J. Soltys's Weblog

March 30, 2009

Steve Harvey’s Book Just Doesn’t Add Up

men-and-women-symbolsI recently ran across an article posted within CNN’s website that originally appeared at Oprah.com. It seems multi-media entertainer Steve Harvey has written a book about relationships, but more importantly, a book that “empowers women” in relationships. And Oprah, who exclaims “she loves everything it has to say!” was eager to have Harvey on her show to talk about and promote his relationship secrets in his new book, “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man.”

An example of Harvey’s omnipotent gender and relationship savvy can be found in comments like this:

When a man approaches a woman, he already knows what we wants from her, but he doesn’t know what it will cost. “How much time do you want from me? What are your standards? What are your requirements? Because we’ll rise to the occasion no matter how high you set the bar if we want to. The problem is, women have stopped setting the bar high.

Yeah, right Steve.

I’ve grown weary of observing many forms of media that have cultivated a belief that female romantic hardships is always the result of irresponsible men.

For example, he claims if women are to be blamed, it is only for not demanding more from their men. He is afraid to blame women on the same level as men, allowing the mythical purity of the female gender’s reputation – inherently good people who just make bad decisions – remain intact. His advice for women is delivered with compassion and understanding.
However, for the male population, Harvey’s assessment is different. Men are perceived to be inherently cunning, manipulative, and always assessing the relationship as a game of risk vs. reward, extending themselves only if there is something in it for them. Consequently, it is men and their behavior which ultimately is responsible for being the source of relationship troubles, and Harvey advises women to be cautious observers of men and their actions, or they will get stuck with one of the many “bad ones” out there.

Harvey proclaims:

Without ironclad standards, you’ll always end up back in the dating pool. “You’ve got to quit lowering your standards,” he says. “Set your requirements up front so when a guy hooks you, he has to know this is business.”
And don’t let the man set the pace of the relationship — Harvey says it’s always the woman who has total control. “With all that power, why do you suddenly relinquish this power just because you want a guy to accept you? That’s stupid,” he says. “Say: ‘Look, if you want to be with me, this is what you got to do. This is what it takes to get to me.'”

Sorry, but I find his advice pathetic. First, it is extremely sexist. The historical foundation of the women’s movement was to establish equality with men on every level, not dominate them. Women having total power and control in a relationship is just as dangerous as the man having total control and power in a relationship. Human beings, when given complete control over other human beings, will always abuse that power. Given that Harvey is African-American, you’d think he’d understand what a dangerous mentality he is advocating.

Also, he’s contradicting himself. He’s advising women not to relinquish any power to men, which translates to, do not capitulate to the needs of men. Women should demand what they want with no exceptions.
So I’m confused. Is Harvey  just asking the men and women to change roles? Or Is he saying women shouldn’t lower their standards (demands) to meet the needs of men, but the men should lower their standards (demands) to meet the needs of women? Or is he admitting that men are inherently better at choosing mates than women, hence the title, Act Like a Woman, Think Like a Man? Or is he advocating  a “two wrongs make a right” mentality?

I’m not sure, but even if I try to accept Harvey’s advice as having some credibility, I can’t get past a nagging problem. In the name of equality, doesn’t it beg the question that men are entitled to set a female partner standard also? If women must raise their standards to catch a good man, consequently, shouldn’t it also be true that men have to raise their standards to find a good woman? Or again, are men inherently better at choosing female partners and do not need to be educated and empowered with this ability?

The more I thought about Harvey’s advise,  the more I found it confusing, contradictory, and sexist towards both men and women.

Realisticly, in relationships, if neither one is willing to accept give and take, this behavior evolves into a “pissing contest”, which only ensures frustration and confrontation for both men and women. Also, most authors of those who have researched and written books on dating find that setting standards too high for a potential mate when dating is something both men and women are guilty of.

Now the real kicker

In the article, Harvey goes on to give more advice that is hard on the common sense factor. Not everything he says about men is negative, but it is not all positive either.

However, I feel ANY advice he gives is should be suspect.  Why? Harvey is not the epitomy of a relationship expert. Anyone considering buying Harvey’s “how to book” should know he is on his third marriage already.
And the consumer should also know that according to the Smoking Gun, Harvey’s former wife, Mary, filed a lawsuit against him in 2007. In that complaint, she accused Harvey of:

“adultery, his abandonment of some of his children, his poor and neglectful parenting of the parties’ child, and physical and mental abuse.”

And she claims she was, “severely shortchanged when it came to alimony, division of community property, and child support.”

Now being an advocate for men’s issues – with false accusations by women in divorce a disturbing topic for me – I am not going to say Harvey is guilty of the claims made by his former wife. He claims the allegations by his former wife are false, which I will assume he discards as accusations by a bitter, angry woman.
But I will say I find it extremely uncomfortable that a man who has these allegations against him, along with the fact that he is into his third marriage, would write a book to empower women in relationships. Obviously the guy struggles with women and relationships, so how does he have the audacity to write a book on the subject matter?

So let’s pause: Harvey has been married three times and divorced twice. One of his former wives has filed allegations of adultery, abandonment of his children, neglectful parenting, and physical and mental abuse, all of which he denies. So he decides he has this infinite romantic wisdom, and decides to write a book to empower women about relationships?

Is he for real?

I mean over the years, the guy couldn’t empower himself to stay out of conflict with women, so how the hell is he going to educate women on how to avoid unneccessary conflicts with men”?

Wouldn’t it have made more sense for Harvey to write a book for men, explaining what he did wrong in these relationships, and offer advice to other men on how to avoid some of the mistakes he made? After three marriages, and what he claims are false accusations, wouldn’t his advise on how men can avoid these issues have more relevence than an empowerment book for women? 
Wouldn’t that have been the masculine thing to do instead of writing a book that disparages men and their behavior, and assiduously applies comfort and false bravado to women?

If I may play the role of a psychologist for a moment, and offer my opinion, I would postulate that Harvey wrote this book out of some unresolved guilt he has been harboring for some time now about his behavior and/or actions towards women in his past. In other words, I think Harvey subconsciously wrote this book as an effort to help him deal with his dark side, a side we all carry with us. In order to assuage the guilt he carries for his past behavior, he transfered that behavior on to all men, and wrote the book to help empower women from falling victim to men like himself.

Fortunately, most men are not like Harvey.

So ladies, in these tough economic times, save yourselves a few bucks.

 

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November 18, 2008

Male Artists Sexist? Females Need To Look In Mirror

media-violence1

It’s hard for me to continue taking the claims of sexism and derogatory images of women in modern music when I look at the negative and derogatory images towards men proliferating in music by female artists.

I previously wrote how country female stars have written songs provoking violence towards men, and how society rewards them with awards and accolades.
Carrie Underwood won a Country Music Award for her song Next Time He Cheats which tells the story of a woman scorned by a cheating partner, and how she “got even” by committing a criminal and violent act towards his property – something domestic violence prevention advocates warn is the sign of a typical intimate abuser. But Underwood was not criticized for using domestic violence as a form of entertainment, she was rewarded for it.
And just recently, Underwood was quoted as saying having a dog is better than having a man.

Miranda Lambert was a nominee this year for her song Gunpowder and Lead which tells the story about another woman who deals with a cheating partner, but who also claims to have been slapped a few times by him. Her solution – kill him! The song is loaded with an overdose of female empowerment through the use of violence and murder towards an intimate partner. Yet again, DV prevention advocates are silent, and again, society rewards a female artist for her song of hate and violence towards men.

When my daughter asked me recently if she could by a song on iTunes, I took a glance at what songs were being promoted on the iTune site.
I noticed the new song by Britney Spears called Womanizer. In this song, Spears is filled with chest thumping female bravado as she tells some guy how she can see right through him; he’s just a womanizer.
Here’s a sample of the lyrics:

You can play brand new to
All the other chicks out here
But I know what you are
What you are, baby

Fakin’ like a good one
But I call ’em like I see ’em
I know what you are
What you are, baby

Womanizer, woman-womanizer
You’re a womanizer
Oh, womanizer, oh
You’re a womanizer, baby

You, you, you are
You, you, you are
Womanizer, womanizer
Womanizer

Amazing that Spears would have the nerve to sing this song, considering in real life she began dating Kevin Federline – her former husband – while he was involved with another woman who was pregnant with his child at the time.

