Monday, March 31, 2014

Boys polished nails

The other day my daughters were painting their nails and I decided to do the same. As we were painting our nails, my son who is a little younger than two wanted his nails painted. We painted his finger and toe nails orange and purple (the only colors we had on us). Anyway since then we have gone out to store and I have notice people looking at my son oddly. A few people ask me if he was a girl (despite being dressed in boyish clothing) and others who knew he was a boy questioned why his nails were painted but more so, why they were painted in girl colors? I was told by people that this will make him less of a boy and may even lead to "questionable" things in the future. My husband didn't seem to have a problem with it and I try to teach my kids that there are no assigned colors or items. Why does society think polished nails equal femininity instead of masculinity? The only exception seems to be if I painted his nails black and deemed him a rock star.

Really? Is this what we have come to, does it matter whose nails are being painted. 
My Yoga Body

After this week's film, I wanted to share a personal experience. 
Last week I was leaving my yoga class. It was an afternoon class, so the parking for the plaza was pretty limited when I had arrived and I had to park towards the end of the parking lot.

I walked into class, and immediately felt energized. The instructors there are constantly telling you to love your body, and to trust your body, and at the end of class you leave feeling like you're on top of the world... because you love yourself.

I left class feeling this high. As I walked to the car though, I had to walk by a bar (5:15 pm). I heard some men at a table say - "Now THAT'S a yoga girl!".

Editors Note: I was wearing leggings and a tank top. I always want to wear baggier pants, but it is too hard to do some of the poses in them. As for the tank, the classes are heated sometimes upwards of 105*... I don't feel comfortable in shorts, so a tank just has to suffice. 

I ignored them. I felt like I should be flattered, but at the same time I felt uneasy.

As I continued to walk, one of the guys hollered - "Looking good girl!"

I may have sped up a bit. I was in a full blown panic. What do I do? Every part of my being is fighting this disrespect. If I stop and say "Thank you", it would give them the idea that I liked their comment. So I decided to do what my parent's always told me to do when I was little and getting picked on, just ignore them.

I did just that. I ignored them.

I took a few more steps before I heard them holler again, this time angry - "FINE! Be a BITCH!"

It was THEIR unsolicited comment, which I chose to ignore, and I still get called a bitch.

I immediately took to Facebook, I was hoping that by posting about my experience, perhaps someone who catcalls women would see that the majority of us don't appreciate it.
Me: "Just got called a bitch for not turning around after getting catcalled... WTF?!"

The first comment was from a male friend:
"Better for that than turning around, reacting to it and being called a bitch anyway."

This is so true. Because not only would I have been so upset and angry that the words to express how disrespectful this man was would not come out, but I would end up causing more pain for myself with the confrontation. It would be roughly 5 against 1. 

I half wished my dad had been there... Then again, the comment would have most likely never been made. 

This week's film " War Zone" - showed just this. A woman brave enough to confront her harassers. A woman with the strength to tell these men the truth behind their actions and how and what kind of impact they have on women. 

The impact it had on me is still disturbing. They killed my yoga "high". I immediately hopped in the car and locked the doors. I have been trained that men do these things, and that if I am not careful and cover up... it is inevitable that I will be raped. Why am I constantly living in a state of fear, when men are raised with society telling them they have the upper hand? That because they have a penis, street abuse is no big deal?

Are parent's teaching their sons to be so disrespectful, or are they learning it from the media? 
Are there women who enjoy being catcalled and harassed?
Do men actually get women by doing this, dates/marriage?
Why should I have to wear what is uncomfortable physically, to not get harassed and feel comfortable emotionally?


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Rising Question While Watching War Zone Film

For this week's class assignments, videos and readings War Zone was a film we needed to watch. While watching the film some questions came to mind and I wanted to share it with you guys.
  1.  Why is it so hard for men, to truly give a woman a compliment? 
  2. When is it considered disrespectful? 
  3. Is it the same way with women? 
  4. Why does it matter what women wear?
  5. Can what women wear provoke others to stare, whistle, and etc.
  6. Why do we generalize things?
  7. What is natural when it comes to attraction? Women's behavior? Men's behavior?
  8. How would men react if the tables were turned?
  9. When a women stands up for herself is that enough protection?
  10. Is there any more she can do herself?
  11. Do you think other women encourage men's behavior towards women?

