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College Men ‘Going on Strike’?

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 - by Helen Smith

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Amy Alkon:

You’ve come a long way, baby — and then gone all the way back and then some.

Ashe Schow writes in the Wash Ex about the fallout from the campus sexual assault hysteria:

Thanks to an increased focus on sexual assaults on college campuses – mostly due to an overblown statistic claiming 20 percent of college women have been sexually assaulted – young college men are starting to rethink how they talk to women.

At first glance that might seem like a good thing – men learning to be more respectful of women and not be so rapey – but that’s not what this is.

This is about men actually avoiding contact with women because they’re afraid a simple kiss or date could lead to a sexual assault accusation.

Bloomberg reporters John Lauerman and Jennifer Surane interviewed multiple men from colleges like Harvard and Stanford who expressed concern over what was once known as a “hook-up culture” but is now labeled by feminists as “rape culture.” The change in terminology ensures that all responsibility is placed on men, just because of their gender.

Take Malik Gill of Harvard University, who said he wouldn’t even give a female classmate a beer.

“I don’t want to look like a predator,” Gill told Bloomberg. “It’s a little bit of a blurred line.”….

As I’ve written before, women used to demand to be treated as equals; now they demand to be treated like eggshells.

Count me out.

Yeah, me too. We will keep hearing the question from women, “where have all the good men gone?” as they live in their cocoons, never understanding that the guys went on strike a while back and many have left for good. Are college women to blame for this? Yes, because as Martin Luther King says: Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. If college women do not understand the injustices they are witnessing against men in our colleges today and strive to help, then they are part of the problem. They reap what they sow.

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Cross-posted from Dr. Helen

Image via shutterstock / auremar

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Beyonce’s 10 Worst, Anti-Woman Songs

Monday, August 25th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Also check out Leslie Loftis’ analysis of Beyonce’s performance at last night’s MTV Video Music Awards here.

10. “Bow Down/I Been On”

The Church of Bey has clearly gone to the pop goddess’s head. A critic at New Wave Feminism writes:

Aside from repeatedly yelling “bow down bitches”, the song also contains lyrics such as “I know when you were little girls / You dreamt of being in my world / Don’t forget it , don’t forget it / Respect that, bow down bitches”. Apparently, Beyoncé thought the appropriate response for young women who admired her and looked up to her was to call them misogynistic slurs and demand they genuflect in her presence.

This Bey Anthem doubles as the death knell of the sisterhood.

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Katy Perry Doesn’t Need a Man to Have a Baby

Friday, August 15th, 2014 - by Leslie Loftis

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In “Yes, Katy Perry, Babies Need Daddies,” D.C. McAllister wrote about Katy Perry’s declaration to Rolling Stone that this is 2014 and she doesn’t need a man to have a baby. But McAllister just touches the tip of the iceberg on both Perry and children’s need for fathers.

Perry is being more callous to her future child than the typical woman who realizes that she wants a baby, doesn’t happen to have a partner, and, therefore, for her convenience decides that she doesn’t need a man to have a baby. Perry left her marriage to Russell Brand a few short years ago because he was ready to have a baby and she wasn’t. From a piece I did in 2012 on pop rock and the hookup culture:

In her movie Part of Me, Katy Perry addresses her divorce, essentially stating the Love Myth. “I thought to myself, ‘When I find that person that’s going to be my life partner, I won’t ever have to choose [between my partner and my career].”

Before anyone thinks that this is just the silly and self-centered musings of a Hollywood starlet, this notion of easy love that never requires compromise passes for thoughtful feminist discourse these days.

Perry saw her husband’s desire to start a family as trying to force her to slow down her career when she didn’t want to. To be perfectly blunt, she chose her career over her marriage and her future child’s ability to have a father. She doesn’t have the typical excuse that she was unlucky in love and is now hearing the ticks of her biological clock pound in her ears.

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The 10 Most Badass Roman War Heroes

Monday, August 11th, 2014 - by Spencer Klavan

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Before Ancient Rome was a titanic empire, it was a collection of huts, a tribe of outlaws, and a few unshakable ideals — courage, virtue, and duty. The defense of those ideals inspired some of the greatest war stories and acts of heroism ever written down. Here are the 10 most badass heroes, ranked in ascending order, from Rome’s legendary history and historical legends.

10. Romulus

The legendary founder who gave his name to Rome also carved out the city’s place in blisteringly hostile territory. Etruscans to the North, Samnites to the East, and Latins to the South: Italy was no safe place for a little village made of mud and bricks to stake its claim. Romulus led his ragtag team of rejects and outlaws against the peninsula’s fiercest tribal armies, saving Rome from being annexed or enslaved. But he had an erratic, unheroic temper that kept him from making it higher on this list — legend has it he murdered his brother in a violent rage.

