Monday, October 31, 2011

"Real Men..."

Less than a year ago, I heard about Ashton Kutcher's mission to help end "child sex slavery." While the mission is noble, his way of attracting attention with his advertisements is lazy. After you watch, how does this commercial limit men (and women) and how do you feel about it?

Another Tide Commercial

In search of the previous Tide commercial I posted, I came across another "interesting" commercial. This commercial operates with the same father as the previous one. However, in this commercial, he identifies himself as a "dad mom." How do you feel about this term and its connotations that "nurturing" is designated to femininity? 

Tide Commercial

I have been seeing this commercial all over television. Since we were just discussing the unequal allocation of housework in class (Theories of Masculinity), I thought I would post this. How do you feel about how Tide addresses fathers (or men) doing housework?

Inequities for children of gay parents

When I was checking the news this morning, this headline caught my eye. This article illustrates some of the very serious legal inequities (as well as the social stigmas) faced by households with gay, bisexual, and transgender parents. While we all know that marriage equality and equal rights for all of those who are not heterosexual are hotly contested issues today; I was not quite aware of the extent to which the exploitation of children was being used as a weapon on behalf of equal rights opponents in order to achieve their end. I think there is a touch of irony here, or probably more accurately this could be deemed outright hypocrisy and, if it wasn’t so sad, I’d laugh. I think this article shows us some of the negative, tangible effects of this bizarre, mythological normative social unit we refer to as “the nuclear family.”

I think Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler said it best when he said: “Same-sex marriage is a pro-family measure.”

Friday, October 28, 2011

Dealbreaker: He Has Low Self-Esteem

This article is pretty interesting. We follow a feminist author who engages in a months-long text-relationship with a man with low self-esteem (lack of employment enables him not to "feel like a man"). The author explains her mixed feelings- the feminist in her wanted to liberate him from his own problematic gender expectations while she allowed him to manipulate her emotional investment. To rub salt into the wound, he ends up meeting another woman! I'd like to know more about this other woman and why she "won" (although, this guy doesn't seem like much of a prize). Was she far less successful than he was? Was she just unsuccessful enough to make him "feel like a man"? Did she enable his "identity crisis" more than the author? The reason why this interests me so much is because if a successful woman makes this guy feel emasculated, what in particular does not emasculate him? That in itself, I'm sure, is entirely problematic and in need of some serious unpacking.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

He wants to be a Girl Scout,

I was skimming the headlines on and ran across a story about a boy in Colorado who identifies as female who wants to be in the Girl Scouts and was told no. He was told that "boy parts" aren't allowed in the troop.  Check out this video to hear more.

He wants to be a Girl Scout

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Hegemonic Masculinity in 90's Pop Culture

The other day I was watching "Roseanne" - I can't lie, it's one of my favorites! - and I noticed that the episode was called "Stand On Your Man."

In this episode, we can see hegemonic masculinity at it's "finest" in 1990's popular culture. In the first clip, the first 2 minutes or so, we can see Dan and his "buddies" playing poker and adhering to their ideas of hegemonic masculinity within their society. Arnie's ex-wife nancy has recently come out as a lesbian, which he feels is a threat to his masculinity.

This entire episode deals with issues of masculinity, as Dan feels he must display his masculinity and "protect" Roseanne now, after she is attacked by a man in her restaurant. We can see this in the last few minutes of the clip above, and in the first few minutes of the following clip. The part of this episode which first caught my attention begins around 5 minutes through in the following clip: Arnie comes to talk to Nancy to "reaffirm" his masculinity after learning that she is a lesbian.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sticky Fingers, Male and Female

This article addresses the differences between male and female shoplifters. It was surprising to read an article for the New York Times (written by a female) include assumptions like a "lesser" gender, bored and lonely women who steal just because they are broke, or repressed female sexuality and psychic injuries woman suffered as children. Although the author (somewhat) attempted to debunk these myths linked to shoplifting, the presentation provided more attention to previous bogus assumptions and failed to provide any current analysis. What do you think?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Dealbreaker: She's a Bro