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Male Rape is Hilarious...Isn't it?

Difficult to watch, but entirely worth it.

We're supposed to give a commentary or what we learned from links we post, but I honestly know that what I have to say about this video is utterly covered in the two minutes it takes to watch it. The link is to an article about the video if you really require more words, but for now I'll just say this: This video is necessary. It was necessary to be recorded, it was necessary to post and it is necessary to watch.

Male rape isn't just in prison, it isn't just with children and it isn't less important than female rape. It's horrible thing that can happen to anyone, but even more horrible is carrying on after the fact. The video makes this clear, crystal clear. Please watch this video.

Man Up... For a Burger?

Eat Like You Mean It

According to a recent Carl's Jr. ad, it's time to man up!

This ad shows well known X-Men antagonist Mystique holding a large bacon, cheese, and fried onion draped burger turning into a man before taking a bite. It's garnered some negative attention recently with it's connection between being a man and enjoying a burger which has prompted the X-Men Movies Facebook page to remove the ad from it's wall.

There's plenty of articles about what they did and why it's wrong. I, personally, believe they just made a mistake. This is the same company that showed a model eating a burger....actually I just watched a few of their more recent ads and they are highly sexualized (like a lot of commercials). It's definitely not a good look and I seen loads of comments from men and women detailing their disgust with these ads. It seems like Carl's Jr may be doing this to create their own "edgy" brand and get some attention for their limited products. Either way I hope they start to use less controversy for their products. I feel like after the Doctor Pepper Ten fiasco from 2011 you would think companies would avoid trying to piss off a large chunk of their audience.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hypermasculinity to distance oneself from femininity

In advertisements these days, it seems there are the gendering of products that could be used for anyone. With the Dr. Pepper rebranding as having only 10 manly calories to razors that are only for male faces that somehow can't be used for female legs. The recent Summer's Eve commercial with a husband and wife talking while the husband is showering is a new ad showing how "male and female" products cannot be used by the other or anyone else who is not that assigned gender/sex. The husband accidentally uses the Summer's Eve wash as a body wash, and does not realize this "mistake" till the wife tells him about the awesome stuff in it for a woman's genitals. He then does "traditionally" masculine things like drinking raw eggs, working out, breaking concrete blocks, mowing the lawn and making a spartan looking helmet to wear while mowing. Here is the ad:
This is supposed to be over done for comedic's sake, but it is yet another ad in a long line of ads differentiating "manly" things and "girly" things. One problem with this is anyone can use this body wash and can be used for other places than the genitals. Second problem is there are men with vulvas out there, and they can use it too, but this ad excluded some men from using it on a cisgendered premise of women have vulvas, therefore need this product and men have penises, therefore should not touch it. Third problem is the idea that those activities that are overly stereotyped are not representative of all men, since not all men have the same idea of masculinity, and some men can not perform some of those activities, due to some physical limitations, presenting the overly athletic able-bodied version of masculinity. Final problem is, is that this is yet another ad pushing hypermasculinity on men to push them further away from femininity and being complete opposite of females. Those stereotypes presented in these type of ads lead to men having eating disorders to bulk up and become muscular, and seeing dominance and being physical as the only masculinity. This leaves those not fitting into the cisgendered, muscular model of manhood then to feel insecure and may even be bullied and pushed to attain this ideal.

