Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Social Construction of Masculinity

I saw this truck in the library parking lot a few months ago, and took a picture, but forgot to post on it until now. Mostly because I'm avoiding posting on other, more substantive topics.

At first glance this truck just made me giggle, and try to figure out which of the men I had just seen inside the library was the proud driver of such a vehicle. I concluded it was probably shaved-head-goatee-tatoo guy. But there's a lot more to ponder here as well.

Large red truck, confederate flag in back window, two skull and crossbones bumperstickers, one bumpersticker saying 'Bad ass boys drive bad ass toys,' and one unreadable sticker
Click on the image for a larger view.

For one thing, there's the general feature of our culture which ties up one's identity with one's possessions - most especially one's vehicle. In many ways, you really are what you own/drive/wear. But this vehicle is especially striking because of what it says about the construction of masculinity in our culture.

First, obviously, there's the confederate flag in the rear window. I assume this is meant to firmly position this guy in the dominant racial group. It says "I'm the norm, and you're the other. So suck it." Or something like that. Or maybe it's just an anti-federal gov't or anti-governmental-control thing. Whatever. Either way, it's an assertion of individual power, a refusal to submit to authority or conform to current cultural pressures. It's a general symbol of defiance. Beyond that, check out some of the details here. That little decal under the handle of the tailgate says "Bad ass boys drive bad ass toys." Then there's the flame coming up from the Ford symbol, and the skull and crossbones on the back window. These I assume are all part of the message "I'm dangerous, bad, not to be fucked with." But the license plate is maybe the most interesting feature. It says "CHETR01." Because real men cheat? I'm guessing that's the idea here.

Of course, these are all integral parts of masculinity as it's constructed in our culture. Heaven help the man who doesn't conform. In fact, the less he conforms to these cultural expectations, the more likely it is that he'll feel the pressure to get a "bad ass" truck and put these kinds of messages all over it. Never mind how transparent the gesture is. It reminds me of people who have to go around constantly telling you that they're not racist. If you have to explicitly say it, so conspicuously, all the time, then perhaps there's a problem. In my experience, people who aren't racist/sexist/ableist/whatever, don't really have to tell you that, because their words and actions consistently reflect their underlying attitudes and beliefs. If there's no question that they are, then there's also no need to explicitly tell you that they aren't, right? So this kind of posturing in a man just leads me to suspect that deep down underneath it all, he really feels like a bit of a girly-man.

But this is more complex than the not-a-racist case, because the thing this man is aspiring to is problematic on its own. It's sad that there's so much pressure on men to conform to this ridiculous and stifling notion of masculinity. It's sad that those who fail to comply are so often viciously punished by their peers. And it's sad that we, as a society, ever got to the point where we thought this was a valid, positive identity for one sector of our population to aspire to. Like I've said before, patriarchy hurts men too. And here, in the library parking lot, is a startling, amusing, and sobering example of this dynamic.

77 comments:

  1. Anonymous11/12/2009

    If this isn't substantive, I'd like to know what is, by your standards.

    Well-written. And well thought-out. I'm never disappointed when I come to your blog.

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  2. It's the license plate that gets me. WTF?!?

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  3. Raeanne11/13/2009

    That truck is spectacularly awful! But I'm surprised BurnBrother hasnt commented on this yet with some condescending rant about how you just dont get teh menz and teh pore menz only act this way because of the evil feminists mistreating them at every turn.

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  4. Serendipity11/13/2009

    I'm wondering what shaved head goate man was even doing at the library. I wouldn't think the library would be manly enoug for his type.

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  5. Your post made me realize a big irony about masculinity in the US:

    Either way, it's an assertion of individual power, a refusal to submit to authority or conform to current cultural pressures.

    Heaven help the man who doesn't conform... It's sad that those who fail to comply are so often viciously punished by their peers.

    So, the US idealization of masculinity centers upon the notion of a man being a source of power unto himself who answers to no one. However, men are often driven to this notion of self out a desire to conform and to avoid retribution from others for non-conformity.

    How does precisely does that work?

    I've always wondered at the number of guys who get incredibly uncomfortable at the notion of holding a purse or purchasing distinctively feminine products (lipstick, tampons, hosiery, etc.) for a girlfriend. It's almost as though anything coded as feminine serves as a kind of kryptonite to masculinity. If one's masculinity can disintegrate by simply purchasing a pack of tampons at Walgreens, I remain unconvinced of society's claim that masculinity is the center of strength and fortitude.

    I have fairly clear memories of grade school. I remember witnessing a system in which boys were taught that the center of their identity is to prove that they are the embodiment of strength and aggression. It set up a dynamic where boys were driven to constantly hurt and abuse each other in an effort to prove that they were the ones on top. No child should have to endure this crap and yet, somehow, the culture supports this as being wholesome and natural.

    I'm guessing that the owner of the truck probably endured similar conditions during his childhood. I'm also guessing that the thought of failing to appear masculine scares the living hell out of him.

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  6. Hey Rachel,

    Until now I've intentionally not responded to most of your goofy posts. You know…like the kindergartener cast and drama filled classic video repost on hunting. In spite of the fact that as far as I know you grew up in So Cal and have little or no understanding or respect for the cultural context in which other Americans (i.e. Gun Owners & Hunters) have been raised. Nor do you care about it if it isn't consistent with your political agenda. This is particularly concerning given your profession and it's implicit status as a forum for being a logically robust and fair-minded environment. That said it is consistent with your stated Feminist Agenda.

    I'm remembering that back in mid-summer you posted a rant about a kid driving a pickup truck and all of your misandric issues with him, in spite of your Superwoman lunch pail. Seems to me that this is just a redux with a different pickup truck. Maybe you need a new hobby. That said, I understand and appreciate that things can get pretty boring in Wyoming in the winter…

    Last time I checked here in America people could drive whatever they want. You are certainly entitled to your opinion. That said, you've made denigrating, dismissive statements and taken monumental leaps of logic concerning the masculinity of this truck owner in your post. As they say in Montana, that is total bull shit.

    Seems to me that you are the one with the problem, not the guys that drive the trucks. I know you and your girlfriends feel that they are just ignorant guys that, if you had a chance to "re-educate" them, they would see the light. Actually, not so much. The truth is that most likely these guys just don't give a shit about your opinions and unlike your beta male-feminist wanabee goofball losers they don't care what you think and they're not going to try to make you happy by kissing your collective asses.

    Finally, maybe I'm missing something here but I think that maybe women drive trucks sometimes, right? Actually I know that at least one does since I bought my girlfriend one of those Toyota FJ Cruisers. Maybe I should make fun of her in a blog if she drives like a goof and also question her femininity. What do you think? If so I need to start a blog right away, as she can't drive worth a damn although she is pretty cool "for a girl" so I can't fairly bag on her in the femininity department.

    You ladies should discuss this and let me know as I can always sell the FJ. You all clearly have a lot of real life experience. It actually doesn't make a shit to me. Gina can take the bus that way and commune with other feminists that can't hang with a successful guy with some resources. Let me know what you think. I won't sleep till I hear from you geniuses.

    P.S. @ Raeanne - How was that, Sunshine?

    Your Buddy,
    Burn

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  7. Oh my. Can of worms... check. Can opener... check.

    What I didn't mention in my comment is that I spent the first 17 years of my life as a boy. I grew up in a conservative blue collar town, just outside of Baltimore. Firing rifles with my friends was one of my favorite after school activities. Confederate flags were a sign of masculinity among some of my friends, too. For much of my adolescence, I played along with the games of masculinity that we all expected of each other. (Although, this changed dramatically as I rejected this culture at 17 and began to explore what it meant to be a transgender woman.)

    In other words, I come from a variation of the culture that Rachel describes. Although I am one person and I am someone who rejected this culture at an early age, from my experiences, Rachel is not that far off the mark. It is true that most of the guys from my hometown culture would laugh at her analysis and continue to trundle along the well worn paths of masculinity that they were taught from birth. That doesn't change the validity of Rachel's analysis, however.

    I witnessed a lot of abuse take place as a consequence of how boy children are raised to express masculinity. I was also personally subjected to a lot of this abuse. The system, as it stands, hurts boys. It's a deeply conformist system that wages a heavy toll upon those who won't or can't toe the line. The price for non-conformity is violence. So, very few ever buck the system. For the sake of boys' and men's well being, I'd like to see the culture change the ways in which it raises boys. (I could say something similar for girls, too.)

    Consequently, I don't see Rachel's words as misandry, but rather, I see them as a hope that boys and men can someday choose to live lives that extend beyond the narrow, conformist definitions of masculinity that currently exist in US culture. Whether that entails developing broader definitions of masculinity, or simply junking the current gender binary for some other system, I don't know. What is clear is that the current system hurts children and adults.

    Critiquing masculinity doesn't make one a misandrist just as critiquing femininity doesn't make one a misogynist. Feminism tends to do both because feminism is concerned with gender and how it restricts people's lives.

    As the old saying goes, you can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.

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  8. Anonymous: Thanks!

    Meg'n and Raeanne: I agree.

    Serendipity: He was using the computer. Perhaps he spends so much money on his truck that he can't afford internet access at home. Who knows?

    Timberwraith: I was thinking about that irony as well. It seems that there are certain kinds of conformity to cultural pressures that are manly, and others that aren't. Conforming to the pressure to be inclusive, not bigoted, etc is deemed "politically correct" and thus not masculine enough. But the pressure to follow the gender script must not be ignored or defied. And I agree that this is deeply ironic - the defiant "powerful" stance a man must take is actually the opposite of autonomy and self-directed power, since it's dictated to him by an external source. It's such a sad position for anyone to be in.