(Livy 1; Dionysius, Roman Antiquities 1-2)

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30 Bad Ideas Men Should Embrace If They Want To Destroy Themselves, Part III

Friday, August 8th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

Two of my favorite recent books - I recommend reading these together in tandem for added insight... #culture #religion #relationships #marriage #god

Click here for Part 1, and here for Part 2 of this list-letter to Lisa De Pasquale in response to her memoir. Also see here for Hannah Sternberg’s contribution to the discussion, “5 Life and Relationship Lessons from Finding Mr. Righteous.”

21. Hedonism: “It is perfectly possible for entire peoples to live only for their own pleasure and feel nothing for their prospective obliteration.” – David P. “Spengler” Goldman, page 351 of It’s Not the End of the World, It’s Just the End of You: The Great Extinction of the Nations.

"It is perfectly possible for entire peoples to live only for their own pleasure and feel nothing for their prospective obliteration." - David P. "Spengler" Goldman, page 351 of It's Not the End of the World, It's Just the End of You: The Great Extinction of the Nations. #God #religion #culture #spengler #history #tragedy #immortality

Dear Lisa,

I concluded part II with this question:

What does it mean to love someone? How do we learn to do it?

Amongst my book piles, I stumbled across this excerpt from page 141 of A Mystical Key to the English Language by Robert M. Hoffstein which points to the linguistic similarities between LIVE, LOVE and LEAVE as a clue:

"This is the essence of love: to be able to sacrifice, give up, and abandon the self for the sake of the other, or for the sake of God." Page 141 of A #Mystical Key to the English Language by Robert M. Hoffstein. #siberianhusky #cutedog #maura #god #religion #narcissism #secular

I think the concept of what it means to “worship” someone, something, or God is no longer understood by most people. Do you think there’s a significant difference between love and worship? Are the series of patterns that you identify throughout the men in your book indicative of links between the way humans’ interpersonal relationships mirror their intellectual relationship with transcendence? Does the way in which we try to love others mirror the way in which we have learned to love God? Is worship a kind of training for loving others?

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How Does Institutional Bias Affect Men?

Thursday, August 7th, 2014 - by Helen Smith

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I wondered about this a few weeks ago as I watched a Question and Answer session for perspective students at a large Washington D.C. Law School. The Q&A was about an hour and the admissions speaker was a lively woman who seemed very oriented to students and happy to answer questions about the LSAT, the law school and how to do one’s best in the application process. The future students were eager to ask questions and hands around the room went up quickly. There were around 50 people, about half men, half women in the room. But I noticed that the speaker mainly called on the women students, even if a man had raised his hand first. She even said “I will get to you in a minute” to a male student but then called on a couple of women instead: one woman was even called on three times! I wondered if the speaker even knew she was doing this.

I must admit that part of the problem was the way that the guys in the room were trying to ask questions. Their hand did not go up as aggressively as the girl’s hands nor were their voices as strong or as loud. They were softer and more hesitant than the women’s and I often could not hear them as well. Is this a function of men with softer voices applying to enter law school or were they more timid in this particular setting? Were they picking up that they were the underdogs in this situation and that they were not getting the same attention? If I am observing this behavior in one academic setting, how many more men are being affected by academics and administrators around the country who may be treating them differently?

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30 Bad Ideas Men Should Embrace if They Want to Destroy Themselves, Part I

Monday, August 4th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

Two of my favorite recent books - I recommend reading these together in tandem for added insight... #culture #religion #relationships #marriage #god

See the previous parts of this ongoing series exploring culture, relationships, and religion through books:

April 11: Men Should Read Lisa De Pasquale’s Sexy Memoir

Lisa’s book provokes many questions and this post is the beginning of a series to host and encourage a discussion about them. Lisa organizes her book around 7 different men — Chris the Atheist, Joe the Catholic, John the Evangelical, Preston the Quaker, Ryan the Preacher, Adam the Jew, and Brandon the Nondenominational Believer — and how her pursuit of them shaped her own religious journey. I’m going to give each one at least one blog post excerpting from her book and raising a question for debate…. Lisa’s memoir is an inspiring journey through her own struggles with the idols she’s worshiped. In future posts I’ll consider an idol-based reading of her book in juxtaposition with other texts and the stories of the day. Recognizing the idol we’re worshiping that’s keeping us enslaved is the first step to picking it up, smashing it, and finding the free life God wants us to have. Lisa’s book collects the fragments of seven of her smashed idols and there’s much we can learn from her. Stay tuned, in future posts I’ll also consider Lisa’s insights alongside two related books I’ve read recently, Kathy Shaidle’s Confessions of a Failed Slut (which Ed Driscoll interviewed her about here today) and Dr. Helen Smith’s Men On Strike

April 17: The Normal Way Godless Men Treat Women (A discussion of Chris the Atheist’s sexual violence against Lisa and its ancient cultural roots.)

