Monday, May 25, 2015

The Things They Carried

On this Memorial Day, I wanted to commend the best book I have read about manhood,--in all its ambivalence, ambiguousness, and ambitiousness--and war:  Tim O'Brien's matchless The Things They Carried.  And for some commentary on the novel, see my far less impressive "The Burdens of Manliness."   

Front Cover

May 25, 2015 in Manliness, Masculinities | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 22, 2015

Former Secretary of Defense on Boy Scouts Homophobia

 
 

A Boy Scout wears an Eagle Scot neckerchief during a 2013 parade in Austin, Texas. (Eric Gay)

“We must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it would be,” Boy Scouts of America President Robert Gates announced to an auditorium full of scouting officials and volunteers Thursday. “The status quo in our movement’s membership standards cannot be sustained.”

[Gates warns that ban on gay leaders threatens Boy Scouts]

The announcement — that the Boy Scouts should change its policy to admit gay leaders — was radical, but you wouldn’t know it from listening to Gates’s speech. His tone was measured and matter-of-fact. His audience: totally silent.

It was an astute capitulation from the former secretary of defense, but it might not be enough to save one of America’s most iconic youth organizations.

May 22, 2015 in Manliness, Masculinities | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

manhood development camp

Lamont Brown engages the young men at the Camp

 In Chicago: 

As we watch the news and observe our young men we notice many things. We note that they have struggled often to get where they are whether its a position on  some NBA,  NFL or MLB and  of course those entertainers in the music industry all who are making decent money. We are often greeted with late  evening or morning news reporting that ‘Big NBA Playa, was arrested for toting a gun'; ‘NFL charged with cruelty to dogs or domestic violence'; ‘MLB  left fielder violated drug probation'; or ‘Hip Hop Mogul involved in scuffle at the Metropolitan involving a gun’. We see, hear read this sort of news all day everyday.  Too many times we have shaken our heads or thrown up our hands in disgust thinking what’s wrong with these young people?  We ask and we ponder, . . .they have million dollar contracts why do they do these things?

But: 

They are missing an understanding of decorum, etiquette and  manners, knowing what’s appropriate when and what’s not from dress, to conversation as well as table manners. These necessary essentials will prove to be an asset to the young men’s future progress and success.

So  20 to 30 black males ages 12-18 will learn table etiquette as part of the agenda of Manhood Development Camp.  The workshop will be facilitated by Nathan Wright President of Excel Etiquette.  Nathan Wright is perfect for leading the workshop. His company is not only a  full-service Etiquette and Cultural Enhancement Company but it offers a variety of etiquette and social/cultural programs and workshops for adults as well as.

This fabulous opportunity  is offered free to young men  who can benefit from such a workshop Saturday, May 16 – 9 to Noon held at  Leo High School – 7901 S. Sangamon – Chicago, Auditorium. This is an invaluable asset that oftentimes can determine whether or not you get the job. Knowing your way around the table is most important. As a managerial and executive employee you may be called upon to attend, luncheons, dinners, galas, workshops etc., that require you to demonstrate your etiquette skills. 

 Not a bad idea, it seems to me.   

May 20, 2015 in Manliness, Masculinities, Poverty | Permalink | Comments (0)

gender citation gap in newspapers?

From WaPo:

The Monkey Cage has previously discussed an important article by Daniel Maliniak, Ryan Powers, and Barbara F. Walter, which presented evidence that international relations articles published in top journals written by women received fewer citations than equivalent articles written by men. The articleattracted a great deal of attention given its potential implications for the professional success of women in academia.

The journal that published the article (International Organization) has a data-sharing policy and helped make the data available for reanalysis. Results from my reanalysis published in Research & Politics indicate that the gender citation gap in international relations articles might be largely limited to articles that have collected a large number of citations.

