Friday, December 31, 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I found this beauty at America's gem of a supermarket: Wal-Mart. The funniest part is since it removes Mens hair specifically, it's called a "speed cream", leaving some slow shavers in the dust. Sorry.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


This struck me as ridiculous, but not surprising. I am not an avid-Cosmo-reader by any means, but my opinion stems from the minutes I spend at Publix flipping straight to the "Confessions" article (so addicting!).

But *AHEM*

I feel one of it's strengths is the responsibility they've put on American women to maintain these unrealistic roles or else they are inadequate beings! (Along with contributing to women's unhealthy body image, class issues, and gender roles, blah blah but I digress).

In the sake of Masculinity, the above article is about Cosmo's "Hottest Commercial Guys", along with a tiny analyses of each stereotype. I know it's parody, but it's interesting to see what a "Cosmogirl" finds attractive in their "man".

(And was it me or did it seem strange that "The Listerine Guy" made it in.)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Lady Gaga in Bitch Magazine

So I came across this article not too long ago which focuses on Lady Gaga and her persona seen in a feminist point of view. It's pretty interesting and maybe you could form your own opinion as well:

"Manly" Animes

Earlier this semester I went to a video gaming and Japanese animation and pop-culture convention named EXPcon in St. Augustine. I noticed a similar panel that was featured in this convention that was in the convention, Anime Festival Orlando, that I went to back in August. This panel discussed "manly" animes.

While I'm not oblivious to the horrible gender norms that are perpetuated through Japanese media and pop-culture, I was not aware of two of the animes that were featured in these two different but similar panels. These animes are named "Fist of the North Star" and "Golgo 13". Both of these animes came out during the mid-1980s and feature high amounts of violence and subjectification of women. "Fist of the North Star" is about a warrior living in a post-apocalyptic world who has the ability to kill his foes from the inside-out by pressing on certain pressure points on the body. "Golgo 13" is about a womanizing professional assassin.

Both of these animes are widely popular amongst men in the anime community. I have never seen any of these animes, nor do I have any wish to do so. Here are two videos that I viewed at the conventions I went to this year:
"Fist of the North Star"

"Golgo 13"

Response to the Ugly Truth film review

I had read this blog actually before I even saw the movie. The movie I actually did love and thought it was hilarious. But I thought Wendy had done a great job at picking up on the way the movie depicts how its supposedly ok for men to have responses to relationships the way he does in the movie. And how funny that he ends up getting the girl at the end of the movie as well! One part of the movie that stood out a little more in mind after reading the review was the dinner with all the big-wig executives. Either though the woman in the movie is not only a main-character and in charge of the whole show they do, she is continually spoken over and ignored for what she has to say and they are much more interested in what the man has to say, even though a good majority of it is very sexist. Other things about the movie that I think made it a good choice to review was how she had to change not only her image to impress a man, but her personality also. It's upsetting to think that we as women can't have someone like us for who we are, rather than what we could possibly be to be better. And I know that I have definitely seen other girls I know do the same thing in real life. They act like they are interested in something that they really aren't interested in at all, and have to appear more "sexual" in order to gain the attention of someone. It's really disappointing to think that this is what men like to have presented to them (not all men of course). And its even more upsetting that women feed into the idea. I did love the movie and think it was hilarious, but its easier to think its funny because it is just acting, its just sad that it unfortunately happens in real life to. It was a great movie to choose for the film review.

Feministing Interview with CJ Pascoe

(Click the post title to link to the interview at Feministing.)

I'm sure most everyone has seen this by now, but I just found it today (I haven't let myself check Feministing all week in attempts to focus on finals) and figured I'd share it here just in case. For relevance: CJ Pascoe authored Dude, You're a Fag: Masculinity and Sexuality in High School, an excerpt from which was one of our readings earlier in the semester. I found her discussion about what led her to masculinity studies as a concentration particularly interesting. It definitely raises some points for feminism as a movement to consider more thoroughly in moving forward.

New Song by Devo

Everybody loves Devo, and if you haven't heard of the band, I'm sure you've heard of the music ("Whip It" is a huge 80's song). On the way to work the other day I heard one of their newest and it was pretty catchy. It's called "Don't Shoot (I'm a Man)", and my analysis was it being about a "superhero" character getting up and doing his normal routine of work trying to save the world. Another interpretation I found was about a corporate male and the mundane life he leads. Either way, I'm sure I could be wrong, but I thought I'd post this to incite some thought and other interpretations. In relation to masculinity, it's another common example of male privilege, and the assumption that a male can only do this job. Then again it is "Devo", so who knows what it's really about.

Here are the lyrics:

I get up every day, it's a miracle I'm told
Somehow I live to work, so I hit the road
Squeeze into my hybrid car, drive as fast as I can
While I scan the rooftops, yeah I scan the rooftops

Don't shoot
I'm a man x2

I live in every city
All around the world
Sometimes it's way too hot
Sometimes it's friggin' cold
One thing's always the same
No matter what they say
There's way too many problems
Way, way too many problems

Don't shoot
I'm a man x2

You wish you were swinging from the trees
You wish you were slicing through the breeze
You wish you were king or a queen
You wish you'd hit the lottery

But wishing is for chumps
High hoping is for fools
They'll hunt you down and taze you bro
For playing with their rules

Don't shoot
I'm a man x2

I've got a big dilemma
To punt or go for broke
It's got me goin' sleepless
Well I'm about to choke

So let me ask you something
Answer if you can
Think before you answer
There is no correct answer

So Don't shoot, I'm a man
Don't shoot, I'm a man

Don't taze me bro x4

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My Service Learning Project

For my service learning project this semester I've been working on a blog that discusses masculinity in music. I'm highly critical of my writing so I've been afraid to share this project until my blog had some substance. I was afraid that if I shared this early I wouldn't want to write about it anymore. It's still a work in progress that I'm hoping I will want to continue after this class ends. Here's the link:

I hope you enjoy! Any questions, comments, concerns, and suggestions would be much appreciated!

Old Spice Commercial

So I'm sure most of you have seen this commercialsseveral times already. I know the first time I saw it, I thought it was funny because it was just completely ridiculous. As I watched it again, my feelings remain the same. I'm not sure if it's mocking this "real man" stereotype or actually feeding into what society has constructed as to be a "real man." Take a look and share what you think!

