Friday, October 30, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
The recession is many things right now: it's the marketing ploy being used to shill "cheaper" goods. It's the rhetorical trump card in speeches given from the political to social to corporate fronts. It's the word chosen to assigning a foreboding sense of financial hopelessness but we hide behind the comfort that at least it isn't as bad as "depression." Whether you’re being inundated with McDonald’s advertisements trying to shill their dollar menus, those glaring, red “Going out of Business!” signs, or huge corporate insurance companies regurgitating comfort phrases about “weathering the storm,” it is clear that the recession is a pressing matter with an effect on all socioeconomic statuses, races, and genders.
However, if you also enjoy a bit of eye-burning via the vast array of blogs on the internet, an interesting binary is being presented and it is known as the groan-worthy “He-cession.” While “recessionista” would definitely win the award for most annoying neo-economic vernacular offspring, the “He-cession” is making more blog-rolling rounds and finding itself into many mainstream news sources and is a topic that needs to be discussed: is it helping to make sense of statistics or harming gender relationships during an already tough time? Is it a reality that could potentially shift the future of the working men in this country? Will it dismantle gendered occupations like teaching and nursing? And what will the post-New Deal stimulus plan do for the men in this country?
“He-cession” is a term that was coined by David Zincenko, the editor in chief of Men’s Health magazine, in an editorial he wrote for USA Today back in June of this year. Within his op-ed piece, he discusses the “decline of the endangered male” and further his notion that men are suffering in a unique, and perhaps more painful, way due to this recession than women. Zincenko explains that, simply put, men’s jobs are more dangerous. Statistically, men make up the majority of those injured on the job with, particularly in the risky industries like mining and manufacturing. Additionally, he cites the Iraq War as another element of injury (psychologically, physically) and death for men, with 98% of those wounded being male.
A seemingly obvious statistic, Zincenko uses these two points as support of combinational issues that ultimately result in another life-or-death challenge for men: 36.8 million American adults lack health insurance, and 56% of them are men. With men also having a shorter life expectancy Zincenko claims that men need payback and, like the White House Council on Women and Girls that Obama brought with himself into office, men and boys need that kind of program in place. Zincenko’s overarching claim appears to be this: This recession is affecting men more than women, and their very livelihood is at stake. Zincenko doesn’t specifically blame anyone but the system (but implies that women are more so winning in this situation) that has somehow brought men into this place, and explores the topic in a rather shallow way. However, this gave birth to “He-cession” and its following dissection and discussion.
While Zincenko paints men as victims, Reihan Salam decides to go in another direction entirely in his article for Foreign Policy magazine entitled “The Death of Macho.” In his article, Salam breaks down the recession and puts the blame on men, and the solution in women – cautioning of a seismic shift in gender and work that could either nurture egalitarian or disastrous outcomes for the typical male/female dichotomy. Salam discusses the “housing bubble” as an example, blaming men for one of the most impactful mistakes on the United States’ economy. It was devised by real estate and banks (those of the investment banking variety often run by men and prone to engaging in “aggressive, risk-seeking behavior”) and ended up employing construction workers (a field overwhelmingly occupied by men).
Salam also shows the beacons of hope that lie within women leaders bringing the world out of this globalized recession. Salam discusses Iceland’s strategy of electing the world’s first openly lesbian leader, Halla Tomasdottir, as their prime minister, a woman who was the head of one of Iceland’s “solvent banks,” which are noted to be more pragmatic and logical in economic terms, than more market-based and gambling investment banks. Lithuania also elected its first woman president: Dalia Grybauskaite, a female economist. In support of this trend and post-Salam’s article, Elinor Ostrom became the first female to win a Nobel Prize for economics this past fall.
Salam suppositions a major shift to be necessary, especially since the current stimulus plan is going toward social services instead of infrastructure (like in the Great Depression/New Deal era) which means this recession/potential depression has no precedent and will have to incite true change in regards to gender and jobs.