Okay, there is so much to unpack in this article! It definitely reads like one of the more problematic articles in "Men Speak Out", but there are many interesting things going on at the same time. The author (a heterosexual man) is talking about girls that he dates who he deems "bros". The term "bro" or referring to something as "bro-y" is somewhat new to me in pop-culture, although I think I have a handle on it's implications. I think some of the things that would be considered "bro-y" for a male would be along the lines of polo shirts, fraternities, those cheap ray-ban sunglasses imitations with the neon sides. The author talks about girls who are "bro-y"- namely in conjunction with sororities, knowing all the words to "Don't Stop Believing", and, my personal favorite, girls who fetishize gay men because they want a "sassy" best friend (a role that the dominant culture has informed both women and gay men that is acceptable). The article brings up many interesting points, but I was wondering why the "type" of girl he is describing still falls under the category of "bro". Is this sexist? Is the entire article sexist? What do you agree with and what do you find problematic? I'd be interested to know!

Hormone Therapy for Pre-Teen

We recently talked about different "types of lesbians" and we watched Venus Boyz so I felt this article was pretty relevant to what we have been discussing in class.

Personally, the biggest issue I see is that the long term side effects are unknown for this therapy on a child. From what I know medicine works differently in adults than it does in children. I feel like more medical research should be done to improve such therapy. However, from what I understood this is not a sex change, just a hormone blocker. So using this for a couple years is not making the decision to change his sex/gender at an early age, but instead preventing puberty so that Thomas has more time to make a proper decision.

What do you all think?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

American Military Officer "Schools" Iraqi Police

This link will take you to a video where American military hyper masculinity is clearly displayed. This video is about 5.5 minutes of one American Military officer shouting at and insulting Iraqi police for being "pussies" for being "women" for not initiating aggression and conflict but instead relying on American soldiers to do it all.

"You want fuel and guns and shit from me but you don't get off your lazy asses and do anything"

He even threatened to beat all of them and show them how to be "real men".

This video clearly displays what American hyper masculinity in the military is all about and what is pretty much expected from men entering the military. The tactics this officer was using on the Iraqi police are tactics used on Americans in training - degradation, subjugation, and threatening and frequent emasculation.
This treatment of men and degradation of women is constantly perpetuated by actions like this in the United States and overseas. This is how some men in our military wish to represent "strong, capable, courageous, independent, FREE" American men and by extension American women as weak and ill-willed things to be ridiculed.
Is this how we want our military representing us? I think not.

"No means Yes, Yes Means Anal"

This was discussed in last night's chat if anyone did not know the reference I've linked the article.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Heinz Deli Mayo Commercial

Heinz Deli Mayo Commercial

Take a look at this video. Would they play this Heinz commercial in the U.S.? I will answer for you...NO!

Paws for Peace

Unfortunately, one of the ways that masculinity is expressed in American society is through domestic violence. Often, pets are harmed in violent homes. According to Harbor House, Orange County's DV shelter, 48% of DV victims delay leaving their homes because they fear for the safety of their pet. 88% of animals living in DV households are either abused or killed, and 57% of survivors entering DV shelters in the US have had a pet killed by their abuser.

It is unacceptable that pets are being treated as collateral damage in domestic violence situations. That's why you should join Harbor House in their 2nd annual Paws for Peace walk, as they raise money to build Central Florida's first shelter for pets of residents in their shelter! Click on the blog title for more information.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Update: Dr. Pepper TEN's Sexist Campaign

If you remember a few blog posts back, I wrote an entry about Dr. Pepper TEN's campaign about how it "isn't for women". Stefanie Harmon made another post with some more info.

In any case, the website has been edited to remove the 'not for women' bit. But the commercials are still going strong. Sign's petition to help get it removed!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Milk PMS Advertisement

I'm sure we've all heard about this pleasant advertisement from the "Got Milk?" campaign....I found a video online of the commercial.

I have been reading about this since July and clearly repulsed but I have yet to see an actual commercial or advertisement for it other than their website. They pulled the ad campaign early but still called it a "success".

The comments at the bottom are startling, one person goes: "These ads made me laugh and there is truth to all of them. We should accept the fact that we are emotional and can be psychotic during this time. Men accept it and love us still:)" ....ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Only one came to a slight defense of women but in a backwards way, she said that yes, calcium reduces PMS but makes symptoms (ache, tenderness....etc) worse....yeah, well not to mention the multitudes of HORMONES that are in non organic store bought cow's milk...

