Read This!

August 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

Things have been busy lately and there’s still no time to write, but until I find time here is another amazing post over at The Rumpus by Anne Valente about running, sexism, and navigating femininity. Check it out!

The Right to Choose All of Life’s Roles

July 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

My local radio station airs a series called Perspectives that features members of the community and their thoughts on whatever strikes their fancy. This morning I listened to Jeremy Sherman share his perspective on talking politics with a libertarian friend he often disagrees with, and it boiled down to this: people don’t like talking about things they find boring, so details that don’t interest them – in his friend’s case, the complicated balance between necessary constraints and individual freedoms in society – are ignored and so strongly held beliefs are justified only with ideal-based rationalizations. Which makes sense to me – when two people are exclusively focused on separate aspects of an issue, it’s easy to wind up arguing over ideals without realizing you’re actually talking about completely different things. Getting into specifics can help you find common ground in shared beliefs.

So let’s talk details. The title of this post comes from one of my favorite chapters of (recently retired) Judge Nancy Gertner’s book, In Defense of Women, and here are some specific roles I think we should all be able to choose for ourselves free from social criticism or judgment:

  • Stay-at-home mother/father
  • Unmarried adult, whether or not you have children
  • Primary family provider, regardless of sex/gender
  • A romantically involved person, regardless of each person’s sex/gender
  • A sexually-active person who has no intention of having children

Not an exhaustive list by any means, but that’s the beauty of details: we can always add more.

Considering Evolutionary Psychology

July 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

As a female psychology student, I had mixed feelings about evolutionary psychology while in college. It would pop up in lectures every now and then, though always with the caveat that some of the work in the field was fairly controversial and not necessarily embraced by the psychology community at large. Media coverage of evolutionary psychology tends to run with the more sensational aspects of stories (completely unexpected, I know) but ultimately I think there are both useful and harmful interpretations of work in this area so far.

Click here to continue to the full post.

In Case the Benefits of Patriarchy Were Lost on Some Men…

June 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

…Douglas Kenrick has outlined them for you. This comes after his piece on the 7 worst things about being a male, including “people want to hurt you,” “you feel compelled to make money, and then to throw it away in public,” and two points about how much men think about sex and how sad it is that women do not “reciprocate their urgency” in that regard.

He starts his piece on the worst things about being a male with the following:

The cultural stereotype is that it’s great to be a man. Not only do we have shorter lines at the rest room, but we make scads more money and can reach things on higher shelves in the marketplace. We don’t have to deal with double standards or glass ceilings, and we’re raised to have confidence and high self-esteem, so we can all comfortably act like the Sean Connery version of James Bond. Cooly knock off a few bad guys in the afternoon, then drive our Aston Martins to our expensive hotel in Monte Carlo, where beautiful movie actresses are waiting to throw themselves into our arms…But in truth, it ain’t like that down here in Kansas.

This isn’t just a “cultural stereotype.” Men have all kinds of advantages over women in American society (see: the gender pay gap, the Second Shift, advertising and media images of women, etc.). This is not to say that men don’t have problems, but their problems take placeĀ within the larger context of patriarchy. Kenrick brushes away that context by setting this up as just a stereotype, and what follows is a blind fumbling through some issues that could otherwise have been taken seriously.

Click here to continue to the full post.

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