Posts Tagged ‘men’

I won’t be taking part in #youngmumschat this evening on twitter which starts very soon! You can follow the hashtag and take part in discussion here:

https://twitter.com/search?q=%23youngmumschat&src=hash

This week the topic is ‘labels’ which I think is an excellent subject to talk about. Well, I would wouldn’t I? Since a lot of my preoccupations relate to language, and how we use words in ways that sometimes encourage and exaggerate negative perceptions of certain groups and individuals.

Young parents are a group who get more bad ‘labels’ thrown at them than many. @Prymface, the coordinator of #youngmumschat has taken one of those nasty names  -pramface, and rather cleverly turned it to her own advantage, and into her own style. Prymface has also pointed out that the very terms ‘teen mom’ or ‘teenage mums’, though maybe not intended to be put-downs, often get used in sensationalist media stories, and all the world’s problems can be loaded at the feet of this stigmatised group. ‘Teen mums a burden on the benefits system!’ ‘Teen mums leave school before getting any qualifications’! ‘Teen mums give up their babies for adoption!’ ‘Teen mums come from broken homes!” etc etc.

Whereas prymface and her colleagues/fellow young mums are trying to show that actually, many young women(and men) make considered decisions about having kids, just like everyone else. And they find ways to balance work, education and home life, just like everyone else.

There are other more generic labels for ‘loose women’ thrown at young mums such as ‘whore’, ‘slut’, ‘slapper’ etc. The suggestion being that they got pregnant due to promiscuity, which is no more likely to be the case than with any other pregnancy.

But you won’t be surprised to hear that once again, in relation to #youngmumschat I want to bring up young dads, and the worst label I know given to them. ‘Deadbeat Dad’ REALLY annoys me for a few reasons. One is very personal, and that is that my parents broke up when I was five, and although my Dad didn’t have (or ask for) full time custody of me, he made sure he saw me very frequently and regularly, he ALWAYS paid child support to my Mum, and has been a brilliant father right up to and during my adult life. So the implication that comes with ‘deadbeat dad’, that men who don’t stay with the mothers of their kids tend to be feckless, lazy, uncaring (see image above) is hurtful to me. But also, on a wider societal level, I think the term ‘deadbeat dad’ is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If men, especially young men, have a reputation for not being good fathers, they are more likely to live up to that reputation, than to fight to combat both the stigma of the ‘deadbeat dad’ label, and other barriers to being active fathers from the start, such as the lack of paternity leave, the bias of the law towards mothers’ rights, and social expectations that children’s main carers are mums.

SO I am keen to hear a lot more about labels given unfairly to young mums, and how young mums feel about them, but I’d like to hear something of labels that young dads are given too, and how they feel about them as well.

I hope everyone has a great #youngmumschat it really is one of my favourite twitter hashtags!

What is life like for 21st century teenage boys and young men? If gender roles are changing, is the change being led by young people? Are we seeing glimpses of the men (and women) of the future, via the teenagers of today?

Are you a teenage boy or a young man? What issues are most important to you growing up? How is your life affected by technology, rules, music, sex, religion, bullying?

Are you a parent of a teenage boy or do you work with young people? How do you negotiate the pressures of the modern world in bringing up/supporting teenage boys/young men? What do you worry about /look forward to about their futures?

Please email your article as a Word document to Quiet Riot Girl (aka Elly) ellytams@gmail.com by May 12th. Submissions may be between 250-1000 words. Please be sure to include your name and email address on your document.

If you have an idea and want to chat about it contact QRG/Elly (who is also on Twitter: @Notorious_QRG

http://goodmenproject.com/the-good-men-project-content-calendar/teenage-kicks-55/

According to Dr Petra Boynton, academic and ‘sexologist’, a recent study about the elusive g-spot (in women) is rubbish. This rubbish research has been reported in the media as truth. So she has critiqued the media reporting, based on her own knowledge of sex research and how it gets communicated to the public.

So far so ok. But I actually found her, and other ‘experts” acounts of this ‘g-spot’ story to be a) lacking at a factual and contextual level, and b) politically-motivated from a feminist perspective (and these two issues are linked as I will demonstrate). But because they are the ‘sceptics’ casting a beady eye on dodgy research and dodgy journalism, nobody challenges them! In her blogpost about the story Petra wrote:

‘Any journalist worth their salt should always ask questions about a study they are reporting on’.