I then I saw on iTunes a song called If I Were A Boy, by Beyonce Knowles. This song is an expression of how a woman assumes what the life of a man is like. It is extremely derogatory, negative, and sexist towards men.
Here’s a sample of the lyrics:

If I were a boy
Even just for a day
I’d roll outta bed in the morning
And throw on what I wanted then go
Drink beer with the guys
And chase after girls
I’d kick it with who I wanted
And I’d never get confronted for it.
Cause they’d stick up for me.

[Chorus]
If I were a boy
I think I could understand
How it feels to love a girl
I swear I’d be a better man.
I’d listen to her
Cause I know how it hurts
When you lose the one you wanted
Cause he’s taken you for granted
And everything you had got destroyed

[Verse]
If I were a boy
I would turn off my phone
Tell everyone it’s broken
So they’d think that I was sleepin’ alone
I’d put myself first
And make the rules as I go
Cause I know that she’d be faithful
Waitin’ for me to come home (to come home)

[Chorus]
If I were a boy
I think I could understand
How it feels to love a girl
I swear I’d be a better man.
I’d listen to her
Cause I know how it hurts
When you lose the one you wanted (wanted)
Cause he’s taken you for granted (granted)
And everything you had got destroyed

But you’re just a boy
You don’t understand
Yeah you don’t understand
How it feels to love a girl someday
You wish you were a better man
You don’t listen to her
You don’t care how it hurts
Until you lose the one you wanted
Cause you’ve taken her for granted
And everything you have got destroyed
But you’re just a boy

If Beyonce wanted sing a song about what it’s like to be a man, then why didn’t she sing about real life issues facing men:

If I was a man, I’d have to accept the fact that I will be a victim of serious violence or murder by a ratio of 4 to 1 over women
If I was a man, I would suffer in school, worst than the girls, but watch the girls be perceived as “struggling”
If I was a man, the chance I could be homeless would be greater for me than for woman
If I was a man, the chance I would see my kids only on weekends is greater for me than for a woman
If I was a man, the chances are greater I will face a false accusation of domestic violence, child abuse, or rape
If I was a man, my violence would be perceived as that of a monster deserving emotionless justice, while a woman’s violence would be perceived as the result of mental illness, and deserving compassion
If I was a man, the chance I could be an innocent of a crime, but still convicted and sitting in prison is greater for me than for a woman
If I was a man, the chances of me being put to death for a crime is great, while extremely rare for a woman
If I was a man, I would have to hear women tell me how to be a better man, while if I told women how to be better women, I would be called sexist
If I was a man, I would have to hear women tell me how much better I have it, because I am a man

Maybe Beyonce chose this song and all its assumptions because it strokes her fragile ego. The realities of what it’s like to be a man would mean she would actually have to use intellect and compassion – the same characteristics women say men avoid when writing misogynist music.

I’ve come to the point where I’ve just about turned a deaf ear to the cries of women who complain about the harm done by men’s sexist music. I can’t continue to find cause for concern for their issue while these same women completely ignore the amount of sexist songs performed by females, and continue to easily dismiss them as harmless.

As I’ve written before, women passionately want men to stand beside them in an effort to stop the inequities and injustices women face in our society. But sadly, when the genders are reversed, the majority of these same women are quick to turn their back on the same type of inequities and injustices faced by men.

I guess one is left to assume this is the American women’s version of “equality”.

 

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November 13, 2008

Men’s Day At Community College

male-symbol2

If you live in the Chicago area, and want to explore some of the broad topics and interests in the area of men and father issues, then mark down November 23rd as your day.

Oakton Community College, located in Des Plaines Illinois, is hosting its annual Men’s Day with many guest speakers covering many topics of interest for men and fathers. Some of the topics include:

Getting Outside Your Comfort Zone with John Farrell. Healing is always about growing. Moving out of your “comfort zone” is essential to growth. This session will explain how to make that happen.

The Measure of a Man with Timothy Clark. Men face a variety of developmental challenges across the lifespan. We’ll pay specific attention to the reasons some of us become trapped in certain stages of relational, emotional, intellectual, physical, and spiritual development.

Healing the Father Wound with Greg Baldauf. The heart of men’s work is healing the relationship with one’s father. Whether he was absent, distant, or uninvolved, resolving these issues is vital to healing old wounds, growing as a human being, and becoming a father yourself.

Living the Authentic Life – Not the Lies with George Rounds. Take time to create an authentic life in integrity with your true self. Heal the wounds suffered as you grew into a manhood compromised by the opinions of others. Learn basic skills to be fully present in the life you say you want to have.

Coming Home: Healing Strategies for Iraq/Afghanistan War Veterans with Phil Metres. The “re-entry” process for veterans returning from war is rarely smooth. Some stress disorder and trauma cases are immediately evident, while others become manifest over time. All veterans, however, share a common need to articulate their experiences to empathic listeners—family, friends, and professionals as well.

The BreakThrough Experience with Rick Simon. The BreakThrough Weekend is designed for men who have reached a personal impasse in their lives, or are “stuck” in an unhealthy situation or state of mind. More than 4,000 men have been able to “find a way out” by learning to remove blocks and create a healing spirit in order to build stronger relationships and brighter lives.

Spiritual Renewal and Healing in the Wilderness with John Lionberger. Spending time in the wilderness, even atheists learn there is Something Bigger Than We Are – though they may not call it God. This presentation addresses the power of nature and the timelessness of the wilderness experience as a spiritual conduit. Learn how to take this power back to your daily lives.

Pornography: Harmless Hobby or Infidelity? by Kenn Skorupa. This presentation will examine the prevalence of pornographic images in today’s media and consider the impact of such images on relationships.

And my friend, and also a contributor to this blog, Tim Goldich will present Loving Men, Respecting Women: The Future of Gender Politics. Participants will examine how society has respected women less than men, as well as how men have been loved less than women. Taking into account emotional suppression, hard and hazardous labor, battlefields, imprisonment, and other elements, it will be argued that the vast repercussions suffered by women for being less respected are fully matched by the consequences suffered by men for being less loved.

While this has been a yearly tradition at the college, I’m saddened to say that this years event was almost cancelled due to a lack of interest. I know the distressed economy has a played a large role in the loss of interest, but I feel that should the event be discontinued, it may be a while before men and fathers see an event like this dedicated to only them. Therefore I encourage anyone who lives in the area, and has a passion for men and father issues to make a sincere effort to attend the event and show the Oakton staff that many men and fathers are interested in seeing this event continue. Your presence will validate this to the Oakton staff.

It should be noted that Oakton Community College is the only academic institution that I am aware of in the Chicago land area that has a Men’s Program in its curriculum. I would like to see both of these traditions continue, but they are solely dependent upon the interest and support of men and fathers.

Here is the link to the Oakton’s Men’s Day Event.

 

Reminder: My New Internet Talk Show

I will be broadcasting live Sunday morning on my new show “An Hour With Joe Soltys” at Blog Talk Radio. The main topic: Do Women Belong On the Frontlines of Combat? Click here to find out what time my show starts in your area.

Contact:

soltys.joe@gmail.com
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November 10, 2008

I Am Venturing Into New Territory

male-symbol

I didn’t have a chance to write anything last week because I was preparing to traverse into two new avenues.

First, I have a new home on BlogTalk Radio. This website offers amateurs like me the opportunity to host their own talk show about any topic of one’s interests. The beauty of this new technology is that it allows one to broadcast live over the internet, and I can chat with my audience by way of live on-air phone calls and instant messages during the show.

I produced my first live show over the weekend, however, I didn’t promote this show because I wanted to focus on getting the “feel” for it, and working out the kinks. The show can be listened to at my home page on BlogTalk Radio (Click Here). This is also where one can check to see when I am scheduled for my next live broadcast.
The only negative I find with this live show is the audio quality. The sound is not the best, but I’m working on delivering the best sound quality the software can provide.

Also, in conjunction with my live show, I have created a new website called DigitalTestosterone.com. This website will be a collection of audio and videos related to men’s and father’s issues. The live audio shows that I produce will be recorded by me in a higher quality format than that used by BlogTalk Radio, and will be archived at DigitalTestosterone.com, in addition to BlogTalk Radio’s automatic archiving of all my work. If you missed my live show, or would like to hear the show in a higher quality format, it can be listened to or downloaded at DigitalTestosterone.com.

