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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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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March 30, 2009

Steve Harvey’s Book Just Doesn’t Add Up

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

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

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

Yeah, right Steve.

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

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

Harvey proclaims:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now the real kicker

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is he for real?

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

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

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

Fortunately, most men are not like Harvey.

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

 

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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.”

 

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January 26, 2009

A Great Argument For Father’s Abortion Rights

I’ve written about this inequity before, particularly how women expect men to sacrifice their rights in order to achieve equality, but at the same time, women refuse to accept any sacrifice when the situation is reversed. I’ve concluded the women’s rights movement has eroded into a selfish, immature, and sexist movement that advocates and promotes only the security, safety and well-being for women over the “equal” treatment of men, women, and children (including the unborn children).

Writer Tommy De Seno proves this in one of his most recent columns. Enjoy!

 

Roe vs. Wade and the Rights of the Father

By Tommy De Seno
Attorney/Writer

The emphasis must not be on the right to abortion, but on the right to privacy and reproductive control.
–Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Today marks another anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court decision which overturned all state laws that would stop a woman from having an abortion in the first trimester.

While the topic I have chosen here, “Roe vs. Wade and the Rights of the Father” may sound interesting, actually there is nothing to write about. There are no such rights.

(AP file photo)

(AP file photo)

A father can’t stop an abortion if he wants his child, nor can he insist upon an abortion if he doesn’t want his child.

This situation should trouble everyone, not from a religious point of view, not from a personal choice point of view, but rather from an Equal Rights point of view.

Equal Rights for all people is difficult for any nation to achieve peaceably, because it requires the group in greater power to yield to the group of lesser power. This is usually accomplished only through war. Our own Civil War is a perfect example of equality being created by force, instead of reason and fairness, as it should have been.

This week as I watched and read opinions about Roe vs. Wade, I could find nothing, not a word among millions that addressed a father’s relationship to his unborn child.

Two weeks ago I tried an experiment in anticipation of writing this column. I wrote a column about gun control and posited that only men should vote on the issue of guns. The logic (rather illogic) used by me was that men buy guns the most, men are called upon to use them most (when a burglar enters our home) and we get shot the most. Why shouldn’t men have the only voice on the issue?

I wanted to gauge people’s reactions to the thought that in America we would ever give more weight to one person’s view than another’s because that person can show the issue affects him more.

As I walked around my city during these past two weeks, I was accosted by people who wanted to take me to task for suggesting that women lose their right to vote on an issue just because they may be affected by it less than men. Some pointed out, quite rightly, that even if there was an issue that didn’t affect women at all, as equal members of society, they should still have a voice in all decisions America makes.

Quite right indeed.

So where are all these well-reasoned arguments when it comes to a father and his unborn child? Why do people who have Equal Protection claims at the ready on other issues suddenly suffer constitutional amnesia when abortion is mentioned?

During every abortion a father’s child dies, so fathers are affected. There is much written about the post-abortion depression of women. Nothing is mentioned about the father. A good father knows his role is protector of his child. His depression must be crippling when the law allows him no chance to save his child from death by abortion.

In the Roe vs. Wade decision the Supreme Court found a privacy right in the 14th Amendment, which doesn’t have the word “privacy” in it. Then they found that the privacy right had a “penumbra” containing other rights (penumbra means the shadowy area at the edge of a shadow). In that shadow they found the abortion right. That bit of mental gymnastics aside, it wasn’t the most terrible part of the decision. This was:

The Court said that a woman my not be mentally ready to handle a child at this stage in her life, or the child might interfere with her career path, and that is so important to her that the State has no right to make a law against it.

So I ask today: Might a father find himself mentally not ready for a child? Might a father find a child inconvenient to his career path? If these are the rights women get to protect by choosing abortion, why not allow fathers “the right to choose” also?

I propose a “father’s abortion.” Let a father petition the Court to terminate his own parental rights to his child before or after the child’s birth. He would be rid of his obligations to that child in favor of his mental health and finances, the same as a woman does when she aborts.

As Justice Ginsburg said in the quote that appears at the top of this FOX Forum post, the emphasis is not abortion, rather an individual’s right to control his own reproduction. If we protect such a right for women, can we constitutionally deny it to men?

I propose this not because it would be in any way good. I propose it because constitutional Equal Protection demands it, and to show the danger created when judges destroy democracy by making up laws that don’t exist.

“Father’s Abortion.” It’s high time for a test case.

Any father with such a case can call me and I’ll take it for free.

