Sunday, October 23, 2016

Moonlight: A film about growing up gay and black

One's interpretation of masculinity is affected by the culture in which they grew up. Amongst people of color, researchers may often study masculinity as compensatory masculinity, which scholar Karen Pyke “understands . . . [as being] composed of strategies in which men with less cultural power and authority might engage to collect forms of privilege that flow more seamlessly to groups of men less marginalized by culturally dominant forms of masculinity” (Pascoe and Bridges 225). The new film Moonlight details a young black man's struggle to come out as gay in a rough Miami neighborhood. This Vice article explains and reviews how the film attempts to explore the homophobia within the black community and what that ultimately means for black men.
‘Moonlight’ Captures the Complexities of Growing Up Gay and Black in America

Work Cited
Pascoe, C. J., and Tristan Bridges. “Navigating Masculinites.” Exploring Masculinities: Identity, Inequality, Continuity and Change, Oxford University Press, New York, NY, 2016, pp. 223–234.

If Women's Roles in Ads Were Played by Men

Researchers in gender studies have theorized the many impacts of gender binaries, specifically the sexual subject vs. sexual object binary. Advertisements often draw their plots and visuals from this idea that the man's role is almost always the sexual subject and the woman's role is almost always the sexual object. Throughout my years of ad consumption, I have found that often if these roles are reversed, the tone becomes more humorous or ridiculous. To me, this tonal change implicitly reinforces gender roles by highlighting the perceived absurdity of such a role switch. This Buzzfeed video attempts to showcase the binary and the double-standard present in men's and women's roles in ads.

Source Link:

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Early into my search of information on trans people and the way that the world views those outside the norm, I came across this article which I believe is important when speaking about those who aren't cis. It is our duty to be as informed as possible and not wait for the day someone has to correct us, so this article does a good job of highlighting the importance of not adding an -ed to transgender.

Friday, October 21, 2016

This is What a Locker Room Looks Like (or Should Anyway!)

After Donald Trump's latest sexist comments went public, a photo of Centennial High School students is sending the message that the language Trump used is not “locker room banter.”

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Young Thug and the Masculinity Discussion

As the discussion of masculinity evolves, we begin to look at music and the effects that it has on boys and men and their ideas of masculinity.  The rapper Young Thug is changing the conversation around masculinity and the hypermasculine ways that most rappers appear and carry themselves.

Along with the article, there are some cool pictures of Young Thug that show how great he is at of doing non-gender conforming.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Code Switching

Men are taught from a young age that they have to be manly, powerful and that they must never show fear. They know that as soon as they are in the public eye their emotions must be tucked away and that they must never be seen by anyone but themselves. So naturally they put on a front around women and especially other men. This phenomena can be referred to as "code switching". Men have two selves, who they are in private and who they are when they are surrounded by others. When surrounded by others they find any way to be respected and gain status. But "code switching" is hardly innocent. A recording of Donald Trump from 11 years ago has recently been discovered where he discusses kissing women and grabbing them by their private parts. In the interview below, his wife Melania, defends her husbands recording as "boy talk". We have all seen "boy talk" where men act strong and powerful, but is it still "boy talk" when a man is clearly discussing sexual abuse? Melania defends her husband and refuses to believe the allegations of Donald sexually assaulting women. It is her mentality and the upbringing of men that teach them that it is okay to "boy talk" and degrade and harm women. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Nicki Minaj Slams Kanye West's 'Gold Digger'

Not the best article (it is US Weekly...), but I thought it was particularly relevant considering the topic of module 4. My own thoughts and feelings about Nicki Minaj aside, I'm glad she's calling out the double standards that exist as well as the lyrics in popular music

Nicki Minaj Slams Kanye West's ‘Gold Digger’ Lyrics, Racial Double Standards

CoverGirl BOY!!

