Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Does Anybody Know Where I Can Find Playboy's 1992 Interview with Betty Friedan?

I love Friedan's frequent reminders that the patriarchy hurts men, too. She goes into further detail in the article, but I can't find anything more than a few quotes:

  • Friedan: There was a masculine mystique, too.
  • Playboy: What was it?
  • Friedan: Men had to be supermen: stoic, responsible meal tickets. Dominance is a burden. Most men who are honest will admit that.

  • Playboy: What's behind the current's men's movement?
  • Friedan: I think it's partly a reaction against feminism, partly envy of feminism, and partly partly a real need of men to evolve through the burden of the masculine mystique, the burden of machismo.

  • Friedan: I thought it was absolutely outrageous that the Silence of the Lambs won four Oscars. [...] I'm not saying that the movie shouldn't have been shows. I'm not denying the movie was an artistic triumph, but it was about the evisceration, the skinning alive of women. That is what I find offensive. Not the Playboy centerfold.
  • She also said in 1974 "Men weren’t really the enemy — they were fellow victims suffering from an outmoded masculine mystique that made them feel unnecessarily inadequate when there were no bears to kill."

Goodness! This is disturbing.

This article is certainly a tough one to stomach. It alleges that during a rap music video shoot in Oakland California, a toddler along with six other victims (five of which are males between the ages of 14 and 26) were critically injured by gun shot wounds.

Here's a prime manifestation of the problem with the close association of rap music and violence.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

In the spirit of the false narrative of Thanksgiving...

Do you think we would revere Pilgrims or the founders of this country if we constantly subjugated them and vilified them like we do modern day immigrants?

Masculinity Around the Thanksgiving Table

So when I went out of town this past weekend for Thanksgiving I ended up at my mom’s friend’s house in Tampa. Well my mom is very conservative and her friends are fellow right wingers who’s children have clearly never been prompted or encouraged to check their own white, male, cisgendered, heterosexual, upper middle class, educated, Judeo Christian, able-bodied privilege. Often times light hearted conversation will not go much past the superficial “joke” or statement. However, when you have lived in the world where you have found a feminist lens, it is extremely difficult and even morally challenging to try to not look at things through that lens. The conversation went from racist generalizations, to apathy about the working class, to sexist comments about the “availability” of women in sororities without even touching on sex positivity, or social constructs that not only perpetuates the degradation of sex positive women but vilifies them, then it moved to hazing.  
Growing up in a hyper conservative household where authority was key and was not to be questioned, and women were naturally inferior and thus did not have a voice, it is an interesting experience sitting in a family setting where to speak out would be to leave home – to leave the comfort that home once provided. But it was impossible for me to keep quiet and thus I ended up leaving that comfortable space of silence that housed me all my life to speaking out against the continuing slurs and oppression.
The point is a particular conversation was stricken that hit the context of this class. When hazing came up it was not about the psychological torture hazing can provoke, or the scarring and subjugation it effects but how it happens to men and men need to suck it up because if he’s new then he deserves to pay. Pay? Pay for what? Pay for wanting to be a part of a group that he has probably been conditioned to think is “fitting in” (aka fraternities)? It strikes me as really ironic that the way to fit in on a college campus is to be a part of a fraternity, HOWEVER, in order to join you are alienated and marginalized within that group and oppressed in an extremely overt way – and damaging psychologically and physically. Then my mom’s friend’s son, Kevin started talking about how he couldn’t believe that his fraternity got in trouble for hazing because they made the pledges memorize a lot of detailed information about the frat and if they missed a question then they would receive one of various punishments that were “harmless”. Then I started asking him, well what purpose does it serve to have them memorize the information in the first place? Did they NEED to know the information to be a member of the frat by campus bylaws? His answer: “Well……we just did it to do it…” They mentally harangued and physically punished hundreds of men just for fun. That was the point.
It’s hard in any situation, but like we talked about in class today, micro interactions can change a lot and I know it changed my family’s view of me and their level of comfort around me. We’ll see how it works out, but I feel like it was a really important moment for people who have never been checked on their oppressive ideals never mind recognize them. 

