Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Male Entitlement

We've all heard the phrase male entitlement before, but what does it really mean and how does it relate to masculinity? Male entitlement refers to the idea that men are owed sex because of their maleness. This phenomenon has become particularly relevant in the past few years as the rhetoric of the "friend zone" and being a "nice guy" has become common. The phrase "friend-zoned" refers to when someone (usually a woman) rejects romantic or sexual advances from someone (usually a man) and instead insists that their relationship remain platonic. While this phrase may seem harmless, the underlying implications are that men are entitled to sex and to have a platonic relationship with women is somehow punishment. While dealing with a whiny friend-zoned nice guy is certainly annoying, for most of us it is nothing more than an awkward inconvenience. However, some of us are not so lucky. The idea of male entitlement combined with how we socialize men to react to rejection with violence can be a deadly combination.

 Rodger small.png

On May 23rd 2014 Elliot Rodger went on a shooting spree in California, killing six and injuring fourteen others. In a video Rodger posted the day before the shooting, he stated that his motivation for the mass shooting was that he had been rejected by women and because of this they (and the men they slept with) deserved to die. In his video Rodger calls himself a nice guy and says that women only date assholes. Let me repeat that one more time. A mass murderer called himself a nice guy. Rodger and so many other men are brainwashed to believe that if women reject them it is not something that is wrong with them, it must be that something is wrong with women, or with society that tells women they should only be attracted to "manly men". This defensiveness allows these men to believe that they really are nice guys. I believe this is summed up pretty well by the scene in the film "The Social Network" when a woman tells a man "you're going to go through life thinking that girls don't like you because you're a nerd. And I want you to know, from the bottom of my heart, that that won't be true. It'll be because you're an asshole."
We socialize our men to believe that they deserve women, and if women reject them violence often results. To stop this trend we must begin to change the way we portray positive relationships between men and women. We must show that women are autonomous and that men are not entitled their bodies, their love or their friendship. We must discourage the use of phrases like "friend-zoned" and "but I'm a nice guy!" that undermine the autonomy of women and portray them as objects to be won.

To read more about the harmful effects of male entitlement, check out this article!

West is West analysis

I have recently watched a movie called West Is West for my World Literature class. While I had to focus on the aspects of assimilation and diaspora while watching the film, I couldn't help but think about my Theories of Masculinity course and how it has slipped into most of the aspects of my life outside of class. I instantly saw the lives of the women in the film as a theme of interest. This man George had a wife and daughters in Pakistan. He moved to England to get a job and make more money and while over there, he remarried an English woman. There he had three sons and didn't return to his family in Pakistan for about 15 years. The roles of both women were surprising and traditional at the same time. The Pakistan wife comments to her ex husband and says, "I didn't know if you still thought of us as your family. You took another wife. That is your right". It is the husband's right to leave his family and start a new one. This revelation shocked me but it is a custom in their culture that the man can make whatever decision he chooses. The English wife was not aware that he was already married when they got married. She decides to let him go back to Pakistan with their youngest son and he was only supposed to be gone for a month. He doesn't return for another 3 months so she goes to find him herself and is appalled to find out that he spent all of their money to build a house in Pakistan for his family there. All of this is to say that it reminds me of theories that we have read in class. It reminds me that these traditions that women have to follow whatever the man says and does are detrimental to the woman's well being mentally. It makes me think that if these men had watched and read movies like Tough Guise or things that are said in the rap industry, maybe families wouldn't be destroyed or treated indifferently.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Genderless Scouts?

In this article from the New York Times, there is introduced a notion that I find fabulously ironic.

Five girls in Santa Rosa are insisting on entrance into the regional Boy Scout troop, after having attempted the Girls Scouts in their area and found it not as exciting as they'd like. Some arguments made by parents I find quasi-legitimate, such as the idea of shared tents with both boys and girls, which may actually pose distractions for adolescents, but is easily navigable. Same for the argument that insists the girls  will take all of the leadership positions, leaving the boys to fall behind. Easily navigable.

