By Carl - 06 Feb 2013

Stay-at-home dude

Man cooking

A friend posted a link to this article on Slate about a married man with no kids who is a homemaker. I loved the article. Due, in no small part, to the fact that this very well could have been how my life ended up. At one point in my life I was a physics major dating a chemical engineer – pretty clear who was going to be earning the big bucks there. While I only remember pieces of specific conversation, I do remember talking about multiple times. I married a woman who has a passion for what she does, but unlike the engineering major ex I’m definitely the primary breadwinner.

I’ve never really had much use for gender roles: I’m the primary cook of the house (one of my favorite pastimes is baking), I do a moderate amount of cleaning (although admittedly my standard of clean is much lower than my wife’s) and I’ve been known to paint my nails. Not some goth shade of black mind you – we’re talking bright red, deep blue or purple. Sometimes glitter is involved. It’s no wonder that I was drawn to Skepticism – I’ve never much cared for how I’m “supposed” to do things. I’d rather bake cookies, do an art project, play with my kitten or help take care of the horses than watch football. One of the most fascinating things to me about this movement is how vehement skeptics can be in their criticism of other’s beliefs and yet be completely blind to areas of their life where they’ve swallowed societal norms hook, line and sinker.

So it should be no surprise that I in envy the author. Not because his wife makes tons of money, but rather I envy the choice that her income gives them. My wife and I have incredibly busy lives and it’s hard sometimes just to find time together when one or both of us aren’t totally exhausted. I admire the author’s courage to be a “stay at home dude” regardless of the bullshit opinions others might hold about his domestic situation. I admire his commitment to the relationship and his willingness maximize his happiness, both as an individual an a couple, via non-conventional means. Mr. Boulding understands something beautiful – only you can determine what’s best for you. Bravo sir.

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By Sasha - 17 Jan 2013

From Sasha: A change in leadership.

I’ve been running More Than Men for a year now (even longer if you count the pre-launch preparation we did) and I’m more proud than you can know of what I’ve done and the response we’ve generated — even the backlash from anti-feminists makes me proud. Unfortunately I need to step away for a few month to take care of some personal affairs. It breaks my heart to do so but I can’t keep doing this and also keep doing the things I need to do in my private life and be successful at either.

I will return to the helm, hopefully around the time of Women in Secularism 2, but in the mean time I’m leaving you in the capable hands of Carl Tracy. Many of you already know Carl as the person who ran last year’s Skepticamp Ohio and blogged for us about his experiences implementing harassment policies there. If you don’t know Carl, let me assure you he is a great guy and I’m looking forward to seeing what he does around here while I am away. Please let me be the first to welcome him aboard and I hope you will all do the same.

Thanks for a great year, and I promise you’ll be hearing from me again soon.

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By Sasha - 13 Dec 2012

When you imagine an internet misogynist, you might picture me.

Over on Twitter the always fantastic Natalie Reed made a point about something that has been stewing in the back of my head for a while. Thanks to her I now know what to say. I made a handy Storify compilation for you to see what she had to say, below the cut.

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By Sasha - 07 Dec 2012

Democracy is for bullies

This man was bullied on Nov. 6th by 65,443,674 women, minorities, and other reasonable people.

I’ve written before about San Francisco’s wife-beating sheriff and his fight to stay in office despite being on probation and, you know, not exactly being someone I would trust to have the best interests of domestic violence victims at heart. Well, it turns out that 4 of the city supervisors thing it’s super cool to have an admitted domestic abuser serving as the city’s top law enforcement official…while on probation. (more…)

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By Sasha - 27 Nov 2012

Ana Mardoll: How To Be A (Male) Ally

[I was recently tipped off to a wonderful post by Ana Mardoll over on her blog. It's part of her excellent Deconstruction series and she was kind enough to let me re-post it here.]

 

Content Note: Rape Culture

Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of comments on the interwebs from genuinely nice guys who want to know how to be good feminist allies in this shitty rape culture world we live in. And it’s a more complicated question that it looks, since there’s a lot of conflicting advice out there about white knighting (which in itself is a confusing term with about four distinct and sometimes mutually exclusive meanings) and helpful-versus-unhelpful anger and nice guyism and creepers and OMG PARALYZED BY THE POSSIBILITY FOR WRONGNESS.

So here is a Helpful (Male) Allies 101 post for men who would like to be helpful male allies as far as my opinion goes. Also, upfront, these posters are very cool. Just sayin’.

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By Sasha - 07 Nov 2012

The Republicans just spent $1 billion to teach us about diversity.

