Can Men Experience Sexism? #gender #equality

berlatsky_sexism
Posters encouraging men to fight in World War I and World War II (Library of Congress)

Can men be victims of sexism?

An NPR Morning Edition report this week suggests strongly that the answer is “yes.” As Jennifer Ludden reports, after divorce men can face burdensome alimony payments even in situations where their ex-wives are capable of working and earning a substantial income. Even in cases where temporary alimony makes sense—as when a spouse has quit a job to raise the children—it’s hard to understand the need for lifetime alimony payments, given women’s current levels of workforce participation. As one alimony-paying ex-husband says, “The theory behind this was fine back in the ’50s, when everybody was a housewife and stayed home.” But today, it looks like an antiquated perpetuation of retrograde gender roles—a perpetuation which, disproportionately, harms men.

This isn’t the only case in which men can suffer from gender discrimination. David Benatar, in his 2012 monograph The Second Sexism discusses a whole range of other ways in which men as men are disadvantaged. Men, for example, receive custody of children in only about 10 percent of divorce cases in the United States. Men also, as Benatar writes, are subject to “a long history of social and legal pressure…to fight in war” —pressures which women do not generally experience in the same way. Along the same lines, physical violence against men is often minimized or seen as normal. Benatar refers to the history of corporal punishment, which has much more often been inflicted on boys than girls. Society’s scandalous tolerance of rape in prison seems like it is also related to a general indifference to, or even amusement at, sexual violence committed against men.

Perhaps most hideously, men through history have been subject to genocidal, or gendercidal, violence targeted at them specifically because they are men. Writers like Susan Brownmiller have over the last decades helped to show how mass rape and sexual violence against women are often a deliberate part of genocide; similarly, there has been increasing awareness in recent years of the gendercidal results of sex-selective abortion and infanticide in places like India and China. But the way gendercide can be directed against men is much less discussed. One of the worst recent examples of this was in the Balkans war, where, according to genocide researcher Adam Jones, ” All of the largest atrocities… target[ed] males almost exclusively, and for the most part “battle-age” males. ” Similarly, in Rwanda according to Judy El-Bushra (as quoted by Jones):

it was principally the men of the targeted populations who lost their lives or fled to other countries in fear. … This targeting of men for slaughter was not confined to adults: boys were similarly decimated, raising the possibility that the demographic imbalance will continue for generations. Large numbers of women also lost their lives; however, mutilation and rape were the principal strategies used against women, and these did not necessarily result in death.

Many of these examples—particularly the points about custody inequities and conscription—are popular with men’s rights activists. MRAs tend to deploy the arguments as evidence that men are oppressed by women and, especially, by feminists. Yet, what’s striking about instances of sexism against men is how often the perpetrators are not women but other men. The gendercides in Serbia and Rwanda were committed against men, not by feminists, but by other men. Prison rape is, again, overwhelmingly committed by men against other men—with (often male) prison officials sitting by and shrugging. Conscription in the U.S. was implemented overwhelmingly by male civilian politicians and military authorities, not by women.

Even in cases where women clearly benefit from sexism, it’s generally not the case that women, as a class, are the ones doing the discriminating. Neither alimony nor custody discussions are central to current feminist theory or current feminist pop cultural discussions. Thereis no ideological feminist commitment to either of these discussions in the way there is to, say, abortion rights, or workplace equity. On the contrary, the alimony and custody inequities we have at the moment seem mostly based, not on progressive feminism, but rather on the reactionary image of female domesticity that feminism has spent most of the last 60-odd years fighting against.

When men suffer from sexism, then, they do so in much the same way women do. That is, they suffer not because women rule the world and are targeting men, nor because feminism has somehow triumphed and brainwashed all of our elected officials (most of them still men) into ideological misandry. Rather, men suffer because of the same gender role stereotypes that hurt and restrict women—though men, being of a different gender, fall afoul of those stereotypes in different ways. Women are supposed to be passive and domestic and sexual—so their employment options and autonomy are restricted and they are fetishized and targeted for sexual assault and exploitation. Men are supposed to be active and violent—so their claims to domestic rights are denigrated and violence directed against them is shrugged off as natural or non-notable.

“For me,” Heather McRobie wrote in an excellent 2008 article about genercide, “feminism has always been about how rigid gender roles harm everyone, albeit primarily women.” Talking about sexism against men is often seen—by MRAs and feminists alike—as an attack on feminism. But it shouldn’t be. Rather, recognizing how, say, stereotypical ideas about domesticity hurt men in custody disputes as well as women in the job market should be a spur to creating alliances, not fissures. Women have been fighting against sexism for a long time. If men can learn from them, it will be to everyone’s benefit.

http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/05/when-men-experience-sexism/276355/

NOAH BERLATSKY edits the online comics and culture website the Hooded Utilitarian.  He writes for SlateReason, and Splice Today. He is the author of a forthcoming book about the original Wonder Woman comics.