June 26 at the PJ Tatler: 30 Books For Defeating Valerie Jarrett’s Cult of Political Criminals.

That Sunday, June 29, excerpting a section of it at PJ Lifestyle: 5 Deep Books For Overcoming Our Addiction to Idol Worship

Here are links to round 1 of a debate at PJ inspired by the “spreadsheet husband” that ran July 20-24:

This extended list article today, tomorrow, and Wednesday Friday draws from the debate’s comments and juxtaposes them with excerpts from Finding Mr. Righteous, 3 of the 5 books on idolatry, and a few more related titles.

This can be understood as opening up Round 2 and and inviting others to participate. Send submissions in response to these subjects to DaveSwindlePJM {@} gmail.com or please leave comments below or feel free to get in touch on Twitter: @DaveSwindle (We should start featuring more Twitter discussions at PJ Lifestyle…)

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Dear Lisa,

I hope your last few months have been less tumultuous than mine. After almost a month in our new apartment in South L.A., April and I are starting to get comfortable and settled — we finally tested out the pool yesterday. (Siberian Husky Maura remained skeptical and chose not to go in even though our landlord said she could. Someday we hope to get her swimming. She does enjoy going to the beach.) Here’s a picture of her exploring the new town, I’m going to try to collect more sunrise pictures of her:

A great #sunrise in #socal this morning as the #siberianhusky and I try and wake up today...

After the first two posts in the series on your book I ran into a writer’s block, a challenge that I’ve now at last overcome: how best to explain the difference between Judeo-Christians and pagan Christians, one of the phenomena your book illustrates so vividly. This is my way of trying to contribute to understanding the wide range of religious relationship experiences you had over the years and why they varied so much amongst men who were supposedly committed to the same holy book, worshipping the same God. Illustrating the paganism of your first failed Mr. Righteous, Chris the Atheist, was easy enough. Camille Paglia is probably the most perceptive writer today analyzing the cultural blend of secularism and amoral neopagan values.

But in analyzing the varieties of Christianity in the context of their ratio of pagan to Jewish influences, there’s another writer — who’s exhibited an even stronger influence on my views the last three years — who I want to encourage you to consider both for future writings and for his insights on life in general.

David P. Goldman is a PJ columnist with a diverse background and a knowledge base ranging from economics and finance to history, philosophy, art, music and culture, to religion and theology. I read his book How Civilizations Die (And Why Islam is Dying Too) a few years ago and make it a point to try and edit as many of his pieces here at PJ as I can. I’ve just recently acquired and read his essay collection It’s Not the End of the World, It’s Just the End of You: The Great Extinction of the Nations.

Among Goldman’s unique insights is to apply the theological writings of Jewish philosopher Franz Rosenzweig and his magnum opus The Star of Redemption to understand demographic and cultural trends today, particularly why it is that so many nations and people around the world choose to destroy themselves. Goldman’s answer: secularism produces hopelessness and does not inspire people to marry and reproduce. There is a big link between religiosity, family size, and happiness. Goldman lays out the data to both show that it’s there and then, through explaining Rosenzweig’s analysis of pagan, Jewish, and Christian cultures, explain how to fix it.

And it starts with applying it to our own lives — his ideas are just as useful at the macro level as they are for understanding ourselves and interpersonal relationships. The same techniques the West needs to use for defeating the sex-and-murder worshipping barbarians on the global stage we can use for overcoming these challenges in their smaller manifestations in the people around us and in our own unruly, jealous hearts.

So here are some of the bad ideas that your book does a great job of exposing — warning signs for both men and women — and some related ideas too that will yield further insights into the challenge of overcoming the stumbling blocks preventing us from being the righteous people our friends and family need us to be.