These arguments are just far too heteronormative for my taste, especially the comment made by a scout leader which stated, "Maybe their approach should have been to go to the Girl Scouts and say: Instead of painting our nails and clipping our — whatever they do — to do archery and do climbing. Going through that process.” 

I particularly love this, especially since we just finished a module which featured a small segment in Tough Guise that demonstrated how hyper masculine, anti-gay and "man boxed" the Boy Scouts were intended to be. Maybe the inclusion of girls will highlight and compliment the different forms of masculinity, rather than the system now which appears to promote only one type. 

If it worked in Parks and Recreation, where the boys wanted to join the Pawnee Goddesses, why shouldn't it work for Santa Rosa? 

Syrian Refugee vs. White Male Violence

With all the discussion on Syrian Refugees by the US media, politicians and other various entities, it was interesting to listen to an interview by MSNBC with the Mayor of Dallas, Mike Rawlings, where safety of Dallas citizens was being discussed in relation to his belief that Syrian refugees should be permitted to enter the country, and the state of Texas.  I bring this discussion up as the Mayor made quite an observation regarding violence and those we should be more concerned with. 

During the interview he noted the depth and extent of the 21 step process for a refugee to gain legal status before entering the U.S.  The reporter asked if the Mayor understood why U.S. citizens were afraid of the violence that could accompany Syrian refugees, to which he responded that he was very concerned with the safety of his fellow citizens however, he was “more fearful of large gatherings of young white men; that come into schools, theatres and shoot people up.  But, we don’t isolate young white men on this issue” (MSNBC) of violence. 

This statement struck a nerve after reading the article on Boys, masculinity and school violence: reaping what we sow, by Sandy white Watson.  In this article she references 17 instances over 9 years (1997 -2006) of 19 young white men who committed murder and mayhem at various schools within the U.S. During their violent rampages, a total of 49 people were murdered and 45 were injured. These statics do not take into account more recent mass shootings in academic settings such as Sandy Hook Elementary School (2012), Umpqua Community College (2015), etc.

It appears that certain segments of our society are marginalizing men who have Muslim beliefs and look Arabic versus reflecting on the issues which plague our society in terms of masculine violence across the board, including the invisible white male who often flies under the radar.


MSNBC. 21 Nov. 15.  Web

Don't Sneak

The dichotomies of different forms of masculinity are apparent in this sweet Story Corps animated short.

If anyone is unfamiliar with Story Corps, it is an organization partnered with NPR that aims to preserve America's stories. In this short, The Saint of Dry Creek, Patrick Haggerty talks with his daughter about how Haggerty slowly came to terms with his homosexuality and how his father aided in the process.

Patrick and his father appear to occupy different forms of masculinity but they are not what they seem. Charles, Haggerty's father, is a farmer, the quintessential man. Strong and hardworking, but as the short demonstrates, emotionally attentive to his son and his understanding for his son's sexual orientation. Patrick makes reference to his attempts to "be as much of a man as he could be" by throwing his weight and chucking hay bales, relying on physicality to define his masculinity. Charles instead, insists, "Don't sneak" because "it will ruin your eternal soul".  Essentially, be confident in who you are.

Emotional wisdom dropped from a dairy farmer. Love it.

Thinx: Period-Proof Underwear for Men

As many individuals may have noticed, based upon Facebook ads featuring fruits that look not-so-ironcially similar to female genitalia, there is a company who has designed period proof underwear.

Already the company had my attention, for their forward-thinking decision to boldly display such ads that some found too "offensive" for the public Subway. The debate is examined in this article, and compared to a far less tasteful and significantly more offensive subway advertisement displaying a women's full bosom and price for breast augmentation. But this is an argument for a different time.

The tag line for most of the advertisements stated, "Underwear for women with periods." While I understand the reason for the sentiment, as it's all-inclusive (what woman doesn't have periods?) they quickly realized a flaw in their plane, and were also swayed by people who wrote in to inform them of a certain fact. Some men have periods too!

