The Uncommon Man

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July 31, 2006

Native American Men's Code of Conduct

I wanted to share a wonderful Men’s Code of Conduct that was developed during a Native American Summit on Gender, Family, and Community Violence, held Oct. 12-13, 2005. This came to my attention via some postings on our listserve from Cliff Moore, Director of Washington State University Thurston County Extension, who worked on the summit’s planning committee, chaired, the Men’s Institute committee, and developed the Code with the participants.

Men's Institute Code Of Conduct

• I recognize that silence is not acceptable and that words alone are not enough, I must act.

• I will put my family first; before friends, community and even self. I will love, protect and provide for my family.

• I will model love and tenderness for my children, spouse/ partner, parents and community.

• I will work to make my home a place of safety and security for my family - A Sanctuary.

• I will be a positive role model for my own family, children and community.

• I commit to showing and sharing my emotions and feelings openly and honestly.

• I will acknowledge my own mistakes and learn from them.

• I am willing to say "I'm sorry" when I make a mistake; and I will show through my actions that I mean it.

• I am willing to learn, change and grow.

• I will act in a manner that is respectful of myself and others.

• I will celebrate my own history and culture, as well as those of others.

• I will be accountable for unearned male privilege and strive for gender equality and equity.

• I recognize that domestic violence is a community issue, affecting everyone, including men and generations to come.

• I will support the development of education across cultures regarding domestic violence as it relates to contemporary societal norms and laws.

• I will support community organizations that provide assistance to families, victims and perpetrators.

• I will help deliver the message that violence is never an appropriate means of communication or problem solving.

• I refuse to abuse.

With a spirit of love and hope, I affirm that I will live by this code, and that I will encourage others to adopt it as well.

Posted by Daniel at 11:32 AM | Comments (1)

July 27, 2006

Reproductive Labor - more than just giving birth

I recently heard a very insightful letter read on WAMC Northeast Public Radio. The letter was submitted by a woman named Wendy in response to The Roundtable Show’s poll question of the day concerning women, work and health.

The Roundtable’s producer and co-host, Susan Arbetter, was kind enough to forward the letter to me. Here it is:

Hi Susan & Joe,

In response to the poll question today on women, overwork and health: I, along with countless other women, resonate with this issue. I would like to move the conversation along in response to the agreement expressed between Susan and today's last caller that women are just worriers. I'd like to replace the concept of "worrying" (which sounds belittle-ish to me) and introduce a term used by historians of women: "reproductive labor." By that I mean more than just giving birth. I mean the work of reproducing families and societies. Setting aside the work of cleaning & maintaining homes for now, reproductive labor entails feeding people, maintaining their health (which includes caring for children and the sick and one's elders, making dental and hair care appointments for others and making sure they get to them), maintaining social networks (which includes remembering birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, going to weddings and funerals.)

Men can and often do many aspects of this work. But generally, in our society, women are in charge of this work. Often when men do any of the above-listed tasks, it is because it was delegated to them. But it is likely the woman who had it in her head (read: "worried about it") first.

Reproductive labor is vital to the reproduction of the labor force, of families, and of civil society. Much would collapse around us if this work were not done. It is not paid work, and it is done in, around and between the work women do for money. When you throw in a crisis, such as a lost job or other economic disaster, a divorce or a death, or a family member with an addiction, a deadly illness, mental illness, or a degenerative condition, the woman in charge of overseeing the health of everyone in that family takes on enormous stress.

In light of all this, it is really not a surprise that women who work not only for money but for extra hours are perhaps more driven than men are to overuse caffeine, over-eat, and find it extremely difficult to get exercise and other health-promoting practices done for themselves.

One of the things I have learned over the years of being a woman who takes her reproductive labor seriously, and who also works for money, is that although it is counter-intuitive, care of one's own health is necessary. Precisely when it seems like one can least afford the time for a bath, a walk, a healthy meal, or that dental appointment, is just the time when it is needed. I have learned to trust that I am not in charge of everything and that if I 'stop the world' and get off for a while to take care of myself, I am better able to do all the kinds of work that matter to me, both paid and unpaid. Easier said than done. But learning the hard way a few times has shown me the truth in this, and motivated me. I do take the walk, the bath, the time to talk to a friend, an early bedtime, or even a breakfast out so someone can bring me food for a change.

I really believe you should do an in-depth feature on this. It belongs outside the confines of a show like "51 per cent" (though I love that show). It belongs in the mainstream of conversation. What do you think?


Posted by Daniel at 10:45 AM | Comments (0)

July 25, 2006

Movement of Men against AIDS in Kenya (MMAAK)

MRI has recenty been in touch with Movement Of Men Against Aids in Kenya (MMAAK). This is a committed and courageous organization that shares many goals and values with MRI.

