Posts Tagged ‘masculinity

08
Aug
14

Lap Dogs

I know it’s been awhile, but a Huffington Post blog brought up this tangent (see link below).

Why are men stuck in the tiny little pigeon hole of what it is to be “a man?” The blog in question was addressing the positives of daily sex. Aside from the author’s obvious heteronormative views on relationships, she stated that men only need “Food, appreciation, and sex. That’s it.”

Really, lady? If that is all your significant other needs, I weep for you. If your mate is only a lap dog who needs a bowl of chow, the occasional pat on the head, and a leg to hump, perhaps you should both broaden your horizons. While I can accept that you feel that your womanhood lies in your drive to reproduce, to lump all men in this sad group of puppy land and to use that generalization to offer advice to millions of women is misguided at best. So, I offer my own suggestion on how to “make your man feel like a man.”

Treat him as an individual and as a person, not a dog. Make him feel like he is more than your meal ticket, that he has intellectual contributions to your relationship far beyond what he can add monetarily. Give him appreciation for doing more than working out of the house, acknowledge his contribution to your household and your children (if you have them, because I do not measure a woman’s worth as a human being by the number of times her uterus has housed anyone). Offer him love, but understand that men too enjoy a good cuddle, a soft touch, and moments of quiet conversation. Last but not least, understand and show him that men are just as complicated as women, that you understand he has emotions but that society makes him bottle most of them, and that he is a person of value and not just a sex crazed garbage disposal seeking your approval.

Link to original blog post:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/meg-conley/five-reasons-you-should-h_b_5647291.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063

22
Jun
12

Identifying with the other

So, recent comments on my intersex post have led me to feel the need to write another post. Hooray for you! (sarcasm)

The discussion (for those who don’t want to read all the comments) is about identifying with the other. Wanting to be the other to justify why a person feels the way they do, the other not understanding why anyone would desire to be that other, feeling they don’t understand what being other entails. Thus, I’m going to lay it all out there…

It seems many trans individuals want to have a label so that they understand WHY they feel like their parts don’t match what they feel in their hearts and minds. Having a diagnosis that explains why stuff doesn’t match up. OK. I get that. I get that it is difficult to deal with the internal cognitive dissonance that comes with the external incongruence. It makes complete sense.

The reality, though, is that for all the similarities between trans and intersex (having to deal with stupid doctors, a medical community who rarely understands the needs of the individual when it comes to both the internal and external organs, etc) the differences are ignored. Intersex people do not WANT their genitals to match the dichotomy. They do not wish to be shoved in a pigeon holed description of what sex and gender are to the majority of non-intersex people. They want to live as they are (or were before being hacked upon by some self important asshole).

Like trans people, intersex people want to be able to use the public restroom without fear of retribution. But that fear is based solely on the structure which dictates what is too small or too big. They want to go through their day and not have to hear a joke about how much size matters, that someone needs to ‘grow a pair,’ or that a man isn’t a man if his penis is ‘too small.’ They want to have their clitoris be loved as it is. Not have a mate turned off because she is too big to be a woman. They want to live life, not having to wonder how things might have been, had they not been reassigned without their permission and without their parents being pushed to have it done (if they were consulted at all). They want to hear someone speak of female genital mutilation, knowing it wasn’t done to themselves, ripped apart because some stupid doctor with a tape measure could see her parts when the doctor felt it shouldn’t be seen. They want to know that their size really doesn’t matter, despite what the jokes and snide comments say.

I want it understood…I am NOT saying that the intersex road is harder than the trans. They are both two very difficult rows to hoe. But I think trans people sometimes underestimate the daily struggles of living in a world where, the only way a person can be judged of their full worth, is by what is or is not in their pants.

20
Jun
12

intersex is NOT a disease

Claim: That is an opinion and I can accept that is where you stand and you have the choice to hold that view if you wish.

The words sex and gender have often been skewed to indicate that these are entirely determined by culture. They are not. They are however a combination of cultural and individual experience and the genetics with which a person was born. Such fallacies are implemented due to the poor research and misleading publications, not of a social psychologist, as this photo suggests, but rather by those of a psychoendocrinologist who developed these theories (Dr. John Money).

