when the status quo frustrates.

Today’s Giggle Moment

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

Scholars of boys and men converged Wednesday at Wagner College, in Staten Island, N.Y., to announce the creation of the Foundation for Male Studies, which will support a conference and a journal targeted at exploring the triumphs and struggles of the XY-chromosomed of the human race — without needing to contextualize their ideas as being one half of a male-female binary or an offshoot of feminist theory.

…I read that sentence like, three times in a row and it still made no sense to me…so I hadn’t reached the giggle moment yet–

More than anything else, the event was a chance for supporters to frame men and boys as an underrepresented minority


Lionel Tiger, a professor of anthropology at Rutgers University, said the field takes its cues “from the notion that male and female organisms really are different”…The culprit, said Tiger, is feminism: “a well-meaning, highly successful, very colorful denigration of maleness as a force, as a phenomenon.”

Paul Nathanson, a researcher in religious studies at McGill University and co-author of a series of books on misandry — the hatred of men and boys — conceded that “there is some critique of feminism that’s going to be involved” in male studies. “There are some fundamental features of ideological feminism over the last 30 or 40 years that we need to question.”

He also decried “the institutionalization of misandry” which, he said, is “being generated by feminists, [though] not all feminists.”

Um…so basically what this is is the creation of the Foundation for Anti-Feminist Studies…it’s not really about men at all, is it? It’s Feminism Sucks 101! Which is why, truly, these folks are not calling their bullshit Men’s Studies, because, uh. Men’s Studies (an interdisciplinary academic field devoted to topics concerning men, masculinity, gender, and politics) already exists and has existed for the past 30 years.

Male studies’ combative tone toward feminism and women’s studies programs is one reason why Robert Heasley, president of the American Men’s Studies Association, turned down an invitation to speak at the event.

Yeah, I don’t suppose he’s too crazy about the idea of his actual, real academic discipline getting associated with a hate movement.

Edward Stevens, chair of the On Step Institute for Mental Health Research, said he wants to see male studies search for ways to improve male academic performance. “What are the ethical concerns of devoting 90 percent of resources to one gender?” he asked (though without explaining exactly what he meant).

LOL, seriously! which gender is that and how can I join up? Cuz that doesn’t describe either of the genders that I’m familiar with…this is SO funny! And amazing that anybody would want to waste their one-and-only adult life on this kind of crap, either founding it or, er, “studying” it. The Westboro Baptist Church, Ann Coulter, “Male” Studies…it takes all kinds…what would a deck of cards be without the jokers? I mean, I’ve never actually played a game of cards in which the jokers were ever used but I’d have missed them if they weren’t there in the deck when I pulled it out of the box! If I even noticed they weren’t there in the first place, I would SO miss ‘em! :D

What? Boys can do stuff too?

Saturday, September 19th, 2009

The real reason I am briefly reappearing is to plug Harriet Jacobs’s outstanding blog Fugitivus. She’s very introspective– painfully so at times– but that’s what makes her writing sear itself into your brain. Well, mine anyway. But in a good way.

In particular, I wanted to call attention to a page she created called “Stuff What Boys Can Do” which has a terrific idea. Recognizing Lisa’s point about just how dangerous it can be for men to stand up to misogyny in an all-male environment, and how the situation isn’t always an easy cut-and-dried one, she’s attempting to compile a survey of real actions that men have taken, large or small, to support women when it would have been easier not to. I guess the idea is that a list of positive examples might be of some inspiration to men who would like to be strong in this way but aren’t quite ready yet (I feel this way myself much of the time, actually). And also, a large enough list of examples might start to reveal common themes which would allow us men to more easily recognize where and how we might help fight misogyny in our own lives.

Have you already thought of an example? Then get over there and share it!

Sometimes, I Thinks Guys Really Hate Us

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

I’m a big fan of reading Cracked.com (the articles, not the comments…dear sweet Jebus, the comments). Normally, it’s pretty funny, and a little off the wall, and very occasionally, I get the idea that the writers might have a progressive bent to them (the article about racist Disney cartoons definitely suggested it). Sometimes, they totally miss the boat entirely, and then I do like I do with most of my media- complain to Hubby, and shrug it off as “that’s the world”. Cracked does a photo-shop contest once a week, the grand prize being 50 dollars normally, and most of the time the pictures can be quite clever. This week, the thread was “If Everyone Had An Unlimited Advertising Budget“.

And this is the point that I felt like I had to say something to the interwebs.