So what do these two differing views have to do with the current situation? Well, they’re gendering a global issue that is potentially harmful to see it through such a binary focus. If Climate Change-related talks have taught us anything, it is that splitting groups via victimizer and victim is not conducive, especially in a time where everyone, in some way (whether they lost their job or their favorite store has closed), is being affected. Sure there may be a clear male dominating presence within corporations and investment banking, but women still constitute the majority of the voting populace. Men may be losing their jobs more rapidly, with a figure purporting a staggering 78% of losses held by men, but women are still making somewhere between 77 and 78 cents on the dollar and suffer additional pay penalties if they’ve ever taken breaks from employment to raise children. (Lisa Belkin: “The New Gender Gap”)
While it might be convenient to separate this issue by gender, it is unfair, illogical, and irresponsible: no one is winning here. On a global level the U.N. reports that, as an aggregate, more women are carrying the burden and losing the majority of jobs during this economic downturn. Relegating women to the simple role of “recessionista consumer” and men as “responsible and stalwart,” drawing parallels between masculinity and employment are also dangerous tactics used by many companies within advertisement. It is clear that with less manufacturing work (no houses need to be built in this market, out-sourcing continues), men will have to move toward more female work to thrive, and household dynamics may need to temporarily change as women retain their employment security. Advertisements already exist in print to bring men to fields like Nursing, and this appears to be the immediate next step to brace from further recession-related impacts. With the majority of federal stimulus funds going to industries like health and public services, this may be the time to employ that “aggressive” masculine behavior Salam seems to believe in towards helping others with just as much tenacity and interest. If men choose to not “woman up” and move toward typically female fields, statistics show that alcoholism (a la Russia’s economic fallout), guilt and household tension will soon begin to drastically rise, and this recession has the potential to turn into a different kind of depression entirely.
The above is a link to the interview with Tyler Perry that aired on 60 mins a few nights ago. During his interview he discusses the "Chitlin' Circuit", which ties into our weeks discussion on men and work. Tyler states "There's this great thing called the 'Chitlin' Circuit,' which I started my shows on and back in the day when, you know, Ray Charles and Billie Holiday and Duke Ellington, they couldn't get into white establishments, so they went on this circuit and toured. They were huge stars in their own community, you know, and that's pretty much my same story."Here we see an example of the intersections of oppression, Tyler Perry was not accpted in the white media and therefore had to create his own space. This space started when Perry directed his play Diary of A Mad Black Woman. He discusses why he needed to use his own money as needing to be in power. Thus Perry draws the conclusion that having money equals power even in creative feilds.
All in all this interview touches on other aspects that are very interesting: representation of women, men in families, black families, and even brings up the issue Spike Lee has with the Madea charachter.
As some of us will see at Diva Invasion (I can’t even contain my excitement) drag is a performance because it has an audience that is in on the joke, so to speak. All of us watching the fabulousness know that these individuals are “doing” woman very convincingly (or at least, that is the idea). The very fact that they are convincing us despite the knowledge that they are not women (whatever that means) is what points to the idea that gender is performative.
However, performativity, while there is an audience in the broadest sense of the word, is closer to the notion of “passing” than a performance. So, when someone “passes” on campus, at work (to incorporate this weeks readings), or on the streets etc. is where gender is a doing, a performative. Drag simply shows us that this is so. Butler writes that “drag constitutes the mundane way in which genders are appropriated, theatricalized, worn, and done; it implies that all gendering is a kind of impersonation and approximation” (Imitation and Gender Insubordination, 361). It is in this implication that drag is useful, but drag itself is a performance, not performative.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
That being said, I would like to address that this is the week to speak on “Men and Work” so I would prefer it if within your posts you speak specifically to class because it is not spoken to nearly enough within the feminist movement. Do the readings and focus specifically on the privileges that the authors are both accepting and denying within class boundaries. Think about class labels (upper/middle/lower/untouchable/all others) and how you do identify and do not identify within them. Also, think about the intersections within race, sexuality, gender identity, ethnicity, ability, political identification, religion and other varying ways we identify ourselves as they relate specifically to class issues. And, dissect the ways that masculinities are played out among varying class lines and discuss the ways that all genders perform these masculinities.
Also, please keep in mind that, we all are assuming some sort of class privilege by being able to sit in a college classroom, discuss these things, and have a computer/internet access in order to participate in this realm of the course as well.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Peep it: http://specials.msn.com/A-List/Male-breast-cancer.aspx?cp-searchtext=Male%20breast%20cancer&FORM=msnsea
Breast cancer strikes men, too. Just ask KISS rocker Peter Criss, who is speaking out about his successful treatment during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Criss joins other male stars who have battled the illness and want you to know the facts.
At the gym in 2007, Criss noticed a lump in his left breast, he told CNN. Doctors removed a cancerous tumor. Criss, 63, got early treatment and is now cancer-free.
Mr. Meow: Famous for his cat face (see photos with and without makeup), Criss was KISS' original drummer. In 2004 he left the band, which is now on tour with a new drummer.