What does it mean to be a righteous man in America today? Question of the day. #manhood #masculinity #God #men #women

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10 Ways ’90s Pop Culture Destroyed the American Male

Monday, July 14th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

10. If guys didn’t look like heroin-addicted street dwellers…

Before committing suicide, musician Kurt Cobain copyrighted the grunge look that came to define Gen-X/millennial crossovers in the ’90s. A reaction to the preppie style made famous by ’80s yuppies, grunge involved a level of disheveled that transcended even the dirtiest of ’60s hippie looks. Grunge trademarks included wrinkled, untucked clothing complemented by greasy, knotted hair and an expression best defined as heroin chic. The style depicted an “I don’t care” attitude that took punk’s anti-authoritarian attitude to a darker, more disengaged level. Grunge became the look of resigned defeat among American males.

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10 Romantic Comedy Myths About Women

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

10. We’re so fiercely independent that the only thing we need to be happy… is a man.

Post-second wave feminist romantic comedies rely on the Sheryl Sandberg boilerplate: upper-middle class, successful career woman with an impossibly huge apartment in big city stuffed with everything she could ever want. (See: Reese Witherspoon in Just Like Heaven.)  The genre gives the image one slight twist: our heroine is secretly one step away from cultivating her very own cat collection. (See: Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail.) True to Hollywood fashion, who better than the big, strong male superhero to fly in to save the day?

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VIDEO: Are We Not Men?

Sunday, June 29th, 2014 - by Andrew Klavan

A character in my novel Man And Wife points out that it’s difficult to talk about manhood because an essential part of manhood is not talking about it. But that didn’t stop me from joining a panel with my friends at BOND during their annual Father’s Day Conference on Fatherhood and Men. With the fearless and humorous preacher Jesse Lee Peterson leading the discussion, the 45-minutes or so absolutely zipped by. Here it is for your delectation and delight:

By the way, if you click on the Jesse Lee Peterson link, you’ll find my City Journal profile of him, the anti-Jesse Jackson. If you click on Man And Wife, you’ll have something absolutely great to read for the weekend! Is this blog a resource or what?

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My Experience at the First International Men’s Conference So Far

Sunday, June 29th, 2014 - by Helen Smith

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I have been at the men’s conference sponsored by A Voice for Men in Detroit for the past couple of days. It has been quite a delight to meet up with so many like-minded people on men’s issues. I met in person many of my personal heroes including paternity fraud activist Carnell Smith, columnist Barb Kay, author Warren Farrell, and more.

The crowd of what looked to be about two or three hundred people were diverse and ranged from all ages to all ethnic backgrounds. There were more men there but almost as many women it seemed! There were young men attending the conference who quietly came up and asked me to sign books and middle-aged and older who just stopped by and told me they had read my book and felt that it helped them in some way.

I met the young women who call themselves the Honey Badgers who fund-raised enough money to pay their expenses to go to the conference. Many people at the conference had sacrificed a lot to be there whether it was paying their own way, taking time off from work or struggling with physical problems that limited their ability to travel. I was in awe and amazed at the great group of intellectual speakers and the audience who asked questions that were critically thought out and challenging.

My only concern with the conference was the media that was present. I’ll explain on the next page.

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VIDEO: The War Against Men’s Sports

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014 - by Helen Smith

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Cross-posted from Dr. Helen’s blog / image illustration via shutterstock /  Alan Bailey

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3 Studies About Fatherhood that Will Shock You (But Shouldn’t)

Sunday, June 15th, 2014 - by Leslie Loftis

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Common law, case law, moves slowly. It basically crowd-sources notions of fairness and justice over time and turns them into rules. Normally this works well. But when the assumptions that informed the common law were faulty, then precedent drags positive change.

We can see this happening in child custody arrangements. The precedents set in the 1970s when the divorce rate rose were informed by Freudian attachment-theory studies in the post-war era on orphans, as they were the most commonly found victims of fractured families. As attachment theory developed, psychologists started studying mothers and young children. It seemed a logical first layer of detail to examine given the expectations that women took care of the children while men worked outside the home.

When the divorce rate rose in the ’70s and courts had to start declaring custody arrangements, the experts recommended primary mother care because they didn’t have data for anything else. From a 1992 “Origins of Attachment Theory” paper in Developmental Psychology:

Although we have made progress in examining mother-child attachment, much work needs to be done with respect to studying attachment in the microsystem of family relationships (Bronfenbrenner, 1979). Despite studies by Belsky, Gilstrap, and Rovine (1984), Lamb (1978), and Parke and Tinsley (1987) that show fathers to be competent, if sometimes less than fully participant attachment figures, we still have much to learn regarding father attachment.