If you know anyone (including yourself) who is currently involved in men, father, and gender issues, and you think he or she would make an interesting guest on my show, please contact me by email. Or if you know of some event related to men and father issues happening in your town and would like me to promote it, please pass the information on. And of course, if you just want to call in to express an opinion during a live show, feel free to do so.

Also, should anyone come across any great videos or audios in relation to men’s and father’s issues that they feel would be appropriate for DigitalTestosterone.com, please send them to me. Or if you come across a news story that you feel would be a great topic on my live show, please forward it.

Links for both websites can be found in the sidebar on this page.

 

Contact:

soltys.joe@gmail.com
https://jsoltys.wordpress.com

October 31, 2008

Small Victory in DART Protest Campaign

The ongoing protest campaign against the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) for using what many feel are anti-male/anti-father domestic violence ads on the company’s buses, has achieved a small victory.
The creator and financier of the ads, The Family Place, one of largest domestic violence shelters in the Dallas area, has changed the wording and tone of their website.
As I reported here on Tuesday, the wording of The Family Place website portrayed only men as perpetrators of domestic violence, and women as only victims of domestic violence. No where on the website did it include wording that acknowledged women can be perpetrators of domestic violence. The only implication present was made on its “About Page” which explained the organization helps women, children, and men who are victims of domestic violence.
However, when viewing the website’s “Warning Signs of an Abusive Relationship” page, every warning sign offered began with “He saysHe does…. He will….”. Never was the perpetrator designated as “She”. This attitude is in contradiction with many recent studies on DV which conclude women often instigate physical violence as much as men. Therefore, I opinioned The Family Place is extremely sexist towards men, especially when one includes in the argument the biased ads the organization created for the DART buses.

Now, with no explanation given, The Family Place website has been changed to include women as perpetrators of domestic violence.
As an example, on the page that informs about the “Warning Signs of an Abusive Relationship”, the old information read:
He is controlling. He interrogates you intensely (especially if you’re late) about whom you talked to and where you were. He insists you ask his permission to go anywhere or do anything.

The new page reads:
He/She is controlling. He/She interrogates you intensely (especially if you’re late) about whom you talked to and where you were. He/She insists you ask his/her permission to go anywhere or do anything.

The web page is now gender neutral, and more importantly, acknowledges and reflects current research showing women are guilty of domestic violence towards men in greater numbers than currently believed.

Furthermore

The mayor of Dallas was asked to for his influence and involvement in the DART protest. However, Mayor Tom Leppert, while acknowledging the crisis, felt he would not intervene unless the public personally showed him overwhelming support.
So with that being said, let’s do this one more time. Click here to send a personal email to Mayor Leppert. This is a ready-to-go email form from Glenn Sacks’ website. All you have to do is sign and click.

Also, this protest has reached the shores of Iraq. Our men and women in the military have heard about the vile DV ads on the DART buses. Glenn Sacks recieved this email from Gary Christopher, a soldier in Iraq;

I contacted DART as well as Mayor Leppert’s office. I told them DART’s ads are a disgrace to the servicemembers here in Iraq with me. They are here to preserve the future of their wives and their children because they love them so much.

I explained that I’m a registered voter in Texas, and that I’m going to forward this Campaign email to other servicemembers here, too.


On another note: Many domestic violence shelters claim that funding for their services is always lacking, and therefore, this is one of the many reasons why DV shelters cannot, or will not help men and their children – they barely have enough money to help women and their children.
So it was interesting to discovered during the protest of DART that The Family Place has net assets of almost $10 million dollars. And more importantly, its executive director, Paige Flink, takes home an annual salary of over $160,000.
If The Family Place is indicative of other domestic violence shelters/programs across the nation, the question we may need to start asking is not “why” there is not enough funding for DV shelters/programs, but rather “Is” the money these organizations receive being spent properly?

Contact:

soltys.joe@gmail.com
https://jsoltys.wordpress.com

October 30, 2008

DART Launches Sleazy Counter Attack Against Sexist DV Ads

The ongoing campaign against anti-male/anti-father domestic violence ads appearing on buses of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) has heated up. In a local news outlet Morgan Lyon, DART’s media relations official, tried redirecting the focus and seriousness of his company’s blunder by stating the company has received very little negative response from the public about the DV ads via the company’s online customer feedback form.
It is a pathetic and disturbing attempt to minimize the magnitude of the situation. The company’s online form was never mentioned as a method in which to file a complaint until yesterday. If one clicks to this page on DART’s website, what appears is a form used to file complaints about particular bus routes. It’s obvious this form was not designed to handle a serious public relations crisis.
In contrast, the protest form found at Glenn Sack’s website – the ONLY KNOWN ONE – has led to over a thousand complaints against the ads forwarded to DART – confirmed by DART officials.
Also, DART has stated that the majority of the complaints received via Glenn Sacks site have been from outside the Dallas metro area, implying this controversy has no validity because the locals aren’t complaining.
My question to Mr. Lyons is, “So are you saying the Jena 6 incident was devoid of any real racism because the majority of those protesting the charges against the six students were from outside Jena?
Is this the “community standard” upon which you claimed to have used in judging the sexist DV ads, now posted on your buses, as acceptable?
Is this just another example of the dysfunctional corporate culture at DART?

Since Mr. Lyons felt not enough individuals used their online complaint form to take this situation seriously, I’m asking everyone who is disturbed by these ads, and the sleazy behavior of DART officials, to fill out the top and bottom portion (comment box) of this form. Here is the link.

Numerous Women Join DART Protest

Erin Pizzey, the founder of the first domestic violence shelter in England back in 1971, and a long time advocate for domestic violence prevention, has signed a petition asking the Dallas Area Regional Transit (DART) to remove the misleading and vile domestic violence ads from their fleet of buses.
Pizzey has been joined by over 50 others from various backgrounds on the petition in an effort to try and convince DART the ads are a mistake. The petition reads:

The undersigned believe that DART’s domestic violence ads ‘One day my husband will kill me’ and ‘When I grow up, I will beat my wife’ provide a distorted and counterproductive view of fathers, children, and domestic violence. We respectfully request that DART remove these ill-advised ads as soon as possible.

Other women joining the protest and signing the petition:

— Barbara Kay, a writer for the National Post called the ads “hate speech” in her most recent column.

— Syndicated Columnist Amy Alkon called the ads “ugly, toxic, and wrong”.

— Dr. Helen Smith, columnist with Pajamas Media

— Wendy McElroy, writer and founder of ifeminist.net

The petition can be found at Glenn Sacks website.

Note: The creator and financial backers of the discriminating domestic violence ads, The Family Place, rushed Paige Flink, Family Place Executive Director, to a public board meeting by DART Tuesday to defend the ads. It is reported that she and the organization have vowed not to “back down” from the criticism received from those ads.
According to Glenn Sacks website:

Flink spoke in support of her own ads along with two men who she brought with her. However, they avoided (emphasis mine) answering the challenge that the ads might depict males negatively or confuse children who see them but lack the maturity to understand the underlying messages.

Answering My Critic

Yesterday I received a response in my comments section essentially scolding me for being completely wrong on this recent issue, and criticizing the research I consulted. Here is the comment followed by my response:

And if you stay on their front page long enough, it scrolls through a picture with text, “We help ALL victims of family violence, men, women and children.”

And this, taken from their About Us page:
“We helped 423 women and 497 men recover from childhood sexual assault and incest in our Incest Recovery Program.”

Good on them and good on DART for providing the confrontation society needs about the truths of domestic violence.

You quote the report dated August 2007 about “non-reciprocal” intimate partner violence. The reason why women appear more in this report is because MOST of female to male violence occurs within the context of the female being a victim of physical violence, so when you ignore the factor that in most cases of IPV men are hitting women who are hitting back, and just use the one’s where women weren’t hit first, then it would show that women instigate IPV more…..but that is putting a spin on the numbers for the benefit of achieving some specific agenda, it doesn’t show the real truth that MEN are the biggest instigators of IPV.

In the November 2007 report, if it included stalking, sexual coercion and sexual abuse the figures would be very much different. In fact, the incidence of male to female aggression would skyrocket to somewhere around about 30 – 45%. It’s quite convenient to leave out the violent behaviours that are specifically used by men more than women, don’t you think? Another report with a spin to fit an agenda.

Comment by shivers

Dear Shiver,

It would be nice if you stuck to the facts concerning what I wrote, and didn’t twist the argument to something completely different. With that being said, I would like to thank you for your comment, because you have unknowingly proved my point about male discrimination on this subject better than I could have.