Stats, stat! Male breast cancer
* is most common between ages 60 and 70;
* is 100 times less common than female breast cancer. Why?
* will strike this many American men in 2009; and
* will kill this many in 2009.
Some men hate doctor visits, for many reasons. But as Criss attests, prompt medical attention improves your odds of beating breast cancer. Be alert to these symptoms.
Prevention pointers: Don't drink heavily and do maintain a healthy weight. For some men, doctors may suggest mammograms. Find more male breast-health tips.
Not alone: Other well-known men who faced breast cancer include a former NFL player, a game show announcer and the original star of "Shaft."
Friday, October 23, 2009
Dennis Shepard demonstrates what fatherhood can should mean. Pride in the face of shame, adversity, and hate. Pride and unconditional love for his son who was violtently taken away from his family because his killers we insecure in their own masculinity. We cannot settle for tolerance and we cannot believe that homophobia is a necessary and inevitable characterisitc of being a man (whatever that means). Men can and should be able to support other men's interests and love other men romantically or fraternally without fear of bodily harm or death. Dennis Shepard can tell us that.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
October 31, 2009
Saturday 1:00pm - 1:00am
On Saturday October 31st, there will be a FREE concert/Halloween block party held in the Collegiate Way shopping plaza to help raise money for Animal Safehouse of Brevard. All proceeds raised will be donated to this charitable organization focused on providing shelter, care and love for pets of women in domestic violence shelters.
The fun starts at 1:00pm and will continue late into the night. There will be a host of various daytime activities for the entire family, including a bounce house, incredible raffles, games, best costume competition and performances from some of Orlando’s most talented musicians.
This is a community effort to support an incredible cause as well as bring everyone together for a great fall activity with family and friends.
A few of our featured performances will include; the renowned Jarritt Sheel’s BLU-TET, Peter Baldwin, Rubox, Sterling Schroeder & The Chosen Ones, Alias Punch, and several more surprise appearances! Also, each of the participating sponsors in the plaza will be offering unprecedented sales and discounts on their products and services, all in an effort to assist the Animal Safehouse of Brevard.
So come out, give back, have fun, and discover what your city has to offer!
For additional information, contact Paula at (407) 482-5000.
Natura Coffee & Tea
12078 Collegiate Way
Orlando, FL 32817
Cost: Free Admission
If you have time, is there anyone who is interested in helping:
1- volunteering day of between 1pm-1am
2- going to natura to pick up fliers and passing out palm cards wherever you go from now until Halloween...
3- getting halloween decorations donated for the event...
4- getting anything donated from various businesses for our raffle (email me for donation letter and i will email it back to you).
Also, we still need a cat foster and a dog foster. please email me at
firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help with anything.
If you don't want to volunteer, then just come out and support us! It's gonna be super fun :)
peace. love. and pawprints. ♥ ♥ ♥
The GrrrLs of Animal Safehouse
(p.s. this is for my fathers in advertising assignment).
In my opinion, the most interesting and upsetting/disturbing article we read this week was “What’s Wrong with Fathers Rights?” by Michael Flood. Before I read this article, I had no idea how pervasive and convincing the backlash against feminism truly is. I googled ‘fathers’ rights’ to take a gander at the type of information that is available online that Flood refers to. Upon first glance, these websites appear legitimate, helpful, and even inspirational to fathers who are experiencing divorce and child-custody battles. My parents are divorced, and while reading through these websites I tried to image my dad looking up legal information regarding the right to see me. I know that my own dad was very disconcerted and emotionally/ financial drained during and after my parents’ divorce. I can imagine why a father might seek support. These websites appear to be consoling, sympathetic, and extremely helpful to fathers. This is why, I suppose, men’s and father’s rights groups are so sought out and pervasive.
However, while looking through the websites I encountered the problematic issues that Flood presents. For example, on the website http://www.fathersrightsinc.com/ I found plenty of support for men who have restraining orders against them. Victim-blaming is the most serious problem with these types of groups. This website states, “Bogus restraining order or orders of protection based on false allegations of violence and/or threat is ruining the lives of families across the country!” It goes on to state, “You will learn the real truth behind domestic violence restraining orders how to defend yourself at a restraining order hearing. You'll even learn how to respond to false allegations of domestic violence or sexual abuse. Learn how to neutralize a restraining order or order of protection. Learn what to do if the EX calls 911! Learn what to say to law enforcement if necessary.” The fact that men have legal support to refute the wives/children that they have abused is repulsive. As Flood argues, “The fathers’ rights movement tries to erode the protections available to victims of domestic violence and to boost the rights and freedoms of alleged perpetrators” (216).
