50 years of Women in Space

Courtesy CNN.com
Courtesy CNN.com                                                                                            

Is Meat a Must for Manly Men?

Really interesting post by Meateating Blues! On why meat is considered so manly. Read it.

Meat Eating Blues

By: Sara Siddiqi

Does a juicy steak, beer and maybe a game of poker sound like the ideal afternoon for you men on the blogosphere? I’ve always thought it was just an American television stereotype of ‘the regular guy’. But has it just reflected… or worse, created a reality?

A recent study published by the Journal of Consumer Research aimed to find out ‘whether people in Western cultures have a metaphoric link between meat and men’. It was found that:

‘to the strong, traditional, macho, bicep-flexing, All-Amercan male, red meat is a strong, traditional, macho, bicep-flexing, All-American food’, whilst ‘Soy is not. To eat it, they would have to give up a food they saw as strong and powerful like themselves for a food they saw as weak and wimpy.’

The Gender Blender Blog points out a Campbell’s soup ad from the 1940s:

‘He-Man is the word for these hearty…

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Guys on Girls

In case you haven’t checked out HBO’s new series Girls, I highly recommend you to do so. It’s a New York based show, focusing on the lives of twenty-something girls. Sounds like Sex and the City, but couldn’t be further from it. No narrative, no fabulousness, no expensive designer wear. And foremost: no women – Girls. It’s a funny and witty show with that awkward humour that seems to be very trendy in shows right now (imagine Zoe Deschanel in New Girl).

But I don’t want to talk specifically about the series. I want to talk about a fascinating effect. The Guys on Girls versus the Girls on Girls analysis of each episode on Slate.com.

Ever week after a new episode, a couple of guys start this blog thread where they analyze it. Over at another blog thread, girls do the same thing. It’s funny and interesting to read these two threads, and it shows that even men take an interest in what might be written off as a chick show. The themes which they discuss are quite different though. On Guys on Girls the focus quickly switches from the characters to for example the soundtrack or whether or not they have Netflix on the country side. The Girls on Girls on the other hand talk mainly about the inner developments of the girls on the show.

It’s really cool that Slate has these two analytical teams, and sure makes every episode of Girls more interesting when anticipating the analysis.


Add Frequency: Feminism!

I just want to make sure no one out there has missed Feminist Frequency.

(Banner logo: http://www.feministfrequency.com)

It’s a brilliant idea by Anita Sarkeesian, who is a feminist pop culture media critic, to look at and analyze the gender roles in pop culture. In thoroughly researched video clips she talks about everything from female stereotypes in Hollywood movies (see below) to the differences of the gender roles in the Hunger Games book vs the Hunger Games movies.

The video clip below is one of my favorites:

Girl Power in Afghanistan

I just wanted to share this amazing documentary from AlJazeera on Girl Power in Afghanistan. It’s only 25 minutes long, so please watch it!

It’s inspirational to see a new generation of women emerging from the long oppression of the Taliban and fighting against many a man’s disrespect of women.

It tells the story of a 15-year old girl who married off so that the family could pay off some debts. She then was basically tortured by her husband’s family. Nails were torn off. Bits of her flesh cut off with knives. Hair pulled out. And and and. Police found her barely alive and her case, unfortunately not exceptional, spread all around the world. Another key woman in this documentary is 19-year-old Afghani Noorjahan Akbar – a brave and smart girl who has set up a group called Young Women for Change. At one point she says: ” Why should I try to be a man? Why should I try to cover up everything that makes me a woman? Cover up my hair, cover up my sense of style, cover up the way I talk, cover up my voice? Shut up and not talk in front of men, just because I’m a woman?”

Well, without further ado, click on the link and watch it!

Afghanistan: Girl Power – People & Power – Al Jazeera English.

Anti-Feminist. But Pro-Equality. The new movement.

Update, 11/08/2012:

I have been brought to the attention that the FB group “White offended men” is in fact satire, and led by a feminist man, who just recently stepped forward as the creator and admin of the group. But the FB group is still important to highlight the fact, that more and more men are “offended” by feminism.


The gender war never stops. First, there was feminism. To lift women’s status, to free them from patriarchism. Now, there’s masculinism. Every action has a reaction, and the relatively new Men’s Rights Activism movement is definately a reaction to feminism.

