Reality check.

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Reality check.

Post by SomeSamSeaborn on Tue Feb 03, 2015 12:23 am

This is via Alas, a blog - on March 5-8, the international conference on men and masculinities 2015 will be held in NYC. This is the premilinary agenda. This is a conference organised by Michael Kimmel, so it's likely likely second wave influenced, that's where Kimmel comes from after all, and the line-up includes speakers like Robert Jensen, who once wanted to become gay so he wouldn't hurt women with his sexual appetite. Still, lots of interesting topics, particularly with respect to other cultures. But most topics I think are usually identified with questions of masculinity aren't really discussed there at all. Dating, role performance - the problem of consent (no means no, yes means yes) comes up exactly once on a 34 page document, "dating" appears mostly in the context of "teen dating violence". So either I'm completely off with my perception of what concerns most men in gender discussions or the conference organisers are - or those talking about masculinities in academia tend to talk about something entirely different when they talk about masculinities. Sure, this is a dating site's forum, so these kinds of questions will be overrepresented here. But still - I browsed all 34 pages and I thought - that's not the "masculinity discussion" I see out there. It doesn't even sound like an academically cleansed version thereof. What's your take?

https://files.ctctcdn.com/c2cb7b87401/a5086cf8-6628-486a-a608-efd504247566.pdf

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Re: Reality check.

Post by The Wisp on Tue Feb 03, 2015 12:40 am

Very interesting. Do you know if some or all of these will be recorded and put online?

There were a couple that dealt with friendships between men that I think I would be interested in. As far as dating and sex, I agree that any discussion of that that didn't revolve around sexual assault prevention was missing. Maybe, maybe, it will come up in the men's studies panel, particularly this speaker:

Sexually Repressed? A Critique of Men's Studies
Jonathan Allan

Of course I have no idea which direction this guy is going to go, probably not in the one I would like, but whatever.

It seems to have a diversity of voices, so hopefully something will come of it. I am kinda skeptical of Kimmel, as he has some oddly conservative views for a feminist (he's talked about men needing to "grow up" and settle down, commit to marriage and have kids, etc.).

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Re: Reality check.

Post by Guest on Tue Feb 03, 2015 1:27 am

Hm, some interesting stuff. Although, if they used the word 'engaging' one more time I'd have to print this and burn it.

Gendered Singing: Can males sing female songs?

...I have a feeling this particular presentation would make me angry. Laughing This is 'should we allow them' question being disguised by a 'can'.

Also, I'm not seeing a lot to do with domestic abuse of men. There's one section on Male Trauma, which doesn't feel good enough. In a conference on masculinities, that's very unnerving.

Good to see a lot of multicultural material though. Really good, actually.

I wonder if there will be people from countries other than the US at the presentation on school shootings / mass shootings, because it's primarily an American phenomenon.

As for it not being the masculinities discussion we see here and more often around the internet, I would argue that the topics in this conference are slightly higher concept. Or, at least, more to do with applying higher concepts.

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Re: Reality check.

Post by nearly_takuan on Tue Feb 03, 2015 1:50 am

Seems a safe bet more men have marital problems than dating problems. Wording on a lot of these titles does seem a little... more like what I'd expect from a women's-problems-focused group than a "conference on masculinity" or whatever, though; I'll give you that.

Men's health is a pretty big deal, though, both mentally and physically. The "you're supposed to be fit, and look fit, and it's all supposed to be effortless" tropes definitely have some impact here. I'd argue it's the effortless part that makes it worst—so many people are uncomfortable in their own bodies, yet also too embarrassed to acknowledge that or do anything about it. Got to have some kind of excuse for it, like The Wife or The Girlfriend being concerned, or some kind of sport or whatever. You can't actually like salad; you're some kind of sissy or weirdo. (I've gone to pains to get myself planted firmly in the latter camp, for other reasons besides.)

Race/culture problems? Pressure to use drugs? (Especially in the high-achieving high-paying fields we're supposed to be going into and competing for!) Homophobia? Depression? Suicide? Big issues. Definitely relevant to men/masculinity/gender concerns. Way bigger than dating problems. Related, too.

Several of these titles seem to at least hint at discussions re: the problem with having to constantly wear a stiff upper lip and never show weakness (whether only to specific groups or to literally everyone).

