Thursday, January 29, 2015
....there are two problems with what President Obama said about paid parental leave in his State of the Union: First, he called it “maternity leave.” And, second, that statement quoted above is all he said.
In the press release from last week, “parental leave” was the chosen phrase. Critically, it was gender-neutral. As President Obama said tonight, "it’s time we stop treating childcare as a side issue, or a women’s issue.” And as the CAP report points out, parental leave isn’t a women’s issue either, “men increasingly want to be caregivers.” It also clarifies, “As family demographics shift, parents of young children are not the only types of workers with significant caregiving responsibilities.” Specifically, the report is referring to the realities of “care for elders” and “same-sex families,” where maternity leave would not apply even if it were guaranteed.
And President Obama should have said more. He could have brought up that men do increasingly want to be caregivers, that paid parental leave should be given equally to men and women, that paid parental leave could have important economic benefits, like reducing employee turn over when men and women seek to change jobs to have children, that paid parental leave isn’t something that only elite workers have earned.
President Obama’s announcement last week may have been a wonderful surprise to federal workers and their families, and even to Americans everywhere eager to see universal paid parental leave become a reality. But the announcement set high expectations for what else President Obama could have said on the topic tonight. A one-liner about “maternity leave,” left us all hanging.
Sunday, January 25, 2015
From bikini-clad beachgoer to veiled jihadist fugitive, the partner of Paris gunman Amedy Coulibaly underwent a startling metamorphosis that illuminates the dangerous potential behind militant groups' efforts to increase their recruiting of female terrorists.
Although French police initially questioned Hayat Boumeddiene, 26, five years ago, they acknowledge that she was subsequently able to make hundreds of phone calls and arrange meetings for Coulibaly through the wives of fellow assailants. She is then believed to have fled to Turkey just before the rash of killings in Paris this month, and is believed to have crossed into Syria.
Friday, January 23, 2015
The lawsuit arrives with institutional assumptions about who is likely to be a restaurant server.
EUGENE, Ore. - International restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday, Inc. discriminated against male employees for temporary assignments to a Utah resort, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the EEOC's suit, in the spring of 2013 Ruby Tuesday posted an internal announcement within a 10-state region for temporary summer positions in Park City, Utah with company-provided housing for those selected. Andrew Herrera, a Ruby Tuesday employee since 2005 in Corvallis, Ore., wanted to apply because of the chance to earn more money in the busy summer resort town. However, the announcement stated that only females would be considered and Ruby Tuesday in fact selected only women for those summer jobs, supposedly from fears about housing employees of both genders together. Ruby Tuesday's gender-specific internal posting excluded Herrera and at least one other male employee from consideration for the temporary assignment.
Friday, January 16, 2015
Last week, Cardinal Raymond Burke delivered a whopper of a manifesto in an interview with something called “The Emangelization,” which seeks to restore a sense of manliness to men in the church. In the interview, Burke offered a lengthy meditation on what he perceives to be the problem with the modern church. Most of them began, he said, with the advent of the women’s rights movement during the 1960s, which pushed for female participation in the Catholic Church. He derided it as “radical feminism.”
When that happened, the “goodness and importance of men became very obscured,” which gave rise to a “very feminized” Church, he said: “There was a period of time when men who were feminized and confused about their own sexual identity had entered the priesthood; sadly some of these disordered men sexually abused minors; a terrible tragedy for which the Church mourns.”
And some background on the Cardinal:
The former archbishop of St. Louis, who once said supporters of abortion rights shouldn’t receive communion, became the highest-ranking American in the Vatican during the tenure of former Pope Benedict on the strength of unabashed conservatism. But as soon as Pope Francis arrived on the scene, that same conservatism turned divisive when Burke criticized Francis’s progressive policies.
For example, Burke, who headed the Vatican’s highest court of canon law, lampooned Francis in a Buzzfeed interview late last year. He said Francis had “done a lot of harm. … The pope is not free to change the church’s teachings with regard to the immorality of homosexual acts.” Weeks later, the pope booted the rampaging cardinal, who had come to symbolize the so-called “Culture Wars” roiling the Vatican, demoting him to a ceremonial post with the charity group Knights of Malta.
Monday, January 12, 2015
Friday, January 9, 2015
From the Atlantic:
One unseasonably warm Wednesday a few weeks into the school year, the sociology professor Michael Kimmel is sitting with several students and antirape activists in a classroom at Long Island’s Stony Brook University, spitballing ideas for how to change the sexual climate on college campuses. He turns to Jonathan Kalin, a recent college grad, and asks him what it would imply if, at his funeral, mourners said he had been “a good man.”