Read more from Tommy De Seno at www.JustifiedRight.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.

September 26, 2008

Men and Father Issues Gain Media Attention

In the last couple of weeks, men and fathers have made some headway in gaining recognition in the area of serious family issues.
What’s most interesting here is the paradigm shift that is taking place in the mainstream media.

Last week, ABC’s 20/20 aired a segment about Alec Baldwin and his custody battle with ex-wife Kim Basinger concerning their daughter Ireland. Everyone is familiar with Baldwin’s vicious voice mail rant he left for his daughter, but Baldwin tells his side of the story in the interview and in his new book “A Promise to Ourselves.”

Diane Sawyer of 20/20 conducted the interview and was willing to adress the controversial topic of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), something Baldwin and father’s rights advocates have been trying to raise awareness to in the family courts system. PAS is still controversial because it has not been validated by sufficient research – yet.
PAS is based on the belief that present in some bitter custody cases, one parent, usually the mother, will manipulate and brainwash the child/children into believing negative, false, and damaging stories about the other parent such as: the other parent does not love them, will harm them, will never bring them home again (kidnap them), etc.
This invokes tremendous fear into the child/children and can be used by the manipulating parent to try and prove false accusations of abuse against the other parent (“See how fearful the child is of him/her? This behavior proves he/she was abusing them!”). Or it is done to enable the manipulating parent to win a custody battle because a judge, upon seeing this type of parental fear in a child, will be heavily influenced in his/her judgment of who will be awarded custody.

I personally believe it to be true. Common sense and personal experience tells me that it’s true. However, feminist are trying stop the courts from accepting PAS as a legitimate diagnoses. They promote the theory that women simply do not do this, and furthermore, feminist reiterate that there is insufficient research to prove PAS is legitimate.
I’m always amazed how feminist’s, who have been caught perpetuating false research over the years, have the audacity to challenge the research and creditability of PAS with such hubris. One would think if they had any moral integrity, they would be more concerned with taking responsibility for their own fallacies and trying to re-establish their own credibility rather than organizing future events that are concerned only with trying to destroy the credibility of others before the final data is in.
And it should be noted that feminist and women organizations have repeatedly stated on record that they believe fathers who eagerly pursue custody of their child/children are nothing more than pedophiles and abusers who want to further victimize their wives and children.

So while signing books at a New York city book store, Baldwin’s book and his appearance was protested outside by a women’s group called Voices of Women Organizing Project. About twenty women from this organization protested Baldwin’s support and advocacy for PAS and fathers’ rights.
However, it should be noted that Baldwin’s appearance at the book store was standing room only, with an equal attendance of women and men, and the crowd was receptive to Baldwin’s talk on PAS, a biased and faulty family court system, and of his criticism of feminists and their practices.
Chalk one up for the good guys!

Here are the stories and video clip.

Alec Baldwin on Divorce, Children and Reconciliation

I can’t go on; I will go on: Baldwin promotes book

A story turned up on Glen Sacks website called “When dad is just bad” by columnist Mindelle Jacobs. Jacobs wrote about an international domestic violence conference and reported on some of the comments being distributed by the members of the conference.

Rita Smith, executive director of the U.S. National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said her experience of men working on fathers’ rights is that many of the leaders are abusers or were accused of abuse.
Smith then states, “The agenda, often by the leadership, is to completely undermine women’s rights,” she said. “The ones that are the most dangerous are, in fact, creating safety problems for women and children.”

These sexist and malicious comments caused a firestorm among men and fathers’ rights groups, which then flooded Jacobs with protest e-mails. Jacobs stated that she was just the messenger, and she wrote the column because she thought the comments were controversial.
In response to the protesters, she then ran a follow-up column called “Divorced from reality”.
Some quotes:

Men wrote about being assaulted by their wives – with no subsequent charges by the police. They complained about the nasty games women play to cut them out of their kids’ lives.

Former Edmonton lawyer Grant Brown has heard it all. He quit practising law in March after only four years as a lawyer because he’s sick of dealing with what he describes as a dysfunctional family law system.
“I couldn’t hack it anymore,” says the 50-year-old who’s writing a book called Deadbeat Judges.
“The thesis of my book is that judges actually create the deadbeats. They make such harsh orders against fathers and give fathers no rights,” he says. “A lot of (dads) just give up.”
Police, prosecutors and judges are generally harsher with men in domestic abuse cases, says Brown. And, he adds, judges rarely punish women who violate court orders.
“Dads can spend thousands and thousands of dollars trying to see their kids and the judges do nothing to make it happen,” says Brown.