The relevant graph: 

May 20, 2015 in Manliness, Masculinities, Work/life | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 18, 2015

Conservatism's liberal manliness

The essay about manliness by Jonathan V. Last in the conservative Weekly Standard is neither insightful nor interesting on its own terms, but it suggests, probably unwittingly, that conservative ideals of manliness (at least among that set who read the quasi-academic essays in the  middle-brow Weekly Standard) have come to look downright.... liberal, and thus, in the idiom of an older conservatism,..... quite unmanly.  

May 18, 2015 in Manliness, Masculinities | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 15, 2015

Women for Men

Women for Men....is the website run by Fox News commentator Suzanne Venker.  

Its mission statement reads: 

America is at war with masculinity. For years, prominent women in media and government have used their perch to belabor the false notion that women are in need of perpetual justice and focus.

In fact, it is males that need attention.

Women for Men (WFM) is committed to providing much-needed support for the American male who’s tired of being told there’s something fundamentally wrong with him and who’s mentally drained from being shafted in family courts and college tribunals, where men are assumed guilty until proven innocent. 

Decades of feminist propaganda have landed us in a place where women are hailed as heroes, and men are viewed as perpetrators—or just plain losers. That’s what WFM seeks to remedy. 

The battle of the sexes will begin to erode only when America stops making men pay for the modern woman’s so-called oppression. If we do, marriages and relationships will improve—as will the health of the American family.

And some recent news about Ms. Venker in Salon is here.   She raises what she believes is a crippling paradox in feminist discourse: 

“There’s no question that [feminists] are disdainful of masculinity,” Venker said. “That’s just not debatable. But at the same time, you’re saying to women, ‘You don’t need a man … because you’re basically capable of everything he is capable of, and you should aspire to be like a man in your life. That’s what makes you powerful and of value and equal to them.’”

May 15, 2015 in Gender, Manliness, Masculinities | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 11, 2015

"9 rules for being a conservative dad"

From WaPo's book review: 

To their kids, all fathers must eventually seem conservative. And old-fashioned, and perhaps even boring. But, politically speaking, is there a uniquely conservative way to be a dad? Weekly Standard senior writer Jonathan V. Last has edited an essay collection by 17 conservative writers, policy wonks and entertainers, all offering advice and reflections on the business of fatherhood.

Number One on that list: 

1. Be a man — a manly man! “Fatherhood isn’t just manliness,” Last writes in the collection’s introductory essay. “It’s the purest form of the good side of manliness, the side that brings light into the world. . . . If we are failing as a nation, it may be because we’re failing at manliness. And if we are failing at manliness, it’s probably because we’re failing at fatherhood.” By fatherhood, Last explains, “I refer to the raising and caring for, as opposed to the siring of, children. . . . The single worst thing men have done over the last two generations is to abandon their families.”

Raising and caring for children?  That sounds downright liberal to me.    

May 11, 2015 in Family, Manliness, Masculinities | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Men, faking it on the job

From the NYT:

Imagine an elite professional services firm with a high-performing, workaholic culture. Everyone is expected to turn on a dime to serve a client, travel at a moment’s notice, and be available pretty much every evening and weekend. It can make for a grueling work life, but at the highest levels of accounting, law, investment banking and consulting firms, it is just the way things are.

Except for one dirty little secret: Some of the people ostensibly turning in those 80- or 90-hour workweeks, particularly men, may just be faking it.

 

May 5, 2015 in Manliness, Masculinities, Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 1, 2015

Male students using Title IX in sex assault cases

From Inside Higher Ed:

Male students accused by their colleges of sexual assault are increasingly turning to gender discrimination and bias lawsuits to fight for exoneration, with many of them citing their colleges' obligations under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 -- the same civil rights law meant to protect victims of sexual violence.

May 1, 2015 in Manliness, Masculinities, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

A polemic from across the pond

Peter Lloyd writes in the Daily Mail (UK):

Consider the statistics. If you become a father to twins — one girl, one boy — current data proves that your son will die younger, leave school with fewer qualifications and be less eligible for work than your daughter.

Across the Russell Group of Britain’s leading 20 universities, just three have a majority of male students.