Last night the Republican party was able to share with us all an important lesson: In the modern world alienating women, people with disabilities, and racial & sexual minorities is a losing proposition. Even Republicans are admitting that this is not our parents’ America.

The Republican Rape Squad of Mourdock and Akin were resoundingly defeated, despite running in fairly conservative districts. Marriage equality won big. Women in elected office are now at historic highs in the face of sexist antagonism and antipathy from the Republican party. Barack Obama was elected to a second term despite a concerted campaign of lies against him, a disadvantage due to his race, and failing to give everyone unicorns during his first term.

Some people give credit for these victories to good campaigning. They should. People worked hard and should get credit. Some people say that if only the Republicans were less tone-deaf on immigration they would have won the Latino vote, but that ignores the fact that Latinos are more progressive than they get credit for and that half of them are actually Latinas.

The simple fact is that you can have your token minorities saying they think you’re great and you can have your chill girls saying chicks don’t care if you treat them like adult humans, but people don’t buy it. Your outliers aren’t a change in course or evidence that these people don’t matter, they’re props to hide your antipathy toward women, people of color, transgender people, people with disabilities, gays, lesbians and bisexuals. No one really buys it.

My fellow straight, white, able-bodied, cis men need to listen up and realize that the old games need to end. They need to end if you want to be a decent human being and, increasingly, they need to end if you want to retain any relevance in the modern world.

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By Sasha - 11 Oct 2012

What’s a guy got to do to be a misogynist?

It’s been a week since Justin Vacula resigned from his leadership position with the Secular Coalition for America, but people are still talking about it. I supported, and signed the petition asking for him to be removed. Vacula resigned without any need for the SCA to act. That’s not what I’m here for today.

I’ve noticed a recurring meme from Vacula’s defenders and from those who are “trying to be neutral.” This is regarding the post Justin prepared for A Voice for Men. People say we need to judge his post on its own merits and basically ignore where Vacula chose to post it. Bullshit, I say. Ridiculous. To not consider the venue is to not understand the message.

A Voice for Men was listed as one of the key sites for online misogyny by the Southern Poverty Law Center. If you really want to know why it’s reviled as a misogynist site by decent people, here are some examples: They honor the memory and preserve the manifesto of a man who killed himself hoping to inspire acts of arson against police stations and courthouses. They say that women are most accurately compared to flatworms. Their founder says that fucking feminists’ shit up gives him an erection. It’s a hateful place for dudes who really dislike women.

Why on earth would you post your criticism of a woman (who you call stupid) on a site that is all about hating women? The main reason that springs to mind is that you agree with the editorial slant of that website. Vacula has said that he doesn’t agree with all of the positions of A Voice for Men. Good for him. I don’t agree with every line of the Democratic Party platform, but I’m still a Democrat. Which parts of the AVfM agenda does Vacula support and which does he disagree with?

If I wrote a post about the legal problems facing James Randi’s partner and I published it on Sylvia Browne’s web site, what conclusions would most skeptics draw? How many people would care which of Sylvia Browne’s views I agree with and which I disagree with?

If I wrote a post encouraging people not to vote for Barack Obama and I posted it on the white power site Stormfront, what would people make of that? Would they care what my points were?

What’s a guy got to do to be a misogynist these days?

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By Sasha - 01 Oct 2012

The more things change…

Juana Inés de la Cruz was a self-taught scholar , scientist, and poet – and later a nun – in Mexico during the 17th century. You’re learning about her because I recently read one of her poems that proves that Nice Guys and slut shaming are nothing new.

Hombres necios que acusáisa
la mujer sin razón,
sin ver que sois la ocasión
de lo mismo que culpáis

si con ansia sin igual
solicitáis su desdén,
¿por qué quereis que obren bien
si las incitáis al mal?

Combatís su resistencia
y luego, con gravedad,
decís que fue liviandad
lo que hizo la diligencia.

Parecer quiere el denuedo
de vuestro parecer loco,
al niño que pone el coco
y luego le tiene miedo.

Queréis, con presunción necia,
hallar a la que buscáis,
para pretendida, Thais,
y en la posesión, Lucrecia

¿Qué humor puede ser más raro
que el que, falto de consejo,
el mismo empaña el espejo
y siente que no esté claro?

Con el favor y el desdén
tenéis condición igual,
quejándoos, si os tratan mal,
burlándoos, si os quieren bien.

Opinión, ninguna gana:
pues la que más se recata,
si no os admite, es ingrata,
y si os admite, es liviana

Siempre tan necios andáis
que, con desigual nivel,
a una culpáis por crüel
y a otra por fácil culpáis.