Formal studies of children in broken homes didn’t really start until the ’80s when there were children of divorce to study and a fierce need for relevant data. And the father and child arrangements that the data recommend look little like the modern arrangements formed under the inertia of legal precedent.

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VIDEO: Are Men Like a Bowl of Poisoned M&Ms?

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014 - by The Factual Feminist

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What Does It Take to Be the Cock o’ The Walk?

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Cartoon at Noon

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Untold War Stories: My Family’s Secret Agent

Monday, May 26th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

John Phillip Sousa on 33 1/3 blasts from the Hi-Fi — yes, you heard right, “Hi-Fi” —  conducted by my flag-waving Grandfather, proudly standing at attention at 8 o’clock in the morning in the doorway of his open garage, wondering why it took us so long to get there. We may have been at the shore, but Memorial Day was not about a barbecue on the beach.

My grandparents lived down the street from my Great Uncle and Aunt. My Grandfather idolized my Great Uncle (his brother), naming his only son after his brother who had spent World War II as a gunner on a Navy ship in the Pacific. Having broken his back before the war, my Grandfather wasn’t able to get into the military during the conflict. Instead, he busied himself crafting knives to send to his buddies overseas (yes, they censored letters, but allowed knives to be carried through V-Mail) with the instructions “leave them in the enemy’s guts and I’ll make you a new one when you get home.”

My grandfather also played a key role in the war effort, one that goes overlooked when we take the time to honor the troops on Memorial Day. Recruited by the FBI in 1940, my grandfather and his father played a key role in the creation of the Iowa Ordinance Plant, the largest shell and bomb loading facility in operation during the war.

In the autumn of 1940, when a fairly isolationist population still dismissed the idea of entering into Europe’s conflict, my grandfather was pulled out of his job as a tool and die maker by two fairly typical FBI mugs. They strapped secret plans for a military facility, designed by Day & Zimmermann, Co., to his body and handed him a train ticket and a gun with the instructions, “Don’t be afraid to use it.” At the age of 23, my grandfather was the perfect cover: “If anyone asks, you’re on your way out west to go to college.” His job was simple: Escort his father, recruited by the government for his skills as a tool and die maker, to San Francisco to convene with a number of highly skilled Americans engaged to prepare America for war.

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Is Discrimination Against Boys Ruining the Economy?

Friday, May 2nd, 2014 - by Helen Smith

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This is an important question, but the more important one is “does the current government care?” “Probably not,” I thought, as I read this recent article at the New York Times titled “A Link Between Fidgety boys and a Sputtering Economy?”:

By kindergarten, girls are substantially more attentive, better behaved, more sensitive, more persistent, more flexible and more independent than boys, according to a new paper from Third Way, a Washington research group. The gap grows over the course of elementary school and feeds into academic gaps between the sexes. By eighth grade, 48 percent of girls receive a mix of A’s and B’s or better. Only 31 percent of boys do….

By kindergarten, boys already fare much worse on social and behavioral measures than girls. The gender gap is even larger than the class gap and some racial gaps…

And in an economy that rewards knowledge, the academic struggles of boys turn into economic struggles. Men’s wages are stagnating. Men are much more likely to be idle — neither working, looking for work nor caring for family — than they once were and much more likely to be idle than women.

We reported last week that the United States had lost its once-enormous global lead in middle-class pay, based on international income surveys over the last three decades.

The traits that boys have in our current school system are seen as destructive and annoying. Our society does not reward “knowledge” as much as it rewards conformity and feminized traits. Teachers who don’t like the way boys act, particularly female teachers, give boys bad grades.

Add to this discrimination the current administration’s war against college men and you have a recipe for men bailing out of the system, going to the underground economy, or saying “to hell with it” and getting disability payments. Perhaps this is the plan of the current regime.

Boys and men are marginalized (unless they take up with the PC ruling class as many do), the politicians are made to look like they are helping girls and women who turn to them for ever more goods and services, and the economy not only sputters but starts to sink. People groan about the poor economy, not realizing that they are the ones contributing to it by their compliance, and the circle is complete. Will we break it before it is too late?

What do you think?
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Cross-posted from Dr. Helen’s blog

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Why Men Cannot Trust Feminist Academics Who Write on Men

Thursday, May 1st, 2014 - by Helen Smith

Too many evenings hanging with these guys kept us from seeing too many movies this year.