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  9. Burn,

    1) I grew up in Seattle.
    2) I don't object to hunting in general. I object to trophy hunting, and the culture in which men must constantly be comparing dicks by killing the largest animal, and taking pictures next to it as it bleeds out on the ground. Trust me, I live in the middle of hunting country, and there's a lot of this. There's also a lot of guys (and women) who hunt in a way that's respectful to the animal, to the environment, etc. They use the meat to feed their families and kill only what they need. To my way of thinking, this model is way preferable to the factory farming model of producing meat. It's healthier, more sustainable, and more respectful of the animal. However, there are just as many men around here who think that shooting at prairie dogs and rabbits is a great recreational activity if you're bored, and try to injure them rather than kill them right away, so you can watch them flop around, or drag themselves off to die a slow and painful death. They think it's funny when they shoot a moose and her calf follows them, bawling, for hours afterward. They come back to town and tell each other these stories over a beer, laughing at the grief (and eventual death) of the calf. If we lived in bear country, these are the types who would shoot baby bears, and take pictures of themselves with the dead cub, for which they would get caught and fined by fish and game later on. Inflicting pain and death on innocent creatures for no reason is fun to them. It turns them on, makes them more of a man in their worldview, and makes them scary and despicable people in my view. So there you have it. There's hunters and then there's hunters, and you can't generalize my view on the one type of hunter to all the others. It just isn't that simple.
    3) This post is rather different from the other one, although I'm not surprised you had a hard time getting the difference. I don't think that intimidating pedestrians and acting as if you're going to run them down makes a person a bigger or better man. Perhaps we just disagree about that. But you certainly have gotten this point wrong: objecting to the way our culture socializes men is not misandric. If I hated men I wouldn't give a fuck about how our culture screws them over, now would I? And I don't have a superwoman lunchbox.
    4) Did I say that women don't drive trucks? Really?? Please provide quotes. Ironically, I've almost always driven a truck or SUV since I first got my license. And I buy my own cars, thank you very much. I buy the truck, I pay the insurance, and I buy the gas that goes into them. 'Cause you don't actually have to have a penis to do any of these things. The difference is that I don't feel the need to display aggressive or offensive messages on my truck. And I don't try to run people over or intimidate them so that they'll be impressed by me and think I have a big dick. And I don't think that the car I drive determines who I am. And there's a big difference here.
    5) If you still think this post is male-bashing, please go back and re-read it. Especially the last paragraph.

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  10. Professor Rachel - 1 of 2

    1) I qualified my original So Cal statement as I wasn't sure and didn't care enough to go back and read old postings. Probably not a big deal unless you were a big game hunter when you lived in Seattle. For some reason I'm doubting it, but let me know.

    2) I grew up hunting. Passed hunters safety at 10, shot my first deer and antelope at 12. All true hunters eat their kill. That's the point. Frankly I haven't hunted in years, not since I got involved in the corporate thing. That said, the people you describe that cause unnecessary suffering to any animals are not only assholes, but they aren't real hunters. Any true hunter knows that you are measured by your ability to kill with one shot. Not only for humane purposes, but because the quality of the meat can be ruined if you hit an animal and doesn't go down right away.

    As you may or may not know, the Indians had a deep respect for their kills. They understood nature's cycles and what their kill was giving up to sustain the hunter's family. I don't know if you are acquainted with any families in Wyoming that have hunted for generations, but if you talk to them you will find they have the same respect for their kills. I would add that every person that eats meat should be required to dress out an animal as it is an experience that will leave him or her changed on a personal level. They will have new perspective when they eat meat in the future.

    If the stories you are telling about killing immature animals are true someone should have contacted the Fish & Game, as laws were broken. I've also got to call bull shit on your statement that there are as many doing the mean spirited and illegal activities as are hunting ethically. I'd be happy to work to confirm sources if you can quote them. My concern with your original post is that most of the people reading this blog are young women who have never been exposed to either guns or hunting and the only thing that video accomplishes is to spread misleading stereotypes. It's not cool and not accurate. It is however very PC, which I assume is why you posted it.

    3) I get that you don't think I'm very bright and I'm pretty sure you get that I don't care that someone handed you a PhD. So…Maybe if you would loosen up on the sexist, penis oriented comments you'd have a bit more credibility. It's interesting to me that whenever you get pissed off at guys it's all about the size of their plumbing. I'm not getting that. I don't know if it is just intellectual laziness or you are fixated. Seems foolish to me. Don't try to hang your bullshit line again about how much you care about men. What you actually care about is continuing to advocate "fitting" men into your feminist worldview. Big Difference Darling. Can't sell that here.

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  11. Professor Rachel - 2 of 2

    4) Point was that it seems you were so busy poor mouthing guys and their pickups you were forgetting the obviously more important fairer sex. I just wanted to know if it was OK for me to talk shit about my girlfriends crappy driving skills or not. Seemed like it was cool for you to do along your whole "penis thing". I figured that since you were a PhD you would know the right thing to do. That said, congratulations on being a self-sustaining woman kind of a person. Good for you.

    5) I've been reading your blog for around six months now. The tone has been consistent from the beginning, which is fine. This is America…you know, the free speech thing. At least step up to it. It's your Agenda and it is Feminist. Right? Please don't sell yourself as a friend of men. At least be honest and admit that you'll be fine with men as long as they view the world through your eyes. Honesty is freeing…

    I do however need some help on something…If I don't like the license plate, a bumper sticker, decals, the general appearance or even how a car is being driven by a gay or trans person here in Long Beach is it OK if I go out of my way to be an asshole and talk about my real or imagined issues with their reproductive organs in a public forum, particularly one that is frequented by a population that may be easily influenced by a professor or a currently politically correct stance? I'm assuming it's cool, as it seems to work for you. I don't want to put pressure on you, but I'm assuming since you have this important advanced degree you probably have a pipeline to the Promised Land. Let me know.

    Your Buddy,
    Burn

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  12. Burn,

    There's a huge difference between seeing one gay or trans person with an offensive bumper sticker and then making a general statement about all gay or trans people on that basis, as compared to noting a pattern of men driving trucks like this, like Rachel did. There's also the difference that men are historically the group in power, while gay and trans folk are not. And there are many "guy" trucks like this one out there, so there is an observable pattern here.

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  13. OK Burn, so you've voiced your objections to how some topics have been presented. You still haven't addressed the core issue of the original post: gender conformity.

    Do you think that boys and men are expected to conform to unrealistic gender expectations vis-à-vis masculinity?

    Do you think that boys and men face a heavy price when they fail to live up to society's standards of masculinity?

    Would you change this, if you could?

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  14. A few more questions:

    Have there been times when you've felt that you've been unable to live up to society's expectations of masculinity (during childhood or adulthood)?

    What did that feel like?

    How did you cope with it?

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  15. CharlieHorse11/15/2009

    So Burn, do you think that anytime a person critiques the social construction of masculinity of femininity they're actually just attacking the individual people who have been socialized in this system? If not, then it's hard to make sense of your claim that this is man-bashing.

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  16. @ Timberwraith

    I'm not going to sit here and claim I totally understand where you've been and where you're going. I will say that it's your life and it's up to you to live it as you see fit. I may be a bit different than most hetero guys as I have an older brother that is gay and has struggled his entire life. I'm sure it isn't the same as being Trans, but probably a lot of similarities. He hasn't gotten his shit together. Not for lack of love either. I don't think he's ever figured out how to love himself.

    Your experience is different than mine. I grew up in Montana, but in a college town in which there wasn't much blue-collar stupidity going on, at least in the circles I ran in. I've used firearms and hunted since I was barely in school. I've found that most of the people are that are negative about both have never done either and don't have a clue what they are talking about. I wasn't raised as you describe, nor were any of my friends. Unless someone was being a total asshole and / or taking advantage of those incapable of defending themselves we left them alone. If they crossed the line then they had a bad outcome. Every boy is going to be challenged at some point when he is growing up. That's Life. Girls get challenged too, they just usually use the mean-spirited & normally behind the back verbal approach versus the physical confrontations that boys are more likely to get into. I don't see it changing.

    Are there stupid rednecks around? Of Course!! Entire families (male & female) of them. So what? I never intended to let losers like them impact my self-image or future and you shouldn't either. Screw them. You can't help how and where you were raised or that you were born a guy but were actually a girl, but you can control your perspective on life. Frankly at the end of the day that's about all anyone can control.

    I'd also add that I knew guys in Montana that had goofier looking pickups than Rachel's picture and they were among the best people I have ever known from a character standpoint and that includes the executives and big bosses I've worked with at General Motors, Nissan, Toyota and Mitsubishi. So judging someone who you've never met based upon what they drive isn't OK and isn't cool. Frankly it is very narrow, judgmental and small minded particularly coming from an academic. It does however accurately reflect the general feeling among academics that they have a magically unique perspective on the truth and the ignorant masses just don't get it.

    I guess you can see that I don't have a problem with standing up for myself. You shouldn't either. That doesn't mean you can control other's view of the world, but they should leave you alone to live your life in your way. Don't let people screw with you.

    At the end of the day you need to believe in yourself, even if others don't. If you come by your views honestly screw what others think. You've seen my posts on this blog. Of course most of the Chicks reading this think I'm an idiot and a moron. Fortunately for me I have plenty of independent confirmation that actually, I'm not. So they can go F themselves. As a person you should feel that strongly about yourself. That said, you have to back up your belief with action and make yourself the kind of person that people will respect. Worked for me. Try it.

    Of course you don't see Rachel's views as misanthropic if you're a member of the club. You know, the one where the members are victims in all things and try to fix everyone and everything but themselves. I'm fine with club membership, as long as you step up and own it.

    In any case, I don't have a problem with you as a person. Good Luck. Your life will be what you make it.

    Burn

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  17. @ mace - I don't know where you live, but here in Long Beach and all I have to do is walk outside my residence and I'm in the middle of one of the most sexually diverse communities in the U.S. after San Francisco. Go ahead and Google it. I don't have a problem with it, I'm just saying. So in one day I'm probably going to see five or six rainbow bumper stickers and marriage equality pitches. That's not counting the same sex couples making out in the park across from my place or the gay coffee shop on the corner. All kinds of opportunities for a straight guy from Montana to cop an attitude. I actually don't have a problem with it as remember we live in America and people can say and do whatever they want, within reason. In any case, I'm sure you're a nice person, but frankly I think Rachel has a huge, politically correct and unfair hard-on for these guys and their pickups. That said, thanks for generalizing about them and confirming Rachel's attitude. Jeeezzzzzz….

