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Men Against Violence Against Women Panel

November 17, 2009 2 comments

Last night, I had the great experience of attending an all men’s panel discussion, provided by my university’s Anti-Violence Network. The panel was entitled “Men Against Violence Against Women”. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first showed up, but it turned out to be a great discussion and some awesome points were brought up, that I want to highlight here.

1. Men need to acknowledge hegemonic masculinity
One speaker went over the basic hegemonic masculinity in our North American culture. This means strong, invulnerable, emotionless, silent, and angry (with anger really being the only emotion allowed). Homophobia is also a part of this. Men aren’t allowed to be feminine in any way, because the traditional man is supposed to be everything opposite of femininity. All of these things open up the pathway to violence, because women and homosexuals are “othered” or dehumanized; therefore, men feel that they CAN be violent.

2. There needs to be a new conception of masculinity
There needs to be a positive conception of being a man, which will make for better partnerships with everyone (women, other men, and children). Men need to reconceptualize strength. Strength can be something that is good, and not used for harm. Also, there needs to be insight within this new masculinity. Openness, self-reflection and self-awareness are necessary for this new masculinity.

3. Men must take responsibility
Many times, men are excused from their violence, or have some form of excuse for their violence. One of these excuses is that it’s a man or boys “nature” to be violent. But we were reminded again tonight that nothing is biological about violence! But another important point was that men who are not violent against women must also take responsibility. These non-violent men must not be silent. They must tell other men and boys that violence against women is not acceptable. Without these men leading other men and boys, this issue is NOT going to go away.

4. Action must be taken
One panelist discussed how there is too much damn research. We all KNOW that there is a problem, and we can continue paying for research to be done, but it’s not doing anything about the problem! We need to move on from identifying the problem. It is now time to seriously act. We must be examples to the younger generation. We must tell others that this issue is not acceptable. However you can act against this issue, you have to do it!

There were some other really awesome things discussed, which I’m going to save for a later post, since I don’t want this post to go on forever. I will just say that it was simply refreshing to hear men discuss this issue and not pat themselves on the back for having this panel in the first place. You know, that self-congratulatory thing? Not cool! So, it was awesome not seeing that. More discussions like this need to happen, because ultimately, this is an issue that only men can get rid of.

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How am I not surprised?

December 2, 2007 Leave a comment

Bush has proposed a budget that would cut half a million people from the WIC program (Women, Infants, and Children). People who obviously need this program to survive.

Bush has proposed $5.4 billion in funding to serve about 8.3 million people. However, the caseload has increased to 8.5 million. Also, prices for products like milk and cheese, which account for about 40% of WIC food costs, have increased. Because of that, the proposed spending level will cut about 500,000 people from the WIC program, reports USA Today.

This program is a necessity, and it’s a good program, although I’m sure it has it’s rough spots. It’s important that the budget for this program be greater, but I honestly can’t expect much from Bush anymore. I hope that the next President will care about people who aren’t straight, white, males.

Don’t teach your kids about sex! It’s a crime!

November 12, 2007 Leave a comment

Aym Smalley, a mother of two, is being prosecuted for “giving her children too much information about sex.”

Her children are 11 and 15, and I guess the son, who is 11, talked to a coounsellor about this and he preferred all this information to be kept to his mother. I can understand this and see this from an 11 year old son, considering she supposedly talked about her own sexual experiences, how to perform oral sex and showed them a sex toy. Ok. I can see the son not liking any of that. But, should this really be a criminal offence?

“Ms. Smalley would be within her rights as a parent to educate her children in such a manner as she sees fit … even if the state feels it improper,” Gumz wrote.

The state, Gumz said, does not have the right to decide what parents can teach their children about sex.

I think that kids do need to hear about sex from their parents, because sex is something that is normal. I don’t see how she could be prosecuted for this, even if it was a little too much information. It was probably nothing worse than kids are talking about amongst themselves anyway!

India is trying for gender equality

November 3, 2007 1 comment

India is one of those Asian countries that have “missing daughters” and the government is attempting to end this gender discrimination.

One of their fist plans is to have incentives for family with daughters. This has been submitted to the Planning Commission by the Women and Child Development Ministry.