Also have to wonder what good a panel or two on dating/romance/whatever would really do. Same with any sympathetic discussions on asexuality or Asian masculinity (which I see none of here); the only people who "get it" are already trying to cope with it, and to everyone else it just looks like a pity-party, circle-jerk, dead-horse, whiny subject. So why have a panel?
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Re: Reality check.

Post by The Wisp on Tue Feb 03, 2015 2:05 am

nearly_takuan wrote:Also have to wonder what good a panel or two on dating/romance/whatever would really do. Same with any sympathetic discussions on asexuality or Asian masculinity (which I see none of here); the only people who "get it" are already trying to cope with it, and to everyone else it just looks like a pity-party, circle-jerk, dead-horse, whiny subject. So why have a panel?

I'm not sure I have an answer to that. However, it does feel like a weird omission, IMO, given that they seem to be billing themselves as THE men's conference. After all, a comprehensive conference on women's issues probably would have a panel or two on dating and sex that didn't have to do with rape or abuse.
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Re: Reality check.

Post by nearly_takuan on Tue Feb 03, 2015 3:29 am

The Wisp wrote:
nearly_takuan wrote:Also have to wonder what good a panel or two on dating/romance/whatever would really do. Same with any sympathetic discussions on asexuality or Asian masculinity (which I see none of here); the only people who "get it" are already trying to cope with it, and to everyone else it just looks like a pity-party, circle-jerk, dead-horse, whiny subject. So why have a panel?

I'm not sure I have an answer to that. However, it does feel like a weird omission, IMO, given that they seem to be billing themselves as THE men's conference. After all, a comprehensive conference on women's issues probably would have a panel or two on dating and sex that didn't have to do with rape or abuse.

Er...so what? Only way a panel like that accomplishes anything at a women's conference is if single dudes attend and are like "hey girrrrrl, just wanted to let you know I'm totally supportive of your basic human rights", which...I don't mean any kind of extra spin on it but for whatever reason I just don't see that happening with flipped genders. It's not even what I would call a double standard on the part of organizers or participants because it is different people making different decisions in each case. (I guess I also just think it's not something that's likely to do any real good for "us", so it's not really worth coveting.)

Not saying there isn't any double standard either, of course. A women's-issues conference devoting any panel time at all, let alone back-to-back hours, discussing violence by women against men and what women can do about it, somehow sounds more satirical than realistically possible....
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Re: Reality check.

Post by Mel on Tue Feb 03, 2015 10:30 am

The Wisp wrote:I'm not sure I have an answer to that. However, it does feel like a weird omission, IMO, given that they seem to be billing themselves as THE men's conference. After all, a comprehensive conference on women's issues probably would have a panel or two on dating and sex that didn't have to do with rape or abuse.

If you're curious to compare with what a major conference on women's issues would address, I did a quick poke around and this was the most obvious parallel I could find: http://now.org/about/conference/past-conferences/2014-national-now-conference/

At that one, at least, there are no general panels on dating and sex. Which doesn't actually surprise me. You have to remember that the point of a conference like this is for people who are actively working to influence things on a policy level to find out what's going on in various areas of activism, figure out what's working and what isn't, and develop new strategies. General dating and sex advice are something that people tend to engage (sorry!) with on a more personal level, not in terms of policy (outside of the issues like violence, divorce, etc.).
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Re: Reality check.

Post by SomeSamSeaborn on Tue Feb 03, 2015 11:48 am

Mel wrote:Which doesn't actually surprise me. You have to remember that the point of a conference like this is for people who are actively working to influence things on a policy level to find out what's going on in various areas of activism, figure out what's working and what isn't, and develop new strategies. General dating and sex advice are something that people tend to engage (sorry!) with on a more personal level, not in terms of policy (outside of the issues like violence, divorce, etc.).

So you'd say that the things that seem most relevant to men when looking at self help bookshelves or perusing the web aren't of interest to an academic conference? Even though something like PUA seems like the most culturally apparent externalisation of and discussion about "masculinity" in the last 10-15 years? Possible. Would kind of confirm the ivory tower aspect, though, in my opinion.

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Re: Reality check.