So here we are. Underwear for MEN with periods. Deal with it.

Monday, November 23, 2015

"This Ad is Gender Neutral", But is it Also Just a Marketing Scheme?

Today I was walking through the mall with my boyfriend when I stopped dead in my tracks. Forever 21's new in store advertisement featured a very androgynous model sporting the new looks, and I was thrilled. Recently, while scrolling the internet looking at the latest holiday trends, I had seen a similar ad by Diesel, which stated "this ad is gender neutral' as can be seen above. I was naturally thrilled as well, but upon giving it more thought, I began having my doubts. While doing a little more research on Diesel specifically I came upon some pretty horrific, blatantly sexist ads from there past, which honestly, is to be expected from advertising.
I love fashion. All fashion. And I love people who love fashion. All people, because I believe fashion is for everyone and it doesn't matter what gender you are. Having said that, I have my cynicism and issues with the industry, for obvious reasons. This includes everything that encompasses 'the industry", from designers and labels, to specific stores, even to the minds behind marketing, photographers and the modeling industry, for obvious reasons. So while I'm ecstatic to have more ads that are gender neutral, something that could potential shift our ideals of what it is to be masculine, feminine, or even of gender in general, I can only ask myself is this truly is the future or just a fad. Is the industry simply making these moves to market and make money, or do they truly care about the very important social statements they're making? Do they truly care about the multitudes of individuals who will be affected by this? My only hope is that it will inspire more ads like it and that they're here to stay in the long run.  

Taking Responsibility for How We Raise our Boys (and Girls).

A while back while scrolling through my Facebook I found a link to an article written by a mother who declared she refused to call herself a feminist for the sake of her son. At the time, I was questioning my own identification with feminism, simply because I was having a hard time finding my place or my voice with certain supposedly 'feminist' individuals on campus. I was searching for validation to either claim the name, or just claim something else altogether. Even then, in all my anger and frustration, I knew this article had gotten something wrong, it was completely missing the point.
The module on violent masculinity, specifically Sandy White Watson's paper: Boy's, masculinity and school violence: reaping what we sow, brought this experience and this article back up in my mind. Upon reading it again it suddenly clicked to me what was so wrong about it, and what so many people get wrong and as a result give up on feminism. Many of the points in the article focus on the fact that they want their boys to grow up to treat women right and be nice, and smile and be 'gentlemen'. What the article misses is that they can still do that, by all means please lets teach our children to be kind to one another, but the key word here is respect. Our sons shouldn't put their own desires to be 'nice' and pose their opinions, even if they are positive, on a young girl if she doesn't want it, and that should be respected. There is an underlying notion in the article that completely erases the realities of what its like to be a girl, and completely undermines the issues that we are very much fighting for.
In a specific part of the article the author complains that her son shouldn't be branded a potential rapist simply because he has a penis. I don't even know where to begin with how problematic this is. In this particular instance I recall how Watson discusses that it is our duty as parents to make a change in how we raise our children, but how hard it can be. This is a perfect example. It's not about ones specific son being attacked, its about recognizing the truth of the society we live in and educating our children on how to be prepared and change this climate. It's this exact defensiveness that leaves no room for conversation of change, which is truly sad. Our children can grow up to be the kindest, non threatening individuals, but as they say for bystanders in cases of victimization, if you're not helping the victim, you're ultimately helping the perpetrator.
While I do offer some slack to the author, as it's completely normal to feel this way especially regarding someone you love deeply, my sympathy wears off quite a bit when they continue to actually bash on women and young girls subtly, but enough to notice, throughout the article.

Check out the article here

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Boys DON'T Cry

Today I was at the grocery store and I saw a young boy around the age of 7. The toddler was with his father and he slipped and scraped his knee on the ceramic floor. He then looked at his father with pain and hurt in his eyes. The little boy tried so hard to hold back his tears but could not stop himself from crying. His father picked him up and said "boy you better wipe those tears..BOY DON'T CRY!"  How many of you have ever heard the saying "boys don't cry?"....This statement began to make me think.....

