The Uncommon Man

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November 30, 2005

Airlines Discriminate Against Men?

What do you think? Air New Zealand and Qantas airlines both ban men from sitting next to children who are travelling alone. Instead they prefer to sit children next to empty seats or next to women. They claim that it is what they believe their customers want. Others claim it is discrimination against men. Your thoughts?
via The New Zealand Herald - Ban On Men Sitting Next to Children

Posted by Russell at 12:29 PM | Comments (1)

November 29, 2005

Moms, Dads, Working, and Parenting

The "conversations" in the media about women who leave the workforce to parent and men who leave the workforce to parent, usually focuses around the amount of women who gradute from elite colleges. Specifically, those that stay in the working world and those who leave to parent full-time (half stay at home). In the upcoming issue of American Prospect, there is a comprehensive article on this issue that includes the question - why don't more men stay at home?

Finally, in response, RebelDad writes on the November 28th entry of his blog - why don't we strive for shared parenting? Is it possible to turn the conversation in that direction?

via American Prospect - Homeward Bound

Posted by Russell at 08:29 AM | Comments (1)

November 28, 2005

Raising a Child Gender-Free

There is an old entry over at This Woman's Work that I read recently. It is a entry that responds to the question: how would you handle your children if they grew up transgendered?. This piece and the comments that follow are a good "conversation" about transgenderism and also about bringing up a child "gender-less". After reading the entry and thinking about my 16 month-old son, I thought about the idea of countering the social-imposition of gender by forcing a child to be "gender-less". Watching my son develop - especially as he begins to adopt charactistics that could be considered a gendered behavior (plays with trucks - male, loves to read - female)- I realize that my preference is to let him traverse the world of gender as he sees fit. Thankfully, my wife also feels this way. The job for my wife and myself is to not judge his choices and support him in his journey. Of course, talk to me in 18 years and see how well I was able to complete this job.

via This Woman's Work - An Addition Worth Thinking About

Posted by Russell at 07:24 AM | Comments (0)

November 23, 2005

Social Marketing Campaigns and Violence Against Women

Social Marketing Campaign is not a term I've heard before. I more familiar with the term Public Education Campaign. Social marketing and public education campaigns are attempts to make social change through advertising - usually through the use of posters or TV ads. I suspect I haven't heard the term Social Marketing due to U.S. public health organizations avoidance (until recently) of using business tools. But marketing has an impact - usually for the negative (in my view). Why not use it for the positive?

Below is a link to a review out of Australia about world-wide social marketing campaigns focused on ending violence against women - over the last ten years. It is an exhaustive (228 pages - PDF) and valuable look at what has been tried.

via Vichealth - Vichealth Review of Communication Components of Social Marketing/Public Education Campaigns Focusing on Violence Against Women

Posted by Russell at 11:21 AM | Comments (0)

November 22, 2005

Rape Victims and Blame

Earlier this month I posted on juries in the United Kingdom not believing rape victims. A study published yesterday underlines some of the reasons for this. It seems that one-third of people in the U.K. believe that if a woman acts flirtatiously, she is at least partially to blame for being raped.

via Amnesty International U.K. - UK: New poll finds...

Posted by Russell at 08:45 AM | Comments (0)

November 21, 2005

Marketing and The Mindless, Low-Brow Male

Over at RationalRevolution Geoff Price is amassing a series of articles on understanding Capitalism. The link below will lead you to the fourth article which focuses on Capitalism, culture and society. He gives a thorough the history of Capialisms impact on culture and society - right up to present-day advertising and popular culture. Near the end of this piece he targets advertisers and TV sitcoms who cater to and help encourage an image of men as simple-minded:

There is also the depiction of men as mindless, low brow consumers, whose only interests in life are to drink beer, ogle women that are way out of their league, and watch football on TV all day. In everything from commercials to sitcoms, and even TV dramas, men are overwhelmingly depicted as primal in nature, with very basic needs revolving around food, sports, women and alcohol. Men are often shown standing in awe at some new product, speechless with jaws wide open, like... umm... duh...

It struck me as to how true this was. If you watch a lot of television (and I don't recommend it) you end up feeling like all men are Homer Simpsons.

via - Understanding Capitalism IV

Posted by Russell at 07:13 AM | Comments (0)

November 18, 2005

Are Men Necessary?