Commercial Video Link:

A Girl Like Me

Yesterday I was flipping through channels before I had to go to work and I found a movie on Lifetime that looked interesting. It was called A Girl Like Me. This film was about a boy who felt he was a woman in a male body and eventually began to live her life as a transgender. Throughout the film it shows how hard life was for Eddie when she was younger before she began to look like a woman. Her grandmother refused to let her be the maid of honor in her sister's wedding and her uncle tried to force baseball on Eddie to try to make him more of a "man." This film was based on a true strory and Eddie was eventually killed by three teenage boys when they found out that she was actually male. The movie was very disturbing but the worst part was the court convictions at the end. Although the three boys were convicted of murder (one for manslaughter), he court refused to consider the crime a hate crime. As this was based on a true strory it got me thinking about the way society views transgenders, especially male transgenders. If this had been a crime against a black woman or male because of their race, the perpetrators would have been convicted of a hate crime. However, because this was a male posing as a female, the jury did not feel it was appropriate to call it a hate crime. And the defense lawyer was very adamant when trying to place blame on the victim for lying about her biological gender. I would highly recommend everyone to try and watch this film and possibly even place it into the curriculum of the class because it is very relevant, based on true events, and really shows, albeit sometimes a bit disturbing, how society views transgender men both inside and out of their own family circle.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Men’s Lib: To survive in a hostile world, guys need to embrace girly jobs and dirty diapers. Why it’s time to reimagine masculinity at work and at home.

This was a pretty interesting article in Newsweek.

Sissy Bounce

I forgot about the blog deadline, so I do hope I met the quota, but I've been intending to make this post for two weeks now anyway. Context: a few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I were talking about how we were going to work out our cross-country drive from here to Tucson when I finally permanently move there and we decided we wanted to take a fifteen mile detour on I-10 to New Orleans. The second I said that, we started a rapid-fire back and forth of things we wanted to do, and one of the things he said he absolutely could not miss was "sissy bounce." I looked at him like he was an alien and asked for an explanation, and he directed me to Google.

Here's what I came up with: "Take some of the most hypersexual bump-and-grind you can imagine, remove everything but the sexed-up chorus, speed it up, and then remove the sexual identity of the artist performing it. What, what? That’s right. Sissy Bounce artists are purposely androgynous, sometimes referred to as queer, sometimes transgendered, a very direct intent is to fuck with people’s heads about sexuality. It’s easy to relate, or be offended when you see one sex singing about the other. But with Sissy Bounce you have no idea. This makes the performances just as important as the music itself, which is perhaps why it’s stayed locked down for so long."

I find the idea of taking the gender out of the context completely so fascinating. It's not a performance art based on hyper-masculine stereotypes, as we saw played upon in Venus Boyz, or campy drag performances, as in basically every Pride Parade ever, or even "passing" for either gender. It's entirely predicated on the idea that you will never be able to tell, and therefore the art speaks for itself, taken out of the paradigm of gender role expectations, male or female. And because I believe that the further along we are in women's liberation, the more readily apparent it is that men are still tied to the social expectations for acceptable behavior, I find this especially transgressive, but also promising, in terms of turning attitudes on their heads. Anyway, it's apparently really big in New Orleans and I think it would be a fascinating thing to watch. Also, the title is linked to the first article and group of videos I found, so if you're curious, I would start there.

Incredibly Sexist Vintage Ads

I came across these ads when looking up material for class and thought to share them on our wonderful blog. I'm a fan of vintage advertisements, purely for their design aesthetic and how audiences were targeted, but when I saw these I was shocked and also reminded of how far we've come (or maybe not at all). The two that I found the worst are above, the first demonstrating hyper-masculinity and the subjugation of women being domestic and subservient to their "male" counterparts. And lo and behold, if these "ideals" were broken or rejected than some kind of punishment is due, thus the woman being bent over and "corrected". I'm not sure how this ad was received back then but apparently privilege and hegemonic masculinity are tied to the quality of your coffee (and the character of your wife!). Starbuck's would definitely not fly with this one.

The second advertisement immediately made my jaw drop, and considering our present era of obsession to image, this wasted no time in getting it's point across (did they skip the idea of "subliminal messaging?"). The message I got was basically "lose the weight women, so you can fulfill a gender role that General Mills' deems useful to your existence--being skinny in household"! The only thing left I think would be a crying baby on her hip and a laundry basket on the other, what do you think? This is left to assume that masculinity is defined by what's happening outside the window, the bread-winning white-middle class man working hard to pay for EVERYTHING, down to the glass cleaner she's using. And while he's downing philly cheesesteaks on his break with the guys, she's busy cleaning the house in her Sears size 6 jumper. But I digress . . .

For more click here!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

New Book to add to Course Curriculum?

I don't really remember how I heard about this book, probably from some news report, but I thought it would be worth checking out for this course. It's called "Boyhoods: Rethinking Masculinities" and I'm seriously considering buying it over the break and comparing it with the text we've already covered, all of which I've really enjoyed. I think the whole concept and effect that "masculinity" has in our culture is so interesting and relevant to every individual.

Here's the link to for the book:

Anita Hill vs Clarence Thomas

In another class of mine we have spoke about the case of Anita Hill accusing a supreme court justice of sexual harassment in the early 90's. We bought it up because apparently that man and his wife are wanting an apology from her to clear his name...ridiculous someone would ask for that after what she went through. I took some interest in the topic and found a news article on line and wanted to share it with everyone. I'm really not good with trying to make links but here it is..

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Survey found--Teens blame Rhianna for Chris Brown's abuse

So I know this is old news, but I'm always a little behind the pop culture curve. We already knew this, but the survey done by the Boston Public Health Commission confirms that we have a LOT of work left to do.

Here is the link to the original article--it' archived:

Friday, December 3, 2010

What's the Alternative to Tucker Max? Many progressive young men are rejecting traditional and toxic notions of masculinity. But they're still figuring out what should replace it.

