J. Soltys's Weblog

June 30, 2009

Female Psychologist Advocates for Men’s Issues

In the process of advocating men’s issues, it becomes inevitable that I will wind up in a debate with those who feel advocating for men’s causes is a waste of time and resources because men are living in a state of blissful privilege. Instead, these people feel that valuable time and resources would be much better spent helping women’s issues, because according to them, it is obvious men are not the ones who have any real issues, rather it is women who are facing numerous personal and societal crises.
These same people are very creative and vociferous in minimizing the fact that males are failing in greater numbers than before in school, being incarcerated at record levels, likely to be victims of violence 4 to 1 over females, likely to commit suicide at rates 4 to 1 over females, and likely to be falsely accused of murder, rape, and domestic violence at a prodigious rate versus females.
This is called male “privilege and bliss”, and because of this biased and limited thinking, many men’s issues are ignored or placed into the low political/societal priority agenda.

But the tide is slowly changing. More people are starting to realize that recognizing men’s issues will have a positive effect on men, boys, women, girls, families, and society. As a matter of fact, some are saying that women’s issues could gain strength and greater respect, if they were to embrace men’s issues instead of denying and marginalizing them.

For example, the World Bank, a prestigious humanitarian organization which provides research, data, financial, and technological education to developing countries around the world had this to say about gender and men’s issues in a 2006 report:

What About Men And Gender? World Bank Publication Calls For “Menstreaming” Development

Accomplishing the goal of gender equality will be difficult, if not impossible, without considering men in the gender and development debate and focusing on the relations between men and women, according to a new book, The Other Half of Gender, released today by the World Bank.

While gains have been made over the decades, initiatives by government and development agencies that focused exclusively on women have in some cases inadvertently increased women’s work burden and violence against them, the book reveals and recommends applying a more inclusive perspective that also considers men’s gender issues.

The authors believe that while there is a long way to go making a more inclusive gender perspective a reality, the first step must be to move beyond the conventional gender paradigm that focuses exclusively on women and is based on the oppositional and two-dimensional “women as victim, men as a problem” attitude that has pervaded the gender and development debate over the decades.

“We believe that the time has come to better understand men from a gender perspective, for the benefit of men, women, future generations, and the society as a whole,” said Steen Jorgensen, Director World Bank Director for Social Development.

Empowering women has been placed at the center of the gender issue since 1970s when feminist advocates and academics brought attention to the special needs and potential of women in development. However, over the last decade, there has been a growing, but still timid, interest in understanding the male side of gender in development, that is, how gender norms and constructs in society negatively affect men themselves as well as the development processes.

“Despite this new understanding of gender, development practice on gender remained firmly focused on women— and to this day, when we talk about gender, we automatically mean women,” said Ian Bannon, Manager of the Conflict Prevention and Reconstruction Unit at the World Bank. “There has also been a concern that drawing attention to male issues will draw scarce resources away from programs focused on women. But this misses the point. Men and gender is not about transferring benefits or attention from women to men.”

Rather women’s well-being can generally not improve without including men because it concerns relationships between men and women, and these relations are subject of constant negotiations. Addressing gender issues, including those that disadvantage women, thus requires understanding gender as a social system that affects both men and women and their inter-relations, according to the book.

And now a female psychologist from Australia is advocating a greater respect and awareness for the development of men’s causes and concerns based on some of the same logic as the researchers from the World Bank.

Dr. Elizabeth Celi recently appeared on an Australian talk show to voice her concerns about how men and masculinity issues are devoid of the same value and respect given to women and femininity issues in modern society.

 

Thank you to Dr. Celi and the those at the World Bank. I hope we can sustain this more modern and compassionate way of thinking concerning our approach as a civilized society when discussing the problems and issues facing  men, fathers, and boys today.

 

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https://jsoltys.wordpress.com

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April 2, 2009

April Is Autism Awareness Month, And Sexism Creeps In

father-and-children     You may have noticed a recent surge in stories about autism. That’s because April is dedicated as Autism Awareness Month.

As a writer of men’s issues, the progress concerning the understanding and minimizing of autism would naturally be of concern to me considering that this disorder affects more males than females. But I also have a genuine concern for the children and parents of those affected by autism, because my wife and I had concerns about one of our twin boys.

Our son displayed an obsessive trait by the age of two that involved him feeling the need to have his environment in perfect order. If everything was not in “his” perfect order, he would throw a serious fit. His shoes and clothing could not have any stains or dirt on them, his shoe laces had to be tied exactly the same way and lay exactly the same way, the stuffed animals on his bed had to be in a certain order before he could go to sleep, and he could spend long periods of time organizing and reorganizing blocks.

With the help of some state run programs, my son was evaluated by many different professionals, which lasted over a period of about six months. In the end, it was determined that my son is not autistic, by has autistic tendencies. Those involved determined most of this behavior could be minimized through early intervention.

My son was enrolled in a special school funded by the state, and within one year, showed dramatic improvement. We still have the occasional tantrum (the shoelace thing is still a problem, but buying Crocs has solved that for now), but I’m aware that what we have gone through is nothing like what those parents who have children greatly affected by autism must go through. My heart goes out to those parents and their children.

 

Sexism in the media?

What really disturbs me about Autism Awareness Month is the blatant sexism involved in its reporting. As I mentioned before, autism affects mostly males, but when reading the stories about autism in the media, one is never aware that this is the case.

Go to any website that is dedicated to autism, and read the facts. Autism affects boys by a 3 to 4 ratio over girls. But this is rarely mentioned in the main stream media while reporting on autism.

For example, here are some recent articles on autism by some of the major news organizations:

  ABC News reports on autism and Jenny McCarthy’s new book (she is the parent of an autistic child). The four page report does not mention the boy/girl ratio.

  MSNBC files a report on research involving autism. No mention of the boy/girl ratio.

—  CBS reports on new research concerning autism. No mention of the boy/girl ratio.

—  The BBC files a report on autism rights. No mention of the boy/girl ratio.

—  Cable news networks CNN and Fox file reports on autism. No mention of the boy/girl ration.

—  Time Magazine reports on Jenny McCarthy’s new book. No mention of the boy/girl ratio. But I find an older article about autism from 2002. In this detailed, eight page report on the history and research concerning autism, never is it mentioned that boys are more greatly affected by autism than girls. How could this be?

Compare this autism reporting behavior with issues that are considered to affect more women than men. The media always makes the effort to highlight the greater disparity faced by women when compared to men.

—  For example, did anyone read a story about the Chris Brown/Rihanna saga without having many different stats presented of females suffering greater incidents of domestic violence than men within these reports?

—  Has anyone ever read about depression and the genders, and noticed how the report will always include stats stating that depression affects more women than men?