Post by reboot on Tue Feb 03, 2015 12:12 pm

Mel wrote:
The Wisp wrote:I'm not sure I have an answer to that. However, it does feel like a weird omission, IMO, given that they seem to be billing themselves as THE men's conference. After all, a comprehensive conference on women's issues probably would have a panel or two on dating and sex that didn't have to do with rape or abuse.

If you're curious to compare with what a major conference on women's issues would address, I did a quick poke around and this was the most obvious parallel I could find: http://now.org/about/conference/past-conferences/2014-national-now-conference/

At that one, at least, there are no general panels on dating and sex. Which doesn't actually surprise me. You have to remember that the point of a conference like this is for people who are actively working to influence things on a policy level to find out what's going on in various areas of activism, figure out what's working and what isn't, and develop new strategies. General dating and sex advice are something that people tend to engage (sorry!) with on a more personal level, not in terms of policy (outside of the issues like violence, divorce, etc.).

Also, at least in my experience*, dating and sex generally do not make the cut as important topics for a policy level conference because there are too many topics that are addressing structural/institutional inequality and limited agenda space. Sure, dating and sex are important to individuals, but as a big women's issue not so much when compared to everything else, like maternity leave, discrimination, sexual exploitation of immigrant women workers, child care, lack of family planning services, etc. It matters, but less than other issues.

*Note: my experience with women's conferences is more with ones like this: http://www.womendeliver.org/conferences/2013-conference/agenda/plenary-sessions-in-detail/
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Re: Reality check.

Post by Mel on Tue Feb 03, 2015 12:30 pm

SomeSamSeaborn wrote:So you'd say that the things that seem most relevant to men when looking at self help bookshelves or perusing the web aren't of interest to an academic conference? Even though something like PUA seems like the most culturally apparent externalisation of and discussion about "masculinity" in the last 10-15 years? Possible. Would kind of confirm the ivory tower aspect, though, in my opinion.

I should first state I've never been to a conference on gender studies and so don't have firsthand knowledge of what goes into planning them. But from my general understanding of conferences and activism, I'd say it's not so much that those subjects aren't "of interest" as they aren't seen as having as broad a reach (culturally, racially, etc.) and immediate impact on quality of life (compared to, say, access to health care, violence, etc.), and so it makes sense for people to focus on the subjects with broader and more immediate impact given limited time and resources--basically, what reboot is saying above.

I'd also have to say that if you think PUA is the more culturally apparently externalization of any discussion about "masculinity" in the last 10-15 years, you're showing the bias in your reading--i.e., skewing toward dating and sex advice. I was barely even aware of PUA culture until I started reading blogs like DNL's, but I saw plenty of other discussions around "masculinity" that didn't involve it (which suggests those discussions are farther reaching, since they reached me even though I wasn't looking for them).

I'd also venture to say that suggesting that dating and sex should be primary concerns of gender activists makes you sound overly privileged, not the conference organizers. Ask the average black guy what his primary concern in day to day life as a man is, and I'm pretty sure it's not "how can I navigate issues of consent and masculinity in dating," just as one really obvious example. NT did a good job above of laying out the importance of many of the topics the conference does cover. You are lucky that dating concerns are the most pressing issue you face as a man. Having the time and energy to read self help books (and the money to buy them), or to hang out online getting into extended debates, is a luxury, you know.
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Re: Reality check.

Post by SomeSamSeaborn on Tue Feb 03, 2015 12:48 pm

Mel wrote:I'd also have to say that if you think PUA is the more culturally apparently externalization of any discussion about "masculinity" in the last 10-15 years, you're showing the bias in your reading--i.e., skewing toward dating and sex advice.

Oh, I'm aware of *my* bias. That's why I wondered if my perception is so completely off ("reality check").

Mel wrote:I was barely even aware of PUA culture until I started reading blogs like DNL's, but I saw plenty of other discussions around "masculinity" that didn't involve it (which suggests those discussions are farther reaching, since they reached me even though I wasn't looking for them).

Interesting. Which other discussions about masculinity did you come accross? (except for male sexual violence, maybe)

Mel wrote:I'd also venture to say that suggesting that dating and sex should be primary concerns of gender activists makes you sound overly privileged, not the conference organizers.