Before Kalin can answer, Kimmel continues: “What I find, when I ask this of men, is words like honor, integrity, doing the right thing, standing up for the little guy.” All of which are crucially different, in Kimmel’s mind, from the words they use to describe “being a man”—words like to win, get laid, get rich.
Not that Kalin, a soft-spoken jock in thick-framed, faux-vintage glasses, is the kind of guy who needs enlightening. During his sophomore year at Colby College, well before campus rape was the focus of national attention that it is today, he sparked an assault-prevention movement called “Party With Consent.” He printed the slogan on red-plastic cups and doled them out at keggers, hoping to encourage students to think twice about their end-of-the-night actions. Since graduating last year, he has continued working on the initiative, which now has a presence on 30 campuses.
For his part, Kimmel, who is the founder of Stony Brook’s new Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities, says he hopes to “increase the Jonathans” in the world. More specifically, he is preparing to survey college campuses across the country in order to discover the best male-oriented efforts to prevent sexual assault, and then replicate them nationwide. As the group discusses ways of discouraging sexual misconduct, he suggests that young men are reluctant to give up the traditional notion of being a man. “I can’t sell this idea to men—the end of manhood. They’re sitting there going, ‘It’s the only thing I got!’ ” He is practically shouting in his Brooklyn accent, grabbing at his water bottle as if it were a symbol of embattled manliness. “ ‘You’re going to tell me to throw this away? I’ll have nothing!’ ”
By way of contrast, he says that he might very well be able to persuade fraternity members to show respect for women by urging them to “live up to the ideals you yourself profess in your charter.” He quiets down a little. “I think I can sell that.”
Wednesday, December 24, 2014
As we near Christmas, I would commend readers to check out the movie Smoke--based on a short story by Paul Auster and directed by Wayne Wang. It's a charming film about Christmas, male friendship (and male antagonism), and, of course, the contemplative pleasures of smoking a good cigarette.
Sunday, December 21, 2014
It is the bane of many female subway riders. It is a scourge tracked on blogs and on Twitter.
And it has a name almost as distasteful as the practice itself.
It is manspreading, the lay-it-all-out sitting style that more than a few men see as their inalienable underground right.
Now passengers who consider such inelegant male posture as infringing on their sensibilities — not to mention their share of subway space — have a new ally: the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Friday, December 19, 2014
Joe Biden gave a speech about fighting violence against women. Here were some comments he made about the moral obligations of manliness:
But unlike most people of my dad’s generation, he went further. He was a gentle man, but he raised us to intervene. He taught us, where we saw it, the definition of our manhood was not what a great football player, baseball player me or any of my brothers or sister were, it was to stand up and do the right thing.
I remember when my sister, my younger sister, was beat up by a young boy when she was in seventh grade. I'm older than my sister, I was two years ahead of her. I remember coming back from mass on Sunday, always the big treat was we would get to stop at a doughnut shop at a strip shopping center. We went in, and we would get doughnuts, and my dad would wait in the car. As I was coming out, my sister tugged on me and said, ‘That’s the boy who kicked me off my bicycle.’
Read the rest here.
Friday, December 12, 2014
BOULDER, Colo. — He was suspended for three semesters by the University of Colorado Boulder for “sexual misconduct,” even though police filed no charges against him and his accuser admitted she wanted to scare him when she made the complaint.
So John Doe, as he is known in court records, filed a lawsuit last week against the university saying his rights had been violated under Title IX, the 1972 law that forbids universities from discriminating on the basis of sex.
“CU Boulder has created an environment in which an accused male student is effectively denied fundamental due process by being prosecuted through the conduct process under the cloud of a presumption of guilt,” says the Nov. 21 lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Colorado. “Such a one-sided process deprived John Doe, as a male student, of education opportunities at CU Boulder on the basis of his sex.”
The grooming tropes of manliness, according to one expert....
Ever the psychology professor, I have looked high and low for a scientific, evidence based, argument to convince my wife that beards are healthy and sexy on men. And lo, my search has not been in vain. Scientists have found two very good reasons that all adult men should grow beards.
First, beards are the result of a post-pubescent level of testosterone production in the male body, and testosterone has a ton of physical benefits. Testosterone makes men strong. It makes men fast. It makes men big. So having a beard is basically nature's advertisement that a male adult body has the testosterone it should have and that the man sporting the beard is full grown. Beards mark the men from the boys.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Of all the conflicting evidence emerging from the grand jury transcripts in the Michael Brown shooting, one statement in particular leaped out at me. It’s Officer Wilson’s testimony that when Brown saw Wilson go for his gun, Brown taunted, “You’re too much of a p-ssy to shoot me.”