—  Has one ever read about the genders and heart disease, and noticed how reports usually mention research showing a disparity between the diagnoses and treatment for men suffering heart attacks, and the diagnoses and treatment of women, and how this disparity puts more women at risk?

The major media seem to find more value in highlighting the suffering of women than men. They seldom cover the facts about men’s suffering or injustices with equal fervor if it means having to put the needs of men before women.

For example:

—  When discussing suicides, the media feels uncomfortable reporting that men commit suicide three times more than women.

—  The media shuns the fact when reporting about deadbeat dads, that statistically, women do not pay child support in greater numbers than men, leaving some single fathers struggling to raise their children.

I feel the reporting on these issues should remain consistent, whether it involves reporting them as gender neutral or not. I would be comfortable either way, but right now it is not consistent, and appears extremely sexist and degrading.

—  When the media is covering a story about single moms, absent fathers, and men taking responsibility as fathers,  it rarely mentions the fact that women initiate the majority of divorces in the US, and the majority of those women demand sole custody of the children. Sadly, in contradiction to the pious cries of many who advocate the need to have more fathers involved with their children, the family court systems most often awards custody to mothers due to an inherent discriminatory belief that children need their mothers more than their fathers. (Note: Fathers who file for divorce ask for joint custody the majority of the time, understanding the importance and need for the mother in the lives of their children.)

—  When covering a story about a tradgic death in the work place, the media never mention that men make up 90% of work place deaths, or that men make up the over 90% of the most dangerous jobs in the workplace. Instead, the media is obsessed with highlighting how women make less than men, and how this is the greatest tragedy in the labor market.

 This discrimination is something I see often, and it is very disturbing that the media – the self proclaimed martyrs of social justice – ignore their own prejudice while reporting and calling out other members of society on theirs.

 As I mentioned before, the media seems intimidated to allow male suffering and injustices to take center stage if it involves having to place the hardships of women backstage momentarily.  However, the media seem very comfortable highlighting women’s greater suffering and injustices when in a position to do so, and do it quite often. It appears as if a dysfunctional form of machismo, patriarchal behavior, or just plain old-fashioned sexism is rampant in the major news organizations.

 

 

As Autism Awareness is upon us, for now, take the time to point out the fact that there is a diparity between the sexes. Maybe in time the word will spread to the major news organizations. And maybe they will finally do their job – reporting the facts.

 

Update: After posting this story, I found CNN is running a story today in honor of World Autism Awareness Day. The story discusses in detail the different aspects of the disorder and the possible causes. But again, after all the facts and observations are discussed, not one of them mentions the gender disparity. Progress is slow in the war against autism

 

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February 23, 2009

More Gender Myths Shattered

children-poverty1    Just this morning I read that the FBI, along with local authorities, have uncovered and eliminated a child prostitution ring. According to Fox News:

The FBI has rescued more than 45 suspected teenage prostitutes, some as young as 13, in a nationwide sweep to remove kids from the illegal sex trade and punish their accused pimps.
Over a three-night initiative called Operation Cross Country, federal agents working with local law enforcement also arrested more than 50 alleged pimps, according to preliminary bureau data.
The teenage prostitutes found in the investigation ranged in age from 13 to 17.
Historically, federal authorities rarely play a role in anti-prostitution crackdowns, but the FBI is becoming more involved as it tries to rescue children caught up in the business.

When we think of prostitutes and pimps, we think of scumbag men, manipulating young, vulnerable women into selling their bodies for money. We also visualize the pimps enforcing their power and control over these women by way of violence and drug addictions.

These assumptions are inherently true, but it’s time to change these confident assumptions.

According to a new report on human trafficking by the United Nations, the majority of those illegally trafficking adults and children for profit are women.
According to the report:

Women are the majority of traffickers in almost a third of the 155 nations the U.N. surveyed. They accounted for more than 60 percent of the human trafficking convictions in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
For many, human trafficking is a world they had been pulled into themselves.
“Women commit crimes against women, and in many cases the victims become the perpetrators,” Antonio Maria Costa, director of the Vienna-based U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, said in an interview. “They become the matrons of the business and they make money. It’s like a drug addiction.”
Most of the world’s nations reported some form of “modern slavery” last year involving mainly the sex trade or forced labor.

My main purpose in writing about gender issues is to counter the feminist driven myth that is prevalent in society which believes that men/masculinity is inherently evil, and women/femininity is inherently altruistic. It’s the biggest myth we have yet to confront concerning the genders. I’ve opined in the past that men and women are human first, which means that each gender has the ability to achieve tremendous greatness, but consequently, each gender has the same potential to put forth malevolent and disturbing behavior.

Men and masculinity have been labeled as the more aggressive and/or violent gender only because we have lived for centuries in societies and cultures that have been male dominated. Power and dominance have been held overwhelmingly by men, not by women. Therefore, historically, we can easily sample the greatness of men/masculinity, as well as we can easily sample the historical, malicious aspects too. However, when analyzing how women and femininity will behave under similar circumstances, there is no large sample to draw from, only speculation.
And where does the majority of this speculation come from? From feminist and women’s rights supporters. According to them, as women ascend into the same milieu of power and status as men, the world will become a more peaceful and benevolent place due to the infusion of the much needed femininity into the world theatre.

To which I respond, “Bullshit”!   

As I have stated, women and men are inherently the same at the core, so as women achieve their status and power, I would expect to see them engaging in the same behaviors as men – for better and for worse. So I’m not surprised to see women heavily involved in the human trafficking trade.
To support my opinion about the closing negative behavioral gap between men and women, I’ve noted some recent events and statistics:

—  According to the FBI, women bank robbers are on the rise. CNN reports: 

Nationwide, 6.2 percent of all bank heists today are committed by women. That’s up from 4.9 percent in 2002 — a 25 percent increase, according to the most recent FBI crime statistics.”
In Long Island’s Nassau County, Detective Sgt. John Giambrone says he came across not one female bank robber in his first 25 years in law enforcement. He has seen 15 in the past three years.
“For a woman, especially a woman, to take that step … you’re crossing a big threshold,” said Giambrone, who heads up the Nassau County police department’s robbery squad.

—  WASHINGTON  –  A Maryland woman was charged Friday with exporting miniature controls for small unmanned aircraft to China.
The government says the controls are the world’s smallest and involve a technology that cannot be shared with China because of national security concerns. The devices can be used to fly small military reconnaissance planes, according to Fox News.
If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

England– Drunken students heaped shame on Cambridge University by simulating sex acts in sordid booze society initiations, reports the Sun
Education chiefs were “horrified” as girls were snapped on their hands and knees using their mouths to roll condoms on bananas hanging from boys’ trousers.
The girls belong to the Newnham Nuns — a drinking society at the all-female Newnham College.
Hospital consultant Adrian Boyle said: “In the last ten years the number of female students coming in extremely drunk and incapable has shot up. More are being assaulted too.”