My reactions looking this over were thus:


Friday, April 3rd, 2009

Hi. I’m a 21 year old white male. I just graduated from Oberlin College and will be attending Columbia’s graduate program in journalism next fall. My still-married parents have paid for everything in my life to the point where I’ve not had to hold a single job. Ever.


I need another movie about a depressed well-to-do white boy like I need someone to rip out my teeth with pliers. Enter Adventureland, one of the most tone-deaf comedies I’ve ever seen. If you like feeling sorry for privileged Nice Guys(TM) chasing cardboard cutouts of actual women, check it out.

Two thumbs up. Its own ass.

The Evolution of A Feminist; or, Don’t Like Feminists? Stop Helping Create Them.

Friday, November 21st, 2008

(Cross-posted from Glenn’s site. Note: Feminist-friendly moderation is in effect.)

Pat Robertson said it best: “”Feminism encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.” More succinctly put, feminism is a favorite whipping girl. Feminism has become that magical word–”mainstream”–but that hasn’t made it popular or generally regarded in a positive light. And of all the folks out there that really hate feminists, men’s rights activists are probably among the most virulent and vocal about it.

The big difference between hating black people or Jews and hating feminist women–the difference espoused by people who hate the latter and not the former, say–is that black people or Jews are born that way. It isn’t a choice; being a feminist is a choice, a philosophy, not an ethnicity. Very true–but this argument leads to another, conspicuously not followed through upon by those who advocate it. As they say, feminist women are, indeed, not born feminist. But this does beg the question, doesn’t it..? –why do they become feminist?


Good God, who is this guy?

Monday, October 27th, 2008

If I wasn’t already with the man in the world best suited to me personally, I would definitely hunt him down.

Okay, I wouldn’t; that’s WAAAAY too stalker-ish! :) But I would wish strenuously that I did know him.

Saddest part of all: the reason I’m so wildly impressed with this guy is that he writes a page-long essay detailing how to treat women as if they were people (like men are!), instead of ambulatory vaginas that he might possibly get a chance to wriggle into if he waves the right combination of money and ‘tude at their tits.

(Hat tip: Redheaded Freak Magnet)

Woman as Knight Errant: Escapism for Her vs. Escapism for Him

Saturday, September 13th, 2008


I already derailed the comment thread on Hugo’s first post of three about the book Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men by Michael Kimmel, and I flatly refuse to do it again to his second post, darn it! So I’m going to express myself here instead. (Amanda has another take on Hugo’s second post over at Pandagon as well.)

The title of Hugo’s second post, “Escape, Entitlement, and Empowerment: young men and the ‘Four Ps’” pretty much says it all (the “Four Ps” being Pot, Playstation, Porn and Poker). Focusing in on the “Playstation” P, he quotes a few paragraphs of Kimmel–as a “Playstation P” woman, I was fascinated to try and analyze where I coincided with the “guys” and where (if anywhere) I took off on my own, and what meaning that might have in terms of gendered arguments such as the one below. Let’s examine it!

Because, as it turns out, the fantasy world of media is both an escape from reality and an escape to reality — the reality that many of these guys would secretly like to inhabit. Video games, in particular, provide a way for guys to feel empowered. In their daily lives guys often feel that they don’t measure up to the standards of the Guy Code — always be in control, never show weakness, neediness, vulnerability — and so they create ideal versions of themselves in fantasy. The thinking is simple: if somebody messes with your avatar, you blow him away. It’s a fantasy world of Manichean good and evil, a world in which violence is restorative and actions have no consequences whatsoever.

This doesn’t resonate with me at all. It isn’t that I don’t feel I always have to be in control and never show weakness, neediness and vulnerability–quite the opposite! As a woman in a heavily male-dominated profession, I must show more control and far less weakness/neediness/vulnerability than even your average guy can get away with, if I want to be taken at all seriously. In my personal life, as a feminist single mother raising two sons, again, the pressure to provide such an invulnerable role model is constant and unrelenting. However, I have no urge to physical violence–I rarely ever have such an urge, except in situations where I am directly physically attacked by another person. Therefore, I find no psychological freedom or release in the knowledge that oh hey, I CAN kick that sumbitch’s ass here! Woot! As a matter of fact, the need to suppress weakness, neediness and vulnerability is no different in the virtual world of Warcraft than it is in the real world on Earth, not for me. I am a woman in a MMORPG (for all you noobs, that’s a “massively multiplayer online role-playing game”); I’d better not act like some kind of pussy if I’m in a group! The lack of consequences does not appeal to me either, again, as there are certainly game consequences for acting like a dumbass–the only “consequences” that could be said to be escaped are, if you choose to massacre other players or computer-generated characters, you won’t go to jail. Since I have no urge to do so, there is no relief of any suppressed feelings for me.

