragraph before you even get into conduct with women at the party.

I'm talking about what you said here:
“Alright chods, some of you could use some help on how to mack and succeed at parties. Mostly pledges do, but some bros could use a review. For anytime throughout the party… If you are standing by yourself at any point, YOU ARE OUTTA HERE!!! If you are talking to a brother of your pledge brothers when there are girls just standing around, YOU ARE OUTTA HERE!!!"
What I see here is something that has been treated like a part defining pillar of masculinity for a very long time and (I think) serves as a basis for the things that follow in the rest of your email.

You're holding your pledges and brothers to a condition that they must be there with the express purpose of finding a sex partner. You even threaten to kick out guys that do so much as stand alone while women are around or talk to a pledge/brother while there are women around.

Why do you feel the need to hold them to that condition?

Why must they be on the constant search for a woman to get together with in order to justify their presence at the party?

I can understand that sex is a desirable thing but I worry that you, just like many others, place too much priority on having sex with women as being a necessary part of masculinity.

Have you considered what affects this pressure can have on guys, namely guys who are in a position where they need to gain the approval of others? Don't you think that pressure can lead to them doing things that range from immoral to illegal in order to gain favor and approval?

Yes, you can say that "They choose to do that stuff." That would be true. But why do you exert such pressure in the first place? Why expect those pledges to be on such a vigilant lookout for sex partners? Why not just let nature take care itself and just throw a party and if people want to get together they get together on their own rather because they might get tossed out of the party and shamed for not looking for women?

The thing is the view on masculinity is quite chaotic these days and things like what's in your letter are contributing to the chaos. And it also doesn't help a lot of the discourse on addressing it is centered around women. While that's important I think it has to start with us, with men. With that in mind I have to say that one of the biggest things to get clear is that how sexually a man is with women shouldn't be used as an indication of how much of a man he is. Let the pledges be when it comes with their sexuality, because when you get down to it---exactly how does their sexuality factor into the roles and responsibilities they are taking on as members of the fraternity?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Since people want to call out rappers and whatnot.....

Dear Kendrick Lamar,

On the track "Control" you spit lyrics about how you are the king of New York and all that. Also you put some rappers on blast quite directly by calling their names. But there's something wrong.

You say you are calling out these rappers in hopes that they step up their game. Well there is one not so small issue.

In the verse before yours your boy Big Sean dropped a lyric that is a long time disease that has plagued the rap industry for a long time.
I need a bitch so bad that she take up my whole week, Sean Don
You see that Lamar? That's Big Sean calling women bitches.

If you're gonna go after rap artists to get them to get their minds right then say something about them that.

I'm out.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Letters to mother and son about masturbation

Okay over the last few days I've been working on a post about mothers of sons and talking to them about masturbation for the Good Men Project. I think I finally have it polished up so now I wish to share the post with some folks for two reasons.

One I want to get some feed back on the content of the advice. Do you think it's fitting? Do you think what I say to the son is age appropriate. Am I not giving the mother enough help with how to talk to the son?

Two I want take any questions and experiences. Are there any moms out there that are looking for advice on how to talk to their sons about masturbation (and sex in general) but not quite sure how to bring it up? Are there any boys out there that had a particular experience they want to share about sex education with their mother? Feel free to chime in.

As for what I've been working on long story short the son is using towels to masturbate with and mother would like for him to stop. I write one letter to the mom warning her about trying to stop her son from masturbating by threatening with material that would be seen as homosexual and one letter to the son as to why he should respect his mom's wishes about the towels.

So please take a moment to give this rather long post a read and offer some feedback.


A few days ago I saw the following note on my Twitter feed. It was from a mother who has had enough of her son using the towels for some, "special time".



Okay as you see at the link there's really know way of telling how authentic this story is but for the sake of my point let's say it is completely true. Let's say somewhere out there there is a mom who is concerned for the safety (and appearance) of her bathroom towels as they are under siege by the youthful enthusiasm of her son's sexual experimentation.

One of the folks I was talking to about this on Twitter was a woman who has two sons and she expressed a little hesitation about when they get to that point in their lives. And then she asked me if I were up to writing a guide for moms with sons to give them a bit of a helping hand on this topic. I thought about how I felt when I was a young guy just learning about my body. And as such I think I may be of service to the moms and sons out there on this subject that can get quite touchy (yes that pun was totally intended).

But rather than a guide (sounds too preachy and authoritative) I think a letter may be more of a needed personal touch.


Dear Mom,

As he grows up your son will likely reach a point where he will begin to explore his body in various ways including sexually. Despite the attitudes around sex and masturbation I'm sure that you don't have a problem with him masturbating in and of itself and that's a good thing. I say that because even though you may think that male masturbation is seen as "funny" due to the way it is often depicted in movies and pop culture its still considered quite shameful. With that in mind I'm not trying to defend his behavior of using your towels for masturbation. That is something that he should be doing in such a way that it doesn't damage any property in the home. However I do take issue with what you threaten him with.

You say that if he doesn't stop using the towels to masturbate you would change towels to Justin Beiber and the decor to My Little Pony. Do you realize what you are doing here? You are threatening to do end his misuse of the towels by using decorations that would scare him out of masturbating on the premise that he would not want to do that with towels with Bieber on them in a bathroom with My Little Pony decor. I'm betting you don't mean to but that really comes off as saying that if he doesn't stop you're going to bombard with material that, if you uses, could point to him being gay.

Are you sure that that is the message that you want to send to him? Do you really want to say, "If you don't stop I'll bombard you with gay material."?

Mainly that's an insult to your son and to gay people. Secondly, in all honesty, how would you react if it turned out he was gay? And finally what if that change in decor has no effect regardless of his sexuality?

Perhaps a different approach may be in order. I'm going to go about this as if you haven't had a real sit down talk with him but that is what should happen. A chance for you to bring up your concerns and a chance for him to bring up his concerns.

Since you didn't grow up as a boy (and into a man) chances are you aren't well informed on what's running through his head (it's not quite the same as what was running through your head as a girl/woman). This can be a pretty embarrassing and confusing time for your son. This is a time where he's just learning what an erection is and probably doesn't know much more about sexual pleasure other than tugging on his penis will feel very good after a while, but there is this sticky mess that needs to be dealt with. He wants to feel good but he's not informed on what to do about the it.

Now as for those semen stains it could be that he knows masturbation feels good but he doesn't fully realize just what's going on with semen yet (while on the other hand you know full well what it can do so make sure you don't talk to him as if he knows as well). A talk with him would be an excellent time to inform him.

Of course I can't tell you exactly how far into details to go with him however you must bear in mind that semen is a part of sexual education and he is likely constantly surrounded by other influences that could sway his mind in unhealthy ways. Unless you inform him first and prepare him for when he encounters these influences.

One thing that may help is instilling in him the awareness that while there is nothing wrong with him masturbating that is something that he should keep private at this point in his life. He has to learn that there are some parts of a person's life that others may not want to know about him.

Finally there is one other thing you have to be prepared for. One thing that is likely to happen and if it does you may not get to engage in conversation with your son on this topic and thus not put any of the advice I offer to the test. There is a very real chance that by virtue of not being a man or boy he will not want to talk to you.  

Please do not take it as a personal slight. It doesn't necessarily mean that he doesn't like women or anything, just that he doesn't feel comfortable talking to them about this (as a counter example think about the prospect of talking to your father about sex from a female perspective when you've just barely started puberty). If this should come to pass please do not try to force the conversation on him. He may take it as being intrusive and close himself off on the subject. Should this happen you may need to make use of a male proxy.