First, my argument, and the protest campaign, is about the discrimination men face in the DV prevention environment. The DV prevention industry and their supporters will go to great lengths to minimize or devalue men as victims of domestic violence, and at the same time, try to minimize and diminish the fact that women can be as violent as men in the home.

Your response pointed to the fact that The Family Place has helped over 400 men and 400 women who were victims of molestation. The difference of treatment concerning sexual abuse of males and females by The Family Place WAS NOT my argument. My argument was the discrimination men face concerning the DV prevention industry that continues to perpetuate a false ideology that men are always the perpetrators of DV, and women are always the victims in spite of numerous studies which prove otherwise. I opinioned that The Family Place is guilty of this behavior as proven by a page from their own website which I included as evidence, and the sexist nature of their ads that are now being protested. Also, I did mention their claim of helping male victims, but an indirect point I was looking to make was how could an organization that advocates unequivocally that men are the sole perpetrators of domestic violence rather than victims, effectively address and help male victims of DV and their children?
I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear enough.

Second, you wrote:

“You quote the report dated August 2007 about “non-reciprocal” intimate partner violence. The reason why women appear more in this report is because MOST of female to male violence occurs within the context of the female being a victim of physical violence, so when you ignore the factor that in most cases of IPV men are hitting women who are hitting back, and just use the one’s where women weren’t hit first, then it would show that women instigate IPV more…..but that is putting a spin on the numbers for the benefit of achieving some specific agenda, it doesn’t show the real truth that MEN are the biggest instigators of IPV.”

Thank you again for displaying the sexism men face when discussing domestic violence.
Feminist and women’s groups deplore the behavior of those who would sink so low as to dare apply “blaming the victim” to women who have been victims of violence, and have worked tenaciously to eradicate this behavior. However, these same women – you included – have no problem engaging in this disgusting behavior when the victim is a man and the perpetrator is a woman. So my question to you is, “Do believe blaming the victim is an acceptable form of behavior that applies equally to male victims as well as female victims, or do you believe that this malevolent behavior should only apply to male victims?

But let’s ignore your sexism and hypocrisy for one moment and extract it out in another way. Let’s say that it is true that the reason so many women are often charged with domestic violence is via the mode of defending themselves against an abuser as you have claimed, and as many in the DV prevention industry have also claimed as truth. If one accepts this argument as a realistic truth, the one must also find as an equal truth that many men are falsely charged with domestic violence in the process of defending themselves against an unprovoked attack by a female partner. Considering that many states have made it mandatory if injuries are present in a spousal altercation, then the individual without injury is presumed to be the perpetrator. Under this presumed judgment of guilt, the presumed attacker is immediately arrested and charged. Given the DV prevention industry’s mantra that men are more physically stronger than women, and the potential injury to a woman is much greater for them in even the most minor altercation, it becomes extremely plausible that a man defending himself from an unprovoked attack from a female partner will run the risk of causing visible injuries on her, but consequently, will have minimal or no injuries on himself. Therefore, the odds are much greater that a man defending himself against a female attacker is more likely to be presumed falsely as the aggressor by the authorities, resulting in his arrest and a charge of domestic violence. The female attacker will be falsely calculated as a victim.
Therefore Shiver, implying the numbers as being grossly inflated for female aggressors by using a “self defense” argument, in return, you and others in the DV prevention industry are inadvertently creating a valid argument that the statistics showing men as the dominate aggressor in domestic violence incidents have the potential to be grossly inflated also. The “self defense” argument cuts both ways, however, you and the DV prevention industry conveniently leave this valid point out.

And isn’t it a little pious for you and others to assume that of the numerous DV studies which found women are as violent as men, that not one of these professional, seasoned, experienced researchers even considered your argument that self-defense may skew the numbers, and accounted for this variable in their research? One of the researchers in the above mentioned studies is Murray Strauss. He has been studying family violence for almost forty years. Maybe you should contact him and offer to consult him about the serious faults you found in the majority of his research along with other fatuous research you’ve discovered on domestic violence.

You also wrote:

In the November 2007 report, if it included stalking, sexual coercion and sexual abuse the figures would be very much different. In fact, the incidence of male to female aggression would skyrocket to somewhere around about 30 – 45%. It’s quite convenient to leave out the violent behaviours that are specifically used by men more than women, don’t you think? Another report with a spin to fit an agenda.

Well thank you again for helping me display the bigotry men face when it comes to discussing relationship violence.
What you state is somewhat true, but again, your skewing the argument, and your approach towards analyzing gender violence is an example of the enormous bias men face on these issues. But I’m willing assume your position to prove my point.
If we are going to account for all acts of violent behavior when discussing the genders to make a point, as you did, then I will start with family violence. If one considers that all violence in the home should be labeled “domestic” (the actual meaning of the word), then the numbers for female and male perpetrators of domestic violence drastically change.
If the abuse of children in the home is categorized as domestic abuse – with mothers outnumbering fathers in abusing children according to statistics – then female as perpetrators of domestic violence begins to increase. If one includes the killing of children as domestic violence, then females as perpetrator of violence rises again. If one includes the number of female nannies, childcare workers, baby-sitters, housekeepers, au pairs, etc. who commit violence against children in the home, then the number of females perpetuating domestic violence increases again. If one includes the number of false allegations of abuse made by women against men in divorce and child custody cases as domestic abuse (emotional, financial, etc.) then females as perpetrators of domestic violence begins to take a commanding lead. If one includes the number of women who have hired or manipulated others to commit acts of violence or murder against their partners, then the number of female perpetrated domestic violence increases beyond expectation. And lastly, since we are speaking of violent behaviors towards one gender by another, if one also includes the number of women who bring false allegations of rape against men, and consider the destruction it causes men physically, emotionally, mentally, and financially, and how devastating it can be for a man’s reputation, his family, his career and such, then this type of female harm/violence should just about bring female malevolent behavior on the par with that of men.
My point is Shiver, if you want to “lump” everything together to validate your argument to increase the perceived harm/violence men do to women, then a convincing, substantial argument can be made to counter yours by “lumping” together women’s harmful and violent acts against men and children to prove women are just as harmful/violent as men. Fortunately I am never in a “contest” to prove women are worse than men. I only write to prove women and men are equally guilty of harmful/violent acts as a defense against those like yourself who feel an uncontrollable need to always make these serious issues into a “contest” of gender superiority.

And while I will agree that research at this point show men are responsible for most forms of stalking, you are displaying once again the discrimination men face on issues such as sexual coercion and sexual abuse. Most studies on gender violence issues begin with an inherent sexist assumption that most men are the perpetrators and women are most often the victims.
The most noted study on sexual coercion was done by Koss, Gidycz, and Wisniewski (1987). In that study, it was found that 15% of the women in a national sample of over 6,000 college students had experienced rape. About 4% of the men indicated that they had perpetrated rape. What is not mentioned whenever this research is cited is how only the women were asked if they were ever sexually assaulted while only the men were asked if they ever committed a sexual assault. This isn’t just a little sexist, it is extremely sexist!

In looking at research which included sexual coercion by females as well as males, one finds women aren’t far behind the men when engaging in this behavior.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, at least a dozen more studies that included both male and female sexual victims appeared in the literature. For example, Lottes (1991) discovered that 24% of the men and 35% of the women in a classroom sample of over 300 college students reported that they had been coerced into sexual intercourse. In a survey of 433 Canadian college students, O’Sullivan, Byers, and Finkelman (1998) found that 24% of the men and 42% of the women reported being pressured or forced into sexual contact in a heterosexual dating context in the past year. A survey of 221 high school seniors in New Zealand (Jackson, Cram, & Seymour, 2000) revealed that 67% of the boys and 77% of the girls reported that they had engaged in unwanted sexual activity.

And a study from California State University collaborated those findings in their own study by stating:

Results reveal that 70% of subjects [men] reported experiencing some form of sexual coercion within the past five years.

Looking at sex crimes in general, newer research is shattering the myth that women rarely engage in crimes of sexual perversion;

Canada’s largest study into the sexual exploitation of street kids and runaways has shattered some myths about who the abusers might be – with the most surprising finding being that many are women seeking sex with young males.
“Some youth in each gender were exploited by women with more than three out of four (79 per cent) sexually exploited males reporting exchanging sex for money or goods with a female,” said Elizabeth Saewyc, associate professor of nursing at the University of British Columbia and principal investigator for the study conducted by Vancouver’s McCreary Centre Society.
“I must admit it wasn’t something we were expecting.”