They’re getting a parallel education to the formal curriculum — complete with its own Three Rs: Relaxation from the weight of adult demands and of the rules of social decorum (also now known as political correctness); Revenge, against those who have usurped what you thought was yours; and, Restoration to your rightful entitled position in the world.

Oh now, Relaxation I understand! World of Warcraft is most definitely an escape from the real world, with its stupid obsession with minutae and social interaction–it’s puzzle-solving and ass-kicking fun, pure and simple and wholly engrossing. Revenge…again, that does not resonate. Revenge against whom? Those I might possibly want revenge against are still quite in power in the mythical World–there are kings, commanders, wealthy merchants, etc–the World is just as hierarchical and biased in favor of those with money and power as the real world. Now, WoW does offer you a far more straighforward path to success than the real world does–it is the most basic and pure distillation of the highest ideals of capitalism and the Protestant work ethic–as long as you are willing to buckle down and spend lots of time and effort at the earning, you will guaranteed rise to a position of great power and wealth, without the unfairnesses of pre-existing family and coinage and irrational prejudices that beset us in reality. I do quite appreciate that…but there really is no revenge factor there. It’s much more along the lines of the first R, relaxation–not having to navigate pitfalls to success that are a function of the real world and none of my personal making.

Restoration–oh yes, that DOES resonate with me, though after reading the next paragraph, I realize that I have finally hit upon the strange dichotomy that is the real gendered difference in the “Playstation” P.

They spend so much of their lives being bossed around by other people– teachers, parents, bosses–it’s really a relief to be the meanest, most violent, and vengeful SOB around. And they spend so much of their lives in a world that is, if not dominated by women, at least is characterized by women’s presumed equality, that it’s nice to turn back the clock and return to a time when men ruled — and no one questioned it.

This is almost funny.

Here is how it would look if it were rewritten for me.

She spends so much of her life being bossed around by men–bosses, politicians, religious leaders–it’s really a relief to be in a place where her gender is only a matter of aesthetic choice; it in no way affects her career, her autonomy or her physical abilities both real and perceived by others. No matter what others in the World say or think or even try to do, they cannot discriminate against her on the basis of her gender–she can be and do anything she wants, finally and incontrovertibly–the most anyone can do is spit a few obscenities, and that is easily remedied by simply placing them on Ignore.

Whereas the “guys” apparently want to be conscienceless reavers, motivated by and answering sheerly and only to their grossest whim at the moment and are therefore freed by that state, what I want to be, as it turns out, is a hero. Women aren’t heroes, you know. There is one form of “heroism” and one only that women are encouraged (we might even say “forced,” betimes) to pursue, and that is the “heroism” of complete self-immolation. Women are lauded for sacrificing every personal inclination to further the ambitions of their husbands and devoting themselves to raising children. The “heroic” woman is one who lives in a permanent and driven state of personal servitude to men and children. The ultimate sacrifice, of giving your life for your freedom, the freedom of others, an ideal–women are actively discouraged from any form of that heroism except that of dying in the name of pregnancy. A woman’s heroism is never exciting, never results in great power or prestige or personal gain or adulation–a woman’s heroism is by definition hidden behind those surrounding her, done in as much silence and humility as possible, and always in the channel of her reproductive and homemaking function.

In the World, I can be a hero in all the ways men are encouraged and lauded to be heroes–I can use my force of arms to defend the weak; I can choose any number of professions to further my defense of the weak; I can gain great fame and riches in pursuit of my heroism and my name will be known throughout the realms. (Seriously!) My reproductive function, in fact, does not exist at all.

So, interestingly enough, in an unregulated fantasy environment, I aspire to the ideal of heroic manhood–that is what I find so freeing and liberating–and guys aspire to the ideal of amoral piracy–that is what they find so freeing and liberating–apparently no one aspires to the ideal of self-sacrificing womanhood–er, surprise surprise..? Probably the most intriguing (and distressing) aspect of this is how said guys can perceive themselves as living in a society where women control them so strongly while I perceive myself living in a society where men control me so strongly…the SAME SOCIETY..? A puzzle. I expect I will give it a lot more thought and perhaps a follow-up post will be forthcoming–stay tuned!

Weekend Fluff

Sunday, August 10th, 2008

I came across this via Bitch Ph.D:

Using your browser URL history to estimate gender

Oh yeah, I thought–it’s not like I frequent a bunch of G-I-R-L-Y sites–

Apparently I am more gendered than I thought though.