Following is some infomration from their Web site:

The Movement of Men against AIDS in Kenya (MMAAK) is a Non Governmental Organization supporting men infected and affected by HIV/AIDS in Kenya. The idea of the movement come about as the need of engaging more men in HIV/AID programmers was identified in 1999. HIV/AIDS was then declared a National disaster by the then president Daniel Arap Moi in Mombasa, MMAAK wanted to support Men for them to Make a Difference.

Our values are based on the realization that Men MUST be involved, and contribute in the fight against HIV/AID: they must take the lead role: must assume the responsibility.

To strive to build a society in which men infected and affected with HIV/AID, engang and greatly participate in Prevention, Care and Support for an AIDS free Kenya.

Mission Statement
To involve all men from all segment of life in society in the greater participation in HIV Prevention, trough Mobilization, formation of Networks and Strategic alliances, Capacity strengthening, provision of information for behavioral change and provision of care and support for men infected and affected while striving to challenge social and cultural stereo types hinder progress in the fight against HIV/AID.

Posted by Daniel at 03:04 PM | Comments (0)

July 20, 2006

Prominent Arizona Men Launch Domestic Violence Prevention Effort

Men's Initiative for Jane Doe published an article this spring about a new men's initiaive involving 55 high-profile Arizona men, including University of Arizona Head Coaches Lute Olson and Mike Stoops, and Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup.

The Men's Anti-Violence Partnership of Southern Arizona has 55 Founding Members - all prominent male business, community and government leaders. These men were motivated to join for many reasons, including the facts that one-third of girls younger than age 18 are sexually abused and one out of every six adult women is raped. The majority of this violence against women and girls is committed by men, but most men are not violent.

Introducing the Partnership, Center Against Sexual Assault board member Ime Archibong said, "The Men's Anti-Violence Partnership of Southern Arizona is a giant step forward in the prevention of sexual violence and domestic violence. Building on past community achievements, it engages men as part of the solution instead of blaming them for being the problem." Board member Rafael Guerrero continued, "We're working with some of the most well-known and respected men in our community to drive home the message that violence against women and girls is not OK and won't be tolerated."

Read the entire article.

Via MIJD Community News Website of Men's Initiative for Jane Doe Inc.

Posted by Daniel at 03:11 PM | Comments (1)

July 19, 2006

Baseball's Challenge: Teaching What Not to Hit

Here is an excerpt from an editorial written by Men's Resource Center for Change's executive director, Rob Okun. It was written in response to an alleged domestic abuse incident involving Brett Myers, star pitcher for the Phillies, and this wife, Kim.

What was going in the minds of Philadelphia's management--not to mention Major League Baseball--that 36 hours after being accused of throwing his wife around Myers was allowed to throw against the Red Sox in a nationally televised game? Apparently not much.

The club's empty-headed duck and cover statement read in part, "Out of respect for the privacy of both Kim and Brett Myers, the Phillies will not comment until the matter is resolved by the court." Translation: By our silence, we're saying we consider our economic investment in our prized pitcher more important than the health and well being of the mother of the three-year-old child he fathered.

Read the whole editorial

Posted by Daniel at 08:57 AM | Comments (1)

July 17, 2006

Taliban Attacks on Afghan Girls' Schools Increase

Steven Botkin called my attention to this alarming article published on the Femininst Majority Foundation's website.

A selection from the article follows as well as a link to take action by contacting your Senators and Representatives.

Daily News Wire
July 12, 2006
Taliban Attacks on Afghan Girls' Schools Increase

Taliban militia bombings, burnings of girls' schools, and the killing of teachers are increasing at an alarming rate as the Taliban resurgence continues to gain strength. Ahmed Rashid, a well known author and expert on the Taliban recently wrote in the Washington Post that "...every single day somewhere in Afghanistan a girls' school is burned down or a female teacher killed by the Taliban." Under the Taliban regime, education for Afghan women and girls was banned. Attacks on girls' schools began immediately following the reopening of the schools by the new Afghan government in 2002, but the current situation has reached crisis proportions undermining the rights that Afghan women and girls were just beginning to enjoy.

Read the entire article.

TAKE ACTION! Urge your senators and representatives to co-sponsor "The Afghan Women's Empowerment Act of 2006"

Posted by Daniel at 11:08 AM | Comments (0)

July 11, 2006

Fitness Survey

MRI was recently contacted by Beth Kathrins, a doctoral student doing research on fitness at TUI University in Caifornia. She especially needs input from men who belong to a gym (even if they never use it.) I took the online survey and it was short, easy and anonymous. So, if you're 18 to 64; living in the US; and belong to a gym/fitness center/health club, please help Beth with her research.

Her e-mail invitation is below.


I am a doctoral student doing research on fitness. I am doing an online survey about exercise and people who belong to a gym/fitness center/health club. This is a research study to learn what people do who belong to a gym (even if they never use it) and why. For example, does your activity level meet national recommended levels? Fitness is very important to men's health and there is still so much that we do not know about exercise and men's sedentary life styles.

This research is about anyone who is: age 18-64; living in the US; a member of a gym (even if you never use it.)