Even WebMD likes to casually reinforce gender stereotypes...

I personally hate articles like these that attempt to "clear up" gender myths but reinforce a two-gender, essentialist binary.

Brawling "Geezers" stun football fans

Just another example how sports brings out the worst in men even at old age ... <

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Federal Health Officials Push ‘Strength Through Affirmation’ of Black Gay Men

An interesting HIV prevention campaign, which specifically targets black gay men. "Testing Makes Us Stronger" was chosen to display "a diverse range of strong men in community. We hope to show that there isn't one idealized form of masculinity but men who represent different forms of strength that come from a place of affirmation."

Friday, November 25, 2011

Dr. Pepper 10: diet drink for men?

I was visiting with my folks over the holidays and some of my family members were sitting around watching some television and this really bizarre commercial came on. Now I haven't had a TV of my own for quite some time so I don't know this commercial is old news by now or what but this just seemed really weird.

Apparently the new Dr. Pepper drink is diet enough to be considered a diet drink but still has enough calories to be considered manly? In the commercial, the ultra-macho manly man says, "You can keep your romantic comedies and diet drinks. Dr. Pepper 10 is for men." So, this ad is specifically trying to appeal to a certain kind of male with this new diet drink. I wonder to what extent this type of ad is effective.


Lets make a rule on sexual harrassment...

Needs to be figured out already!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fundraiser for Planned Parenthood?

Hey guys!

I thought this would be the best place to post this and gauge interest. Along with a couple of friends, I'm trying to put together a fundraiser to benefit Planned Parenthood. Our idea is to partner with a gay club (we're hoping for Mr. Sisters) and have a portion of all food and drinks sold on the night of the fundraiser go to PP. I know several of you are involved with VOX and the like, so let me know if you're interested in helping to set this up!

Friday, November 18, 2011

What A Man Wants

When posting my last post I came across this on the main page of Yahoo. It is disturbing that this is what we are confronted with every day. The men portray women mainly as sex objects and not only does the host make racist remarks, but she agrees with the men's views and then tries to turn their sexualization of their ideals in women into meaning they just want a woman with confidence. Ha.

I am Not a Rapist

I was looking for an article online that came to mind last class when I came across this article about reporting rape, or lack thereof. What surprised me, and I knew this before but being reminded of it shocked me again, was that rape victim's insurance companies or rape victims themselves often have to foot the bill for the processing of rape kits. The author puts it best when mentioning that this is the only crime in which victims have to pay police to do their job. It is so unfortunate that society views rape in such a way as to not burden itself with having to pay to solve some of the most heinous of crimes.
The article I was looking for was first presented to me in my initial women's studies course textbook. It is by one of my favorite feminist/ gender studies authors John Stoltenberg. His work focuses mainly on sex, violence, pornography and power, but this particular article seems to fit perfectly with what we have discussed in class about men, rape, and their responsibility. "'I Am Not A Rapist!': Why College Guys Are Confronting Sexual Violence," is definitely worth a read if you get the chance.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Penn State and the Crisis of Masculinity

Here's an interesting look at the Penn State scandal that seems to be dominating the news cycle of late. I was shocked when the news first broke and I saw slews of university students rioting over their outrage that Joe Paterno was stepping down from his position as head coach of Penn State's highly regarded football program rather rioting on behalf of the fact that nothing was done in support of the victims when such abuses were brought to light. This evidences an incredibly skewed since of priorities held by the students as well as the administration at Penn State.

The fact that such heinous crimes, which are perhaps the most deeply disturbing atrocities one human being can inflict upon another, were perpetrated defenseless children is sickening. However, the inclination of those who comprise the administration to protect the reputation of the institution rather than tend to the well-being of the children is even more nauseating. When reading about this, I find a lot of parallels between Penn State's reaction to the crimes committed within their institution and the reaction of the Catholic church when similar allegations were brought to light against it. It seems that priority number one is: Protect the reputation and credibility of the institution at all costs.