From the USA Today: A “dispute” among teenage girls is being blamed for a brawl at a Washington, D.C., high school that sent five students to the hospital and injured 13 others.

 — EnglandScourge of the ladette thugs: Rising tide of violent crime committed by young women.

The number of crimes committed by girls is rocketing as ‘ladette’ culture takes hold, a Government report has revealed. 
The Ministry of Justice said there had been a 22 per cent increase since 2004. 
Girls of 18 and under committed more than 58,000 crimes last year, seven every hour. 
For the first time in history, crimes of violence have overtaken theft as the most common offence among women and girls.

AfricaOlder white women join Kenya’s sex tourists.  

Hard figures are difficult to come by, but local people on the coast estimate that as many as one in five single women visiting from rich countries are in search of sex.
The health risks are stark in a country with an AIDS prevalence of 6.9 percent. Although condom use can only be guessed at, Julia Davidson, an academic at Nottingham University who writes on sex tourism, said that in the course of her research she had met women who shunned condoms — finding them too “businesslike” for their exotic fantasies.

One can see, as women become more independent, and enjoy the same rights and freedoms as men, their behavior seems strikingly similar to men’s. However, to assume this would be extremely sexists. These behaviors are not inherently masculine, they are inherently human. Femininity and women do not have any superior qualities over men and masculinity as most women would like to think. And as time goes by, and women keep achieving more success, more wealth, more power, and more status, they will be faced with having to make the same moral and ethical choices as men. And just like men, some will succeed, and some will fail.

Next time you read or hear how women entering positions of power and influence in the world will create a new era of peace and prosperity, remember a common but powerful phrase, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

 

Contact:

soltys.joe@gmail.com

https://jsoltys.wordpress.com

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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 27, 2008

Please Join Me In Protesting Sexist Domestic Violence Ads

The Dallas Area Rapid Transit in coordination with The Family Place, a Dallas Domestic Violence service provider began running domestic violence prevention ads on DART buses that openly discriminate against men and fathers, and mislead the public into believing the myth that men are almost always the perpetrators of violence and women are most always the victims.

Men’s issue writer and advocate Glen Sacks along with Dr. Ned Holstein, Executive Director of Fathers & Families have organized a protest to these disturbing ads.

I’ve posted the campaign’s webpage below. Please join me in protesting this type of discrimination against men and fathers, and protest the damage done to all victims of domestic violence by promoting false and misleading information.

Protest Father-Bashing
Domestic Violence Ads!

dart

Several hundred Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) buses feature misleading, father-bashing ads purporting to address the serious issue of domestic violence.

One ad depicts a happy little girl with the message “One day my husband will kill me.” Another shows a smiling boy with the message “When I grow up, I will beat my wife.”

The ads are, to put it bluntly, hate speech against fathers.

We want DART to take down these anti-father ads. To send a protest email and fax to DART executives, click here.

To depict only males as perpetrators of domestic violence, and only females as victims, is a severe distortion. DV research clearly establishes that men account for half of all DV victims and incur a third of DV-related injuries, as women often employ the element of surprise and weapons to compensate for men’s strength.

In earlier years, it was common to see crime stories presented as if only African-Americans and Latinos were perps, and whites their only victims. We now recognize that these distortions are bigoted. DART’s ads are the same kind of distortions, only the “perps” are now dads.

To send a protest email and fax to DART executives, click here.

The offending ads were placed on the buses by The Family Place, a Dallas Domestic Violence service provider. Family Place Executive Director Paige Flink told Fox News in Dallas that says she designed the ads to provoke, saying “I hope you are offended.”

Flink is practically daring the fatherhood movement to respond, and assumes that domestic violence organizations can insult men with impunity. As a general rule, she has been correct–the domestic violence establishment, much of it funded with your tax dollars, has been allowed to get away with serving the public the false woman-as-victim/man-as-monster domestic violence model.

To send a protest email and fax to DART executives, click here.

DART Buses & Trains serve a total of 10 million commuters per month. To read the Associated Press’ and others’ coverage of the ads, click here.

The message of the DART ads is clear–kids need to be afraid of fathers. Boys need to be afraid to grow up to be like dad, and girls need to fear marrying a man like dad.

Dads-as-Monsters ads such as these influence our popular culture, our news media, our legislators, and our family law courts. If you’re a divorced dad who can only see his kids a few days a month, or who’s the victim of false accusations of abuse, ads like these are one reason.

To send a protest email and fax to DART executives, click here.

Two major billboard companies–Clear Channel Outdoor and CBS Outdoor–have already rejected these ads. Jodi Senese of CBS said the ads “can be both misleading and disturbing.”

There are three ads in this series–the two mentioned above and also one apparently gender-neutral ad which discusses the issue of domestic violence and teen suicide. We have no problem with the third, but we want the first two–“One day my husband will kill me” and “When I grow up, I will beat my wife”–removed.

To send a protest email and fax to DART executives, click here.

We abhor domestic violence and child abuse in all forms, and give credit to agencies like The Family Place which help victims. However, by failing (or refusing) to recognize male victims of domestic violence, the domestic violence establishment and The Family Place harm male victims and their children.

Society once swept domestic violence under the rug, marginalizing abused women and their children. As California’s Third District Court of Appeal recognized in a recent decision, today male victims and their children are marginalized. These DART ads are part of that marginalization.

Internationally-recognized domestic violence expert John Hamel, LCSW, a court-certified batterer treatment provider and author of the book Gender-Inclusive Treatment of Intimate Partner Abuse, explains:

“Men account for half of all DV victims and incur a third of DV-related injuries. Ignoring female-on-male violence inhibits our efforts to combat domestic violence.”

In the column to the right we provide quotes from numerous internationally-respected domestic violence authorities, all of whom, attest that domestic violence is committed by both men and women.

To send a protest email and fax to DART executives, click here.

To learn more about the ads, click here.

We oppose DART’s Anti-Father Bus Ads Because:

  • To depict only males as perpetrators of domestic violence, and only females as victims, is a severe distortion of domestic violence research. A mountain of DV research clearly establishes that women are frequently the aggressors in domestic combat, often employing the element of surprise and weapons to compensate for men’s strength.The most recent large-scale study of domestic violence was published in the American Journal of Public Health last year. The researchers analyzed data concerning 11,370 respondents. According to the researchers, “[H]alf of [violent relationships] were reciprocally violent. In nonreciprocally violent relationships, women were the perpetrators in more than 70% of the cases.” (This study is illustrated in the diagram at right from the Psychiatric News, 8/3/07).A quarter of the women surveyed admitted perpetrating violence, and when the violence involved both parties, women were more likely to have been the first to strike.Such findings are consistent with decades of domestic violence research. The National Institute of Mental Health funded and oversaw two of the largest studies of domestic violence ever conducted, both of which found equal rates of abuse between husbands and wives.
    New California Appeal Court Ruling: ‘Domestic Violence Is a Serious Problem for both Women and Men’
    “California domestic violence laws violate men’s rights because they provide state funding only for women and their children who use shelters and other programs, a state appeals court has ruled.