And it seems a week doesn’t go by in which the media is reporting another crime involving a female teacher having sex with one of her male students. Consider, these are the ones being reported, so how many are not?

So let me ask you this Shiver, “Who really is trying to force an agenda here?
I’m write from the perspective that men and women are human first, and therefore more likely to engage in the same behaviors – good or bad.

Your approach of spreading misleading and biased information is not a solution to these issues. You and others like you are part of the problem.

October 28, 2008

DART Refuses to Remove Sexist Domestic Violence Ads

The campaign to address the biased and misleading domestic violence advertisements presently being displayed on Dallas Area Rapid Transit buses in coordination with The Family Place has led to nearly a thousand emails of protest by both men and women across the nation, as was reported by the Associated Press and two dozen other news outlets.

In response to my support for the campaign, I received this reply from the Dallas Area Rapid Transit:

I’m writing to provide additional information about the ads running on 45 DART buses. These ads began running on October 1. They were produced and paid for by The Family Place, a long-standing family services agency based in Dallas. DART had no involvement in the creation of the ad campaign. The ads were reviewed by DART staff when they were first presented to us by our bus ad sales contractor. Staff determined the ads were not inconsistent with community standards. The Family Place paid approximately $25,000 to purchase bus side advertising on 45 buses and 300 bus interiors. The ads are scheduled to come down November 30 when the ad contract expires.

Please contact me if you have any questions.

Regards,
Morgan Lyons
Director, Media Relations
Dallas Area Rapid Transit

In other words, in spite of offending many men, fathers, women, and mothers with these disturbing ads, DART has chosen to ignore the public outcry, and continue to run the malicious ads.

In my opinion, Mr. Lyons and DART have chosen to avoid accountability for these offensive ads by using a common corporate practice of shifting blame to “committees” (staff) and “focus” groups in these situations. It allows for responsibility and accountability to be distributed among some mythical “group think” because the actual individuals of these groups are never revealed, nor are they ever available for questioning when requested from the corporation.
My experience has found this is common practice when the discrimination is against men and fathers. The opinions and decisions of these “groups” are viewed as scripture, and their decisions are rarely overturned when men and fathers complain of feeling marginalized. However, I have found when the discrimination is found to affect women or other minorities, the corporation makes a decisive move to immediately override the decision of the “focus” or “committee” group.
Sadly, DART has taken the same demeaning and callous approach as others when men and fathers are offended.

Also, considering Mr. Lyons and DART are defending their actions by saying the “Staff determined the ads were not inconsistent with community standards”, it makes me ponder how low are the “community standards” in that neck of the woods? And furthermore, how effective can the the human resource policies at DART be concerning the recognition and procedures to address such issues as discrimination, sexism, and harassment within its own environment? Considering the DART “staff” did not find these ads offensive by their own merit, and needed to consult a “community standard” for guidance is troubling in itself. But given that after implementing the ads, it has now received nearly a thousand complaints from the public, and the “staff” still finds no reasonable concern to remove the ads, makes me wonder what kind of business culture is present at DART.

After finding the website for The Family Place, the domestic violence prevention group who created and paid for the placement of the ads on DART buses, it became obvious that the group is an insidiously sexist organization. While claiming to help all individuals that are victims of domestic violence – including men – their website states repeatedly that only men are the perpetrators of domestic violence. The group’s site refuses to make any mention that women can be perpetrators of domestic violence against men.
Here is a copy of the groups web page concerning the warning signs of an abuser:

1. He pushes for quick involvement. He comes on very strong, claiming, “I’ve never felt loved like this by anyone.” An abuser pressures a girl for an exclusive commitment almost immediately.

2. He is excessively possessive. He calls constantly or visits unexpectedly, prevents you from going to work because “you might meet someone,” and even checks the mileage on your car.

3. He is controlling. He interrogates you intensely (especially if you’re late) about whom you talked to and where you were. He insists you ask his permission to go anywhere or do anything.

4. He has unrealistic expectations. He expects you to be the perfect girl all the time and meet his every need.

5. He isolates you. He tries to cut you off from family and friends and accuses people who are your supporters of “causing trouble.” An abuser may try to prevent you from holding a job, going to church or being part of school organizations.

6. He blames others for his problems and mistakes. The teacher, the coach, you—it’s always someone else’s fault if anything goes wrong.

7. He makes everyone else responsible for his feelings. An abuser says, “You make me angry” instead of, “I am angry” or, “You’re hurting me by not doing what I tell you.” Less obvious but equally telling is the claim: “You make me happy.”

8. He is hypersensitive. He is easily insulted and claims that his feelings are hurt when he is really mad. He rants about the injustice of things that are just part of life.

9. He displays cruelty to animals. He kills or punishes animals brutally.

10. He displays “playful” use of force. He enjoys throwing you down or holding you down against your will. He forces you to kiss him and doesn’t accept “no.”

11. He verbally abuses you. He constantly criticizes you or says blatantly cruel, hurtful things, degrades you, curses and calls you ugly names. If he does this in front of other people, you may really be at risk for physical abuse.

12. He insists on rigid roles for men and women. He is strong. You are weak. He expects you to serve and obey him because you are “his woman.”

13. He displays sudden mood swings. He switches from sweetly loving to explosively violent in minutes.

14. He has battered in the past. He admits to hitting girls in the past but says they or the situation made him do it.

15. He threatens you with physical violence. He makes statements like, “I’ll break your neck.” or “I’ll kill you.” and then dismiss them with, “Everybody talks that way.” or “I didn’t really mean it.” If he has come this far, it is time to get out and get help.

Considering the ads it created for DART, and considering the above informational page, it is obvious this organization is engaging in the disturbing practice of sexual discrimination.  What’s even worse is that DART has since been made aware that the ads are misleading the public about the realities of domestic violence via the protest campaign, but has ignored this and chose to continue them.

The controversy with DART and The Family Place comes less than a week after Third District Court of Appeals in California ruled in favor of the plaintiff, David Woods, his daughter, and three other men that DV programs in California have discriminated against men. The court ruled,

We find the gender-based classifications in the challenged statutes that provide programs
for victims of domestic violence violate equal protection. We find male victims of domestic violence are similarly situated to female victims for purposes of the statutory programs and no compelling state interest justifies the gender classification.
We reform the affected statutes by invalidating the exemption of males and extending the statutory benefits to men, whom the Legislature improperly excluded.

Finally men and father’s rights advocates have legal proof needed to provide credence to their claims of historic discrimination against them by those in the DV prevent industry.

And this discrimination is hiding in plain sight. The Family Place – advocating men as sole perpetrators of domestic violence- appear to be engaging in this ongoing discrimination of males by intentionally ignoring some of the most relevant and recent research concerning domestic violence, such as:

August, 2007 – In fact, when it comes to nonreciprocal violence between intimate partners, women are more often the perpetrators.
These findings on intimate partner violence come from a study conducted by scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The lead investigator was Daniel Whitaker, Ph.D., a behavioral scientist and team leader at the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (which is part of the CDC). Results were published in the May Journal of Public Health.

May, 2006 – A 32-nation study of violence against dating partners by university partners found that about a third had been violent, and most incidents of partner violence involve violence by both the man and woman, according to Murray Straus, founder and co-director of the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire. The second largest category was couples where the female partner was the only one to carry about physical attacks, not the male partner.
Straus’ new research also found that dominance by the female partner is even more closely related to violence by women than is male dominance. These results call into question the widely held belief that partner violence is primarily a male crime and that when women are violent it is self defense.

November, 2007 – Physical dating violence (PDV) affects almost one in every 11 adolescents, according to research presented at the American Public Health Association’s 135th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.
The study, which looked at data from the 2005 National Youth Risk Behavior Study, also found that contrary to common general perception, males and females equally report being victims of PDV. The researchers found that in their study population of 6,951 male and 6,807 female students in grades 9 through 12, 9 percent of boys and 9.2 percent of girls responded yes to the question “during the past 12 months, did your boyfriend or girlfriend ever hit, slap, or physically hurt you on purpose.”

These are not the only studies. There are many more corroborating their findings.