This male proxy is going to be a older guy that you trust who has an understanding of what I'm going over with you. He may stand a better chance of having a conversation with your son on the grounds that they are both male. In fact it may help to talk to some of your male relatives before approaching your son just to get an idea of what you may face.

And if you are going to post a note as a warning try offering to talk things out with him or instructing him what is acceptable and not acceptable when it comes to masturbating in your house rather than threatening him with some sort of "punishment".

In closing just let me say that while there is nothing wrong with wanting to protect your towels please be mindful of what measures you take in order to do so. This is very sensitive time for him and also a golden opportunity to give him a head start on educating him about sex.


Now obviously the son is not innocent in this situation. Ejaculating on the family towels is really not cool. I think it might be worth the effort to reach out to him too with some advice.


Dear Son, First off let me say that your mom doesn't have a problem with the fact that you are masturbating. She seems to understand that that is just a fully natural way of pleasing yourself and exploring your body. What she does have a problem with is how you are doing it. She does not approve of how you use certain towels to masturbate with. And honestly her concerns are valid.

You may not have noticed but semen is quite unpleasant to most people. Firstly like other fluids you produce, semen is a part of your body. I'm sure you would not take kindly if someone were to go around spitting on and urinating on something that everyone uses would you? Now you may be thinking, "It will come off in the wash.".  Well secondly if your mom is doing your laundry then that means she is handling towels with your semen on them. That's not a pleasant thought is it? Also while it is mostly true that it will come off in the wash that is not 100% true.

Washing it off completely requires washing it off before it sets and stains the towel. If it's not washed in time it will leave an extremely unsightly yellow stain. A stain that will basically tell the rest of the family (and any visitors who see them) that you used that towel to masturbate with.

If you're going to masturbate may I recommend some alternatives to using the family towels?

Perhaps you could get some towels that are specifically for you and your masturbation (but if you go for this I think you should at minimum offer to wash them yourself as well)?

Maybe just use paper towels or toilet tissue, something that you can throw away after use so no one has to worry about cleaning it?

You could also masturbate in the shower, that way when you finish you are already in the shower and can just wash yourself off like you were going to anyway?

Also don't be scared of looking to your parents for advice on how to handle this. They are there to educate you and show you the ways of the world. I'm sure by now you have know there is a difference between males and females and with your mom being female and you being male you may not want to talk to her about this. She's just trying to help you so please don't take it as her trying to butt into your life. If you don't feel comfortable having this conversation with your mom try to reach out to an adult you would be comfortable talking about this with like your dad, uncle, or granddad.

In closing just let me remind you that while there is nothing wrong with masturbating you must be mindful how you do it and what you are using when live in shared spaces and share supplies with other people. Things can get very confusing and scary when it comes to sex. Don't be scared to look for guidance and help in order to navigate it properly.


What I'm trying to get at here is that the fact that on the son's part he is masturbating is not a problem, just that he is using shared property and with the mother the fact that she wants him to stop using shared property isn't a problem, just her strategy to get him to stop using said shared property.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Weekly Mashup 2

How goes it folks? Its the end of another long week and I'm ready to kick back. Have you got anything to share?

Why We Have To Talk About Male Victims of Domestic Violence - Nick Smithers on the importance of making sure male victims are included in the conversation on domestic violence.

A Dose of Stupid v92 - Toy Soldier takes a moment to talk about an example of where "I'm not a feminist...." causes feminists to rush to defend feminism rather talking about the topic at hand.

FEATURE: Fanart Friday - High-Tech, Low-Living Edition - Who doesn't enjoy cyberpunk fan art?

Man kills himself after being taunted for feminine traits - After being ostracized by coworkers and family for displaying feminine traits, a Indian man commits suicide. This is a real tragedy. A man should be free to dress and act as he wishes plain and simple.

Cast Your Vote: What Kind Of Men’s Movement Do We Need? - In preparation for the upcoming National Conference for Men and Boys a poll has been introduced to allow people to comment (and vote) on just what type of men's movement this world needs. Truthfully I think all of them have something valuable to contribute but at the same time there are detriments as well. That diversity is why I think they are all needed.

Zimmerman, Martin and patriarchal misandry: An intersectional analysis - Ally Fogg on the intersection of race and gender.

Dear UN: Please Add Men & Boys to Your Human Trafficking Definition  - Cameron Conaway with a plea to include men and boys in the definition and fight against human trafficking.

The public humiliation of Huma Abedin - This is what happens when you try to turn everything into some attempt at harming women. What Weiner did was wrong, disgusting, and traitorous without question. But no it was not abuse. Unless Lisa Bloom has some knowledge that Huma Abedin was forced to appear at the press conference and/or forced to stay in the marriage after his actions came to light. If she did I'd like to believe she would take direct action.

It's amazing how much fun someone can have with dubbing audio over an unrelated video.

Alright folks take it easy!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Evolving Masculinity?

A few nights ago my dad was taken to the emergency room because he was having trouble walking. Thankfully he is fine (turns out it was an infection, which he is on antibiotics for) but I had an interesting thought after I took him back home today (which is 200 miles round trip for me).

While he is doing better he's still not 100%. So as a result when I got him home I had to do some housework for him (namely opening windows), going out for groceries, and otherwise getting him settled in.

Now to clear up some history my dad and I don't have the greatest or most open of relationships and there have been times when I've become visibly bothered with his requests. Since having a gastric bypass in 2009 he hasn't been able to go more than 10-12 months without having some medical emergency. In my defense it wasn't the times when he was having these emergencies that led to my becoming visibly bothered, however his requests during this times did trigger the response.

So as a result he spent most of the day asking me to be patient, saying he knows I don't want to be there, and so forth. At one time he would have been right but after a while was I just finding myself to be so closed off that I don't even care. I just do what needs to be done and move on.

But today something crossed my mind.

As we all know when it comes to acknowledging weakness men are taught, as a defining part of manhood, that doing so is not just undesirable (among other men or among women) but can actually have a man's manhood status questioned or revoked.

I'm pretty much convinced that men are taught this in order to fulfill their roles in The System. You know the whole routine where a man is supposed to give up family for career, work outrageous hours (and under outrageous conditions), ignore one's one health, etc... That routine causes men to build up a wall over time where they don't allow themselves to be....well themselves. And its not like The System is going to just start changing because it realizes that its doing harm to men.

And I am of the firm belief that building this wall is taught by the father to the son so that one day he can take his part in fulfilling his role in The System.

My dad being 64 years old grew up this way. I can see it in the way that he avoids difficult subjects, will ignore his own health issues until it becomes an emergency, and the way he plays the tough guy to keep up appearances. But I think that in his older age those bricks are starting to come down and the vulnerabilities couldn't remain hidden anymore.

I'm getting the feeling that my indifference may be a step in the direction of breaking down the very idea that such a wall is needed in order to be considered a man. While I didn't have much of an emotional response to him being in pain and asking for help and hearing the weakness in his voice at the same time I also wasn't thinking that he was somehow less of a man. He is just a man in pain that needs help.

Who knows. If I weren't so cold and empty I may actually make the leap to having an emotional response to someone's vulnerabilities but its highly unlikely at this point in my life. However I think I still have something useful to contribute.

If I were to have a son I would have to work to make sure that he knows that ignoring his own well being under the premise that that is what he needs to do in order to be considered a man is not healthy manhood. Maybe by the time this hypothetical son is helping me in my time of need when I get old the farthest thing from his mind would be holding my weakness and vulnerabilities against me.

So am I experiencing a change in the state of masculinity, a change that would contribute to freeing it from its oppressive bonds?

Or maybe I'm reading too much into this?

What do you think?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Weekly Mashup Part....Oh screw the numbers.

