Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Rise of the Bro Hug

We all know this.  These days, men often hug other men; even guys who aren't really friends will do this.  The Bro Hug, it has come to be known.  It has, arguably, overtaken handshakes.  

Commentary from the NYT: 

[One theory for the B.H.] comes from Mark McCormack, a British sociologist, who has suggested that our increased hugginess is attributable to declining homophobia. In March, Dr. McCormack and his colleague Eric Anderson published in the journal Men and Masculinities a study of 40 college-age male heterosexual British athletes. Ninety-three percent of the young men said that, more than mere hugging, they had spooned or cuddled with a male friend.

One of the study’s participants said of his male friend, Connor: “I happily rest my head on Connor’s shoulder when lying on the couch or hold him in bed. We have a bromance where we are very comfortable around each other.”

That the decreased stigma about being gay may inspire people to be more physically affectionate — particularly heterosexual male athletes, a demographic not known for being cuddlesome — is a lovely thing. As are wanted hugs. But the ripple effect of this new liberation may sometimes prove unmooring.

I suspect there is something deeply regional and class-based about the Bro Hug.....

September 28, 2014 in Manliness, Masculinities | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Misogyny at Fox News

From the Guardian UK

Presenters on US cable channel Fox News cracked a series of sexist jokes after reporting that a female pilot from the UAE had taken part in a bombing mission of Isis targets in Syria, describing her as “boobs on the ground”.

One presenter, Kimberly Guilfoyle, tried to pay tribute to Major Mariam al-Mansouri, 35, one of four UAE fighter pilots to take part in the operation. “Hey, Isis, you were bombed by a woman,” she said. “Very exciting, a woman doing this … I hope that hurt extra bad because in some Arab countries women can’t even drive.”

She continued: “Major Mariam al-Mansouri is who did this. Remarkable, very excited. I wish it was an American pilot. I’ll take a woman doing this any day to them.”

But: 

But after the segment, co-host Greg Gutfeld interrupted Guilfoyle, mocking the pilot. “The problem is after she bombed it she couldn’t park it,” he said. Another presenter, Eric Bolling, joined in, asking: “Would that be considered boobs on the ground or no?” The conversation between panellists, which was broadcast on Wednesday, was part of discussion show The Five on Fox News.

September 25, 2014 in Manliness, Masculinities, Theory, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Bad Sign When Management Looks Manly?

A new studey mentioned in the WSJ Blog

Here’s another sign why too much testosterone at the top might not be good for business.

Research has shown that, by nature or nurture, facial masculinity is associated with a slew of behaviors in men that range from increased aggression to a penchant for risk taking. Some economists decided to see what having a masculine-looking man at the helm of a company might mean.

So: 

Yuping Jia at the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, with Laurence van Lent and Yachang Zeng at Tilburg University, collected pictures of 1,136 male chief executives at companies in the S&P 1500, and used a facial-structure metric to gauge how masculine each one’s face was.

Check out the results. 

September 24, 2014 in Manliness, Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Riveting Essay on Male Identity by Charles Blow

In the NYT.  An exceprt:  

I was engulfed in an irrepressible rage. Everything in me was churning and pumping and boiling. All reason and restraint were lost to it. I was about to do something I wouldn’t be able to undo. Bullets and blood and death. I gave myself over to the idea.

The scene from the night when I was 7 years old kept replaying in my mind: waking up to him pushed up behind me, his arms locked around me, my underwear down around my thighs. The weight of the guilt and grieving that followed. The years of the bullying designed to keep me from telling — and the years of questioning my role in his betrayal.

I jumped in the car, grabbed the gun from under the car seat. It was a .22 with a long black barrel and a wooden grip, the gun my mother had insisted I take with me to college, “just in case.”

September 21, 2014 in LGBT, Manliness, Masculinities | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

"Educating Our Young Men about Rape"

A story by Michael Cassidiy, Boston College Law, from WBUR (the Boston NPR station).  The introduction: 

The current spotlight on campus sexual assault will no doubt raise awareness among college students of their legal rights and obligations. One hopes that it will also hold universities accountable for the social cultures they tolerate, if not create, on their own campuses. But difficult conversations about sexual responsibility need to be raised well before our children head off to college. As a law professor who has taught rape for more than a decade, and as a father of teenage boys, I believe that if we want to change behavior, we need to train young men to recognize sexual assault when it occurs and to internalize norms against it. Our conversations about rape need to start in our homes, at our dining room tables.