    “The decision by the Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento requires the programs to be available to male as well as female victims of domestic violence…

    “Justice Fred Morrison said in Tuesday’s 3-0 ruling, the state acknowledges that ‘domestic violence is a serious problem for both women and men.'” –(San Francisco Chronicle, 10/16/08)

    California State Long Beach University professor Martin Fiebert maintains an online bibliography summarizing 219 scholarly investigations, with an aggregate sample size exceeding 220,000, which concludes “women are as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men in their relationships with their spouses or male partners.”

    Nor is this violence trivial. A meta-analytic review of 552 domestic violence studies published in the Psychological Bulletin found that 38% of the physical injuries in heterosexual domestic assaults are suffered by men.

    Dr. Jennifer Langhinrichsen-Rohling of the University of South Alabama says that as she and other researchers grappled with this research, “Every time we tried to say that women’s intimate partner abuse is different than men’s, the evidence did not support it.”

    According to Dr. Donald Dutton, author of Rethinking Domestic Violence, research shows that domestic violence is actually more common in lesbian relationships than in heterosexual relationships. For example, one study of 1,100 lesbian or bisexual women who are in abusive lesbian relationships found that the women were more likely to have experienced violence in their previous relationships with women than in their previous relationships with men.

    Domestic violence service sometimes providers justify their exclusion of male victims by citing crime and/or crime survey statistics which show that most reports of domestic violence are by women. Dr. Dutton explains:

    “Domestic violence ‘research’ has been misleading, in that data has been extracted from crime reports and/or crime victim surveys – in which men underreport more than women – and have been publicized as indicating domestic violence is a gender issue (male-perpetrator/female-victims).

    “In fact, when larger surveys with representative samples are examined, perpetration of domestic violence perpetration is slightly more common for females…”

    In the column to the right we provide quotes from numerous internationally-respected domestic violence authorities, all of whom, attest that domestic violence is committed by both men and women.

    To send a protest email and fax to DART executives, click here.

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  • The Ads Send the Message That Kids Must Fear Dads, When Most Child Abuse and Parental Murder of Children Is Committed by Mothers, not Fathers The child victims of male violence depicted in the DART ads are, in fact, most likely to be abused by a woman, not a man.According to the most recent data available from the US Department of Health and Human Services, mothers are more likely to commit physical child abuse, emotional maltreatment, and neglect than fathers. The only form of child abuse fathers are more likely to commit is the one that’s the most infrequent—child sexual abuse.

    According to Child Maltreatment 2006 (pictured), a report by the Federal Administration for Children & Families, leaving aside killings by nonparents or by mothers and fathers acting together, mothers committed almost three-quarters of the parental murders of children. If one looks only at murders committed by mothers and fathers acting alone, the ratio is over 2 to 1 committed by mothers.

    Leaving aside child abuse by nonparents or by mothers and fathers acting together, mothers committed almost three-quarters of child abuse.

    If one looks only at child abuse committed by mothers and fathers acting alone, the ratio is 2.3 to 1 committed by mothers.

    The data cited here are raw statistics, and all raw statistics are subject to various biases and influences. However, they do very much contradict the DART ads’ de facto claim that it’s fathers and only fathers who are a threat to their children.

    To send a protest email and fax to DART executives, click here.

    Hide

Fathers & Families, a national shared parenting organization, and Los Angeles journalist/radio commentator Glenn Sacks are partnering in a campaign to ask DART to remove these anti-father ads.

To send a protest email and fax to DART executives, click here.

Contact DART Executives & Ask Them to Remove These Anti-Father Ads

Below are the phone numbers, fax numbers, and email addresses for DART’s leading executives. I suggest campaign supporters email and fax all of them by clicking here, and also call the executives listed below.

If the intended party is not available, which will often be the case, please leave a short, clear message telling them that you want DART to remove these ads. Leave your name, phone number and email address. Please remember to always be polite, respectful, and to the point.

Let us know what happened when you called by clicking here.

Running these campaigns takes time and money–to make a tax-deductible contribution to support our efforts, click here.

To discuss the DART campaign on the campaign blog, click here.

Many of our supporters live in the Dallas area and use DART. If you are one, please contact us by clicking here.

Best Wishes,

Glenn Sacks
Dr. Ned Holstein, Executive Director of Fathers & Families

Contact:

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

September 30, 2008

Loving Men, Respecting Women: An Analysis of Modern Sexual Politics

(Today I’m lending my blog to another writer. Tim Goldich has written a book called 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.
I feel Tim has a unique perspective on the present dichotomies plaguing men and women, and offers a fresh perspective on how to remedy the persuasive distrust between the sexes. Because of this, I will be promoting his new book, which will be available soon. I am offering my readers a sneak-preview into Tim’s perspective by posting the forward of Loving Men, Respecting Women. Also, Tim has offered to be a contributing writer to my blog in the near future.
Hope you enjoy it.)

I have a truth to share with you, a truth that is at once radical and moderate. It is intuitively known but ideologically obscured. It is the one gender truth to be emphasized above all others. It is the one truth that promises to deescalate the Battle of the Sexes replacing resentment, blaming and victimhood with maturity, accountability and generosity. It is a truth just at the edge of awareness.
And it all begins with love and respect.