Sunday, March 23, 2014


    Everyday I see ads on television, magazines, and through Facebook showing shower products for men and women. Most recently, for men, I have seen Dove's Men Care line, Axe, and Old Spice. These ads usually show men in the shower, lathering up their ripped bodies in what apparently has hardcore pheromones in it to attract women. 
    In comparison, women's shower care lines usually show leg shaving, and the same ritualistic hair and body sudsing. 
    However, these two have a main placement in common... the shower. 
    Not too many ads show men or women in the bathtub promoting bubble bath or bath pillows. I suppose this is because these items typically sell themselves, and aren't as frequently used as the normal care products. 
    So it was a surprise to me when I saw this ad appear in my Facebook feed the other night. Here you will see the screen shot that I took of what appears to be a man in the bathtub, with a martini, cigar, and the two small tubes of bath products on the sill next to him. 
    It wasn't the crazy stereotypical male model type of man that they used in the ad that I found so bizarre, but the title "Bath Like A Man". What does that even mean? How are baths that men take, and that women take any different? Hot water, maybe some bath salts, but the end goal is always the same - relaxation and release of tension (mental and/or physical). We need to step back from the constant slew of dichotomies that society gives us every second of the day and realize that for the most part - no matter your gender - we are all usually seeking the same end result. 
    I don't "take a bath like a woman", so why should someone "take a bath like a man"? Why don't we just... take a bath?

Masculinity in Disney Films

The older I get the more Disney scares with all the underlining meanings in films. Many parents allow their parents to tune into these movies because it is deemed appropriate for the age group. The youth admire these characters in these movies, they want to dress and act like them. These movies teach girls and boys how they are suppose to behavior. They teach girls how to talk it out and make up,then they teach boys how to fight it out and defeat their opponent. Teaching them to dominate others for power and control. How to interact with women, they are something to be saved and they should be objectified. Most often teaching them to be emotionally detached initially.  They are suppose to be aggressive and physically dominant.  Anybody that is not muscular is usually portrayed as weak or even clumsy. Men are taught to fight and maintain status from youth.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The war on boys....continued

I want to provide the link to the conversation Ms. Sommers Hoff had on the Bill Mahr show concerning her book "The War on Boys", it gives some insight regarding her position on the issue of masculinity and the way she feels boys are being negatively impacted by our societal effort to curtail "natural" male behaviors. The clip is older, and Greg Graffin has much less hair now :), but it is a wonderful discussion about masculine and feminine roles, and what, she believes, is happening to young boys and girls when we value one set of actions or attitudes over another. ****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

The war on boys....

I recently watched the documentary “The Mask You Live In”, it talks about the detrimental effects that traditional expectations of masculinity have on boys and men in our society. It harkens back to readings and documentary that focused on the “box” men find themselves in and how it impacts their behaviors and lives.******************************************************************************************************************************* After I watched the documentary, I found an interview with Christina Hoff Sommers, who is the author of a book called “The War on Boys”, she was discussing the harmful impact boys and men incur when we defame or belittle the positive attributes of masculinity that she sees as under attack by feminist groups and the like. I initially wrote off the idea that men are so how suffering when their behaviors are critiqued, but in listening to her interview I did see some merit in her viewpoint. The section or concept I identified with was the concept that there are 2 forms of masculinity at play in our society, pathological masculinity and healthy masculinity. Some boys are hyper-masculine or pathologically masculine. They are bullies and worse, establishing their “maleness” through destruction, mayhem, and preying on the weak and vulnerable. But most boys evince healthy masculinity. They may enjoy mayhem in games and sports, but in life they like to build, not destroy. Their instinct is not to exploit vulnerable people but to protect and defend them. I tend to agree with this concept, I think we all know men, or boys, who we acknowledge of a very traditional masculinity about them, and it is not a negative or something that needs to be dealt with or changed. Not all expressions of “masculinity” are negative, and like it or not, and regardless of how many “exception to the rule” we see, there are behaviors that appear in males, or females, more frequently than in the opposite sex. I don’t think boys should be shamed for behaving in a way that feels natural to them, in the same way that I would not want someone to be hurtful to a young girl who prefers trucks over dolls. ********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

scrubs season 7 episode 8 (Manhood)

I am current watching Scrubs and the other day I was watching this episode. It reminded me of this class and how people define manhood. In this episode, JD's best friend Turk lost one of his testicles and believes that he has to prove his manhood by fighting. Turk kept it a secret until his wife Carla admitted to JD and Elliot. Even though this show is more comical than serious it still covers some of the material of Manhood. I am going to provide a short clip of the show below.
 Scurbs S7 E8 Manhood

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Confidence is NOT Defined by Gender

When I saw this image, I immediately wanted to write to whomever created this poster and let them know that not all women lack confidence and self-esteem, just like not all men have exorbitant amounts of confidence and self-esteem. 