September 10, 2014 in Manliness, Masculinities, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The NBA has its first female union leader, a lawyer

She is Michele Roberts, a Boalt graduate, from a tough background.  

August 17, 2014 in Manliness, Masculinities, Women lawyers, Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Ben McJunkin's "Deconstructing Rape by Fraud"

Ben McJunkin has uploaded "Deconstructingn Rape by Fraud," in the Columbia J. of Gender and Law.  The abstract reads: 

In this Article, I critically examine the role of normative masculinity in determining the shape and scope of the criminal law doctrine of rape by fraud, which purports to criminalize sexual intercourse procured through certain material deceptions. In application, the rape by fraud doctrine is exceedingly narrow — deceptively induced sexual intercourse is rarely criminalized as rape, despite deception’s profound impact on the voluntariness of sexual consent. As the Article explains, the rape by fraud doctrine is thus in tension with the prevailing view that rape law principally protects a thick norm of individual sexual autonomy. Despite this tension, the narrowness of the rape by fraud doctrine is frequently defended, often by those who are most committed to individual autonomy elsewhere in rape law.

Through an analysis of court decisions and academic commentary, I demonstrate that those defenses largely rest on appeals to a romanticized ideal of the practice of seduction. I illuminate the link between seduction and a prevailing ideology of normative masculinity that allocates social status for men on the basis of demonstrations of sexual conquest. That ideology perpetuates narratives in which women, through their capacity to grant or withhold consent, hold power over men when pursued as objects for sex. Indeed, within this account, the transgression of women’s power is what makes sexual conquest worthy of masculine status. Deceptions used to procure sex are criminalized only in exceptional cases where the narratives of interpersonal power break down. Thus, the rape by fraud doctrine can be seen as codifying existing limits on masculine status transfer. Ultimately, I argue that understanding the rape by fraud doctrine in terms of normative masculinity exposes an important continuity between contemporary rape law and rape law historically, in which rape was a crime against men’s property interest in women.

August 7, 2014 in Manliness, Masculinities, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Women in the Military

Cara Hoffman has a recent Op-Ed in Truth Out.  It follows her earlier piece in the NYT, where she observed:  

....as many as a third of all women serving in the military are raped by fellow soldiers during their tours of duty, compounding whatever traumas they may have experienced in combat.

July 31, 2014 in Manliness, Masculinities, Theory, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Cookbooks for Men

 

On cookbooks for men

Walk into a bookstore, browse Amazon cookbook category listings, and you’ll find various genres of cookbooks.....But absent is a category for women, revealing the assumption that unmarked cookbooks are for women.

There is a lot of gendered discourse we can examine in books like cookbooks for men. The titles themselves are loaded with stereotypes: “Man Meets Stove: A Cookbook for Men Who’ve Never Cooked Anything without a Microwave,” “Men’s Health Muscle Chow: More than 150 Meals to Feed Your Muscles and Fuel Your Workouts,” and “Eat like a Man: The Only Cookbook a Man will Ever Need.” 

July 27, 2014 in Books, Manliness, Masculinities | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Being a Man Is Injurious to His Health

The statistics provided by the World Health Organization paints a picture of male tragedy that rarely makes the news. Men die at a younger age than do women; more men die from violence than do women.

What to make of the reasons for this, I suspect, is complicated.

http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/key_facts/VIP_key_fact_6.pdf?ua=1

 

July 3, 2014 in Manliness, Masculinities | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Your Mom as Your Coach

Such was the way with both Jimmy Connors and Andy Murray, both Wimbledon winners, when they were young (according to Connors, one of the reasons that he hit the ball like a woman--meaning, relying more on guile and inflection, than pure strength--was because that was how his mom taught him, and he never quite adopted a more "masculine" approach).  Murray, the defending Wimbledon male champ, now has a female coach:  

Murray had already changed the pretournament narrative, taking on Amélie Mauresmo, a former Wimbledon champion, as his new coach.

