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Will You Get Dumped Because of Your Gift?

Thursday, December 11th, 2014 - by Helen Smith

Apparently so, according to this article at Today.com:

One of this year’s hot Christmas sellers will almost certainly be the Samsung Galaxy S5. Forty-two percent of shoppers think stores will have shortages of the popular smartphone this Christmas, according to a survey released Wednesday by big data firm 1010data. But before you run out to buy one for your significant other, you’d better be sure it’s what she wants.

The nationwide survey also found that most Americans have gotten the cold shoulder, silent treatment, or worse from their significant others as a result of giving an unwanted holiday gift (even if it was because the ideal gift they wanted was unavailable or out of stock).
The Samsung Galaxy S5 will likely be one of the year’s top gifts. But before you buy it for your significant other, make sure it’s what he or she want…

The Samsung Galaxy S5 will likely be one of the year’s top gifts. But before you buy it for your significant other, make sure it’s what he or she wants.

Just over half of the 1,004 respondents said the recipient argued, cried, complained—or even ended the relationship—after getting the gift. The remaining 48 percent listed “other” open-ended negative responses, including: “demanded a refund,” “slight disappointment they try not to show outwardly,” and “took it back and exchanged it for what she wanted.”

…..Still, you may want to not wait any longer if you’re looking for a popular product. Or you may risk spending New Year’s alone.

Note the “horrible” ending to purchasing the wrong gift: YOU MAY RISK SPENDING NEW YEAR’S ALONE. Really? Wouldn’t it be better to be alone than stuck with the ingrate who would dump you or cry over a gift? Maybe gifts should be used as a weeding process: if your partner cries over the gift or argues with you about it, it’s time to move on; and if she dumps you, count your blessings and find someone who prizes you more than a Samsung Galaxy S5.

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The Key to a Woman’s Sexual Power

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Editor’s Note: See the first two parts in Susan L.M. Goldberg’s series exploring ABC’s Scandal through the lens of Biblical feminism: “What’s Evil Got to Do with It?,” ”Women and the Scandal of Doing It All Alone.” Also check out an introduction to her work and collection of 194 articles and blog posts here.

The husband/wife relationship is central to feminism. Historical, first-wave feminism studied matrimony in terms of legal rights. Contemporary, second-wave feminism approaches marriage in terms of sexual and economic power. Biblical feminism seeks to understand the spiritual relationship between a husband and wife, and how that spiritual relationship manifests into physical action. To do so, we must begin at the beginning, with Genesis 3:16:

To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

“Rule over you” is a phrase that sends chills down any feminist’s spine. But, what does it truly mean? A study of the original Hebrew text provides radical insight into one of the most abused verses of Torah:

This brings us to perhaps the most difficult verse in the Hebrew Bible for people concerned with human equality. Gen 3:16 seems to give men the right to dominate women. Feminists have grappled with this text in a variety of ways. One possibility is to recognize that the traditional translations have distorted its meaning and that it is best read against its social background of agrarian life. Instead of the familiar “I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing,” the verse should begin “I will greatly increase your work and your pregnancies.” The word for “work,” izavon, is the same word used in God’s statement to the man; the usual translation (“pangs” or “pain”) is far less accurate. In addition, the woman will experience more pregnancies; the Hebrew word is pregnancy, not childbearing, as the NRSV and other versions have it. Women, in other words, must have large families and also work hard, which is what the next clause also proclaims. The verse is a mandate for intense productive and reproductive roles for women; it sanctions what life meant for Israelite women.

In light of this, the notion of general male dominance in the second half of the verse is a distortion. More likely, the idea of male “rule” is related to the multiple pregnancies mentioned in the first half of the verse. Women might resist repeated pregnancies because of the dangers of death in childbirth, but because of their sexual passion (“desire,” 3:16) they accede to their husbands’ sexuality. Male rule in this verse is narrowly drawn, relating only to sexuality; male interpretive traditions have extended that idea by claiming that it means general male dominance.

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Should Geeky Men Pursue ‘Little Miss Real Life’ Or Click Over to ‘Jane Pornstar’?

