The Uncommon Man

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December 30, 2005

A Poem For The End Of The Year

As this is the last post of 2005, I thought this poem would be appropriate. It is from a member of Men Against Violence Against Women in Trinidad:

LET US BUILD A PEACEFUL SOCIETY
By David Law.

WHEN MEN AND WOMEN DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE POWER OF THE EQUATION
SUBTRACTION WILL ALWAYS BE A DISTRACTION
SUPERIORITY MORE OFTEN THAN NOT BREEDS INSECURITY
PLEASE LET US BUILD A PEACEFUL SOCIETY.

WHEN FAMILY VALUES ARE NOW AN ENDANGERED SPECIES
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE STATISTICS JUST A SERIES IN AN EVOLVING MORASS
FORGET THE RACE, JUMP OUT OF YOUR CLASS
LET US BUILD A PEACEFUL SOCIETY.

WHEN SOME OF OUR CHILDREN ARE HOLDING THIS NATION TO RANSOM
CRIME DRUGS VIOLENCE JUVENILE DELINQUENCY MAY NOT GO AWAY EASILY
BLAME IT ON PARENTAL FAILURES, POLITICAL MISERIES
STILL LET US BUILD A PEACEFUL SOCIETY.

WREN OUR WOMENFOLK ARE TOKENLY HONOURED AND APPRECIATED
GENDER IMBALANCES ARE IMPREGNATED IN OUR CULTURAL PSYCHE
DISMANTLE ALL BARRIERS, ADOPT AN ALL INCLUSIVE PHILOSOPHY
SO WE CAN BUILD A PEACEFUL SOCIETY.

WHEN POVERTY KNOWS NO REGION OR RACE
IT’S TIME FOR US TO SHARE A HUMANE SPACE
BUILD ON SOCIAL CAPITAL, PROMOTE ECONOMIC STABILITY
LET US BUILD A PEACEFUL SOCIETY.

WHEN OUR HOMES HAVE BEEN RIPPED APART BY MORAL AND SPIRITUAL DECAY
AND THE ONUS IS ON OUR WOMENFOLK TO KEEP THINGS AT BAY
PRAY FOR OUR MOTHERS, OUR SISTERS TO COPE
THEIR ONLY AMMUNITION, FAITH AND HOPE
WE MUST BUILD A PEACEFUL SOCIETY.

WHEN MEN ABSCOND, TRUE FATHER FIGURES STILL TO BE FOUND
SINGLE PARENTING BECOMES AN ADVERSARY
THE SILENT RAGE OF A GENERATION, IS MORE THAN A TRAGEDY
MEN LET US BUILD A PEACEFUL SOCIETY.

WHEN POLITICIANS PONTIFICATE AND LEGISLATE ON SOCIAL VALUES
PROVIDING ONLY SHORT TERM ECONOMIC CLUES
THE ROAD TO SOCIAL STABILITY IS LONGER THAN FINANCIAL PRUDENCY
LET US BUILD A PEACEFUL SOCIETY.

WHEN HOUSEWIVES ARE NOT ACCEPTED AS HOME MANAGERS
A PERFECT HOME WILL ALWAYS BE A MYTH
GREATER INCOME BUT NO POWER SHARING
IS NOT THE STRUCTURE FOR SOCIAL FAMILY PLANNING
AVOID THE TENSIONS, DO A FEASIBILITY
LET US BUILD A PEACEFUL SOCIETY.

WHEN WE AS A PEOPLE BECOME VOID OF RACE, CLASS, COLOUR
AND UNITE WITH ONE VIGOUR
TO ERADICATE THE SCOURGES THAT LIMIT OUR POWER
BUILDING A PEACEFUL SOCIETY
WILL NO LONGER BE A DREAM, BUT A PRACTICAL REALITY
PEACE, LET US SHARE THE PROCESS.


Happy New Year!

Posted by Russell at 10:56 AM | Comments (1)

December 29, 2005

Where Have All The Men Gone?