As is so commonly the case, I grew up respecting and obeying my Dad more than my Mom while appreciating and loving my Mom more than my Dad. When Mom cooked and served our meals her giving was plain to see and much appreciated. In serving our favorites Mom received our compliments and our gratitude. We came to the table hungry! And she gave us sustenance we could not live without. She gave us food, a fundamental archetype of life that stands at the very heart of family as well as religious, holiday and other social gatherings.
When Dad did his 50 hours a week on the corporate treadmill he did his giving miles away where none of us could see or appreciate it. I directly experienced what Mom was giving, but it often seemed as though Dad gave nothing. Growing up loving our mothers and resenting our fathers is more than just a matter of cultural cliché. It is the murky origin of a profound gender bias that remains with us all our lives.
Have you ever considered a true and deep empathy toward fathers? What is at risk in directing culture-wide caring, concern and compassion toward men in general and fathers in particular? And why will so many of us react with derision at the very idea?
Did you know that on Mother’s day more phone calls are made than on any other day of the year, more than on Christmas day and far more than on Father’s day. Father’s day, in contrast, is the day on which we make the largest number of collect calls.1 If we love Mom and Dad equally then why do we buy and send half again as many mother’s day cards as father’s day cards?2
It would seem that most of us grow up respecting our fathers, but not necessarily loving (empathizing with) our fathers. Likewise, it would seem that most of us grow up loving our mothers, but not necessarily respecting our mothers. At least in part, the disparity in love and respect derive from the roles we play. Clearly the husband role of protector/provider lends itself to being respected while the wife role of lover/nurturer better lends itself to being loved. Of course, it doesn’t always work this way; but it works this way more often than not.
In serving our meals we could say that Mom was being “servile,” or we could say that cooking and serving our meals was one of the ways in which Mom placed herself at the center of our affections. In “bringing home the bacon” we could say that Dad was being “dominant,” or we could say that working to earn his family’s love was one of the ways in which Dad was separated from his family’s love. In this way, we will find that every gender reality has a dual nature.
At home, Mom was as loving, giving, nurturing and omnipresent as Dad was demanding, rule enforcing, cranky and absent. My emotional dependence on Mom was obvious and absolute. It was she who washed us, fed us, tended to our bruises, taught us right from wrong and cared for our most basic needs. Within the mother/child glow we experienced a world of limitless unconditional love protecting us from an outside world cold and uncaring. It was Dad’s interaction with the outside world that insulated us from that world. Yes, we were financially dependent upon Dad, but what does that mean to a child? In our infancy did we experience Dad as he who suffered the slings and arrows making it possible for mother and child to live within a nexus of love and safety? Or, did we experience Dad as he who competed for and often usurped Mom’s love?

Every hour Dad devoted to earning his family’s love left him with one fewer hour in which to be with his family’s love. His work persona, so functional at work, was dysfunctional at home. “I can’t understand it,” he said to me once, “I communicate so well with my young employees; why can’t I communicate with you?” It’s easy to get disgusted with Dad. “I’m your son, not your employee,” I thought to myself. But how was Dad supposed to know about parenting?
Our dads didn’t grow up playing with dolls, playing house and babysitting. The male culture our dads grew up in did nothing to prepare them for the role of parenting. I was born before 1970, which means that I was born at a time when fathers were not even allowed in the delivery room. Think about it. Fathers were shut out right from the start. The anesthesiologist could be there. The family doctor could be there. A man with some practical value could be there. But, apparently, husbands/fathers, having no practical value in the delivery room, were considered to have no value at all. Only wives/mothers were encouraged to think of their nurturing and empathy as valuable gifts to be shared.
Fathers have many such stories to tell. Consider this one: Father listens to the sounds of his child playing outside. Suddenly something happens and the child is hurt. Father hears the sounds of his child in pain running for the front door. His heart goes out to his child. But the child runs right past his father’s open arms and into the arms of his mother instead. The child seeks comfort from the parent he loves most. In keeping with the male code, father does his best to keep his pain invisible, yet he is devastated nonetheless. It hurts to be loved second best. Is it any wonder if, from that day on, the father begins to hide behind his newspaper? Is it any wonder that Dad begins spending more time at work where he feels functional and less time at home where he feels dysfunctional?
Perhaps if we men better understood our father’s inner experience, we’d have more empathy toward our fathers. And if we can have more empathy toward our fathers, then perhaps we can have more empathy toward ourselves.
Dad did give something. Among other things, he gave 40 years of long days that he counted down till retirement from a job that he hated. He could have taken a more enjoyable job that paid less; but that would not have been in keeping with his role as provider. Though he ended up spending more time at work than at home, there on his desk amid the folders and the memos were pictures of his family. There under a sheet of glass covering his desk was a poem I had written in the 4th grade.
What he did, he did for us. Looking back on it, we might have thanked him more and blamed him less for not “being there for us.” He was over there at work for us. Looking back on it, I suppose it was we who were not there for him, to lend an ear to his fears, to love and support him.

A day of reckoning may arrive when a man comes to see his life in pursuit of respect as having been “all for nothing.” “Yes,” he says to himself, “I was respected. I may have been feared, obeyed, admired, lauded and rewarded with authority, status and titles, but I was never loved. Out of the blue, I awoke one day to be served divorce papers. I still love my wife; but she does not love me. And my children to the extent they even know me don’t love me either. With a restraining order effortlessly achieved I was effectively shut out of all their lives. I did it all for them, yet I lost them all. In desperation I turned to my brethren for solace and support, but following some perfunctory remarks (‘Keep your chin up,’ ‘keep a stiff upper lip,’ ‘Hang in there’), there was nothing. Men don’t love men any more than women do. Father’s Days come and go without a card or a call. I was never loved. It was all for nothing.”
Similarly, a day may come when a woman comes to see her life in pursuit of love as having been “all for nothing.” “Yes,” she says to herself, “I was loved. I may have been adored, protected, pursued, financially supported, coddled, catered to, and showered with gifts, mother’s day cards and other affections; but even my women friends never really took me seriously. I took the central place in the emotional lives of our children, but I awoke one day to find my children grown and gone away. I never achieved anything intellectually or creatively. I accomplished nothing with my life. I was never respected. It was all for nothing.”
As is true of men and women in general, we tend to respect fathers more than love them and we tend love mothers more than respect them. The love/respect dynamic is at the heart of gender polarity and in our tendency to respect women less than men and love men less than women, it is also the primary basis of legitimate gender complaint. The challenge for society is to care about men’s issues even when society doesn’t care about the men themselves. Both love and respect are abundantly rewarding in some ways, yet each is lacking certain essentials. For their lives to be fulfilling women need to be both loved and respected, and for their lives to be fulfilling men need to be both respected and loved.

The gender system can be improved. The sexes can negotiate these improvements under a unified banner without resorting to resentment or victimhood. One truth above all others leads the sexes down a path away from destructive battle and toward healthy negotiation, mutual understanding and fairness. So what is this wondrous truth that can do such wondrous things? Simply this:
It All Balances Out.

1[http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DE7DE1031F933A15755C0A961948260]
2[http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1630551,00.html]

September 29, 2008

I Finally Have A Real “About” Page

(For a long time now I’ve been wanting to create a more detailed “About” page. As my blog grows and receives more traffic, I’ve noticed more people clicking on “About” in the sidebar to learn more about me.

Well I’ve finally finished it. Here it is.)

I write about gender issues from the male perspective. Most notably, I challenge the negative stereotypes of men, fathers, and masculinity.

I became involved in this work after going through a dark time in my life. I was raised in an environment which was heavily influenced by alcoholism. The chaos and abuses I experienced caused personal turmoil throughout my life. It finally reached a pinnacle in my early thirties at which point I sought help.

One of the steps I took to address my issues was to become involved in a men’s only group. In this environment, a group of men would address many different events that have affected their lives, from the obscure to the most serious. Through this process, a man could not only rebuild his own life, but in the process, help other men rebuild their lives also.
As a part of this process, I learned a lot about myself, about the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of other men, and about the dynamics of masculinity – its truths and its myths.