I found this article and it seemed interesting especially because we were having that discussion in the last class about the men's groups we have on campus and the MVP training and I wondered if any of these men's groups have the same problem it seems these men were having finding an alternative to replace these toxic notions of masculinity.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Bullies Attack Boy Cheerleader :(

Talking about male cheerleaders in class yesterday reminded me of this news report. It's so sad that this young man can't even enjoy what he wants to do! I really don't see the difference between cheerleading and other recreational sports like football or soccer. One of the many things that bothered me in this news report was his mother saying that she was expecting her son to be teased and other "normal" boy behavior such a black eye or a bloody lip. When she said the phrase "boys will be boys" I cringed. I can't wait for the day when violence isn't associated as being "normal behavior" for males, young and old.

Catch the entire story here:

Mauro Perucchetti's Modern Heroes

Click for full-size image. More pictures located here.

Although I've recently become a big fan of comic books, one consistent caveat in my ability to enjoy them is their adherence in portraying male characters to a very privileged, restrictive form of masculinity -- namely, "masculine" defined as "white, conventionally abled, middle- or upper-class, and heterosexual." While I've seen numerous in-depth critiques of the portrayal of female characters in comic books (and rightfully so), I haven't seen the related issue of limited variety in images of masculinity addressed as fully or as often, which is one reason I was so interested by this sculpture by Mauro Perucchetti. Because of the confines of its subjects, the work doesn't address issues of race, class, ability, etc. as constructs of normative masculinity in comics. It does, however, provide an alternative reading of one of the fundamental relationships in the DC Comics universe that challenges this pervasive notion in comic-book culture that defines all men as hypermasculine and all masculinity as necessarily heterosexual.

Sport Privilege

After our discussion last night, I came home to watch one of my shows on my DVR. I am a fan of the Hellcats show on the CW about a college cheerleading team. This last episode, which is available to watch at , was very related to our discussion. It talked about the privilege of football players after it was found out that a certain start player was behind sending out nude photos of one of the female cheerleaders. The football player, the coach, the professor, and even the male cheerleader explained how he would not be punished for doing so because he was a football player. It also talks about how gay males are treated on sports teams. The player that sent out the pictures turns out to be gay, and when the cheerleader who's pictures were sent out around campus threatens to out him, she gets scolded by her teammate and boyfriend. They say that the punishment does not fit the crime because if he is outed he will not be able to play professional football. It is a very relevant episode to our last discussion. Everyone should check it out.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dinosaur Comics

Some info on the Men Against Violence group featured in Macho!

You can buy the film here:
Typical documentary priciness : (

You can find a lot of information about the group by searching "Men Against Violence Association Nicaragua" or "Hombres Contra la Violencia Nicaragua"

Some of the info I found...

In English
As presenters at a conference also with Dean Peacock:

An 'case study' on the Family Violence Prevention Fund site:

Love this quote:
"How is it then that a group of men came together to challenge the culture of machismo and violence? Well, the Sandinista revolution gave us the opportunity to work in the struggle for social justice side by side with women, and some of us learned to work in partnership with women. We also learned to listen to women, and they have taught us that gender violence is a power issue embedded within the machismo culture. Thus, we realized that in order to build egalitarian and fair relationships we had to tackle our culture of machismo."

To read more about women in the Sandinista revolution, you can check out the book Feminism and the Legacy of Revolution: Nicaragua, El Salvador, Chiapas by Karen Kampwirth--available in the UCF library.

In Spanish
An interview with one of the founders Javier Munoz:

And I think this article about the network of men's group started with the same organization:

They talk a little about la Red Nacional de Mujeres Contra la Violencia (National Network of Women Against Violence) and talk about a little about how the different organizations working on gender and violence in Nicaragua are related.

Peace y si se puede! :-)

Feminism Survey: Men on the Street

Watch this YouTube video about Feminism! In this video they interviewed men on the street to find out what they thought about feminism. I thought you might enjoy!


Everyone loves the holidays because it is a time when families can get together and spend quality time. My family hardly ever gets to spend this time together because my uncles live in Kansas and rarely get to visit. However this past week they did for the holidays so that was great. Yet it has been awhile since I have seen them and it was an interesting Thanksgiving to say the least. As we sat together around the table (it is my mom, my sister, myself, 3 uncles and an aunt) I saw the way our family contributes to the idea of the man or men being in charge of the household while the women are expected to do the "women's work" in order to satisfy them. Not only did we eat steak for thanksgiving because my uncles didn't want turkey or ham, but my mom and aunt did all the cooking and I was chastised for not cooking with them. Number one, I'm not a very good cook, but number two, why do my uncles get to sit around and be lazy without helping but its wrong if I sit with them. After we ate dinner my mom and aunt began to clear the table and one of my uncles looked at me and asked why I didn't jump up to help, so I asked why don't you get up and help. My mom quickly stepped in and told me to help and I also got a nasty look from my uncle. Now don't get me wrong, I love my family very much, but until now I never really took the time to step back and see how we as a family contribute to keeping men in charge and making women subordinate...I also look at the demographic background and wonder if my uncles living in such a small town contributes to the idea that this is way things should be, but that makes it worse and even more sad that mindsets of people in different areas of the world (or the US in this case) can make it even that more difficult to understand why women and men in the household should be equal in their contributions to the family life. My uncles are planning another trip in march and I do have intentions of coming up with some ways to put them on edge with our "family time" and I will definitely do my best to force them to step out of the box (and that refers to the act-like-a-man box) to hopefully help them see what they are doing. It should make for a good trip and I have to say I am looking forward to it... :)

Unpacking Uncrate

Uncrate, the Buyers Guide for Men is a website devoted to showing products presumably geared towards masculine consumption. I stumbled on the website a couple days ago, and I continue to visit it not because I find the items especially alluring, but because of how ridiculous some of these products are. The prices of the stuff they show vary, but the vast majority of the items are only affordable by individuals who possess a large amount of expendable income (not many men can afford a $190,000 speaker system)

Due to this unrealistic tendency, the website reveals how masculine consumerism is generally incumbent upon fantasy. Furthermore, this is a good example of how such fantasy is intrinsically linked towards a certain cultural sentiment, implying to consumers that the things white, upper class, and urban dwelling men want are the same things that appeal to all men. I suspect that this outlook isn't specific to this publication; which of these popular mens magazines truly caters to a diverse range of masculinities? Hence, Uncrate is contributing to a preexisting outlook about what the masculine consumer looks like, an outlook that is culturally pervasive.