This means your son will be more likely to join the ranks of the unemployed, the majority of whom are now — yes, you’ve guessed it — men.

The Office of National Statistics noted that in the summer of 2014 a total of 1,147,511 British men were out of work, compared with 887,892 women.

Psychologically, your son will be more likely to suffer from depression and attempt suicide than his sibling, but there’ll be less support in place to save him.

He’s also more likely to endure everyday violence than women, with the latest crime statistics for England and Wales noting that two-thirds of homicide victims were men.

If he’s seduced by his female teacher, she’ll leave court with a slapped wrist thanks to a legal system which is frequently lenient with women. But if your daughter has an affair with her male maths teacher he’ll be chalking up numbers on a prison wall before you can say: ‘burn your bra’.

By the time your son is 18, he will probably have absorbed the social message that his dad is much less valuable as a parent than his mother — that fathers in families are an added bonus, not a crucial cog.

May 1, 2015 in Manliness, Masculinities | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

“Effeminate” liberals are sexually attracted to “masculine brutality of Islam".....

From Salon:

Brian Tashman of “Right Wing Watch” reports that on a recent episode of the Family Research Council’s “Washington Watch,” conservative Rabbi Daniel Lapin claimed that the problem with effeminate liberals is that an excess of estrogen in their systems causes them to fall in love with “the masculine strength and brutality of Islam.”

Host Tony Perkins asked him why liberals “favors Islam and actually promotes it, even to their own demise,” and Rabbi Lapin responded with what he characterized as a “zinger” of an answer — there’s a “sexual dimension” in which, much like feminized hostages suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, liberals are attracted to the masculinity of the Islamic extremists.

 

 

April 29, 2015 in Manliness, Masculinities, Religion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 27, 2015

Bruce Jenner

There are some obvious reasons not to be sympathetic to Bruce Jenner's coming out:  for one, he lives with the Kardashians; for another, the coming out looks like a publicity ploy by an aging celebrity who had milked everything once of fame for his achievements in an obscure sport called the decathlon.  

But then there was the response by his family, which was admirable:

“I am at peace with what he is and what he’s doing,” his mother, Esther Jenner, said in a separately filmed portion of the two-hour segment. “I never thought I could be more proud of Bruce when he reached his goal in 1976, but I’m more proud of him now.” Kim Kardashian tweeted, “Love is the courage to live the truest, best version of yourself. Bruce is love. I love you Bruce. #ProudDaughter.” (Jenner told Sawyer that he first came out to Kim, and that she once walked in on him in a dress.)

Seventeen-year-old Kylie Jenner, Jenner’s youngest child, tweeted, “Understandingly, this has been very hard for me. You will hear what I have to say when I’m ready to but this isn’t about me. I’m so proud of you, Dad. You are so brave. My beautiful Hero.” In this unconditional and unquestioning way, the Kardashian and Jenner clans are defining what it means to be a family today. They may be superficial, but their support for Bruce is notable for its candid demonstration of acceptance.

April 27, 2015 in LGBT, Manliness, Masculinities, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

An Alternative Boys' School

From HuffPost: 

As a senior administrator at an all-boys' school in suburban Philadelphia, I spend each day with 1,000 boys, many of whom, by virtue of their gender alone, occupy positions of privilege and power at least one step removed from the important issue of sexual assault. To state the obvious, while it is women who are overwhelmingly the victims of this crime, its prevention is not a women's problem -- and boys' schools have a unique opportunity and responsibility to be part of the solution.

The challenge has been well chronicled: from our earliest days, we boys bask in marinades of hyper-masculine stereotypes. From the sandbox to the locker room to the high school dance to the conference room, we are conditioned to compete: relationships, we learn, are zero sum games to be won. Of course, where there are winners, there are also losers, but it does not pay to consider their fate too carefully. Keep your eyes on the prize. Act hard, and tough; be logical and remote, witty and distant. And then become boyfriends and husbands and fathers... of sons.