We, as animals, do not have a gender, but as social creatures we do. This statement in the picture, however is contradictory to the statement above it which states that gender is biological in nature.
Nouns do have gender, as do pronouns (for the most part), however it is very ethnocentric to make said statement about all languages, as many have gender in items such as desks, pencils, chairs, etc. Secondly, this statement is also stated quite poorly as ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ are not in fact nouns, but adjectives.

To say that XX, XXY, XYY, and the myriad of other variations are ‘deformations’ is both condescending and purposefully inflammatory. Green eyes are a ‘deformation’, as are many other characteristics that are easily seen about any individual’s appearance. The assumption that any of these variations are believed to be newly discovered is, at best, misguided. XX and XY, while being the most commonly occurring genetic variations, however the explanation that follows is incorrect. The XXX, XXY, and XYY variations do not occur due to random mutation of a normal gene. They are, in fact, genes of their own consistency, that is to say they are heritable. Also, to equate said variations of intersex with Down’s Syndrome is incorrect. Those individual with Down’s are most often infertile, and when not, Down’s is not heritable. Additionally, there are many other types of intersex variation that do not include the genetic variations listed above. Some of those are random mutations, yes, but mutation does not equal deformity, only difference.

‘Hermaphrodite’ is a medical term that describes none of the three intersex variations listed above in the picture. The terminology here is very off, which would indicate that the individual who created it is not informed on the correct terminology. Hermaphrodism refers only to individuals who have BOTH male and female primary or secondary sex characteristics and does NOT include those of the ambiguous variations.

99% of XY women do not reach puberty? That statistic is blatently false. I’m not exactly sure how many of them do, as that would actually be a suicide or accident statistic, but the vast majority do in fact reach puberty, but because pubertal onset means an increase in both estrogen and testosterone production, the secondary sex characteristics can be either male, female, or both, depending on the individual. Secondly, the bad grammar here again diminishes the accuracy of this picture (more taller).

“Take the brain that occurs the most” doesn’t even make sense, see comment above. The male brain has no different ‘parts’ than the female brain. This entire section makes no sense whatsoever if anyone is even remotely educated in brain structures. There are relatively few sex differences between male and female brains. The ones that do exist occur after pubertal onset, when there is a major change in growth and a pruning of unused neural pathways. Some suggest that the cultural norms of what females are expected to do vs males may be responsible for these differences, other evidence suggests that it may be hormonal. The reality is that they just aren’t sure. The only significant difference between the two is size. Women’s brains tend to be somewhat smaller, but have an increased number of gyri, thus increasing the overall surface area.

There is not a legitimate scientist (endocrine, geneticist, neural, or otherwise) who would use brain structure as a determining factor of sex. That is another blatantly false claim. Again, male and female brains do NOT have different parts.

Well, for all the arguing against any rights for intersex individuals, at least it makes a good argument for transsexuals. False, but convincing, nonetheless. In reality, what the photo to the left fails to indicate (as does the text to the right) is that the hypothalamic activity (and yes, that is what the photo to the left is actually showing) is changed with high levels of chronic stress. MTF transsexuals have an incredibly high level of chronic stress and, thus, would have the levels concurrent with those of females. A good example of this contractual error is the SIDS research of the early 20th century. Hundreds of thousands of children’s brains were irradiated to reduce the size of the hypothalamus because they thought that large ones caused SIDS to occur. In reality, they were only comparing upper class SIDS deaths to those of poor (and highly stressed) infants lost to other causes (such as starvation). Bad sample, much? Point being, this is being misattributed to sex differences when it is in fact a stress difference.

Cisgendered is an act of choosing not to PERFORM gender, not to identify that one is not present. Again, false. And why, exactly does this photo repeatedly compare intersex to physical illness or life threatening differences? Intersex is not life threatening (unless someone who is ignorant or misinformed beats someone to death).

And now, we get personal. Call it logical fallacy if you wish, but as I have offered fact alone up to this point, I really don’t give a shit. The last comment on the right would indicate that A. intersex individuals are sterile (which is true in the minority, but most are fertile) and that B. fertility should be somehow controlled, or intersex individuals should be somehow contained so as not to spread their ‘disease’. There is a reason that there is no source information on this photo. It promotes genocide, is inflammatory, and uses (at best) half truths to make a point for hurting people who deserve nothing but the same humane treatment every other person receives. How dare you, or anyone else imply that intersex people are any less people than you are. It is exactly this type of ignorance and half education that cause people to die at the hands of doctors who think they know how to hack a person’s genitals to pieces, or at the hands of ignorant bastards who believe that a person’s worth lies in his/her pants.