Thus began a personal mission which led me to research issues facing men, and society’s perceptions of masculinity. This led to studies on gender. Unfortunately, what I found did not corroborate my personal experiences.

I found most gender studies were conducted by feminist researchers, or researchers that are sympathetic, or sensitive to women’s issues. Therefore, I began to question the legitimacy of these same people writing intimately and conclusively about men and masculine behavior. It seemed absurd that groups of mostly women were writing with confidence about male emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. Reverse the genders, and these same actions would be considered sexists.
But most disturbing was how traditional genders studies focused exclusively on the faults and vices of men, and proliferated an ideology that masculinity is inferior to femininity. This was reinforced by feminist writings and speeches advocating a “standard” or model of a “real man”; behaviors, actions, and beliefs that according to them, creates a better or “flawless” form of masculinity.
As somebody who once supported feminism, I began to become skeptical of its agenda. I have always believed in equality between men and women, and still do. But I began to question their commitment to equality for the sexes. I knew ( and I have found true) that if I or any other man began writing how women felt, focused exclusively on their faults, and set a “standard” of behaviors, actions, and beliefs that according to us men, establishes “true” femininity, these same feminist would cry foul without hesitation, stating such behavior is extremely sexist and discriminatory.

I began comparing my own experiences with men with what I was reading in gender research studies. I found almost all negative male behaviors and issues were blamed on the patriarchy within gender research, corroborated with men’s need for power and control. My own experiences taught me that this was a shallow look at the issues facing men and masculinity. What is exactly is power and control? How does it manifest itself in men? What are the top five events or influences in a man’s life that cause it? What percentage of men have it? At what age does it begin to surface? Why is it always considered a masculine trait when I see so many women with power and control issues also?

What was most disturbing is that the solution for many male issues offered by feminist is to reconstruct masculinity to look more like femininity. The more I read, the more it appeared that from a feminist perspective, masculinity was deeply flawed, and the only way to save/salvage it was to infuse it with heavy doses of femininity. If men became in touch with their feminine side, they would evolve into better men, better human beings, and in return, all societal ills would be mitigated.
So according to feminist, if we look like them, think like them, and act like them, the world would be a better place.
Wow! And to think, I used to believe men had the bigger egos.

What I discovered in my experiences is that men and masculinity has been unfairly attacked. I found masculinity actually comprises many of the components associated with femininity such as compassion, empathy, caring, nurturing, selflessness, etc. But what I discovered is while masculinity may harbor these traits, they are not feminine – they are human. Men carry the same emotional components as women; we just go about addressing and managing them differently. Just as selfishness, irresponsibility, dominating, controlling, blaming, and risk taking are not masculine traits, they are human ones, and women are just as guilty of these behaviors as men.

After ten years of quietly reading, listening, and observing men and women in society, I’ve decided to start writing about my experiences, my observations, and my opinions.
Over the years I’ve uncovered many distortions and myths about men, women, and the genders, and how these distortions and myths have created a negative image of men within society.
Through my writings I hope to point out these indiscretions, and offer another point of view, one that not only restores our faith in men and masculinity, but shows how the negative behaviors of men, and men’s issues in general, are dealt with differently; usually being ignored, disparaged, or discriminated against, particularly when compared to how women’s issues are addressed.
Women receive understanding and compassion; men receive blame and shame.
Men need to receive more than this. At this moment the male population is under the burden of having the highest suicide rates, increasing rates of incarceration, males struggling academically with substantial drop out rates, males being more likely to be over diagnosed and over drugged with respect to behavioral issues, males experiencing rates of violence that are four to one over females, males more likely to be imprisoned on false charges, and males more likely to be executed for violent crimes than females.

It’s time for a change.

Bio

I am a married father of three: a teenaged step-daughter, and preschool-aged twin boys. I live in the Chicago area and work in the healthcare industry full-time – writing is my part-time passion.
I returned to college as an adult where I studied chemistry and business, and after ten long years, I graduated with honors.
My blog has been referenced by main stream media outlets such as Fox News and CNN. I have also been interviewed by internet radio to discuss my opinions.
My other passions are golf and fishing.

July 30, 2008

More Distorted Research From Relationship Violence Advocates

Recently, many news outlets ran a story concerning the results of a survey indicating how prevalent dating violence and abuse was among “tweens and teens in our society. According to a report by CNN:

Sixty-nine percent of teens who had sex by age 14 reported some type of abuse in a relationship, with slightly more than one-third saying they had been physically abused, according to the survey, conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited.

The survey was intended to raise awareness, particularly for parents, to this hidden crisis among our youth. But as I have written before, many studies done by domestic violence awareness advocates, and similar groups, are seriously flawed, distorted, or discriminatory towards males.
It appears this study can be added to the “junk science” pile.

According to Benjamin Radford, the “Bad Science Columnist” at the website LiveScience.com who’s job it is to review research making the news, this study is deeply flawed.
He states;

Parents may want to remove their fingers from the panic button and take a closer look at the study. Some of the most alarming statistics are misleading.

What Radford found alarming was how easily the numbers became distorted from the type of questions the survey asked. For instance, one question asked the respondent if he or she has ever experienced being called a derogatory name by a dating partner. If they answered yes, it was recorded as dating abuse.
As a former teenager, and the current father of a teenage daughter, this behavior is common among adolescents. So as Radford points out, of course the numbers are going to be huge, but shocking?
I always thought that society expects this behavior from adolescents, and society also expects that this will be the most trying time to teach them proper behavior and how their behavior affects others. I always thought this was called growing up, or the natural maturing process – not a crisis.
So the question becomes, “Is it fair to classify immature adolescent behavior as abusive, or should we tread more carefully when labeling various types of adolescent behavior?”
If not, we will see a crisis everywhere, and open up the possibility of overreacting towards all adolescent behavior, including labeling teenagers who do not clean their rooms as displaying signs of serious depression, or teenagers who are rebellious against their parents as having serious anger and authority issues, or teenagers who lie to their parents about who they were with, what they did, and why they came home late as having serious moral and discipline issues.
Where do we draw the line between what is normal and expected behavior versus what is abnormal behavior? Determining this could cause more problems if we don’t add some rational thought into the process.

Another serious flaw Radford points out is that the survey used questions that asked if “you or somebody you know has experienced…” which leads to inflated and distorted numbers. Adolescents are notorious for gossip, so how did the analysis of the survey dissect fact from fiction?
This is not known.

Radford also discusses how this type of questioning can lead to serious distortions:

It doesn’t take into account multiple reporting of the same incident among survey respondents. For example, let’s say there’s a fight at a high school and someone gets stabbed. If you later take a survey of students at the school and ask them if they know or heard about anyone who was stabbed, hundreds of people will say yes. But that doesn’t mean that hundreds of people were stabbed, it just means that all of the people asked had heard about the one person who was attacked.