"If boys don't cry what do they do?

No one is immune to pain so what do boys to when they are hurt?

Why are they not allowed to be human?"

It is dehumanizing to impose this statement on any person. "Boys who don't cry" are more likely tp grow up and become angry men who are desensitized to pain and use anger as a coping method to pain. Men are so often locked in this prison of silence to where they are forced to dehumanize their emotions and become monsters all in the name of "manhood." I believe this is why men are perceived as violent creatures.  

Here's What It Really Takes For A Man To Be A Feminist

I recently watched a video by YouTubers Allison Raskin and Gaby Dunn where they answered the question can men be feminists. I found their answer to be partially great and partially not so great. 

Let me start with the not so great answers. For one they said feminism is about equality for women. Even though of course this is true they failed to mention that feminism is a movement for all genders, which also includes men, into their answer. I found this answer faulty because for one they do not talk about feminism being there for transgender and non-binary people and helping the fight for us. I found it particularly irksome that on a video talking about feminism in regards to men they failed to mention how feminism positively impacts men. They gave no example of allowing men to be themselves without having to fit into a masculine man box and them actively fighting homophobia, transphobia, etc. Another thing that I wasn't particularly fond of was the fact that they kept saying women but didn't even include transgender women who are also women into their answer. I felt like there was a lot of erasure going on with this answer and I was not fond of that. Lastly, they said that "men shouldn't be leaders of feminism" I COMPLETELY disagree with this statement because if there are feminist male leaders it can definitely build a more cohesive membership with men involved. Men and people of other genders are crucial to a movement for equality that everyone is affected by so I think it is mutually beneficial for feminism to have leaders of all types of gender identities. 

Now for the answer I did like was that they mentioned how men shouldn't over power women's voices. Like I stated above feminism isn't only for women but I'm just going off the answer they gave. Gender wise we know that women are the oppressed group in society so the concerns they have to voice are necessary. It is important to listen to groups that are reaching out to express grievances on how they are treated in society and all of the inequalities that are faced by the oppressor. They said men shouldn't be telling women how they should feel and what they should be expressing because since they are not the ones facing the same issues, they should not be over powering the marginalized group. I agree completely that space for a particular group should be developed so that those people who are directly affected by oppression can speak out and have their concerns heard. I also want to point out that they are not saying men shouldn't say anything, they are saying that a true ally stands by and listens to those they are supporting and also advocated for them, but not to take up the space of those who suffer from the oppression they are fighting against. 

I could not add the video into this post but click here to watch it. Tell me what you think!

What kind of man is man enough for me?

For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be someone's wife.  I always wanted to be married.  On some levels, I think I have equated marriage to happiness.  When I did get married, it was not really what I had dreamed it would be.  My wedding was nice enough, and really went off without a hitch (even though my mother in law did all she could to ruin it).  However, the problems started at the reception and got progressively worse.  I ended up divorcing my husband on our first anniversary, and then remarrying him 10 months after that.  I know, that makes no sense.  I thought I was doing the right thing for my children, but soon, even they were vocal about the need for us to separate and divorce for good.

In recent years, I have wrestled with the idea of marrying again.  I have not given up on finding the great love of my life.  The strange thing is though, that I am so conflicted in what it is that I want in the man with whom I will share the rest of my life.  I want him to be strong and dominant, but still sensitive and compassionate towards others.  I want him to be educated and have a plan for his life and where he wants to go...but I also want him to be flexible and spontaneous.  I want him to be able to comfortably fit in the boardroom and the hood spades tournament.  I want him to love to travel, but be very comfortable staying at home.  I want him to have a life outside of our relationship, but I also want us to be each other's best friend.