I read with interest (and quite frankly, disgust) an interview with Michael Kimmel, author of books such as Guyland and Angry White Men, over at Just Four Guys blog. It made me realize why men should not trust Uncle Tims like Kimmel. Here is a summary of where academics like Kimmel stand:

PROF. KIMMEL: The United States has never been more gender equal. We’ve never been more sexually equal. We’ve never been more racially equal. Sure, on each front, we have a long way to go for full equality. There is still lots of discrimination against women, LGBT people, and people of color. But we have never been more equal. And we will be more equal tomorrow than we are today. And I’m happy to report that we are not going to go forward into the past. Women are not going to have some V8 moment in which they say “Oh, yeah, this equality stuff sucks, I hate voting, and driving, and serving on juries, and having a job, and having my own bank account, and having orgasms.” Let’s go back the way it used to be on Mad Men.

So the question for men, in my view, is simple: we can be dragged kicking and screaming into that more equal future, or we can walk courageously into that future, knowing that our lives, as men, will, be better for it, that the more equal we are, the better our relationships with our friends, our wives and partners, our children will be. Gender equality is not a zero-sum game; it’s a win-win. I support gender equality not only because it’s right and fair and just and patriotically American – which it is – but because I also know it is in my interests to do so.

No, Kimmel, men have real issues right now that you have not addressed. Campuses accusing them unfairly of rape without due process, fathers being torn from kids due to abusive family courts, men forced to pay for children that are not their own, and boys growing up without male role models. You talk about how teens like Trayvon Martin etc. need help from the men’s rights movement. Bullshit. Men like Chris Mackney need and deserve our help. I will be there to help them, will you? Somehow, I doubt it.

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Cross-posted from Dr. Helen’s blog

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Should Dads Keep Their Sons Away from Oprah?

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014 - by Helen Smith

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Tucker Carlson doesn’t want his son watching Oprah:

Over the weekend, Fox News host Tucker Carlson shared a personal decision he made to protect his young son: No more Oprah Winfrey. During a discussion about a father who decided to “break up” with rap music for the sake of his baby girl, Carlson said he did the same with Winfrey for his son.

“I know the feeling,” Carlson said, commiserating with the man who was fed up with the “misogyny” of rap music. “When I had a son, I stopped watching Oprah because it was just too anti-male, and I felt like I didn’t want to bring him up in a home where Oprah was constantly attacking men.”

Good for you, Tucker. Women like Oprah tend to treat men as foreign beings who are accessories to women at best and outright predators and perverts at worst. On the other hand, it might help to explain to a boy the psychological dynamics of what these women are doing so that he can learn to protect himself as he gets older. Or you can give him a copy of my book…

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Cross-posted from Dr. Helen

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HBO Green Lights Men & Capitalism

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Warning: Not Safe for Work (profanity)

In his new HBO series Silicon Valley, Mike Judge turns his cutting sarcasm on the wunderkind of Silicon Valley, issuing awesome commentary on 21st century masculinity.

Thomas Middleditch portrays Richard Hendricks, a developer who creates a miracle algorithm with revolutionary file compression capabilities. He is the anti-Don Draper: a skinny, nervous twenty-something dressed in cargo pants and a hoodie; Hendricks is the lost member of the Big Bang Theory click. He lives with two other computer geeks in “the incubator,” a house owned by the overtly obnoxious yet humorous Erlich Bachmann (hysterically portrayed by T.J. Miller), whose app, Aviato, has turned him into one of the many tech venture capitalists in Palo Alto. 

Hendricks turns down a 10 million dollar offer from his tech guru boss Gavin Belson, owner of the fictional Google-ripoff “Hooli,” who is anxious to purchase the miracle algorithm. Instead, Hendricks elects to accept eccentric investor Peter Gregory’s offer of $200,000 for 5% of his start-up company, Pied Piper. It’s the best argument for capitalism and small business being made on television today. In electing to start his own business instead of running with the cash, Hendricks inspires his fellow nerds and is forced into maturity. Within the first three episodes he transitions from panic attacks to developing a business plan and entering his first series of negotiations.

With his 1999 hit Office Space, Judge issued a powerful statement about the death of masculinity in the corporate world. With Silicon Valley, his declaration is refined into a statement about how the free market can be used to empower men — primarily nerdy white guys and the Asians who hang with them. In the first episode, Hendricks declares:

Look guys, for thousands of years, guys like us have gotten the sh*t kicked out of us. But now, for the first time, we are living in an era where we can be in charge and build empires. We could be the Vikings of our day.

Judge also takes sharp jabs at the men who propagate corporate culture. Hooli’s Gavin Belson is a “global”-minded laughable yuppie with a Messiah complex who is “committed to social justice” and keeps a “guru” around to remind him how wonderful and unique he is. “If we can make your audio and video files smaller, we can make cancer smaller,” he proclaims as he races to compete with Pied Piper’s formidable nerds.

