Following a spate of gang rapes in India in the past several months, the Times Of India newspaper is running quarter-page ads imploring men to treat women with respect through the stark statement, “The true test of your manhood is how you treat a woman. All women. Any woman. Every woman.” I’m pleased the newspaper is questioning traditional aspects of toxic masculinity, like “rash driving” and “drunken brawls,” which some men do think defines their manhood. Yet I also think their conclusion about proving your manhood by behaving a certain way (even if it’s the right way) is problematic: “If you do not respect women, you are only half a man.” That’s the flip side of the same thinking that says guys aren’t manly if they don’t want sex all the time. Just like sexist expectations of femininity can imprison women, sexist expectations can imprison men, too. I’m all for eradicating rape culture everywhere. But the answer isn’t to tell men to act like “real men,” it’s to tell them to act like good human beings. [Our Mobile World]
Fact: women are too often judged solely on their appearance, and treated differently based on how they measure up to men’s ideas of what they should look like. This much is obvious, and I’m sure the majority of us here applaud the women who stood up and continue to stand up to this offensive treatment that reduces women to just one aspect of who they are, while ignoring their many other strengths. But—there had to be a “but”—women should acknowledge that they often do the same thing to men—not based on looks as much as on our jobs, careers, and success. Keep reading »
Possibly ruining my appreciation for the noble Swedes and their fine IKEA meatballs, a recent study has found that Swedish men with STDs think their infection is an affirmation of their manliness.
University of Skovde researcher Kina Hammarlund interviewed an unknown group of 16- to 30-year-old men and women for her dissertation and discovered it was only male participants who put on rose-colored glasses, seeing STDs like genital warts or gonorrhea as a rite of passage to manhood. It’s a telling statement about sexuality that men viewed STDs as something positive about their manhood, while women didn’t think it said anything about their womanhood. STDs could imply, even erroneously, that a guy is kind of a stud. But it’s hard to believe anyone would be proud of an STD. Could this study be bulls**t? [The Local via Feministing] Keep reading »