Likelihood of you being FEMALE is 68%
Likelihood of you being MALE is 32%

Site Male-Female Ratio


The significant other came in at:

Likelihood of you being FEMALE is 17%
Likelihood of you being MALE is 83%

Site Male-Female Ratio

Fun stuff! :)

The Details of Desire

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

Bowflex Boy! Oh, my God, I hadn’t thought about him in YEARS..!

(insert shriek, squeal and giggle)

It all started when I saw this post title on Hugo’s blog: ““Bowflex Boy” and Kristy McNichol: desire, celebrity, and the sexiness of earthy reality.” I didn’t immediately cotton onto the meaning of “Bowflex Boy,” and I think Hugo and I must be separated in age by at least a few years ’cause Kristy McNichol is a very vague childhood memory of mine. But further down in the post, Hugo says:

If you remember the ’80s, you remember the ad. I’ve done a Google image search, and can’t find it, but the picture is indelibly carved on my brain. A young, dark-haired man is pulling off his white t-shirt, lifting his arms over his shoulders. His body beneath is tanned and spectacularly toned.

(this is where the shriek, squeal and giggle came in)

Oh hell yes, I remember Bowflex Boy! Now, I had no idea that poster was some kind of nationwide sensation, not at the time nor at any point since–as a matter of fact, all my little friends had their walls plastered with big hair band icons–I was the only girl I knew who had, of all things, a home gym equipment advertisement on my wall.

Hugo goes on to talk about how insecure Bowflex Boy’s amazing abs made him feel when hanging over his head as he was naked in college and trying to make out with some chick and (I think) by extension how this makes him empathize with women who feel stressed by the nonstop avalanche of perfect female bodies plastered on every available wall, billboard and media device. (I say I think because I had a hard time focusing on the rest of his post–I kept getting lost in fond reveries of Bowflex Boy.) I did manage to gather, though, that another of his points was that, while perfect bodies cause us to feel lustful, we shouldn’t trouble ourselves because we can and do feel as much or more lust for the imperfect bodies of the real people we find ourselves in bed with.

The thing about Bowflex Boy, though, was that it actually wasn’t his aforementioned awesome abs, or pecs, or biceps, that made me fall in lust with his poster at age sixteen. They were very nice, but honestly, Bowflex Boy wasn’t THAT muscular. He was well-defined, but actually on the slim side, and you could tell from his proportions that he probably wasn’t a particularly tall guy either. What got me going, and has definitely been a trend ever since, was the subtlety of the sexuality presented.

(Oh, yeah, SUBTLETY! Some dude taking his shirt off is SUBTLE?)

Yeah, really. This is what I remember of the poster: The lighting is dim–not dark or fuzzy, just a low quiet illumination. His shirt is halfway over his head, hiding his eyes and most of his nose. His head is inclined down and his mouth is relaxed, neither smiling nor frowning–just calm. Motion is implied, but smooth and gentle motion, without aggression or haste, but without production, either.

(Warning: The rest of this post may contain Too Much Information. Proceed at your own risk.)


In the Company of Men

Monday, July 28th, 2008

When I was eighteen…

…I was an MRA.

Okay, not really. Not totally! and definitely not consciously. But I had some interesting ideas about men and women.


The worst person on the planet

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

We have a contender.

Meet Dmitri. He’s a pick-up artist, which in itself gives him about 50 million douchebag points. He met a woman named Olga, who talked to him for a few minutes, gave him her card, and said, “Call me.”

So he did. She wasn’t home, and he left the second-douchiest phone message in history. Olga seems to be a sensible woman who, in realizing her mistake, did the sensible thing and just didn’t call him back. So a few days later, he fired back with the douchiest phone message in history.

Have a listen. He’s from Toronto, and the comments from the good folks at the Toronto Women’s Bookstore in that article are just wonderful.

Hat tip: Rantipole6

But dear God what about the menz??

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

I followed this link back from Amanda at Pandagon and ended up in the comments section of Hugo’s original post. You can either read the comments too, or you can just read the title of this post–same content.

My ex-husband and I tried the marriage counseling routine. Clearly it didn’t work or I wouldn’t be referring to him as my ex-husband, but bear with me here, I have a point to make, darn it–it wasn’t the counsellor’s fault it didn’t work, it was mine and my husband’s…but anyway, one thing I remember the counsellor talking about was the mistake of ever using “tit-for-tat” arguments. (Well, a mistake if what you’re trying to do is genuinely resolve the conflict– it’s quite successful if what you’re trying to do is cause more discord and strife.) It doesn’t work for two reasons: (1) It constantly refocuses the argument on you, rather than the grievance the other person is trying to air, and (2) “tit” never does actually equal “tat.”