Also, who says that Kanye West's latest album or DNA ancestry portraits are gendered products, anyway?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sexism, Strength and Dominance: Masculinity in Disney Films

Recently I was browsing Youtube and found this video and I thought it was interesting.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Masculinity and Clubs

I went to a club last Friday and talked about it on Feminist Agenda Radio tonight, and Heather mentioned that I should post about it. (DUH! Why didn't I think of that?) Anyway, I had an opportunity to help a friend out who is a locally established body painter at a club on Church Street and had an interesting time. I tried to translate some things we learned in class to this experience and made a few connections with masculinity, so here goes.

It was Friday night at 8:00 when we arrived and as soon as we got there, half of the models got sent to hair and the other half to us for full body paint so we got to work right away. 12 bodies in 4 hours. We set up downstairs in the women's restroom and immediately filled the whole area with all of our equipment. Originally I was "assisting" here and there, cleaning things and making sure the models were prepped, but as time became limited, I ended up airbrushing entire bodies in freehand designs in Mondrian-esque shapes mixed with loads of glitter. It was really great, because I got to observe some talented individuals and learn some useful techniques to add to my skillset (plus it beats the monotony of wedding makeups I've been doing all month). I noticed a lot of the female models were not shy about taking their clothes off and have been airbrushed before. Even the ones who had never done this seemed to feel at ease, and though it made our jobs a lot easier, I was surprised that they had guts to stand there topless unabashed by anyone looking or throwing any commentary their way. I mean, I've worked on nude models, but it was usually in the sanctity of a studio or home, and at most around three or four people. Maybe it was their thing? Who knows. I later found out that all the models were found off Craigslist, and none of them were getting compensated, so I was convinced that these women did it for the art and were not scared to show their bodies off in front of random people.

Mind you, the club was closed, but once 10:00 hit, the doors opened and we continued to work until the very end. The women's bathroom had to remain open because of ventilation, so people who walked by or needed to use the restroom could see what was going on inside. Various women walked in and were fascinated by everything, asking what was going on, and I politely responded that it was for a show featuring swimsuits made by local designers. They were fairly intrigued and very responsive in a positive way and complimented all of us on our work which was nice. The guys on the other hand were a different story. Up until this point I had my artistic hat on but it slowly turned into an "equality" hat (which is fairly new and hasn't been worn yet, since I just started taking Women's Studies this semester). Here's a little of what I heard:

"You're one lucky guy to be painting all those girls, could I have a try?!?"

"What kind of paint are you using and do they need help taking any of that off tonight?!?"

"Need any help?"

"What is that you're using, KOHL!?!" (I loved this the most because he tried to relate)

I can somewhat understand how the female patrons were forced to say something here and there because it was a space that they needed to be in, being that three guys were in there painting nude bodies, but the uninvited comments from the gawking men at the bar bothered me a bit. I was concerned about the girls and asked the one I was finishing if she was ok and wanted to move to a different area. She replied "Hey, if they want a show let's give it to them", and did a "Maxim-type" pose as a guy snapped his camera phone. I was confused and offended--mostly because rude/drunk people annoy me--but shouldn't this girl be offended too?

Once all the models were done, we were asked to go up to the VIP area to watch and enjoy the show. Since it was a favor, the coordinator for the event gave us free drinks all night along with a couple bottles and our own table. I don't drink anymore but it was a very kind gesture, and by this time it was almost midnight so I was ready to go. We stayed a few more minutes and once they lined up the crowd roared and migrated to the stage. The DJ announced the designers and one by one each girl walked up and did a little "runway" walk showing off our work. I definitely felt proud but kept thinking about those comments from before. Normally I'm the type who shrugs things off and labels anyone as ignorant but I couldn't let it go. I scoped out the audience for the "male reactions" and of course I wasn't surprised at their attentiveness to the flesh onstage. Why was I aware of this behavior and didn't think much of the objectification of women? Did I always shrug things off because it was easier? This reminded me of the movie we watched about the misogyny and homophobia at the Daytona Beach event.

So once it was over I left. I got home, took a shower and remembered why I disliked clubs in the first place. The End.

Leading the Black Church Forward: Black, gay and a Seminarian

someone sent me this video. his story is amazing.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Transgender Man is on Women’s College Basketball Team

I heard this story a few weeks ago and finally was able to post it on here. I think it's so great how his teammates are so supportive of him! I was also pleased to read that the NCAA is "planning a review of its policies toward transgender athletes." Yay for change! I hope Kye continues to be a positive role model for other student athletes, especially younger ones that may be struggling in the same way Kye had in the past.

The link for the full story is below:

The World is Ending! Time to be The Father I'm Suppossed to be!

Today, while I was procrastinating with my roommate, I sat down to watch the movie "The Day After Tomorrow". As I was watching this movie I began to notice a trend amongst the "disaster movie" genre. This trend is having a plot line about a father who isn't the greatest dad (he's over-worked, over-stressed, out of the picture, or hardly around) who must reach the ends of the earth in order to save his child(ren) from imminent doom.

  • Bruce Willis's character in the movie "Armageddon" is a father who is way too controlling father to his daughter. He sacrifices himself in order to save save the world, his daughter and the man she loves so that his daughter can get married.
  • John Cusak's character in the movie "2012" is a divorced man who has been replaced by his ex-wife's new husband as the new father to John Cusak's children. Throughout the movie John Cusak's character quickly steps up to the plate of being the father his children deserved in the first place. The step-father is killed off while John Cusak becomes the hero and wins the "Father of the Year" award.
  • Dennis Quaid's character in the movie "The Day After Tomorrow" is a divorced man who has spent his son's life caring more about his work as a Climatologist than being a father to his son. When disaster strikes Dennis Quaid sets out on a dangerous mission in the dangerously cold climate in order to save his son.