This campaign is ridiculous and I'm so glad they pulled it but I have no doubt that they really did think it was a success because people, like the above commenter, supported it and bought into it, showing the power of mainstream media in constructing gender roles based on biology and constructing them in such a way to have people say "Oh, poor guys! Their masculinity is always being threatened by crazy women on their periods!"

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Michael Monet

This is the Michael I was talking about in class last night. This website documents his experience with transitioning. He is a beautiful writer. He's also a personal trainer and has designed programs specifically for the trans body. Hope you'll check out his thoughts and writings. He removed his videos from youtube, so I'm not sure if he's going through something right now.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

When I Was a Boy

This is one of my favorite songs and I thought it applied to this past week's focus on female bodied masculinity (and male bodied femininity for that matter.)

Dar Williams: When I Was a Boy

Click Here

Dr Pepper 10 "Is Not for Women."

A great Article on the most recent campaign by Dr Pepper.

Here is the current commercial airing.

What do you think?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Legalizing Domestic Violence(?!?!)

I just ran across this article and I have to say that this is absolutely ridiculous! I think it is important not only to think about the immediate implications of this plan, but also what this says about masculinity and domestic violence. It seems that this plan is saying that it is not that big of a deal to act violently towards women, as long as you are not a repeat offender. WHAT?!

Legalizing domestic violence: Topeka's 'terrible' plan to save money
Just in time for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Kansas' capital city is on the verge of decriminalizing domestic battery as part of a budget standoff
posted on October 7, 2011, at 11:35 AM
Due to budget cuts, domestic violence cases may no longer be prosecuted in Topeka, Kan., potentially sending a "terrible message" to victims of domestic battery.

Due to budget cuts, domestic violence cases may no longer be prosecuted in Topeka, Kan., potentially sending a "terrible message" to victims of domestic battery. Photo: Gaetano/Corbis SEE ALL 24 PHOTOS

The Topeka City Council will decide next week whether to essentially legalize domestic violence in the Kansas capital, in a budgetary game of chicken with Shawnee County, which encompasses Topeka. The fight started when Shawnee District Attorney Chad Taylor, facing a 10 percent budget cut for next year, announced Sept. 8 that his office would no longer prosecute misdemeanor cases, including those involving domestic violence, inside Topeka city limits. The City Council is betting that if it strikes Topeka's ordinance against domestic battery, it will force Taylor to reconsider. Here's what you should know:

What happens if Topeka follows through?
If the City Council repeals the domestic-battery ordinance, municipal courts wouldn't be able to take on those cases, effectively sending the ball back to Taylor's court. Domestic violence is still a state crime. But "because only Taylor has authority to decide what cases he files and prosecutes," domestic violence prosecution could slow to a trickle, says The Topeka Capital-Journal in an editorial. Repeat offenders are charged as felons, and the D.A. would still take those cases.

How bad could this get?
Already, the standoff is putting victims in grave danger "in the world that does not exist inside of an Excel spreadsheet," says Erin Gloria Ryan at Jezebel. Taylor has rejected at least 30 domestic violence cases since Sept. 8, and the 18 people arrested in Topeka for domestic battery have all been released from county jail because no charges were filed. And even if Taylor eventually blinks, and decides to resume prosecuting first-time offenders, the City Council's decriminalization of domestic violence would still send "a terrible message to victims of domestic battery and the entire community," says The Topeka Capital-Journal's editorial board.

How dire is the financial situation?
In 2012, the D.A.'s office expects to see $347,765 cut from its budget — which is $3.5 million this year. Of course, if nobody takes these domestic violence cases, it could save some money in the short run, says Marie Diamond at ThinkProgress. But domestic violence has "staggering financial consequences" — medical costs, for instance. There are bigger human costs, too, says Topeka victims' advocate Claudine Dombrowski. If the city and county keep up this "disgusting" fight, "they need to invest in headstones, because these women are going to end up in cemeteries."

Who should shoulder the blame?
Everyone involved says they believe domestic violence needs to be prosecuted vigorously, but that they can't pay for it, says Maya Dusenbery at Feministing. And "it’s hard to blame them too harshly for that," given the deep budget cuts hitting states and cities. "Thanks, austerity!" Maybe, says National Organization for Women's Kari Ann Rinker. But right now, local officials are just "finger-pointing and blaming" like 5-year-old children, and they all deserve "some amount of blame" for putting women at undue risk.