I don't know about you, but I think this is some progressive and BIG news: CoverGirl has introduced its first ever CoverBoy! The makeup and skin care conglomerate has never in its history had the face of its brand be a man, and 17-year-old James Charles of Bethlehem, NY is the first! Like I said, this is super progressive for our country and internationally for so many reasons and the news couldn't have come at a more perfect time. Obviously, gender is coming into question a lot in our society these days. With the legalization of gay marriage and the surge of transgender women and men coming into the spotlight, it is hard for companies like CoverGirl to market makeup as a product for women only. If you look on Instagram and Facebook, more and more men are beginning to indulge in foundation and highlighters and they're doing it a lot better than some women! Hats off to CoverGirl for embracing this new standard of beauty; I believe that this is their way of taking a stand in the debate on gender. By announcing a male CoverGirl model, they are saying that it is okay to be a man who enjoys makeup and that makeup is not exclusively for women. They are opening their doors and arms to people in general, which is just beautiful in this day and age. Read up on it in this NYT article and interview!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Locker Room Talk

I believe that the "Locker Room Talk" excuse Donald Trump gave for his talk advocating sexual assault will perpetuate the worst of the 'Masculine ideal' much like his thinly veiled racism has given thinly veiled racists the, um, audacity to remove their thin veils. Make America White Again

 The fact he even opted to go the "Locker Room Talk" route shows how deeply embedded rape culture is in our society and how necessary it is for men to reverse and condemn this horror. Locker rooms are, supposedly, men only rooms and according to Trump, in men only rooms, us men like to giggle at our rape prowess. His comments will undoubtedly get a woman hurt because some "man" will take his non-apology as a permission slip to talk about and grab women without their consent, then shrug it off as something not to be hot mic'd. He disgraces any concept of masculinity that I. as a man, would embrace and he hides, cowardly, behind gender constructs that have perpetuated the abuse of women for years. Let us all not shy away from that truth and let us all condemn his comments as well as his excuse for what they are- misogyny.

Locker Room Talk

For Many Women, Trump’s ‘Locker Room Talk’ Brings Memories of Abuse

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The School Success and Opportunity Act

The Governor of California signed a bill to allow transgender kids to participate in sex-segregated activities and program.  transgender student are now able to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity.  A transgender student was very happy that this law was passed because she stated that she no longer has to lie about her gender , just to get good grades.  Although many people are happy about the law passing, they are some that furious because they claim that it can put their kids at risk.  For example, a mother of one of the students was very concern about her daughter using the bathroom in the school.  The mother said that her daughter could have a boy walk in on her while using the bathroom. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Nerdom and White Male Culture

2016 has been an interesting year. Social scientist may one day encapsulate it as the year white males openly declared war on plurality. From the rise of this guy-

To the relentless attack on the new Ghostbusters with the female lead cast. It is this latter expression of irrational rage that may be more revealing. After all, everyone already knew politics is the epicenter of white male dominance. 

In the attack on Ghostbusters, an area of pop culture that, on the surface, seems like it would be the beacon of progressive ideology was revealed to be a cesspool of poisonous monoculturalism. 

Nerd culture. 

Maybe I missed the obvious, but I thought that Nerdom would be a safe haven for difference, after all Nerds are classically depicted as outsiders themselves. 

This article discusses the Ghostbusters issue for what it is "a sexist control issue" Ghostbusters Reboot Backlash .

 "We’ve long had the habit of using the universal to refer to men while shunting women into their own subcategory, but the original “Ghostbusters” already was “the male ‘Ghostbusters,'” whether we called it that or not."

True. And the more I look at Nerd culture, the more I realize it relishes in its exclusion. Ghostbusters just pulled off the mask. 

I am a part of Nerd culture. I subscribe to Loot Crate. I go to the comic shop for new issues on Wednesdays. I binge watch Star Wars and discuss the world building of Tolkien with enthusiasm. Yet I am disturbed that Loot Crate sent me a Ghostbusters shirt with the number '84 on the back nodding to the original at the expense of the new (at least it wasn't 88). I have overheard numerous sexist conversations at the comic shops. I see how series like Star Wars and LOTR celebrate Western imperialism at the expense of the Other. 
Ghostbusters isn't showing us anything new. It is showing us how bad the problem actually is. Just look at Gamergate

Nerd culture was meant to be participated in ironically. That is when it is at its best. Recognizing the limits of popular fiction and the fun absurdity of those limits should be part of every culture. But the more I look at the shirts I get, the comics I read, the Nerdom I enjoy, the more I realize the culture is exclusionary in a serious manner, failing to see its own ridiculousness and becoming the self-fulfilling caricature it was meant to subvert.  