Men’s Rights Acitivism is a growing trend, especially in Sweden. It ditches feminism, calls it feminazi instead and is completely masculinist. But they still call themselves “equalitists”. A Swedish group on facebook, called “White offended men” (Vita kränkta män), say they’ve had enough of the male-discriminating feminism in Sweden. They feel that men are targetet, always being the root of all evil. That they’ve had enough of the misandry. Regularly posting comments on articles and blogs, they engage a community of more than 10,000 followers in their discourse. The tone is often ironic.

One of the white offended men’s idols is Pär Ström, a proud equalitist who has a blog on gender news: “The requirement that the sexes should have equal value means that there must be an end to the contempt against men, sometimes even misandry, which is widespread in Sweden today. There is for example talk about “the old man’s domination” and it is believed that these “old men” should get out of the way as quickly as possible. The equalitists require that both sexes are to be considered as positive.” (translated from Swedish)

But the Men’s Rights Activism doesn’t stop in Sweden. There is a new academic journal called “New Male Studies“. In their rationale you can read the following: “In response to a now well-documented decline in the overall well-being of males in postmodern culture, a group of Australian, Canadian, European and American scholars have gathered to work together to publish research essays, opinion pieces, and book reviews on all aspects of the male experience.”

Maybe you wouldn’t exactly call it “activism”, rather than a reaction to what hard-core feminism apparently can mean for some postmodern men. The New Male Studies has academic essays written by a range of different people. Even women. For example, you can read about how men are being portrayed in the mainstream media, written by Peter Allemano in “The Bold, Independent Woman of Today and the “Good” Men and Boys in Her Life: A Sampling of Mainstream Media Representations.” Many activists point out this particular problem: that women are allowed to publically offend and ridicule men, whilst it would be highly politically incorrect for men to do the reversed.

The movement stretches from facebook groups to campaigns, like the Movember campaign. Every November, campaigners grow their facial hair to highlight men’s diseases, like prostate cancer. They feel it’s not given as much attention as for example breast cancer.

The BBC recently wrote an article about men’s rights activism and about Tom Martin who sued the LSE’s gender studies department for sexism. Martin also thought that the unfairness started and was about sex: “Since the pill, women have been told they can and should be having orgasms. And because they haven’t been, they categorise that as men’s fault.”

I’m really looking forward to following this movement. Is it a real challenge to feminism? What do you think?

Graphic: http://goodmenproject.com/ethics-values/meet-the-mens-rights-movement/

Queen’s Speech for flexible parental leave

Today’s Queen’s Speech promises more flexible moves for parental leave in the UK. In Sweden it’s already standard procedure that both parents take paid leave. The child gets to spend equal time with both parents. Finally, UK daddy’s don’t have to feel left outside diaper change, the first smile and other important steps of children growing up. If men will actually take the opportunity is still written in the stars. Even if it will be easier and more flexible from now on to take parental leave, there will be no more money involved.

The Speech also addresses speedier adoptions and improved access arrangements for divorced fathers. The old fashioned image of an English gentleman in a stiff hat might now change to a loving father with a child in his arms (but probably not giving up their gentleman behaviour).

Read more here.

The Guy’s Guide to Feminism

What does Feminism have to with men? A lot. That’s exactly what male advocates for gender equality, Michael Kaufman and Michael Kimmel think, which is why they decided to write the book “The Guy’s Guide to Feminism”. It came out 2011 and had an immediate success. So successful that, according to rumors, Steven Spielberg might make a movie of it.

The book, written in proper A-Z guide-style, talks about everything from chivalry to porn, and much more. It’s written in an easy-to-read, fun language and breathes fresh air in the discourse of feminism.

Male readers can take fun quizzes about the term “feminazi” and discover if they have caught “feminism”, with symptoms like “one empirical observation (about the state of things), quickly followed by a moral position (about how things should be, based on that empirical observation).”

A Guy’s Guide to Feminism manages to write about a serious issue in a very light tone; teaching instead of preaching. So order this fantastic book and realize that feminism doesn’t exclude men (I’m a feminist and I love men!).

I had the pleasure of asking Michael Kaufman a couple of questions about the book and equality between men and women.