Yes I know its been a while since you've seen one of these but there is just so much going on that I don't have a lot of time to think about the the events in question much less write a fleshed out article. In light of that I want to at least take the time to say point out a few things so here we go again.

Anal hazing is apparently a thing in American high schools now - The sexual assault of school age boys under the guise of hazing is becoming a real problem. Although I have to wonder when you consider how prevalent  the attitudes of "man up" and "sex crimes against males aren't that big of a deal" are I wonder if the incidents are increasing or are we just at a point where these crimes are finally coming to light.

How Not To Be A Dad: The Latest Science Of Male Birth Control - 8 Methods of male birth control that are in development.

Boys and Self-Loathing: The Conversations That Never Took Place - Mark Greene on trying to shed some light on the silence that is coming from boys (and men) about past events that were never spoken of.

McDonalds’ suggested budget for employees shows just how impossible it is to get by on minimum wage

The Straight Married White American Male Feminist Manifesto - It never ceases to amaze me how when confronted with criticism from men, feminists will just accuse them of playing the victim and then end their participation in the conversation (or in this case end the conversation). Edit: At the time that I published this the comments had been turned off. Looks like the comments have been turned back on.

Male rape: the last human rights taboo? - I'd agree that the marginalization of male rape victims is a problem that needs to be addressed. Its hard to reach out to them when the very narratives around rape built around "its something men do to women". Breaking these narratives would do them a lot of good.

Parental benefits and paternity leave - Definitely nothing wrong with making sure dads know that they have an opportunity to take paternal leave but I wonder if reserving time like that (there is a 10 week block of time off that dads cannot give to mom, either he uses it or he loses it) is such a great idea.

Should New Dads Be Allowed To Stay Overnight In Hospital? England Struggles With Answer - On the other hand you know what's not a great idea to foster the father/child bond? Arguing other whether or not he should be "allowed" to stay overnight when the child is born. These conversations, policies, and arguing are convincing me more and more than the whole "dads need to participate more in child care" is not for the sake of the father or the sake of the child. No its for the convenience of mom. Involve dad just enough so that mom won't be over burdened. That's not gonna work folks.

Emma Roberts Arrested For Assaulting Evan Peters: How Common Is This? - I must say I am glad to see something like this in a source of mainstream media, and one that's targeted towards women no less. (Although I can't help but notice how quite the usual "DV IS BAD!!!!" crowd is on this. I guess it doesn't count when the woman gets violent as well.)

Too much Va Va Voom? Renault advert featuring close-ups of burlesque dancers is banned by watchdog because it 'treats women like sexual objects - Odd. A car company makes two ads. One with scantly clad women, one with scantly clad men. Watchdogs jump on one and give the other a free pass.

Bulletin Board v198 - Weekly Bulletin Board courtesy of Toy Soldier.

Here's is one of the four interviews that Omake Ikuze's did this week focusing on female cosplayers.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Yes I could have been, and still could be, Trayvon Martin

Today President Obama gave a speech  in which he attempted to address the contexts and feelings and implications of the verdict of the George Zimmerman verdict. Its pretty long (about 20min.) but I think you should give it a listen.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

What have I got to say about Trayvon Martin's murder?

As you know George Zimmerman was recently acquitted of second degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. This has been swirling around in my head ever since the Trayvon was killed last year.

I was debating over whether I was actually going to post something about it here but after hearing a rather interesting letter that was sent into to the Steve Harvey Morning Show today (and other promptings) I couldn't resist.

You can find an audio recording of Steve reading the letter on his site. I didn't see a transcript of the letter (and I also don't know how long that sound bit will be available) so I whipped one up real quick.
Dear George Zimmerman,
For the rest of your life you are not going to feel what it is like to be a black man in America. You will feel people stare at you. Judging you for what you think are unfair reasons. You will lose out on getting jobs for something you feel is outside of your control. You will believe yourself to be an upstanding citizen and wonder why people choose not to see that.
People will cross the street when they see you coming. They will call you hurtful names. It will drive you so insane some days that you'll want to scream at the top of your lungs. But you will have to wake up the next day, put on a firm look, and push through life.I bet you never thought that by shooting a black man, you'd end up inheriting all his struggles.
Enjoy Your Freedom.
I think there is truth to this. With the case turning out the way it did Zimmerman has put a bit of a bullseye on his back. Sure he can waive around that non-guilty verdict but at the of the day the things that letter writer describes will come to pass. Mind you I think there is one crucial difference between Zimmerman and black men.

While majority of black men have done absolutely nothing to face the reality that letter writer describes Zimmerman quite literally created his own reality. Sure he may think that these events are outside his control but fact of the matter is he chose to shoot Trayvon.

As a black man there is a part of me that wants to vemonously say that he deserves this situation and deserves whatever comes his way as a result. But ultimately that would be wrong. Just because you've been treated a certain terrible way doesn't justify treating others in said terrible fashion (hell for all we know Zimmerman may have some sort of past where he was mistreated by black man and he saw this as a chance to get back at them).

For as much as I don't like what he did Zimmerman is still a fellow man and it would be wrong to wish harm upon him.

I will probably have a few more scattered thoughts on this over the next few weeks but that's all for now.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Gender neutral anti-rape ads? Great idea!!!!!

I'm not gonna bother going into the drama behind it (but if you insist on reading up on it ballgame does so here) and will just skip to the nice part.

A graphic artist by the name of MewHannah-Chan is working on a series of gender neutral anti-rape posters. I'm linking to the post because Chan is asking that the stock images on the site not be redistributed without permission.

I like the idea honestly. For far too long the conversation on rape has been tainted with a "its something men do to women" slant that nowhere near properly discusses such a horrible crime. You can't confront a crime by only concentrating on certain variations of it. (Oh but if you want to bring up the, "But most rape IS male against female." then please follow that up with explaining why child abuse awareness doesn't focus on female perps and suicide awareness isn't focused just on men.)

Go check the posters out and get the word out.

I'm heading back under folks. Take it easy.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Get your hard hats out folks.....shit is about to get real

Okay on the last year or so I've been getting highly upset with Intense Debate over the fact that they simply have not responded to my requests for help with getting rid of the Widget install for their commenting system and putting the Template install in its place.

I believe this has caused problems ranging from comments not showing up, the full web and mobile versions of my site showing different comments (from what I've been told the web version shows them all but the mobile version doesn't), to the URLs of my posts getting jacked up.

And I'm pissed about it.

So I'm going to do something that I've wanted to do for a very long time but have not gotten around to yet.

I'm going to back up my posts and comments as good as I can and then I'm going to do a massive clean up that will hopefully allow me to go back to the default Blogger commenting system without losing comments. I'm going to have to basically do this on my own because Intense Debate has been absolutely zero help to me.

There is a good chance that comments will be lost in this and I apologize in advance but this has got to end because I think I'm getting to the point where if I don't solve these problems now they will become major catastrophes later (especially if I somehow gain any a large following).

So until you hear from me my posting will be more sporadic than it is now while I work on this stuff in the background. You may pull up the site while I'm working on it and see some weird things out of place and even see some things missing. Please don't be alarmed the place is just under construction.

Hopefully by the time the smoke clears I will be done with Intense Debate for good.

If you need to get up with me you can still reach me at dannyboisdotcorneratgmaildotcom or on Twitter @dannyscorner.

Take it easy folks.

Friday, June 14, 2013

What's the purpose of fathers you ask?

As per the usual method of operation when Father's Day approaches folks just can't get their fill of stories that do everything from questioning fathers to outright dismissing them. Well this year the New York Time took a swing at it.

"What Are Fathers For?"

Just who in the hell do they think they are asking some stuff like that?