These are just three examples of this phenomenon within the disaster movie genre. These movies celebrate the idea that even though you might be a horrible father, it's all forgiven if you risk or sacrifice your life in order to save your children. These movies perpetuate this patriarchal idea that men must "man-up" and become the strong, protective figures to their families in the face of danger while the women and children must be weak and allow the men to take charge. Why does the movie industry find it okay to tell men that they don't have to be a father all of the time, and only have to step up to the plate when it "really matters"? If someone can tell me about a disaster movie that doesn't follow this horrible trend, let me know. In the meantime I'm going to enjoy having a father that's there for me even when the world isn't ending.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Father says his faith cost his custody

These are the instances where "fathers rights" have legitimate claims.

Friday, November 26, 2010

I saw this commercial for the first time this afternoon and was instantly reminded of our discussion and readings on men in families. While I understand the joke the ad is attempting to make, I still find it sad and frustrating that it's based on defining masculinity such that the relatable male response the ad's success relies on is one of reservation about having a baby because it would require giving up a sporty car. How can we expect men to be good fathers when we also expect them to care about their cars more than their kids before their children are even born? It's an unrealistic double-standard, to say the least.

Alpha Boyfriend Meme

Internet memes are more often than not disturbing to me, but this image-macro is especially upsetting. Does anyone know how long this one has been going on and how prevalent it is?

Here's a link to a discussion on a bodybuilding forum:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

White Ribbon Day in Australia

From the site:

The White Ribbon Campaign is the only national violence prevention campaign, and it is unique in that it aims to raise awareness among Australian men and boys about the roles they can play to prevent violence against women. The campaign calls for men across Australia to speak out and take an oath. An oath swearing never to commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women. The campaign culminates on White Ribbon Day (25 November) each year, when men and women across Australia are called to wear a white ribbon or wristband as a visual symbol of their commitment and oath.

In swearing and wearing a white ribbon, men and boys can act as positive role models and advocates for change by challenging behaviours and attitudes that have allowed of violence against women to occur.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pageant Boys

The link above is to a story about little boys competing in beauty pageants alongside little girls. I find beauty pageants themselves to be very problematic, no matter the gender of those involved. However, the information is interesting. According to the article, ten percent of pageant contestants are not boys, up from five percent five years ago. The article mentions that this story is one of "recent string of well-publicized reports of boys embracing their more feminine or creative sides."
The article includes interviews with the mothers of a couple "pageant boys." Some seem to recognize their children's enthusiasm for pageants as a legitimate form of expression. Others imply that they put their sons in pageants because they wish they'd had a girl, instead. I think it's pretty universally harmful to be putting any child in a forum where they are judged primarily on their appearance. From the footage I've seen, it doesn't seem like the boys are sexualized in the same way as young girls who participate in the same pageants. However, I think the growing popularity of boys in pageants may be indicative of a gradual loosening of masculine expectations for little boys.
Also interesting is the article's conflation of the feminine and the creative, implying the creativity is somehow un-masculine. This is a great example of the restrictiveness of traditional masculinity. Any convention that would paint a child's creativity as something negative based on whether they're a boy or a girl is definitely negative.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Trained in the Ways of Men

It was announced in class that the day is approaching us marked as the day to remember all those who were victim of violent sexist crimes due to their transgender orientation. With this I immediately recalled a documentary I recently watched, Trained in the Ways of Men. This amazing story brought tears to my eyes and raised a question I could not find the answer for within my own ideas. This documentary surrounds the brutal murder of Gwen Araujo. She was a transgender teen who was murdered by her three male friends after they became aware of her being a transgender female. Gwen had not privileged her peers with this information but had been involved in sexual acts with them. The court proceedings were drawn out and uncertain in outcome according to the legal parties. The defense said the boys act in passion because they had been tricked into believing Gwen was someone she was not. They did not feel the charges of murder were appropriate. Although they were convicted in the end it was alarming to me that there was such a period of indecisive action because I could not help but wonder if it would have accord if it was a heterosexual female who had been victimized. Not only the defense, but the press used inappropriate vocabulary to describe the Gwen and her situation that was simply ignorant, and if there is to an ability to find any positive in this it is the forced acknowledgment that was brought to society. Gwen’s mother requested she stop being reported as, “he” along with many other offensive lines such as, “he posed as a woman” or placing Gwen in hyphens as if it were a fake name. Also a naive decision in my opinion, although the murderers were convicted of second degree murder they were not convicted of committing a hate crime. Gwen’s death is an awful heart wrenching story that enrages any viewer with a heart. That is my truest opinion and before moving forward I want to make it incredibly blatant that I do not agree with the actions of Gwen’s supposed friends, and wish they had received the hate crime punishment so that further awareness could be brought to society and this homophobic behavior could be lessened. Yet the creator of this film poses a question within the idea of “tricking” a partner that I could not help but wonder about. Should there be some level of information about the gender of a partner required to keep from misleading a person. Obviously the reaction described above would belong only to the sexually insecure and mentally unstable, but I have to admit I would feel a level of hurt and betrayal if someone I cared for and was intimate with had lead me to believe anything but the absolute truth. If you were dating an individual and it was revealed to you that they were transgender would that matter to you? I want to say without having been in the situation that love is based on more than one’s sex and if I were in love it would not be something that could ruin it. However, I can not say that I would not have wanted to be aware before we had engaged with one another to that level. I finished the film well informed, sympathetic, and curious. What is the right answer? Would that change your mind if your loved one revealed they were transgender to you?

For any who are interested the movie is easily available on Net Flix for instant viewing.

Sensory Overload

I wanted to give let everyone know about a great charity event I was apart of on Thursday night, and it is not over so you all can be a part too if this sounds interesting to you. Mel’s Bad Girls Club is putting on an art show called Sensory Overload downtown from now through December 13th. It a recommended donation of five dollars at the door and offers great drink specials inside. All money goes to the Hope and Help Center of Central Florida, a foundation with the goal of creating awareness and support of those with Aids and HIV. I am not sure if this would count towards service learning hours, but regardless it was a very enjoyable evening. The art is fabulous and very reasonably priced. There is also hand made jewelry from a local artist as well as hand made items from artist in South Africa. The work show is completed my all female artists and includes paintings, digital, pottery, and so many more varieties on display. Mel’s Bad Girls Club does a lot of other work as well so if you are interested in other opportunities you can go to the site: I encourage whoever can go to do so. It was very fun with a great assorted crowd.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

He's Just Not That Into You

So you get home from a first date with a guy you’ve had a major crush on. You’re sitting on the couch, reliving every detail from the night, as you’re thinking everything went just right. Your date picked you up from home, dressed adorably, had great manners at dinner, and even picked up the bill after you insisted to split it. In your eyes, you did everything correctly and the date went perfect. A couple of days have passed by; why hasn’t he called you since then?