But I ask you now, what is it exactly that gives you the knowledge to back any of the statements made in this graphic? Is it a degree? Is it hours of research on intersex variations, articles about those variations, history of those? Weeks, months, and even years of talking to experts in the field or the individuals who are affected daily by the ignorance this graphic displays? Perhaps it is the daily experience of facing the challenges often associated with the intersex? Or maybe it is grant writing to the NIH to advance study of the consequences of this type of ignorance on the individuals who suffer it’s wrath? You see, it isn’t culture, biology, or society that cause intersex individuals problems. It isn’t their health, or their fertility, or their brain activity. It is the ignorance of people who refuse to do the work necessary to actually learn something other than the regurgitated (and false) shit that gets thrown at them by a grossly falsified graphic. THAT, is what needs to be fixed.

23
Apr
12

harold* and the purple crayon (*names have been changed to protect from homophobes)

Bullying is a major problem, we know this. There are anti bullying initiatives, programs, and classes. Schools tell kids to report it. They tell them to stop it. They tell them not to do it. That’s great and all, but me think we are not getting to the crux of the situation. We are pulling at weeds, picking the leaves, and not touching the roots. Yeah, yeah…Enough metaphors. My point?

Parents. We spend millions of dollars per year trying to keep kids from beating the crap out of each other and making each other feel like shit, and yet parents are ignored or enlisted to help teach. This is where so, so, SO many of the teachers need to be the students. PARENTS teach hate. PARENTS teach homophobia. PARENTS teach bigotry. These are not traits that a small child picks up at the local bar on a Friday night. Four year olds don’t judge because someone’s crayon isn’t the right color.

I don’t share a great deal of personal information here, but today it seems necessary. My daughter was upset when I picked her up today because one of the other girls yelled at a little boy for having a purple crayon. My daughter had a blue one. She informed the other girl that if she could have a blue crayon, then the boy could have the purple one, then proceeded to retrieve said purple crayon from the trash (the other girl threw it away) and hugged the little boy.

I get that children have developmental milestones they reach at different times, including indication that ‘blue is for boys’ and (in this case) ‘purple is for girls’. Yeah. I get that. They gender divide. BUT belittling the little boy for the purple crayon? Throwing it away in the trash? THAT is NOT a milestone. That is hateful, mean, and spiteful. I don’t blame the little girl. She did not know that it was hateful, mean, or spiteful, she only knows that is something an adult in her life would never tolerate.

14
Sep
11

Spawned by FFC

In response to http://hellogiggles.com/im-not-a-feminist-but

I am a feminist. I love men. I love women. I love myself. Why are ANY of these statements mutually exclusive?

Secondly, on what planet (and perhaps this is the masculinity theorist in me) do all men enjoy the security of walking alone at night? Or freedom from sexual harassment? Or the freedom from the ‘unique burden’ of keeping their bodies looking a certain way? And while the author of this piece may be considered ‘too emotional’ as a woman, she herself states that a man must defend his outward show of emotion.

She will never know what it means to be policed by every other child on the playground (both male and female) as to whether or not she is accurately portraying her feminine role appropriately. She will not know what it is like to be silenced by her peers for the sexual harassment she receives. She will not understand, despite the difficulties women as rape victims face, the consequences a man faces when raped. Google “sexy woman” and then “sexy man”. Are the images of both not stereotypical and harmful? She must be thin and busty, but he must be buff and strong (and rich, too I might add).

Something that I think she completely misses the mark on here (and maybe that is only because that is not the point of the piece) is that it is also OK to be MASCULINE women. Why must I, as a feminist proclaim my femininity in high heels and a dress? Why CAN’T I wear my jeans and t-shirts and combat boots, and that be OK too? So yeah, I’m a granola eatin’, boot wearin’, make-up burnin’, Feminist. Deal with it.
I understand that this all relates to the degradation of women and the horrors associated with femininity as a whole (that last part was sarcasm), but the source does not justify the action. Yes, we as feminists need to stand up and support Feminism as a study, as a social science, and as movement, but we CAN NOT do that without discourse. Without discourse, we become a cult of crazy people wandering around the compound agreeing with each other, never stepping out among the non believers.