¿Pues cómo ha de estar templada
la que vuestro amor pretende,
si la que es ingrata, ofende,
y la que es fácil, enfada?

Mas, entre el enfado y pena
que vuestro gusto refiere,
bien haya la que no os quiere
y quejaos en hora buena.

Dan vuestras amantes penas
a sus libertades alas,
y después de hacerlas malas
las queréis hallar muy buenas.

¿Cuál mayor culpa ha tenido
en una pasión errada:
la que cae de rogada
o el que ruega de caído?

¿O cuál es más de culpar,
aunque cualquiera mal haga:
la que peca por la paga
o el que paga por pecar?

Pues ¿para quée os espantáis
de la culpa que tenéis?
Queredlas cual las hacéis
o hacedlas cual las buscáis.

Dejad de solicitar,
y después, con más razón,
acusaréis la afición
de la que os fuere a rogar.

Bien con muchas armas fundo
que lidia vuestra arrogancia,
pues en promesa e instancia
juntáis diablo, carne y mundo.
Silly, you men-so very adept
at wrongly faulting womankind,
not seeing you’re alone to blame
for faults you plant in woman’s mind

After you’ve won by urgent plea
the right to tarnish her good name,
you still expect her to behave–
you, that coaxed her into shame.

You batter her resistance down
and then, all righteousness, proclaim
that feminine frivolity,
not your persistence, is to blame.

When it comes to bravely posturing,
your witlessness must take the prize:
you’re the child that makes a bogeyman,
and then recoils in fear and cries.

Presumptuous beyond belief,
you’d have the woman you pursue
be Thais when you’re courting her,
Lucretia once she falls to you.

For plain default of common sense,
could any action be so queer
as oneself to cloud the mirror,
then complain that it’s not clear?

Whether you’re favored or disdained,
nothing can leave you satisfied.
You whimper if you’re turned away,
you sneer if you’ve been gratified.

With you, no woman can hope to score;
whichever way, she’s bound to lose;
spurning you, she’s ungrateful–
succumbing, you call her lewd.

Your folly is always the same:
you apply a single rule
to the one you accuse of looseness
and the one you brand as cruel.

What happy mean could there be
for the woman who catches your eye,
if, unresponsive, she offends,
yet whose complaisance you decry?

Still, whether it’s torment or anger–
and both ways you’ve yourselves to blame–
God bless the woman who won’t have you,
no matter how loud you complain.

It’s your persistent entreaties
that change her from timid to bold.
Having made her thereby naughty,
you would have her good as gold.

So where does the greater guilt lie
for a passion that should not be:
with the man who pleads out of baseness
or the woman debased by his plea?

Or which is more to be blamed–
though both will have cause for chagrin:
the woman who sins for money
or the man who pays money to sin?

So why are you men all so stunned
at the thought you’re all guilty alike?
Either like them for what you’ve made them
or make of them what you can like.

If you’d give up pursuing them,
you’d discover, without a doubt,
you’ve a stronger case to make
against those who seek you out.

I well know what powerful arms
you wield in pressing for evil:
your arrogance is allied
with the world, the flesh, and the devil!

 

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By Sasha - 14 Sep 2012

You should go to Women in Secularism 2

This year I was really bummed to be unable to attend Melody Hensley‘s fantastic, important, and much needed Women in Secularism conference. I was thrilled to learn that there would be a second one and even more thrilled when I saw the fantastic lineup of speakers Melody has recruited. I will be there in May 2013 and you should be, too — especially if you’re a dude.

Religion and the cultural we share with the religious has a unique and problematic relationship with women. If we want to use our secularism to improve the world and free people from the grip of religious dogma we need to examine the experiences and problems of all of humanity. Women in Secularism is a great step in that direction. I hope that the continued success of the event will lead to other large conferences on LGBT people, people of color, people with disabilities — all withing secularism, just where we want everyone to be.

Mark your calendars for May 17-19, 2003. Register for the conference. Let me know you’re attending. I’ll be there and I’m looking forward to learning a lot with each other.

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By Timothy LeGower - 13 Sep 2012

Dragon*Con PSA

This is actually a PSA for guys in general, but it was heavily inspired by my reflections of Dragon*Con and things I observed there…thus the title. It’s also inspired by other stories I’ve heard and read recently, like this one.

I know the following is not meant for most of the people who read my blog (all 3 of you) or most people in general but I’ve recently observed this first hand and it made me angry, so I felt the need to write about it.

Now I’m not completely naïve as to what goes on in a man’s head, I mean I am still a straight man, so I do understand to a point.