The trend since the late 1970's is that the number of young women attending college has surpassed that of young men. At that time, that was a good trend. Since then, that trend has become a widening gap. The article below examines this alarming trend and how this may have come to be - a good look at the negative effects of male socializtion and sexism on the current generation of young men.

via Washington Post - Disappearing Act

Posted by Russell at 10:40 AM | Comments (0)

December 28, 2005

Sundown Towns

A new book has been released called Sundown Towns - A Hidden Dimension of American Racism, by James W. Loewen. It looks at the controversial claim that after Reconstruction some towns in the U.S. set themselves up as "white-only" communities. The title comes from signs that were often posted on the roads entering these towns as one did in Hawthorne, Calif., in the 1930s: "N*****, Don't Let The Sun Set On YOU In Hawthorne."

Apparently the book focuses on those communities that made a conscious effort to be "white-only". It does make me think about those communities that have on overt, but not clearly enforced "white-only" policy. I grew up in such a community: suburb of Boston, 1980's, all-white. I recall a black family moving into town when I was in junior-high school and moving out six-months later. No one said anything to me, but it was clear to me even then that they were made to feel uncomfortable. No signs at the city-limits, but same effect.

via Washington Post - Darkness on the Edge of Town

Posted by Russell at 09:50 AM | Comments (0)

December 27, 2005

Follow-Up: Man-Next-To-Child Ban

About a month ago, I posted a link to a story about a New Zealand airline that would ask men to move to another seat instead of sitting next to an unaccompanied child. The reason: "60 to 90 percent" of sexual offenders are men. Well, it seems that this trend is growing:

via Hawkes Bay Today - Origin Pacific May Also Adopt Man-Next-To-Child Ban

Posted by Russell at 08:36 AM | Comments (1)

December 23, 2005

The Color of Love

An essay on ethnicity and the men's movement to end violence against women:

The Color of Love
César Alvarado

You are in the Deep South; the year is 1913. While walking into an old public building in search of water you see two water fountains. Above one, the cleaner one, a bold sign states, “Whites Only.” Above the other, a sign stating, “Colored Only”. Which one can you use? Which one do you use?

The Jim Crow Era fountain picture came to mind when I first heard the term “people of color” at a Family Violence conference. Moreover, it pops up again and again every time I hear the term.

I have worked in the progressive Movement to End Men’s Violence Against Women and Children in several parts of the country. For instance, I have been and continue to be a piece of grassroots organizations and institutions in the forefront of the Movement. My work has blessed me with deep conversations in the midst of all kinds of people. Various aspects of accomplishing the work like the dynamics and foundations of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault and the Intersectionality of Oppressions have been discussed. These profound conversations have been with women, men, teens, Christians, atheists, Muslims, gays, transgenders, heterosexuals – people from various ethnicities, and an assortment of others.

I believe the last named identifier, ethnicity, is the key when speaking about the term people of color. Personally, I identify as a young Chicano on a spiritual path. I also identify as a poet, partner, son, brother, Tejano, friend, and the list could go on. If you challenge yourself to think about your identity you can more than likely come up with at least 14 adjectives. Sadly, the term people of color only focuses on one part of me, the color of my skin.

During the deep conversations mentioned earlier, I have spoken with others in the Movement about the term. Many of them are as uncomfortable with it as I am. They told me they hesitate when they hear it and stutter so slightly when they use it.

The term is easy and lazy. An Anglo American who chooses to use the term can lump all “others” into this category. How convenient for them. Not only are we being oppressed time after time by an Anglo American controlled world but we are also placed in the ‘non-Anglo American’ category so effortlessly. This term and others are vital tools of oppression. Furthermore, using the term people of color is stepping backwards into the Jim Crow Era of “colored people”. Does anybody know the difference between colored people and people of color? If you sincerely want to get in touch with me and other Latinos, Africans, Asians, Natives, Jews, and so forth, you have to know who we are, not only who we have been. More importantly, please do not categorize us as who we are not. For instance, not Anglo American or, in other words, not white.