Mauresmo is not the first woman to coach on the men’s tour. Several male players, Jimmy Connors included, have been mentored by their mothers. Billie Jean King assisted the American Tim Mayotte in the early 1990s.

Not everyone approves of Murray's decision: 

No less a British women’s icon than Virginia Wade, the 1977 Wimbledon champion and a longtime commentator, told reporters regarding Murray’s decision to hire Mauresmo: “I thought they were all fooling around; I think again he’s maybe trying to mess with everybody. She was a great player; she’s a great person. I think she was a little fragile mentally, because she had the capabilities of beating everybody.”

Wade added, “You like to try to get behind people’s thinking, but I can’t really with this one.”

June 26, 2014 in Manliness, Masculinities, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 20, 2014

Push ups, anyone?

From Chicago

An Illinois man, who was training to become a special agent with the FBI, sued the FBI for gender discrimination after failing the physical fitness portion of the special agent test. Women taking the test were required to complete 14 pushups while men were required to do 30. The agent who sued only did 29 and was denied special agent status. He was told he could take another position within the agency, resign, or be fired.

And: 

He chose to take the alternate position within the FBI, working in Chicago as an analyst. A few years later, he sued, looking to regain agent status. He claimed he was essentially fired based because of the discriminatory physical fitness test.  Apparently, he had done really well in all other aspects of his training and was well respected among others in the program. That one push up kept him from the career he wanted.

And.....

The Federal judge agreed with the man, ruling that the fitness test violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The judge did say that his ruling does not mean that standards can’t ever differ based on sex. Many agree that the physiological differences between men and women should be taken into consideration, and many times they are, without violating the Civil Rights Act.

What makes different standards legal is when they have a rational basis. The trainee claimed that the difference (in push ups required) was arbitrary and not based on actual data. He also claims that a fellow trainee, a woman, was allowed a second try at her push-up test and he was not. I couldn’t find an explanation as to why he couldn’t eek out one more pushup. 30 doesn’t seem like a crazy hard number, but what do I know.

June 20, 2014 in Manliness, Masculinities, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Lockely on PTSD and Gender

Kimberly Joy-Lockely at Mississippi Law has uploaded "How Gender Bias Negatively Affects Soldiers with PTSD."  Its abstract reads: 

The Veteran’s Administration (VA) is charged with caring for our nation’s veterans, but their procedures allow for a gender bias that is causing countless veterans with post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) to remain without adequate help. Though women have been involved in every military conflict in the United States, women continue to be treated differently than men. Women were not granted official military status until 1949, but they currently make up the fastest growing portion of the veteran population. The impending lift of the ban on women in combat will likely only increase women’s involvement in the military, so their disparate treatment must be dealt with quickly to avoid an increase in an already prevalent problem.

The VA only currently recognizes two types of PTSD: Military Sexual Trauma-related PTSD (MST) and Combat-related PTSD. MST complaints increased 46% from 2012 to 2013. An estimated 26,000 men and women experienced MST in 2011, but only 3,300 of those victims filed reports. Increased numbers of women are seeing combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, and 15% of active duty soldiers are females. Because of the gender bias in the military sexual trauma reporting process and the VA in-processing, the already over-burdened VA system has become even more inefficient and female and male veterans alike are the ones harmed.

Various failures on the VA’s part account for veterans’ difficulties in obtaining earned and promised benefits. For example, the two types of PTSD have different burden of proof structures, and the interviewers who determine whether or not a veteran gets benefits have an extreme gender bias. Even worse, the VA did not offer mental healthcare services to women until 1988, and the VA currently only has four facilities dedicated to women’s care.

Men are expected to be “stronger” than to have psychological or emotional issues and women who are already often perceived as “weaker” do not wish to add to that perception by admitting any struggles. Each sex fears retribution, loss of promotion, loss of opportunity to re-enlist, and loss of the respect of their superiors and/or peers. Though Congress has recently attempted a weak solution, it is quite simply not even close to being enough to close the gender gap. This paper proposes a three-tiered solution focusing on enhancing reporting schemes within the military and the relationship between the military and the VA, restructuring the PTSD intake within the VA, and adopting a common sense approach to VA benefits.