Many have responded to Wilson’s account of the confrontation with skepticism, to say the least. As to whether the unarmed Brown indeed issued that particular challenge to Wilson’s manhood, or Wilson imagined it or later invented it, or now sincerely remembers it that way, we have no way of knowing. All we can know for sure is that Brown is dead, and that guys throwing around terms like that as slurs on each other’s manhood isn’t exactly a new story.
Related to the above, Frank Rudy Cooper, Suffolk Law, has an article discussing masculinity in police confrontations.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Well, Ms Rybody, it’s funny that you should ask this for, truly, this has become the biggest fashion question – possibly even the only fashion question – in not just the world, but the entire cosmos. For anyone who might have missed it, last week there was some dinky story about a probe landing on a comet for the first time ever. I know what you’re thinking: “Probe, schmobe, get to the real issue here – what was one of the scientists wearing?!?!?!?” Glad to be of service! The project scientist, Dr Matt Taylor, appeared on TV wearing a shirt patterned with images of semi-clothed women that I assume (not being an expert in either of these fields) reference video games and heavy metal albums. Cue internet rage! Everything that followed was utterly predictable, but not especially edifying. The story went through the five cycles of internet rage: initial amusement; astonishment; outrage; backlash to the outrage; humiliated apology. First, our attention was drawn to the shirt via some sniggering tweets; this was swiftly followed by shock and its usual accompaniment, outrage, with some women suggesting the shirt reflected a sexism at the heart of the science community. As generally happens when a subject takes a feminist turn on the internet, the idiots then turned up, with various lowlifes telling the women who expressed displeasure at the shirt to go kill themselves. (This is not an exaggeration, and there is no need to give these toerags further attention in today’s discussion.)
Just as a simple error on the part of Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s driver led to the start of the first world war, so this stupid shirt sparked the beginning of World War Shirt. The scientist knew he had to respond and so, during what I am told by youngsters is called a “Google Hangout”, Dr Smith issued a tearful apology for his shirt. Rumours that the offending shirt, stiff with dried salty tears, has been spotted in Dr Smith’s local charity shop have yet to be confirmed.
Look, I didn’t especially like his shirt, but I also don’t think one can expect much more of a heavily inked dude with a well-established penchant for bad T-shirts. As a cursory search on Google Images (hard research here, people!) proves, this one, while not in the best of taste, was clearly part of that tendency. Yes, it’s an embarrassing shirt and yes, it was a stupid shirt to wear on international TV. But the man is – classic batty scientist cliche – so absentminded that, according to his sister, he regularly loses his car in car parks. So if Taylor committed any crime, it was a crime of bad taste and stupidity rather than burn-him-at-the-stake sexism.
And, well said conclusion:
I totally understand why some women were offended by Taylor’s shirt, and I especially understand the frustration felt by female scientists who feel marginalised enough in their profession without high-profile men wearing shirts featuring half-naked women. But I can’t help but feel that outrage would be better spent on complaining about how few women were present in the control room for the probe landing. There are so many signifiers of sexism in the world and – I believe (again, not an expert in this field) – the science world that to attack a man for his shirt feels a little bit like fussing at a leaky tap when the whole house is under a tidal wave. Some people online have suggested that Taylor’s shirt proves he is a misogynist, or that he sees women purely as sex objects, or that he revels in marginalising them. Personally, if I saw a male colleague wearing that shirt, my reaction would be amazement that a grown man has the fashion taste of a 13-year-old. There is a difference – and I concede, the difference may be fuzzy in some cases – between enjoying the weird fantasy-world depiction of women, and seeing actual women as sex objects. Taylor has the right to wear whatever pig-ugly shirt he likes, and people have the right to be outraged by it. But when that outrage leads to a grown man weeping on TV, perhaps we all need to ask if this outrage is proportionate. My God, I’m a fashion bitch and even I don’t want to make anyone cry over my comments about their clothes.
Monday, November 17, 2014
“The phone call. The phone call," sighed Allison Strange. "There’s always that one call that you never expect to get.”
On Sept. 6, 2011, the caller ID showed her son's cell phone, but the voice on the other end wasn't Josh. Her son had been arrested for rape.
Josh Strange avoided prosecution, but he did face the justice of Auburn University, where he was a sophomore. Under federal civil rights law, colleges and universities have to conduct their own investigations into sexual assault reports, separate from a criminal one. And after a 99-minute hearing, the discipline committee – chaired by a university librarian – reached its decision.