What is really pathetic here is that DART could easily recognize its mistake, and remove the ads from the buses, and terminate its association with The Family Place until this organization addresses its sexism. But it appears to me that DART is not really interested in helping prevent domestic violence, or provide accurate information for those men, women, and children affected by domestic violence. Instead, it appears to me the real tragedy here is that DART is hesitant to return any portion of the $25,000 it received from The Family Place.

I can only assume from their actions that in DART’s corporate culture, money has greater value than morals.

Contact:

soltys.joe@gmail.com
https://jsoltys.wordpress.com

October 20, 2008

Court: Domestic Violence Shelters Sexist Against Men

(October is domestic violence awareness month. My blog will focus on domestic violence from the often ignored and silent perspective – the male victim – and how organizations, politicians, and society deny men and their children the same awareness, compassion, and resources offered to women.)

There was a monumental victory last week for men and fathers in California that has confirmed what men, fathers, and male issue writers have vocalized for years – domestic violence organizations discriminate against men.
In a lawsuit originated by Mark Angelucci of the National Coalition of Free Men on behalf of Dave Woods, the Third District Court of Appeals in California ruled the “state-funded facility [domestic violence shelter] violated his rights when it turned him and his daughter away three times” when trying to escape an abusive wife and mother.
This will have a great impact on how government-funded domestic violence organizations address the inherent discrimination of male victims within their culture.
It should be noted that the argument these organizations use to defend their practice of excluding men has consisted of using “distribution of resources vs. victims” approach. DV organizations claim that since women are overwhelmingly the victims of domestic violence, then the majority of the government resources should go towards women, not men. (Note: This is a feminist myth. More and more research finds women and men are guilty of domestic violence in equal numbers.)
If this argument is true, then the majority of resources to help those individuals returning from fighting in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars should be distributed exclusively to men because the majority of those presently serving in the military overseas are men. But I am confident that if this type of policy was implemented, the screams of sexism would be deafening.

Here is the story and video: http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/state&id=6454094

To show how sexist and anti-male the domestic violence prevention culture is, here are some videos which validate this judgment.
This first video is of David Woods discussing his experience after he filed the lawsuit. In this video, his own wife admits to her violent behavior, and she herself states she believes the DV system is discriminatory towards men.

In this second video, a forum gathered to discuss and address male victims of domestic violence is disrupted by feminist and DV prevention advocates because they do not believe male victims deserve any help.

Contact:

soltys.joe@gmail.com
https://jsoltys.wordpress.com

October 14, 2008

Violence In the Home vs. Gender – Diagnosed or Demonized?

(October is domestic violence awareness month. My blog will focus on domestic violence from the often ignored and silent perspective – the male victim – and how organizations, politicians, and society deny men and their children the same awareness, compassion, and resources offered to women.)

Lady Madonna: Part 1

by Tim Goldich

The dark picture we have of men would lead us to believe that most child abuse is male-inflicted. In fact, the opposite is true, and by a wide margin. Women commit the vast majority of child abuse and infanticide. Of course that’s only because women perform the vast majority of childcare, nevertheless, our assumption that men are the primary perpetrators against children is emblematic of our attachment to the MB/WG paradigm.

We would hate to think that there was anything less than a Madonna in the nursery, but the facts paint a less-than-“angelic” picture. In fact, if we dare delve deep enough, in the shadows there lurks a picture of motherhood darker than any we care to know.

Before embarking down this road it is important to remind ourselves why. Why do we delve deep to reveal the darkest corners of the maternal psyche? I can answer that question with another: “Why do dads kill?,” asks the front-page headline of the Chicago Sun Times (06/25/07). In answer to that question, also from the front page, in “family-murder cases, a clear pattern emerges, experts say. The father wipes out his family simply because he’s tired of dealing with them.” Really, as simple as that? Also on the cover in a narrow-cropped photo of Christopher Vaughn, who allegedly killed his wife and three kids, eyes staring out and looking a lot like Satan. So, here on the front page of a major metropolitan newspaper we are told that dads kill their families simply because they grow weary of them. Message sent: men are evil violent scum; don’t marry a man, he’ll kill you and your children the moment he grows tired of dealing with you.

So, again, why do we delve deep to reveal the darkest corners of the maternal psyche? Because, in failing to do so, we are left with only a demonizing of men and an anglicizing of women—we are left with ManBad/WomanGood.

When Andrea Yates drowned her children in the bathtub, all five of them, one at a time, it made the cover of Newsweek (07/02/01). The headline? “‘I Killed My Children’: What Made Andrea Yates Snap?” Note how this Newsweek cover treats both Andrea Yates and what she did as unique. By contrast, in dealing with Christopher Vaughn and what he allegedly did, the Chicago Sun Times cover asks why dads kill as if to implicate all dads. It may not literally implicate all dads, but oftentimes it is the blunt message that sticks in the brain and the blunt message reads “dads kill.” Not some dads kill, or this particular dad killed, but just: “Why do dads kill?”. A headline that asked “Why do moms kill?,” would be protested accordingly.

The Newsweek cover quotes Andrea’s reply when a police officer asked, “Do you realize what you have done?” Her reply, “I killed my children,” could either be taken as cold-blooded or it could be taken as an expression of horror and remorse. What follows may nudge us toward the latter interpretation: “What made Andrea Yates snap?” Isn’t that really asking: What was Andrea Yates’ excuse? Also on the cover: “Understanding Postpartum Depression” and “Anna Quindlen on Every Mother’s Secret.” Yes, Anna “It’s not that I don’t like men; women are just better” Quindlen is asked to give her unbiased opinion on the subject [Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, CBS, 04/15/93]. So now we know what made Yates “snap” and we are given a further nudge toward an empathy interpretation of her actions.

Many will merely glance at the covers. The verdict will be obvious. Look for it and you’ll find the ManBad/WomanGood paradigm insinuating itself into our media/cultural products with a pervasiveness comparable to the way food additives are included in the products we buy at the grocery store. Comparing the two covers, the greater empathy shown a woman could not be more self-evident. Now let’s take a look inside each article starting with The Chicago Sun Times.

According to Minneapolis criminal profiler Pat Brown, men who commit “familicide” fall into one of two categories. “Some men decide to commit suicide because they are heavily in debt, have failed in their jobs or are otherwise falling apart. In a supremely selfish act, they decide to take their families with them. Those who don’t kill themselves are more likely to just want to be free, Brown said.” (Sun Times, p. 4). When a father kills we don’t ask what made him “snap.” We don’t care to know what his excuse was. He may well have been provoked in the worst way imaginable, but we’re too intent upon vilifying him to seek out that which might mitigate his guilt in some way. We are not invited to consider either his “depression” or his “stress.” In fact what we’re told explicitly precludes any possibility of redemption: “They are manipulators. They’re narcissistic, filled with grandiose thoughts. And they’re pathologic liars who blame everyone but themselves for their problems.” And there’s no end to it. “But they’re usually not insane . . . they know right from wrong” (Sun Times, p. 4). So, when it comes to fathers who kill, there can be absolutely no possibility of an “excuse.”

When the article shifts its attention to their female equivalents, however, the tone shifts dramatically. According to John Philipin, psychologist, crime profiler and author of true-crime books, “By contrast, many mothers who kill their families suffer from depression, depressive psychosis, schizophrenia and other mental illnesses” (Sun Times, Jim Ritter, “Why do dads kill? To be ‘free,’ experts say,” p. 4). Women who kill are said to suffer from these illnesses implying that even women who kill remain the victims.

The Newsweek article begins: “Andrea Yates was the ultimate caregiver—until depression and the strains of raising five children drove her to an unspeakable crime.” (p. 20). Note the air of incredulity that accompanies a heinous act when committed by a woman. “How could a mother commit such an act against nature and all morality, ending the lives she had so recently borne and nurtured. And kill them so methodically, one by one, holding them under the bath water (imagine eyes staring back) and laying them out on the bed wrapped in sheets like little Christian martyrs” (Newsweek, p. 20).

“About 200 children are killed by their mothers every year, according to Justice statistics. Sometimes moms blame the Devil. Or they think they are saving their children from a hellish life by sending them to heaven. The psychologists call these ‘altruistic killings.’ Andrea Yates was apparently suffering from a specific, diagnosable—and treatable—condition called postpartum psychosis.” (Newsweek, p. 20). It was on the basis of that diagnosis that Yates was eventually judged not guilty by reason of insanity. “Yates’ attorneys never disputed that she drowned 6-month-old Mary, 2-year-old Luke, 3-year-old Paul, 5-year-old John and 7-year-old Noah in their Houston-area home in June 2001. But they said she suffered from severe postpartum psychosis and, in a delusional state, believed Satan was inside her and was trying to save them from hell.” (“Andrea Yates Found Not Guilty By Reason Of Insanity; Will Be Committed To State Mental Hospital,” http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/07/26/national/main1837248.shtml, 07/26/06). So, I guess it was five of those “altruistic killings” that Yates committed?