Friday, November 21st, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Daily Question

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Yesterday Dr. Helen asked “Geeks on Strike?” in response to a reader emailing about the recent “Gamergate” and “Shirtgate” media controversies. She agreed with the writer who said, “Possibly it is that a substantial percentage of geeks (of which I’m a proud member), have gone on strike, resent these intrusions, and don’t have the social conditioning to make nice.”

Helen then excerpted from her excellent book Men On Strike, quoting from blogger Vox Day who put the question in striking terms:

I probably have a unique perspective on it due to my connections to the young guys in the gaming industry. It’s bizarre how some of them are in their twenties, have graduated from good schools, and have simply zero interest in women. They just have literally nothing in common with them and no interest in them.

The “strike” theory is generally correct, I think. The problem is that games and porn are entertaining, inexpensive, easily accessible, and reliable. Women can be entertaining, but they’re expensive, inaccessible for most men, and from the male perspective, shockingly unreliable. I would say that porn has raised the bar somewhat—it’s bound to be seriously annoying when Little Miss Real Life won’t give head when Jane Pornstar is twice as hot and is cheerfully performing all sorts of acrobatic stunts. And if you think about it, is a real woman who is average and only wants to have missionary-style sex once a week, minus a week for her period, actually any better than a wide variety of gorgeous porn stars catering to every bizarre fetish the Japanese can imagine and available on demand? It’s not quite so clear once you put it in those terms. The biggest communication problem is that most women see “relationship” as a positive thing. Most men see it as an ambiguous thing.

Read the rest of Helen’s post at her blog here to get her take. What do you think? Should all men be encouraged to pursue marriage? Do women need to change to adapt to “Jane Pornstar”? Do men need to adjust their bedroom expectations?

*****

image illustration via shutterstock / 

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Women and the Scandal of Doing It All Alone

Sunday, November 16th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Editor’s Note: See Part 1 of Susan’s ongoing series analyzing the connections between ABC’s Scandal, current events, and Western values: “What’s Evil Got to Do with It?

Women are fixers. It should come as no surprise to anyone with an understanding of the sexes that the leading female figure on primetime television is none other than a fixer named Olivia Pope. Fifty years ago women primarily played the role of mother on screen and, in doing so, they fixed things and life was pretty darn perfect. But perfect doesn’t fly on network television any longer. Today it’s all about drama, and drama is conflict. So, we get Olivia Pope: beautiful, intelligent, who fantasizes about marrying an already married man, having his children and fixing a nice little life in the Vermont countryside for them, but is too embroiled in fixing her own life and the lives of those she loves to ever quite reach her American nirvana.

Like Israel’s matriarchs, Olivia Pope has a vision of justice, of order, of the way things should be. The wearer of the “white hat,” she wrestles between good and evil in her many attempts to manifest this divine sense that has been humanized as her “gut” instinct. Watch her and you’ll see the woman in white when she pursues truth, the woman in black when she has given over to evil, and the woman in gray when she questions everything she knows. Being a fixer is a woman’s inherent power and inevitable struggle. It isn’t that we want to “do it all” because doing it isn’t as hard as taking responsibility for it, for the lives under our care. Olivia Pope cares for everyone, wants to save everyone, wants to repair everyone and make everything all better. Her struggle, like that of the matriarchs, is in placing the sole burden of responsibility on her own shoulders. But, the greatest lesson of God-given responsibility is that you are not expected to carry it all alone.

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Taylor Swift as the Psycho Girlfriend in Her New Video

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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I think we’ve finally solved the mystery of why Taylor Swift has trouble staying in a relationship. In her new video, “Blank Space,” the usually sweet country star transformed into a nightmare of a psycho girlfriend, trashing her boyfriend’s car, slashing his picture with a knife, and shredding his clothes with scissors — all for (apparently) the crime of spending too much time on his cell phone.

If you listen to Taylor Swift for very long, you’ll notice that in approximately 78.5% of her songs (the “science” is not settled on this) poor Taylor ends up in the middle of the street at 2 a.m. crying over some guy. (I’ve said for years that if she would just go to bed at a reasonable time she could avoid this problem.) All this time we’ve thought if Taylor could just quit chasing after these ne’er-do-well guys, she could find someone nice to settle down with.