He’s Just Not That Into You is a 2009 romantic comedy starring some of Hollywood’s hottest actors and actresses including Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Ben Affleck, and more. According to the Internet Movie Database, “Five women and four men try to sort out the signals that the sexes exchange.”

This situation described above relates to one of the characters in the movie, Gigi Haim. After Gigi went on a date, she has anxiously been waiting for a call from her prince charming. Her so-called “Prince charming” decides not to call Gigi, which drives her absolutely crazy. Gigi decides to go to the bar that her date works at, hoping to accidentally run into him. This movie depicts where girls go wrong in relationships and why we always seen to interpret them differently than guys. Lets face it; we all know that girls and guys think very differently.

Most women have always been told since they were little girls, if men are mean to them, then the actual significance behind this is that they like you. He’s Just Not That Into You, is a film that portrays the truth about why men act the way they are. I think this movie comes across as describing women in a pathetic manner. Women are always the ones waiting around for the guy to call back or initiate the date, well according to the movie anyhow. The film repeatedly makes women seem dependent upon men and that they constantly look weak when trying to receive attention from men.

He’s Just Not That Into You, shows that women and girls will do whatever it takes to get a mans attention. Of course people perceived this film in many ways, but this movie is frustrating to me as a woman because I don’t believe that I act in the way the movie says most girls do when it comes to men. I don’t understand why women are always portrayed as the victim and looked at towards men in a negative light. I just don’t get it. Why can’t girls realize just when a guy is not into them? It seems like first, the girl has to come across as desperate to the rest of the world, then she will realize that the guy doesn’t care about her and is just using her. This film does not show how a relationship can be egalitarian.

Furthermore, I can relate to this movie on a very personal level because I currently live in a sorority house with 28 other girls. I am constantly listening to the difficulties girls are having with the guys they are “talking to,” and I just don’t understand how they can stoop down to their level and have no respect for themselves. Maybe I’m just being harsh, but it’s clear to me that actors and actresses in the movie, He’s Just Not That Into You, really act that same way in real life. I hope this movie calls attention to women and I hope it helps women change.

In Theories of Masculinity class, we have discussed the qualities in men that make them masculine. In order for a guy to truly be masculine does he have to be violent, strong, smart, and an asshole? Or could it be a combination of all four? The film represents masculine men by the ones who give women the hardest time. As a feminist, I don’t think the movie portrays women fairly. In addition, the movie comes across that guys have all of the control in the relationship. Which we all know is not true! In class, we have focused on theories and topics such as glass ceiling and the glass escalator. The glass ceiling is when a company effectively hinders a woman’s move up the corporate ladder. This describes a women’s, “failure to rise to senior level positions because of invisible and artificial barriers constructed by male management.” This topic reminds me of the film, He’s Just Not That Into You, because in this movie women fail to rise to higher standards because of invisible barriers constructed by men. Although the glass ceiling is geared towards women working, it relate to our class and what we have been learning because women are once again held back from men.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Film Review: Bigger, Stronger, Faster

In the film “Bigger, Stronger, Faster”, a documentary about performance-enhancing drugs and their history in America, director Christopher Bell exposes the different facets of this industry and it’s effects on American society. The movie starts off by introducing Bell’s family and their middle-class suburban life in Upstate New York, more specifically spotlighting his older and younger brothers, of whom both use steroids to excel in their individual professions (one is an aspiring pro-wrestler and the other a high school gym teacher). The movie then progresses by examining the origin of anabolic steroids; it’s direct influence on the U.S. government and legislation, and the various moral and social issues that surround it. It’s also seen from different viewpoints, from people who support and find no harm in its existence to advocates against its use who actively try to stop it’s spread. The movie was very interesting in style and it forced the viewer to view the drug outside of its normative topics and repercussions. It showed how the use/abuse of the drug has undermined public figures, affected the sports industry, and caused hypocrisy among its critics.

At the beginning of the movie, Bell analyzes the cultural figures behind a masculinity that defined America’s preoccupation with domination and competition. He attributes this through the popularity of figures like Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, actors who glorified the idea of ultimate strength and power through oppression and violence. More specifically Bell analyzed Hulk Hogan’s “Hulkamania” and the hyper-masculinity it embodied. His model of being created an unhealthy image for young boys all over, who began to see power and physical strength as the highest form of respect and the only way to survive amongst the “bad guys”. Because of this, boys began to adopt this unrealistic mentality, and wanted to be like “The Hulk” in exchange for their mundane and seemingly weak ways of living. It’s this hunger that challenged the self-worth of young males, and the idea of worthlessness if they didn’t mimic their heroes on TV. This mentality is stated in the Bordo’s “The Male Body”, where she states that this kind of consumerism has changed the sexual politics for men, moving from the “Long John Silver”, to “Long Dong Silver”. Mentally these boys adopted the idea of being “incapable” unless they had the huge biceps, fearless attitude, and extreme patriotism that these characters in the media portrayed. The image of Hulk Hogan also symbolized masculinity in a political context by fighting against the “Iron Sheik”, an opponent that served as a metaphor for Iraq’s turbulent relationship with the U.S. at the time. The Sheik became the oppressed and Hulk the oppressor, and the dominance of Hulk’s masculinity over the Sheik’s was a form of success.

Another theme that was exposed was how the United States reinforced its superpower status by promoting the importance of success in the competitive field of sports. For example, Bell looked at the Olympics and focused on the U.S.’ obsession with excellence and power. He also looked at American baseball, and it’s blatant shift from “good-sportsmanship” to “extreme competition”. The rampant steroid use among players created a hostile environment, where drugs were abused and became a staple of the industry. As a result players became larger physically which reinforced that bigger is better among the males. This ideal image of men having to separate themselves from the “average” brings the masculine ideal of always fighting to be the best, no matter who’s “toes you step on”. It reminded me of “Tough Guise” and the harsh exterior men have to uphold in order to be a acceptable member within their peers.