Have we really gotten to the point were now that fathers aren't expected to fulfill their traditional scripts we have to justify their existence?

They start off the discussion by asking, "We’re approaching the holiday that celebrates dads, but do fathers bring anything unique to the table?"

Why do they need to bring anything unique to the table in the first place? From what I understand the advent of women taking on a larger role in the workplace showed us one thing. Women's roles in the family were not limited to the subset of family tasks collectively (and probably sexistly) known as "woman's work". They can do whatever jobs and roles that are needed in just about any given family.

So why aren't fathers afforded that same courtesy? Other than the obvious of bearing children is there any task that (most) fathers are somehow incapable of? They can be internal providers (as in providing the care that's needed inside the home). They can be external providers (as in providing the care that's needed from outside the home). Yes men have been locked down in the role of the external provider for a long time but times are changing and there is no need for us to be limited like that anymore.

What good are they now? Well there's plenty to be done in any modern family unless someone wants to argue that women are quite literally better off doing it all alone (yes I know they CAN do it alone but that doesn't mean we need to start pushing dads away just yet).

Particularly the Michele Weldon portion of that debate bothered me because she seems to think that by promoting fatherhood and trying to get fathers into children's lives groups and organizations are advocating for abusive/neglectful/unfit dads to be in their kids lives.

This is bullshit.

Oh and at the end she brings up the old Fresh Prince of Bel Air episode where Will's dad appears, promises to take him with him, and then abandons him again:
In time for Father’s Day movie bonding, Will Smith stars in “After Earth” with his real-life son, Jaden. But a 1994 episode of “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” shows a much younger Will Smith in a scene that is more real to many American boys. The Smith character’s father runs out on a promise to take his son on a trip, and Smith shouts: “I’m gonna get through college without him. I’m gonna get a great job without him and marry me a beautiful honey and have me a whole bunch of kids. And I’m gonna be a better father than he ever was.” And then he chokes, “How come he don’t want me, man?”
I know there is no possible answer to that question. But I also know it is time to stop damning the children who need to ask.

If she is trying to use this as evidence that dads really aren't worth then I wonder if she was paying attention to the rest of the series. Hell was she even paying attention to the rest of that scene. Throughout the series despite all the back and forth he had with him Will acknowledged Uncle Phil as the man that helped him become a man.

Yes there are bad dads out there. Bad dads that don't give a man about the children they helped create. Bad dads that run out on their responsibilities. Those are not the dads that those organizations advocate for.

Those are the kinds of dads we push for. Those are the kinds of dads that need to be in children's lives. Those are the kinds of dads that we need to produce for the future.

But thankfully there are other responses that are more uplifting (I especially like W. Bradford Wilcox's "Fathers are not Fungible" response).

Overall I think even asking this question sort of confirms the sexist notion that dads really are only good for their wallets and now that that is not necessary anymore we have to act like they are now useless.

And make sure you go give a read to the more thorough response by Scott Behson at Good Men Project (at the least read up his challenges to the "In almost half the American households with children, mothers are the sole or primary breadwinners. " claim at the start of the debate).

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Over some cereal? On the real?

1. Little girl getting curious over the health benefits of cereal.

2. Mom dropping that knowledge.

3. Little girl walking away with that, "Yeah I just did good." look on her face like a boss.

4. Dad waking up to see his daughter is trying to help him out.


I'm not sure where all this racial bullshit is coming but I do know this:

You're wrong. Shut the fuck up.

I'm out.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Why the bad taste?

So Alyssa Royse has a post up at Good Men Project titled, "The Danger in Demonizing Male Sexuality". In this post Alyssa talks about, well, what's dangerous about demonizing male sexuality. It's a good post and you should give it a read however I think there are some things around the end of the post that could (and has) left a less than nice taste in the mouths of some of the guys reading it.

Near the end of the post Alyssa asks:
So, how can we all work together to change our collective impression of male sexuality as something that is dangerous and disgusting? Besides the obvious—understanding male privilege, dismantling of patriarchal mythology and ending rape culture? Those issues are far too big for me to take on here, but without accomplishing those three, nothing changes. So while we work toward those goals, here are some steps to take along that path:
Okay since she chose to not touch on those three in her post I'll leave them be for now as well. Let's take a look at her steps.
1. Be an ally. Help us stop the violence against women. I am assuming that none of you would do what happened in Stubenville, but would you have helped stop it? Have you been vocal about how wrong it was? About how that should not represent you or your sexuality? From a societal perspective, we need your help. From a personal perspective, when we feel safe, we let our guards down, and that’s the first step to an intimate connection.
2. Ask women what they want, and listen to what they tell you. We are all different; we all want different things from the men in our life. Rather than getting lost in a frustrated guessing game, ask us. Listen to our answers. Tell us what you want, with words, and listen to our responses. Whether it’s sex or any other relationship, the best way to not be seen as predatory is to not act like a predator. And that means communication, not acquisition. Which, by the way, is also called consent. “Yes” is the safest word of all.
3. Let us in, don’t lure us in. Lay off the cologne, the pick-up lines, and the games. Please. Trust that you do not need to trick people into wanting you. Trust that you are worthy, just as you are. And that you deserve someone who wants you for who you actually are, how you actually are.
4. Don’t take it personally. Your self worth is in no way connected to whether or not some girl (or guy) wants you. I am constantly telling people to “Consider Cilantro.” (Seriously, I need that on a t-shirt.) Some people love cilantro. Some people think that cilantro tastes like tinfoil soaked in dish soap. That in no way reflects on the worthiness of cilantro. And cilantro never takes it personally. If you can, don’t even think of it as rejection, you are just cilantro sometimes. After all, you’re not attracted to every person you meet, why would every person you meet be attracted to you?
5. And lastly,know that your body is beautiful. I, like most females, was warned that penises and balls and anuses were gross. I was told to hold my nose, close my eyes, get it over with. Imagine my disappointment when I saw my first penis and there were no festering boils hissing my name, no sulfurous clouds wafting up from a menacing member. I thought it was kind of cute. As I learned more about them, I grew to love them, in and out. Hell, there are times when I was sure I heard angels giving hummers on high when I’ve see one. Most of us straight chicks really like your bodies. You don’t need to trick us into liking them. That is what makes us straight, after all.
However, they are not lures, and we are not fish. Do not, ever, show them to us unless we ask for it. The bonus for you is that when we ask for it, it’s because we want it, so you aren’t really risking rejection at that point, Mr. Cilantro.
There's not a whole lot I would disagree with here (well I do have things to say about 1, 4, and 5 but I'll let them go for now). Yes I fully agree that for the most part the steps she has listed out here are things that need to be undertaken by men in order to work on the impression of male sexuality.

But do you notice something?

She goes from a general call for everyone to work towards changing our collective impression of male sexuality as dirty and negative to a list of steps for men to follow to work towards changing our collective impression of male sexuality as dirty and negative.

Now since men make up a part of the collective we that Alyssa speaks of that means there are going to be things that we have to do in order for this change to happen. It wouldn't be right for men to sit back and just wait for the change to happen. However at the same time doesn't this set up for women to sit back and just wait for the change to happen?

Its entirely possible that somewhere out there on the net Alyssa has a similar post with a list of steps for women to take or maybe she doesn't. Maybe she thinks that there are some exact things that women could be doing and just didn't list them? Who knows.

But one thing I do know. as far as this post at Good Men Project is concerned, is that as long as the calls for unity keep coming in the form of one sided steps and tips, it won't be much wonder that readers may be left with a bad taste in their mouth.

(Edit: When you get a chance head into the comments where Alyssa does address this.)