In (1), you are clearly demonstrating to the other person that you not only don’t care about their issue, you don’t care about them personally either. Of course you deserve equal time to air your grievances, and your grievances are just as worthy and deserving of resolution as their grievances, but by trying to take away their individual time to air and making it yours instead, you’re saying very clearly that you don’t think theirs ever deserves individual consideration–and by extension, they don’t deserve their own time to be the focus of the conversation and your caring attention. This naturally causes them to cease trusting you enough to communicate openly and honestly and also removes from them any desire to ever give you any individual time to air your specific grievances in return.

In (2), you are simply wrong. No two people ever actually have the same experience, not only because the details of the experience always and inevitably differ to some degree, but because every person is different and feels even very similar experiences to different degrees. The closest you can ever come to truly feeling what someone else feels is to shut your mouth, open your ears and really listen. And, rather than immersing yourself back into whatever issues you personally feel you’re having, genuinely try to be them,, with all their personal experiences and personal way of being, and feel whatever it is they are saying they felt.

I’m sorry Hugo closed the comments on that thread, though it’s very understandable that he did–he specifically stated that he wanted commenters to discuss his post from a feminist or feminist-friendly point of view, and instead was swamped by MRAs who apparently thought if they refrained from outright raving about bitches or cunts, what they had to say would somehow look feminist-friendly instead. (Kind of like toddlers who think they are successfully playing “Hide and Seek” by sitting in the middle of the floor and covering their eyes with their hands, cause if they can’t see YOU then..! except that, like many behaviors practiced by small children, it’s cute when they do it but rather disturbing in an adult.) The specific situation of women with serious health conditions being encouraged by large swaths of society to become pregnant and carry to term regardless of the crippling-to-fatal results for themselves–sometimes to the point where they may be outright obstructed by the law and/or medical professionals from terminating any pregnancies or even more bizarrely, made into official foci of worship by major organized religions after they die–is a fascinating and unique social dynamic. I would have liked to discuss it in of itself.

However, the aforementioned MRAs could not…literally could not…bear that.

If the comments had remained open, I could have jumped in and pointed out the fallacies of their various arguments in that specific instance–as in, there is no situation where terminally ill men are encouraged to refuse lifesaving treatment so that others can use their bodies to live that does not also occur for women, but there is a situation where terminally ill women are, this one! that never occurs for men–or, that the draft is not an example of men being discriminated against based upon their gender, it’s an example of poor men being discriminated against by rich men and young men being discriminated against by old men based upon their socioeconomic status and age–but why? That would simply have been buying into the “tit-for-tat” argument–that would have been agreeing it has any relevancy or legitimacy at all. And it doesn’t, any more than the recent Oppression Olympicsfest during the Democratic presidential primaries did.

A while back on here, Antigone provoked a minor shitstorm of MRAs when she dared criticize an article by Glenn Sacks, and one of them suggested that she (or possibly the rest of us heathens, since she’d already stated that she did) visit Glenn Sacks’ site and read what he had to say. I didn’t feel in the least tempted. Not because I don’t find men’s issues and the points of view of those focused on them fascinating and relevant and moving–indeed I do! But why would I want to discuss them with people who make it abundantly clear that they don’t care about my issues and my interests, that their only interest at all is to shout their way into them declaring that NO one but no ONE has suffah’d as they and their fellow men have suffah’d! Now, there’s nothing wrong with having your own personal space to vent and there’s absolutely no requirement of any kind that you give equal air time to anybody…in your own space…but why on earth would you invite someone in and THEN behave like that..?

Well, like me and my ex-husband, obviously their desire to hurt and obstruct are stronger than any desire to heal and come together. I decline to be fodder for that–why should I be? I don’t demand that anybody else come be my whipping boy. I don’t even try to tempt anybody into it with false promises of civil and rational discourse. Quite, quite mad.

Busting into somebody else’s space and deliberately violating their polite request that their own actual issue be discussed is the same dynamic. I’ve been trying to come up with a phrase to characterize the state of mind of the types that do this and all I can come up with is “narcissistic rage.” Unsettling, unpleasant and frankly uninteresting. And transparent. It’s clear what they’d really like is to make us all submit, bleh! Luckily, that ain’t legal. (And these are often guys who wonder why their marriages didn’t work out…imagine.)