Friday, February 27, 2015
Indeed, there can be a perverse irony involved in men speaking out in support of women. As the US sociologist Kris Macomber has put it, men are “members of the dominant group; they have access to social and institutional power that women lack”. In other words, their support for feminism is useful for the very thing feminism is struggling against – their power. Feminists have often expressed their frustration to me that men are applauded for saying what women have said for generations.
And then there are the men who elect themselves “feminists” as a way of granting themselves a certain type of coolness, or making themselves more attractive to women: “Look how sensitive and caring I am – I’m even a feminist!” Sexism is rife on the left – as it is everywhere in society – but the danger is that leftwing men may decide they cannot possibly be sexist, even as they interrupt a woman to assert their feminism. One leftwing feminist tells me she can work out a man’s attitude to women in five minutes: “Do they interrupt you? Do they listen to you? Do they presume they know more than you?”
So what is the role of men in all this?
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
As she prepares for her presidential bid, Hillary Clinton intends to serve up a different campaign message than last time:
But rather than the assertive feminism associated with her years as first lady, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign message will be subtler. It will involve frequent references to being a mother and grandmother and to how her family has inspired her to embrace policies that she believes would help middle-class families.
As one Democrat close to her put it, voters have learned that she is tough; now she can also present herself as a sensitive candidate capable of nurturing the nation at a difficult time.
Humorous but telling satire from the Chicago Tribune:
I haven't been feeling my usual manly self lately. I keep messing things up in a clumsily absurd fashion and feel an overwhelming desire to spend time with a large and inordinately expressive reindeer.
I wasn’t sure what brought on this emasculating malaise until my friends at the Fox News show “Fox and Friends” explained that I and men across America are suffering from “the Frozen effect.”
Yikes. I don’t want to be either of those things.
Monday, February 23, 2015
“Please do something about this, girls read comics too and they care,” the 11-year-old from Champaign, Illinois, added according to NBC’s Today show.
A DC Comics artist drew Rowan as a superhero complete with her blonde bob hairstyle and spectacles with a burgundy and yellow outfit to help her fly over a dandelion field.
Previously, they sent out tweets saying that they’re “working hard to create more superhero fun for girls” but she had said that, even though she appreciated the responses, her quest to see more girl characters was not over.
“It was really, really cool, because they’re so big and important people,” she said of the tweets.
“But I thought ‘I don’t want people to think, “Oh, yeah, OK, they responded to her. Now it’s over.” I want people to keep trying to make this happen, because it’s really important to me.”
Her parents Jim Hansen and Renee Trilling said that Rowan has been aware of gender inequality for years.
Friday, February 13, 2015
This study suggests so. The abstract available on SSRN:
We formulate theory on the effect of board of director gender diversity on the broad spectrum of securities fraud and generate three main insights. First, based on ethicality, risk aversion, and diversity, we hypothesize that gender diversity on boards can operate as a significant moderator for the frequency of fraud. Second, we hypothesize that the stock market response to fraud from a more gender-diverse board is significantly less pronounced. Third, we hypothesize that women are more effective in male-dominated industries in reducing both the frequency and severity of fraud. Our first-ever empirical tests, based on data from a large sample of Chinese firms that committed securities fraud, are largely consistent with each of these hypotheses.
Monday, February 9, 2015
The Brian Williams story is disappointing. He had bragged over the years that his helicopter had been shot down by enemy forces in Iraq; it hadn't. I don't think, however, that Williams deliberately sought to lie. He probably did what most men do, but he got caught. He took a boring story that had only the faintest traces of manliness and then, over the years, embellished it gradually, and hence embellished his own manliness.
True manliness is more modest, and to those whom we ascribe it, more mysterious and elusive. Seth Moulton is a congressman who represents the greater Boston area. He graduated from Andover and Harvard. He had options in life. But after 9/11, he joined the Marine Corps.
During his election campaign, Moulton discussed his military participation but in muted terms. Only later, only after he had won, did the his constituents discover--through some digging by the Boston Globe--that Moutlon had kept something from the public: he had won two military medals for valor in combat.
The American political graveyard has more than a few monuments to politicians and public officials who embellished details of their military service, in some cases laying claim to medals for heroism or other military honors they never received.
And then, uniquely, there is Seth W. Moulton, the Democratic nominee for Congress in the Sixth Congressional District, a former Marine who saw fierce combat for months and months in Iraq. But Moulton chose not to publicly disclose that he was twice decorated for heroism until pressed by the Globe.