After watching “Blank Space,” the second single from Taylor Swifts’s album 1989, I’m now wondering if this freaky, axe-wielding Taylor might actually be the problem.  The liner notes about the song say “there once was a girl known by everyone and no one.”

Is it autobiographical?

I suppose only Taylor’s ex-boyfriends know for sure.

But one thing we do know for sure: Taylor looks spectacular in this video and her gowns are breathtaking.

Watch “Blank Space”on the next page:

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The Feminist Lesson in Mom’s Night Out

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Twenty-four percent of married couple families with children under 15 have a stay-at-home mom. Ninety-nine percent of stay-at-home moms in the movies get a really bad rap. Search “Best Movie Moms” and you’ll get lists that include Shirley MacLaine in Terms of Endearment, Sigourney Weaver in Aliens, Shelly Duvall in The Shining, and more than a few mentions of Psycho. The majority of movie mothers are either widowed or divorced, careerists or working class, alcoholics or impregnated by UFOs. The closest you’ll get to a stay-at-home mom in post-1940s cinema is Kathleen Turner playing the psychotic Serial Mom or Michael Keaton taking on the role so his wife can pursue her career in Mr. Mom.

In fact, outside of Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side there hasn’t been a truly admirable middle-class, white, stay-at-home mother on the silver screen in over 50 years. Which is probably why Mom’s Night Out received such a negative critical reception when it premiered last spring. We have been acculturated out of believing in the power and purpose of stay-at-home moms. Yet, the criticisms leveled at Mom’s Night Out for its “depressingly regressive” spirit and “archaic notions of gender roles” were not applied to a similar film about a stay-at-home mom released only two years prior. This Is 40 received mixed reviews, but praise for yielding “…some of [Judd] Apatow’s most personal observations yet on the feelings for husbands, wives, parents, and children that we categorize as love.”

So, what made This Is 40 palatable in a way that Mom’s Night Out wasn’t? Is there, perhaps, a culturally acceptable way to be a stay-at-home mom?

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What 2 Retired Whores Can Teach Slut-Walk Feminists

Monday, October 20th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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A story about two old Jewish ladies is making the rounds in the Jewish press, but not for the reasons you may think. Sure, they’re bubbes. They’re children of a Holocaust survivor to boot. But the real reason they’re attracting so much attention is that they happen to be retired professional whores.

Dutch twins Louise and Martine Fokkens (probably not their real last name, since “Fokken” is a Dutch term for “old whore”) have become international celebrities since the 2011 release of their biographical documentary Meet the Fokkens. Women’s magazines like Cosmo picked up on their story shortly after the film’s release, publishing quick little details like:

Louise and Martine (mothers of four and three respectively) became prostitutes before the age of 20 in order to escape violent relationships.

It’s an interpretation that, at best, qualifies as a half-truth. Louise was forced into the sex trade by an abusive husband. Martine, however, became a prostitute out of spite:

Martine followed her sister into the trade, working first as a cleaning lady at brothels before she began turning tricks herself. “I was angry at how everybody around us shunned Louise,” Martine said. “I did it out of spite, really.”

Both women eventually divorced their husbands, whom they now describe as “a couple of pimps.” But they continued working in the district “because that had become our lives,” Louise said.

“Our life in the business became a source of pride, a sport of sorts,” Louise added.

In retrospect, both women say they regret becoming prostitutes.

Reading their story, one can’t help but wonder if mainstream feminist advocates for slut walks and “Yes Means Yes” legislation would condemn the pair for regretting the life they chose. After all, their body, their choice, right? They took control of their bad marriages, divorced the husbands they referred to as “pimps” and chose, fully of their own volition, to remain in the sex trade after their exes were fully out of the picture. Martine and Louise, it would seem, are the originators of the Slut Walk.

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Ross Douthat Loves Lena Dunham for All the Wrong Reasons

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Conservative columnist Ross Douthat has declared his love for Lena Dunham. It hardly comes as a surprise that a New York Times writer, even one who dwells to the right of the aisle, would find the Girls prodigy appealing. What makes Douthat’s devotion disturbing is that he has managed to transform a goddess chained to a slew of liberal causes into a sacrificial lamb for conservative culture. In his struggle to do so, his misses the mark in what could have been one of the most culturally relevant critiques of Girls to date.