Well here and at Graunwatch I am very diligent about asking questions! So here are a few questions for Dr Petra.

1) Why the arrogant feminist undercurrent?
Petra Boynton works in the ‘sex positive’ feminist arena of sex research. Her work is informed by and contributes to ‘feminist discourse’. Her critique of this g-spot study claims that it has ‘appropriated’ feminism for its own (what? Patriarchal?) ends. She writes:

‘Thirdly, appropriating a supposed feminist discourse the paper claims ‘The absence of the identification of the G-spot as an anatomic structure created considerable controversies and a biased interpretation of the scientific results worldwide, leading to a monolithic clitoral model of female sexual response. However, women have held the unwavering position that there are distict (sic) areas in the anterior vagina which are responsible for a sensation of great sexual pleasure’

We have been here before with researchers claiming there is a giant global Clitoral Conspiracy denying women information about vaginal pleasure and prioritizing the clit. In that research as with this one no empirical evidence is given to substantiate these claims. Which do not appear to fit with the mainstream media’s general obsession with vaginas. And most reputable sex educators and therapists who focus on people exploring what brings them pleasure rather than telling them what to enjoy. It remains the case that clitoral pleasure is vital to many women’s sexual experience – and it is disingenuous of practitioners to claim otherwise.’

Her fellow sexologist, AboutSexuality also picks up on this ‘faux feminism’ in the paper. He writes:

‘There’s nothing wrong with the slow and steady development of a body of knowledge. And in and of itself I’d like to say there’s nothing wrong with this paper. Only then I read the discussion. In it the author offers a framing for the “controversy” surrounding the g-spot. Have a read:

“The absence of the identification of the G-spot as an anatomic structure created considerable controversies and a biased interpretation of the scientific results worldwide, leading to a monolithic clitoral model of female sexual response. However, women have held the unwavering position that there are distinct areas in the anterior vagina which are responsible for a sensation of great sexual pleasure. “

So first, in case you missed it, what he’s describing, among other things, is the impact of the women’s movement on public discourse and personal experience of sexuality. When he says it it sounds a bit different. If I read this correctly his understanding of what’s happened is men and the media have been pushing some “monolithic clitoral model” while women have all along said that vaginal penetration is where it’s at.

It’s a great story. But it deserves a great big “What?!?” What monolithic clitoral model? Which unwavering women? I know that surgeons think they can do everything (and when they are operating on me I guess I’m grateful for their hubris), but maybe they should leave political, cultural, and historical analysis to folks with some context.

Again, there’s no reason this guy can’t cut up a body and make a case, but along with a handful of other white male researchers, it’s the undercurrent of aggression in the writing that gives me pause.’

So both experts here seem to be saying that surgeons should keep their scalpels out of politics and feminism and just do their jobs! This ignores the large, respected body of research in the History of Science discipline. Politics and culture cannot and should not be separated from scientific enquiry. In fact, I get the distinct impression that Boynton and co. are not so much annoyed that this study has a political agenda, but rather that it has the wrong one.

They are very quick to dismiss the idea that feminism may have led to an obsession with women’s orgasm via the clitoris, but they, lovers of evidence that they are, do not produce any evidence that this is not so. There is an assumption that ‘feminism is good’ and ‘sex-positive feminism is best’.  And AboutSexuality in particular is saying that this study is sexist against women because it, and most science, is run by ‘white men’. I am not so sure.

2) Whatabouttehmenz?
The study in question focuses on women (those women who have vaginas). Boynton is critical of the study’s interest in the vagina over the clitoris. But she does not acknowledge that there is also a large amount of dodgy sex science that focuses on men, and makes ridiculous claims about their (and their penises’) sexual responses. Petra justifies her bias towards women by saying:

‘Another approach might be to consider how this scenario would look if it were penises under the microscope. While there are undoubtedly distressing issues facing men around penis size and stamina the stereotype for men is they all experience pleasure from their dicks. If you talk to men you discover some get intense pleasure from testicle stimulation and are unable to orgasm without this. Some hate their balls touched. Some get a lot of pleasure if attention is paid to the shaft of the penis. Some find direct stimulation to the glans uncomfortable. Others experience more pleasure from anal stimulation.