Today, I was challenged by a guy who expressed interest in me.  He asked me the question that became the title of this post.  A lot of the things that I want, I have figured out, are connected to masculinity stereotypes that I have held to for what seems like my whole life.  In order to answer the question I have to consider what things are hard and fast rules, which ones am I willing negotiate on and which ones am I willing to let go all together.  My answer is simply, "I don't know."

My childhood crush crushed my heart

When I was 6 years old, I received an Aaron Carter CD. It quickly became my most prized possession and I listened to it every day. When I heard he was performing in Orlando for free, I quickly made plans to attend the show and knew that my younger self would be so proud. Of course, he performed the songs I loved as a child, but he also performed some new ones. He started by saying "you guys grew up, so now I'm growing up." I expected the lyrics to be more "adult" and to have a sexual tone, but what I heard was shocking. The new song he debuted was about a woman who's sex tape he had seen, and he was trying to find her to recreate it. Some lyrics were very unsettling: "don't care if you like it", "don't run away", and especially "you know you'll like it baby". I guess to Aaron Carter, growing up means sexualizing, abusing, and harassing women. As a fan for 15+ years, it's safe to say that "growing up" to me means moving on from Aaron Carter's disgusting, misogynistic world and teaching my younger self to demand respect.

This is What a Feminist Looks Like

     I think we all remember the trending image of Benedict Cumberbatch wearing a t-shirt with the text, "This is what a feminist looks like."

     I remember how excited my fellow feminist friends were to start seeing celebrities bring awareness to the feminist movement and make it less of a taboo. And I can appreciate how celebrities can use their platform to reach a larger and newer audience than the typical feminist circles that seem to be constantly preaching to the choir. 

     That being said, The Guardian posted an interesting article on the negative side of having celebrities take on the label. David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was asked to adorn the same shirt that Cumberbatch is wearing above. He declined, greatly to the author's satisfaction. "Feminism is not just about wishing for women and girls to have the same rights and opportunities as men: it is a movement created to ensure that it happens. It is about actively working with women to change the status quo." 

    While there is nothing wrong, in my opinion, for anyone, celebrities included, to claim the title of feminist, they should only do so if they are actually working towards the goals of feminism. David Cameron, an individual who has not put women's rights as a focus, would not qualify to take the title. Feminism should not be a "cool" thing to do because celebrities are doing it, and just be seen as a title that people can take on and off as they please. It should be an active lifestyle fighting towards social change. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Tax on Tampons

I was recently just informed about this growing movement in the UK, in which women are protesting the tax on tampons in front of the Parliament building. Currently in the UK there is a 5% tax on tampons, and the women who initiated this protest are trying to show that tampons/pads are not luxury items, even though they are being taxed as so. The reason that this protest is gaining so much publicity and momentum is because they are protesting in the form of “free-bleeding”. These women are refusing the use of feminine hygiene products to raise awareness. Certain items that are considered essential items, like baby items are tax exempt; while these necessary products are still being taxed.

            I think that this is a very different yet interesting way of protesting this tax on tampons. It is great that these women are comfortable enough with their womanhood to stand out public protesting. There has been some negative reactions from people, as that is somewhat understandable. But talking about the fact that these items are necessary for anyone who experiences menstruation (as this is not just strictly a women’s issue), is important to spread the messages. As a woman, we need to purchase tampons when we are menstruating as it is a natural bodily process that we have no control over. But making women have to pay an extra 5% tax to handle this naturally occurring function is almost like a punishment. I’m sorry that I don’t have control over this, but don’t make me spend even more money on this. This issue is also important for those women who cannot afford to buy tampons because of the extra taxes on them. I thought that this was an interesting topic and way of protesting a tax on tampons. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Invisible Bisexual Man