What is also alarming about this study, and studies similar to them, is that when the media reports on them, some news organizations will include pictures or stories of individuals that have dealt with abusers in their relationships along with the report, and those individuals are always females. It projects a false image that it is always men who are the perpetrators of abuse. CBS News and Katie Couric did just that when this report was released, in spite of growing research that shows females are as likely as males to be abusive in relationships:

Male And Female Adolescents Equally Victims Of Physical Dating Violence, Study Shows
Men Shouldn’t Be Overlooked as Victims of Partner Violence
Men are More Likely Than Women to Be Victims in Dating Violence, UNH Expert Says

Sadly, the programs that are implemented into our nations school systems to deal with dating violence are developed and structured on this myth that females are almost always the victims, and males are almost always the abusers. I’ve been told some programs actually focus exclusively on demanding young males denounce violence towards women, while the similar issue of female dating violence towards males is ignored.
It sends a clear message to young men that their emotional and physical safety, as well as their overall well-being does not carry the same concern or value as that of women. It also generates a very egregious implication to the young and impressionable minds of our males and females that violence towards males, particularly by females, does not need to be taken seriously.

Radford includes a statement in his critique of the study that is worth mentioning:

There may indeed be “shocking horrors” in teen dating, but these particular statistics do not reflect them. Teen dating violence and domestic abuse are serious issues, and deserve both credible research methods and good journalism.

I can’t agree with him more.

One final note: As far as I can tell, the study appears to have been released to the press before it had the chance to be reviewed by other professional researchers, something that is required to attain credibility in serious research environments. One can only wonder why is was not done.

Contact:

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

July 17, 2008

“Sexpert” Or Sexist?

As I stated previously, since I came back from vacation last week, I’m trying to get caught up on news stories. This has led me to find a handful of stories that show what I feel is a strong anti-male sentiment in the media and society.
In my last article, I revealed what I felt was a negative bias towards men by the CNN news network.
Today I will continue another story that I feel displays the same characteristics as CNN.

FOXSexpert: Do Men Really Have More Partners Than Women?
I have previously written how I do not trust female sex therapist. The reason being, most seem unable to show any sincere feelings for men and their issues.
For instance, a while back I read an article by a female sex therapist where she reported that a study found women today are less likely to use condoms as compared to years before. Her reasoning did not include that women today are acting more irresponsible, but instead concluded that because of the wage gap between men and women, women cannot afford condoms as easily as men.
Huh?
Women today are more financially secure than previous generations, and more educated than previous generations, so excuse me for saying that her reasoning is a load of crap. And if I were to except this excuse, then it automatically absolves many men of the responsibility for not using a condom and enduring an unwanted pregnancy by providing a perfect excuse – I had no money for a condom.
But for our men in society, we would never allow them to use that excuse. Instead, we tell them that if you can’t afford the responsibility, then you shouldn’t be having sex – keep it in your pants!
What a difference.

In this Fox News article by “sexpert” Yvonne K. Fulbright, she takes on the conflict found in sex surveys concerning the large difference in the numbers of sexual partners between men and women.
Historically, men have reported more partners than women. Some experts have reasoned this disparity exists because men include prostitutes, exaggerate their numbers, or just plain lie. Therefore, the research becomes skewed.
Fulbright discusses these reasons, and others, to find why the disparity exists.
But she can’t seem to do so without degrading and disparaging men.

Her first off-color remark directed at men is presented while she discusses a commonly held belief that evolution explains men’s promiscuity:

After all, evolutionary argument argues that men are supposed to be promiscuous. That’s what allows them to spread their seed in their effort to guarantee the success of the human race. Women, on the other hand, need to take care of the offspring with those few suckers — I mean, fine gents — who are willing to stick around and help out.

What is that supposed to mean? Does it imply that fatherhood is for suckers? Or does it perpetuate the sexist stereotype that men are likely to run from parental responsibility and abandon the mother and child? Or is Fulbright an over-achiever, skillfully implying both defamatory beliefs in one sentence?
If she wants to take a cheap shot and make generalizations about men, then I would expect a similar cheap shot generalizing women on the same level somewhere in the article in order to show she does not harbor anti-male sentiments.

The next headline reads in bold face:

Men are either pigs or just plain lucky.

Pigs? One would think a professional writer would be apprehensive about using such a derogatory statement, but not Fulbright.

But wait, maybe I’m wrong. She then makes this statement:

While unfair social notions want to chalk men up as pigs on this matter, researchers warn that male sexual antics do not explain the great gender divide in sexual histories.

At first I gave her the benefit of the doubt, feeling she was trying to defend men against this sexist stereotype, but it becomes apparent later in the article how differently she defends the sexist stereotyping of men as compared to women. Further along in the article, she discusses how some women just “forget” to count certain sexual encounters which causes the disparity in sex surveys. At first it appears she is defending men – until I thought about it:

To further take the heat off the men, let’s not overlook her mental lapses in recall. Hers, however, are probably more intentional. This is most ironic given the aforementioned research finding on name recall. Thanks to the double standard issue of women being “sluts” — instead of “studs” like men when it comes to sleeping around — counting up her total to date is a very sensitive matter.

I have a problem with her conclusions at this point. Let me explain my position.

First, she has no problem using the term “pigs”, noting that society has used this term exclusively for men, and she labels this sexism as an “unfair social notion”. To me, the term “unfair social notion” carries the weight of something uncomfortable in society, but definitely not in need of being addressed with urgency.
However, when discussing the terms “whore” and “slut”, she minces no words in calling it what it is, a double standard, invoking the unequivocal image of inequity, unfairness, oppressive, and just plain wrong.
By her own words, Fulbright is validating that she is not only conscious of, but also well versed on issues surrounding gender discrimination. So I find it disturbing that she didn’t address the term “pigs”, used by women against men, with the same unequivocal tone she used for defending women. If she really believes double-standards are wrong, then her article should have included something like this when addressing the word “pigs”:

“This is a derogatory, sexist term used by women in gender discussions that has little value other than to humiliate and shame men.”

But instead, when confronted with sexism towards men, she turns milquetoast, and chooses the term “unfair social notion”.

This is the difference in approach towards the sexes I find from female sex therapists. Intense compassion and understanding for women’s and their issues, indifference for men and theirs.

Second, Fulbright states grown men have “imaginary friends” that they include in these surveys. She says:

“While dream girls shouldn’t count, in his memory they often do.'”