Yet we do not suggest because men can and do experience pleasure from different areas in their genitals that there are specific spots that guarantee male orgasm or that men are somehow deficient if they do not experience say, a left testicle orgasm. We don’t scan, survey, or perform autopsies on penises to establish the most sensitive parts. Nor do we have self help books, courses or sex toys designed to coach men into experiencing orgasm through stimulation to specific areas of their genitals.

Indeed suggesting this usually results in people laughing. Why would we do this? But we do seem to feel the need to continue to make women’s bodies and sexual responses seem complex and difficult. Actually that’s not quite true. One journal and the media appear preoccupied with this. Most people are not that bothered and certainly most sex researchers are not.’

But once again she does not produce any evidence of sex advice/sex research about men to back up her points (except for one post by her, about penis size). We have to take her word for it.

I have recently been doing some research into Men’s Health Magazine, the most popular men’s magazine. It has a whole section entitled Your Penis. Now I have not read enough to know if it also gives information and advice about ‘Your Balls’ or ‘Your erogenous zones’ but I expect Petra has not even glanced at the site or the magazine at all. And as we know, feminism tends to ignore and/or demonise men. This critique is just another example of that in my view.

One person who has written a lot about men, sex, and sex research is [redacted]. Petra Boynton has told me that she first encountered [redacted] work ‘years ago’. But has she actually read it? He has told us a number of times how men are hooked up to penis ‘plesmographs’ to test their sexual response, and, often to find out if they are  gay, straight or lying. I recently heard a story about men asylum seekers fleeing homophobic regimes, being tested with these ‘peter meters’ to check they are ‘really gay’ and not lying about their orientation just to move country for the hell of it.

If I bring up how they ignore men’s experiences in their work, feminists often say to me ‘that’s different. You are complaining we are missing out something irrelevant to this particular issue. And if we talk about penguins one day, it doesn’t mean we can’t talk about otters another’. Well I think [redacted]s work on sex research into men IS relevant. And I don’t see Boynton et al actually talking about men’s experiences in any detail very often anyway. So there is a bit of contradiction here. Is it ‘sexist’ to focus on women, or is it ‘sexist’ to ignore men? And sexist against whom?

Boynton says ‘We don’t scan, survey, or perform autopsies on penises to establish the most sensitive parts.’ I don’t know if that is true. But even if it is, the fact that scientists DO ‘scan, survey and (probably) perform autopsies on penises’ for other reasons is worth noting.

3) whatabouttehasexualz?
This critique by Boynton and chums is very much written from a ‘sex positive’ point of view. It assumes we all (well women anyway) have sex, and want to gain pleasure from it. I have been looking into the growing phenomenon/identity of asexuality recently. And I have been finding that many people don’t, and/or can’t gain pleasure from sexual stimulation. I myself am currently ‘celibate’ by choice, so my interest in the ‘g-spot’ is minimal. (I suppose  I do self-pleasure but I think I know how to do that by now. I don’t really care what the science is!)

Boynton and colleagues also seem to assume that information about sex is good. But I know a number of people who do not believe sex education to be virtuous, whether it be from a religious or other perspective. My hero Foucault himself, questioned the inherent value of all this ‘discourse’ around sex and sexuality. He said it may have the potential to be oppressive. I agree.

4) Misandry Much?
Coming from a feminist position, and ignoring men’s experiences is one thing. But I found AboutSexuality ‘s piece on this g-spot study in particular, to veer into misandry. He wrote:

‘It reminds me a lot of those men’s groups that claim to be fighting for father’s rights when they really seem to be about eliminating mother’s rights. Some of those father’s are being discriminated against, for sure. And there may very well be an anatomical structure that can be called a g-spot. Why not. But it doesn’t have to be one or the other. Lots of fathers are actually trying to screw their exes out of spite. And even if there is some sac of purplish tissue on the superior surface of the dorsal perineal membrane, that doesn’t actually say much of anything about sexual pleasure (which is what ultimately this article and most of the others make claims about.’

This is incredibly emotive stuff, and I am not sure what father’s rights have to do with the g-spot anyway! He provides no evidence of fathers ‘trying to screw their exes’ it is merely his personal opinion. And Boynton does not pick up on this at all. She hails AboutSexuality ‘s critique as a good one. He is saying that this sex research is sexist against women, like many men are! Hmmm.