1. Communication is a key factor in every relationship. As a woman, you often get to hear that men are simple and that instead of nagging or being silent, you should simply communicate what you feel, since men are “that simple”. That sounds good in theory, but in practice, men are often still stuck in the old-fashioned, stereotyping thinking-pattern that women are “overreacting” or being “ridiculous”. Can we hope for equality in respecting opinion only in the next generation or how can this generation deal with this, to make women feel like their feelings are not emotional, but just as rational as men?
Michael: “We tend to exaggerate the differences between the sexes in relationships. Ideas (held by some people) that men are not sensitive are really quite demeaning (just as are ideas that women are not rational.) That much said, to some extent, most men have been raised to distrust our feelings: we’ve been humiliated by adults or peers for showing fear, pain, or even too much joy. So, no wonder many men have an underdeveloped language of emotions. . . Help, though, is on the way! We can create safe circumstances where boys and men are encouraged to explore our feelings and experiences. We can encourage couples to simply listen to what each other is feeling, even if they don’t agree.  When I’m speaking to groups of young men, I say that listening is the number one communications skill.”
2. If you would have to summarize the tips you give men in your book to one or two sentences, what would it be? (In other words: what is the main thing you are hoping men, and women, will learn from your book?)
Michael: “Feminism and gender equality are not only good for women, they promise to transform the lives of men for the better. Good men can embrace equality not out of guilt but out of love for the women and girls in our lives and out of a desire for a better life for ourselves and our sons as well.”
3. What have the reactions been so far, by men who have read it? Any eye-opening experiences?Michael: “The reactions to the book are way beyond what I hoped for. I thought we’d done a good job at making it both engaging and informative, but I didn’t know what a chord it would strike for so many people. That is very gratifying.”

You can follow Michael Kaufman on Twitter via @GenderEQ and check out the official webpage here.

For all the men out there: Show that you care, read this book and start embracing feminism rather than seeing it as a threat to your manhood!

State rape in the States

Breathe. Just breathe.
So…let’s just say I’m SO happy I’m not living in Virgina, USA, and need to go through an abortion. There is right now a HUGE debate in the States over the fact that Virginia’s governor wanted to FORCE WOMEN to go through a transvaginal ultrasound in connection with an abortion. Yeah. FORCE it on them so that they would HAVE TO LOOK at the fetus they were about to KILL. Say whaaaaaaaaaaaaat? Yes. Seriously.

Soon, this was referred to (by normal human beings who all realized this was sick) as “State rape”. Because get this you governor-rat:  Any object that is inserted into a woman’s vagina without her informed consent is rape. And I doubt that women who want an abortion will be all cheery and like:

“Yey! Put that gigantic wand deep inside my vagina and let me look at the tiny thing growing inside me to make me feel bad about killing it! That way I’m SURE I will regret my choice, even if I don’t have a single penny to raise a child. Even if my health is at stake by having a baby. Even if I got raped and this is the result. JUST FUCKING PUT IT IN ME!” Sorry. As you can see, this makes me VERY angry.

Luckily, the governor decided to skip the whole transvaginal thing, and just go with a “normal” abdominal ultrasound. Required by law that is. It still hasn’t been decided yet, but I just can’t believe this is happening! Even UN official’s say that abortion is a Human Right. And obviously, discriminating against women because of their gender is also against UN Human Rights. And yes, if you are a woman, chances are, you might get pregnant (FIRST GRADE BIOLOGY!!) and make a choice over your own body.

But to then force women by law to have an ultrasound and look at the fetus, is to punish them for getting pregnant (which is due to their biological gender) and not wanting the child (of course politicians would never use the word punish, they say they simply want to inform us “stupid women”. Yeah. As if some male politicians know anything about that). So if you ask me, yes, this whole abortion law thing going on in Virginia, is violating the Human Right not be discriminated because of your gender.

Read this fantastic manifesto written by a physician, on the whole matter. Click here.

Too many men

There are too many men represented in the media.

According to a research conducted at City University London, there were four times as many men as women being interviewed on TV and radio. Of course you could probably say the same thing about ethnicity, by now it shouldn’t come as a shock that the standard in the West is the white, middle-aged male. But this is a blog about gender. So let’s continue.

When will there be a fair representation of both sexes, if even the media sees the man as a standard? When I’m interviewing for TV or radio, I always try to get equally as many women as men.

Have a look at a voxpop my fellow colleague Will Kennedy and I did for TV a couple of weeks ago. It was about elective C-section and if women should be allowed to freely choose or not. One could think that interviewing only women would make sense. But men should also be able to voice their opinion!