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd has a new book entitled, "Are Men Necessary?." The gist of the book, based on anecdotal experience and several studies, is that men prefer subservient, less-intelligent women as romantic partners. Women tend to be attracted to peers, men to subordinates. In fact, men in general, will avoid smart women because they are more likely to cheat on them. Hmmm....

The writer of the article below, Samantha Bonar, ponders the implications of this book. And, decides to update her personal ad, while reducing her vocabulary to only ten words to attract men. Funny or not? You decide...

via LA Times - Man Magnets

Posted by Russell at 06:31 AM | Comments (0)

November 17, 2005

Spousal Attack Is Still Rape

Yesterday, Mexico's supreme court delcared that forced sex within a marriage is rape. This is law in most countries but Mexico has only recently addressed this. India and Malaysia are examples of other countries that still don't recognize spousal rape in their laws. A significant statistic from the article below is from a government survey. They found "47 percent of all women report being the victims of either physical, emotional, sexual or economic violence...But 84 percent of those who are victims of domestic violence remain silent." Another interesting note from this article is that this decision was made with little debate, showing that attitudes are changing.

via New York Times (free registration required) - Mexican Court Says Sex Attack By a Husband Is Still a Rape

Posted by Russell at 11:15 AM | Comments (0)

November 16, 2005

Job Stress and Young Men's Arteries

The link between stress and heart disease, especially amongst men is not news. But this latest study is showing that younger men are affected by job stress - not just older men. Also there seems to be a gender-link in that women were also studied along with men. Women develop heart disease at a slower rate than men - according to this study.

via msnbc - Job Stress May Be Bad For Young Men's Arteries

Posted by Russell at 01:06 PM | Comments (0)

November 15, 2005

On Rape

Over at the weblog Feministe, there is a good collection of links to other women's weblog-thoughts on rape. It is sad to read that many of the old myths about rape still exist (namely that she encouraged it, and thus that men cannot control themselves). But one of the things I love about the internet and about the weblog medium is the fact that all of these "essays" can be collected together in one place. And, the comment section that follows is an example of a great dialogue on this issue that probably only happened, pre-weblogging, at conferences, at women's centers, or in small private groups. Now, anyone can read it.

Women Speak On Rape

Posted by Russell at 06:45 AM | Comments (0)

November 14, 2005

Father's Rights on "Breaking The Silence"

A few weeks ago I wrote about a PBS documentary on children affected by domestic violence. Preceeding and following the airing of this show, father's rights activists have been targeting it as a mis-representation of the "truth". The "truth" to them is that there is as much female-to-male domestic violence as male-to-female. And, this documentary - Breaking The Silence" is biased. The Countess' blog gives a great overview of the continued attack on this show by father's rights folks. She has also set-up a great site with links related to this documentary and the issues it raises. If you want to really know more about the true "truth" read-on.

Posted by Russell at 08:24 AM | Comments (0)

November 11, 2005

Judge Alito and FMLA

A quick post for Veteran's Day. Here is an interesting post at the blog of Angry Bear about Supreme Court nominee Judge Alito and his take on the Family and Medical Leave Act. Not only does it reveal more of Alito's take on women's rights but, as Angry Bear points out, it helps break down the stereotype that only conservative are for familly values.

via Angry Bear Family Values

Posted by Russell at 08:34 AM | Comments (0)

November 10, 2005

Gay Rights Victory

There were many little, but significant, victories for liberal folks to celebrate with this week's elections. One of these is Maine voter's choosing to uphold their state's gay-rights law. And, given recent recent political loses on this issue, this is important. We have been living through a period of time where so many moral and ethical issues have been put to the legal and political test - and many of these issues have been eroding toward a conservative end. Is the tide finally turning?

via - Maine Voters Turn Back Bid To Recind State's Gay-Rights Law

Posted by Russell at 07:19 AM | Comments (1)

10th Annual At-Home Dads Convention

Sorry I didn't know about this sooner....

10th Annual At-Home Dads Convention - Saturday, November 19th, Des Plaines, Illinois

Posted by Russell at 06:30 AM | Comments (0)

November 09, 2005

Juries Still Don't Believe Rape Victims

Below is an article about the issue of rape in the U.K. The number of rapes, it seems, has increased over the years but the number of convictions has decreased. Even after a documentary in the 1980's took a scathing look at how the police and court systems dealt with rape cases, and the issue was brought to the forefront, the underlying biases are still present.

via The Mirror - Why Won't Juries At Rape Trials Believe Women?