We do not need to protect the rights of abusers. We need to protect the rights of domestic violence survivors. When I googled ‘fathers’ rights’, I came up with 14,200,000 results. When I googled ‘battered women's rights’ I found only 910,000 results. WTF?! Why don’t we have more support for women in domestic violence situations? It just goes to show how far feminism has to go and how much work needs to be done. This is why I so dearly appreciate Animal Safehouse and all of the people in this class who work so hard to truly help women in these types of situations. As Flood says, “men’s rights and fathers’ rights groups are hampering progress toward gender equality or pushing it backward” (218).
Violence against women is not taken seriously. While googling ‘battered women’s rights’ I stumbled upon a Female Sexist Joke Forum which provided this little ditty, “What's the first thing a woman does when she gets back from the battered women's clinic? The god damned dishes if she knows what's good for her” (http://www.mustsharejokes.com/page/Sexist+Jokes+About+Women). Researching the fathers’ rights movement and how it impacts the way society views domestic violence has infuriated me. So much so that I need stop typing and go find a cigarette.
Both commercials show fathers with their sons in a nurturing way. The commercials are also for detergent. Now while they don't show the men doing laundry it's still refreshing to see men in a commercial for detergent. We can only hope after he gets his son out of the bath he does a load of laundry of those dirty towels.
Here is the example of men in families that I would like to present in class. I'm posting it to the blog because I might be a little late to class but want to show that I did my work. My first thoughts of the commercial were that it was really great to show men being active in their children s lives. Then upon reading for this week I found that it was a good example of how men are frequently shown as not knowing much about childrearing. Hence in the commercial he did not understand that his son was not concerned with winning however, the mom was calm and collected setting up snacks for the soccer team. It is also an interesting dynamic because he was cheering on his son to beat the other team and to win but the child was just concerned about playing, going to show that a lot of masculine ideals within sport culture are nurtured.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
The Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence and The Florida Council Against Sexual Violence are collaborating with “A Call To Men” to host a Regional Men’s Institute. This 3-day training Institute is designed to provide advanced training to men and women working in domestic and sexual violence prevention, as well as others who would like to become allies in ending violence against women.
For more information about the event, you may visit their website at www.acalltomen.com.
FCADV’s Rural Caucus will host a statewide essay contest to provide scholarships to men
who are interested in attending the conference.
Five (5) $380 scholarships will be awarded to selected contest winners. The scholarships should cover the cost of registration ($100), travel, lodging ($99/ night) and food for the
length of the conference.
1. Applicants must write an essay of no less than 250 words that answers the following questions:
A. Why do you feel you are an ideal candidate for a scholarship to the conference?
B. How will the information obtained at this conference be beneficial to you, your agency and/or your community?
2. Scholarships are available to men only. Registration and lodging will be paid by the FCADV Rural Caucus, the remainder of the scholarship money will be paid to the scholarship winner following attendance of all three days of the Institute.
3. Submit essays to email@example.com, by fax to (352)569-5340 or mail the Rural Caucus at P.O. Box 57, Lake Panasoffkee, FL, 33538. Application must include applicants name and contact information.
4. Deadline for submission is December 1, 2009 at 5PM.
Members of FCADV’s Rural Caucus will vote on all applications and subsequently select the five most suitable candidates to receive scholarships. Winners will be notified on December 16, 2009. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition to this contest, A Call to Men will be offering a limited number of noncompetitive $100 scholarships on a first come, first served basis. Email email@example.com for more information. Essay contest winners will not be eligible for additional scholarships provided by A Call to Men.
Apply for a $380 Scholarship! The FCADV Rural Caucus is a statewide coalition of activists who have an interest in giving a voice to rural survivors of domestic violence. The mission of the Caucus is to help overcome the barriers which are unique to rural survivors of domestic violence through education and advocacy.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
"Michael Kimmel is an author, teacher and activist, and is widely acknowledged as America's most prominent and prolific scholar on masculinity. Kimmel is the author of a staggering number of books, including Men Confront Pornography, The History of Men, The Gendered Society and Manhood in America (noticing a theme?). Most recently, Kimmel's book Guyland examined the lives of young American men. To write it, Kimmel interviewed hundreds of men between the ages of 15 and 25, using their words and his expertise to draw a frightening picture of young American manhood today. Luckily, Kimmel has a one-word solution to the problem: feminism."