There is nothing light about this , because behind it we see a guy who exhibits the privilege mentioned in the quote above. His reasoning for not seeing the new Ghostbusters? It's called Ghostbusters. He feels it should have another name. Perhaps he won't see the new Birth of a Nation because it ripped the original's name too. 

The sad part of all this is the potential for white male culture as expressed in Nerd culture to be subtly subversive and accepting of its deficiencies. I love Batman and I will argue about the best incarnation till I'm blue in the face, but I do with my tongue somewhat in my cheek knowing that Batman is a construct of a culture that should be growing in flexibility. Batman is everyone's to create and recreate. So are the Ghostbusters. So is any work of fiction. I thought Nerd culture was awesome because everyone was in on the joke. Apparently not. 

Here is a couple of interesting articles discussing or unintentionally revealing sexism and racism within Nerd culture, or various aspects of it.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Men vs. Women

Western culture has seen a dramatic increase in the objectification of the male body. Advertisers have created a trend objectifying the male body in order to sell their products. They claim that if their product is purchased then the man will have success in their employment, romantic and personal life. They claim that with hair gel, cologne and underwear men are more appealing to women. They go as far as sexualizing products such as salad dressing. So the question stands: is the objectification of the male body the same as the objectification of the female body? The answer: yes and no. Yes because males are being portrayed as an object the same way that females are. They are told that if they look a certain way then they will possess attributes for success. No because the success they are promoting is different for both genders. The male success includes prosperity, power and strength. The female success includes a man who will provide prosperity, power and strength. Men are certainly objectified in our society and will continue to be. Whether their objectification is different or equal to the female objectification, it is detrimental to both genders.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Toxic Masculinity

Toxic Masculinity

A recent review for the new movie GOAT, outlines an ongoing problem of fraternity hazing. Fraternity's promise a brotherhood, an unbreakable bond between frat brothers, along with great parties, and a very memorable college experience. Hazing is done during pledge weak to separate the "men" from the "weak". The movie illustrates how hazing has gone too far in our society. These men are emasculating, and tortured only to prove they are masculine. How ironic? To say that masculinity is socially constructed is an understatement. This behavior is not built into our genes, it is learned. This type of behavior becomes normalized, and has been the society norm for fraternity's for years. I remember when my brother joined a fraternity at FSU, how his grades suffered that first semester because he was consumed with pledge week, and becoming a part of his fraternity. A fraternity, who, years later was shut down due to a hazing scandal. I never thought much about what he endured then, but it makes me sad to think about it now. I'm sure if you asked him today, if he would do it all again, he would say "in a heartbeat". We sacrifice a lot in our lives to belong, to be a part of something bigger.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

This is Life with Lisa Ling: Pick Up Artist Camp (SO GOOD)

FASCINATING and actually refreshing and profound in relation to concepts related to masculinity and relationships. This is not the full episode but hopefully you can find it through your cable/satellite provider or online otherwise. It's on Netflix and can be streamed on CNN FREE. This episode is Season 2, Episode 7.

This is Life with Lisa Ling: Pick-Up Artist Camp

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Real Men Eat Meat

Image result for male vegetarians
DailyMail Vegan Article
By Cheyenne Drews
(Click for article by Madlen Davies)

     Fresh out of high school I began dating a guy who was a vegetarian. The diet had always gone back and forth in my mind, but while still under my parents' roof, I didn't have much say. Having moved out and with the final push of my boyfriend's influence, I too gave up meat and have since witnessed the reception of our decisions in very sexist ways.
Image result for man grilling father's day ad     Early on in a meal, people watch him order tofu or vegetables and laugh at the decision. Around his guy friends, he's ostracized for not getting the steak or sharing burgers or wanting everything wrapped in bacon. At this point, relations are still joking and both sides aren't too defensive. It's when he starts detailing why he chose to stop eating meat, that a clear divide arises and people take sides. The women typically say, "I understand where he's coming from", whereas the men, witnessing a challenge to manhood expectations, say in response to how they can kill animals for their consumption, "It tastes too good!" I watch as they think killing something, showing dominance, ending life for a mere palate desire, equals masculinity.
     I remember a specific birthday that his family took him out to eat. His older sisters, all dating the classic ideals of masculinity, thought it would be funny to order him a meat plate spelling out, "Happy birthday", when he got up from the table. If it had been me not wanting to eat it, it would be a choice. But for him as a male, it was unfathomable and not taken seriously. He's seen as weaker, despite his actual physique, and less relatable to men who have to see meat on their plate to call it a meal.
Image result for hamburger ad with women     Side note, how many attractive women are used in the market of selling meat? Even the industry knows they're targeting men. The ads can be so sexualized, furthering the idea that men have to eat meat, maintain a top of the food chain mentality, but what does this tell men about their capacity to empathize?
     My boyfriend at the time was called gay, feminine, etc. frequently when he defended caring about something outside of the realm of sports, guns, grilling, sex, and the stereotypical man desires. His stance on empathy politically deemed him, "UnAmerican", as if not acting entitled made him less of a man and less American. These challenges to his psyche got to him overtime, but I continue to keep him in mind as someone that challenged the ideals of masculinity and made me question why men have to be restrained to it at all.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