As a man I’m insulted. However, I could forgive and forget if the same tone and language was used towards women in her article, but Fulbright is careful not to humiliate and shame women. While men “lie” about imaginary sexual encounters, Fulbright refers to women as “conveniently forgetting” when it comes to their sexual history.
I can’t help but wonder why Fulbright was extremely comfortable using the term “pigs”, “imaginary friends”, and “suckers”, when referring to men, but she found it extremely difficult to state the obvious about women; they LIE when it comes these surveys. Instead she uses euphemisms like “conveniently forget”, “edit their numbers”, and “selective memory”.
And of course, unlike men, she goes easy on the gals fibbing, using the traditional feminine tactics that it’s society’s double standards, and our oppressive expectations of women which is the cause of female lying.
In other words, it’s not their fault.

Only towards the end of her article does she use the word lying, for both men and women, but at this point the damage was already done.

I’m always amazed how women are willing to vigorously challenge men or institutions that engage or promote those double-standards which rob them of respect, status, image, etc., But as women’s power and influence expand, and they find themselves in positions today to apply the same standards of decency and respect they have demanded from men, they fail miserably. Fulbright is a great example.

Women’s rights advocates vocalize how men and women need to come together to end discrimination against women, claiming it will benefit not only women, but men also. Well if this is the return on my investment; humiliation, shame, disrespect, ignorance, etc., then I’m sorry, I’ll invest my time in another cause.

This is not the first time I’ve taken issue with Fulbright. Here is an article I wrote about her last year which appeared on my former website. Here is a revised version:

A PhD Ain’t What It Used To Be

I don’t trust female sex therapist.
I found my belief validated over the weekend when I read an article by the Fox News “sex expert”.

The article was written by Yvonne K. Fulbright, a sex educator, relationship expert, columnist and founder of Sexuality Source Inc.
Her words and opinions have appeared in many forms of media; television shows, news media, and several books.
Last week she wrote an article for Fox News about what she felt were all the ridiculous sex studies that appeared in the news for 2007. The piece was called: FOXSexpert: Ridiculously Obvious Sex Studies of 2007

After reading it, in my opinion, Mrs. Fulbright has serious issues with men. In her article she comes out attacking men within the first couple of paragraphs.
Example: The first study she mentions is one that discovered the 237 reasons people have sex. Toward the end of this segment she exclaims:

“Calling all men, doing more housework will get you more “bootay” in the boudoir!”

She doesn’t mention how the study actually deconstructed the societal belief that women have sex for emotional reasons while men have sex for purely physical pleasure. It found men and women have sex for the same reasons – there’s no differences. Instead she brushes this aside and writes as if this male/female difference is not an issue.
Breaking long held traditional beliefs is not news?

She also doesn’t mention that when looking at the top ten reasons for having sex, men came out ahead of the women in the category of wanting to please their partner. Men also exceeded women in the category of “wanting to keep my partner satisfied”, and men were also found victims of giving into sex more than women for the reason of “my partner kept insisting”. This shatters commonly held beliefs about men and women.

Instead, Mrs. Fulbright insists on attacking men for not doing enough housework, ignoring the most poignant information of the study.
She assaults men on what SHE feels the real problem is, revealing her contempt for men, rather than dealing with the truths of the study.

So this is a professional sex therapist?

She then continues to cover more research, and continues her assault on men when she writes:

“While psychologist John Gottman has been faithfully churning out respectable work on couples for more than 30 years, did anybody need to remind guys that they can forgo the flowers and chocolate for a mop and vacuum when it comes to wooing women? Practically any gal can tell you that if her partner was more willing to lift a finger around the house, she’d be up for more sex and better sex at that!”

Did anybody bother to tell Mrs. Fulbright that when it comes to “men’s work” around the house, most women do not lift a finger? One would think that women themselves would be flooding handyman and home repair classrooms across the nation in an attempt to bring true equality to the “work” around the house, but sadly they don’t. When it comes to “men’s work” women still excuse themselves from getting involved claiming, “I don’t know how to do that”, leaving men to not only do traditional male work, but also take on the burden of half of traditional women’s work around the house.

She then discusses the study conducted on sex dreams by men and women. She writes there was no ground breaking information in this study. She lied again.
The study actually showed women dreaming more about sex than in past studies, with women’s sex dreams occurring as frequently as men’s.
The study was poignant because it was another example of recent research that shatters society’s myth that men are more obsessed with sex than women.

Another tidbit of information Mrs. Fulbright gives her readers concerns a study about oral sex. She tells us the study found girls feel more emotionally distraught after oral sex than the boys. However, this time it is her wording that caught my attention:

“The killer finding – boys were more than twice as likely as girls to say sexual activity made them feel self-confident and popular.”

Why is this information “killer”? I just revealed some “killer” information with respect to the studies she wrote about. Why wasn’t this previous information considered “killer” and included in her assessments? The only conclusion I can suggest is that information could deliver negative connotations for women. I guess that is reserved just for men.

As I pointed out, Mrs. Fulbright has some serious issues with men, putting the burden on them for most relationship problems and avoiding any blame or negativity for women. For this reason, I can assume that any negative information concerning women found embedded in current research between the sexes is ignored by this “professional” sex therapist.

In the last part of her article she shows how ignorant she is about male health and well-being. Here she covers AIDS and the importance of condom use.
After covering some serious statistics about the prevalence of AIDS, and its prevention through the use of condoms, she states,

“And when you consider that a condom can help a guy last longer and relieve any problems with premature ejaculation, while providing protection against sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, spending a few dollars on your favorite latex or polyurethane smock is not such a bad investment.”

This is a clear example of how men’s issues are glossed over and ignored by professionals. The majority of non-condom wearing men do so out of embarrassment. Because most men lack proper knowledge of condom use, it results in a loss of sensation and erection when using condoms. The result is embarrassment, shame, humiliation, and the avoidance of condom use for men.
A study from the University of Indiana and The Kinsey Institute from 2006 covered this very topic, and how these issues will lead to risky behavior for men.

Mrs. Fulbright – again – avoids the documented major concerns with respect to men and condom use, and instead, chose to highlight some of the minor reasons why men should wear them: last longer; relieve any problems with premature ejaculation.
As a man, I found her remarks condescending. Her remarks sounded more like an info-commercial rather than a serious look at men and condom use. It proved to me she has no clue what men honestly think, feel, and need with regard to the components of their sexuality and sexual health. She obviously makes no effort to find out either. I found the condom study in less than ten minutes of searching.

My point: This is why I don’t trust female “professional sex therapist”. I find most of them are concerned only with female sexuality and health which results in uninformed, misguided, and sexist attitudes towards men – just like I what I observed from Mrs. Fulbright.
My advice to men is to ignore most female sex therapist. If you need accurate and reliable information, try to find a male therapist.
Only rely on a recommendation from another man before trusting a female therapist.

To use a common female defense: I’m not being sexist; I’m just telling the truth.

FOXSexpert: Ridiculously Obvious Sex Studies of 2007

Women Dreaming of Sex More Often

Condom, erection-loss study identifies possible path to risky behavior

Why Humans Have Sex

Contact:

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