I would like to extend my gratitude to Mindelle Jacobs for allowing both sides to be heard.

Another women who deserves a shout out is Katie Balestra for her column Taking a New Tack on Domestic Violence which reveals the new approach to diminishing domestic violence by not just focusing on the victim, but by also focusing on the abuser. In my four part series, Domestic Violence Prevention – More Hyperbole Than Truth, I covered this new appraoch and explained how the current model for DV prevention is based more on sexist politics than actually trying to diminish the violence.
Balestra writes in her article:

Amid the launch of the federal Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Marriage initiatives two years ago, social service agencies and industry experts have begun to recognize the importance not just of helping victims of domestic violence but also of treating the batterers themselves in programs such as the House of Ruth’s Gateway Project.
“No matter how many women you take in, it isn’t going to cure the problem,” said Toby Myers, vice chair of the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence, a nonprofit based in Austin.

Balestra also looks at a another insidious side to DV prevention industry – discrimination and money.
She writes:

Abuser programs are like “a stepchild” in the field of domestic violence, says Edward Gondolf, research director of the Mid-Atlantic Addiction Research and Training Institute, who believes the programs offer “a really important laboratory to understand domestic violence and its workings.” At the Crisis Intervention Center in Calvert County, for example, victims get about 10 times more one-on-one counseling than abusers; one full-time therapist worked with 392 abusers last year, while six therapists, three of them full-time and three part-time, treated 207 victims.

“Sometimes you feel like the lone wolf,” Nitsch says. “We can’t compete with victims’ services, particularly when you’re talking about private donors. To be able to say, ‘I helped build a shelter’ feels better to them than to say, ‘I funded classes for abusers.’ ” It’s disheartening, she says, that “some people don’t view abuser intervention as a victims’ service.”

And Balestra covers the financial discrimination between victim and abuser resources:

In 2005, the latest year for which figures are available, the Justice Department gave abuser programs only a fraction of the $113.9 million that was doled out for domestic violence prevention through its largest grant program, Stop Violence Against Women. About 35 percent went to victim services, about half to law enforcement and prosecution services and just $5.4 million, or about 5 percent, to courts for programs including abuser intervention. Officials in Maryland and the District said their batterer programs receive no funding from these grants.

As I stated in my column, one of the main reasons DV is still a problem is because the model used to address DV issues advocates that only men are abusers, and that anger management classes will solve the problem with these men.
Not so.
If the inherent cause for the abusive behavior is not found and treated, the abuser will abuse again. Anger management classes will never accomplish this.
Balestra writes:

Some experts say part of the problem with obtaining funding for abuser programs is that many of them are ineffective, depending on an outdated treatment model developed in Duluth, Minn., in 1981 that, critics say, largely pins the blame on men seeking to assert power and control over women. This standard, the experts say, doesn’t allow for cycles of “mutual violence” — the recognition that women can be abusers — and the use of cognitive behavioral therapy techniques for treatment.

Donald Dutton, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, refers to the old models as “shaming” programs.
“It’s been demonstrated repeatedly that psycho-educational models don’t work,” he said, “and then half the guys repeat” their abusive behavior. The Duluth model assumes the male is always wrong, says Janet Scott, the abuser program coordinator at the Calvert County center. Scott developed a group for female abusers in 2001.

Understanding that breaking the habit of domestic abuse involves a more complex process of reflection is part of the goal at Baltimore’s Gateway Project.

What I find most interesting about these three stories is how the mainstream media seems to be entering a period of recognizing that men and father have relevant issues. And by reporting on them and raising awareness to them, they are doing what they have done for women and their issues for a long time now – giving them the respect and validity they deserve.

I hope the trend continues.

Contact:

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September 15, 2008

This One’s For the Ladies

Previously I wrote a rebuttal to an article Gloria Steinem wrote for the L.A. Times. Steinem basically attacked Palin and the Republican Party on every issue. As an independent voter, I understand that each party tends to be hypocritical, but Steinem’s attacks were of the most egregious form, and I felt compelled to respond.

After posting my rebuttal, I was anticipating some negative responses from women. When I wrote an article concerning how I felt about Hillary Clinton and her supporters engaging in distortions of truth by stating Hillary lost her bid for president due to persistent sexism in the media and society, I received an abundance of hate mail; mostly from women, and a few men.

So I was in for a pleasant shock this time around. After posting my article, I didn’t check the stats on my blog until a few days later. When I did, I found my article had been picked up by two different female oriented blogs. Expecting to find an abundance of negative attacks about what I wrote, I found nothing but positive comments left on my blog, and numerous positive comments sent by e-mail, all from women!