There's a tricky double standard when it comes to bisexuality in our society. While some people question the existence of bisexuality all together, others suggest that only women can be bisexual. This gender-essentialist view on bisexuality may seem absurd to those of us who have studied the fluid nature of both gender and sexuality; yet the validity of male bisexuality is still being hotly debated, even in academic and scientific settings. Much to the relief of bisexual men, a recent study has suggested that male bisexuals do in fact exist. Shocking, right? But can we really be surprised by our society's denial of male bisexuality in light of how we condition masculinity? In our society, we condition men to never show weakness, feminine qualities, and especially not affection towards other men. The only exemption to these rules is if you are gay, and even then you are viewed as less of a man. So when a man dares to admit that he is attracted to other men, he is viewed as less of a man, less able to dominate women, less masculine. Once a man admits to liking other men it is as if all other aspects of his identity don't matter and he is put into a box as being not a "real man". So if our definition of masculinity includes not being attracted to men, how can bisexual men hold any other masculine traits? We know that men are not as simple as our society tells us they are. Men have emotions, they can cry, and yes, they can even like other men. This does not invalidate other aspects of their identity nor does it prevent them from being attracted to women. The erasure of bisexual men is very harmful in that it causes bisexual men to question the validity of their own identity and that is something that no one should have to struggle with.

Read more about the erasure of bisexual men here.

Rape Culture intertwined with American Culture

I was planning on blogging about Robin Thicke’s song Blurred Lines, because of its highly controversial status because of a seemingly dark theme of rape. I then stumbled across this article talking about Rape Culture and how it has become integrated into our society. We are exposed to Rape Culture in movies, video games, T.V., pornography, and the internet; but the scary part is that because it is so much a part of our society we have become desensitized to it. This poem stresses “Rape no longer knows closed doors or dark alleyways, it’s assimilated into our daily routines”. When I stumbled upon this article there was a poem written about it that talks about Rape Culture in American society and I can honestly say this was one of the most powerful poems I have ever listened to.
The women behind this piece of powerful poetry do not sugarcoat the situation. They give extremely alarming statistics such as, 1 in 5 women will be a victim of rape or sexual assault. The statistic that hit the hardest was; that nationwide there are over 400,000 unprocessed rape kits in police storage units. How can such a horrific crime be just pushed to the side as if it is irrelevant? 
“From birth American culture teaches children which gender they will be, the perpetrator or the victim”. This definitely correlates with the movement to end men’s violence against women. We teach young boys they need to be aggressive, powerful, controlling, and dominant. If we are teaching young boys these are the characteristics they must possess to be considered a man, how can we deny the Rape Culture present? It sounds like we are promoting and teaching boys that rape is okay, because those are the characteristics one must have to be a man. Below is the link to the poem.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

'Every Breath We Drew' Photo Book Explores Identity, Desire And Connection

Every Breath We Drew is a photo book by Jess Dugan. Dugan wanted to show that the notions of masculinity can be ambigious and doesn't have to always be just the type that is always shown, in her own words "gentle masculinity." She decided to take photos of people, with a focus primarily on female-to-male transgender, because she is " interested in a version of masculinity that is more expansive, and more vulnerable, than the kind often represented in mainstream culture." She wants to hear how other people define masculinity and what it means to them.

This picture in particular stood out to me because I never would have thought that a transgender man would want to get pregnant. I always understood that pregnancy was the essence of a women and it is such a feminine event. But this made me understand that yes to some people to may be in reality it's more about giving birth to a new life. Regardless of your gender you are the person who is giving someone else a brand new life and raising them and that has nothing to do with your gender.

Head here if you want to see more of the project

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Power of the P!

What exactly is the "power of the P"?

My first time seeing a penis was in middle school. I watched a porn flick with  some friends. Although I had no idea how a penis looked I knew it was associated with dominance and  power. Notice how in pornography everything is centered around the male penis. The penis has the ability to make sex a painful or pleasurable experience. Society places the male penis on a superior pedestal in comparison to female genitals. Physiological feminine traits are seen as beautiful and natural. However, the male penis makes people feel uncomfortable. In some cultures masculinity is defined by the size of male genitals. The power of the "P" is defined by the dominance and power that is given to the male penis.