5) What No Comments?
Petra Boynton does not allow comments on her blog. She is very enthusiastic about people ‘sharing’ research and thoughts on twitter, but there is no way of responding to her blogposts, except, as I am doing, by blogging ourselves. This makes for a very one-sided conversation. And it feels very much as if she is our ‘teacher’ and we are her loyal pupils.

This particular pupil is currently on the naughty step. Petra blocks me on twitter and has told me not to email her again (with information and opinion that I am unable to post in the comments on her blog).  I find her approach dictatorial and critiquing the critic does not go down well!

6) Why so selective?
Boynton has chosen this particular study and its media coverage to critique. We all have to choose our battles. But she rarely blogs these days, and she is very selective about what she gives attention to. I have found she is very pally with some ‘sex researchers’ who I find particularly unethical. But they pass the Petra Boynton test and their dodgy work goes unchallenged.

I found it interesting she picked up on some ‘politicking’ from the author of the study. She tells us:

‘I think I would feel less anxious making these criticisms if I had not read Improbable Research’s blog. They have been investigating Dr Ostrzenski and in particular I would draw your attention to him bringing a lawsuit against a peer reviewer he disagreed with. This is sobering stuff.’

Well yes. But politicking in the realm of sex research is par for the course. If you google ‘Simon Le Vay’ or ‘Michael Bailey’ you will see what I mean. And look at my case where I was ‘outed’ online by people who do not like my critique of their sexual politics. They have threatened ‘legal action’ against me. And I think Petra used my current ‘shaming’ as an excuse for blocking me and silencing my critiques of her work. That worked then!

[redacted]  has pointed out how men’s in particular voices are just erased from a lot of research and media coverage of the body and the ‘self’. His work is an amazing illumination of men, sex, identity, ‘self-love’. But he too is ignored by the feminist ‘sexology’ elite.

I said on twitter last night that I am a ‘META SCEPTIC’. I am fine with people criticising the media and science. I do it myself. But those people are not beyond critique themselves.

I had the beginnings of a twitter argument last night, on a subject that is dear to my heart: Objectification.

@BigdaddyKeltik who is a trans man and a feminist said:

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‘Objectifying women = rape culture’.

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I find this view offensive, as a WOMAN! And Keltik is big on ‘calling out’ when someone says something offensive. Here I am. Calling him out.

First – if objectifying women is equal to and part of ‘rape culture’ how does objectifying men fit in?

Keltik has a lot of objectified images on his blogs. So his opposition to ‘objectification’ seems weak. Here are two, one of a woman one of a man:

http://keltik.tumblr.com/post/16808326143/billycastro-boxing-series-by-courtney-trouble

http://keltik.tumblr.com/post/16083412189/themadnessislaughing-brandiesontherocks

Mark Simpson has written recently in The Guardian, in defence of men’s objectification, and throughout his metrosexual theorist career.

So men’s objectification is as important as women’s but feminists never mention it!

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Second: Imposing the concept of ‘rape culture’ on me and all other people serves to ‘objectify’ us in a very bad way. Women are reduced to poor, helpless victims and men become nasty predators. I have written against the idea of rape culture at the good men project and other places.

Third: How does objectification prove ‘rape culture’ exists? As another person from twitter commented by email:

‘He [Keltik] is confusing causal links. In so-called rape culture, women would be objects, but if women are objects it doesn’t mean that we have/it leads to so-called rape culture. If it has been raining, the floor will be wet but if the floor is wet it doesn’t mean it has been raining – someone could’ve thrown a bucket of water out’.

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Maybe as a trans man Keltik feels able to disassociate himself from those nasty predatory ‘men’. And also from those poor helpless victims ‘women’. But I can’t. And I feel upset and judged by his words.

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If Keltik respects Mark Simpson then I hope he at least reads Simpson’s Guardian article before he rushes to accuse men of ‘objectifying’ women alone. Some men are homos for a start! And, as Simpson writes, metrosexuality is all about men objectifying themselves and each other

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I sent the above comments in an email to Simpson, Keltik and others. Following my email Mark responded to a comment on his blog, from regular QRG reader, Tim, about David Beckham’s now infamous superbowl ad. Mark said:

‘Amer­i­can fem­i­nists have sci­en­tif­i­cally proven that male objec­ti­fi­ca­tion doesn’t exist. Or if it does it is in no way com­pa­ra­ble to female objec­ti­fi­ca­tion because, er, it’s not about women. Even if it’s dif­fi­cult to imag­ine how a human being could be more (will­ingly) objec­ti­fied and com­mod­i­fied than David Beckham.’