Patricia Pearson:
By contrast, when a sample of men convicted of infanticide were surveyed in Brixton Prison in Great Britain, those who offered altruistic motivations were scoffed at. Wrote their interviewer: “The statement ‘that it was best for the children’ . . . is an expression of the fact that the perpetrator himself thought that the infanticide was the best way out—that is to say, the act was egosyntonic.” [When She Was, p. 88]

No matter what the circumstances, a father who drowned his five children one at a time couldn’t possibly be received so empathically as to have his actions labeled “altruistic.”

Newsweek quotes Andrea’s mother, the one person we would expect to love Andrea most unconditionally. “She was the most compassionate of my children. Always thinking of other people, never herself. She was always trying to care for everybody.” (Newsweek, p. 20). And follows that with a pitiful image of Andrea Yates caring for her Alzheimer’s stricken father while pregnant. “Between caring for her father and her children, it is hard to think that Andrea ever had time for herself.” (Newsweek, p. 21). True enough, however, between working/commuting 70 hours a week plus domestic and other chores expected of him, many a husband/father has no time for himself.

According to the Newsweek article, most multicide killers (i.e., men?) are coldly psychopathic. “Andrea was the opposite; if anything, she apparently cared too much. She may have felt she could never do enough for her demanding husband. In a horribly twisted way, she may have tried to be too good a mother.” (Newsweek, p. 20). Even as we’re canonizing the female killer note how we begin blaming the nearest male, her “demanding” husband. But no one blames Andrea, not even the devastated father of those five murdered children. ‘“One side of me blames her because, you know, she did it. But the other side of me says, ‘Well, she didn’t, because that wasn’t her.”’ (Newsweek, p. 20). Spoken like a typically chivalrous and infinitely magnanimous male. What wife would express such forgiveness toward a husband who did what she did?

Houston police officer Frank Stumpo: ‘“Do you realize what you have done?’ he asked her. She looked right at him and said, ‘Yes, I do.’ She told the police, ‘I killed my children.’ Stumpo looked around. The house was a mess, he thought, dirty and unkempt.” (Newsweek, p. 25). At this point Rusty had returned home but was kept out of the house presumably to protect Andrea. Asked if he wanted a glass of water, “he doubted anyone would find a clean glass in the house. Stumpo looked anyway, and couldn’t find one—until Andrea calmly pointed him to the china cabinet.” (Newsweek, p. 25).

Rusty Yates was earlier described as “demanding.” Maybe so, but if he didn’t demand housekeeping, and he didn’t demand help with the financial burdens, then perhaps he wasn’t all that demanding. Many a wife is “demanding”: demanding toughness, strength, and courage of her husband; demanding of competence, demanding of domestic chores, demanding of career success and demanding financially. Even so, if a husband/father did what Andrea Yates did, who would ever think to pin the blame on his “demanding” wife? Yet the media made every effort to vilify Rusty Yates and hold him responsible for the murder of his children.

In a follow-up article, Newsweek (04/01/02) describes Rusty’s tireless campaign on behalf of Andrea. He defended her on every show from the “Today” show, to Larry King, to Oprah. For his chivalrous efforts he faces contempt of court charges for violating a gag order. But that’s only the beginning; “as he crisscrossed the nation, simmering questions about his own accountability have boiled over.” (Newsweek, 04/01/02, p. 6).

Andrea’s mother and siblings told reporters that Rusty, a controlling husband who often downplayed his wife’s mental illness and shut them out, bears some responsibility for the tragedy. Andrea’s best friend, Deborah Holmes, did the same. On radio call-in shows, Internet chat rooms and newspaper editorial pages, the questions continue. . . . Rusty is “innocent of any criminal offense,” says his lawyer, Ed Mallet. Some legal experts, however, think that even if Yates escapes criminal charges (including contempt of court) he may have a tough time defending himself in civil court where a jury could find him partly responsible. (Newsweek, 04/01/02, p.6)

(Tim Goldich is in the process of publishing a series of books on the subject of gender issues as seen from both the female and the male perspectives. His first book, Loving Men, Respecting Women: The Future of Gender Politics, Love and Respect in the Past, Love and Respect in the Present, and Love and Respect in the Future will be released in the near future.)

Contact:

soltys.joe@gmail.com
https://jsoltys.wordpress.com
Photo Courtesy of: stockxchng.com

October 6, 2008

Female Country Music Singers Advocating More Domestic Violence?

(October is domestic violence awareness month. My blog will focus on domestic violence from the often ignored and silent perspective – the male victim – and how organizations, politicians, and society deny men and their children the same awareness, compassion, and resources offered to women.)

Women’s groups have been advocating that many forms of media, particularly rap and hip-hop music, carry words and images that are degrading, sexist, aggressive, and violent towards women. They have defined this as a serious cultural problem that needs to be seriously addressed.
As a father of a teenage daughter, I couldn’t agree more, and have found many other women and men feel the same, taking up the cause by boycotting those individuals, groups, or corporations that perpetuate this type of gender humiliation – whether on a personal or organizational level.
This awareness, led by women’s rights and domestic violence prevention advocates, has resulted in aggressive pressure being placed upon those responsible for creating these harmful images to change their ways.

While I have never questioned the purpose, I have always questioned the cause. In some of my previous writings I have questioned whether blaming men, masculinity, and the patriarchy is actually valid in the present social environment. I have reasoned, in an age when women are out pacing men academically, making incredible strides in the areas of independence, career, money, status, and power, why is it they have chosen to exploit themselves, or allow themselves to be exploited, in such growing numbers?
Feminist ideology says that with the rise of all the components listed above, the ability for women to be exploited would decrease. Instead, it has been increasing.

I believe that if more emphasis was placed on seeing women as being just as exploitive as men, then the cause of this societal stain would become clearer. I believe women are no different than men; they are human first. This means that if exploiting themselves or others for their own personal gain is within their reach, they will do so. And just like men in the past, when caught doing so, women try to avoid any accountability.
Men, having held power for so long, have filled many history books with various methods of exploitation. This is why exploitation is viewed as a masculine issue, but as women gain power, it is becoming clearer that such issues as exploitation, discrimination, and violence are as much a part of the feminine personality as the masculine.

With that being said, let’s take a look at female violence in the media.

But My Violent Media is “Different”

A female reader of mine recently sent me the lyrics for a country song by female artist Miranda Lambert. The song is called “Gunpowder and Lead”. She was disturbed by the content and images of the song, which unfortunately, her young son was listening to.
Here is a sample:

I’m goin’ home, gonna load my shotgun
Wait by the door and light a cigarette
If he wants a fight well now he’s got one
And he ain’t seen me crazy yet
He slap my face and he shook me like a rag doll
Don’t that sound like a real man
I’m going to show him what a little girls made of
Gunpowder and lead

His fist is big but my gun’s bigger
He’ll find out when I pull the trigger


In all the advocacy done to raise awareness towards violent images and words in modern music/media, I have never heard this song mentioned. Is it because the violence is directed at a male instead of a female?

Would the same hold true for Carrie Underwood’s song, “Before He Cheats” which tells the violent reaction of a women scorned by a cheating partner?

That I dug my key into the side of his pretty little souped up 4 wheel drive,
carved my name into his leather seats…
I took a Louisville slugger to both headlights,
slashed a hole in all 4 tires…

Maybe next time he’ll think before he cheats.

Nobody in the DV awareness circles complained about this song. In fact, this form of toe-tapping domestic violence towards men garnered Underwood a Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance! (And she demonstrates exactly how a woman should do this during her live performances. Underwood violently attacks a car on stage with a baseball bat during this song.)

Domestic violence awareness advocates have stated repeatedly that any form of violent outbursts by a partner is a significant indication if that person is a potential abuser. But DV awareness advocates and women groups were silent on Underwood’s song, failing to criticize or reach out to young women (Underwood’s fan base) to educate and counter the dangerous image and message the song was sending these young women, that using violence in any manner is not the way to address and handle emotional situations in their relationships.
So why were they silent? One will have to assume it’s because the victim is male and the perpetrator female.