Monday, November 16, 2015

What It Means To Be A Man In 2015: Bloggers Share Their Thoughts On Masculinity

           This is an interesting article I found when I looked up masculinity. In this article men give their opinion on what it actually means to be a guy in 2015. One example is the previous notion that men babysit their child. This means that when a single dad is with his child, many onlookers might think he is babysitting his child. It makes no sense because it is impossible to babysit your own child. Men who are stay at home dads receive backlash for doing this. People still find this strange. It also talks about how men are trained to not express any emotions. “Men are trained to be instinctively hesitant to express any emotion or enact any behavior understood to be antithetical to their masculinity, which in turn is perceived as the defining feature of both their worth and their identity”. It’s important to change the way people perceive masculinity. 

If you want to read the article you can find it listed below:

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Bisexual Makeup Tutorial

      Bisexuality is often a hush-hush side of sexuality. While homosexuality is becoming more norm and accepted, people still seem to have the desire to put people into the homosexuality and heterosexuality binary. Are they straight or are they gay? Those are the only two widely accepted options. This creates an uncomfortable situation for those who don't fit inside of the sexuality binary, including those who identify as bisexual. Bisexuality is very much a sexual orientation and should start to be talked about more in our society.

     Amy Geliebter created a satirical and hilarious youtube video titled "Bisexual Makeup Tutorial." Staged like a normal youtube-style makeup tutorial, Amy goes through her entire makeup routine while pointing out the ways that bisexuals aren't accepted or acknowledged in our society.

The video can be found here:Bisexual Makeup Tutorial

18 Annoying Features All Men Hate About Women

My friend sent me the link to think article today. It's written by a woman, which is sad, but not altogether unexpected. There are a lot of reasons why women hate women, even one who tells other women to love themselves. As she states in her article, "Women should stop trying so hard to impress one another and begin to work harder on impressing themselves." I have a lot of problems with the article, starting with why men think that it's okay to dictate what a women wears, or does with her body. Katina Goulakos, the author, writes "Men accept women for their individuality and their flaws, it is women who do not accept each other for their differences." I rolled my eyes so hard they fell out of my head. In what world have men ever been accepting of women for their flaws? Their fragile 'masculinity' picks out everything wrong with a women, and then they try and change it. The best man in the world will look at a girl who is beautiful and seemingly perfect, and could still tell you something wrong. This list just highlights it. Hair extensions, because the only reason a woman could possibly want to wear them is to impress other women. The article also talks about how no man wants a woman to take off fake hair at night. Some people just can't grow hair! Or there could be another reason a woman would want to wear them, like maybe because she likes the way they look, and she should be able to feel beautiful, if that's what makes her feel beautiful. Nail art is another thing on the list, and it disparages women who go out  and spend money on it, citing that most men are money conscious and can't see why a woman would want to waste money of such a useless thing. Meanwhile, it's perfectly fine to go out and buy a $60 video game. Big sunglasses are apparently deceitful, because they can hide the fact that you have a hangover. Big hats, on the other hand, are proof that a woman is 'trying to hard.' As the author says, "Big hats can be super cool – for women they work well at the beach or while driving shotgun down the coast in a sexy convertible. Other than that, there is really no reason to be wearing a big hat, especially since men hate them. " Another thing is big hands! Something you can't control! What is it about a girl with bigger hands makes a man feel inferior? Maybe it's the 'man box', where a man must be bigger, and tougher and stronger than his little lady, but really? This whole list is ridiculous. Women don't live their life and make fashion choices to get a man, though there is nothing wrong with those who do. But don't make women who have big hands, or like red lipstick and liquid eyeliner feel bad, because one man may not like it. You can read the article yourself here 