I went back to the comments today and found a pretty heartwarming comment. Commentor Shannon asks:

I loved this article. Although I do agree with most of the commenters that the second half of the article is a lot of what we’ve all heard a million times. And I get everyone’s frustration that the burden of dismantling “rape culture” (or whatever you want to call it) seems to be placed exclusively in men’s hands. I think this is bullshit.
I’m a female and here is my question: What can women do?
A lot of what is said in this post is a great start. (The parts about accepting and embracing men’s sexuality as healthy, non-predatory and non-scary)
I understand why sentiments like the ones expressed in the second half of the post are ill-received. It’s condescending, it trivializes the struggles that men face and the vast majority of men are decent guys who already know this stuff. I just feel like I rarely hear sound advice for how women can help. Its not sarcasm, it’s an honest question. Can we have a post about that?
I say we take the time to answer her. Let's be honest its not too often that women reach to men and actually ask for what we have to say so I say we jump on it.

What you guys? In the efforts to change the demonic, dirty, and nasty image that has been painted of male sexuality what can women do?

Monday, May 13, 2013

HuffPo Live on Hypermasculinity

I got a most delightful invitation today to join a panel on HuffPo Live today on the topic of hypermasculinity. Apparently the post that caught their eye was one I did last week on male beauty as a joke. Unfortunately my day job kept me from taking them up on their offer.

Go give the cast a listen and share your thoughts on the topic.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Male Beauty as a joke.....

If you didn't know I've been on a bit of a break from the whole blogging about gender thing for last few weeks. Mainly I've melted into the shadows because of work but personal stuff is eating up my time as well. But gender discourse waits for no one.

I'm sure by now you have seen the Dove beauty ad (I think there's only one, but there might be more) where women give descriptions of themselves to a former forensics artist and he draws a picture. Then he gets descriptions from a different person that had spoken to those women beforehand and draws a picture based on that. 

He then showed the women a side by side comparison of the two sketches in order to show them the difference in how they perceive themselves and how others perceive them. An interesting way to help women notice that their thoughts on how they look may be getting influenced by the very pressures they feel to look good in the first place.

Now of course when something gains a lot of traction the parodies will be soon to follow.

I saw this one over at stonerwithaboner:
In this parody its a couple of guys describing themselves to a former forensics artist as said artist draws a picture and then the artist draws another picture of the guys in question, this time going by descriptions given to him by women that the guys had gotten friendly with ahead of time. 

In the end we see that the guys give descriptions of themselves that overestimate their beauty while the descriptions given by the women are treated as more accurate. Choice words include "rapey eyes" and one who looked like "something out of Mordor".

Even more interesting is the ending line, "Men: You're less beautiful than you think."

There's more than one parody but I noticed something in this one and a few others that I've watched.

The end result is that the guys in the "ad" are actually a lot less attractive than they think they are.

Now I've said a thing or two about male body image before and I can't help but wonder about how these parodies use the idea that a guy could be worried about his appearance as the butt of a joke. Now let me be clear. I'm not trying to say that the subject of men and body image should be immune from the far reaching tentacles of comedic mockery and satire.

No what I am saying is that is might be worth looking at how the very real issue of male body image and how it is not talked about that often in a serious manner is being seen through this lens of parody.

Here's what I'm gathering from this.

Usually parody and satire are used to take a topic and run in the opposite direction with it. For example have you ever heard music by Weird Al Yankovik? Most of his musical performances are of him taking a seriously created song (usually a popular hit) and writing a version of the song that is dripping with sarcasm and comedy. Micheal Jackson gave us "Beat It", Weird Al turned it into "Eat It". Coolio gave us "Gangsta Paradise", Weird Al turned it into "Amish Paradise".

But with these parodies they don't seem to be taking something real and running in an opposite direction but rather taking something real and running even farther in the same direction.

Instead of taking a real issue of guys thinking they are not very attractive and being shown they are, they are thinking they are attractive and being shown that they really aren't.

Or at least that is what it seems like to me.

Maybe I'm put off by this because I'm thinking about it from the perspective of a guy that hasn't thought too highly about his own looks (trust me on this, I'm still fighting back the desire to counter when my girlfriend says I look good). Maybe I'm wondering just how representative of the male population this parody is.

Do most men really have an overestimated sense of how they look, where in reality they are not all that attractive? Is that overestimated sense of how they look coming from accepting that they are not all that attractive but knowing that they aren't supposed to talk about it (much less act on it) they use that overestimated sense of how they look as a mask to hide real pain?

And about the mask part. Did you notice that the guys in that parody made themselves out to look like attractive celebrities? Meaning they weren't painting themselves up as attractive guys that aren't famous thus people don't know about them. They were painting themselves up as attractive guys that are known far and wide. That's about as masky as you get.

Or am I thinking too much about this?

What do you folks think?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Why were they saving Private Ryan?

I'm sure you've seen the movie Saving Private Ryan before right? Tom Hanks playing a squad leader that is sent into WW2 era Europe in order to find Private Ryan before he is killed in combat.

I've seen the movie before and I thought I realized what the film was about. I was of the mind that the film was about trying to save the life of a man who was had already suffered so much loss (having lost three brothers to the war already, making him the last one). But thanks to this comment I read today at Good Men Project by wellokaythen, I'm not sure:

Several people have mentioned _Saving Private Ryan_.
The movie is NOT really all about men. Only on a superficial level is it only about men.
Even though all the main characters are (cis-)male, there a gigantic inter-gender dynamic at the heart of the plot. The whole point of the plot, and the source of title of the movie, is about a woman. There is a very illustrative moment in the film that clearly suggests a sense of male disposability relative to women. At one point, a male character quotes a letter from Lincoln to a woman in the Civil War, thanking her for sacrificing her sons on the altar of the republic. Anyone notice that? Just think about that for a moment. Her heroism comes continuing to live after the actual death of men in her family.
The whole premise of the last 2/3 of the movie, whether this premise is all that realistic or not, is to prevent a woman back home from becoming any sadder at the loss of one more of her children. Not save her life, but to prevent her grief from getting any bigger. If momma Ryan loses one more son, she may not be able to take it. (Think how the sons themselves might feel about it….) The entire point of “saving” one soldier is not for his own sake, not because his life is precious on its own, but to save his mother any more grief. Several of the soldiers on the mission point out the absurdity of this, and Private Ryan himself balks at this illogical idea, but what answer do they get? Do your job. You’ll live if I order you to live, and you’ll risk your life if I tell you to risk your life.
I found the masculine themes in the movie to be somewhat muted, actually. There’s just about a bare minimum of attention to the fact that they are men as men, very little conversation with each other about manhood. There’s no traditional John Wayne war movie swagger or monologues about “being a man” or long explanations about women. No one’s called a dick or a pussy or talks very much about sexual conquest. They don’t talk about penises or testicles. Their masculinity might even be downplayed more in the movie than it was in real life. They hardly talk like what you’d expect soldiers to talk like, actually. (What you might call the Ambrose-ization of the image of the American GI in WWII. Apparently we’re supposed to think the D-Day boys went to Normandy straight from Sunday School!) Even when the officers use the term “men,” it’s almost a bureaucratic term. They’re not so much individual gender units anymore as they are serial numbers.
When I think about I believe wellokaythen has a point.

Was the US Army trying to send Private Ryan back home for his own sake or was it for the sake of his mother back home?

If there had been a fifth Ryan son living somewhere, would this event have even happened?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Why do damaging gender roles exist?

So I'm reading a post at GMP (I would post a link but forgot to add it when I had this on my mind and have since forgotten it) when I come across this:
Why does child custody in divorce cases often default to the female parent? Because of the cultural expectations that men aren’t nurturers or care-givers.