I'm not saying it should be their primary concern, I'm just baffled it's not there in 34 pages outlining discussions around the topic of masculinity (particularly: motivating guys for gender equality). Somehow, for me, that would be a very important aspect thereof.

Mel wrote:Ask the average black guy what his primary concern in day to day life as a man is, and I'm pretty sure it's not "how can I navigate issues of consent and masculinity in dating," just as one really obvious example.

Sure. To a degree, you think something like Ferguson has an important "masculinity" aspect beyond the racism aspect?

Mel wrote:NT did a good job above of laying out the importance of many of the topics the conference does cover. You are lucky that dating concerns are the most pressing issue you face as a man.

I'm not denying my privilege. Yet what NT mentioned -

nearly_takuan wrote:Several of these titles seem to at least hint at discussions re: the problem with having to constantly wear a stiff upper lip and never show weakness (whether only to specific groups or to literally everyone).

in my opinion, a lot of the issues are at least partly rooted in dating/attraction/sexual/gender dynamics, so I'm surprised that aspect seems to be disregarded in 34 pages of confernce talks.

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Re: Reality check.

Post by The Wisp on Tue Feb 03, 2015 1:05 pm

They do have a panel on male friendship, though, which has no immediate policy solutions either.
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Re: Reality check.

Post by Mel on Tue Feb 03, 2015 1:14 pm

SomeSamSeaborn wrote:Oh, I'm aware of *my* bias. That's why I wondered if my perception is so completely off ("reality check").

Okay, well, people are telling you that yes, they feel your perception is off, and you don't seem to be accepting it, you seem to be arguing that your perception is actually correct.

SomeSamSeaborn wrote:Interesting. Which other discussions about masculinity did you come accross? (except for male sexual violence, maybe)

Male sexual violence was one, but also male violence in general (around athletics culture, for example, and intersecting with race, gang violence, that sort of thing), fatherhood, mental health (e.g., pressures to succeed leading to depression, suicide, etc.), toxic competitiveness in certain industries like finance, just to name a few off the top of my head. And those are mainly still straight white male issues, because being straight and white that's the majority of what I tend to be exposed to if I don't purposefully dig deeper.

SomeSamSeaborn wrote:
Mel wrote:I'd also venture to say that suggesting that dating and sex should be primary concerns of gender activists makes you sound overly privileged, not the conference organizers.

I'm not saying it should be their primary concern, I'm just baffled it's not there in 34 pages outlining discussions around the topic of masculinity (particularly: motivating guys for gender equality). Somehow, for me, that would be a very important aspect thereof.

I'm not really seeing much semantic difference between "primary concerns" (note: I didn't say the primary concern) and "very important aspects of the topic" so I stand by my initial point.

Mel wrote:Sure. To a degree, you think something like Ferguson has an important "masculinity" aspect beyond the racism aspect?

I can't believe you're even asking me this. Have you look at any of the dialogue around Ferguson and related incidents at all? Black parents talking about how fearful they are specifically for their sons? Why do you think it's mainly men this particular type of racism is directed at? Presumably because men in general are assumed to be more aggressive and violent as part of the "masculine" identity, and this just becomes additionally toxic in combination with racial bias.

I don't think I can keep discussing this with you if you're seriously going to suggest that women's dating expectations should be a totally obvious and important aspect of discussions of masculinity while acting oblivious to the gendered aspects of police hostility.

SomeSamSeaborn wrote:
I'm not denying my privilege. Yet what NT mentioned -

nearly_takuan wrote:Several of these titles seem to at least hint at discussions re: the problem with having to constantly wear a stiff upper lip and never show weakness (whether only to specific groups or to literally everyone).

in my opinion, a lot of the issues are at least partly rooted in dating/attraction/sexual/gender dynamics, so I'm surprised that aspect seems to be disregarded in 34 pages of confernce talks.

It's 34 pages of conference talks where the subjects are only given a brief sentence (or partial sentence) description. Any of the topics that could lead into discussions on vulnerability may very well include talk about dating/attraction/sexual/gender dynamics. But the whole "stiff upper lip" and not showing weakness issue is tied up in a lot of other factors as well, so I'm not sure it would make sense for the dating aspect be specifically highlighted.