The critic defends Dunham’s showpiece Girls, writing,

She’s making a show for liberals that, merely by being realistic, sharp-edge, complicated, almost gives cultural conservatism its due. 

It’s a seemingly ironic observation, based in the idea that Girls “often portrays young-liberal-urbanite life the way, well, many reactionaries see it…” That is, a subculture on the verge of self-destruction due to excessive amounts of what sociologist Robert Bellah dubbed, “the view that the key to the good life lies almost exclusively in self-discovery, self-actualization, the cultivation of the unique and holy You.”

In other words, as Gawker so simply put it:

He likes watching the show because it allows him to feel superior to Dunham and her fellow sluts.

By employing a rote, traditionalist perspective, Douthat argued himself into a hole, turning his love into judgement and burying his point in poorly-worded theory and equally bad theology.

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Women: Are These Really Honest Thoughts You Might Have on a First Date?

Monday, October 6th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Daily Question

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The Joy of Matchmaking

Monday, October 6th, 2014 - by Helen Smith

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I don’t generally read fiction, I prefer non-fiction. However, Glenn received a book from Instapundit reader Suri Rosen who wrote a gem of a book called Playing With Matches that I couldn’t resist reading last night while everyone else in the country was watching football.

I worked as a matchmaker at a dating service for a while in graduate school and it was really a skill to figure out what people actually wanted and liked in a potential mate. Rosen’s book tells the story of a 16- year- old girl who has these skills in a close knit Jewish community where she anonymously matches up desperate singles from twenty to seventy and older. From the description:

When 16-year-old Raina Resnick is expelled from her Manhattan private school, she’s sent to live with her strict aunt — but Raina feels like she’s persona non grata no matter where she goes. Her sister, Leah, blames her for her broken engagement, and she’s a social pariah at her new school. In the tight-knit Jewish community, Raina finds she is good at one thing: matchmaking! As the anonymous “MatchMaven,” Raina sets up hopeless singles desperate to find the One. A cross between Jane Austen’s Emma, Dear Abby, and Yenta the matchmaker, Raina’s double life soon has her barely staying awake in class. Can she find the perfect match for her sister and get back on her good side, or will her tanking grades mean a second expulsion? In her debut novel, Suri Rosen creates a comic and heartwarming story of one girl trying to find happiness for others, and redemption for herself.

I found the idea of a matchmaker who acts as a coach to nervous singles kind of interesting. Nowadays with Match.com or other online dating services, no one gets much good advice in an old fashion way about how to deal realistically with another person. Dating and relationships have lost a lot of the human touch that this book brings to life. It’s a fun book and was a nice change from the political and financial books I generally read.

****

Cross-posted from Dr. Helen

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The Battle Against Israel’s Orthodox Patriarchy

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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I didn’t fully appreciate how spiritually free I am as an American woman until I set foot on an El Al plane.

“Do you speak Hebrew?” the fretting woman in front of me asked.

“No, not really.”

“It’s okay, I speak English,” she hurriedly replied, obviously looking for a friendly face. “These Orthodox,” she motioned to the people sitting next to her, “they don’t like sitting next to women.”

“Well, that’s their problem.” My response was pointed, matter-of-fact, American.

She smiled as if a light bulb went off in her head. “You’re right!” Her expression grew cloudy. “But what if I take off my sweater? They won’t like that I expose my shoulders with my tank top.”

Again, I simply replied, “That’s their problem.”

She smiled, empowered. Removing her sweater, she took her seat and stood her ground.

And at that moment I thanked God I was raised in pluralistic America, and realized, oddly enough, that the Holy Land was giving me my first chance to practice the biblical feminism I’ve preached.

Israel is a Western nation in that women have equal rights by law. Israel is also a confluence of religious and ethnic cultural attitudes, not all of which are friendly to women. Two days into our trip to Jerusalem, a family member who also happens to be a retired journalist explained the latest story to hit the nightly news. A man accused of spousal abuse was released to return home. Later that evening, police found his wife had been shot dead. The husband confessed to the murder. Apparently, domestic violence and death is a relatively small but significant problem in Israel. When I asked my former journalist why, he pointed to the influence of Middle Eastern (both Arabic and radical Islamic) patriarchal culture as the primary source.