"It's a Boy Thing..." by Emilie Bobrow

Data suggest that couples who have sons are more likely to stay together than those that don’t. Emily Bobrow looks into why this might be.

A student in my graduate Gender Theories course shared this during a discussion about sex/gender and babies. I had not thought about the impact of baby's sex on relationships in quite this way but it, sadly, makes sense in some ways (whether we are conscious of it or not). Thoughts?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Why Is Pink for Girls and Blue for Boys?

Could it be possible that dressing boys in blue and girls in pink is all part of an advertisement ploy? Evidence points to the fact that up until the 1980s, there was no such thing as differentiating a baby's gender through the color of their clothes. As a matter of fact, before this was a phenomenon, clothes was used to identify ones age. Before then, boys and girls would be dressed in dresses. Eventually pants and skirts were created. So what created that shift? Well it could be said that because pants were more expensive to make, companies began to advertise them and create a movement towards them. Could pink vs blue clothing also stem from advertisement? There is no factual answer to this question, however, it is a likely explanation.

Why Is Pink for Girls and Blue for Boys?

Stone Butch Blues 20th Anniversary Author’s Edition now available! (free download)

Stone Butch Blues, Leslie Feinberg's 1993 first novel, is widely considered in and outside the U.S. to be a groundbreaking work about the complexities of gender. Feinberg was the first theorist to advance a Marxist concept of transgender liberation" in hir theoretical nonfiction book,* Transgender Warriors: Making History.

Stone Butch Blues has sold hundreds of thousands of copies, been passed from hand-to-hand inside prisons, and been translated into Chinese, Dutch, German, Italian, Slovenian, Turkish, and Hebrew (with hir earnings from that edition going to ASWAT Palestinian Gay Women). The novel was winner of the 1994 American Library Association Stonewall Book Award and a 1994 Lambda Literary Award.

Leslie Feinberg worked up to a few days before hir death in November 2014 to ready the 20th Anniversary Author Edition of Stone Butch Blues to make it available to all, in free-download and at-cost-print editions. This action was one part of hir entire life work as a revolutionary communist to change the world in the struggle for justice and liberation from oppression.

"This Is What Solidarity Looks Like"
This Author's Edition of Stone Butch Blues is dedicated to CeCe McDonald, a young Minneapolis trans woman of color organizer and activist sent to prison for defending herself against a white neo-Nazi attacker.

Accessible at is a slideshow, "This Is What Solidarity Looks Like," that documents the breadth of the global organizing campaign to free CeCe McDonald. Feinberg developed the slideshow with the help of scores of activist photographers."This Is What Solidarity Looks Like" is a powerful teaching and organizing tool to show how a mass liberation movement started from a single community achieves a global reach.

*A Note from Minnie Bruce Pratt* 
(who was kind enough to disseminate this announcement): 

Leslie explains in "Author's Rights and Requests" hir decision as a revolutionary communist to make Stone Butch Blues available free to all through digital download. The at-cost Lulu print version fulfills hir goal of making *Stone Butch Blues* available in a no-profit-to-anyone edition. Leslie's "Author's Rights and Requests" can be found at the end of the new edition. In that section, Leslie also briefly discusses some of hir decisions about
how zie/she chose to narrate the novel.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Man Box in Real Life

Hello all,

After studying the Man Box, I had my own first hand experience on how that affects men in our society.  I was at the gym, working with my personal trainer.  There was one other person there, a man, working with his personal trainer (also male).  I have shared the room with this person more times than I can count.  He always shows that he is trying very hard to complete each move.  This particular night he was taking a lot of breaks and his trainer all of a sudden shouted, "Erin, act like a man!!"  I looked over and wrinkled my face.  I then preceded to tell my trainer about my class experience with the Man Box.  Even when working out, we expect men to get through their workout with minimal breaks and signs of struggle.  We all struggle, men included.  Men should not be subjected to words such as these, just as women shouldn't be subjected to "Oh, well you're a woman so I didn't think you could lift that much weight anyway."