As we have talked about in class, men experience very similar negative images from the media as women do. 

While women are told they need to be tan, and thin, and have sex appeal... Men are told they need to be tall, and fit (6-pack and large biceps), and play a variety of sport/like and enjoy sports in general. 

Men are told they need to be the flirty one's, and to hit on women, they need to buy their date dinner, and open doors for them. They are told they need to be "gentlemen", but at the same time, they need to be rough and tough and get dirty. 

Men receive a lot of the same mixed messages that women do, but because women are so vocal about it - yet somehow things are changing as a turtle's pace - and men are not as vocal about it (likely because they are also told that they are not allowed to be passionate about sensitivity issues, they need to 'man up' and need to have a tough outer shell), the media for men is not changing. Male models all look the same, and give men an unachievable ideal, just as women receive an unattainable ideal. 

We are all people, we are all made differently, we are all unique, we are all beautiful. 

Confidence doesn't rely on gender, it relies on self. 

If you're interested in spreading some confidence building material, and in general putting a smile on stranger's faces... try out:



Scrolling through Facebook the other day, I saw an awesome post from a feminist page that I follow. This is a march that men make called "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes" - The International Men's March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault & Gender Violence. 

When I first saw these men in these shoes, I thought - WOW! They are standing/walking pretty decently! Then I thought, what an incredible way to get the word out. It is a lot like many other advertisements... get the people's attention! Who ISN'T going to as why these men are marching down the street in high heels? Then, in response, their answer spreads the word for their cause! 

I love seeing people who are willing to step out of their comfort zone, and do something they wouldn't normally do, and aren't afraid of any judgement they may receive from outsiders. 

It is likely that these men don't wear high heels in their daily lives, and that even if they wanted to... they would feel judged/ridiculed/etc. for doing so. In this setting though, inhibitions fly out the window, confidence is high, and the heels are higher. 

Sexualized violence doesn't just affect women, it is an epidemic that affects everyone involved (families, friends, co-workers, spouses, etc.) Every two seconds in America, someone is raped... These men here are standing up to stop the violence. This is about the "United Gender Movement", where "men will be a part of the solution to ending men's sexualized violence against women". The love and support for women from men in these pictures is what our world is all about. 

We are all equal, we are all people, we are all loved.

If you're interested in finding out more information about the march head over to their website:

If you're interested in the Women's Rights News Facebook page, here's their link:

What masculinity is not

Today, this article came to the news desk at the TV station that I intern with:

As you can see, I am the author of the article. As such, I was unfortunately exposed to the police report that accompanied this man's arrest. It made me cringe -- on numerous occasions. The victim listed here was beaten and bruised on nearly every inch of her body after her husband 1. looked at her cell phone; 2. got angry that she let her daughter take out the truck to go to the store; 3. had too much to drink. On separate occasions.

As you can see -- unless they have been deleted by monitors -- there are some people who commented accusing this woman of falsely incriminating her husband. That was the first thing that came to someone's mind, simply because the gruesome details were not there for the world to see. (I hope, that if she reads the article, she is happy with the lack of explicit details of her injuries involved.)

Violent behavior toward any person -- man or woman -- is never all right. This article infuriated me, especially after watching last week's video on the culture of hip hop. When we allow negative attitudes and implied violence to permeate our culture as if it is totally acceptable, what sort of precedence are we setting? Do I think that rap and hip-hop music are the reasons that this man reacted in this manner? Absolutely not. Far from it, actually. However, the culture of violence enables people to think that ACTUAL violence is exaggerated; or untrue; or, god forbid (and I did not see responses that indicated this) warranted.