Yet, even religious Jews in Israel (and around the world), despite their insular nature, are far from immune to sexual abuse. Sex scandals among the Haredim (ultra-Orthodox) show up frequently on the evening news. In this case it’s not the Arab/Muslim influence, but perverted behaviors that arise from rabbinic abuse of biblical teachings. How do you expect a man to relate to a woman sexually when he’s not even allowed to look her in the eye?

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15 Songs Millennials Must Listen to in Order to Understand the 1980s

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

You’ve seen Thriller and heard all about Madonna, but what do you really know about the decade that ushered in the millennial generation? Think the era of scrunchies, boom boxes, pump sneakers and DeLoreans was just a fad? Think again. Some of the 1990s’ greatest pop culture trends were birthed in the millieu of Reaganomics, cable television, and a music video-loaded MTV.

15. Culture Club – “Karma Chameleon”

The ’80s was the decade of John Waters, the B-52s and all things camp coming to fruition. Decked out in eyeliner, lipstick and braids, Boy George popularized the aesthetic of this gay subculture with a poppy little tune about conflicted relationships. As for the music video, where better to set a gay guy’s love song in the ’80s than an 1870s riverboat called the “Chameleon” where a cheating gambler’s karma comes back to haunt him? Dude, it’s the ’80s: “Don’t ask, don’t tell” started here.

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What Is Your Take on Singles Now Outnumbering the Married?

Monday, September 15th, 2014 - by Helen Smith

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The New York Post had this recent article on the state of marriage in America (via Newsalert):

Unmarried American adults outnumber their married counterparts for the first time since the federal government began tracking that data in 1976, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There were 124.6 million single Americans in August — accounting for 50.2 percent of the 16-and-over US population, the BLS data showed.

Eric Klinenberg, an NYU sociology professor who tracks marriage trends, predicts the unmarrieds will probably be edging their married peers by this small margin for the foreseeable future….

But while the numbers might look stark, Americans are still getting together — they’re just not racing down the aisle.

“Just because people are not getting married doesn’t mean they’re not partnering and cohabitating,” said Karen Guzzo, a sociology professor at Bowling Green State University.

How much of the decrease in marriage rates is because men are on strike? How much of it is for other reasons? Whatever the reason for singles taking over in the U.S., it is important that the laws reflect equality in partnerships between men and women; or better yet, the law should stay out of personal relationships as much as is humanly possible.

However, I doubt that will happen, so men must be ever vigilant that they do not end up being responsible in traditional ways for women while the women pretend to be “empowered” as the society changes to one of a nation of singles  Given the lack of due process, the tendency to blame men for relationship problems, and unequal treatment in domestic relations, men might be better off not living too long with any one woman. This is bad for society and families, but might be a better solution for individual men.

*****

Cross-posted from Dr. Helen

image illustration via shutterstock /  Thomas Reichhart

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13 Reasons to Fall in Love with Lana Del Rey

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

13. She has discovered a close kinship with George Costanza.

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Sure, she may come off all serious in her videos, but Lana Del Rey has a seriously good sense of humor. According to Rolling Stone, Lana Del Rey ”has a George Costanza-like plan for the future.”

“I’m really specific about why I’m doing something or writing something,” she says. “But it always kind of gets translated in the opposite fashion. I haven’t done it yet, but I’ve learned that everything I’m going to do is going to have the opposite reaction of what I meant. So I should do the opposite if I want a good reaction.” She’s surprised to learn that George tried this approach in an episode of Seinfeld. “Oh really? That’s awesome. Me and George Costanza! Oh my God!”

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10 Reasons Why I Will Forever Love Joan Rivers

Thursday, September 4th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

I pushed off the idea of writing this article when I first heard that Joan Rivers, one of my comic icons, was rushed to the hospital after a botched outpatient procedure last week. I didn’t want to think about having to say goodbye to Joan, to bid farewell to yet another icon of an age gone by, a powerhouse who managed to be a cultural force until her last breath. The only solace we can muster is in knowing that, for these ten reasons at least, Joan’s memory will be a blessing.