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Changing the Game

Drake, a popular rapper is working towards making a change on the way rappers are supposed to be viewed. He is known for his emotional music, and has been labeled "soft" or has been criticized for not being a good rapper because he puts himself out there emotionally, and sings about things like heartbreak. He puts women on a pedestal and sings about them in a positive light. Rappers are known for their music to have explicit content regarding women, treating them like objects, and speaking about them in an aggressive or abusive way. This is the socially excepted norm for the industry. Drake, who has a large fan base, is changing the game, shaping the youth of today to view masculinity in a new light.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

I Wish I Could Fill... By Emily Rosen

I wish I could fill my mouth with sunlight 
and let you drink from my lips
till you felt the light in you

I wish I knew how to apologize 
for all the ways
they beat the feeling out of you
and told you
your tenderness was weak

I saw it happening
And here is the worst part
I agreed

Gender Performance Clip from Transparent (beautiful and powerful moment)

Transparent: On Gender Performance

Transparent. Written and directed by Emmy-nominee and 2013 Sundance Best Director winner Jill Soloway (Afternoon Delight, Six Feet Under and United States of Tara), Transparent is a darkly comedic story about an LA family with serious boundary issues. In this exploration of sex, memory, gender and legacy, the past and future unravel when a dramatic admission causes everyone's secrets to spill out. Jeffrey Tambor, Judith Light, Gaby Hoffman, Amy Landecker and Jay Duplass star in the pilot.

New season available for streaming on Amazon Prime.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Good evening,

My name is Oliver and I have been having some computer trouble that has affected getting into this blog, hence the late post. I work 7 days a week and have very little free time between school and both of my jobs. I am passionate about feminism and challenging masculinity. I look forward to getting to know the rest of you through this blog (and the course overall)!



I have no idea what I am doing!

Hi, my name is Heather and I have no idea what I am doing.  This will be a new learning experience for me as I continue to spread my wings and step outside of my box.

My First Time Blogging

Hello all. I'm Angel and a little new to blogging. I look forward to exploring articles and posts about masculinities.

"My Brother's Pregnancy and the Making of a New American Family"

My Brother’s Pregnancy and the Making of a New American Family

My brother Evan was born female. He came out as transgender 16 years ago but never stopped wanting to have a baby. This spring he gave birth to his first child... (from Time by Jessi Hempel)

Friday, September 2, 2016

Are there differences in raising boys and girls?

According to the above link... Girls are more emotional than Boys.  Boys tend to stick to their mothers and Girls tends to stick to their fathers.  This was a good read.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Mom's Response to Being Called a 'Bad Mommy' Over Son's Tutu Goes Viral

“Roo may not always want to dress this way, but we hope that he’ll remember that, when he did, he was loved,” she continue. “We hope he’ll know that no matter what other people thought or said in response, there was always peace and safety in our home.”
Mom's Response to Being Called a 'Bad Mommy' Over Son's Tutu Goes Viral

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Black Masculinity--Real Talk for Boys posted a touching and important video highlighting the powerful role men can play in the development of boys to strengthen their own paths forward.

Working on uploading the video but check it out here:
This karate teacher is schooling young black boys on modern masculinity.

Monday, May 23, 2016

"Man Who Has It All" Facebook/Parody Site

Was introduced to this "Man Who Has It All" Facebook page today. Parody to incite thought about gender roles (especially men and parenthood) and perceptions. Thoughts?

