Liberal guys like me are often kind of squeamish when it comes to talking about abortion. I mean, we support it. We describe ourselves as pro-choice. We share the ridiculous things that asshole Republicans say on Facebook. (Did you hear the one about the masturbating fetus…?) If we’re straight, and we maybe decide to join our girlfriends or wives or whatever at the rally, we’ll wear the pink or orange t-shirt they pass out, and when they chant “My body, my choice!” we will chant “her body, her choice!” and consider ourselves allies. Look at us A-plus dudes, cisgender and incapable of becoming pregnant, out there to demonstrate for someone else’s rights! We could just stay out of it, but we care!
I know that’s how a lot of men think of abortion rights: like it’s someone else’s fight, and we might occasionally show up and offer support. And while I understand the impulse, that’s not good enough. The fact that guys like me need to realize is that abortion rights are our rights, too.
When I was 23, a young woman I knew needed an abortion. More importantly to me, so did I. Keep reading »
The Internet Rape Joke Wars have been waged, on and off, since at least last year, when comedian Daniel Tosh responded to a woman who had challenged him during his set about the number of rape jokes he was making with, “Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by, like, five guys right now?” (The questions about rape jokes pre-date The Tosh Incident, of course, but that was the watershed moment in which those questions broke into the mainstream – at one point, Louis CK had to go on “The Daily Show” to address a seemingly-supportive tweet that he’d made to Tosh.) Since then, the debate has heated up and cooled down, depending on what jokes comedians are making.
Most recently, it was a low-profile comic named Sam Morril, whose set was challenged in a column by feminist blogger Sady Doyle, that reignited the issue. And last week, feminist and comedian Lindy West of Jezebel took to television and debated the issue with comic Jim Norton on FX’s “Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell.” During the 12-minute segment, West made her points, Barry made his, and a lot of people on the Internet came away from the discussion with the exact same opinion they started with.
West’s argument centered around the (mathematically hard to dispute) fact that, sitting in the crowd each night a comic performs, there’s likely to be someone who has survived a sexual assault, and these jokes are likely to make that person’s night much, much harder. That’s true, and it’s absolutely worth considering. But there’s someone else who is likely to be in that room to hear it at some point, too, and how the joke will make that person feel is important, too. I’m talking about the rapist. Keep reading »
Late last month, in the midst of several recent and prominent examples in the steady stream of stories about the challenges that women in the tech industry face, Complex.com published its list of “The 40 Hottest Women In Tech.” Tone deaf move, fellas! People were understandably upset. Maybe if it had been published a month or two earlier or later, a big website that caters explicitly to the libidos of straight dudes tossing up a list that ranks accomplished women on a scale of “hotness” would have just been another eye-rolling example of the sort of overt-yet-casual sexism that women in the industry (and many others) have to deal with on a regular basis. But the timing couldn’t have been worse. The author of the piece, Luke Winkie, went to The Daily Beast to explain why he’d taken the assignment and how, after his editors got their hands on it, it didn’t turn out the way that he’d planned.
Luke is my friend, and I know the position he was in: Dude is a young freelancer who got offered almost a month’s rent to write something that he knew was kind of shitty. He thought that he could make that shitty thing a little bit better (he wrote at the Beast that he “got the idea that maybe we could make a list called ‘The Hottest Women In Tech’ sound as earnest and empowering and good-hearted as it could possible be”), and then it didn’t work out. I’m not here to defend the guy – he can do that himself – but I can relate, because I had been in similar positions in the past. When you’re a straight, white, cisgender dude who benefits materially from living and working in a sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic society, it’s easy to overestimate the amount of power you have. Keep reading »
Here is a confession: I am a dude, and sometimes I don’t want to have sex. For good reasons, or no reasons at all. It just depends.
I know that’s not actually shocking, but bear with me here, because that is somehow still a radical thing to admit. It’s still the default assumption about men, still casually reinforced basically every day. And women explicitly get told that it’s true, by men, even when they’re asked directly. Here’s just one recent example, from Cosmopolitan‘s “Ask Him Anything” column, in response to a question about why a woman’s husband wants to do it the moment they check into a hotel room anywhere: “Guys pretty much want sex no matter where they go – work, the mall, funerals, etc,” the “Him” who writes the column says, before explaining that a hotel room is just a part of that endless chain. Keep reading »
Over the weekend, the UK’s Observer published an editorial about transgender people that crossed a bunch of lines. It’s not really worth repeating the things that the author wrote, but they included the sort of slurs that, if used against, say, black people or women, would make your eyes pop out. The Observer has since removed it, but it was full of “N-word” level stuff, with an editorial tone dripping with self-righteous, “if you don’t want to be called these things, stop being the way you are” privilege.
It was gross, in other words. I tweeted about it throughout the day on Sunday, when it ran, as I learned more about the author or different things occurred to me. Most of the rest of my tweets from that day were about football, which meant that I got some confused replies from people who follow me because they like when I make fun of Matt Schaub. I’m not transgender, and I don’t have any close friends or family who are, so why was I treating that editorial like it was personal? I am a dude who is straight and cisgender (that is, someone whose gender identity matches their biology) and who seems to have no stake in this fight.
Here’s why I take transgender issues personally… Keep reading »
Let’s talk for a minute about the “friendzone.”
Don’t worry, fellas, this isn’t a lecture. It’s an advice column, because there is something you deserve to know: There is a very simple, nigh-foolproof way to avoid ending up in the situation that that exceptionally loaded word describes.
And I will tell you what it is. Keep reading »