Thursday, October 15, 2009
In the recent Senate Defense Appropriations Bill, Senator Al Franken (D - MN) introduced an amendment that aims to punish government-hired private contractors who attempt to keep their employees from bringing workplace sexual assault, battery or discrimination cases to court. This comes in the light of the case of Jones vs. Halliburton/KBR, To read more about this go here:
Jones was an employee for Halliburton in Baghdad, when she was gang-raped by co-workers and put in a shipping container for 3 days without food, water or bed, and in attempt to cover up the incident, the company told her she would be out of work if she not only talked but if she merely sought medical treatment outside of Iraq. Halliburton/KBR claims a mandatory arbitration clause in her employee contract, which would keep employees from seeking justice, just what Franken's amendment intends to end.
The amendment passed, which is great news. We would assume such a decent measure would gain unanimous support, for it does aim (in addition to helping workplace victims) to make government more efficient and less costly and to hold companies and individuals accountable, just for starters, these are respectable bipartisan aims.
The amendment passed 68-30; unsurprisingly no female senators voted against the amendment, nor did any Democrat senator vote against the amendment. You may see where I am going with this. Not to get too partisan, but it is noteworthy to point out one legislator, Senator Jeff Sessions (R - AL), criticized the amendment saying it was a politically driven attack against Halliburton (a company that the previous administration was highly involved with). The amendment does not point out any single company, and intends to apply the law to all companies that the government may do business with.
This is a classic case of putting politics over people.
Unfortunately, this is what our national leadership comes to a lot of the time. Politics, pure and simple. This issue is not a partisan issue at all, as there was support from 9 Republican senators. It is not, and should not be a matter of political ideology, and what we may infer from these observations is an underlying attitude towards women. This is not to make a representation of all males, or of all Republicans; in the very least though it could be argued that such held attitudes are representative of the establish male Republican leadership. What can be said of a group (in this case, male Politicians) that holds the continued operation of such a company that would try to silence their employees in such ways above the rights of those employees, above the harm that has been done?
For the next issue, I apologize, I was going to write about the other piece of legislation protecting sexual orientation and gender identification under hate crimes law. I was working on this whole post much earlier in the day when a school computer froze up on me before I could save anything (had to look up everything again and start from scratch). I will continue the rest of the discussion on these topics and further conclusions tomorrow, as replies to this post.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Also featured on Feministing, Thoughtful Masculinities (Theory and Practice) by Audacia Ray
Anyway, I haven't looked at all the notes but did talk to a few people about class, as I anxiously awaited hearing about how everything went. So I wanted to comment on an issue that was addressed in class that I wished I could have been there for (among other things!):
Black Masculinity as a "week" or "topic": Of course every week that we address issues of masculinity, we are actually talking about all men, which include black men (African-American, Haitian, Jamaican, mixed, male of color, none of the above, or however one identifies). But since many issues related to gender and race/masculinity and race warrant further exploration and discussion, I feel a week (at least a week--I mean, we could definitely have an entire semester devoted to "black masculinity" or any of our subtopics, for that matter) FOCUSED on these issues is necessary. We watched "Beyond Beats and Rhymes" during a week devoted to some other aspect of masculinities but the film itself focused on African-American men and hip hop specifically. I didn't make us wait to watch it until we got to "the week" on black masculinities, and we could have spread the texts from last week out over the other weeks more generally focusing on masculinity. But I feel it is important to spend time linking and addressing and fleshing out issues related to race/masculinity in a discussion devoted to just that. There are so many issues to address in this class because masculinity (like gender in general) includes a plethora of individuals and groups--related to sexuality, race, class, and other categories. But one must organize a class when one teaches and this is how I chose to organize ours. It is inclusive even though it is "divided" up in ways that might be considered problematic by some. I mean, really--REALLY--what can't be considered problematic in a class that explores gender and other constructed categories? Welcome to my world;). The same goes for discussions about sexuality, trans-issues, class, etc. We cannot talk about everything each week but we should try to cover as much as possible over the course of the semester. We must follow some semblance of organization or breakdown or it will not be an effective class that covers the broad range of issues that should be included. Might some be left out? Of course. Might some not receive as much focus as one might wish? Most likely. Can everyone be happy about how classes operate all the time? Obviously not. So most of us profs do what human beings can do...the best we can. I definitely take feedback into consideration for future classes. Esp. because this is the first time the class has been taught, I am always open for input and resources (if you have readings or films or other suggestions for future classes, please email me!).