All of us have color. White is a color just like brown, black, and the other colors. Surprise, my Anglo American colleague! You are a person of color. Besides, what about my sisters and brothers in the movement who are light-skinned? Where do they belong? I have heard them talking about struggling with being a light-skinned person of color in a people of color group. Should they be ostracized because they are not dark enough? More importantly, are they accepted into better positions because of their light skin?

Some of you may be saying, “What about the People of Color Institute, the Women of Color Network, and similar groups”? Others may be thinking, “What are we supposed to be called then or what do we call you”? Great! Let us ask and converse. However, please think about whom you really are and who you want to be. Do you want to be a color (some-thing) or do you want to be celebrated as some-one?

I truly believe that we in the Movement to end Men’s Violence Against Women and Children want and need to do better. We can gently demand that we be portrayed as the wonderful, complex beings that we are and resist being defined only by our color, whatever that color may be.

Ultimately, I am hoping this article will spark discussion about the use of the term people of color in and around the Movement. Will the women who lead us please chime in? The grassroots are growing and sending you a message. Do you want to have this discussion with us? I am confident the Movement will reach out welcoming arms to those of us who know they are more than a “colored person” drinking from one water fountain or the other. Let us drink from one … the color of love.

César Javier Alvarado was raised in San Juan, Tejas, within el Valle del Rio Grande, and weaned in Central Tejas. Inspirational guides have helped and continue to assist César in learning about the intersections of Family Violence and Sexual Assault. His experience has gifted him with working at grassroots organizations and institutions in the forefront of the Movement to End Men’s Violence Against Women, Children, and others. Currently, César is providing Consulting for organizations in and around the Movement and readying himself for his next occupational journey. He loves to write poetry, enjoy time with his partner, and play/listen to music which will help him remain grounded and committed to the Movement for the remainder of his life.

Posted by Russell at 11:19 AM | Comments (0)

December 22, 2005

New Translation of a Feminist Classic

In 1949, Simone de Beauvoir wrote the The Second Sex. It is considered a classic of feminism. The article below explores the possible mistranslations that may have impacted a great deal of the English versions. It also asks the question - even with a new translation, is this book still relevant today?

via New York Times (free registration required) - ESSAY: Lost in Translation

Posted by Russell at 09:33 AM | Comments (0)

December 21, 2005

Mr. Hetero

In Western Massachusetts, where I am based, there is a local news story that reflects a bigger issue. A local preacher is running a "Mr. Hetero" contest. On the surface, this preacher intends this to be "funny" event. But what this is really is an anti-gay event. Most blatantly of all the organizers are planning to have a man who was saved from his "gay-lifestyle" by Jesus. "No one ever has anything for heterosexuals", the preacher offers as a reason for having this event. Obviously he is unaware or ignores the fact that most things that have anything to do with sexuality assume heterosexuality. The article below describes some of the resistance he is encountering.

via Masslive - Straight Men's Contest Planned

Posted by Russell at 12:50 PM | Comments (0)

December 20, 2005

The Economy of Desire

Economist can calculate the cost of most anything, apparently. As the interesting article points out, below - they can cacluate the cost of eating a hamburger as opposed to eating a vegan meal (cost being calculated as the long-term effects of eating that hamburger). The article below focuses on the cost of sex (in the same manner as above, not with prostitutes). And, specifically the cost of sex when the AIDS crisis was at its nadir. The researchers, however, ended up making some realizations about sexual preference, in general:

In other words, sexual preference, while perhaps largely predetermined, may also be subject to the forces more typically associated with economics than biology. If this turns out to be true, it would change the way that everyone - scientists, politicians, theologians - thinks about sexuality. But it probably won't much change the way economists think. To them, it has always been clear: whether we like it or not, everything has its price.

via New York Times ( free registration required)- The Economy of Desire

Posted by Russell at 07:10 AM | Comments (0)

December 19, 2005

Boston Anti-Racism Media Watch

The website linked to below is not focused on gender or masculinity. But, I post it because it is an example of how I can see this website being used (with an international focus, though). This website is a developing project - adaptable to fit unmet needs. If you have any comments or suggestions, please e-mail me at: rbcarlin[at]hotmail.com.