Part I of this paper will discuss the history of women in the military, the history of PTSD, and gender bias’ role in PTSD; part II of this paper will discuss and analyze the military’s, Congress’, and the VA’s failures in consistently and adequately serving soldiers and veterans with PTSD. Part III of this paper will discuss ways in which the military and VA can improve including recent Congressional steps that have attempted to do so.

 

June 18, 2014 in Manliness, Masculinities, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Teaching Nonviolence to Young Men

From the Guardian UK: 

'When I saw a girl in the street, I would tease her and pass nasty comments," says 17-year-old Jetmir Fejzullahu. "What I learned was that it doesn't make you attractive and interesting, but the opposite." Sitting in a bare school hall with graffiti scrawled across the walls, Jetmir is one of several teenagers discussing what they have learned from a special project about gender inequality and sexual violence in Kosovo.

Care International launched the Young Men Initiative (YMI) in 2007 with local partners in Kosovo, where an estimated 20,000 women were raped during the war. It is one of 22 countries worldwide where the UK-based charity focuses on sexual violence.

And: 

A study by the Kosovo Women's Network in 2008, almost a decade after the war, found that 43% of the population had experienced domestic violence, and that violence against women and children is largely under-reported. "For most people," John Crownover, programme adviser for the initiative, says, "violence is not seen as a violation of women's rights but as normal interaction between men and women."

Crownover explains why they set up in Kosovo: "Young people growing up in the aftermath of the conflict were faced with the rise of xenophobia, nationalism and gender inequalities. For boys, particularly in working-class neighbourhoods, many of the so-called successful men they saw were either 'hyper masculine' or linked to criminal activities. We're trying to shift attitudes that can lead to sexual and other types of interpersonal violence."

June 10, 2014 in Manliness, Masculinities, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hero or Sissy?

My friend and former colleague Katherine Van Tassel sent me an interesting news item.  The summary from Science Daily reads: 

NFL teams shoulder most of the blame for players' injuries and sports journalists can shift football cultural norms toward valuing players who put their health first. These are the key findings of a new study that examined health and safety issues in sports. "As sports journalists take more of an advocacy role and support athletes who make their health a priority, attitudes towards injuries and the players who sustain them may gradually begin to change," one co-author said.

More: 

These are the key findings of a new study authored by Clemson University researchers Jimmy Sanderson and Melinda Weathers that examined health and safety issues in sports. It was published in the journal Communication & Sport.

"Media coverage of players who decide to sit out or play through an injury may impact players' future decision-making as well as fans' attitudes towards these players," said Sanderson.

"Sitting out during an injury is often viewed as weak and lacking the requisite toughness demanded by football, whereas playing through an injury is often viewed as the action of a warrior who embodies the ethos of sport," Weathers stated.

 

June 10, 2014 in Manliness, Masculinities, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Male Feminists

Several articles this week on men and feminism.

Pharrell Doesn't Think Men Can Be Feminists

Charles Blow, Yes, All Men

When Boys Become Boys

June 5, 2014 in Manliness | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Why We Need Both Feminism and Masculinities to Address Gendered Violence

Jamie R. Abrams's picture

More from this month's guest blogger, Professor Jamie Abrams from the University of Louisville School of Law. Her scholarly interests include integrating masculinities theory in feminist law reforms such as military integration and domestic violence; examining the tort complexities governing standards of care in childbirth; gendered conceptualizations of citizenship; and legal education pedagogy.

The latest mass shooting in Isla Vista, California adds to a troublesome lineage of mass shootings by male shooters in the United States.  The New York Times covers the issue of gendered violence at Campus Killings Set Off Anguished Conversation.  The article highlights how the killings have “set off a raw, anguished conversation about the ways women are perceived sexually and the violence against them that has reverberated around the country.”  The NYT coverage reveals how both feminism and masculinities are needed to address the gendered complexities of violence. 