Advertisements

The Fine Art of Selling #Sales #Wisdom

15-simple-truths-about-selling

Over the years, I’ve kept a notebook of memorable sayings and remarks about the fine art of selling. Here are my favorites:

    1. “Every one lives by selling something.”
      Robert Louis Stevenson
    2. “Nobody likes to be sold but everybody likes to buy.”
      Earl Taylor
    3. “Success in sales is the result of discipline, dedication and sacrifice.”
      Thomas Roy Crowell
    4. “Sell, don’t tell. When you’re talking, you’re not selling.”
      Robert Nadeau
    5. “Sales pays for the company. Employees who don’t “get” that are part of the problem.”
      Donal Daly
    6. “Value the relationship more than making your quota.”
      Jeff Gitomer
    7. “Sales leads are like fresh fish; they stink after three days.”
      Thomas Roy Crowell
    8. “Respect the customer’s time but give them a compelling reason to speak with you.”
      Keith Rosen
    9. “People buy emotionally but defend their choice logically.”
      Jerry Acuff
    10. “Sales success comes after you stretch yourself past your limits on a daily basis.”
      Omar Periu
    11. “When selling, never answer an unasked question.”
      Jeff Thull
    12. “Mediocre products with great sales teams always beat great products with mediocre sales teams.”
      Donal Daly
    13. “Contact with the customer is what business is all about.”
      Jay Leno
    14.  “In advertising, sex sells. But only if you’re selling sex.”
      Jef I. Richards
    15. “In sales there are usually four or five ‘no’s’ before you get a ‘yes.'”
      Jack Canfield

http://www.inc.com/geoffrey-james/15-simple-truths-about-selling.html

“I Can Have Another You In A Minute”…Women Struggle With #Cheating And #Relationships

“Irreplaceable” – by Beyonce

(The following excerpt taken from Women Struggle With Monogamy More Than Men by Amanda Marcotte originally appeared on slate.com on May 23, 2013. To view it in its entirety click on the link below.)

Since its beginnings, when it was called “sociobiology,” evolutionary psychology has been wed to the theory that women are monogamous and men are promiscuous—that men have a compunction to spread their seed while women instinctually want to lock some guy down to raise her children. Feminist attempts to create sexual equality between men and women were doomed to fail, because they went against biology. Shrugging was encouraged, and the term “hard-wired” was mandatory.

But now the evidence is beginning to trickle in, and one sticky fact has thrown this entire theory into jeopardy: It’s women and not men who get bored with monogamy faster. As Daniel Bergner writes in the New York Times, women are far more likely to lose interest in sex with their partners. This doesn’t necessarily translate into infidelity—a choice many reject because it’s so hurtful—but, Bergner reports, spouse-weary women often just avoid sex altogether.

Add to that the study Bergner cites showing women respond to novelty in pornographic fantasies, and another showing that women are much more turned on by fantasies of sex with strangers than friends. You’d be forgiven for concluding that the gender most interested in mixing it up might be…women.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2013/05/23/nytimes_on_lybrido_women_get_bored_with_monogamy_faster_than_men.html

A Nation Of #Wimps … #EternalUmbilicus

images

“If the battle for civilization comes down to the wimps versus the barbarians, the barbarians are going to win.” – Thomas Sowell

(The following excerpt taken from A Nation of Wimps by Hara Estroff Marano, published on November 01, 2004, and last reviewed on February 19, 2013, recently appeared on psychology today.com. To view it in its entirety please click on the link below.)

Parents are going to ludicrous lengths to take the bumps out of life for their children. However, parental hyperconcern has the net effect of making kids more fragile; that may be why they’re breaking down in record numbers.

Behold the wholly sanitized childhood, without skinned knees or the occasional C in history. “Kids need to feel badly sometimes,” says child psychologist David Elkind, professor at Tufts University. “We learn through experience and we learn through bad experiences. Through failure we learn how to cope.”

Messing up, however, even in the playground, is wildly out of style. Although error and experimentation are the true mothers of success, parents are taking pains to remove failure from the equation.

“Life is planned out for us,” says Elise Kramer, a Cornell University junior. “But we don’t know what to want.” As Elkind puts it, “Parents and schools are no longer geared toward child development, they’re geared to academic achievement.”

to invest so heavily in their children’s outcome from an early age. But taking all the discomfort, disappointment and even the play out of development, especially while increasing pressure for success, turns out to be misguided by just about 180 degrees. With few challenges all their own, kids are unable to forge their creative adaptations to the normal vicissitudes of life. That not only makes them risk-averse, it makes them psychologically fragile, riddled with anxiety. In the process they’re robbed of identity, meaning and a sense of accomplishment, to say nothing of a shot at real happiness. Forget, too, about perseverance, not simply a moral virtue but a necessary life skill. These turn out to be the spreading psychic fault lines of 21st-century youth. Whether we want to or not, we’re on our way to creating a nation of wimps.

www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200411/nation-wimps

The #Twister Took My #Parrot! … Mona And Leroy Together Again #HappyEnding

images

“She was not quite what you would call refined. She was not quite what you would call unrefined. She was the kind of person that keeps a parrot.”
– Mark Twain

(The following excerpt taken from The Twister Stole My Pet: How Cats, Dogs and a Donkey Survived Oklahoma” by Christine Pelisek originally appeared on The Daily Beast on May 23, 2013. To view this article in its entirety please click on the link below.)

When the twister tore through Moore, Mona Thomas lost everything. “My house is leveled,” the 52-year-old grandmother said on Wednesday. “I don’t have a home anymore.”

Even so, all she cared about was her parrot.“He’s been an important part of my life,” she said of Leroy, a 9-year-old African gray. “I’m single, so it’s just me and him. I talk about him all the time. He’s like my kid.”

Fortunately, two days after the storm ripped through, Leroy and Mona’s story found a happy ending: the beloved was tracked down to a nearby foster home. Leroy had survived, but had an injured wing and a scuffed beak. “He doesn’t look good,” Thomas reported.

Mona Thomas is just one of hundreds of Moore residents who were separated from their pets during the tornado. In the days afterward, an ad hoc network of Facebook pages, temporary shelters, volunteer veterinarians, and even a Reddit subthread have sprung up to help residents reunite with their beloved animals. Dogs, cats, horses, birds, even a donkey – they’ve all been lost and found. One animal welfare worker even found a live sheltie in a tree.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/05/23/the-twister-stole-my-pet-how-cats-dogs-and-a-donkey-survived-oklahoma.html