The Globe learned of the awards — the Bronze Star medal for valor and the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medal for valor — after reviewing an official summary of Moulton’s five years of service, in which they were noted in military argot.
In an interview, Moulton said he considers it unseemly to discuss his own awards for valor. “There is a healthy disrespect among veterans who served on the front lines for people who walk around telling war stories,’’ he said. What’s more, Moulton said he is uncomfortable calling attention to his own awards out of respect to “many others who did heroic things and received no awards at all.’’
Moulton, who is facing off against Republican Richard Tisei in the Sixth Congressional District race, has been so close-mouthed about the medals that in his campaign, only his campaign manager – a former Marine – knew of the awards before the Globe asked for the citations on Wednesday. Even his parents did not know, and were told just this week, according to Scott Ferson, a campaign spokesman.
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
HARTFORD, Conn. — A lawsuit filed Tuesday by plaintiffs including a female veterans group is pressing the Pentagon for information on gender targets and recruiting policies at U.S. service academies, where enrollment remains overwhelming male.
The complaint alleges the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the U.S. Air Force Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy did not respond adequately to requests filed in November for records under the Freedom of Information Act.
Monday, February 2, 2015
But he did make a positive statement about gender identity. From a few days back was this article from the Guardian UK:
Andy Murray’s clash with Novak Djokovic in the final of the Australian Opentennis tournament is the fourth time he’s made it to the ultimate round in Melbourne. On the past three occasions he lost – and he is the favourite to do so again. But whatever the result, the 27-year-old Scotsman has already scored a historic victory – for women.
After his semi-final victory over the Czech number seven seed, Tomas Berdych, Murray made an impressive speech in which he paid tribute to his coach, Amélie Mauresmo, and hailed the progress of female coaches in a sport that can sometimes appear reluctant to leave its colourfully sexist past behind.
“A lot of people criticised me for working with [Mauresmo],” Murray told the cameras and a delighted crowd. “And I think so far this week, women can be very good coaches as well. Madison Keys, who reached the semis here and had her best tournament, is also coached by a woman – Lindsay Davenport. I see no reason why that can’t keep moving forward like that in the future.
“I’m very thankful for Amélie for doing it. It was, I would say, a brave choice for her to do it and hopefully I can repay her in a few days.”
Thursday, January 29, 2015
It was close to 5 o’clock on the afternoon of Nov. 4, 2013, and Sasha Fleischman was riding the 57 bus home from school. An 18-year-old senior at a small private high school, Sasha wore a T-shirt, a black fleece jacket, a gray newsboy cap and a gauzy white skirt. For much of the long bus ride through Oakland, Calif., Sasha — who identifies as agender, neither male nor female — had been reading a paperback copy of “Anna Karenina,” but eventually the teenager drifted into sleep, skirt draped over the edge of the bus seat.
As Sasha slept, three teenage boys laughed and joked nearby. Then one surreptitiously flicked a lighter. The skirt went up in a ball of flame. Sasha leapt up, screaming, “I’m on fire!” Two other passengers threw Sasha to the ground and extinguished the flames, but Sasha’s legs were left charred and peeling. Taken by ambulance to a San Francisco burn unit, Sasha would spend the next three and a half weeks undergoing multiple operations to treat the second- and third-degree burns that ran from thigh to calf.
....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
From the Atlantic:
A scuffle between a largely black sorority and a predominantly white fraternity provides an interesting case study on Title IX.
At first, the kerfuffle at the University of Connecticut between a largely black sorority and a predominantly white fraternity might seem a lot like the big-kid version of a schoolyard fight. It is, after all, a dispute over an iconic boulder on campus affectionately known as the “Spirit Rock.” No one has been physically hurt, and campus officials have taken action in response to the event.
But a closer look at the quarrel likely reveals a racially charged conflict in whichwhite frat brothers, according to university investigators’ initial findings, physically intimidated the group of black women, hurling verbal insults at them, including “fat black bitch” and “whores.” It has forced university officials—administrators accustomed to treating race and gender bias as distinct problems—to grapple with a conflict that’s almost certainly shaped by some combination of both issues. What’s more, the Spirit Rock affair is unfolding at a time when public scrutiny of issues related to sexual violence and harassment on campus has reached an all-time high. Turns out that what happened at the Spirit Rock is hardly a petty matter.
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.”