These Four "Ordinary" Men Got Madeup and Photoshopped to Match the "Ideal" Male Body

By Mark Denicola from Collective Evolution
While the majority of beauty ideals are directed towards women, men certainly feel the pressure to be beautiful, too. To prove this, the four gentlemen behind The Try Guys (Keith Habersberger, Ned Fulmer, Eugene Lee Yang, and Zach Kornfeld) decided to seek professional help in re-creating four famous male celebrity photos.
They decided to document the entire experience, showing not only just how many adjustments can be made in the creative process but also how they feel about their bodies.

Friday, March 18, 2016

"Can a Man Be a Feminist?" (Buzzfeed video)

I teach Women's and Gender Studies and a course on Theories of Masculinity as part of that program. There are various perspectives on whether or not men can be feminists, call themselves feminist, use the term "pro-feminist" instead of "feminist," ETCETERA. This video sums up some of these issues, which we explore at length in my Masculinities course, as there are pro-feminist movements, pro-male movements (quite different), men who claim feminism, and men who absolutely resist it. It's an important and compelling issue, particularly because feminism is not JUST about women and is still so misunderstood and stereotyped.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Double standards: Punk vs Man

          I was having a conversation with some female coworkers and when the subject of men came up it took a sharp left turn.  One of the females I was talking to was saying how she gets so mad at her guy because when she is laying down and sick, he doesn't have it in him to immediately come in and tend to her, waiting on her hand and foot.  She said "I really just want him to be sweet and sensitive to me."

        The conversation went on about how she is very hard on guys because she doesn't want any man she deals with romantically to be like any of the men that were in her life when she grew up.  So, I asked, "In y'all's opinion...what is a man?"  Boy, was did I get a barrage of contradictions based on stereotypes that she had bought into throughout her life!  I told them that I was going to take notes because I am in a Masculinity Theories class that this material would be perfect for.

        Keep in mind that these women were a wide range of ages, from 19 years old at the youngest and 52 at the eldest.  I was surprised to find that of them, the older women seemed to be the most open minded as to sex and gender.  I guess I should not have been surprised though, when I take into consideration the images of men, boys and gays  in movies, on TV and even in the news.  The younger ones all agreed that in order to be a man, a male has to be working or have a business, he must be physically strong.  Although they varied in skin tone, eye color, hair texture/style, and overall body type.  Every single description of a man was stereotypical, including the fact that if he had any effeminate traits that meant he was gay, and therefore not a man.

        It was the oldest woman who challenged them on their views, and it was quite entertaining to witness.  She asked them some of the same questions that we have discussed in this class.  During the interaction some of the young women were open minded and took into consideration the wisdom coming from her.  Some of them though, were not having it.  They left the same way they came to the conversation.  The whole thing reminded me of society as a whole.  There are some who are always open-minded and accepting, then there are those who are firm in their beliefs but are still willing to listen and learn something new, finally you have those who, no matter what, will not budge on the way they think.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Trans views of masculinity

We get a lot of perspective about masculinity from cisgender men and women and I wanted to find some viewpoints from transmasculine/nonbinary folks. This article interviews twelve trans people about their definition of masculinity, along with a little blurb about each person's job, age and gender identity. I loved how the the first person asked about where they are on the gender spectrum answered, "Over it."

The gender binary can cause trans people to feel forced into presenting as the opposite gender they were assigned at birth in order for people to not automatically assign them that same gender immediately upon seeing or meeting them. I admire those who push their own and others' views about the binary system of gendering, which can be intensely limiting to everyone born into that system. Another person, when asked about where they fit into the spectrum, simply stated their name, "Thomas." Take a look at the article to read about each person's definition of masculinity as it relates to their gender.

Masculinity Means...

Monday, November 30, 2015

Is There a Lack of Reassurance for Men and Boys?

The above link is to a This American Life episode in which various types of "status updates" are discussed. The first act is all about the ways in which girls interact over social media, specifically the ways they compliment each other. Unsurprisingly, girls engage in myriad social interactions centered around compliments and reassurance. Complimenting each other is how girls construct their social networks, it's how they express love, desire for friendship, admiration, even jealousy. Perhaps most importantly is the abundance of reassurance and encouragement that girls and women give each other. Encouragement and reassuring love of all sorts is vital for people to feel and be emotionally stable and available. While girls and women are socialized to be open with their emotions, men are socialized to be the opposite. In fact, it is considered unmanly and gay to express compliments toward another man. And as we've learned throughout this course, gay and unmanly are two of the most terrifying things to be for a man. To preserve masculinity men must be inexpressive and emotionally cold. When men are seen complimenting each other it's either portrayed negatively or as a joke:

Shouldn't we be wondering what broader effects the lack of emotional communication has on young boys?