Masculinity in Disney Movies

This video illustrates the various portrayals of masculinity in all of our favorite Disney movies. It's crazy that you never even think about it or realize these things when you are a child, even though they play such a huge role in your socialization!

Rethink Breast Cancer Campaign

This video caught my eye and made me smile. The men in this video embody stereotypical "masculinity" however in context of the video they do not come off as "aggressive" or "powerful" or "dominating." How do these men fit into the modern concept of masculinity?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Why Men Are in Trouble

I would like to preface the article by noting that it is woefully problematic. The author, William J. Bennett, is an upper-middle class white man- and that is exactly the angle presented in the article. The most startling statistic he offered was "Today, 18-to- 34-year-old men spend more time playing video games a day than 12-to- 17-year-old boys." Although his points of men's lack of maturity and ambition are provocative, his solutions (industriousness, religion, marriage) are archaic. The article read as if it intended to register fear in men that "the women are getting ahead" (as if that would be a bad thing). It is full of sexist language (i.e. the dawn of "mankind", men are the "dominant sex") and concludes with masculinity crisis inducing "it's time for men to man up". What Bennett fails to talk about is HOW men got this way- and it's not by lack of faith- it's because of the harmful effects patriarchy can have on EVERYONE. The masculinity crisis is one that should be taken far more seriously than Bennett seems to realize- men don't need to "man up", they need to be able to express emotion, become vulnerable, heal, and join forces with women, transgendered individuals, and gender queers. In my opinion, steps toward a harmonious and progressive future would be far more advantageous than attending weekly church services.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Fountainhead

In one of my film classes, we recently watched The Fountainhead. The basis of the film (written by Ayn Rand) revolves around her desire for people to be individualists above all. Attached is a clip ( from the film including the protagonist of the film, Howard Roark, played by Gary Cooper. Disregarding that, what is glaringly missing from the speech?

Gisele Bundchen Ad: Degrades Women or Underestimates Men or Both?

Recently, I read an article ( about Gisele 's sexist ad and the subsequent banning of it in Brazil. The attached article discusses the heightened female violence (domestic violence and murders) in Brazil and how this ad relates to the serious and severe female issues there (Portilho-Shrimpton). Furthermore, the ad can be dissected in a myriad of  ways in relation to the message. Does the ad portray women as sexual objects or does the ad underestimate men and their "self-control" or both? Also, read some of the comments (if you have time) and see how some people digested the ad.

Works Cited

Portilho-Shrimpton, Thais. "Gisele's sexist lingerie ads are no laughing matter in Brazil." The Guardian. 30 September 2011. Web. 5 October 2011.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Should Facebook Ban Rape Jokes?

Found this article from this morning. It's very frustrating to read, because the author just attributes these rape jokes to "silly male teen humor". The author also asserts that the point of comedy is to make light of tragedy. What the author completely ignores is the fact that Facebook is a main source of information for teenagers, making these "silly" jokes viable sources of social conduct. It was a disappointing read from a "progressive" site like Slate. The article's defense of the jokes is almost as insulting as the jokes themselves. There is no author cited, but I'm willing to bet that it is a man. These are exactly the kind of casual and nonchalant attitudes towards rape that need to be eliminated!

Chief Raoni, I cry with you.

Chief Raoni crying when he learned that the President of Brazil approved the Bel...o Monte dam project on the Xingu indigenous lands. Belo Monte will be bigger than the Panama Canal, flooding nearly a million acres of rainforest & indigenous lands. 40,000 indigenous and local people will be forced off their native lands (as well as millions of unknown species & plants) In the name of "progress" --NorthAmerican WebDesign

In these moments of quiet contemplation, I try to forget what it feels like to live in anger. Not because anger doesn’t have its place. Not because we don’t have every fucking right to be angry. No. But because sometimes great sadness needs the space to sink in. I let it take over completely. Get lost in the kind of despair that shakes apart entire families like a bulldozer ready to fuck over sacred land. We don’t understand how land is sacred. We only understand using land and owning land. But land is alive and it gives life to our body and our spirit. It teaches us to have patience and to wait— as we watch and listen to the earth to get nourishment for our body, for our soul and for our community. It carries the history of people and connects us to dimensions of consciousness, places to understand time. But we forget this. We always forget how things arrive.