Although the movie concentrated solely on steroid use, I related a lot of it towards the hyper-heterosexuality and unhealthy masculine stereotypes in America. It was interesting to see the specific male normative and how it affects young males is many aspects of their development.

Country Music

As I was driving home tonight I was listening to the radio, and it was on a country music station. I love country music, I was brought up listening to it and I know there is a lot of sexism in its music. Songs like Brad Paisley's "I'm still a Guy" in which he explains that even though he may show his girlfriend love in ways like "walk your sissy dog, hold your purse at the mall, remember, I'm still a guy." He even portrays male violence and jealousy when he explains that he'll "write a love song that'll make you cry then turn right around knock some jerk to the ground 'cause he copped a feel as you walked by."

There is another song by a Kellie Pickler called "Things that Never Cross a Man's Mind." In this song the singer portrays what males and females prefer to do and think about. The lyrics go like this: "I need to go shopping These shoes are all wrong Just looked in my closet Not a thing to put on I wonder how these jeans make me look from behind Things that never cross a man's mind Lets turn off the tv Now can't we just talk Lets lay here and cuddle Till we both drift off If we don't make love that'll be just fine Things that never cross a man's mind That joke is too dirty That steak is too thick Ain't no way in the world I'll ever finish it That car is too fast This beer is too cold And watchin all this football is sure gettin old Wish I was workin this weekend Not on the lake, reelin my line Things that never cross a man's mind Her lips are too red Her skirt is too tight Her legs are too long and her heels are too high Boy, she looks like a marryin kind Things that never cross a man' That joke is too dirty That steak is too thick Ain't no way in the world I'll ever finish it That car is too fast This beer is too cold And watchin all this football is sure gettin old Wish I was workin this weekend Not on the lake, reelin my line Things that never cross a man's mind I feel a little bloated Think i'm fixin to start That movie was good except for the violent parts Brad Pitt is sexy Why did he change his hair I knew him and Jenny never had a prayer These curtains clash with the carpet The color scheme is a crime Things that never cross a man's mind Things that never cross a man's mind" This song portrays the idea that "men shoot, women shop." Men are violent and like sports and beer, while women like to cuddle and shop and do interior design.

What really got me thinking, however, was that these two songs are set up to be more like jokes. Even though that is bad in itself as we talked about in changing language and not using sexist ideas as jokes, it seems better than the next song I will discuss. This next song, entitled "I Wouldn't be a Man," by Josh Turner, makes the song sound serious and loving. It is slow tempo and romantic and intended to amke women swoon for the man and want their own man to be like the man in the song. The lyrics say "There's a slow moon risingIt's shining on your skinThe way your body moves meI know there's no holdin' backNo holdin' backI wouldn't be a man if I didn't feel like thisI wouldn't be a man if a woman like youWas anything I could resistI'd have to be from another planetWhere love doesn't existI wouldn't be a man if I didn't feel like thisI can feel passion flowingAs you fall into my armsThe secret way you touch meTells me there's no holdin' backNo holdin' backI wouldn't be a man if I didn't feel like thisI wouldn't be a man if a woman like youWas anything I could resistI'd have to be from another planetWhere love doesn't existI wouldn't be a man if I didn't feel likeRoll with me baby all night longSoul to soul with me baby all night longI wouldn't be a man if I didn't feel like thisI wouldn't be a man if a woman like youWas anything I could resistI'd have to be from another planetWhere love doesn't existI wouldn't be a man if I didn't feel like this." The way it treats the woman in the song as a sex object that a real man wouldn't resist reiterates the idea of the male box and the way men are supposed to see women and their relationships with them.

"Does He Touch You?": Emotional Detachment as a Factor of Masculinity in Pushing Daisies

In its short run—a grand total of less than one standard American television season—Pushing Daisies became known for its colorful aesthetic, sharp writing, and ability to blend and balance romance and dark comedy. The show centers around Ned, a pie-maker with the extraordinary ability to revive dead things by touching them, and his relationships with the three people he knows: Emerson Cod, a private investigator and Ned’s alternative business partner; Olive Snook, the waitress in Ned’s pie shop; and Charlotte Charles, or Chuck, Ned’s alive-again childhood best friend and sweetheart. Although both Emerson and Ned provide equally compelling insight into the role and construction of masculinity in Pushing Daisies, for purposes of staying (somewhat) within the wordcount margin, I will focus this analysis on Ned’s portrayal of masculinity, which can ultimately be seen as a critique on the cultural expectation of emotional insensitivity as a trait germane to and maintained by all “real” men.

From the show’s beginning, Ned is defined as a character and as a man by his extreme emotional disconnect from the world and people around him. Much of this disconnect originates in the rules surrounding his gift: first, that reviving anything for more than one minute will cause something else to die in its place; and second, that anything he revives will permanently return to death if he touches it a second time. For Ned, these rules come to represent not only actual physical restrictions on his ability to connect to people, but emotional ones as well. Because he is afraid of his own power, especially in the context of the deaths and possible revivals of those he loves, Ned “[avoids] social interactions” (“Pie-lette”) as both a child and an adult, coming to identify himself first and foremost as someone who must necessarily exist in isolation from the larger world. In this way, he exemplifies a part of Paul Kivel’s Act-Like-a-Man Box, which lists having/showing no feelings as one of the confining cultural expectations for “acceptable” men (Kivel 84).

And there is no doubt that in Ned’s case, the consequences of possessing and performing this traditional masculine trait are confining. The magnitude of Ned’s emotional detachment lends him, to an extent, a hypermasculine quality, and, with it, a certain sense of greater social power and privilege. Ned’s resurrecting touch, the source of his extreme detachment, gives him some near god-like authority over life and death and, in a more practical sense, provides him with the opportunity to make fast, easy money by using his ability to solve murders and collect the monetary rewards. Yet even as he benefits from his gift and the new social privilege it gives him access to, Ned views it as more of a curse than a boon, and arguably rightfully so. The gift and the resulting emotional detachment Ned develops may afford him significant new social and economic opportunities, but it is at the complete expense of his ability to interact successfully with other people on any real level. He has no social filter and often awkwardly narrates his own actions as he performs them in front of others. His conversational skills are severely lacking and frequently leave him unable to talk to anyone, even the woman he loves, for more than a few consecutive minutes. And for much of the show, even the people he interacts with regularly—Emerson, Olive, and Chuck—are kept at a distance through Ned’s social mistakes and inexperience, such that they are more simply people he knows than actual friends. Essentially, Ned’s emotional detachment has developed to a point of solidification, forming a veritable (and sometimes literal, as is seen in the included screencap) wall between himself and the rest of the world that makes it impossible for him to fully function in the public sphere.