In an effort to reduce gender discrimination against girl children, the government plans to provide cash and non-cash incentives to parents in backward districts to encourage them to register the birth of daughters, send them to school regularly and not rush them into marriage as soon as they are 18 years old.

Considering girls deserve to be registered at birth, just like boys and they also deserve an education, I am very much in support of this. I just hope that some Indian families will see these incentives as a good thing and take them!

The gross enrollment rate of the girl child in schools is still lower than boys’ and their dropout rate very high. According to the National Family Health Survey-3, 57 per cent of girls are married before the legally marriageable age of 18. In some backward areas, the proportion of child marriages is as high as 80 per cent of marriages of girls.

These statistics are definitely discouraging and shocking. Recently, I’ve been reading Gandhi’s autobiography, and he had a child marriage, of course this was in the 1800’s and it was hell. I can’t even imagine child marriages still occurring, as they obviously aren’t in the best interest of any child.

Anyway, this plan is going to discussed on November 8 by the Committee. My hope is that this will actually be able to bring some more gender equality, while it’s not much, it really is a start. Ultimately, no family should feel they need incentives to have daughters, or keep her in school, but if this is the way things need to be done, then so be it.

Missing girls in Asia

November 2, 2007 Leave a comment

This is something that we know full well. In Asia, there is a strong preference for sons, and new technology is allowing sex-selection to occur. The video here, from UNFPA shows the reality of sex-selection in Asia and the affects of it, which include more sexual violence towards girls. And if parents do decide to have their daughters, other family members go as far as beating them or torturing them.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Annoyance of the day!

November 1, 2007 Leave a comment

I saw this over at Feministing and I had to bring it over here to share.

Ohh goodness, right?

Categories: boys, children, gender, media, toys Tags: , , , ,

Does fullfillment come from men and children?

October 31, 2007 2 comments

There is an interesting article debate over at Huffington Post. It’s worth the read, by the way!

The first article, by the founder of thestateof.com said that fullfillment most definitely comes from men and children for women. Some highlights…

Feminism has destabilized society by undermining heterosexuality and the family. This perverse assault on gender difference is disguised as an act of “defense” of women’s’ and homosexuals’ “right” to be single and childless. Women have been duped into seeking “power” and “independence” (aloneness) through climbing the mirage of the corporate ladder. What women really want is power expressed as male love.

Without a child to care for, a woman often becomes frustrated, bitter and distracted. She often uses the “success” of her “career” (which is simply a glorified word for “job”) as a replacement for the void of the missing child.

Ok, some of my points now. First of all, do women and homosexuals not have a right to remain childless or single? No law is saying that anyone is obliged to have children or be in a couple, married or cohabiting. And guess what? “Independence” is not aloneness. It’s being able to not have to depend on another person, which a life skill that everyone should have. At times, we are able, or can choose to rely on people, because it would be hell if we couldn’t, but being independent does not mean “aloneness”. Oh, and that power expressed as male love? Give me a break. Sure, we’d all love some love, but that’s not the only thing that we can have for fullfillment!

Also…some women honestly do not want child and are completely happy with their pure careers. There is nothing wrong with this. Some women are not nurturers. For example, my father was and is the nuturer, or “mother role”, in the family, although currently he does make more money. While my mother is much more cold and distant, and takes much pride in her career choices. In the end, my father would be more devastated if he didn’t have a child than my mother. Why are people so keen to generalize women and men into one category?

The other article, by Rebecca Thorman, takes the other side of the argument.

Whether we check off men, children, career, or all of the above, the fact is that we have a choice, and what fulfills and limits us is not created by society and media, but increasingly our own desires.

The kind of woman who is a compassionate alpha. The Generation Y woman has leadership and strength, and promotes community and empathy. We don’t dismiss motherhood, but embrace our strengths and use those to change the workplace, reaping from it a greater sense of fulfillment than ever before. It is not a coincidence that at a time when power-hungry hierarchies are being broken down, women are leading and infiltrating the workplace. It is our skills and talents that have created such an influential shift.

I’ll just say that I obviously agree with the second article more. And just for the record, I do want some male lovin’, some kids, but I’m not going to give up my career for having that. Obvious sacrifice have to be made by both men and women when children come into the picture, and those sacrifices are individual choices and worked out in a personal setting. No overgeneralizing should still be occurring!