Anyways, the article I attached takes a look similar approach to the issue to that of our class. Writer Niobe Way examines the role that masculinity played in reaction to the scandal. I think she may be on to something here and the point she makes should lead us to a long needed conversation on the role of masculinity within our culture. Very interesting.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Teaching Good Sex

Article from the New York Times today! This is exactly what we were discussing last night...thoughts?

Stop Trying to Define Franky!

Skins is a British television show that focuses on a group of teenagers attending what is called "College" in the UK, but to us would be junior and senior year of high school. Every 2 seasons, the cast grows up and is replaced with a new set of characters at the same college. The show addresses some very controversial issues that are still very taboo for American audiences-- so in my opinion, it's no surprise that the US version of the show MTV tried to launch was a total flop.

In the most recent season of Skins available in the US, one of the main characters is Franky Fitzgerald, pictured above. Franky is female-bodied and the adopted daughter of a gay male couple. She androgynous and implied as being genderqueer in some sense. Throughout the entire season, despite being questioned and sometimes harassed, Franky never "defines" hir sexual orientation or gender identity, other than saying ze is not into men or women, but just people. Ze does, however, attempt briefly to be more "feminine", and struggles with depression, feeling lost, and feeling weird.

I think it's wonderful that these issues are being addressed in popular television, even if it's in Europe! All 5 seasons of Skins are available on hulu plus, which you can get free of charge for a month if you use your UCF e-mail address. In addition, the title of this post links to the first episode of the season which centers on Franky on youtube. Check it out!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"Exposed in Iraq"

After reading "Exposed in Iraq: Sexual Harassment And Hidden Rank Structure of the U.S. Army" I thought how similar behaviors are true in all workplaces and even in public space. Any woman that exceeds in the workplace-- the higher the position she achieves-- will find herself surrounded by more and more men. This will place her in a vulnerable position in regards to her exposure to sexual harassment. Having worked in an environment with all men (valet/bell service) there were many times that I felt out numbered. When i worked at the hotel I feared that if I ever questioned their actions or words that I would be the one with more to lose. In this subculture largely dominated by men any opposition from my part would be deviant.

Marshall Thompson asks himself "Why did she play along? Maybe it was a defense mechanism-- an easier way to deal with the problem... But why did the female sergeant on the bus merely laugh and shake her head when her male commander made a joke about them sleeping together? Why wouldn't my coworker file a complaint against the men who had made her feel so worthless?"

Sadly, I feel like the answer is that it happens so often that we are casehardened to such actions. It's bothersome, but it would be destructive to pay mind to every demeaning word/action. It is a defense mechanism. However, it is as equally destructive to internalize all the anger that builds up overtime. More importantly, if as women we never speak up and stand up for ourselves then who will? There is no perfect answer. All I can say is that we should not feel shame, instead we need to take pride in the strength we use day to day.

"Smell Like a Man, Man" Campaign

Appealing to women in order to tell men what "real men" look like, smell like, etc...
What do we think?

"Over It"

This link pretty much speaks for itself. "1 out of 3 women will be raped or beaten in her lifetime" and as sad as this is it gives me the motivation/drive to speak up and take action. Growth requires for you to look at who you are and question yourself (ideals, moral, values, identity, speech, dress etc).

"I am over women still being silent about rape, because they are made to believe it's their fault or they did something to make it happen."

I am over being silent. And I am over accepting a culture that allows such a constant disrespect of women. After reading this I knew that I had to change the way I talk (using words like bitch or pussy to degrade someone), the music I listen to and in general I have to be more aware of the culture I participate in. More importantly I have to ask all the men in my life where have you been?

"I am over the passivity of good men. Where the hell are you?

You live with us, make love with us, father us, befriend us, brother us, get nurtured and mothered and eternally supported by us, so why aren't you standing with us? Why aren't you driven to the point of madness and action by the rape and humiliation of us?"