Toxic Masculinity and Mass Shootings

"...toxic masculinity is a performance that emphasizes violence, control over others, sexual aggression and a lack of emotion and vulnerability." In a recent module we learned about masculinity and violence. The movies, video clips, and readings all showed different links between the two. We also learned about race as it relates to masculinity. All aspects of people's lives are intertwined, and in some cases factors intertwine in ways that cause violence towards others. For example, Dylann Roof, a young, white, middle-class male, shot 10 African American church-goers in Charleston, North Carolina, killing 9 of them in an attempt to start a "race war."  "Roof’s racism and sexism thus intersect in what philosophers Carol Pateman and Charles Mills have described as 'racial patriarchy.' This is a system of racial domination in which people of color are subordinate to whites. It is also a relationship where white men have more power than white women." Roof embodies the idea of toxic masculinity, and when mixed with unstable home life, white supremacist views, and access to a firearm, he did what other young white males have done in an attempt to reclaim power they feel they have lost in life: he took that anger and used it to kill innocent people. 

Mass shootings are all too common in America, with more than 200 mass killings in the US since 2006. But every time media talks about a mass shooting, they leave out the most important patterns from their analysis: the shooters are almost always white, middle-class men."The corporate news media does not want a sustained discussion of gun violence as a type of public health crisis. The corporate news media is also unwilling to discuss how domestic terrorism by right-wing white men is now the United States’ leading threat to public order. Very troublingly, the corporate news media considers it impolitic to explore how the right-wing echo chamber is radicalizing and weaponizing its followers." If we want to stop these shootings from happening we need to do a number of things, including raising boys with the notion that they shouldn't use violence as a solution to their problems.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

“What’s Wrong with Fathers Rights?”

Author Michael Flood presents his discussion, “What’s Wrong with Fathers Rights?” in Men Speak Out: Views on Gender, Sex, and Power which was edited by Shira Tarrant. Flood speaks from an informed anti-sexist and pro-feminist position on the pitfalls of men’s rights groups. Flood explains that individual men who seek out support from a men’s rights group can be allotted into either those undergoing custody battles, are wanting more contact with their children, or are non-custodial parents seeking lessened child support. Flood approaches the controversial topic of men’s rights by relating the most pertinent facts of the men’s rights movement and it’s hindrance towards all parties involved in family disturbances. 

On the topic of how this movement is damaging progress of women, Flood states, “So, what’s wrong with men’s rights? Above all, anti-feminist men’s perspectives are based on a profound denial of the systematic gender inequalities that privilege many men and disadvantage many women” (Flood, ed. Tarrant, 214). It is this inaccurate portrayal of feminists and their cause, that men’s rights movements take part in harming. Their movement offers a distorted perception of the women involved and their relation to men. Flood acknowledges the very real wrongdoings toward some men which is perpetrated by some women by stating that “such instances do not support anti-feminist men’s claim that men are the ‘new Jews’, suffering under what they call a global ‘feminazi’ regime. Men’s and fathers’ rights groups offer a bizarre and fundamentally inaccurate portrayal of feminism as anti-male and fail to see the enormous hope for and goodwill toward men which is embodies” (Flood, ed. Tarrant, 215). These false claims against feminism cheat men of the true, harmonious goals of which feminists strive to achieve.

Michael Flood also argues three main affects in which the fathers’ rights movement is damaging the people who are in direct contact with the men seeking support from the men’s rights advocators. The first, and most critical happenings of the movement’s effects, Flood describes by writing, “Above all, fathers contact with children has been privileged over children’s safety from violence” (Flood, ed. Tarrant, 215). Flood reveals that ex-partners and children are being subjected to further abuse from violent men as the court system is alarmingly relying on the men’s rights movement suggestion that a father – no matter their abusive tendencies – is better than no father at all. This privileged belief subjects ex-partners and children to even further unnecessary physical violence and/or psychological scarring.