10. Joan never grew old or gave up.

At 81, she was as attuned to pop culture, politics, and current events as a 20 year old. A self-made fashionista, the comedian never retired, sat in a chair, or gave in to technology. Joan will forever be a role model to women who refuse to trade style for a shapeless moo-moo and an office chair for a rocking chair. In her later years she paired up with Melissa, illustrating that mothers and daughters really can work together and get along. She was a modern Bubbe, surrounded by her children and grandchildren as she took the world by storm.

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15 Tricks and Tips for Getting the Most Out of College

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

15. Everything you know about the social stratosphere is wrong…

College is nothing like high school. You understand this in theory, but have never experienced the kind of social freedom you will in college. There are no cliques. There is no lunch table. Welcome to the world of being an adult. For the first couple of weeks you’ll attend pre-arranged mixers, usually orientation events or annoying team-building activities your RA spent all summer training to lead. These awkward moments are helpful for one reason: Discovering who has a car. As a freshman, be aware that the parties you crash at frat houses aren’t for making friends, they’re for getting drunk and hooking up. You’ve been warned.

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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.

*******

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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The 10 Most Important Life Lessons I Learned from Mork from Ork

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

As a Gen-X/millennial crossover, I was fortunate enough to first meet Robin Williams as Mork from Ork on the sitcom Mork and Mindy. A comedic powerhouse, Mork’s colorful wardrobe and loud laugh were the first things I imitated as a child. As I grew up, I would look back and realize the many character lessons I learned at home were reinforced by a supremely acted alien outsider with a predilection for sitting on his head. In virtually every role he played, Robin Williams taught his audience a life lesson. As a young kid there was no one more fun to hang around with and learn from on TV than Mork from Ork.

10. Old people rule.

Mork marvels at the way the elderly are ignored and maligned on earth. On Ork, old folks are revered as the wise, experienced ones to learn from. “The Elder” is called on to remind Mork of his Orkishness. His was an early lesson in the importance of respect and reverence for the elders in your life and how very important all people are, no matter and, perhaps, especially because of their age.

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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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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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5 Ways to Avoid Dating Jerks

Sunday, July 20th, 2014 - by Hannah Sternberg
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I’ve heard it plenty of times before: friends tell me all men are jerks and they just can’t seem to find and keep a good guy. Maybe part of it is fate, but a much bigger part is your picker — your internal sense of who’s a suitable companion for you. If more of my friends (and anyone else out there who bemoans the infestation of jerks in their dating lives) followed these simple rules right at the start of a relationship — in the choosing phase — they’d discover that the problem isn’t that all men are a**holes, but simply that too many of us choose to date someone who’s wrong for us for too long, making ourselves unavailable when the right guy comes along, and building resentment and bad feelings toward each other along the way. These rules go both ways — any man can (and should) follow them if he feels he often dates women who don’t behave well toward him. Since most appeals for advice on this subject that I’ve received have come from straight women, I’ve assigned gender pronouns accordingly — but the ideas are universally applicable. Check out these five mind-bogglingly simple steps to avoid your next dating disaster.

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10 Barriers to Healthy Relationships Explored in Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Don Jon

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014 - by Walter Hudson

Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial style in his debut Don Jon proves a bit jarring. But that fits the blunt, vulgar character he plays in the lead. You have to endure Don Jon to see it for what it is. It tramps deliberately through cliché expectations before finally defying them. Along the way, it explores 10 barriers to healthy relationships encountered in real life.

10. Overvaluing Appearance

As Don Jon begins, Gordon-Levitt’s title character establishes himself as a porn-addicted philandering bachelor whose tastes prove highly superficial. He spends a lot of time at the gym maintaining his physique, and takes great pride in the appearance of his “pad.” Of course, there’s nothing wrong with nutrition, exercise, and cleanliness. It’s Jon’s motivation which deserves scrutiny.

On the prowl with his pack of like-minded friends, Jon rates women at the club on a scale of 1 to 10, basing his assessment solely on physical attributes. Upon meeting his match in the stunning Barbara (Scarlett Johansson), Jon rates her a perfect 10. It’s her sultry appearance that drives Jon to pursue her, and blinds him to the uglier aspects of her personality.

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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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