Monday, November 14, 2011

Transgender kids: Painful quest to be who they are

I found this article weeks ago but was having a hard time posting to the blog (new to blogging) :) ... I found this article interesting. If I had a child that saw themselves as the opposite sex then what they were biologically born with... I question what would I really do? How would I react? Being a mother I know I would support my child 100% but I also feel mommy-mode would kick in and want to protect my child from the hardship I know society would inflict on her.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

UK Gay Men Blood Donation Ban Lifted*

Gay men will now be able to give blood as Government restrictions are officially lifted, the Department of Health (DoH) said.

A lifetime ban on blood donation by men who had had sex with another man was put in place in the UK in the 1980s as a response to the spread of Aids and HIV.

But following a review by the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (Sabto), men who have not had homosexual sex within a year will be able to donate if they meet certain other criteria. The move will be implemented in England, Scotland and Wales.

*Really, it's more 'cis men who have sex with cis men' as not all cis men who have sex with cis men are gay, but you get the point.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Herman Cain accrues whooping $9 million in light of sexual harassment charges

Wow. So, I'm not sure if y'all are following the 2012 GOP field but Herman Cain, the current frontrunner, has been making headlines lately. In October, Politico brought to light a settlement Cain made with two women who accused him of sexual harassment during his tenure at the National Restaurant Association in the early 1990s. Since then, two more women have also come forward alleging that Mr. Cain had sexually harassed them in the past. Now, with the way that these things go in politics, we know that this doesn't necessarily have to be a career-ending indictment but we would think that this should at least lead some to question their support for the candidate, right? WRONG. The first article attached details Cain's campaign contributions for the month of October since these allegations were brought to light. The candidate accrued a total of $9 million in the month of October which is twice as much as he has received in the previous nine months since he first announced his candidacy.

Now, I know that in this country there is a presumption of innocence until proven guilty but what does this tell us about the importance (or lack thereof) placed on something as serious as sexual harassment?

Oh, these aren't the first acts of disrespect committed by Mr. Cain either. He has since called the former speaker of the House of Representatives "Princess Pelosi" as well as cracked jokes about whether or not he'll receive support from Anita Hill, the woman who accused Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment twenty years ago. I attached a second link detailing these issues.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Rape is Rape!

During last night's class, Leandra briefly mentioned the problematic legal definition of rape, as well as the need/efforts to redefine rape legally and socially.

I thought it'd be helpful to post some information about this so that we can all be on the same page.

Note: While this is still a very important issue, it is worth noting that the FBI has finally changed this definition, as a result of many people's hard work for this issue to be recognized!

About the initial issue:

About the change:

"Why We Need to Reimagine Masculinity"

I came across this article which was originally published in Newsweek. I think it is really interesting, and poses some good points, yet it is still problematic in many ways which it does not even seen to acknowledge. The article is fairly lengthy, so I thought it'd be better to link it in the title rather than to post the entire in the text.

Just incase, here is the link:

What do you guys think?

Rick Scott Throws an Anti-Abortion Party at the Governor's!

Apparently Governor Scott had enough time to throw a part at the Governor's mansion in July to congradulate himself and others for passing 5 of the 18 anti-choice bills introduced that session.

The party included guests such as John Stemberger, president of Florida Family Council; Dr. Michael McCarron, executive director of Florida Catholic Conference; Pam Olson of the International House of Prayer in Tallahassee; Bill Bunkley, legislative and government affairs consultant to the Florida Baptist Convention; and Jim Styer, president of Sarasota/Manatee Right to Life. And as they partied and congradulated themselves they celebrated the elimination of choices people could make regarding their reproductive health and reproductive justices. Rick Scott clearly had an interesting view on choice, considering he has never considered himself "pro-choice" so he clearly was reaching out and testing the waters with this new definition of "choice": "Scott also displayed his garbled interpretation of the phrase 'pro-choice,' telling the Miami Herald, 'You should have the opportunity to see an ultrasound of your child. It's your choice. You don't have to. This creates choice. I think it's very positive.'" .....Meanwhile, back at the ranch we all recognize that the bill just passed when this party was happening made it MANDATORY for the pregnant person to get an ultrasound and to have the fetus described to them before they could have an abortion...