But finally there was controversy when the Dixie Chics came out with their song, “Goodbye Earl” which tells the story of an abused woman who along with a female companion kills her abusing partner (Earl) with passion and glee:

Right away Mary Anne flew in from Atlanta
On a red eye midnight flight
She held Wanda’s hand as they
worked out a plan
And it didn’t take long to decided

That Earl had to die
Goodbye Earl
Those black-eyed peas
They tasted all right to me Earl
You’re feeling weak
Why don’t you lay down
and sleep Earl
Ain’t it dark
Wrapped up in that tarp Earl

Earl had to die
Goodbye Earl
We need a break
Let’s go out to the lake Earl
We’ll pack a lunch
And stuff you in the trunk Earl


The video even includes a scene of the women dancing all giddy like school girls after killing Earl.
However, the Dixie Chics did show how sensitive they were to the issue of domestic violence by including this disclaimer:

“The Dixie Chicks do not advocate premeditated murder but love getting even.”

Gee, how sensitive and understanding.

Furthermore, in an interview, Natalie Maines, a member of the Dixie Chicks, said, “I think initially when we heard it, we just thought it was so funny.”

When men are victims of violence, it is “so funny”.

As I stated, controversy did engulf domestic violence awareness advocates over the Dixie Chic song and video – but not how one would think.
The dichotomy among DVA advocates was drawn between those who felt it helped raise awareness for domestic violence victims, and those who felt is was too comical and “tongue-in-cheek” to raise awareness to the cause. None, however, felt the actions and violence of the women were disturbing, or felt that using violence to solve violence is acceptable.

In contrast, when male country singer Garth Brooks produced the video for his song “The Thunder Rolls” which tells the story of a cheating man who comes home and beats his wife, The Nashville Network (TNN) and the Country Music Television (CMT), refused to play the video.
However, both stations played the “Goodbye Earl” video, and CMT never questioned playing all three videos which showcased females singing about death, violence, and revenge towards men. And it should be noted that not one DV prevention advocate that I’m aware of stated that Garth’s song/video displaying male-on-female violence “helped” raise awareness for domestic violence victims.

So what’s the difference? It’s obvious.
Garth’s video was male-on-female violence. That is wrong.
But female-on-male violence is funny, empowering, and educational.

The Research

DV prevention advocates and women have a legitimate cause for concern when it comes to how the media, particularly music, affects or influences our nation’s young men and women. According to researchers, both male and female teenagers spend more time listening to music than any other form of media in a correlating ratio to their age. The older they become, the more music they listen to. By the time he or she enters the dating years of high school and college, music is the dominate form of media in his or her life. And it is noted that females show more of a reliance on music than males.
But what’s more interesting is how this demographic responds to controversial lyrics in their music.
According to this study:

Two general patterns seem to emerge from the research on attention to lyrics: First, the more
important music is to an adolescent, the more importance he or she places on lyrics relative to other elements of music gratification. Second, attention to lyrics is highest among fans of oppositional or controversial music (whether it be 1960s protest folk or rock or the heavy metal and rap of today). In other words, the more defiant, alienated, and threatening to the mainstream a music type is, the more closely its fans follow the words (Christenson & Roberts,1998).

This would help explain the appeal and fascination with heavy metal and rap/hip hop music, and it also brings validity to the concerns of the misogynistic lyrics and images these genres proliferate.
While research analyzing the affects of misogynistic lyrics and images are a dime a dozen, there is barely any research analyzing how anti-male or mysandric lyrics and images affect male and female listeners.

I finally found one, and I can only say the results are surprising.

Music and Aggression: The Impact of Sexual-Aggressive Song Lyrics on Aggression-Related Thoughts, Emotions, and Behavior Toward the Same and the Opposite Sex, by Peter Fischer and Tobias Greitemeyer from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich.

In a series of three studies, we investigated the impact of misogynous and men-hating song lyrics on aggression related thoughts, emotions, and behavior toward the same and the opposite sex. In Study 1, male and female participants listened to misogynous or neutral song lyrics and, subsequently, their actual aggressive behavior toward a male or a female confederate was measured. Study 2 attempted to shed light on the underlying psychological mechanisms by measuring aggression-related cognitions and emotions. Furthermore, Study 2 widened the scope of Study 1 with regard to the effect of menhating music on aggressive inclinations of women toward men: Participants were exposed to misogynous, menhating, and neutral song lyrics and then the listeners’ aggression-related cognitions and emotions were measured. Study 3 intended to replicate the findings of the previous two studies by employing additional measures of aggressive inclinations and behavior. In short, the aim of the present research was to investigate whether male and female participants are prone to be influenced by violent music. More specifically, we tested the impact of misogynous song lyrics on aggressive responses of men toward women as well as more aggressive responses of women toward men after being exposed to men-hating music.

To sum up the results:
Study 1 showed male participants had increased aggression towards the female participants after listening to misogynist music. Females showed no measurable difference towards the male participants after listening to misandric music.

Study 2 was used to correct for the flaws in study 1. After listening to misogynist music, the male participants showed heightened aggression towards women again. However, this time, women began showing negative reactions to males, but still lacked the measurable form of vengeance found in the males.

In study 3, the researchers corrected a problem found in study 2, which was the realization that the intensity of the misogynistic music was greater than the intensity of the man-hating music. When the negative intensity of the anti-male music equaled the negativity intensity of the misogynistic music, women showed an unmistakable negative reaction towards their male participants:

Furthermore, we found evidence that men-hating song lyrics could have a similar effect on aggressive reactions of women toward men: Listening to men-hating song lyrics substantially increased women’s recognition of negative male attributes.

The study also found that as the intensity of the man-hating music increased, the males that were exposed to it showed an increase in aggressive and negative behavior towards women.

It’s sad there is only one study out of hundreds that had the integrity and courage to approach this subject from both sides. In recognition that only one study does not make absolute truth, there are still some important conclusions to be drawn from it:

— It is apparent that anti-male music is not funny or empowering – it is just another form of discrimination. I believe that common sense and historical evidence will establish that the uncontested and unaddressed proliferation of degrading, shaming, and humiliation of any individual, gender, race, religion, etc., will always lead to open and accepted discrimination of those individuals or groups by society.
I think this study only verifies that anti-male music, videos, and other media is as dangerous as the misogynistic music. However, I guarantee there will be no rush by women’s groups to address or question the female artists responsible for anti-male music. As usual, they will remain silent.

— If further studies corroborate the research, this study reveals a very important correlation: women who engage in writing anti-male music are not empowering women or creating a feeling of “justice” for women. Nor are they raising awareness to DV issues. Instead they are creating more aggressive behavior and actions towards women in men. In other words, if women choose to create this music they are contributing to more aggressive behaviors and actions not only towards men, but towards women also.
In no way is this anti-male music creating awareness towards DV prevention. It is actually raising the potential for domestic violence for both men and women.

— Women’s groups and DV prevention advocates have done a great job of raising awareness to the forms of media that are harmful to women. Since these same women believe in equality between the sexes, why do they consistently ignore popular media which displays blatant violence towards men when the perpetrator is female? When are they going to address and speak out about these forms of media being just as harmful and disturbing?

The two arguments I find that are used to dismiss this obvious gender hypocrisy by women and others is; “Men have done it for years (misogynistic music), so why can’t we”, and “Some of the songs are written by men so it’s OK”.

First, it is true, men have done it for years, but if that is your argument, then you have just done tremendous damage to your own cause. One cannot have a valid complaint of feeling marginalized if one is also openly engaging in the same behavior. When that happens, my attention and sympathy for your cause is lost.
Second, just because a man/men may have composed the songs does not mean that it is morally acceptable. If that were true, then the argument against rap and hip hop falls apart. Since so many women have contributed to the proliferation of rap/hip hop and its corresponding words/images involving women being denigrated and sexualized – from appearing in the videos, to buying the music, to attending live performances of the artists – it proves that rap/hip hop is not bad for women.

As the father of a daughter, and the father of two sons, I find any type of media that degrades or portrays violence against either sex for humor or empowerment disturbing. Fortunately, for my daughter, there is plenty of awareness and advocacy being generated to voice concerns about various forms of media that may harm her. For my sons, very few people are advocating for them, and the people who are supposed to be advocating for them are not. Why?
Because they are the wrong gender.

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