And: 

But by placing relationships at the center of everything we do, we can break the cycle. Witness the first day of school here: a senior takes a new kindergartner by the hand and walks him to opening assembly. Without thinking, the young boy crawls into his lap, and the young man responds by instinctively wrapping a pair of gangly arms around him. "It's safe here," the arms say. "I've got your back." Or witness the last day of school, some twelve years from now, when that same kindergartner, now a grown man himself, will cry in the arms of a classmate, a teacher, or a coach.

April 22, 2015 in Education, Manliness, Masculinities | Permalink | Comments (0)

"4 ways men’s rights activists actually hurt men"

Thus reads the headline from an essay in Salon

One of the weirder developments of the online publishing era is the way a loose confederation of embittered anti-feminists has formed, across social media and the blogging world, under the banner of “men’s rights activism.” MRA is an attempt to reframe old-fashioned misogyny as if it’s some kind of human rights movement, much like organized racism has periodically tried to reframe itself as a “white pride” movement. MRAs, who spend most of their “activist” energy roaming around the Internet, harassing feminists and pushing misogynist myths about false accusers and gold-diggers, are clearly bad for women. But while they claim to speak for men, their rhetoric is just as bad for men as it is for women.

Here are some of the reasons why.

 

 

April 22, 2015 in Manliness, Masculinities | Permalink | Comments (0)

Feminism's Fault Why Men Won't Marry

Or so argues a recent book reviewed in the UK Daily Mail.....

George Clooney, Benedict Cumberbatch and Eddie Redmayne may have all taken the plunge recently — but they are a diminishing band of brothers, for the number of men marrying in the West has plunged in recent decades.

The state of matrimony is not just ailing. It is dying out faster than a mobile phone battery.

According to the Office for National Statistics, marriage in Britain is at its lowest level since 1895. In 2011, there were just 286,634 ceremonies — a 41 per cent free fall from 1972, when 480,285 couples tied the knot.

And: 

For an army of women, Mr Right is simply not there, no matter how hard they look for him. And the reason? When it comes to marriage, men are on strike.

Why? Because the rewards are far less than they used to be, while the cost and dangers it presents are far greater.

‘Ultimately, men know there’s a good chance they’ll lose their friends, their respect, their space, their sex life, their money and — if it all goes wrong — their family,’ says Dr Helen Smith, author of Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood And The American Dream.

‘They don’t want to enter into a legal contract with someone who could effectively take half their savings, pension and property when the honeymoon period is over.

 

April 22, 2015 in Family, Manliness, Masculinities | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 17, 2015

"Men Reject the Label 'Masculine' More Than Women Reject the Label “'Feminine'"

From Slate: 

Vox has been releasing a series of results from its poll regarding American attitudes about issues such as sexism and abortion rights. Thursday, German Lopez postedabout one of the poll's more original questions, which is how masculine/feminine you think you are. About 15 percent of respondents said they don't feel particularly masculine or feminine. But here's the result that genuinely surprised me: Men were more likely to reject the term "masculine" than women were to reject the term "feminine." Lopez reports:

Men were more likely to reject traditional notions socially attributed to their gender. Roughly one in five men said they're very masculine, and one in five women identified as very feminine. But 25 percent of men didn't identify as more masculine, while 20 percent of women didn't say they're more feminine.
And: 
 

If you check out the chart he provides, you can also see that men were more likely to identify as "feminine" than women were to identify as "masculine." 

In terms of gender roles, things seem to be changing more quickly for women than they are for men. We live in an era where even women who reject the label "feminist" still embrace many of feminism's core values, such as getting women into the public sphere and empowering women to take care of themselves. Traditional femininity, is, to be blunt, about being helpless and dependent, and modern American women like to see themselves as strong and capable. But men aren't running away from their traditional roles as fast, and in some cases—like when it comes to being ambitious or being independent—there's no reason for them to do so. 