So my mind got to turning about exactly why these cultural expectations exist. What purpose do they serve.

I'm sure that there are two explanations for this that you have probably heard countless times, depending on who you listen to.

I'll call this one "No it's all about the women!!!!"
The reason it happens is because women in order to play their assigned role in the system, culturally and socially influenced into parenting. This explanation seems to go with the idea that the narratives that are in effect here exist for the purpose of keeping women in a set place and any harm that befalls men is not a feature of the system but a bug. Collateral damage if you will. The place where they are deemed most useful to the system.

I'll call this one "No it's all about the men!!!!"
The reason it happens is because men, in order to play their assigned role in the system, are culturally and socially influenced away from parenting. This explanation seems to go with the idea that the narratives in effect here exist for the purpose of keeping men in a set place and any harm that befalls women is not a feature of the system but a bug. Collateral damage if you will. The place where they are deemed most useful to the system.

Now let me run this one by you. I'll call it, "We're all getting dumped on."
In order to keep men and women in their respective assigned roles cultural narratives were developed and maintained by the system to influence men away from parenting and women into parenting. This explanation seems to go with the idea that these narratives in effect here are in effect because the system wants to keep men and women in their respective roles for the sake of the system itself aka places where they are most useful to the system.
I think those first two explanations don't tell the whole story.

It seems that those first two are coming from a lens that starts off deciding that one (or the other) is the primary target of a system (you may know it as "Who has it worse?") that is really mowing down everyone regardless of gender, race or whatever.

I'm starting to think that despite what people on different sides say I'm just a lonely ranger in thinking that that maybe, just maybe, this system wasn't designed with the purpose of harming any specific group.

What do you think?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Seeking the Source

(Let me say off the bat that the things in this post are nowhere near my own experience. I've been frustrated with women for various reasons throughout the years and yes some of that frustration is related to some of what I talk about in this post. But its not an exact telling of my own experiences. Just one possible (and I think seldom explored in casual environments) outcome of such experiences.

So please don't think that the "Imagine...." portions of the post are actual recalls from my own life. They aren't. But I bet they have happened to other men.)

Okay one thing I like trying to do is stop and think about my anger and where it comes from. While in a twitter conversation a few days ago I mentioned where I thought some of the anti-woman behavior that is exhibited by some men. I think it's important to go over this because frankly I think the usual explanations are not always right. In fact I think they aren't just wrong but people who tout these reasons are more concerned about being right than actually resolving anger that real causes get missed.

Tell me if these sounds familiar.

"Men are angry at women because women dare to have opinions of their own."

"Men are angry at women because they are seeing their sense of entitlement being challenged."

"Men are angry at women because they are afraid of losing their male privilege."

"Men are angry at women because the use their anger to keep women in place."

After putting some real thought I can honestly say that these reasons miss quite a bit when it comes to a man's anger toward women. Why is that?

Because all of those usual suspect reasons are based on the assumption that no woman has ever done anything that contributed to that anger. No the anger is always something that men are just taught or that it comes from women not doing what they are "supposed to do". Now I'm not saying that that never happens, I'm saying there are other ways to develop and foster that anger. I want to explore one possible way.

Imagine for a moment being a young boy.

Imagine for a moment being a young boy that when attacked by a girl not only was his pain not acknowledged but the figures of authority actually defended the girl's actions (and I don't mean that bullshit "oh it wasn't that serious"* I mean straight up "you deserved to be hit by her"**) . Oh and she gets to freely laugh about and brag about it too.

Imagine being taught that while it is a severe taboo to hit a girl, girls have free reign to hit you.*

Imagine being taught that regardless of the situation you are expected to always, ALWAYS be mindful of your response to female violence, while women are free to respond as they wish to yours.***

Now imagine that all that pain, frustration, and hurt is not just dismissed, but possibly even ignored.

Not just "oh it wasn't that bad" but immediately responding by comparing it to how women feel and are treated as if the feelings and treatment of women are the litmus test for the validity of men's experiences and feelings.

Or how about even being told that because you are male your experience did not happen. Yes somehow your gender protects you from whatever it was that happened to you.

Imagine being older and a woman commits an act of violence against you.

Imagine that that is what you have to face when you reach out for help, even from people who brand themselves as being supportive or progressive.

Image that after being treated that way you the immediate response you get when telling other how you have been treated is to minimize your experiences, if not defend those who treated you that way.

Imagine that on everyday tv that female against male violence is actually okay and even something to be portrayed as funny in order to sell products.****

I know its a lot of imagining if you haven't been in that position but please try.

When faced with treatment like that I think another source for that anger comes apparent.

You learn that as a guy when it comes to being harmed by females (physically or otherwise) it doesn't mean anything.

When you are constantly exposed to this its no surprise that some rage is going to build and look for an outlet.

Now I'm sure someone would try to come in and say, "Its not women its the system."

While that is true the problem with that does nothing to hold girls/women accountable for what they have done.

Let me ask. When's the last time, when talking about men raping women, have you seen all the responsibility placed for it on the systems that support it? There's plenty of mention of how men themselves need to be held accountable for their actions (or even inactions).

It just seems to me when its the other way around you don't see as much calling for holding women responsible for the way they treat men.

And I think that's what's happening.

When that boy is hurt there is no holding the girl responsible.

When that man is raped/abused by a woman there is little to no holding her responsible.

When they reach out for support they are denied, if not attacked.

When they reach out for support they are sometimes lucky if the tables aren't turned on them and support rallies around the violent woman instead.

They take those responses and and hard lessons and decide they will have to correct things on their own terms. And without proper support and healing "correction" takes on a horrible, possibly dangerous definition.

Learning that their own mistreatment wasn't taken seriously they learn shouldn't it be taken seriously when they do it to others. Or maybe they even decide that acting out in such ways IS the healing process.

Now let me say that I am not trying to say that this not a well fleshed out though process meant to be the explanation for all male against female hate. But I do think it happens more often that people give credit for. Yes the, "He was raised to believe women are his property." types are out there but I think there are more "With no support and understanding, he grew bitter at women." types than we believe.

If you're a guy reading this does this resonate with you? Have you had some of the "Imagine...." experiences I've described in this post or other experiences that I didn't mention? Have you had similar frustrations that may or may not have festered into anger towards women (even specific women and not just women in general)? Feel free to share.

I think there is a lot of anger among men and I think currents attempts are resolving it are more like attempts are dismissing it or co-opting it for nefarious purposes.

What do you think?

* - And this is bigger than just "her violence isn't being taken seriously" which is a very common lip servicing side step to dodge the fact that there are actually two things going. Not only is that girl's violence not being taken seriously but that boys feelings, pain, and body are not being taken seriously. But unfortunately saying it that takes the spot light off of girls/women and when it comes to examining gender it must always be examined through the lens of "how does this affect females" right?

** - Unless someone wants to take on the task of explaining how "she's just a girl its not like she can really hurt you" (which is sexist by the way I'm not saying its not) leads into "whatever she hit you for, you must have done something to deserve it".

*** - I'm talking the difference between why you don't see too many people ask a woman why did she have to be so aggressive in defending herself but if a guy is so much as pushes back the first question is, "Why didn't you just leave." Apparently being more likely to be larger and stronger then your attacker actually means that you cannot be overcome with fear and cut loose. I guess the mentality of "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, its the size of the fight in the dog" is temporarily suspended when it comes to female against male violence.

**** - Yes you could say that male against female violence happens on tv more often than female against male violence. But bear in mind that a lot of that male against female violence is used as a way to demonstrate that said male committing the violence is a bad man. On the other hand women committing violence against men on tv is often used as away to demonstrate that said female is a strong and empowered woman (or at least right).