“Josh was as white as a piece of notebook paper, and just looked like he had been punched in the stomach,” remembered Allison Strange, who was outside the hearing room. “I walked up and I looked, and Josh said, ‘Mom, I’m gone. They don’t want me here anymore. I can’t stay. They’ve expelled me.’”
In the aftermath, Allison and Josh Strange formed the group Families Advocating for Campus Equality that pushes for universities to get out of the business of adjudicating sexual assault cases. Allison Strange wants those cases to be left to the criminal justice system, and she says you only need to look at her son's case to understand why.
Friday, November 14, 2014
Amusing story with bits of cross-cultural illumination:
Call them stretch jeans, jeggings, ex-girlfriend jeans or what not - we're talking about men in tights. Tight jeans that is. While some men gasp in horror at the idea of wrapping their legs in stretch, others embrace the comfort the new trend provides. FashionUnited wanted to know how men like their jeans and did a bit of research.
First, there's the assumption that jeans have to be 'manly' – rugged, tough, weathered, worn for men, are adjectives that come to mind when thinking of jeans for me, as epitomized by pop icons like the quintessential cowboy John Wayne, rebel James Dean or the working class heroes that rock legends like Bruce Springsteen likes to sing about. Now picture them in a pair of skin-tight jeans instead of the rigid version. It's quite a stretch, isn't it (pun intended)?
"We may name it a Male Law, or Macho law," he said.
From the UK Express:
MEN who have children by different women should be PAID by the government for increasing the population, claimed a Russian MP.
The new "Macho Law", which was proposed by Valeriy Seleznyov, could see men that have a string of children with different women paid an unspecified amount to help cover child costs.
The MP wants to extend a system that is already in place in Russia - where woman can claim "maternity capital allowances" of around £6,500 when they have more than one child.
He went on to explain that the amount granted from the "Macho Law" could then be used to help cover property and education costs.
"Some men have several children from different women, each of whom is not eligible for the 'maternity capital programme, as some of them have only one child, and others can be married to another man," he explained.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Thus writes a NYT reporter regarding quarterback Tony Romo (he of the NFL's Dallas Cowboys) who has suffered genuinely painful injuries but feels pressure to play.
Romo is a terrific fourth-quarter quarterback, a warrior in the beloved military argot of the N.F.L. He has played with torn ligaments and broken bones and come back early from many injuries.
He walked out stiffly to meet the press Thursday morning. “I mean, it’s sore,” he said. “It’s not a comfortable feeling.”
Then he added, “Just normal stuff.”
He was lying. I called Dr. Frederick Azar, an orthopedic surgeon who is the team physician for the Memphis Grizzlies of the N.B.A. and president of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
“Romo’s still in the inflammatory stage; it takes three to four weeks just to calm the nerves and muscles down,” Azar said. “If he thinks he can go, O.K., but he’s going to be in a lot of pain.”
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
TBT from last year's post:
Veteran's Day raises conflicting responses from feminists. While it is a day to honor lives given in service, it is also a day that reminds us of women’s historical exclusion from power, opportunities and benefits. Women’s exclusion from the military and advantageous combat positions has had the trickle-down effect of denying them the ancillary veterans’ benefits of GI-bill education, family support, small business loans, and healthcare. Veterans’ preferences in employment, home loans, problem-solving courts, and treatment programs disparately advantage men to significant economic benefit. Even now as women seek these military opportunities, they are only tokenly being “tested” for combat roles, reminded that there "will be no lowering of standards." As if that's required. And as if the standard itself is not male defined.
For reading on gendered implications of veterans, see:
Personnel Administration v. Feeney, 442 U.S. 256 (1979).
Monday, November 10, 2014
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
From the New Republic (also contains a video feed):
In an interview with NPR earlier this fall, pre-school teacher Glen Peters recounted, “They couldn't find the bathroom code for the men's bathroom, so I actually had to go to the women's room while someone stood guard outside the bathroom. I knew at that moment that I was a bit of a unicorn.” Peters is part of the small cohort of males teaching pre-school nationally; in fact, barely 2 percent of early education teachers are men, according to 2012 labor statistics. And with universal pre-K taking center stage in our country’s most populous city, the absence of male influence at this stage of development is getting increased scrutiny.
Steven Antonelli, currently the director for Bank Street Head Start, has spent more than two decades working in early childhood education and has experienced first-hand the challenges men in this field face. In an interview with New Republic executive editor Greg Veis, Antonelli considers these hurdles and the importance of early childhood education.