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Here are some posts by  me on men, women and objectification:

http://quietgirlriot.wordpress.com/2011/12/05/5099/

http://quietgirlriot.wordpress.com/2011/12/02/girls-girls-girls/

http://quietgirlriot.wordpress.com/2011/10/25/miss-representation-how-feminism-misrepresents-objectification/

 

This week so far has been all about the men. For once. So I thought I’d share some links to recent articles that examine men and masculinity, not only through the judgemental lens of feminism.

I was delighted to see my favourite writer on men had an article in this week’s Guardian (UK newspaper). He put forward an admirable defence of metrosexual men . The comments below the line, though often quite critical of his ideas, are a good read. And they show to me how a discussion about masculinity is much better quality when it is inspired by a piece of writing by someone who knows what he is talking about (and doesn’t hate men)!

I was also pleased to see the great blog The Spanish Intermission feature a critique of Mark Simpson’s Graun article. Note how he describes me as a ‘pedantic anti-feminist battleship’! I am glad somebody has acknowledged my role in spreading the word about metrosexuality in general, and Simpson’s theories in particular.

Another story that caught my eye this week related to a TV documentary about homosexual men in football. There are still no ‘out’ gay players in British professional football and the reasons for this are complex. Again this is an example of how a sensitive and knowledgeable piece of writing about men and masculinity leads to some intelligent comments BTL.

Then there was the Uni Lads fiasco. A British ‘student’ website sent ripples through the feminist blogosphere when it published some very horrible articles making jokes about rape, disability and men’s sex lives. Of course, the feminasties only focused on the rape jokes. The site took down all its recent content, including some adverts for t-shirts with ‘pro-rape’ slogans on.

But in amongst all the howling and wailing, I noticed a very well argued piece (not about the Uni Lads thing just coincidentally) that criticised the concept of rape culture. It referenced my piece from the Good Men Project on the subject.

All in all, a pretty good week for teh menz!

http://www.salon.com/writer/tracy_clark_flory/

This article in Salon, focusing on rape in the ‘BDSM community’ really got on my nerves. I am going to write a proper post on it but first I thought I’d put it here. If any of you have any observations or thoughts then leave a comment and I can incorporate your ideas into the piece.

On first glance my main issues with the article are:

a) It assumes ‘rape’ is by men of women which demonises men as potential rapists

b) it is heteronormative

c) There are no men’s voices, no quotes from men

d) It is white and middle class – the ‘BDSM community’ does not include everyone who does S and M sex

e) It is all about articulate women lecturing people (men) not having a dialogue.

I return as usual to Mark Simpson and his concept of the feminist as ‘Ms Whiplash’:

‘Masochism’ is one of the inventions of late nineteenth century sexology in the Gothic shape of Baron Dr Richard Von Kraft-Ebing. It was only ever intended to apply to men; women were ‘naturally’ masochistic, so pleasure in pain on their part was not ‘perverse’ and therefore not a problem to be explained or pathologised. This was part of a shift in gender roles in the West in the Nineteenth Century which was concerned with, we are told, institutionalising women’s subjugation. As Phillips points out, ‘Dante’s ordeal in the Inferno to be reunited with Beatrice, to John Donne’s love poetry, sacrificial masculine love has been a crucial theme, only in this century has what for many centuries seemed the natural, desirable form of male love been redefined as effeminate perversity, masochism.’

Phillips believes that this reformulation of male identity that excluded masochism made masculinity ‘blatantly misogynisitc, emotionally inept and homophobic’. She also believes that it was this new masculinity which led in part to the ‘corrective’ of feminism. Ironically, the exclusion of masochism from the male psyche has produced a public scenario of their punishment and chastisement by women which continues today. The feminist is Ms Whiplash.’

For a slightly critical but fascinating take on the feminist as ‘ms whiplash’ check out Jay Generally’s series (6 posts) on The Dominatrix:

http://stummyrumblings.blogspot.com/2011/11/essay-on-societal-dominatrix-part-1.html

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/nov/25/dangerous-masculinty-everyone-risk?commentpage=4#start-of-comments

When I search the Guardian website using the terms ‘men’ and ‘women’ separately, invariably all that comes up for ‘men’ is stories about sport, violence, and crime.