Please fill out this survey at:
-it only takes 10 minutes.
-it will help you think about your exercise
-it will help in understanding health and wellness in the U.S.
-it's completely anonymous/no spam/no record of your e-mail address.

Thank you SO very much for your help,
Beth Kathrins, PT, MS, ABD
Researcher, Physical Therapist

Posted by Daniel at 12:28 PM | Comments (0)

July 07, 2006

Men on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

Here is a selection from an astute essay on shifting gender roles. It’s actually from Interlitteraria, a Central and Eastern European Library, but I stumbled across it on man-o-pause (surely the most clever name for a blog ever created.)

To view the post on man-o-pause, click here.

"Although mental breakdowns have traditionally been associated with women, men are increasingly facing an identity crisis as norms prescribed to them are no longer in harmony with the contemporary world. It is time for men to come to an understanding that they, too, have gender. Up to now masculinity has largely been defined in negative terms, as something that is not feminine. Thus, changes in the roles of women should have been accompanied by changes in the roles of men.

That, however, has not happened. Suzanne Franks argues “that as women’s identities have broadened and encroached upon male territory, instead of swapping and merging of identities, men moved further into the traditional heartland of male identity — the drinking, shagging, sporty stereotype” (Franks 1999: 167).

The re-appearance of emphatically masculine superheroes and sexist stereotypes in recent popular culture indicates a frenzied attempt to quell the anxiety. The violent and often irrational counter-reaction to the women’s advancement and, especially, feminist movement eloquently speaks of male insecurity — men sure of their own identity would not have to fear women but welcome more equitable and harmonious co-operation with them.[...]"

Rail Poldsaar
Interlitteraria author

Posted by Daniel at 11:56 AM | Comments (0)

July 06, 2006

Shocking t-shirts

Here's a recent blog entry that calls attention to offensive and damaging t-shirts worn (mostly by men, of course) under the guise of irreverent humor.

The t-shirt: It’s about half-way between a bumper sticker and a tattoo.’ve got something that says “this is what I think is cute/funny/cool.”

...lately there have been a growing number of people and companies cashing in on misogynist, homophobic, and racist “humor” meant to be funny or worse yet, rebellious and gutsy. ...for men, the passive-aggressive sexual aggression to women whether in t-shirt form with something like this or in street harassment with “cat-calls” and lewd sexual gestures, the patriarchy of men’s control and power over women is reinforced yet again.

The examples he gives are a bit shocking. Good.

Posted by Daniel at 10:17 AM | Comments (0)

July 05, 2006

The Weaker Sex?

Click here for great commentary posted on Feministe regarding a NYTimes opinion about the unique challenges of men's health.

Jill from Feministe writes:

I have to admit, this article made me shake my head, if only because it’s a nice reversal of centuries of “medical fact” which proved that women are weak and naturally inferior to men. The difference, of course, is that those misconstrued “facts” were (and still are) used to justify and reinstate oppression and misogyny, where as I doubt anyone will use this to explain why men shouldn’t be in positions of power.

The rest of the article was largely apologist BS....

Here's an excerpt from the NYTimes article:

Even when a boy manages to be born, he’s still behind the survival eight ball: he is three to four times more likely than girls to have developmental disorders like autism and dyslexia; girls learn language earlier, develop richer vocabularies and even hear better than boys. Girls demonstrate insight and judgment earlier in adolescence than boys, who are more impulsive and take more risks than their sisters. Teenage boys are more likely to commit suicide than girls and are more likely to die violent deaths before adulthood.

Posted by Daniel at 07:38 AM | Comments (0)

July 04, 2006

Washington Post Article on Black Men

Russell drew my attention to this provocative article from the Washington Post that begins:

Six in 10 black men said their collective problems owe more to what they have failed to do themselves rather than "what white people have done to blacks." At the same time, half reported they have been treated unfairly by the police, and a clear majority said the economic system is stacked against them.

Also interesting is this commentary from Rachel S. on ALAS (a blog).

I hope everyone has a safe and fun Independance Day.

Posted by Daniel at 12:21 PM | Comments (0)

July 03, 2006

Founding Fathers: Re-defining Father's Day

Great article and program from Family Violence Prevention Fund.

Founding Fathers 2006: Thousands of Men Are Re-defining Father’s Day
June 19, 2006

On Father's Day, June 18th, 2006, thousands of men across America came together to declare their support for an end to violence against women and children.

Through individual donations, participation in the New York Times Father's Day Declaration, involvement in the Macy's/Oakland A's 5K Father’s Day Fun Run, and individual signatures to the Founding Fathers Declaration online, men from all walks of life and the families that love them joined together to once again say, "No more" to violence against women and children.

Even though Father's Day has past, it is never too late to join this band of courageous men.

Click here to add your name to the list and become a Founding Father, or to honor a man in your life.

Posted by Daniel at 10:17 AM | Comments (0)

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