Posted by Russell at 06:57 AM | Comments (0)

November 08, 2005

Tough Bunnies

Playboy is clearly not a bastion of feminism. In fact it is quite the opposite. But Playboy has kind of constructed itself as more "thoughtful" and sophisticated porn (though I am sure they don't use that last word). Well, a recent issue of the Journal of Popular Culture published a study of Playboy magazine over the last fifteen years. The researchers found that the text that goes with the photos has changed in tone over this time. Not that many read the text - perhaps that is why someone needed to do a study. Anyway, they found that the language has become more assertive and even aggressive. No longer are the Playboy Bunnies talking about being submissive and catering to a man's needs. Is this the effect of feminism? Are there feminist bunnies? Actually the answer is probably "yes", but I would bet anything that it is a well-thought out strategy by Playboy to cater to those buyers who feel more sophisticated and thoughtful buying Playboy than buying Hustler. In my mind, it is still about objectifying women - assertive language or not.

Below are some thoughts on the study via the Washington Post:

Tough Bunnies

Posted by Russell at 12:29 PM | Comments (0)

November 07, 2005

Third Annual Conference on The College Male

3rd Annual Conference on the College Male - at St. John's University
in Collegeville, Minnesota. The conference will begin with a pre-conference workshop on Friday evening, February 17th, 2006 and end with a post-conference workshop on Sunday, February 19th, 2006.

Posted by Russell at 11:39 AM | Comments (0)

Report From Roots to Wings

I returned this weekend from the first national conference on batterers intervention work in over ten years. I thought I would give a report on the conference that would focus on issues important to this site - namely the issue of can batterers change?, or more globally, can men change?

There were no specific workshops or large plenaries on this concept, but it was certainly much discussed in the question and answer portions of presentations and in between workshops, at lunches and dinners, or at the hotel bar in the evening.

The sense that I got was that there was an "old guard" of batterer intervention or battered women program providers that felt that work with batterers is strictly a function of the criminal justice system. These men committed a crime and they are providing a bit of a holding space while their victims are given a chance to leave the relationship. I am representing an extreme description here, but for some programs this is what the tone of their program seemed to be. The representatives of this perspective are the New York Model's Phyllis Frank and long-time battered women's advocate Barbara Hart.

The "old guard" was given more overt space at this conference. But, the more "respect-based" programs were given some space and were more vocal as the conference went on. Respect-based batterer intervention programs believe that their clients have the capacity to change - and, in general, that men can change. The concern with these programs is that they may be so supportive that they collude with client's violence. My estimation of the programs I saw is that they all take the safety of the partners and ex-partners very seriously. And, they all provide an atmosphere where change is a possiblity. The programs that represent this perspective are Men Stopping Violence in Atlanta and my own Moving Forward program in Western MA.

I was happy to find that there seemed to be a healthy "disagreement" going on between these two perspectives. My hope is that in future conferences this disagreement will be more overt. I also hope that the more criminal justice-based programs will be willing to change their perspectives - because I truly believe that if we are to reduce if not end domestic violence, we need to believe in and encourage men who use violence to change.

Posted by Russell at 11:04 AM | Comments (0)

November 01, 2005

From Roots to Wings Conference

I will be away at the From Roots to Wings Conference on batterers intervention the rest of this week. So I won't be posting again until Monday the 7th....

Posted by Russell at 06:29 AM | Comments (0)

Marriage and Health

Here is an interesting article that is a look at The Consequences of Marriage for African Americans a comprehensive review of the most recent literature (since about 1990) on the subject. The study (put out by pro-marriage folks) finds:

Marriage promotes the economic, social, familial and psychological well-being of black men and women -- as it does for men and women generally. Marriage is wonderful for children, who turn out to be less trouble-prone than their peers from single-parent-households.

The economic benefits of marriage are more pronounced for black couples than for whites, more often keeping their families from slipping below the poverty line.

It also turns out that black women report worse health than unmarried women.

via Washington Post - Poor Marriages, Poor Health

Posted by Russell at 06:07 AM | Comments (0)

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