Dear Governor Scott,

Making something mandatory eliminates choice.


Alexa Nelen
Member of the "Not an Idiot" club

Our Governor should not have any sort of control over our bodies regardless. What is he doing celebarting this and spending so much money just to congratulate his closest endorsers? Well, that seems like a stupid question that seems really self explanatory so never mind. I think I grasp the point.

If an outsider had to have anything to do with my uterus I'd rather the only thing they would be able to do is celebrate it from the outside, not be all up in it and celebrate their control over it. But I'm pretty sure we could all agree on that.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Only Rapists Can Prevent Rape

(i have seen this in various places online--i've linked this to one)
A lot has been said about how to prevent rape.
Women should learn self-defense. 
Women should lock themselves in their houses after dark. 
Women shouldn't have long hair and women shouldn't wear short skirts. 
Women shouldn't leave drinks unattended. 
Fuck, they shouldn't dare to get drunk at all.
Instead of that bullshit, how about:
If a woman is drunk, don't rape her.
If a woman is walking alone at night, don't rape her.
If a women is drugged and unconscious, don't rape her.
If a woman is wearing a short skirt, don't rape her.
If a woman is jogging in a park at 5 am, don't rape her.
If a woman looks like your ex-girlfriend you're still hung up on, don't rape her.
If a woman is asleep in her bed, don't rape her.
If a woman is asleep in your bed, don't rape her.
If a woman is doing her laundry, don't rape her.
If a woman is in a coma, don't rape her.
If a woman changes her mind in the middle of or about a particular activity, don't rape her.
If a woman has repeatedly refused a certain activity, don't rape her.
If a woman is not yet a woman, but a child, don't rape her.
If your girlfriend or wife is not in the mood, don't rape her.
If your step-daughter is watching TV, don't rape her.
If you break into a house and find a woman there, don't rape her.
If your friend thinks it's okay to rape someone, tell him it's not, and that he's not your friend.
If your "friend" tells you he raped someone, report him to the police.
If your frat-brother or another guy at the party tells you there's an unconscious woman upstairs and it's your turn, don't rape her, call the police and tell the guy he's a rapist.
Tell your sons, god-sons, nephews, grandsons, sons of friends it's not okay to rape someone.
Don't tell your women friends how to be safe and avoid rape.
Don't imply that she could have avoided it if she'd only done/not done x.
Don't imply that it's in any way her fault.
Don't let silence imply agreement when someone tells you he "got some" with the drunk girl.
Don't perpetuate a culture that tells you that you have no control over or responsibility for your actions. You can, too, help yourself.
This goes for any gendered rape, male on female or female on male or female on female or FTM on MTF or non gendered to dual gendered and so on and so forth....
-author unknown

Read more:

A Brief History of the Bromance

the actual website is another blog post entirely... feel free to write it:) Leandra

You Offend Me, You Offend My Family

So, this website is supposed to be about issues (political, personal, pop culture, etc) in the Asian-/American community. It's an example of progressive, political Pan-Asianism and it's desperate need for intersectional analysis of oppression. I meant to post this article a while back--it's a piece about the "I'm not a costume, I'm a culture" movement. Basically, it's a (ironic) analysis of racism that excludes gender oppression and fetishizes the white female body.

Granted, this can be read through postmodern, ironic lens as a form of counteridentification, but I'm struggling to buy that argument.

Where Our Boys at? Involving Young Men as Allies to End Violence Against Girls

In class tonight we will discuss gender-based violence--violence not only perpetrated against girls and women but violence driven by and illuminating the relationship(s) between gender/gendered constructs, which does not only include violence against girls/women but various forms of violence. With that said, violence (especially sexual violence) is still carried out disproportionately against women and girls throughout the world, making this "toolkit" a valuable resource for education and activism. Thank you to Christine Mouton from UCF Victim Services for providing the link.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Hey, Bro, That's My Little Pony!