Greater Boston Anti-Racism Media Watch

Posted by Russell at 09:32 AM | Comments (0)

Sexual Assault Conference in Georgia

2006 Sexual Assault Conference: “Circle of Hope: Reaching the Underserved of Georgia” Sponsored by: Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault - June 19-20th, 2006 Atlanta, GA
The hosts of this conference currently have a call for proposals. There is no website-link yet. But you can email for info at: arobertson@gnesa.org

Posted by Russell at 09:28 AM | Comments (0)

December 18, 2005

Conference: Violence - A Game For Men?

National Congress of the Mexican Academy of Gender Studies of Men Violence: A Game For Men? Guadalajara, Mexico - June 21-23, 2006.

Posted by Russell at 08:00 PM | Comments (0)

Job Announcement - Nevada

Job Announcement
NV Men Against Violence Project Coordinator
Nevada Coalition Against Sexual Violence (NCASV)

The NCASV, a statewide coalition of sexual assault programs, is seeking a full-time NV Men Against Violence Project Coordinator for
its Las Vegas-based office. The NV Men Against Violence Project
Coordinator, with the assistance of the NCASV Prevention Educator,
will develop, implement, and evaluate a statewide violence
prevention project that focuses prevention efforts on boys and men
as well as promotes the central concept of men taking responsibility
with other men to end violence against women. Primary
responsibilities will include:

• Coordinating a statewide prevention effort addressing the
roles of males in sexual violence prevention.

• Helping to establish and facilitate local gender-based
prevention programs that will engage boys and young men in ending
violence against women.

• Providing leadership, resources, and support to contracted
project partner organizations located across the state of Nevada.

• Providing technical assistance and training to other youth-
serving professionals and institutions statewide.

• Coordinating a statewide public awareness campaign.

• Overseeing grants and contracts with local project partner
organizations.

• Compiling and analyzing program data and creating reports as
well as managing program budget.

• Serving on committees and taskforces and engaging in other
activities such as speaking engagements and media interviews to
promote the message of the project and the mission of the NCASV.


The ideal candidate will possess a bachelor's degree or equivalent
in a related field and at least one year of experience working with
youth-serving professionals. Candidate must also be an excellent
public speaker, be efficient, organized, and able to prioritize in
the face of multiple tasks, as well as demonstrate an ability to
work independently and collaboratively. Familiarity with issues
related to gender-based violence prevention, masculinity, and men's
health also strongly preferred. Must be available for frequent
travel and work on some evenings and weekends.

The NCASV offers a competitive salary, a benefits package including
medical, dental, vision, and life insurance, and participation in a
403(b) plan. To apply send a cover letter, resume, and salary
requirements to Laurie Hackett, Executive Director, at
laurie@ncasv.org or by fax (702) 940-2032, by December 30, 2005.

The NCASV is an equal opportunity employer.

Posted by Russell at 07:55 PM | Comments (0)

December 16, 2005

Gender and Mortality

Today I am turning over the weblog to Michael Kimmel (sociologist and author who is highly respected for his work on men and masculinity). He has given me permission to re-print some comments on an article focusing on patriarchy and men's mortality rates:

This is a fascinating study of gender and mortality rates. On the one hand, it makes clear that, contrary to men's rights arguments, it is not feminist gains that are the source of the difference in mortality rates, but quite the contrary: it is male supremacy that leads to higher mortality for males.

On the other hand, it also suggests that the argument that gender equality is also in men's interests is not simply self-serving pabulum. While of course the ethical imperative alone should lead men to support gender equality, it's also nice to know that they'll live longer in countries that do.

And it also supports the claim that supporting gender equality is not simply a life-style issue, but a national one. It is not argued that individual men who support gender equality live longer, just that more gender equal nations have closed the mortality gap considerably. (Oh, and one more thing: there is no evidence that the closing gap is because women have "caught up" to men in stress related diseases etc. It's that BOTH women and men live longer.)

via JECH online - Is Patriarchy The Source of Men's Higher Mortality?