I'd also note, as a general observation, that the conference as far as I can tell isn't all about men working on men's issues, it's about men working on "gender equality," which includes areas where men are privileged over women and can help to balance things to be more fair to women. I'd assume that's why so many of the speakers are women and some of the topics focus on men addressing issues where women are primarily harmed. A conference more specifically about "issues facing men" might tackle some of the topics you all feel are missing.
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Re: Reality check.

Post by kleenestar on Tue Feb 03, 2015 1:21 pm

Short answer: yes, your perception is off. You are an outlier in your situation, beliefs, attitude, and behavior. There are far more problems facing men than the ones you spend your time obsessing about.

Longer answer:
- There are indeed panels about dating, at least some of which I expect would address issues of dating roles as part of the research agenda. You just have to know how to read a paper title, which I do. But given limited space in the conference, I'm not surprised that they didn't make room for a panel that addresses your specific issues.
- There are many panels that address role performance, e.g. "Doing Drugs, Doing Masculinity." You just aren't attending to them because they're not talking about the very narrow set of roles that concern you personally.
- There are panels that address consent besides the one that uses the word, e.g. "Engaging Boys and Young Men in Gender-based Violence Prevention." But my sense is that you want panels talking about your philosophical problems with the idea of consent. Not only are you a huge outlier on this front, to be totally blunt, if there were to be a panel about that it would be framing your beliefs as a toxic problem for men, not in trying to solve the "problem" you have invented.
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Re: Reality check.

Post by SomeSamSeaborn on Tue Feb 03, 2015 1:37 pm

Mel wrote:I don't think I can keep discussing this with you if you're seriously going to suggest that women's dating expectations should be a totally obvious and important aspect of discussions of masculinity while acting oblivious to the gendered aspects of police hostility.

Need to run, so just briefly for now - I think the violence is definitely *gendered*, that's rather obvious, but I'm not sure to which extent "masculinity" factors into that, I don't think those are interchangable terms in this respect. Maybe that's a definitional question wrt to "masculinity".

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Re: Reality check.

Post by Enail on Tue Feb 03, 2015 1:46 pm

For another data point if anyone's interested, the dominant topics around masculinity that I'd seen discussed prior to DNL were: fatherhood in various contexts, mental health, the effects of absentee fathers on their sons, boys' needs in education, representations of Asian masculinity (I might be an outlier on this one, my field in school touched on this), queer masculinity and how homophobia affects straight men (maybe another outlier one, but I saw it discussed in places I would have encountered even if I was straight), restrictive or toxic gender roles, black men & incarceration/police violence.
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Re: Reality check.

Post by The Wisp on Tue Feb 03, 2015 3:21 pm

Enail wrote:For another data point if anyone's interested, the dominant topics around masculinity that I'd seen discussed prior to DNL were: fatherhood in various contexts, mental health, the effects of absentee fathers on their sons, boys' needs in education, representations of Asian masculinity (I might be an outlier on this one, my field in school touched on this), queer masculinity and how homophobia affects straight men (maybe another outlier one, but I saw it discussed in places I would have encountered even if I was straight), restrictive or toxic gender roles, black men & incarceration/police violence.

All are very important. I don't begrudge this conference for focusing on that.

Still, it is a bit disappointing. I've done multiple searches for quality discussions/studies of young het male sexuality and dating from the young het male point of view. When I was in a women's sexuality class a year ago and doing research on legitimate academic databases, I decided to search for studies on male sexuality (that weren't about rape/sexual assault) out of curiosity and found studies on three topics: medical issues (ED, premature ejaculation), AIDS in the gay male community, and sex and gender roles in the marriages of middle-aged men. I found one article that was roughly what I was looking for, and it was a small exploratory paper that interviewed like 30 guys. Interesting but not high quality.

I've also tried, through the power of Google, to find studies/blogs/panels on straight male sexuality and dating from the straight male point of view, and they don't really exist aside from DNL and some PUA/MRA stuff.

Contrast that with studies and blogs on women's perspectives and issues, which are everywhere.
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Re: Reality check.

Post by SomeSamSeaborn on Tue Feb 03, 2015 3:24 pm

Mel wrote:Okay, well, people are telling you that yes, they feel your perception is off, and you don't seem to be accepting it, you seem to be arguing that your perception is actually correct.