April 17, 2015 in Manliness, Masculinities | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Men and Suicide

From the Good Men Project:

“He’s killing himself”.

With work. With guilt. With alcohol. We have all described it.

Watched it. Now, in the last decade, men are literally committing suicide. In record numbers. I am tired of it for them. For our culture. For our world. If men could admit more easily that they are depressed. Or ashamed. Addicted. Lonely. Angry.

Or in trouble. Tired of it because it’s so incredibly sad for them. Tired because there are spouses, parents, friends and children who are left behind. Who loved these men. I don’t want to feminize men. I value the differences between men and women. But suicide rates in the US are rising sharply, especially in middle-aged and older men.

This New York Times article suggests that that perhaps baby boomers are facing issues not faced in prior years or have access to more deadly medications. 

 

 

 

 

April 13, 2015 in Manliness, Masculinities | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Men and.... emojis

From the Men's Style section of the NYT:  

John McWhorter, a linguist who teaches at Columbia University, said that some men shy away from emoji because, as he put it, “Women use them more.” That may not continue to be the case, he added.

“Women tend to be more overtly expressive in language,” he said. “But something women start in language has a way of making it to men. Men would benefit from using emoji more.”

Emoji, he said, allow for an expressive, human way of translating the spoken word into text, with the goofy symbols providing a texter or tweeter with the means to convey tone. “There should be male ways to use emoji,” he added.

April 8, 2015 in Manliness, Masculinities, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 6, 2015

NASCAR Opposes Indiana's Anti-Gay Law

Statement from NASCAR on Indiana legislation

Image result for nascar

The Indiana law that ostensibly protects religious rights--while effectually permitting discrimination against gays--has provoked companies like Angie's List to pull out of Indiana.  

But you know that the law isn't popular when NASCAR--the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing--is against it, too.  Here's the statement by NASCAR

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 31, 2015) -- "NASCAR is disappointed by the recent legislation passed in Indiana. We will not embrace nor participate in exclusion or intolerance. We are committed to diversity and inclusion within our sport and therefore will continue to welcome all competitors and fans at our events in the state of Indiana and anywhere else we race." -- NASCAR Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer Brett Jewkes

Whither the Indy 500?  

April 6, 2015 in LGBT, Manliness, Masculinities | Permalink | Comments (0)

"Gay or Straight, Today's Dads Are the New Moms"

From HuffPost: 

The administrator at our children's school recently called our house and asked if she could speak with "Mrs. Diamond." I understood instantly -- she wanted to speak to the mom. But my kids don't have a mom. They have two dads. To her surprise I replied, "This is Mrs. Diamond."

The administrator apologized, explaining that she had recently returned from a leave of absence. But my mind was racing: Why do schools and so many aspects of childcare -- from diaper commercials to changing stations in public restrooms -- focus on moms and exclude dads, gay or not? Even when coordinating things from school parties to carpools, the moms always make the assumption that everyone on the list is a mom. The email chain often begins with "Dear Ladies". When we travel with our kids on a trip, frequently we get asked if we gave the moms a weekend off. Even as women have rapidly moved out of the home and into the workplace, even as our society has increasingly accepted diverse family structures (including two-dad families), and even as more dads are staying home with their children, the perception of mom as sole caregiver has persisted.

And: 

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is challenging this notion. In recent years, she has pushed to increase women's power in the workplace with her "lean in" mantra. Now she's asking men to join that effort, in a new "Lean in Together" campaign that encourages men not only to advocate for women in the office, but also take on more responsibility at home. I am thrilled that men have been invited to the "lean in" conversation and I share Sandberg's gender equality goal. Her noble aspiration to broaden society's perceptions of what women can accomplish in the workplace is matched by my hope to broaden perceptions of what men do at home. In a Yahoo News interview, Sandberg got it right when she said, "We also haven't supported men as caregivers. ... Women get discriminated against in the office; men get discriminated against when it comes to care."

April 6, 2015 in Manliness, Masculinities | Permalink | Comments (0)