    @ Charliehorse - What I'm saying is that that those that define the argument normally win. Feminists have been defining the argument for what…about forty years? So…Rachel's chronic victimhood and patriarchy blaming approach clearly has its converts as membership in this blog confirms. Seems like you're a member of the fraternity or sorority. Good for You.

    Bottom line is that you've probably figured out by now that most straight guys don't really care. Let's consider the ballooning divorce rate that has given women the opportunity to prove that they can be better parents by themselves. Oh wait!!! Turns out that didn't work out so well. Single parenthood has doubled in forty years. Women's happiness is also down significantly in spite of the wonders of Feminism. The delinquency of children of single parent households has gone through the roof. I wonder what happened. I thought you folks had a plan. Let us know when you figure it out. In the interim maybe you should keep your plans to yourselves until you have a better way of testing them before you screw up people's lives.

    All of this said I'm 100% certain that you and Rachel will end up blaming the evil patriarchy…

    Burn

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  18. I'm not going to sit here and claim I totally understand where you've been and where you're going. I will say that it's your life and it's up to you to live it as you see fit.

    Perhaps that's a sentiment that needs further thought? You're not transgender like me, gay like your brother, or a woman like myself and other women on this blog thread. Could it be that we are aware of certain experiences and patterns in life that you are not?

    I may be a bit different than most hetero guys as I have an older brother that is gay and has struggled his entire life. I'm sure it isn't the same as being Trans, but probably a lot of similarities.

    There are indeed differences, as sexual orientation and gender identity are two separate dimensions of being. For instance, I identify as a woman but I'm attracted to women. Hence, I'm a lesbian. Your brother most likely identifies as a man and is attracted to men.

    Where the similarities come into play is how society sometimes treats gay/bisexual boys/men and transgender women prior to transitioning (and sometimes after). Both groups of people can suffer through intense amounts of abuse because their respective orientations, identities, and behaviors violate common assumptions regarding people who were assigned male at birth. When you get right down to it, these issues center on people's attitudes surrounding gender—a failure to meet the strictures of masculinity in particular.

    Not surprisingly, I've listened to gay men relate stories of abuse from their childhood and I can relate to most of those stories.

    He hasn't gotten his shit together. Not for lack of love either. I don't think he's ever figured out how to love himself.

    I'm sorry to hear that your brother is going through this.

    Unfortunately, his problems aren't an isolated occurrence. For instance, suicide rates tend to be higher among gay male youth. Drug and alcohol abuse tends to be higher in the LGBT population. I guarantee that you can find elevated levels for many other indicators of a population under high levels of stress and abuse.

    Why are these things true? If you have a larger pattern such as high drug and alcohol abuse, high suicide rates, and elevated levels for various other indicators, then it only makes sense to go look for a larger explanation than simply focusing individual experiences.

    If you want to prevent such problems for future members of a populace, then only large scale solutions are going to effectively address the problem.

    In short, it takes a willingness to see the big picture.

    And speaking as a person who has had to overcome her own issues, it can be indispensable to realize the larger picture. When you grow up in a culture that strongly devalues who you are, it's easy to develop a lot of self-hatred. The first step to resolving that self-hatred is to acknowledge that you aren't the one to blame. It takes realizing that you're OK as you are. It helps to realize that there are many others like you, with similar problems, and that these problems evolved not because there's something inherently wrong with you, but rather because the culture is structured to produce these issues. Again, it takes an act of seeing the larger picture.

    After realizing that larger reality, it becomes a lot easier to go about your life and when necessary, tell prejudiced people that they're full of it, and they should leave you alone.

    While you may not like how Rachel is going about the process, posts such as the one at the top of this page represent an effort of putting together the pieces of a larger picture. That larger picture is one of how gender functions in our culture. People's attitudes about masculinity and femininity effect everything from sexual orientation and sexism all the way to issues surrounding trans people. It's all intertwined.

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  19. Anonymous11/15/2009

    "Truck nuts"

    (consult Google image for a selection)

    The men who put them onto their hitches must be doing so for the benefit of other men, since to a lot of women, the T.N.s spell l-o-s-e-r. The T.N.s are common in the South and Midwest. Commercial truckers, needless to say, do not apply this decoration to their vehicles.

    NancyP

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  20. On the hunting issue...

    My impression of how many people are "trophy hunters" and just general all-around brutal assholes is based on my experience living here, and I would agree that there are probably more people who are respectful hunters as you say, Burn. However, you make it sound like the brutal asshole bunch is a tiny minority, and I take issue with that. For one thing, arrests by F&G are significantly up for poaching, and in most of those cases the perpetrator kills many animals and only removes the trophies, leaving the carcass to rot. Check out this video that was on the news last night. I only accidentally saw it because it came on after the football game, but it does support my suspicions about how many people behave like this. For another thing, when my ex used to do seasonal work out at the wind farm, there were many days when they were "grounded" due to high winds or thunderstorms - it was dangerous for anyone to be climbing the towers to perform maintenance. So they would sit in their trucks for hours waiting for the wind to die down or the thunderstorm to move on. He would read or watch movies to pass the time. But out of the 35 people who worked there, 28 of them thought it was great fun to pull out their handguns and shoot-to-maim prairie dogs and rabbits. 28 out of 35 thought this was hilarious, and normal behavior. Of course, they weren't even supposed to have firearms on the property, and it was a huge safety hazard, since there were other people working on the property as well. But they saw nothing wrong with it, and were disappointed if they accidentally killed the small animal instead of wounding it. Their peers mocked them for killing instead of maiming. It was a well-paid job, but my ex was glad to leave it at the end of the summer.

    The story about laughing about the moose calf whose mother was shot was told by a colleague of mine. Yes - a faculty member here whose family has been hunting for generations. He and several other faculty members who were discussing this across the hall from my office thought it was not only not sad that the calf followed him, bawling, but they thought it was kinda funny. And I've heard many other stories like these at the bar. The boys from the Ag fraternity have a standing tradition of heading out of town with a case of beer and their guns to shoot prairie dogs for fun any Saturday when there's no football game and the weather permits. So that means they're also operating firearms and vehicles while drunk, no? I don't think I need to add that most of these boys are local, and "ranch raised."

    So there's ample evidence of this culture here. But I don't deny that there are just as many (or more) who hunt respectfully and legally, who avoid cruelty and respect the natural life cycles and ecosystems around here. And I get that. And I honestly apprectiate that. I do think that this mindset is cut from the same fabric as that of the native Americans, and like I said, I think hunting for meat is way better than the factory farming system of meat production in many many ways. I just have an issue with this particular type of hunting, and the version of masculinity that it represents.

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  21. NancyP

    Yep, there are many, many trucks around here with truck nuts. The flesh-colored ones are the worst. Creepy!

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  22. Burn,

    On the non-hunting issues here: I think we're just not communicating. For instance, I don't think that driving a truck like this makes a person an asshole, or worthless, or whatever it is you think I'm saying. My point is not to single out one person and ridicule or belittle him, although I agree that I get snarky and sarcastic at times. But if you read the post, my target here is the way our culture constructs masculinity. This is not the fault of any man. Men are born into our gendered system just like women are, and I have issues with the way both masculinity and femininity are constructed, and the toll it takes on the individuals who are then either forced into the binary system or spit out of it. This is a problem for both genders. I'm pained/amused/irritated by the way many women "dumb themselves down" to appeal to men. I have issues with the way women are taught to present themselves as frivolous, flighty, and not-to-be-taken-seriously. I'm both (mildly) irritated by the individuals who mindlessly conform, and really angered by the system that socializes them this way and enforces this behavior. But I think it's naive to think that most people can or will break out of the system that has produced them. Social structures are powerful and pervasive, and humans are uniquely and profoundly social. So a part of me agrees that we should all be self-aware and reflective on these issues and should resist the pressure and reject the scripts when we can. (As your comments to Timberwraith suggest) But another part of me recognizes how hard this is - how dangerous it can be - and how exhausting it can be to constantly be bucking the system. So I don't think it's as simple as just choosing a different choice. It's also not as simple as "any critique of gender norms = an attack on gendered individuals." It's just not that simple.

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  23. And also, timberwraith: you kick ass, per usual.

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  24. theotherheather11/16/2009

    Burn,

    I think maybe the reason why this seems like a personal attack to you is that the concept of socially constructed gender roles is not very mainstream and so it's kind of a new/foreign concept to most of us at first. If you went back and read some of these posts you might get a better sense of what Rachel's saying in this post.
    The Social Construction of Gender
    The Zero-Sum Construction of Masculinity
    PMS is a Social Construction

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  25. I'm surprised not to see "trucknuts."

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  26. Aw, shucks. Thanks, Rachel. :)

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  27. Well, I guess sometimes it's difficult to not judge a book by its cover...

    I agree that the pressure on men to conform is bad, and that men do have a responsibility to help each other.

    What I'm missing here is a statement about the fact that women's mating decisions are largely responsible for what becomes the male ideal. If suddenly shy, and weak, and geeky guys were the erotic ideal of women, before long that's what all men would want to be like. The fact that we aren't is a testament to the fact that women do not have an erotic preference for this kind of man. Quite seriously, if you want to help change the way masculinity works, pick a non-masculine guy and have sex with him. If all women do that, masculinity will change rather quickly...

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  28. Really good post, and I agree wholeheartedly - one small caveat that I think is important to make, masculinity is not homogenous, thought the model you describe is certainly pretty dominant. I've noticed a few blogs talking about masculinity recently refer to it in a very inclusive and totalistic way. I think that in changing how masculine identity and expression is written about, using words and pharases to recognise the diversity of masculine identities (inc. oppressive identities) makes the conversation richer.

    But Like I said, I really liked your post.