The second effect of the men’s movement is described by Flood as having a “negative impact on community understandings of violence against women and children…. Father’s rights groups… claim that women routinely make up allegations of domestic violence to gain advantage in family law case and… advocates [of the men’s rights movement] encourage the mistaken belief that domestic violence is gender-equal” (Flood, ed. Tarrant, 216). Flood explains through statistical research that women who do go through with a restraining order are doing so as a last-resort to safeguard from extreme violence. Furthermore, men who are the victims of domestic violence are more likely to be assaulted by other men; Flood states, a “four-year study of admissions to the Emergency Department of a Missouri hospital found… over 8000 men who had been assaulted,… only 45 men were injured by… intimate female partners… representing 0.55[%]… of male assault visits…. Boys and men are most at risk of physical harm from other boys and men” (Flood, ed. Tarrant, 217).

The third impact the father’s rights movement has on violence against both men and women, is its goal to “erode the protections available to victims of domestic violence and to boost the rights and freedoms of alleged perpetrators” (Flood, ed. Tarrant, 217). The movement is aiming to breakdown the public response to victims of domestic violence and reduce the readily viable options for those in need of protection and assistance from perpetrators of abuse. Father’s rights groups approach the topics of domestic and sexual violence, “the same way as actual male perpetrators: They minimize and deny the extent of this violence, blame the victim, and explain the violence as mutual or reciprocal” (Flood, ed. Tarrant, 217).

Through his work, Michael Flood reveals the true nature of men’s rights and father’s rights movements which aim to “control mothers’ management of finances, parenting, and contact… [fueling] interparental conflict, leading to more problems with contact and further stress for children” (Flood, ed. Tarrant, 218). Michael Flood explains that we as a whole must help men who are facing these stress inducing situations and help them – in positive and constructive ways – maintain connection to their children as good fathers. Flood states, “We must step up efforts to engage men in positive ways, building partnerships with supportive men and men’s groups and with the women’s movements. All this is part of a broader profeminist effort, to build a world of gender justice" (Flood, ed. Tarrant, 219). 

What Is Happening to Our Boys?

When it comes to education, boys are falling behind. Boys' grades are lower than girls' grades. Their dropout rate is 25% higher than girls. And less boys are going onto college after they graduate high school. What is the problem? Some suggest that boys and girls learn differently, and that our currently curriculum are more in tune to the ways girls learn. Some suggest we need more male teachers in elementary education.
I worked in a VPK classroom for two years, and before that I worked in a toddler classroom. It wasn't primary education, but I did notice a lot about little boys. More often than not, they would get criticized for moving too much. The games and imaginary play they wanted to do was discouraged. There was never enough sensory play for them. Boys were constantly pushed to be physical but at the same time punished for it. I felt that boys had so many mixed signals being sent to them.
Currently, I volunteer in elementary aged classrooms. I am so encouraged by one of the teachers I volunteer with. He is an older military veteran that currently teaches second grade. I think it is so wonderful for the children in his class. So often boys are only surrounded by one or two parental men in their lives. In family structures, fathers are usually only brought into the conversation about their child's education when there is a problem. (The school I volunteer with has already had multiple events trying to get the dads more involved in school.) Could this be solved by boys having more support surrounding their education? I think so. 

Does Movember bringing awareness to cancer or masculinity?

For anyone that doesn't know, November is prostate cancer awareness month. Men are encouraged to grow mustaches and beards hence the name Movember (November + mustache). I read an article that included an insightful conversation about how the concept of Movember does much more harm than good.

Movember Mustache Campaign for Prostate Cancer is Misguided

The article made a great point about how the campaign focuses on the ability to grow a beard and completely avoids actually talking about prostates and prostate cancer. They also talked about the campaign's irrational need to heavily emphasize gender in the same way breast cancer awareness does. The campaign essentially pushes the notion that embracing masculinity somehow saves lives and honors people affected by prostate cancer. In addition, instead of having the month be about men being honest and vulnerable about the disease, that opportunity is taken away from them in favor of encouraging "bros to be bros for a month".

I agree with the points brought up in the article. I think cancer awareness should always be about focusing on the disease and saving lives. I feel like people walk around joking about "No Shave November" but really have no idea what it's for. The month should be spent educating people with prostates about getting check ups and about the gland in general. Mustaches are completely irrelevant.

What do you all think? Do you think the campaign is doing it's job or do you think it distracts from the original cause of bringing awareness to prostate cancer?