Be a man or write like one

The Washington Post printed this op-ed in today’s edition (woo-hoo, here’s our 15% of the op-ed pie!):

The key to literary success? Be a man — or write like one.

This fall, Publishers Weekly named the top 100 books of 2009. How many female writers were in the top 10? Zero. How many on the entire list? Twenty-nine.

In my grad school thesis, written at 23, you’ll find young men coming of age, old men haunted by war, Oedipus complexes galore. If I’d learned nothing else, it was this: If you want to be a great writer, be a man. If you can’t be a man, write like one.

I couldn’t even read the comment section – which I often do – for fear of the scathing comments. I’ll appreciate this for what it is – an honest look at bias in a section often dominated by men (op-eds) in one of the most widely-read papers in the country. Yeah!

On a related note, here’s a few posts about a woman who posed as a male blogger – and earned more money:

Man with pen is actually a woman

If I had been a god and not a goddess

James Chartrand’s constructed masculinity goes far beyond the pen name

Sexual abuse in the military

Here’s a great article in the New York Times about sexual abuse in the military –

A Peril in War Zones – Sexual abuse by fellow G.I.’s

Here are some quotes from the article:

“A woman in the military is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire in Iraq,” Representative Jane Harman, a Democrat from California, said at a Congressional hearing this year…

Captain White said she had feared coming forward, despite having become increasingly despondent and suffered panic attacks, because she was wary of she-said-he-said recriminations that would reverberate through the tightknit military world and disrupt the mission. Despite the military’s stated “zero tolerance” for abuse or harassment, she had no confidence her case would be taken seriously and so tried to cope on her own, Captain White said.

At least 10 percent of the victims in the last year were men, a reality that the Pentagon’s task force said the armed services had done practically nothing to address in terms of counseling, treatment and prosecution.

The military can no more eradicate sexual abuse than can society in general, but soldiers, officers and experts acknowledge that it is particularly harmful when soldiers are in combat zones, affecting not only the victims but also, as the military relies more than ever on women when the nation goes to war, the mission.

If they want to, the women can now seek medical treatment and counseling without setting off a criminal investigation. And all the services have started educational programs to address aspects of a hierarchical warrior culture that some say contributes to hostility toward women.

Domestic violence deniers

Here’s a great article by Corey Pein in the Santa Fe Reporter. I’ve often asked, is she a liar or is he a denier? The stereoptype that women lie for malicious reasons is deeply embedded in our society (and certainly the Fathers Rights groups capitalize on this).  How many know that denial is the trademark of an abuser? Why do we minimize a couple’s conflict into a “he said/she said” when the repurcussions of the conflict can end in permanent injury or even death?

Many in the Fathers Rights groups mimic abusers – they minimize, rationalize or call domestic violence mutual. They use research that is based on self report to call attention to female-initiated violence. The data they use does not capture the context of abuse (was it self defense, for example) nor does it capture severe abuse, violence during separation (the highest point of danger for women), or homicide. Females do use what’s called Common Couple Violence – throwing things, hitting, slapping. Females, however, are far more likely to be seriously injured or killed by their partner than males are.

The Fathers Rights groups also claim women are more likely to abuse their children. This data, actually, is based on households – including those led by single mothers. When males and females are compared equally, males are more likely to commit child abuse – and again, it is more severe and fatal. Men are more likely to kill babies in shaken baby syndrome. They are also overwhelmingly the ones to commit child sexual abuse. I do not deny women abuse children – I simply believe facts should be used – not propaganda like that coming from the angry men that make up the Fathers Rights groups. It’s not constructive.

They also attack the Violence Against Women Act. Funny, because VAWA’s biggest success is probably that the rate of women killing men has gone down drastically. Why? Because these women, many of whom were abused, can go to a shelter rather than kill their abuser. They also want to limit restraining orders and punish women for false allegations (which means not producing enough witnesses or evidence).  They’ve sued shelters and stopped funding for pro-bono legal help for women.

It’s clear what their agenda is: remove protection for women and children. Until they acknowledge the seriousness of domestic violence, we will be at a stalemate. They will be angrily chipping away at safety measures for women and children. We will be left, with the few resources we do have, to clutching the few measures we do have that protect us from domestic harm. Domestic violence has only been recognized publicly for 4 decades – laws, especially regarding marital rape, are still evolving. At its infancy, it’s being attacked.   

Man up by Corey Pein

Badvertising

It’s been a busy week for bad ads.

Here’s a “men wear the pants” ad from Dockers:

Dockers

Here’s 2 posts relating to the Docker’s ad:

Bitch

Echidne of the Snakes

Step away from the salad and get your hands dirty? Is that really the message Dockers wants to send men. Um, salad bars will be way more helpful than slamming back some beers, smoking he-man Marlboro reds and eating wings at Hooters anyday! Men suffer from heart attacks, suicide, shorter life spans and violence — all due in some form or another from masculinity roles! Is that what Dockers wants for men? (I’m afraid to know what it wants for women.)

And here’s another bad ad from Burger King:

Burger King

And…PETA is looking for an African American or mixed race actor for there next video, exploiting women:

craigslist

Here’s their video from last year, in which a woman takes off her clothes – for what? – to protest animal cruelity, of course! There doesn’t have to be a link with female nudity, does there?

State of the Union Undress

What I want to know is: Where is the People for the Ethical Treatment of WOMEN?!

To ralph or not to Ralph…that is the question

ralph (rālf)  
intr.v.   ralphed, ralph·ing, ralphs Slang
To vomit.

Darryl Roberts, as discussed in the Huffington Post, suggests we boycott Ralph Lauren over the riduculously distorted images of women’s bodies. Read the Huff Post article here: Ralph Lauren boycott

View Darryl Roberts Web site here: America the Beautiful

I say we should boycott all fashion that distorts the female body or uses soft porn. American Apparel, in a recent free weekly paper, used a ballerina in a full split wearing a thong. The sexually-harassing-spandex-loving-soft-porn-using manufacturer should be boycotted. This is one instance where I’d suggest: Don’t Buy American!!

Holiday Beatings

Here’s an interesting article citing research on the increase in domestic violence seen over the holidays:

Domestic violence calls rise on Thanksgiving

A recent study by researchers at the University of California at Berkeley and UC San Diego documented police calls about partner violence, taking note of particular holidays. They found a 22-percent increase on Thanksgiving; a 17-percent increase on Christmas; a 32-percent spike on New Year’s Eve; and a 28-percent hike on the Fourth of July, among other holidays.

The study, paid for by a grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s major finding was an 8-percent increase in partner violence as a result of an upset loss in an NFL football game.

Modern-day slavery

Despite laws, reports the NY Times, few perpetrators of sexual slavery are arrested. Some police officers aren’t digging for information when they arrest prostitutes and some are making arrests for prostitution rather than trafficking in order to push their caseloads through.

Despite tough laws, few are arrested for sex trafficking

 A federal law passed in 2000 with life prison penalties has resulted in 196 cases with convictions against 419 people, according to the United States Department of Justice.

The scale of those numbers contrasts starkly with the 14,500 to 17,500 people the State Department estimates are brought into the United States each year for forced labor or sex.

Now that we’ve got the laws (not all countries do), we must enforce them. It’s an outrage that slavery exists again in the ‘modern’ world.