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  29. @Jim:

    Well, look around. Most husbands and fathers in my city are not Brad Pitt/Arnold Schwartzenegger hybrids. Just because standards of masculinity exist does not mean that they prevent people from falling in love with the regular ol' folks that they know and appreciate. However, I get it: you object to the current standards of male beauty.

    This makes a ton of sense, of course. I just don't think that it's women's mating decisions per se that make the difference. I think that these ideals are created by our media and culture. To change them, you don't need to get laid- you need to be confident being yourself. Real people, male and female, have flaws. We are not objects to dominate; or subjects on white horses to be dominated by. Ultimately, reality is hotter than fantasy. People who attempt to meet these unrealistic expectations will lose their chances to be themselves and celebrate their lives.

    @Rachel and Timberwraith

    "Heaven help the man who doesn't conform. In fact, the less he conforms to these cultural expectations, the more likely it is that he'll feel the pressure to get a "bad ass" truck and put these kinds of messages all over it. Never mind how transparent the gesture is." While i could write a lot about the discussion that you and Burn just had/are having, I just wanted to add a small comment about this quotation.

    I appreciate that gender theory is a two-sided coin. It's interesting to me, though, that while we would find it offensive to claim that we can explain or represent the worldview of people of different races or ethnic or cultural backgrounds, we so easily step into someone else's gender and explain how things look from there.
    Don't get me wrong; I believe that in many cases, you may be right. I just shy away from generalizations about other group's complexes, Napoleonic or otherwise, because I believe that is divisive.
    Your point, that patriarchy hurts men by constraining the range of behavior they're allowed, is certainly an interesting one. I argue (and i'm pretty sure I'm not alone in this) that may arise not from an internalized misogyny which manifests as homophobia.

    In other words, to use Timberwraith's example, tampons are kryptonite to masculinity only when there's no woman around. When women they trust are around, (at least some) men don't have to present the "tough dude" front as much.

    Yet when they carry feminine symbols, I hypothesize that men appear to identify as women, and thus potentially as objects for other men's appraisal/objectification, because, I hypothesize, it jeopardizes not just their gender but their sexual identity.

    I should mention that I have lots of lovely men in my life who do not feel this way.

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  30. Jim,

    I'm not sure why there are only two choices here - abrasive swaggering asshole or weak, shy, and geeky? I know men who are neither of these extremes, and these are the ones I'm attracted to. Although shy and geeky and can be OK too. In real life, I don't know that many women who are into the abrasive assholes -not for the long term anyway. So I think it's an over-generalization to say that women only sleep with this guy and that's why this is such a common form of masculinity in our culture. On the other hand, I made a few over-generalizations in my post too, so I won't hold it against you. ;-)

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  31. criticalmasculinities,

    I agree with this

    masculinity is not homogenous

    and this

    I think that in changing how masculine identity and expression is written about, using words and pharases to recognise the diversity of masculine identities (inc. oppressive identities) makes the conversation richer.

    I think perhaps the fact that this version of masculinity is so prevalent and in-your-face makes it the much more visible version, but I agree that there is diversity, and that we should talk about that fact.

    Also, I love your blog, and for some reason had never even seen it before!

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  32. Marina,

    while we would find it offensive to claim that we can explain or represent the worldview of people of different races or ethnic or cultural backgrounds, we so easily step into someone else's gender and explain how things look from there.

    I'm not sure that I'm trying to explain his worldview so much as critique the socially constructed identity he's conforming to. I don't think it's this guy's fault (or any other guy) that this is the most viable script for him to follow. I would bet he was sort of pounded into it - physically or emotionally. For instance, I know a guy who was the skinny shy kid with the lisp in high school. (I didn't know him then, but we have mutual friends who did) You would never know it by the way he looks and acts now. Now he's the body-builder dude with the shaved head who works as a bouncer at the bar where we hang out. In that setting he's Mr. tough guy who doesn't make casual conversation. But when you get this guy alone (or with a small group of people he trusts), and the conversation turns to a topic he's interested in, he's a sweet and thoughtful and articulate guy. So I've always thought that he was probably always this sweet and articulate guy, but the world pounded it out of him and taught him to follow the tough guy script. And that sucks. For him and for us and for the little boys who are growing up right now and being inducted into this system.

    Also, I have heard discussions of the social construction of various ethnic and racial roles and scripts. I've heard Asian-American feminists critique the script they're supposed to conform to, and I've heard black feminists critique the scripts for both black men and women, to name a few.

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  33. Marina quotes Rachel’s OP:
    Heaven help the man who doesn't conform. In fact, the less he conforms to these cultural expectations, the more likely it is that he'll feel the pressure to get a "bad ass" truck and put these kinds of messages all over it. Never mind how transparent the gesture is.

    Well, from my own personal experiences, as a boy, I’d adapt this excerpt as such:

    Heaven help the boy who feels that he doesn’t measure up to expectations of masculinity. In fact, the less he conforms to these cultural expectations, the more likely it is that he'll feel compelled to consciously exhibit behaviors that conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity. Never mind how transparent the gesture.

    Again, I stopped identifying as a guy at 17, right at the brink of manhood, but I can’t imagine that this pattern fails to exist among a substantial portion of the young adult male populace (say, 18-25) and perhaps, even beyond. I certainly wasn’t the only boy—future woman or not—who engaged in these behaviors. I clearly remember most of my male friends engaging in masculine posturing on a daily basis (and I actually hung out with the more sensible boys living in my hometown). There was always an ongoing game of “I’m more of a man than you.” It was usually done in good humor and fun, but underneath it all, there was a degree of seriousness and a deliberate intention to establish protective boundaries around one’s sense of self. Allowing those boundaries to slip too far from common cultural expectations inevitably resulted in unkind ribbing and discomfort from your peers. If the game of “more manly than thou” took a step too far and seriously violated the boundaries of a peer, violence could result… even from a good friend.

    Besides the issue of conformity, which is bad enough as it is, there’s another aspect of this dynamic that I find to be incredibly sad. Over time, the constant sparring, posturing, competitiveness, etc. drives emotional wedges between boys. You don’t let vulnerability show because that’s an exploitable sign of weakness and that doesn’t play well in the “more manly than thou” playbook. I’m sure that you all have heard of the stereotype that when men spend time together, they tend to favor engaging in a shared activity, rather than focussing on having a conversation that would involve sharing their emotions—unless it’s anger, satisfaction, pride, or perhaps, happiness. Well, there’s a reason why that stereotype exists.

    In the mid 90s, I remember looking for books that described these experiences, wondering if anyone out there was acknowledging this problem. I found two, both written by men, which discussed the dynamic that I mention above. It was pretty affirming to see my experiences echoed by someone else. Unfortunately, both books completely dismissed the power imbalance between women and men and degenerated into copious amounts of veiled sexism and misogyny.

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  34. (continued from previous comment)

    All in all, what I’m trying to say is this: I think Rachel’s characterization is pretty close to the mark. Undoubtedly, I—or someone else who spent time living as a guy—can fill in nuances that many women can not, but she’s presented a good initial rendering of the dynamic. I’d much rather see a discussion like this initiated by people with an understanding of feminism, privilege, and sexist oppression—whether the speakers are women or men—than see the topic degenerate into a discussion that is riddled with sexism and a general dislike of women. I’ve bounced around a couple of forums that discuss these issues, but do not have a grounding in feminism. Their content is problematic, to say the least.

    Furthermore, I think it’s difficult to comprehensively discuss issues of sexist oppression and how this effects women without expanding the discussion to masculinity as well. Masculinity and femininity are positioned in society as complementary states of being. Traditionally, they have been viewed as the inverse of each other and consequently, they are constructed accordingly, as are the assumptions behind the ways in which society’s institutions treat women and men. To discuss one without the other would be akin to discussing the movement of ocean water without respect to the effect of landmasses.

    I don’t think it’s terribly unfair for a group of people who exist in a relatively lesser position of power to try to analyze the qualities and behaviors of those who have a higher degree of power. In fact, some would argue that it’s extremely important that this understanding evolves, because one’s survival can depend on it. If you follow discussions taking place between LGBT people, there’s usually an ongoing dialog exploring the actions, motives, sentiments, etc. of straight people and cis (non-transgender) people. You can see similar activities among people discussing racism, as well. In fact, any discussion of prejudice and oppression is going to involve some discussion of the dominant group.

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  35. I apologize for the lengthy multiple posts, but I have to say one more thing. :P

    As for whether gender conformity among males involves the internalization of misogyny, I’d say the answer is a definite yes. During boyhood, qualities that are associated with girls and femininity are positioned as qualities of weakness and are understood to be undesirable traits in a boy. When I was growing up, one of the worst insults that a young boy could sling at another boy was, “You’re a girl.” This insult was often initiated after one exhibited a failure to conform to the masculine script of behaviors (e.g. after doing poorly in a sports competition). During our teen years, the insult morphed into, “Stop being such a woman.”

    A variation on this insult is to call another boy a faggot. Like the "you're a girl" insult, this insult can follow an incident in which the boy is behaves in a fashion that is “unmanly” or akin to girls’ behaviors. Sexual attraction to men is seen as womanly behavior and hence, a form of weakness. This is tied up in the cultural notion that when a man has sex with a person, he is taking power over that person. So, to be gay is to admit that you enjoy having men control and dominate you. Again, this is seen as weakness and embracing the ways of womankind. Thus, there is a linkage between misogyny and homophobia as reinforcing elements in the construction of masculinity.

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  36. I'm just delurking to say that I really agree with timberwraith about the importance of these kinds of discussions, and I've really enjoyed following this comment thread.

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  37. @ Rachel - You probably havn't seen it 'cos it's only been there a month or so.

    And thanks.