It will be interesting to see how women are treated within the show. In episode 3, Bachmann (who wears a shirt that reads “I know H.T.M.L.: How To Meet Ladies”) orders up an exotic dancer as a “gift” to reward the Pied Piper crew. The guys retreat to the kitchen, anxious to avoid an awkward scene. The one guy who she manages to trap declares his love for her, and is later found hanging out at the dancer’s home… playing video games with her children.

The series is peppered with Judge’s raunchy humor, but unlike Family Guy it is relatively sparse and works to advance instead of interrupt the story. The Big Bang Theory may have ushered in the era of the nerd, but Silicon Valley is taking America’s love affair with geeky guys and masculinity to a newer, deeper, and much-needed level of respect.

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How To End Sexual Harassment

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014 - by Megan Fox and Rhonda Robinson
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My name is Rhonda Robinson, and I lied.

It was for a good cause. You see, there was this really cool outfit, and I wanted it. A new fast-food joint was gearing up for opening day and looking to hire, so I applied for the job. The fact that I was only 13 wasn’t a problem for me, but I figured it wouldn’t look near as good on an application as 16 would.

After working only a few days, the manager called me into the office, my heart sunk. Certain that he’d figured it out, I braced myself for the worst and walked into the dusty back room. Cigarette smoke filled the room. Two men stood off to the side, one leaning on a wall of boxes, the other propping himself up with his foot on the seat of a chair. The boss sat behind the desk, leaning back and relaxed. Everyone seemed in a good mood.

“How old are you Ronnie?” He asked, right off the bat. Standing up just a little bit taller, I replied, “16.” The man leaned forward and held out a quarter. “Here” he said.  As I slowly took the quarter pinched between fingers, he said with a bit of a nod, “Call me when you’re 18.” The two on the side busted out in laughter as if they’d been holding their breath the entire time.

I turned and walked out the door a bit confused and very relieved. “Boy, that was close!” I thought as I went back to work–completely clueless as to what just took place.

That memory has surfaced only twice in my life, the first time was many years later, as an adult when I realized why that manager actually called me in. All of a sudden it all came together and I thought, “Oh, that dirty old man!” It never occurred to me at the time, that a man the age of my father would think of me or look at me in that way.

The second time was when I read, Penelope Trunk’s opinion piece, “Why You Shouldn’t Report Sexual Harassment.”

“Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s conduct with women have come to the forefront in the debate over sexual harassment. Of course, sexual harassment is ubiquitous. It is so prevalent on the job that girls can expect to encounter workplace harassment the first summer they work during high school. And it continues for a long time.”

As teachers and parents, most of us spend a lot of time making sure girls know what harassment looks like. What’s okay and what’s not okay when it comes to dealing with boys and men.”

Yeah. I get that. Girls do need to be taught to be on guard, especially stepping into the workplace and the world of men. First teachers and parents better start letting boys and girls know that they are different.

Is the line that hard to see? Or are individuals getting what we collectively asked for?

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The Bronies’ First Great Accomplishment

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

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The Fox Business story about Hasbro’s turn of fortunes uses gender-normative terminology that, after a tween stared down McDonald’s over its scandalous Happy Meals toys, is no longer politically correct.

Toymaker Hasbro Inc. on Monday said it swung to a profit from a year-ago loss, boosted by strong sales in its girls toys category. Hasbro reported a first-quarter profit of $32.1 billion, or 24 cents a share, versus a loss of $6.7 billion, or 5 cents a share, in the same period a year earlier. (emphasis added, offense unintended)

We can’t call them “girls toys” anymore, for two reasons. In the case of My Little Pony toys, even though they’re intended for girls age 8 and under, adult men are actually buying them and watching the TV show. I wish I was kidding, but I am not. Bronies are a thing, as Ronan Farrow helpfully reported in-depth for MSNBC not long ago.

The second reason that we cannot call girls toys girls toys is because of the courage and forward thinking of Antonia Ayres-Brown. The teen slatepitched McDonald’s out of using gender-normative terminology to describe the toys it puts in its Happy Meals.

In the fall of 2008, when I was 11 years old, I wrote to the CEO of McDonald’s and asked him to change the way his stores sold Happy Meals. I expressed my frustration that McDonald’s always asked if my family preferred a “girl toy” or a “boy toy” when we ordered a Happy Meal at the drive-through. My letter asked if it would be legal for McDonald’s “to ask at a job interview whether someone wanted a man’s job or a woman’s job?”