Masculinity should never be defined by how "hard" someone is, or their power over women. It should be defined by their ability to love themselves, and care for the one's they love as a response.

Sexism, Strength, and Dominance: Masculinity in Disney Cartoons

Living in Orlando, where we are surrounded by Disney images, I thought this YouTube video about images of masculinity in Disney films was very interesting, and caused me to reflect on the impact these images had on the development of my concept of masculinity. I think that as children we have all seen at least one Disney movie, regardless of where you grew up, they have been exported and translated for consumers across the globe, I watched them in both English and French and they were always the same. Personally, I remember watching a VHS tape that had Sleeping Beauty, Pinocchio, and Cinderella on a loop, I hated Pinocchio, but I loved the stories of each princess, and her prince charming, and I can’t help but think there are millions of children who did the same thing. In so many of Disney’s most popular films there are female characters who are beautiful, petite, and in need of rescuing by a strong man, this of course is not the most positive message of femininity to spoon feed small children, Disney has made efforts more recently to show more independent, diverse, and empowered, female characters, films like Brave and Frozen have featured stronger female roles who have been more equal, in regards to their male counterpart. But even as female roles seem to be evolving, slowly (as classic princess characters are much more popular then more recent offerings), the male characters, and their “masculine” attributes, have remained the same. Ideas of masculinity in Disney films have been illustrated by physical strength, objectivism of female characters, domination, and aggression/violence, all characteristics of stereotypical masculinity, and all characteristics that fuel the idea that boys and men can’t be considerate, thoughtful, gentle, or caring. These films have also glorified the physical characteristics of a man, tall and muscular, underscoring that men are the stronger sex, and women the weaker sex, and no room for deviation from these models. Of course in Disney films the male lead, the hero, is also kind to the princess, and shows her affection (usually in the form of a kiss and removing her from a negative situation), but it is usually at the end of the story and only takes up the last few moments of the film. The predominant image of masculinity throughout each story is that of the aggressive, strong, and dominant male, that only taps into feminine emotions on the rarest of occasions, and only when a female is involved. I can’t help but wonder what role these images of masculinity and femininity have played in the development of other children’s concepts of gender roles and norms, given what we consider male behavior and female behavior in today’s society, I would say these films and stories have had a considerable impact on our concepts of masculinity. )

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Masculinity...I thought I knew you....

One of my favourite artists, and someone who helped to create my idea of “real masculinity”, is Henry Rollins. I thought he was incredibly strong, aggressive, clearly able to fight physically, thoughtful, intelligent, and of course incredibly attractive, in short the perfect man (and I was 12). In reviewing different concepts and research articles concerning masculinity, in effort to contribute to this blog, I came across a 2 part YouTube video featuring Henry Rollins being interviewed by Oliver James, a clinical psychologist, as part of a “Man Test”. The “Man Test” is a serious of questions focusing on flushing out an individual’s masculine and feminine traits, and gauging what percentage of an individual’s personality traits would be masculine and feminine. I thought for sure that Henry Rollins would be “all man”, but the questions, responses, and the final score was shocking. Characteristics we see as stereotypically masculine or feminine may not be. In viewing the video, and listening to the responses to some very poignant questions about personal experiences and emotional reactions, it is easy to see how if we look at a man’s reactions or behaviors on a superficial basis it is easy to assume they are showing very stereotypically masculine qualities, when they are actually exhibiting a level of sensitivity or emotion, more akin to a feminine quality. The video does a very impressive job of illustrating the differences in what we see as feminine and masculine, and what psychologically, would be considered a more feminine or masculine response to a scenario or questioning. All in all I thought the video provides a visual example of the restrictive, empowering, and mythological ideals of masculinity that inform the theories of masculinity we have been reading about all semester long. ) )

Monday, March 10, 2014

Does that gun make you a man?