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  38. @ timberwraith,

    Please explain how a bunch of people that are not now nor will ever be successful men can make credible comments as to how masculinity should be constructed and why any guy should care. And PLEASE don't use Rachel's worn out "The Patriarchy hurts Men Too" line. I wonder exactly what value you think you can bring to the party? Maybe I'm crazy here, but actually masculinity has worked out pretty well for me and most of the guys I know. Your feelings are however a reconfirmation of how Feminists are always ready, willing and able to tell men how to live their lives. I'd also like to understand why you folks think masculinity needs to be massively overhauled to accommodate outlying demographics such as the GLBT community. Should we yank the chains of 90%+ of the male population to make the Feminists & GLBT folks happy?

    I don't feel a huge personal burden to keep track the sexual preferences of people that I come in contact with in business or life in general. I know that the GLBT community feels that it's all about them but frankly life isn't smooth for all sorts of people. The GLBT community has just decided to carve out a special "victim space" for themselves, kinda like the feminists. If you're looking for a massive, societal shift to signing up for "special handling" for situations similar to what you've found yourself in then I think you're dreaming. I don't have an issue with your deal, but it you're looking for everyone to get all excited about your lifestyle it probably isn't on the horizon. Most straight people feel like just leaving you alone is accommodation enough.

    My brother has had every opportunity to get his shit together and hasn't done it. It's on him. As I'm sure you know the GLBT community has a well-earned reputation for being party people. I don't have a problem with it, but it is what it is. I'd say that hedonistic is putting it mildly. So…if that's the way a person chooses to live there is probably going to be fall out. We can argue about the Why of it all but it is what it is. As I said in my original post it success in life has a lot more to do with your self-image than what others say about you. It doesn't matter if you are straight, gay, trans or whatever, if every time some asshole talks shit you have a personal crisis and everything goes sideways in your world you are going to have a hard life.

    In any case, I think I'm getting your "Big Picture" thing. It's lowest common denominator thinking. Make it easy for everyone. Make sure no one ever gets their feelings hurt, picked on and their lives are without conflict. You think that will fix men and make life good for Feminists & the LGBT community, right? Actually what that will do is assure that boys will never get knocked on their asses and have a chance to get up and fix themselves. It will create boys and men that are sensitive, controllable & looking for direction, which of course is your goal. Sounds like you have a plan. Fortunately for men the likelihood of you folks making this happen are pretty slim, given that most of you don't actually get things done, but you do theorize a lot.

    Burn

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  39. Burn, the simple answer to your question is that most men will not listen to my perspective because they will simply dismiss what I have to say as the words of a warped freak who has failed as a man. I am under no illusion that most men would be interested in what I have to say. However, I do offer the perspective of a person who has experienced gender in a way that most people have not. Those who see value in listening to a person who has had unusual experiences and think that this could provide useful insight will give consideration to my words.

    You initially showed interest in my words, so I did the best I could in sharing my experiences. You mentioned that your brother is gay. That piqued my interest because, as I said earlier, I empathize with what some gay men have experienced in their lives. I assumed you might be interested in my experiences because there are probably some things your brother and I have in common. In fact, you indicated a partial understanding of that commonality in your comment to me.

    However, it’s obvious that you are not interested in what I have to say. It also seems apparent from your comment that you’ve given up on your brother and have little interest in bringing about change in a society that makes the lives of LGBT extremely difficult. That speaks for itself.

    *shrug* As the old saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.

    But, since you’ve been blunt, then I’m going to be blunt. I’ve been reading this blog for a while now. It’s obvious that you comment at this blog to stir up shit. You enjoy getting a rise out of people. Regardless of all the lovely verbiage that you’ve shared with us, that’s your motive for coming here. You aren’t terribly interested in what people have to say, but you are interested in being an annoyance.

    Knowing this, and having now had the pleasure of directly interacting with you, I’m loosing interest in bothering with you.

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  40. Burn,

    The point is not a massive overhaul of masculinity. I realize that this may sound scary to you, but that's not at all what I'm talking about. I'm only advocating for a loosening of the strict gender scripts and norms that are often so brutally enforced on both men and women. Allowing people to negotiate their own way, and develop an identity that works for them would eliminate a lot of the stress and pain that people experience as their parents and peers police their gender and force them to conform to these narrow and artificial identity constructs. People like my friend the bouncer wouldn't spend so much of their time and energy trying to squelch their natural tendencies and live up to some ridiculous and stifling ideal. Why is this so threatening to you? What would you lose in a system like this?

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  41. @ Rachel,

    Re: Hunting

    There has always been poaching and there always will be. I imagine the F&G publishes stats that would prove up if the frequency is increasing or not. If it is, it is, but a video doesn't do anything but up the drama level. In any case we agree it's a bad thing.

    I've never known anyone personally that would intentionally shoot any animal just to maim and not kill. They would qualify as redneck assholes. I hope your ex told those morons to knock it off. Whenever I hear scenarios like you describe I always scratch my head and wonder if the person that was there did or said anything at the time. Certainly would have been the right thing to do. A person has to stand up and go toe to toe with the idiots when shit like this happens. Hopefully someone did.

    I did know some guys that would drink and shoot, which is a really bad idea, but it happens. Every once in a while someone would either shoot himself or get shot because of it. The general consensus was that they had it coming if they were that stupid. In Montana drinking used to be kind of the State Sport so there was a lot of everything going on while people were drinking.

    Back in the day my family owned a ranch near the Bozeman Pass and raised registered quarter horses. We considered prairie dogs to be pests and shot them whenever we had a chance. The reason we killed them was to try to limit the chances that our horses would step in a hole, break a leg and have to be put down. Might not make readers of this blog happy, but that's how ranching works.

    Maybe Wyoming is different but in the Montana bars where I used to hang out when guys got liquored up we never believed their stories about hunting, fishing, how much money they earned or who they were sleeping with. Every guy is a way bigger stud when he is drunk than when he's sober, at least in his mind.

    I don't think we're that far apart on this issue as long as people don't assume all hunters are bad guys. That's why I felt your original video post was a crock.

    Burn

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  42. @ timberwraith - 1 of 2

    Please, I didn't say you were either warped or a freak because I don't think you are. That said, your current reality doesn't give you carte blanche to expect everyone to sign up for your view of the world. It's your life so you should live it. You don't have the unilateral right to project your perspective on others without being questioned.

    Please do me a favor and don't shift into victim mode. I know it's comfortable, but try to resist. As long as we're being honest how about this concerning my gay brother, who actually I have NOT given up on:

    - Two Bankruptcies
    - Chronic Unemployment
    - Marginally successful treatment for alcoholism and prescription drug addiction
    - Six or seven failed personal relationships in the past fifteen years
    - Manages to ruin every family reunion in the past fifteen years by accusing anyone that disagrees with him on any issue of homophobia, regardless of the objective facts
    - Foolish amounts of money spent on his behalf in the misguided view that he could be helped before he took personal ownership of HIS problem

    Other than that he has his shit together. So don't try to give me static that I've given up on my brother. You can Kiss My Ass. What I have given up on is thinking that my money, attention or worry will fix him. He has to want to fix himself and quit being a victim.

    Since I'm feeling particularly honest this morning and sitting here looking out at the Pacific it makes me want to expand your perspective a bit…

    Since you are clearly a dues paying member of the GLBT community I'm assuming you'll have input on this.

    It's always amazed me how self-centered you folks are. You know, how it's kind of all about you, your issues, how you've been mistreated. Actually you will totally get socially aligned as long as it's about your GLBT issues. What I really enjoy is listening to a GLBT person talk about their recent vacation to Hawaii to a struggling hetero couple or single mother with a baby for whom they are trying to pay for pampers and / or day care. The most amazing thing is that the GLBT protagonist is totally oblivious as to their audience.

    As a goofy hetero guy I used to wonder about it but having lived in Long Beach for almost five years now I'm finally tuning in. Hetro folks actually procreate and have to emotionally and financially support their offspring. As any hetero parent will tell you once your first baby is born your life is changed forever. You understand that actually You Don't Matter now. From now on it's all about your baby, as it should be. This absence of personal responsibility for someone other than themselves in the GLBT community used to piss me off, now it just makes me sad for you people that have never had a chance to care for someone else. It's the best thing ever. The lack of emotional maturity that comes from continuing to think that you are the center of the universe is telling, particularly as I encounter professionals in their 30's & 40's that have never given a shit about anything but themselves and their happiness. It's a sad thing.

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  43. @ timberwraith - 2 of 2

    I'll close with this…My girlfriend and her friend wanted to do the Halloween candy thing for our building. So, given the reality of Long Beach I figured I needed to be around to referee. It was great, all kinds of young families bringing their miniature Transformers and Princesses (fails the PC test). Then…a SUV parked across the street and five GLBT or whatever folks piled out. They were all wearing those chaps without pants so the entire neighborhood had a chance to see 10 ass cheeks. This of course included the young parents with their newborn to ten year old children. These five people obviously felt no sense of responsibility to anyone other than themselves and the good time they were preparing to have. I'm here to tell you that if I had my kids out at that time and had that kind of show there would have been a negative outcome for someone. I'll just say that if that is the world you want to evolve to it probably won't fly.

    You've probably figured out by now that it's kinda hard to hurt my feelings. I've got no ulterior motive other than to call bull shit on some that aren't particularly forthcoming. Trust me when I tell you this…if I really wanted to stir up shit this post would have looked a lot different than it does and probably Rachel would have bounced it. She may bounce this. I don't know and frankly I don't care.

    Burn

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  44. Anonymous11/18/2009

    Burn,

    It seems to me like you're the perennial victim, seeing as how "the feminists" are always and forever victimizing teh pore menz in your worldview.

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  45. @ Anonymous

    Nice try. I'm not the one trying to reinvent the opposite sex. That would be you goofs. Next time you post "Woman Up" and post your call out. I'm thinking it would be like...a liberating experience for you.

    Burn

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  46. Cinders11/18/2009

    Who's trying to "reinvent the opposite sex"? I don't think you're reading very carefully, as this has been explained repeatedly. You're fabricating an argument that nobody is actually making, attributing it to Rachel (and others), and then arguing with it. It's a classic strawman, and nothing is accomplished by this.

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  47. Rachel

    Re: Scary & Threatening?!?...Not so Much

    It's interesting to me that when I receive rebuttals to my feminist issue responses it's always about me feeling threatened, scared or somehow intimidated. I don't know if this is a function of women actually believing all of the "Girl Power" BS being tossed around over the past several years or not. I guess they do it to try to make me feel insecure about my positions or something. I think this is just another take on the old standby "If you were secure in your masculinity you would agree with my feminist views" tagline. With all due respect, women are not that scary (as long as you're not married to one of them), but if it makes you feel better thinking that way knock yourselves out.

    No matter how a person, organization or entity tries to reinvent or reengineer gender roles there are always going to be people of both sexes that fall outside of whatever definition of success people believes currently applies. That is unless the bar is lowered so far that no gender roles are applicable any longer at all.

    It's certainly not lost on me that there is a significant contingent in the Feminist and GLBT Community that believes the lowering of the standard as noted above is their objective. It further deteriorates the family model and promotes your political agenda. Frankly, based upon what has gone on to date it appears you are winning on that issue.

    It escapes me how this type of change will help the outliers. There are always going to be the dudes that were too small, weak or lacking in skills to make the basketball team, just like there are going to be girls that aren't skinny enough, stacked enough or popular enough to be cheerleaders. The kids that couldn't "make the team" in high school are going to try to show up at the ten year reunion as successful young adults modeled after what they think their old high school classmates think would make them appear to be studs or chicks. What they find is that ten years later the people that they were jealous of in high school have moved onto success in another life and they are still goofs trying to be accepted by people that didn't matter to begin with and certainly don't care now.

    If anything needs to be changed it is developing the ability of young people to get up, dust themselves off and move forward after a failure. Trying to insulate everyone from failure is a huge mistake. It's hard to grow at a personal level if you never are tested. I don't understand why people are so afraid of temporary failure. That is how you learn, improve and succeed in life.

    Don't misunderstand me, I have kids and it kills me when they meet with temporary failure, but in my opinion that is the ONLY way they will learn, grow and become successful adults.

    Burn

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  48. @ Cinders

    That would be you and your girlfriends. Actually I can read OK, but you do seem really smart. Thanks so much for sharing.

    That said, I've heard the whole "The Patriarchy Hurts Us All" argument. That of course is the smokescreen and the foundation upon which you base your reengineering of masculinity to fit your views. As smart as you are you obviously know that if you can get everyone to buy into your Patriarchy argument the rest of the chips will fall.

    Please don't embarrass yourself. At least step up to what you are trying to do.

    Burn

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  49. Burn, I was the one who took care of my mother when she was dying of cancer. My straight siblings were mostly out of the picture. My closest friend here in the Twin Cities, who is a lesbian, is taking care of her parents now that they are older. She has put her life on hold to do this while her straight siblings are also out of the picture. Should I draw the conclusion that straight people are so wrapped up in their children that they toss aside their own parents as they age and die? Should I assume that straight couples forget about the ways in which their parents have helped them and simply toss their aging parents upon the garbage heap when convenient? I suppose I could, but that would be pretty silly. I’m perfectly aware that doesn’t describe most straight people.

    Plus, in case you hadn’t noticed, lots of LGBT people have children of their own.

    Given the abusive crap I endured when I was growing up, I could easily assume that all boys and men are aggressive, violent assholes who, given half a chance, will try to control whomever and whatever is in their lives. Given the behavior I witnessed in college dormitories, I could assume that most single straight guys are solely interested in getting blitzed and having sex with everything in sight. All of these assumptions would be silly, however, as I have met plenty of gentle, caring men who want far more out of life than a keg of beer and an endless supply of women and condoms. Yes, masculinity has problems with conformity, but I realize that plenty of guys make it out of that process with their souls in tact.

    The funny thing is, you’ve come to this thread concerned about Rachel making stereotypes about guys in trucks with confederate flags, and ironically, you’ve supplied us with nothing but a list of stereotypes about LGBT people. We’re selfish hedonists who bring our troubles upon ourselves by partying too much and refuse to assume responsibility in life because none of us have children.

    For the record, I lost my virginity when I was 30. I’ve had a grand total of three romantic partners in my life. I’ve never touched an illegal drug and I drink sparing quantities of alcohol, at most, once every other month. The most regular social event that I attend is the LGBT church I go to on Sundays. As you can see, I’m a hedonistic party animal. Yay me.

    It’s nice that you don’t consider me to be a freak, Burn, and it’s good to hear that you haven’t yet given up on your brother, but you’ve given plenty of indication that you are a deeply prejudiced person.

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  50. Anonymous11/18/2009

    It's funny how Burn assumes that every male wants to make the basketball team, and every female wants to be a cheerleader, and anything less is failure. Here's what you don't get Burn. Some of us never wanted that, never measured our success by your narrow little ideals. And insisting that these ideals continue to be forced on others is brutal and uncivilized. You cling to these "standards" because it's all you know, and what gives your identity meaning. But we're not asking for a "lowering" of the standards. We're working toward flexibility and diversity and allowing everyone to be whoever the fuck they feel most comfortable being. You know what destroys families? Being cruel and rigid and willing to dispose of your kin because they don't or can't meet your "standards." But if we would be open to more than one definition for "family" then you and your type who go around whining about the loss of the family all the time would just look silly. Oh wait, you already do. Silly and insecure. Better get some trucknuts.

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  51. annmagan11/18/2009

    This post kicks ass. Glad I found your blog!

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  52. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  53. Here's a little reminder of what can happen when a child violates gender expectations surrounding masculinity and adults don't respond proactively.

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  54. @ timberwraith - 1 of 2

    I'm probably being an idiot here, but I thought that taking care of a sick, dying and / or recently deceased relative kind of comes with the territory of being a fully functioning adult in society. Now I get that my brother that we've been discussing isn't capable of doing so, but in general most folks can get that deal done, right? I'm not minimizing you or your friend's efforts with or commitment to your sick or aging relatives, but most adults have recently dying and / or dead relative stories (or they will) and most of them do the right thing. For instance I've already lost my father and two brothers. Not much fun. I will say that one of my little brothers went out in grand fashion in Yellowstone Park after hot potting, doing tequila shots with another younger brother, driving a KZ1000 into the side of a RV and breaking his neck. If you're going to go at least it was stylish. So the death thing is part of life. It's OK to die. Some time ago a really cool Irish chick I knew in Chicago got pissed at me when I was being a dick about some job stuff. Her line was "Nobody gets Out Alive". She was right but frankly I think she ripped off the line from Pink Floyd...actually I think their take was Nobody Lives Forever. Anyhow it's stuck with me. She was cute too… In any case, good for you if you stuck with a relative through death, but you don't have a corner on that market. It happens every fricking day. Last time I checked no Merit Badges were being awarded. All the more reason to live every day on your terms and not be a victim.

    Concerning LGBT parenting and the impact it may or may not have on children. I know we've got some social reengineering folks in the audience. I'll just say that if you think you personally got a bunch of shit as a kid how much do you think a little boy will get when his classmates discover his "parents" are gay or lesbian? I understand in your Utopian World this little kid will be treated with complete fairness due to the progressive views of his parents and the migration of society to a more enlightened perspective. In reality it's going to be a problem that the kid is going to have to deal with, not the parents. The "parents" will however have many heartwarming moments of self-congratulatory bliss as to what they've done. Then when the school calls to tell them that Jimmy got his ass kicked by some bad boy they will blame it on Society, the Patriarchy, the School, the Teacher, the Principal or anyone else but themselves. It's unfortunate the kid is going to have to deal with the residual as actually it should be on the "parents". Now THAT is some progressive parenting. Like kids don't already have enough challenges…they should also totally have to bear the burden of their "parents" sexual orientation. Wow.

    I want to make sure you understand something. Just because I don't make a big deal about getting beat on as a kid doesn't mean it didn’t happen. It just means that I've chosen to move on and go out and do whatever war I need to. Believe me when I say if I wanted to make a case for how much I was hit as a kid I could do it, but why? How does that help anything? I'm not getting it. I'm fine with being pissed off but why let something like that negatively impact your life going forward? When you let assholes from your past have power over your present then THEY WIN. Screw Them. Don't give them the satisfaction.

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  55. Timberwraith - 2 of 2

    All hetero guys aren't evil rapists. Do guys want to get laid? Of course they do. So do Chicks. That said, some guys have Game, some don't. Doesn't make them all bad guys anymore than all GLBT people are all evil. I live in one of the top five densest GLBT communities in the U.S. Whatever I've said I have experienced personally. I didn't read it in a book, see it in a movie or dream it up. It is what it is. My point was based upon my real world experience is that I have not yet seen an upside limit to discomfort the local GLBT community is willing to put others through while they pursue their chosen lifestyles and / or agendas. Not Cool, but probably PC from your perspective.

    You can call me whatever you like, but unlike most I haven't formed my opinions by reading about life. I've lived it. I know it's cool to be politically correct on this blog, but screw that. It's not my place to comment on your social habits, but I'm glad you aren’t a drinker or partier. Your liver will thank you down the road I'm sure. That said, you might have more fun if you got out a bit more.

    Burn

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  56. Anonymous11/20/2009

    It's like you're trying to prove to us that you just don't get it Burn. The point is not to force children to conform to ridiculous norms so that they won't be bullied - it's to change the cultural attitudes and values that lead to this bullying. A lot of change has already take place, and children wouldn't even think of bullying kids for things that they bullied them for 50 years ago. That shows that this process can work. Rather than forcing everyone to pretend to be hetero and live an unfulfilled and empty life so that their kids won't be bullied for having gay paretns, how about we just change this idea that there's something wrong with being gay? Where do you think kids get the idea to bully someone on this basis? And for the record, all the research on kids of gay parents shows that this myth about it ruining their childhoods and their lives is totally false. Also for the record, we've been trying to force people to conform to gender and sexual orientation norms for centuries and it's never worked. How about giving up on something that ain't working and trying a new tack? That's what intelligent people do.

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  57. Yes Burn. None of us are living. You're the only one.

    Thanks for the laugh. Back to living my life.

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  58. Burn, I think you missed my point. What I’m trying to say is that it’s incredibly easy to make negative generalizations about a group of people that one is not a member of. Yes, we can base those generalizations upon personal experience… or common beliefs about the group in question or even statistics. It’s really not that hard to do.

    So, let’s just run with the “personal experience approach.” You think LGBT people are kinda screwed up because that’s what your experience tells you. Well, let’s look at another example. Here are some of my experiences that are related to the male half of the human race:

    1) I faced frequent emotional and physical abuse from boys during grades one through seven because I didn’t fit the social expectations of other boys.
    2) For no apparent reason, several boys shot at my friends and me while we were on a walk through a forest in my hometown.
    3) My sister and her two daughters were physically and emotionally abused by her ex-husband.
    4) During a phone conversation, my oldest brother, in a drunken rage, threatened to kill his estranged wife and himself. I was forced to call the police on him to prevent this. (He had a sizeable gun collection and lived an hour away from me. I had no choice.)
    5) My second to oldest brother had a restraining order placed against him by a girlfriend because of his conduct with her.
    6) My father was emotionally abusive and controlling toward my mother and my siblings.
    7) My father confessed to me that he and several other soldiers pushed an innocent woman off a bridge into a river in France during WWII. He had no idea if she survived the fall.
    8) One of my best friends from high school skipped town and disappeared so he could avoid paying his ex-wife child support for their two children.
    9) Another male best friend admitted to me that one of the perks of being a police officer is being able to harass people.
    10) My uncle used to be on the police force. After retiring, my uncle gleefully told a story of watching two African American men cut each other to pieces while he was on duty. He refused to intervene because he thought they both deserved to die.
    11) While I still passed as a guy, I regularly heard men say incredibly misogynistic things about women. They assumed it was safe to say these things because they assumed I was a guy.
    12) My mother confided to me that she was raped when she was a young adult.
    13) More female friends than I can remember have told me stories of being raped as adults or sexually molested as children. (I met these women after moving from my hometown.)

    Looking at my personal experiences with boys and men, I could conclude that men, as a group, are violent, antisocial people. If you factor in statistics showing that men are responsible for the bulk of violent crimes, this stereotype of men becomes even more convincing.

    Now the thing is, do I really want to look at men through a set of negative filters that paints them as violent, antisocial people? After all, I have plenty of personal evidence that men fit this description. I even have statistical evidence. In spite of the evidence, the answer to this question is no. If I were to see men through this filter, then chances are, I’d look right past tons of men who are kind, wonderful people.

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  59. (continued)

    If you choose to focus on the negative aspects of a group of people, then most likely, you’re going to find those characteristics. You can do this with any group of people: men, women, straights, gays, African Americans, white people, poor, rich, etc. If you go looking for negative aspects in a populace of people, then I guarantee that you’re going to find them. Do you know why? Because they’re all human. Human beings fuck up—a lot. We also do a heck of a lot of good things, too.

    Which aspect of humanity do you wish to focus on, Burn? Do you want to focus on the positive side or the negative side of humanity? How would it feel if most people adopted the stereotype that I presented above? How would it feel if people assumed that you were essentially evil, because you are a man? How would if feel if you defended yourself and other men as honorable, kind people and your words were dismissed as a bunch of convenient excuses and delusional BS?

    This kind of thinking is incredibly toxic. This tendency to shove people into boxes and label those boxes with a set of indelible characteristics gets us into a lot of unhealthy situations. Remember the original topic of the post? Gender conformity? The same kind of thinking that says, “all/most members of group X have characteristic Y” is also the same kind of thinking that says, “to be accepted as a proper member of group A, you must possess characteristic B.” The flip side of stereotyping people is the tendency to place conformist expectations upon an individual who wishes to be fully accepted into a group. Expecting gender conformity in human beings is an example of this kind of thinking. To be a proper man, you must possess characteristic B. To be a proper woman, you must possess characteristic C.

    And thus, we come full circle.

    I’m not surprised that you cling to an assortment of negative stereotypes about LGBT people while asserting that challenging gender conformity is unnecessary and potentially damaging because it would represent a “lowering of standards” for children. Both of these attitudes reflect similar patterns of thinking. Prejudice and conformity are proud siblings.

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  60. @ Anonymous @ 11/18 @ 4:41 PM - 1 of 2

    Having quickly scanned your post I'm thinking that since it appears you have some sort of appreciation for Balls then maybe you should grow some of the Chick Type and put your callout up the next time you post. Just assume that you're confirming the coming perfect alignment of women's wants and needs throughout the world. Your sisters will totally respect you for it. Either that or just quit being an Anonymous goof ball.

    In any case, after I read your post I cried all night. I was devastated. Then my girlfriend called my support group and they came over. We had sucked down some green tea, had a group hug, meditated and now somehow I've now mustered the strength to bang out this response…I'll be honest though, a bunch of business shit came before that but please appreciate the spirit of peace I bring to this conversation.

    WTF?!? Now I don’t consider myself to be the Great Communicator like Professor Rachel, that said I thought I covered those points. I get that not everyone wants to be a basketball star or a cheerleader (but lots would in spite of what they tell you). The point I was making was that as children we are all exposed to some societal or cultural models of success. Might be a basketball player, football player, cheerleader, Police Person or Fire Person (Do I get PC points for that?) soccer star, lawyer, judge, speech or debate hero or WTFever. The point was that many very young people choose goals when they are just little dreamer goof ball type of organisms that for whatever reason they won't be able to achieve. I'm not saying it isn't cute for a five year old to want to be a space shuttle pilot. I am saying that unfortunately they all won't have the physical or mental ability, financial resources or personal discipline to get it done. Can we agree on this? Call your sisters and let me know…and don't make me call my support group again…

    Now some of these children were prompted by their parents in some way to set their goals, some chose them themselves. In any case, let's assume that at some point EVERYONE gets to the stage of realizing that they can't get where they originally wanted to be (Other than Rachel, Obama, his wife & Sotomayor). It obviously sucks for these folks when they see that they aren't going to get there. They then have multiple choices of how they can deal with this.

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  61. @ Anonymous @ 11/18 @ 4:41 PM - 2 of 2

    If these children have not been taught to effectively deal with temporary failure they may perceive that they are failures as PEOPLE, when obviously this isn't the case. They just need to review their options and make new choices. They need to pick goals that are NOW valid to them personally and then work to achieve them. Once they pick their new goals they need to take personal responsibility for achieving them. Maybe they won't reach them either, but they can always regroup, set new goals and move forward in a positive way. A really poor life strategy is to continually blame Society, the Patriarchy, their Parents, other people or any other list of things that people bitch about when they can't get their shit together. Ever notice how when you run into people that you've known in the past whose lives have clearly deteriorated in the interim that it's never their fault? I rest my case. (Always wanted to be Perry Mason and say shit like that)

    Be careful with that Ball Fixation thing you have going on. It may be the early onset of mental illness. Get with Rachel, with her advanced education she'll know what to do. She's like the Scarecrow in the Wizard of OZ after he got his certificate of braininess from the Great and Powerful OZ. You can totally trust her opinions. Maybe you two can get some group counseling rates on dude plumbing…you for Balls and Rachel for Penis Size. I'll be you could write a book discussing your experiences and it would become an instant best seller with your girlfriends. You could then retire and write more books about how the Patriarchy sucks. Talk to that chick over at Feministing that has been publishing way bigger BS than this concept for years. If she can do it so can you.

    Rock that Deal.

    Burn

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  62. @ Anonymous @ 11/20/2009 @ 7:44 A.M.

    As I mentioned to your Anonymous sister previously, posting Anonymously is a hugely pussy (I mean that in a total non-sexist way) thing to do. So I'll grace you with a response on this, but going forward please woman or man up and at least be accountable for your posts. Or…you could blame it on the Patriarchy. If you decide you can't do that at least come up with some way to hyphenate your call out. We can probably get a grant from NOW or some government funded GLBT organization to figure out what the hell you're talking about.

    You've clearly made up your mind and have your agenda in place versus me as just a working dude trying to make due. Maybe you’re a Woman's Study Graduate or just a member of the GLBT community that represents less than 10% of the population of the U. S that is trying to force their values on the rest of the 90% of the country that doesn't buy into your program. What Say You?

    Seems democratic to me. At the same time let's create a special set of laws for the GLBT community that are IN ADDITION to what other American Citizens are granted in case someone in the community has a problem. Then we can bake up a hate crime charge. Now it's important to understand that this Hate Crime thing is not a right of most of the remaining 90% of U.S. Citizens. It only applies to a "Special Class" of people. We'll go ahead and administer it on a selective basis depending upon when that victim "FEELS" like it was hate. Seem fair to you. I'm sure it does.

    Please spare me your quasi-academic rationalization of the institutionalism of Feminism and the GLBT world. Any reasonably bright person that can read understands this started decades ago and has gradually worked it's way into society to a point now that goofs like you can act like I have a brain tumor when I object to less that 10% of the population expecting to be able to not only project, but try to institutionalize their values on the other 90% of the public. Nice try. Sell it somewhere else.

    Please quote the sources of your studies proving how great kids of GLBT parents feel about life. I'm particularly interested in the financial and academic support of such studies along with periodic updates at five to ten-year intervals. I'd also be interested in an objective third-party review of said data, but I doubt that's available. Thanks for confirming again that I am not that smart nor is 90% of the rest of America. You are the enlightened & intelligent ones. It doesn't matter what anyone else feels or thinks. You have the solution.

    One thing I love about the GLBT community is that you consistently feel your sexuality; rights and freedoms trump those of all other Americans. Good For You. You folks clearly have the pipeline to truth and justice. Maybe if I was born to LGBT parents I'd be as intelligent as you. Look what you've done to me…now I have to live the rest of my life thinking "What If?"

    Burn

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  63. Well actually, federal hate crimes legislation now covers these classes of people: race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability. That’s considerably more than 10% of the population.

    There’s also a separate provision in the new hate crimes act that protects US servicemen:

    `Sec. 1389. Prohibition on attacks on United States servicemen on account of service

    Whoever knowingly assaults or batters a United States serviceman or an immediate family member of a United States serviceman, or who knowingly destroys or injures the property of such serviceman or immediate family member, on account of the military service of that serviceman or status of that individual as a United States serviceman, or who attempts or conspires to do so, shall--

    `(1) in the case of a simple assault, or destruction or injury to property in which the damage or attempted damage to such property is not more than $500, be fined under this title in an amount not less than $500 nor more than $10,000 and imprisoned not more than 2 years;

    `(2) in the case of destruction or injury to property in which the damage or attempted damage to such property is more than $500, be fined under this title in an amount not less than $1000 nor more than $100,000 and imprisoned not more than 5 years; and

    `(3) in the case of a battery, or an assault resulting in bodily injury, be fined under this title in an amount not less than $2500 and imprisoned not less than 6 months nor more than 10 years.

    (If you visit the provided link, scroll waaaaay down to the bottom of the page to "Division E")


    Simply put, federal hate crimes statutes cover a lot of people—far more than LGBT people. I suppose these hate crimes statutes are an example of how the needs of racial and ethnic minorities, women, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, trans people and military personnel are being imposed upon everyone else. But wait, I think that adds up to more than half the populace! How’d that happen?

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  64. In other matters, Burn, you accused LGBT people of being selfish because we do not have children. I reminded you that many LGBT people do indeed have children. In response, you implied that LGBT parents are selfish because their children would have to endure taunting from other children. Your assertion is ironically hypocritical because you hold many prejudices against LGBT people and you have children. Let me translate that for you: you are a prejudiced parent complaining that prejudiced children will taunt the children of LGBT parents. Given that children frequently learn their prejudices from their parents, you are part of the very problem you are complaining about. This is analogous to a racist parent complaining that it’s selfish for interracial couples to marry and have children because racist children might bully the couple’s children.

    Besides, using your logic, African Americans who live in white communities should not have children, immigrants should not have children, people in wheelchairs should not have children, people with turrets syndrome should not have children, hirsute women should not have children, extremely unattractive people should not have children, fat people should not have children…. Actually, anyone who is not a full-fledged member of a dominant group should not become parents because doing so would impose the stigma and social burden of the parent’s minority status upon their children. So, let’s see. That leaves white, heterosexual, able-bodied, thin, nuerotypical, attractive parents of middle to upper income. Be forewarned, future parents, if you don’t fall into that group, you are being selfish for considering parenthood!

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  65. I'm sure that the hate crime legislation will fit whoever decides to be a victim. Please don't try to tell me how much this will help US Service People. What a Joke. I didn't get the memo about me being a second-class citizen when it comes to crime but it appears it has happened. Your analysis is weak, but nice try. I'm sure you come by it honestly.

    Seems to me you deserve to be happy and you aren't. It also seems to me that you haven't taken personal responsibility for your happiness. You've decided it isn't your problem, it's is on society. You've decided that you're a victim and it's everyone else's fault. On a personal level I really don't get it. But this is American and you're entitled to your opinion.

    If your happiness is contingent upon controlling the male population of the U.S. I'm thinking that although your political agenda appears to have traction that men in general aren't signing up. Ask the chicks on this blog that have been launched by their significant others because they were tired of getting ragged on for whatever other BS gets tossed at them.

    I've wasted way too much time responding to this blog already at all levels, so I'm pretty much getting ready to sign out on this deal. Plus Gina isn't happy about it and she's like one of the best chicks ever so actually it matters.

    Before I go I'll say this:

    If you want to be loved be the kind of person that can receive love. If I weren't a good guy the shit on this blog would actually bother me, but based on reality not so much. I look at my life and understand that I've always received unbelievable love and given it back. I've chosen to ignore the bad things. I've always stuck up for the little guy and never backed off from a fight from a real bad guy, frequently to my personal detriment. That said, I don't give a shit what you and your friends think. If I run into a bad guy and he decides to try me or mine on then I may not win, but he will know he's been in an encounter. I'm sure that is a "man problem" but frankly I don't care. I'm assuming that "I" am what you want to reengineer. Good Fucking Luck.

    I've promoted, commended and appreciated more competent employees in protected classes then you are capable of imagining. I've bumped several of them to income levels over $10K per month. So sell your discrimination shit elsewhere. I own that fricking deal.

    So…maybe I'm a bad guy, but maybe not. Actually, not so much, I'm a great guy and you should decide that you are a great person too instead of blaming everyone else. If you don't it's on you, guy, chick I don't care one iota.

    Final hint; don't hang with people that don't know how to kiss. Trust me…it never gets better.

    *******************

    So, it's 8:00 P.M. Sunday nite. Gina and I are sitting here watching the Lakers kick the shit out of OKC and I'm getting ready to hit enter on my response to Ms. Timberwhatever from the prior BS.

    Then I get this post that tells me that I'm a bigot because I don't buy into the program. This is exactly why you goofs have no credibility. Jesus Christ. You've just turned your best friend into your enemy. Nice Job.

    bHbKbF
    Burn

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  66. Anonymous11/23/2009

    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/514477

    http://www.canada.com/theprovince/news/story.html?id=38cc20ce-7f14-44ea-b4d9-d4cd16d7a269&k=9378

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  67. Burn, if you actually thought you were my "best friend" at the start of this thread, you are clearly in denial of your own prejudices. Given the awful, sweeping generalizations you've made about LGBT people, you are anything but a friend.

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  68. Burn, I keep on rereading your last post and musing upon the inconsistencies of your words.

    You say that you stand up for the little guy. Interestingly, on numerous occasions, your posts mention a concern regarding the prospect of less than 10% of the populace placing its needs above everyone else. You also express the sentiment that large majorities shouldn’t be bothered to consider the perspective of tiny minorities. Furthermore, you repeatedly employ the image of minorities “playing the victim.” This is a common rhetorical device used to insulate the speaker from the responsibility of considering the damage that dominant groups of people can incur upon those in lesser positions of power.

    Consequently, I find your assertion that you’ve “always stuck up for the little guy” to be quite curious. Generally, when one stands up for the little guy, one is defending the interests of someone in a lesser position of power—usually someone whose needs and perspectives are being ignored by those in power. Your belief that you’ve “always stuck up for the little guy” is clearly inconsistent with various sentiments you have expressed in this thread.

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  69. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  70. Burn, I really don’t know if you are a good guy or a bad guy. I suspect, in the right company, you could be either. What I do know is that you are a man of proud blindness who has far too much invested in his prejudices to reevaluate his perspectives on others. The act of leaving a link to that particular article demonstrates how deeply those prejudices run. *shrug* I’ve read plenty of hateful crap like that before. It’s more of the same.

    You come here portraying yourself as a man steeped in the knowledge of living—one who has simple, time tested truths to share—but in reality, you understand so little about those who are different from you. As this thread wears on, I feel a growing sadness for you. May you find a deeper wisdom in the years to come, Burn.

    Peace be with you.

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  71. @ timber,

    I wasn't looking for your opinion. As I've said, I don't care. If proud blindness means I don't sign up for your program just because you and your ilk feel it is the truth then yep, I'm blind.

    Save your sadness and concern for yourself, it appears you will need it as your life moves forward. The fact that you feel you should be able to push your reality on others truly shows that only your opinion matters to you. Please ponder this point.

    Live your life but don't push it on others. You don't have the right as a person to expect other people to accept you. It is their decision, not yours. I don't hate you, but you don't have the right to push your reality on me or tell me how to think and what is acceptable. Every person can decide that ON THEIR OWN. I certainly understand that the Feminists and the GLBT Community want to control society on that level, but it isn't going to happen. Trust Me.

    Get the help and support you need. Quit being a victim.

    Burn

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  72. I think it's possible the owner's name is Chet R. It's hard to say what someone wants a license plate to mean; I know someone who has one that says YNPHKR...he means it to be Yosemite National Park Hiker (YNP H(i)K(e)R) but people have had so many interpretations of it (including "yes or no, f***er" for "Y N PHKER").

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  73. Just out of curiosity, if we eliminate gender roles, whose job will it be to ensure the toilet seat is down?

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  74. Anonymous12/18/2010

    Burn, without knowing the sex/gender Anonymous Poster, you hastily ASSUME that Anonymous must be a woman by calling Ano "sister" (simply because Ano hit you right on the mark [Feminists making hell out of teh pore menz' life]). Furthermore, you tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to cover your misogynistic/sexism (I guess you wanted your reader to take "pussy" as "an ineffectual or timid person"). This is analogous to a Black-hating White Supremacist calling somebody (without knowing their ethnicities) "ape" (an ethnic slur targeting Blacks) saying "I'm not racist, I actually meant a clumsy or boorish person."

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  75. Anonymous2/25/2011

    Lovely observation (nuff said) :)
    hurt-needs to go
    pain-needs to go
    stress-needs to go
    stereotypes-needs to go
    discrimination-needs to go
    unity,love and understanding-needs to come!!! <3

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  76. Frankly, your attribution of overriding maleness to this man's trim, spruce, cheerful and (did you notice?) vibrantly color-coordinated pickup truck seems to me a trifle hysterical and in some ways obtuse. This man (Chet, I assume) is specially proud of his immaculate tool box--which I'm willing to bet he keeps as neat inside as out. The skull and cross bones, in addition to being emblematic of Chet's "lawless" character, situated as they are, are a wryly humorous comment on the Confederate flag they ornament. And as to the Confederate flag itself: There are a good many Americans (not all of us macho racists) who view the Confederate cause with honor and sympathy, and wish only that Abraham Lincoln had been assassinated four years earlier. (I confess I don't know what to make of someone who calls himself a "bad ass boy." Is that supposed to be cute?)

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