Thursday, April 18, 2013

So what exactly is an acceptable form of support for men?

A few days ago I questioned exactly why the Ryerson Student Union created new rules for the purpose of blocking a group that students were trying to form for the sake of supporting and helping men. More than likely I'll never get a satisfactory answer to that question (well the satisfactory answer is that some people simply want men silenced, so maybe I should say I'll get an answer that's just) so I have a new question, which is the title of this post.
What is an acceptable form of support for men?
We've seen before that when it comes to helping men there's not just the reasonable expectations of making sure not to silence the voices of others or taking away support from others. Those expectations make perfect sense because no one group of people should get support that comes at the detriment of others.

On the other hand as Ryerson Student Union has shown us even when those expectations are met that's still not good enough.

I've had conversations with feminists who have clearly said that merely talking about helping men outside of feminism is inherently harmful to women.

I've been told that men have never been silenced and thus it is okay to shut out their attempts to speak up and make spaces for themselves.

We see efforts by organizations where they push against something that would be beneficial to both men and women by presuming the worst case scenario of men represents all men (but oddly they don't presume the same of women).

I'm really starting wonder if there is an answer to such a question that can please enough people on all sides.

Is there any form of support for men that can actually make room for men's own voices that doesn't do anything to limit the voices of others?

Feel free to answer in the comments.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

So why exactly did RSU reject Sarah Santhosh's men's group?

If you recall recently Sarah Santhosh and two of her fellow Ryerson University students were working on starting up a men's group on campus. Well Santhosh and her people met with the Ryerson Student Union (and the new rules that suddenly appeared two days before before the meeting) and a few hours later they were informed by email that their group had been rejected.

After slowing down and thinking about this I eventually came to wonder something.


Why would a group that simply wanted to create a space for men to talk about and address the things that affect them be rejected by a student union that basically pats itself on the back for being so diverse and so inclusive?

I'm not sure that the article I linked to doesn't have all the reasons for the rejection but the one that are mentioned are damning enough.
[RSU President Rodney] Diverlus said committee members raised concerns about the group’s association, and whether or not they were directly or indirectly associated with the groups A Voice For Men or Canadian Association For Equality.
The RSU seems to be concerned that the group may have associations and ties with A Voice For Men or Canadian Association for Equality. Just as I asked last time where are these associations and ties? Well I'm a bit of an lurker at A Voice For Men and dug up a few things of what they think about Santhosh's efforts. Here's Paul Elam* of A Voice For Men pointing out how these women that are trying to start this group are being silenced on the premise that women have been historically silenced. Hypocritical much?
[Marwa] Hamad, without any explanation as to what she was actually talking about, claimed that the measure will help RSU protect women’s issues, which ironically according to her, “have historically and continue to today to be silenced.”
It leaves one to necessarily wonder just how a group manages to be silenced when they are the only ones allowed to have the floor. The only women at RSU that are being silenced are the ones that are trying to speak to the issues faced by men.
I guess women are allowed to speak as long as they are talking about the "right" things I suppose. For the record while Elam, founder of A Voice For Men, has claimed absolutely no ties to Santhosh's group but he has encouraged people to show support for their efforts.

Santhosh had this to say about ties to such places: "We’ve already emphasized countless times that we are not a men’s rights group, we’re not trying to advocate men’s right over women’s rights and we’re not trying to somehow disqualify women’s rights".

So where is this suspicious coming from?

Well if Diverlus is any indication the suspicious seems to come from nothing more than group by gender association. In order to back up his claims that there are no systematic issues that affect men he does what a lot of people do, reach for analogies.
“We know that oppression and the marginalization of men is something that doesn’t exist just like the oppression and marginalization of straight people or white folks in our society,”
So because straight people and white people are okay that means there are no issues that affect men on a large scale? I can't help but notice that despite the information that Santhosh and her folks are presenting Diverlus is basically ignoring it and just saying that men don't have any problems. You'd think that a shorter life span, lagging in education, higher diagnosis rate of mental illness, and an outrageously higher suicide rate would be things that are affecting men and things that people might want to get together and address....

If you look back at the stated goal of the group, "create a progressive and constructive voice and lend representation to any and all Ryerson students concerned with the issues of men and boys.", you will see that there is absolutely nothing in there about ties to A Voice For Men, a desire to silence women, or a desire to overstate the issues of men. Yet that is exactly what the Ryerson Student Union got from it.

I like the last quote from Santhosh in the article:
“What they have in mind when they say women are the minority, they think of positions in power in government and corporations where men usually hold the higher positions. But they don’t take into account that…only a very small percentage of [men] are in power,”
So true. I can't be the only person that has noticed that whenever there is an attempt at trying to shut men's voices out of a conversation there is this desire to pull out the "men have the power" when in fact that is very much not true.

Maybe what's happening is that there is a small percentage of men that have power and that small percentage is held up as sole representation of the status of all men. And while I can't speak for Diverlus and his life I wonder if he is assessing the need for a space for any and all men based on that status of himself and men like him, concluding that since he and men like him don't need such a space then no man needs such a space?

(Or even the darker possibility that he knows that in order for he and men like him to keep the position they have they must work hard to push other men down. Or perhaps darker still he knows that suppressing efforts to help men curries favor with lot of unhealthy women's advocates, unhealthy women's advocates that have a lot of status and power.)

This is something that we have to get past people. We have to get past the mentality that one group speaking up inherently hurts another group or that all efforts that seek to help one group must be associated with the worst of the worst.

From what I can tell the Ryerson Student Union is blocking this group because there are some vile and mean MRA groups out there. Now I'll be the first to say that those groups need to be dealt with and there needs to be a rise of those who seek to work with and help men without resorting to such tactics.

Funny thing is that is exactly what Santhosh was doing. She and her partners were trying start up a space meant to help guys out and even in the face of having no ties with those extreme MRA elements the opposition simply created those ties (via heavy use of implication in lieu of actual evidence). So you can't blame this on A Voice For Men, Spearhead, or the extremists at Men's Rights Reddit (but if you do think that then that means we get to flip that coin over and say that the blame for people not wanting to work with feminists lies on the shoulders of Feministing, Feminste, and Manboobz). No the responsibility for this one lies squarely on the shoulders of the Ryerson Student Union.

* - Yes I know that Elam doesn't have the best of reputations when it comes to MRAs and I frankly disagree with some of what he says. On the other hand before you try to say that his show of support for Santhosh means that Santhosh is up to no good I require one thing. I require proof that anything that Paul Elam supports is inherently bad using some proof other than the negative things that he says and believes.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Moderation and Message with the Men's Movement

A pretty interesting video from Dean Easmay.

Friday, March 29, 2013

A Weird Bit of Money Management

So my company is being bought out and one of the changes I have to make is roll my current 401k into a 401k that is offered from my "new" employer. Well I was filling out the beneficiary information and I saw this odd little part.
If you are married and designated someone other than your spouse as your primary beneficiary, your spouse must consent in writing for your designation to be valid. Please contact your Plan Administrator to obtain and submit the appropriate documents.
Okay I'm all for the whole til death do us part thing but I do think it a bit funny that in order for you to designate someone other than your spouse as the primary beneficiary on you 401k you have to get your spouse's permission.

Maybe it's their way of keeping infidelity in check or making sure one doesn't lie to the other about how much money they have?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I should have known better....

That moment when you realize that sometimes trying to talk to people over Twitter is just folly. I should have remembered that and cut bait and left. But know I had to convince myself that a desire for mutual understanding and empathy were worth the aggravation. Now look at me. No mutual understanding, no empathy, and a several wasted minutes of my life.