When I actually went to the blogs that linked my article, I found more comments about my article there. Again, almost all comments were positive, and the majority were from women.

So I just want to say thank you to all who took the time to write a compliment about me and my article.
And I would also like to mention that many wrote something like “I hope you do not believe all women are like Steinem, or think that all women put a lot of value in what Steinem has to say.”
Well, if I truly thought that way to begin with, after the response I got, there is no way I could continue believing it.

Truth is, I do not hate or despise women. At times when I have shown a negative bias towards women in general, I’m attacking their belief in the misinformation that feminism has taught them. Over the years I’ve heard a number of women express that they do not like feminism, and proclaim they would never adhere to it’s beliefs. But at some other point, these same women have expressed an opinion about the genders that is clearly from feminist ideology.
I do not personally blame women for doing this. If I was a women, I’m sure I would latch on to some of this ideology too. It is very inviting to have a support system that will blame others for all my problems, protect me from having to bear the same responsibilities as men, and build up my ego to believe that femininity is superior to masculinity. In my opinion, feminism has degraded from its roots of gender equality into being nothing more than a female form of patriarchal behavior.

I write from the perspective of trying to find common ground between men and women, believing that men and women are human first, therefore, our experiences are more similar than different. And I have a strong belief that men and women should be treated equally, for better and for worse, and through our successes and failures.
I do not just see the inequities men and fathers face, but am willing to point out a situation when I feel a woman/women are being treated unfairly.
And to prove it, I want to share an injustice I found that happened to this woman.
Last week at Glen Sacks website, he posted this story:

Denise Harvey, 40, of Vero Beach, was sentenced to 30 years in state prison for having sex with a 16-year-old who was a high school friend and baseball teammate her son’s.
[Judge] Vaughn — at the urging of prosecutors — ruled her guilty of having sex with the 16-year-old five times during high school baseball season in 2006. The judge sentenced her to 15 years for each offense. But only two of the terms will be served consecutively, one after the other. The other three will be served at the same time as the others.

While I have written how women seem to get lighter sentences for molesting children when compared to men, I find this sentence to be extremely harsh. Compare her sentence to similar criminal behavior from other women in the news recently:

— PITTSBURGH — A former gym teacher who had sex with a 14-year-old student and sent him erotic cell phone messages was sentenced Wednesday to up to three years in prison, in part because she called the boy after she was charged.

— NEW CITY, N.Y. — A former prosecutor was sentenced Wednesday to two years in prison for having sex with boys, after her 16-year-old daughter told the judge she and her mother had competed for the same 15-year-old boy.

— Louisville – A 39-year-old Louisville woman who had two children with an underage boy was sentenced this morning to 20 of years probation and ordered to not have any contact with her children until she successfully completes sex offender treatment.

And while this next story is not similar, I feel it epitomizes my opinion:

— DWIGHT, Ill. — A central Illinois woman convicted in the drowning deaths of her three children is free on parole.
Hamm was convicted of child endangerment in 2006 in the deaths of 6-year-old Christopher Hamm, 3-year-old Austin Brown and 23-month-old Kyleigh Hamm. She served almost five years of a 10-year-sentence. (It should be noted that Hamm’s boyfriend was given life in prison without parole for his part.)

I’m not advocating an extremely light sentence for Denise Harvey, I’m just trying to point out how inconsistent our justice system has become. Seems a little odd that Denise Harvey is sentenced to 30 years when all these other female criminals, including a child murderer, received a slap on the wrist. Usually men are the victims of inequities in the system, but this time I feel a woman has been wronged. Her sentence is longer than most men’s. I believe the average sentence for a male in this situation is 10- 20 years.

I truly believe our current justice system is fraught with discrimination and capricious practices. Whether it’s biased towards race or biased towards gender, I find the application of sentencing is this country myopic.
This is a serious issue for both men and women.

Getting Back to Sarah Palin

Palin has been under attack by many feminist, not just Steinem. So I thought it would be interesting to include two articles from two liberal, Obama supporting Democrats. Instead of attacking Palin, both women write about the contradictory feelings felt by Palin’s success, and what it means to them, society, and women in general.

Rebecca Johnson: ‘I am a liberal, but I’m blown away by Sarah Palin’

Camille Paglia: Fresh blood for the vampire

And here are some pictures someone sent me by e-mail.

Enjoy!

Contact:

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