I understand the urge to look at and admire girls, especially ones I find attractive or dressed in what I consider revealing or sexy clothing. I look, I admire, but I don’t stare and try not to make it obvious (I’m sure I fail on occasion).

I get that a lot of men don’t have women coming up to us constantly to tell us how attractive or sexy we are or that they want to have sex with us, so we think we’d be flattered if it did happen and therefore a woman should be flattered if we tell them something like that.

However, we are delusional when we think about how flattered we’d be if a woman approached us to tell us she found us attractive. Why? Because we are usually imagining a woman we find attractive. We don’t imagine being bombarded by women we find unattractive telling us how sexy we are. We don’t imagine a gay man approaching us to tell us how attractive we are. I don’t believe a lot of men would be flattered if a gay man approached them like that or if a woman they felt was unattractive approached them like that. This just doesn’t occur to them or maybe they are deluded into thinking everyone must find them attractive, I don’t know. If it’s the former reason, then think about what I just said. If it’s the latter, then I hate to be the bearer of bad news, guy, but not every woman finds you attractive. Deal with it.

Now maybe I have been hanging out with Noisyastronomer, the Skepchicks and my female friends too much, but I believe my mind has been opened and I feel more enlightened by my new knowledge and understanding. My god, I am not perfect and I can still be oblivious, and inappropriate, but I think I am better a person now. And I feel bad for the men I observe who just don’t get it and feel even worse for the women who have to put up with it.

Guys. If you attend a convention or happen to be in a hotel where one is going on, the girls dressed in costumes (whether they are scantily clad or not) are not encouraging you to hit on them, ask them out or be in appropriate. They are dressing as a character they like, identify with or whatever. The costume they are wearing happens to be what the character wears.

You can ask if they’d be willing to pose for a picture or ask to take a picture with them. Many of them are more than willing to show off the hard work they put into their costumes.  Some of these costumes are phenomenal pieces of work that took a lot of time, skill and money to assemble and they are proud of their work, as they should be. BUT you must remember: you are not the reason they are dressed in the costume. They are dressed in the costume for themselves, so it is their prerogative to say no. If you ask and they say no, that’s the answer. Don’t bitch, don’t whine and don’t insult them. Accept their decision and move on.

I witnessed two instances of men being creepy at Dragon*Con. One was an attendee of the event and one was someone who happened to be at the hotel for something else going on.

The one who was not a Dragon*Con attendee kept making comments about the women in tight fitting costumes or the women who were in scantily clad costumes. In fact, it made me a bit uncomfortable to be sitting next to him at the bar because he kept asking me about the girls and some were good friends of mine. In fact, this gentleman hit on at least one friend of mine and she had to just walk away. In fact, I had to get up and walk away from this guy. In hindsight, maybe I should have said something to him but he was drunk, slightly bigger than me (at least in better shape though that’s not difficult) and did not seem to be an educated and understanding fellow. So I just walked away and warned my friends about him.

The Dragon*Con attendee approached a friend of mine and told her that she was beautiful and her boyfriend or husband, if she had one, was a lucky guy.  I was working on something else but heard that clearly. I thought it was a bit weird to say out loud to someone you didn’t know, but figured that would be the end and he’d walk away and I went back to focusing on what I was doing. I caught bits and pieces of conversation (I say conversation but it was really just this guy still talking…so not really a conversation). I figured I must be missing something or not hearing correctly since I was occupied because there is no way that guy could STILL be going on and on to a stranger like this and there was no way that he just told her that he had been staring at her legs during the entire panel and couldn’t keep his eyes off of them. That’s not something people say to strangers, right? I must have heard it wrong. No, no I did not hear it wrong. That’s exactly what he said. Again, I wish I would have called to my friends and asked them to help me with something in order to save them or something, but my mind couldn’t process that this guy was still going on and staying these things. It baffled me.

Now to conclude and summarize all of this:

Men, women are human beings ( it’s really sad that I felt like that needed to be pointed out). They deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, not like objects or something you just want to date or have sex with.  So avoid the pervy pick-up lines, the flirting and the inappropriate comments, even if you are being joking or playful, the woman does not know you, she does not know you’re being playful or joking and it probably isn’t coming off that way.  So just don’t do it.  Try striking up a conversation about something that interests you or her. Talk for a while and get to know her.  But remember, she doesn’t owe you anything, so if she doesn’t want to talk, that’s her right and it should be respected. So just say “Ok” and walk away.

Guys, just please think. Treat women with dignity and respect.

In fact, just treat EVERYONE with dignity and respect.

To quote Wheaton’s Law, “Don’t be a dick.”

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