Friday, November 13, 2015

'Boys will be Boys' and Comments On The Man Box

     A previous post by a fellow peer discussed the tired old saying that 'boys will be boys' and how it manifested itself in college fraternity members. The saying is one that I heard before and never really thought too much about. After reading the post however, it reminded of a day not too long ago in which I was enjoying a day of with family at one of the Disney Water Parks. I was laziying along in the lazy river, when a group of young kids, about middle school age, suddenly ended up next to me. They were laughing and enjoying themselves and it actually pleased me to see that the one female in the group seemed not to care and was acting just as loud and boisterous.
     At one point, a few of the boys who were stacking inner tubes, knocked them over purposely and suddenly they were tumbling down on top of me. I didn't mind, I actually laughed, what made me stop and think however is how they reacted. The boys in the group acted like nothing happened and kept on playing while the girl swam over to help remove the tubes and apologized. At first I thought, of course boys will be boys, after all their in middle school, and at that moment I realized how wrong the situation was and how early we train young boys and girls to fit into gender roles. These young boys were already learning how to become unapologetic and earn their place in the man box.
     This led me to further think about the damage that the man box does. As we already know it assumes that anything outside the man box is female and feminine, and since anything outside the man box is inherently unfavorable and bad, that being feminine or female are unfavorable and bad. The box also places females at the submissive side of the binary cultivating a culture of violence.
     The box is also harmful, however, because it completely erases non-binary identities and as a result, because it can be seen as an 'other', breeds intolerance and therefore violence which is actually a large problem in the community. While the A Call to Men campaign is doing great work, I believe at some point we need to take it even further and include not just violence against women but violence towards these specific groups in general.


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Masculinity and Violence - The Alpha and Beta Males

I came across an article that brings up the conflict that males sometimes face in relation to their association with masculinity and at the same time it speaks to gun violence, in particular the recent shootings in Oregon.  Actually the article did not target just the Oregon shootings but in fact looked at “why” these crimes are occurring at an alarming rate in the U.S.   We all know that easy access to weapons and mental illness are often discussed as leading contributors to mass shootings but could there possibly be some other common factor?  Soraya Chemaly, who is a writer for the Huffington Post, actually came up with an interesting idea which speaks to masculinity and the way certain males view themselves. 
 As we read, “Masculinity is constructed, is built up through ideology, domination, practice, language and other related elements” (Reeser, 51), so how does this play into Chemaly’s article.  The term she uses to describe the desired level of masculinity relates to the Alpha male.  The American Alpha male is perceived as someone who displays outward strength due to his body structure, has sexual prowess, is in control of his emotions, overall he is culturally the epitome of true masculinity.  He achieves this level of masculinity by being in direct opposition to his counterpart, the Beta male.   A Beta male is someone who is sensitive, he is overly emotional, he is too nice, too protective and not viewed as sexy.  The Beta male displays traits that are considered more effeminate and thereby, all in all he is the opposite of the Alpha male. 
 Chemaly, focuses on a fringe group of Beta males who are now lashing out, or rebelling, against the perceptions society has of them, and in fact of the way they view themselves within the realm of masculinity.  In so, they are blaming women for their imagined shortcomings, particularly in the area of feeling inadequate and less desirable than the Alpha male.   A key element of masculinity is dominance and this is often achieved through violence.  Chemaly notes this is what the fringe group of Beta males are turning to, to achieve empowerment and control.  How better to dominate than with fear?  In using guns, which are a very masculine prop, it gives these men a sense of male a sense of empowerment.  No one would question his authority with a gun in hand.  This is exactly the manner in which this group of males are trying to change the image that they have of themselves and to wreaked havoc on a society that has, in their eyes, devalued them as not being masculine enough.
In her article, Chemaly gives considerable discussion to the fact that the majority of the mass shootings have been carried out by white males and have taken place where there will be a predominately number of females present. 

Chemaly, Soraya. “Mass Killings in the US: Masculinity, Masculinity, Masculinity.”  Huffington Post, 5 Oct. 2015. Web. 6 Oct. 2015. <>

Reeser, Todd W. Masculinities in Theory: An Introduction. West Sussex: Wiley- Blackwell, 2010

NOTE:  Not sure why I cannot see this blog as it was originally posted on October 10th.