This image displays masculinity being used as advertising for guns. Growing up in an impoverished predominantly black community I have seen young men walking around with guns as if it was a right of passage. Older men would  ask them "do you think that gun makes you a man?", the young ones would respond with ignorance.  It brings up the idea that violence is openly accepted in the masculinity box. Masculinity can be displayed by the amount of fear you can instill into another person. When someone is pointing something at you that can take your life it could cause instant fear. Some men will maintain there masculinity by acting they are not scared and other will let the shooter suck the masculinity out of their soul. Another point,  why is being scared not allowed in the man box? Who invited violence into this box and would a gun  be the missing puzzle in a man's quest for ultimate masculinity?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Masculinity influencing health.

All of the perspectives of masculinity I have never thought about how it affected the health of men.  This is the abstract of an article that examines the influence of masculinity on men's health because men are more likely to be involved in behaviors that will risk their lives.  This examines the idea of social constructs being detrimental to a man's health. Many constructs demand that men being strong and fearless sleep with many different women, and engage in dangerous activities to show their masculinity. Men want to be seen as the stronger sex which could possibly cost them their life. 
Constructions of masculinity and their influence on men's well-being: a theory of gender and health.
Courtenay WH
Men in the United States suffer more severe chronic conditions, have higher death rates for all 15 leading causes of death, and die nearly 7 yr younger than women. Health-related beliefs and behaviours are important contributors to these differences. Men in the United States are more likely than women to adopt beliefs and behaviours that increase their risks, and are less likely to engage in behaviours that are linked with health and longevity. In an attempt to explain these differences, this paper proposes a relational theory of men's health from a social constructionist and feminist perspective. It suggests that health-related beliefs and behaviours, like other social practices that women and men engage in, are a means for demonstrating femininities and masculinities. In examining constructions of masculinity and health within a relational context, this theory proposes that health behaviours are used in daily interactions in the social structuring of gender and power. It further proposes that the social practices that undermine men's health are often signifiers of masculinity and instruments that men use in the negotiation of social power and status. This paper explores how factors such as ethnicity, economic status, educational level, sexual orientation and social context influence the kind of masculinity that men construct and contribute to differential health risks among men in the United States. It also examines how masculinity and health are constructed in relation to femininities and to institutional structures, such as the health care system. Finally, it explores how social and institutional structures help to sustain and reproduce men's health risks and the social construction of men as the stronger sex.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Perfect Match: Male Expectations

 It is no doubt that women face unrealistic expectations within our society. I have been taught to look like the girl next door, pack a lunch like June Cleaver, be like Marilyn Monroe in bed, but conduct myself like Jackie O when I am “taken out” or “presented to family”. This is troublesome; however men experience something similar, especially by magazines geared towards women.

            Ever since I was 14 I was fed magazines telling me about the “type of guy” I wanted and who would be my “perfect match”. Society would tell me I wanted a guy that was mysterious and knew how to play the “game” but that I also needed a guy that picked up the check and opened doors for me. I was taught that this guy had to be the elusive and sexy bad boy, but be able to pull off a Ralph Lauren Polo sweater set and talk business in front of mom and dad. It was at a young age that I realized I wasn’t the only one being scrutinized for compatibility and hopes for procreation.

            It has come to no surprise that we live in a bilateral world, but women are not the only people in the “this or that” category. Once it became time to date I would worry about the guys I would date to show off to my friends and family. The people in my life, like most loved ones, had unrealistic expectations about the guy I would bring home. This guy had to be taller than me, at the same level of intellect as me, be “manly” enough to defend me from all of downtown Orlando but sensitive enough to watch the Notebook and cry with me, and not to mention be able to keep up with my Irish family. This was a lot of pressure to put on any potential date I may have, not to mention that this was a lot of pressure to put on me.

            The unrealistic expectations put on young men and women cause a lot of confusion, and more importantly a lot of heart break. We are spoon fed what we are supposed to find “attractive” and “sexy”. As women we are supposed to want the Channing Tatum looking firefighter, when in reality a lot of us would be happy with Jim from The Office. Society has us confused with the definition of both masculinity and femininity that both parties are unsatisfied. If we take a step back from what society wants and date people outside of Cosmo, we may actually find what we really want, and that is our “perfect match”.