A few weeks later, I received a short response from a McDonald’s customer satisfaction representative claiming that McDonald’s doesn’t train their employees to ask whether Happy Meal customers want boys’ or girls’ toys, and my experiences were not the norm.

This response was unsatisfying, so I began visiting more than a dozen local McDonald’s locations with my father to collect data. Ultimately, we brought a complaint to the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities against McDonald’s for discriminating on the basis of sex. Despite our evidence showing that, in our test, McDonald’s employees described the toys in gendered terms more than 79 percent of the time, the commission dismissed our allegations as “absurd” and solely for the purposes of “titilation [sic] and sociological experimentation.” All in all, this was a pretty humiliating defeat.

She goes on, and on, and on, from there. Seriously. She and her parents whittled off years of their lives pushing McDonald’s into a position where it is not allowed to speak clearly about an obvious and harmless thing.

The ending of it all is that McDonald’s will now confuse the life out of anyone who asks for the boys toy or the girls toy, until they go away angry that they ever bothered to order the Happy Meal.

Next, one supposes that Ayres-Brown will demand that McDonald’s create Happy Meal toys for each of Facebook’s 50 gender options.

That could take a while.

*****

Cross-posted from the PJ Tatler

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Finding Mr. Righteous: A Single Christian Guy’s Perspective

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 - by Chris Queen

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I approached Lisa De Pasquale’s new book Finding Mr. Righteous with some trepidation. Ann Coulter referred to it as “a true Christian story disguised as racy chick lit.” The reader reviews on Amazon contained phrases like “gets to the inner workings of the mind of an insecure young woman” and “as [if]  she was writing about my loving and sexual past.” Our own David Swindle called it “a time bomb waiting to explode.” I thought, ohhhhhh boy. But when David personally recommended it to me, I figured it must be a good read.

Lisa didn’t disappoint. It seems a little weird to refer to her by her first name, since doing so goes against everything you learn about how you’re supposed to write, but after reading Finding Mr. Righteous and talking to her a little about it on Twitter, I feel like I’ve known her for a long time.

Finding Mr. Righteous jumps in to Lisa’s romantic and sexual life with gusto. She never pulls any punches when it comes to her experiences. Situations get steamy from time to time, but I never felt like I was on the verge of being offended. This is no creepy confessional or salacious tell-all — it’s a memoir of a mature woman telling it like it is, warts and all. More often than not, I’d finish a chapter thinking, so that’s what women think about men.

Lisa is a keen judge of human nature as well. She provides astute glimpses behind the facades of the men she’s dated. She offers plenty of fascinating observations like:

Chris was a cat person. But having one view wasn’t enough for him. He had to denigrate the opposing view. Chris’s cat versus dog views were like his views on religion. It wasn’t enough to just accept that some people are religious and some people are not. You had to be an atheist or true believer. And if you were a true believer, you were ignorant.

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Fear and Loathing in White Guy-ville

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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City folk have always looked on their country neighbors with superstition. According to John Podhoretz at the Weekly Standard, this suspicion has carried a clearly political bent since the days of W. His evidence: Scary white dudes, like Walter White (Breaking Bad) and Bill Henrickson (Big Love) from middle America invading your TVs.

“In Difficult Men, Brett Martin’s book about the remarkable writer-producers who brought television to new cultural heights, Martin notes that there was something explicitly political at work in the early days of what he calls television’s “Third Golden Age.” Americans “on the losing side” of the 2000 election, Martin writes, “were left groping to come to terms with the Beast lurking in their own body politic.” As it happened, “that side happened to track very closely with the viewerships of networks like AMC, FX, and HBO: coastal, liberal, educated, ‘blue state.’ And what the Third Golden Age brought them was a humanized red state. .  .  . This was the ascendant Right being presented to the disempowered Left—as if to reassure it that those in charge were still recognizably human.”

…It’s the depiction of the worlds in which they live that is so striking, even more so in the series that have come along since the body politic’s shift to the left, beginning in 2006. The canvas on which these characters are brought to three-dimensional life isn’t a “humanized red state” at all, but rather the red state of liberal horror fantasy.”

Podhoretz concludes: “Still, rich Hollywood folk making mincemeat out of poor rural folk is another element of the ongoing American culture war that should not go unremarked.”

Fair enough, although any critical studies grad could tell you that whitey from the sticks, especially them man-folks, have been derided for a long time among the educated liberal elites who fill television’s coveted writers’ rooms. Educated liberal elites, mind you, who are primarily white dudes.

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