Posted by Russell at 06:34 AM | Comments (0)

December 15, 2005

Men's Right To Choose

I have recently been reading more about the issue of men's reproductive rights - should a potential father have say over an abortion. Some of this was sparked by an op-ed piece in the New York Times on December 1st (see via Covenant News below) by a man who found he had no say over an abortion that his pregnant girlfriend had. Richard Jeffrey-Newman, in his blog, gives what I feel is a good response to this article - namely - the issue of men's responsibility does not begin at conception but starts before having sex.

via Covenant News - A Man's Right to Choose Between Life and Death
via Richard Jeffrey Newman - Men's Right To Choose

Posted by Russell at 09:51 AM | Comments (0)

December 14, 2005

Boys Who Experience Violence May Suffer Later

Here is a study that proves, to me, the obvious. Yet, I do feel that it is important to "prove" the obvious sometimes. Researchers have found that boys who experience violence are more likely to grow up and suffer from depression and PTSD. They also were able to prove that these men don't grow up and have a higher number of sexual partners or more legal problems. The question that interests me which they weren't able to focus on - are these boys more likely to grow up to be domestic violence perpetrators - they couldn't ask about because they would have to report any acknowledgement of abuse.

via Family Violence Prevention Fund - Boys Who Experience Violence From a Parent May Suffer Later in Life

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

December 13, 2005

Study on Women's Health and Domestic Violence

The World Health Organization has just published a very comprehensive report on the connection between domestic violence and the health of woman world-wide. Here's the scope:

This report presents initial results based on interviews with 24 000 women by carefully trained interviewers. The study was implemented by WHO, in collaboration with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), PATH, USA, research institutions and women's organizations in the participating countries. This report covers 15 sites and 10 countries: Bangladesh, Brazil, Ethiopia, Japan, Peru, Namibia, Samoa, Serbia and Montenegro, Thailand and the United Republic of Tanzania. Report findings document the prevalence of intimate partner violence and its association with women's physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health. Data is included on non-partner violence, sexual abuse during childhood and forced first sexual experience. Information is also provided on women’s responses: Whom do women turn to and whom do they tell about the violence in their lives? Do they leave or fight back? Which services do they use and what response do they get? The report concludes with 15 recommendations to strengthen national commitment and action on violence against women. Data from the report show that violence against women is widespread and demands a public health response.

WHO Multi-country Study on Women's Health and Domestic Violence Against Women

Posted by Russell at 06:17 AM | Comments (0)

December 12, 2005

11th International Conference on Violence, Abuse and Trauma

11th International Conference on Violence, Abuse and Trauma - "Working together to end abuse." Town and Country Resort and Convention Center, San Diego, CA September 14-19, 2005.

Posted by Russell at 08:07 PM | Comments (1)

The Real Hot 100

Hugo's blog pointed out this interesting Feminist take on "hot" women, turning the concept on its ear. Here's the website's description:

The REAL hot 100 are young women who are smart, savvy, and actively trying to make the world a better place. They contradict the popular notion that sex appeal is all young women have to offer. The REAL hot 100 also highlights the important -- but often overlooked -- work young women are doing.
Hugo also pointed out that Men Stopping Violence has been running an internet campaign intent on highlighting men who use "strength" differently than the usual ways. I posted on this last week.

The Real Hot 100

Posted by Russell at 09:25 AM | Comments (0)

December 09, 2005

Beyond Beats and Rhymes

Here is a description about a documentary that sounds very interesting. I'll try to stay on-top of its airdate on PBS and alert you here:

Beyond Beats and Rhymes examines representations of manhood, sexism and homophobia in hip hop culture. Conceived as a "loving critique" of certain disturbing developments in mainstream rap music culture from a long-time hip hop head, Beyond Beats and Rhymes features highly revealing interviews with famous rappers such as Fat Joe, Chuck D, Jadakiss and Busta Rhymes, along with cultural commentary from Michael Eric Dyson, Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Kevin Powell, and Sarah Jones. The film also features on-the-street interviews with aspiring rappers, as well as interviews with young women at Spelman College and hip hop events. Beyond Beats and Rhymes is co-produced and edited by Sabrina Gordon and is executive produced by Stanley Nelson, the renowned documentary filmmaker (The Murder of Emmitt Till, Sweet Honey in the Rock: Raise Your Voice) and recipient of the MacArthur Foundation's Genius Award. The film has been funded by the Independent Television Service and the National Black Programming Consortium.