You mean men can enjoy a show with a largely female cast and a target audience for young girls? Astonishing!

But, indeed, it's true. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, a clever remake of the 1980's television show, introduces the fun of MLP to a new generation. Among these new fans are male fans who call themselves 'Bronies'. It's true. I'm not too fond of the moniker admittedly as it seems like it goes out of its way to justify the masculinity of the fans who enjoy a television show aimed at girls, but baby steps, I suppose.

The wonderful thing about the popularity of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic among male and female fans alike is that the show proves that a series featuring a primarily female cast (who aren't objectified for the male gaze) can be successful! In the cartoon world, you see, there's still a long way to go. Cartoons aimed at children audiences mostly feature male protagonists [4 male characters to 1 female character]. The argument is generally that boys won't watch a television show featuring a girl. So, it's nice to see an instance when that theory is proven wrong.

Boys being punished for "being boys"?

"Does your son act too much like a little boy?"
"Is he fidgety and rambuctious?" 
"Does he have trouble listening or have a puerile sense of humor?"
"Is he easily distracted?"
"Does he have a propensity to get dirty?"
"Does he enjoy playing with violent toys?"
"If you answered 'yes' to any of these questions, then it might be time to medicate your son. Even if he doesn't have ADD or ADHD, you'll most certainly agree that he's annoying. Well, now you can curb the boyish tendencies in your son and make him almost [unrecognizable word] in the process. E-MASQL8 Plus has been clinically proven to reduce in boys all signs of unwanted boyishness. You'll never have to deal with snips, snails or puppy-dog tails again".

"E-MASQL8 Plus; A Cure for the Common Boy"

This picture/ advertisement is clearly a parody, pointing out the over medication of youth because a lot of the time the behavior is seen as "inconvenient" whether it's in school, in social situations or at home. This faux ad really stuck out to me because it recognizes all of the traits we usually attribute to masculinity or burgeoning boys in how they're supposed to be, and yet we suppress that a lot of the times and try and shut it down after we spend so much time and energy reinforcing those behaviors, or rather punishing boys who do not have those behaviors. 
It's really funny to me how our society can be so centered around making sure boys display proper amounts of masculinity throughout their development but we don't know why these negative tendencies come out of such traits. 
Medicating it is not the answer. Clearly. This ad not only touches on the over medication of youth but also the ignorance of our society to notice the habits we perpetually reinforce and their direct consequences. "Masculinity" doesn't just come out of nowhere.

Kanye West wearing a skirt

Earlier I read someone post about a rapper gender bending and wearing lipstick. When I saw this it reminded me of the article and it is great to see how popular mainstream artist can break norms (at least norms in American culture). I didn't like Ariel Kaiser's comment about "at least he is not wearing pink..." because this is suggesting that there is clothing that is gender specific. The article tries to justify that wearing a skirt can be masculine. Ignoring that this is one of those poorly written gossip articles I really hope trends can change for anyone to dress with whatever makes them feel comfortable without having their sexuality or their gender identity being questioned.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Rappers wear lipstick??!

Well at least Rapper Dphillgood from Dallas, TX does.  He also wears printed tights and feels that his "XY Movement"that blurs gender lines will help others catch on. When asked his sexual preference he says that he is not gay, and his girlfriend says she is supportive of his gender bending expressions.

Check out his video

Thursday, November 3, 2011

NEW My Tide Commercials Aimed at Dads

I happened to overhear one of these commercials the other day. The commercials are still somewhat gendered in that the character attributes the strength, intellect and problem solving to his "fatherly" side and his nurturing loving side to his "motherly." Regardless though,  I'm glad to see a laundry detergent not aimed at women only, or women cleaning up the mess/mistake of men.

Check out the below links:

Dad Commercial #1:

Dad Commercial #2: