A few years ago, I mentored a group of teen girls at a small, alternative high school. The whole point of the group was just to give these young women a safe space to talk, express themselves, and feel heard and validated. I will never forget how eager the girls were to let their emotions out. I will also never forget all the boys that would linger around the doorway of our little classroom, making jokes and craning necks to get a peek at what was happening inside. They were so transparent, in that unique way that teenagers are, in their desire for the same thing — an opportunity to let their guards down and open up. Keep reading »
There are a lot of worries parents might have as their child heads off to school: academic struggles, not getting along with teachers or classmates, bad behavior. The potential consequences for these concerns are worrisome as well. As a mother (and one who used to teach high school social studies), I don’t think it’s all that unusual to fret over things like these.
But one thing I didn’t think I’d have to be worried about is the possibility of my son being suspended for his sense of style. A 13-year-old 8th grader from Kansas was recently suspended for wearing a Vera Bradley handbag while attending school.
Suspended. For having a quilted bag. Seriously. Keep reading »
Just in case you weren’t clear why we still need feminism to break down the sexism of culturally-prescribed gender roles: MTV announced yesterday it greenlit a new reality TV show called “Guy Court” which will straight-up judge bros on their bro-itude. Explains Yahoo:
In the half-hour comedic courtroom series “Guy Court,” which will premiere in fall 2013, the laws of manhood will be upheld as some familiar MTV2 faces will determine the guilt or innocence of a variety of cases in accordance with Guy Code. Each real life case will be judged, defended and prosecuted with the perfect combination of comedy and justice. Keep reading »
No wonder some men can have pretty messed up ideas about masculinity. This old bodybuilding ad posted on Boing Boing — in which men claim to have gained 25 and 70 pounds of muscle and increased their “He-Man looks” by 1,000 percent — really goes for the hard sell. Is it just me or does that dude look like Ronnie from “Jersey Shore”? [Boing Boing]
Something nice for a change: here’s a clever new video from the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault about “breaking the box” of society-prescribed gender stereotypes. Boys can cry. Girls can play football. Taking advantage of a drunk woman doesn’t make you a “man.” It’s 2013, everyone!
What do you think of the PSA? [Feministing]
February 14th isn’t just Valentine’s Day: it’s also V-Day, the day dedicated to raising awareness about violence against women. The playwright Eve Ensler, whose play “The Vagina Monologues” is performed all over the country on V-Day to raise money for local shelters and crises centers which help women, is commemorating this year with One Billion Rising. The One Billion Rising campaign is asking people all over the world to go on strike for the day, and to hold gatherings and parties to protest against the violence instead. I won’t be striking, but I have been sending Eve Ensler’s “Man Prayer” video to some of the men in my life. It’s recited by men and boys from around the world, each in their own language. The prayer for men asks them to question toxic masculinity which are constricting, like solving problems by hitting, holding negative feelings inside and seeking to control. No matter what your faith, I think any feminist can join their hands together in this prayer. [YouTube]
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]
It used to be that a lady only had to be on the lookout for Axe Body Wash as a demarcation of doucheitude in a man’s shower. But if the next time you hop in your dude’s no-doubt-scum-covered tub and you catch a whiff of bacon, urinal cake, or Republicanism — or worse, all three — book it out of there with shampoo in your hair. Your dude washes himself with “ManHands,” soaps for the manly man. 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 »
Hello from out here in Man Card America, where proving your masculinity to the dude-friends who are vigilantly looking to revoke your “Man Card” if you get caught engaging in unmanly activities like being scared, doing what your girlfriend wants to do sometimes, enjoying a song by a woman, or drinking the wrong kind of cheap light beer is an ongoing campaign. If you look at the advertisements of the past several years, you’d think that having your Man Card revoked was, like, a real thing that could actually happen. Keep reading »