The main message of the Guardian about men has been summed up by Suzanne Moore: ‘men do horrible, horrible things’.

So I was not surprised when today, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, two established feminist academics decided to tell us about the ‘cost of masculinity culture’.

Cynthia Cockburn and Ann Oakley wrote:

‘The fact that men are mainly responsible for violent and health-harming behaviours, not only against women and children but also against each other, is so taken for granted that it slips beneath the radar of commentators and policymakers.’

Take the riots of August this year. ..92% of the first 466 defendants were male. Something yet more significant went unremarked: of the 124 individuals charged with offences involving violence, all were male.’

As our trusty tweeter @How_Upsetting remarked, this kind of categorising of people who cause violence and crime can only really be tolerated by the liberal intelligentsia when the ‘culprits’ are seen to be men:

@HowUpsetting: @Notorious_QRG  I’d like to see them dare write a similar article about ‘black culture’ causing crime. They’d be crucified.

The two feminists went on to justify their men-bashing using quotes from feminist history:

‘In 1959 the social scientist and policy activist Barbara Wootton looked at the crime statistics and remarked that “if men behaved like women, the courts would be idle and the prisons empty”. Half a century later theBritish Crime Survey and police crime figures bear her out.’

And this is where I lost it really. Because the fact is, in 2011, 50 years after that statement was made, men do behave more like women.

As you should all know by now, Mark Simpson has been telling us how metrosexual masculinity has blurred the lines of the  ’gender divide’ to the point of almost dissolution.

In the introduction to his latest book, Metrosexy, he wrote:

‘Metrosexuality and whatever comes after it, when all is said and done, isn’t really about men becoming “gay” or “girly.” Nor is it about visiting spas and wearing flip flops or carrying manbags. Rather, metrosexuality is about men becoming everything. To themselves. In much the same way that women have been for some time…It’s the end of the sexual division of bathroom and bedroom labour.  It’s the end of sexuality as we’ve known it.’  (Simpson, 2011: 8).

So the whole premise of this article, that there is a ‘culture of masculinity’ that is distinctly different from the ‘culture of femininity’ is wrong.

The writers go on, despite their use of the word ‘culture’ to produce a very biological determinist view of men’s situations in society:

‘Some of the costs of masculinity are paid individually. Boys are “permanently excluded” from school at a rate four times higher than for girls and attain fewer GCSE and A-levels than girls. But what of the overall costs to society?

Testosterone, the male hormone, the “metaphor of manhood”, is portrayed as driving men inexorably towards aggressive behaviour. Yet studies show that testosterone is related to status-seeking but not directly to aggression. Many other factors are influential. Testosterone levels are increased or diminished in both males and females by diet, activity and circumstance. The opportunity to interact with guns, for instance, appears to increase testosterone, while men’s testosterone levels fall when they are involved with the care of children.’

These women are very experienced feminist academics. So they know what they are doing when they are combining in a rather obfuscating manner, the discourses of ‘gender essentialism’ with those of ‘social constructionism’. They tell us that we should not reduce men and women to that nursery rhyme about boys being made of ‘snips and snails’ and girls of ‘sugar and spice’ but that is exactly what they are doing.

As I, and Mark Simpson have written about before, this is yet another example of female columnists posing as ‘a defender of [their sex]. Dressed in cliches’.

And they get away with it because misandry is ‘the acceptable prejudice’ and because the erasure of men is institutionalised in feminist gender studies. This is ironic as the two authors here claim to be suggesting we should all study men and masculinities more closely, when they, the feminist academics have been deliberately not doing that for years.

On a day when the Graun’s editorial joined in with the man-bashing, I think the Guardian has reached a point of no-return in its misandry and its victim feminism stance.

http://goodmenproject.com/gender-sexuality/no-seriously-what-about-the-men/comment-page-1/#comment-58222

My latest article at Good Men Project is entitled: No, Seriously, What About The Men? This is how it begins:

‘Tom Martin is becoming quite well known in the feminist and anti-feminist blogosphere. He has taken the unprecedented action of suing a Gender Studies department—the renowned LSE Gender Institute in London, UK—for discrimination against men. As Martin has said:

When “women’s studies” became “gender studies” departments, it signalled a new era of inclusion for men’s issues—a rejection of this now is a betrayal of men and equality.