Even after things got calm for a while and I offered apology for taking part in the clusterfuck there was this need and hope that I would at least get some acknowledgement about how I was treated.

But of course that would be too easy.

No instead I'm told I'm playing victim and that I'm not empathizing with others.

Empathy did help me understand why I was met with such hostility. It really did.

However it doesn't explain why I'm not getting any in return. It doesn't explain how its okay for others to shoot at me and not bother asking questions but when I return fire I am the one that's wrong.

Just fucking frustrated.

Men's Issues. Misandry. What's the difference?

(This is a bit of a supplement to my last post. Namely some feelings I've got about it and how it morphed the way it did between what I wrote and what ended up at GMP.)

You might have seen this post a little over a week or so ago at Good Men Project. However there are a few things you may notice that are different.

The main editing I did to that post, yes my version was the original and what's at GMP is an edited version, was to chop off what comes after, "Or must support for one be pushed to the side for the sake of the other?" (but keeping the * notice at the end). Well even after my edits a few other things were done to the post as well. I figured that was a bit too antagonistic for some of the folks at GMP. Well it looks like I wasn't sensitive enough.

Now I will say that I did some editing of my own of this post so please don't think that I submitted what you saw here to GMP and they edited it all down to what you saw at GMP.

I'm sure the first thing you noticed was the original title of "This Is Not How You Get Rid Of Misandry..." was changed to "Op-Ed: This Is Not How You Support Men’s Issues". Maybe people just don't like the word that much.

Look at the end of the extra paragraphs at the end (notated with the *) at the bottom of the GMP version. Yeah that originally said, "In case you are thinking that this group and its efforts are being headed up by MRAs and/or is related to the MRM it may be worth noting that, from what I can see from what reading about Santhosh and her group, that is not the case. Not that being MRA or a part of the MRM is wrong or anything...." Can you tell what was taken out?

Yes apparently saying there is nothing wrong with being an MRA or part of the MRM is too sarcastic or something.

Okay here's what's bugging me.

On one hand I want to get through to people therefore I understand the importance of being mindful of my message as to not turn them off.

On the other hand when its pretty clear that "not turning people off" is actually "don't do or say anything that may make them feel uncomfortable" I'm wondering what's the point of trying to talk to them in the first place?

I know that ultimately its more vital to connect with people and relate to them than making sure I get my way. But if the only way to connect and relate to them is to literally change my message not to reduce the chances of confrontation but to make it safe for people who don't like my message is my message really getting through?

Eh I'm starting to ramble. All I know is I'm a bit bothered at not the fact that the piece was edited but how the piece was edited. I get the the feeling it was done under the intent of either appeasing or looking out for the feelings of people who don't want to be offended by the idea of someone speaking up for men.

I'm pissed so I'm out for now.

This Is Not How You Get Rid Of Misandry...

(This post originally appeared at Good Men Project last week. Yes there are differences between what you see here and what is at GMP. I'll explain those in a later post because honestly its enough for its own small post.)

Last year Warren Farrell hosted a Men's Issues Awareness Event in a University of Toronto lecture hall. People came out to protest his efforts.

Sarah Santhosh, student at Ryerson University, set out to create a group that would offer a forum for men to speak up about mental health, suicide, violence, and other gender inequalities and issues. Sounds like a good idea right? I would think that for male students to have a place where they can gather and work on the things that are harming them would be a positive thing.

It seems that there are those that think otherwise.

Much like the protesters that tried to shut Farrell out from holding his forum, Ryerson Students’ Union seems to have taken the low road.
An effort to guard the empowerment of women’s voices on campus took form Monday when the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) swiftly adopted a bold new policy rejecting the concept of misandry – the hatred or fear of men.
Two days before Santhosh was set to have her meeting with the Students' Group Committee, the Students' Union has passed a policy that rejects the concept of misandry*. Denying the ways in which men are harmed is an act of guarding the empowerment of women's voices?

Men must be silenced in order to protect women?

Rather than talking about the issues Santhosh and her group were bringing up, or at least showing how these issues are being discussed in other ways and thus there being no need for forums that focus on male voices (which is common assertion among women's advocates) they have decided to use official policy as a shovel to bury them.

Neda Hamzavi, a faculty of community services representative on the RSU Board of Directors (BOD), had a few choice words to say when she brought up the policy on women's issues.
There’s been a lot of work across campuses not only in Ontario but also across the country that have been working sort of [as] anti-women’s rights groups.
I can't help but notice that there seems to be no mention of how Santhosh's efforts to create a space for men is tied to these anti-woman efforts.

But what I find real interesting are the three things that are being specifically rejected by this policy:
4. Groups, Meetings or events [that] promote misogynist views towards women and ideologies that promote gender inequity, challenges women’s right to bodily autonomy, or justifies sexual assault
Again where is the proof that Santhosh's group promotes these things? Surely if her and her group are promoting misogyny there is evidence of it right. A blog? An email? A nasty reddit post? In the constitution or other defining documents of her group?
5. The concept of misandry as it ignores structural inequity that exist between men and women
Most people that actually understand what misandry is about know know full well that it doesn't exist in the place of misogyny. It exists in conjunction with misogyny. They are both happening at the same time. Hatred and fear of women is misogyny. Hatred and fear of men is misandry. One does not negate the existence of the other.
6. Groups, meetings events or initiatives [that] negate the need to centre women’s voices in the struggle for gender equity.
How many times have we heard the line that equality is not a zero sum game? Well if its not a zero sum game then how exactly does the existence of male voices in the struggle for gender equality negate the need for women's voices to be the center of that struggle?

The irony the situation is not lost on Santhosh, "The ironic thing is my voice is being silenced right now because I can’t even form a group without having to face this really back-handed deal that’s really attacking our group."

Marwa Hamad, vice-president equity at the RSU commented, "I think it’s important to remember that when we’re talking about dismantling patriarchy, we’re talking about supporting men, we’re talking about supporting women [and] we’re talking about supporting the entire gender spectrum."

How exactly does one simultaneously support men and shut out attempts at supporting men?

What do you think? Is there room for voices that are supportive of men and women? Or must support for one be pushed to the side for the sake of the other?

Simply put Ryerson Students' Union you blew it. More specifically Neda Hamzavi, you blew it.

You had a golden opportunity to work with men that are trying to help themselves (which also helps women, in case you forgot) and form a united front against issues and problems that harm EVERYONE. And you blew it. So the next time you are frustrated over men that refuse to listen to you because you're a woman I want you to think about your actions here.

Think about how instead of taking this chance to connect with men on some level other than limited allies you pushed them away.

Think about how instead of encouraging others to speak up for themselves you chose to silence them.

Think about how instead of forming a united front you dug the dividing lines even deeper.

On a lesser note this is the kind of behavior that causes such polarization between the different sides of the gender discourse. Instead of trying to meet part way and get things going these women's advocates choose to double down in their own ignorance (and probably hatred) in the belief that speaking up about men's issues inherently harms women. They would rather keep those voices silent, just to then turn around and complain about how those issues going unresolved hurts women and how more men are not speaking up.

Painful. Simply painful.

(* - Just so we are on the same page here let me say real quick what I mean by that. What I'm talking about is the fear, hatred, and distrust of men. That's it no more no less. There is no " women.". It can come from men as well as women. There is no "...that happens in the place of misogyny.". They are both happening at the same time. There is no "....that happens in the same ways that misogyny occurs.". Even though they are both happening they are not exactly the same.

Fear, hatred, and distrust of men and women happens in different ways with different causes and effects. There is no reason, or point, to try to make one out to be worse than the other or trying to pretend that one does not exist or that one is only happening because of the other. They are both bad and they both hurting everyone.)