The 2006 Sundance Film Festival has selected Beyond Beats and Rhymes for this year's festival in Park City, Utah, January 19 - 29, 2006. After nearly five years of fundraising, research, pre-production, production, and post-production, my Thanksgiving holiday was filled with excitement and gratitude upon hearing this news Friday morning. This news comes on the heels of receiving word that the Emmy award-winning PBS series Independent Lens has also selected Beyond Beats and Rhymes for a national television broadcast. A PBS airdate has yet to be determined.

Posted by Russell at 07:50 AM | Comments (1)

December 08, 2005

Sleep Sex

In Ontario, Canada, a judge aquited a man of a sexual assault charge based on a rare disorder called "sexsomnia". Sexsomnia involves having sex while sleeping - thus being unconscious of what you are doing. Yet, another hurdle for victims of sexual assault and a potential excuse for rape.

News Story via Boston Globe - Ontario Mulls Appeal in Canadian Sexsomnia Case

News Story via CNews - It's Ruled Sleep Sex

Posted by Russell at 12:03 PM | Comments (0)

December 07, 2005

Men of Strength

This is about to be dated, but Men Can Stop Rape has been running a campaign this year, to "counter" the stories of men who perpetrate violence and abuse. One aspect of their campaign is to publish descriptions of "men of strength", or in their words:

Read the submissions from people all over the country honoring men in their life who represent a masculinity based on true respect, a sense of community and connection, and a commitment to equity.
Check it out, via Men Can Stop Rape - Show Your Strength

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

December 06, 2005

Rape and A Reasonable Doubt

A disturbing court case in Oregon may provide another psychic hurdle for women to report being raped. A young woman reported being gang-raped by four men. The case was dropped because the stories amongst the five involved were so different it would be hard to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecution and the defense agreed on this. The disturbing part is that the defense has now turned around and sued the victim for filing a false statement. She was convicted and fined. If both sides agreed to drop the case because it was difficult to determine the truth of the situation, why would the prosecution sue and why would the judge convict?

via Washington Monthly - Standard of Proof

Posted by Russell at 07:01 AM | Comments (0)

December 05, 2005

Men Shop Like They Are Going to War

Here is an odd bit of news ephemera - a study by internet retailers regarding the online shopping habits of men and women. The long and short of it is "men are on a mission and women are on an exploration". In other words, according to this site (a internet retail site) it is just like in the "real" world - men go at things with a single-minded purpose and women are more willing to think expansively - let one idea (or in this case the search for a piece of clothing) lead them to something completely different.

One thing in this brief article sounded like a purposed plan for war. Perhaps there is a connection:

Men shop online just like they shop offline - they look for something, they find it and they get out.

via Internet Retailer - Men are on a mission

Posted by Russell at 12:05 PM | Comments (0)

December 02, 2005

Response to the American Prospect Article

There has been a lot of response to the American Prospect article on why half of women who graduate from elite colleges choose to parent full-time. I wrote about it the other day. Here are links to some responses - well worth checking out: Half-Changed World, Alas (A Blog), and Rebel Dad

Posted by Russell at 06:14 AM | Comments (0)

December 01, 2005

Blog Against Racism

I have just learned that today is Blog Against Racism Day. I had another entry written, but decided that I needed to honor this day. And, since this blog is more about linking to what others are saying (whether that be bloggers, scientists, journalists, etc), I will link to some interesting posts: Hugo Schwyzer and Pandagon

Posted by Russell at 12:25 PM | Comments (0)




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