Chuck, a childhood love whom Ned resurrects in the pilot episode, brings the most significant challenge to Ned’s emotional detachment. In many ways—her sense of dress and self-image, her unfailing optimism, her sheltered upbringing, her almost virginal naïveté about the nature of larger society—Chuck represents the traditional feminine ideal and serves as a sort of hyperfeminine counterpart to Ned’s hypermasculine qualities, adding another layer to her desirability to Ned. In a sense of story, Chuck represents the happy, peaceful childhood Ned had before his gift emerged and his mother died; in a sense of gender presentation, Chuck’s embodiment of the traditional feminine represents the emotional and social connections Ned’s gift and subsequent embodiment of the traditional masculine have denied him throughout his life. On both levels, she is unattainable, and this status remains unchanged throughout the series. With Chuck, Ned’s emotional detachment becomes even more of an insurmountable barrier than it ordinarily is. Because she is someone Ned has resurrected, her staying alive depends entirely on them never directly touching. Thus, even when Ned does attempt real, higher interaction, it is still impossible for him to ever completely make contact with someone. In all areas of emotional involvement, including the only one where Ned is significantly self-aware, true connection remains elusive as a result of the emotional wall he has constructed around himself.

In the end, Pushing Daisies offers a clear picture of the damaging effects of defining “masculine” as necessarily emotionally detached. In Ned, we are shown a man who not only has no concept of social interaction, but who has also been so emotionally disconnected that his ability to know even himself has been compromised. Ned has only a minimal understanding of himself as an individual, and most of that is centered in his career as a pie-maker (reflected in the narration, which most commonly refers to him by this title rather than his name); as a result, his propensity for successful interaction with the world outside of himself is almost nonexistent. The image we are given is certainly hyperbolized, and in terms of masculinity construction, Ned functions more as an example of an unrealistic, unattainable extreme than anything else. But even in his unrealistic portrayal, Ned as a character still raises significant challenges to the qualities we as a society tend to idealize and value in men. What, he forces us to consider, are the real consequences of expecting and too often demanding emotional detachment from people who identify as men? And how many men, as a result of these expectations, have, like Ned, reached a point where true connection with anyone, even themselves, would require an impossible violation of restrictive social rules?

Works Cited

Kivel, Paul. “The Act-Like-a-Man Box.” Men’s Lives. Ed. Michael S. Kimmel and Michael A. Messner. Eighth ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 2010. 83-85. Print.

“Pie-lette.” Pushing Daisies. ABC. WFTV, Orlando. 3 Oct 2007.

Colionialist Agenda in The Bubble

I was shocked and disappointed by the ending of The Bubble. I thought I was watching an anti-occupation, feminist film about a Jewish Israeli guy, Noam, and a Palestinian guy from Jenin, Ashraf, who fall in love and defy boundaries. Throughout the film, the characters critique Jewish-Israeli racism against Palestinians throughout the film, as well as queer on queer discrimination and the failings of macho masculinity.

At the end of the film, Ashraf, who had been quiet, humble, funny character, unexpectedly takes the place of his militant brother-in-law, “Jihad,” and blows himself and Noam up. I couldn’t believe that the only semi-developed Palestinian character in the play ends up being a shell for a racist and hateful stereotype of Palestinians.

Amireh, Amal. “GLQ- A Journal of Gay and Lesbian Studies – Afterword.” Vol. 16, Num. 4, 2010. Published online by Project Muse.

Suddenly, the abundant suicide-bomber jokes in the film took on a new light. What had seemed to be critiques of the stereotype, turned out to be opportunities to uphold a monolithic depiction of Palestinians. The prominence of “Jihad,” Ashraf’s militant soon-to-be brother-in-law also fell into place as a useful caricature of anti-Palestinian sentiment, as did the violent death of Ashraf’s sister Rana, who is caught in the cross-fire of Israeli soldiers responding to a terrorist attack planned in part by Jihad.

I think I was so upset by the unexpected and rapid downward spiral at the end, because I really did like the film up to that point and enjoy its social commentary, even with its holes. Ashraf, Noam, and his roommate Lulu, a woman, are all very likeable characters who I thought I could be good friends with. The other roommate Yelli is funny but clearly holds some not-so-subtle anti-Palestinian attitudes that are actually held up with the ending of the film.

Lulu’s relationship with an arrogant editor who courts her and then drops her the “morning after” sex provides humor and commentary on the masculine condition of being an “emotional cripple.” In the film, Lulu transitions from tentative and anxious as she tries to win the loyalty of this editor, to a fierce and fun instigator, as she confronts him in his office and tells him for his behavior, and then uses him to get press passes so that she and Noam can get through the checkpoint visit Ashraf undercover after he returns to his family. Lulu’s analysis of the inability to communicate on the part of her male cohorts fits nicely with our readings on the societal pressures that leave men emotionally stunted, such as “The Act-Like-a-Man Box” by Paul Kivel in Men’s Lives.

Scholar Amal Amireh provides a critique of the film in an article on the depiction of queer Palestinians by the Israeli state and those upholding their agenda. In the film, Palestinian culture is depicted as vehemently and dangerously homophobic, while providing no broader context or critique of Israeli homophobia, especially as perpetrated by the Israeli state. Amireh says of the film’s silences around the lives of queer Palestinians and their resistance efforts, “These absences and silences, I believe, make the film more of a colonial fantasy about the colonial Other than an anti-occupation film” (Amireh). Amireh holds that the film does not send an anti-occupation message, but rather is a piece of colonialist propaganda: “The Bubble's representation of Israeli and Palestinian violence completes Ashraf's queer demonization. While Israeli violence is shown to be incidental and pragmatic, Palestinian violence, in contrast, is underscored as premeditated and primal” (Amireh). I agree!