22
Jan
11

Racism, classism, and sexism: Wrapped up with a stark white bow

I am writing about this here for two reasons.

1) I feel the need to rant about this properly.

2) While I do not care in the least if I offend anyone who reads this with any regularity, I do care if I offend family, simply because I must live and interact with them on a regular basis and don’t want to hear about it. I feel pretty safe here as no one I know actually reads this thing anyway.

Anyway, back to the point…Cotillions. Yes, cotillions. I discovered today that this antiquated process still takes place. From the limited research into these events I have established that this occurs predominately in the South and most often in places that seem to readily embrace Southern traditions gone by the way side in every other area of the world. Much like Ale81 and Moonpies.

This is what I have managed to glean from the “National League of Junior Cotillions” website (yes, there really is such a thing), this seems to be a sort of schooling in etiquette. While no longer touted as the mating ground it once was, cotillion culture does appear to maintain many of its roots. When I say this, it is (despite the fact you can not actually hear it as this is in print) with dripping sarcasm.

Racism

This “ism” is quite clear by simply beholding the photos on the afore-mentioned website. While examining each and every photo provided I took note of a glaring omission. Namely, color. Among the photos I noted only two with persons of color. One was a very young African-American child amongst a parade of small caucasian ones. I also will point out that I use the word caucasian with some measure of drippy tone as well. The reason is that, if my guess is correct, they are less caucasian and more Anglophile. Rather creepy, really. The second picture was one of a mayor who was signing some sort of proclamation. He and some of his staff were African-American. None of the children, mind you. Only those who worked for the city in question.

Classism

In addition to the issues of race, are those of class. Again, while I can not readily prove this, the impression of the website is that these are predominately upper middle class people who feel the need to display their wealth (or at least their illusion there of). I sincerely do not get this. As if the cars they drive, clothing they wear, neighborhoods in which they reside, and general attitudes do not display this enough, they must also join an elite group (outside of the country club) which accentuates this even further. How often do we see this anywhere else? I know that I do love walking around, proudly wearing my Goodwill labels and often brag about my lack of funds and need to “rob Peter to pay Paul” as the saying goes. As an aside, I must add, Peter is getting pretty pissed off at this whole arrangement.

Sexism

As is true to the style of the upper middle class old South, the young women in these photos looked starved but adequately glimmering in their virgin white attire. The women/girls only, that is. Not to say that there are no young men in these photos, only that they are attired in fabulous black suits and tuxes, so as to set off their Manly state of wealth (women, you see are sex objects, while men are success objects). So, I point out that this sexism is not one-sided. Girls must be “meek” (it actually says that on the website) and boys must present their wealth adequately through their attire and manners.

All this can be yours! Well, as long as you happen to be an upper class White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, that is.

17
May
10

Validity of Feminism

Many MRAs argue that feminism is invalidated by the many factions (branches if you will). I counter this argument by offering a breakdown of both social and hard sciences. I am not claiming that feminism is a science in itself (yet), but that, as fields of study progress to the level of a science (and by this I mean the empirical study of something) different branches actually ADD validity.

As someone pointed out in a recent discussion, with branching out to different areas of thought, comes specialization. No one person can know everything about their field of study. Branches off of a main idea offer a more thorough knowledge in any field.

Examples:
Sociology-Environmental, Political, Deviance, Criminology, Functionalism, Symbolic interaction, etc…
Anthropology-Biological, Physical, Socio-cultural, Linguistic, Archaeological, etc…
Psychology-Social, Industrial and Organizational, Educational, Abnormal, Clinical, Counseling, Research, etc…
Biology-Micro, Botany, Biophysics, Ecology, Agriculture, etc…
Medicine-Endochrinology, Cardiology, Nephrology, Neurology, etc…
Geology-Mineralogy, Petrology, Geomorphology, Paleontology, etc…

Point being, there are basic foundations for each of these sciences. Sociology is the study of society, Anthropology of human cultures, Psychology of the minds, Biology of life, Medicine of healing, and Geology of Earth history.

Feminism-First, second, and third waves consist of suffrage, primarily reproductive rights, and recognition of contributing factors (respectively). Each of these waves created different branches of feminism: Literary, Masculine theory, Queer theory, Historical perspectives, etc…

But each of these branches has its foundations in the history and development of feminist theory. And thus I coin my own term…

MARXINAROLOGY: The study of marginalization.