In America, the situation is even worse for men, potentially, as many universities and colleges retain the subject of “women’s studies” on their curricula. I have a Ph.D in gender studies, from the UK, and my view is that no matter what the subject is called, it will always be based on extreme feminist dogma and on a misandrist view of the world. Again, as Martin has pointed out:

Patriarchy theory—the idea that men typically “dominate” women—is omnipresent, when research shows that women tend to boss men interpersonally. Texts highlight misogyny but never misandry, its anti-male equivalent.

It is in light of this bias in gender studies that I came to read Mark Simpson’s 1994 classic, Male Impersonators, and examine how and why it has been omitted from the reading lists of gender studies courses, including modules on “masculinity.”

In Male Impersonators, Simpson undresses the idea of the “natural man” and shows us how men perform masculinity, in popular culture in particular. Male strippers and drag artists, “macho” body builders, pornography, sports, the War Movie, reality television, the “men’s movement,” rock and roll. They all reveal, as examined by Simpson, the complexities and subtexts of modern masculinities. One of the many striking things about reading this book in 2011, 17 years after it was first published, is that it seemed as “fresh” and new as it must have in 1994. It’s because the subject it focuses on—men, and their representation in culture—is one that has been ignored and distorted by subsequent gender theory and by some misandrist strands of feminism.’

To read the rest, about how feminist academia has erased men from its curriculum, go

HERE!

There is an interesting – and epic – essay by Elise Moore about representations of men as psychopaths in the movies over at her blog, The Autobiography of  A Soul.

http://autobiographyofasoul.blogspot.com/2011/09/monstrous-masculine-and-rise-of-pop.html#comments

Elise tracks the development of the psycho trope from the 1940s, to the famous film, Psycho and up to the present day.

M Simpson has slowly and a little bit subtly (I hope he writes something more substantial on it) over the last few years, written about how metrosexual masculinity is becoming somehow ‘psychopathic’ in itself. At least in its imagery and representations.

Anders Breivik has been identified by Simpson as a real life ‘metro psycho’ but the Norwegian spree killer was not short of fictional models on which to base himself.  Patrick Bateman, mentioned in Elise’s post, but previously  identified by Simpson, in various places, as an important metrosexual murderer, is probably the most influential metro psycho in popular culture.  I haven’t even read or seen American Psycho but I feel I know that empty-hearted well dressed killer intimately. As does this young pornographer, The Black Spark:

http://blackspark.tumblr.com/

In turn, Bateman must have been influenced somehow by Travis Bickle, but rather than doffing his cap to him, he and all the other metro psychos I see around me, seem to have appropriated him, ‘subsumed him into their steaze’. They destroy and devour previous incarnations of masculinity. There is nothing left but tits and abs.

I may write more in response to Elise’s post, but for now, I think I want to establish Who’s The Daddy of contemporary representations of masculinity, and masculine psychopathology. It’s Bateman. Or Simpson. Have you ever seen them both together in the same room? No, nor me.

http://toomuchtosayformyself.com/2011/01/31/advertising-misogyny/

I have been involved in a discussion about objectification, with feminists at the blog cited above.

The feminist blogger has presented the subject as being about objectification of women, particularly in advertising. I have tried to open up the debate to consider the objectification of men in visual culture, as well.  Some of the mainly women feminist commenters have resisted my arguments, but others have taken them on board.

You can read the discussion yourselves. But I was looking for some more images and I found the one I have posted here. I often find models in fashion and other adverts to be corpse-like. It is almost as if advertisers have finally given up pretending they are living things and present them as the commodities they are. Or is it that culture is dead itself, so nobody would recognise a human actor anymore anyway? I don’t know. But this image stood out because the woman is in a dominant pose and active, and it is the man who looks like he could be dead. And as if she might have killed him?

Anyway, of all the comments on the post about objectification in advertising I found this one the most apt, from a man (I think):

‘Think of the French Connection campaign which had dull-witted young hipsters parading around town with the misspelled word fuck emblazoned on their chests. Controversy! Defiance of accepted norms! They just lap this stuff up…

I don’t think the advertising industry or the people who staff it hate women, or love women any more than they hate or love anybody or anything. They’re just supremely indifferent to anything other than the bottom line.’