The Good Men Project reveals the masculinities underpinnings of mass shootings here.  I have written about these issues in The Collateral Consequences of Masculinizing Violence, in which I considered the masculinity underpinnings of a similar mass shooting of women at a Pennsylvania fitness club by George Sodini in 2009 to raise questions about the masculinization of violence in legal frameworks.  The pressures to conform to dominant masculinities can lead some men to hyper-masculine expressions of violence.  Those hyper-masculine expressions can often follow a direct challenge to an individual’s dominant conception of masculinity, such as the loss of a job or rejection by women.  Lisa Hickey of the Good Men Project, a project I was first introduced to by the Gender and the Law Blog last year, adds this additional lens of masculinities to the many other social frames to be considered in connection with mass shootings, such as access to mental health services, gun control, and violence against women.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 27, 2014 in Manliness, Masculinities | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Navy SEALS and Elliot Rodger

On this Memorial Day, it is fitting that I should post about the military.  And, sadly, it is also perhaps appropriate that I comment about the ugly murders that were perpetuated by Elliot Rodger this weekend.  

The mentally unstable young man had written an elaborate 140 page manifesto summarizing his life and his reasons for his massacre at UCSB.  I did not read every page of the manifesto but a lucid pattern emerges.  Rodger was desperately insecure in his masculinity, or rather, his complete absence of such.  He was afraid of girls, afraid of friendships, afraid of being a decent human being who cared about others, and always afraid to ask for help.  A coward to the very end, he killed himself to escape punishment for his crimes.  

Throughout Rodger's deranged manifesto, he had given poignant testimony to his narcissistic personality disorder.  At the end, he referred to himself as a "god" who could end life.

One day before Rodger's killing, Admiral McRaven, a Navy SEAL for 36 years, delivered the commencement address at UT Austin.  He also spoke, albeit indirectly, about manliness because the SEALS are emblematic of it and women, at this time, are not members.  He urged the graduates--including, he specifically said, female grads--to model themselves after the SEALS.  

At least one lesson bespoke a manliness that seemed to be informed by those virtues that society has traditionally deemed....feminine.  

McRaven told the students that you're not a god and that no one is; learn that you need others' help and don't be afraid to ask for it.  "Find someone to help you through life....and respect everyone."  

Femininity....a good place for manliness.....

May 25, 2014 in Manliness, Masculinities, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Manliness and Memorial Day

With Memorial Day coming up,  I wanted to list some books about manliness that are particularly good.  

Front Cover

Karl Marlantes What It Is Like to Go to War bravely expels a lot of tiresome myths about combat, and also does a fine job of illuminating PTSD.  Marlantes was a decorated war veteran in Vietnam as well as a Rhodes Scholar, and the book sketches with honesty the madness of hypermasculinity and the sort of manliness that is required to survive as a soldier, and afterwards, come to terms with war in morally acceptable ways.  

Front Cover

 More recently, there is Sebastian Junger's War.  Junger is a reporter and he was embedded with Marines in Afghanistan.  Like Marlantes, Junger is a deft writer who captures well the paradoxical nature of manliness in war--its destructive, and self-destructive propensities--along with its capacity for intense friendship and sacrifice.  

May 23, 2014 in Books, Manliness, Masculinities | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Terry Crews on Manhood...

....by vocation and partly because I have so little time for leisure reading, I usually stick to academic titles.  But this book by Terry Crews, the former NLF player and now comedian-actor, sounds fun and maybe good.  

In an interview with NPR, Crews said: "The book should've been called, Terry Crews Is an Idiot and This Is How I Survived. I'm serious! There was so much astounding immaturity in this book."  Idiot.  That's probably 50 percent of manliness in one word.  

And there was also this spot-on comment during the NPR interview:   

Manhood used to be the Marlboro Man — my way, the highway, I walk alone! And the Marlboro Man is always by himself. Family, kids? Can't hang with him. They don't understand him. What happens is, that guy in his 60s, he's back there in his shed and he's crying his eyes out. He's alone. No one wants to be with him. And I averted that future.

May 21, 2014 in Books, Manliness, Masculinities | Permalink | Comments (0)