Actually, no. I'd say the things I'm likely mentally overrepresenting apparently aren't considered to be issues at all by others. I do take issue with the latter perception, not with my being biased. Others are biased, too.

Mel wrote:Male sexual violence was one, but also male violence in general (around athletics culture, for example, and intersecting with race, gang violence, that sort of thing), fatherhood, mental health (e.g., pressures to succeed leading to depression, suicide, etc.), toxic competitiveness in certain industries like finance, just to name a few off the top of my head. And those are mainly still straight white male issues, because being straight and white that's the majority of what I tend to be exposed to if I don't purposefully dig deeper.

Fair, again, I think that things like "toxic competitveness" aren't only a matter of homosocial socialisation, but also a matter of sexual/attraction dynamics. So I'm thinking I'm seeing these issues as different symptoms of a common root dynamic.

Mel wrote:Presumably because men in general are assumed to be more aggressive and violent as part of the "masculine" identity, and this just becomes additionally toxic in combination with racial bias.

Men are statistically more aggressive and violent. It's just that "masculinity" is likely equally present in both police and victims, so I'm not sure about the relative influence here. Gendered, of course, but "masculinity"?

Mel wrote:It's 34 pages of conference talks where the subjects are only given a brief sentence (or partial sentence) description. Any of the topics that could lead into discussions on vulnerability may very well include talk about dating/attraction/sexual/gender dynamics. But the whole "stiff upper lip" and not showing weakness issue is tied up in a lot of other factors as well, so I'm not sure it would make sense for the dating aspect be specifically highlighted.

But vulnerability also doesn't show up as term. Which session did you refer to? Well, if you assume that sexual dynamics are a part of the root cause for gendered behaviour, then it would. And I don't see how anyone involved in gender research could reasonably deny that?

Mel wrote:I'd also note, as a general observation, that the conference as far as I can tell isn't all about men working on men's issues, it's about men working on "gender equality," which includes areas where men are privileged over women and can help to balance things to be more fair to women. I'd assume that's why so many of the speakers are women and some of the topics focus on men addressing issues where women are primarily harmed. A conference more specifically about "issues facing men" might tackle some of the topics you all feel are missing.

Fair. But even so, it seems to me that one of the most important reasons for men doing harm to women is those issues facing men, which, in turn, would make it odd to not address them in that context. Again, probably a matter of incompatible assumptions about gender/gendered behavior in general.

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Re: Reality check.

Post by kleenestar on Tue Feb 03, 2015 3:52 pm

Wisp, I've absolutely seen research about young men and relationships - I wonder whether you were looking in the wrong fields or under the wrong keywords? Sadly new baby means I can't offer to hunt down papers for you, but I've read at least a few and this isn't even my primary area.
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Re: Reality check.

Post by reboot on Tue Feb 03, 2015 4:26 pm

kleenestar wrote:Wisp, I've absolutely seen research about young men and relationships - I wonder whether you were looking in the wrong fields or under the wrong keywords? Sadly new baby means I can't offer to hunt down papers for you, but I've read at least a few and this isn't even my primary area.

I did a little Google Scholar fu and found these
http://m.hsb.sagepub.com/content/51/2/168.abstract
http://m.jmm.sagepub.com/content/10/2/137.short
http://m.qrj.sagepub.com/content/5/1/35.short

I cannot speak to quality because I do not have the time to research, but articles on these topics most definitely exist

EDIT: actually there is a whole journal (once again no quality comment) Men and Masculinities
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Re: Reality check.

Post by Mel on Tue Feb 03, 2015 6:07 pm

Sam,

It sounds to me like the problem is you're using a non-standard definition of "masculinity." It's not really fair to use a non-standard definition and then tell other people they're wrong for going by the standard one. The generally accepted definition (for this I'm sourcing wikipedia, but it lines up with dictionaries and other sources) "a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles generally associated with boys and men."

Notice there's nothing there about "by women" or "in relation to women." Notice there's nothing there about "that have no basis whatsoever in reality."

So I'm not sure why you'd suggest that "masculinity" has nothing to do with police officers being much more likely to kill unarmed black men in particular. So what if men are statistically more aggressive and violent? That doesn't mean seeing aggression and violence as male characteristics isn't part of our societal view of masculinity. So what if both the officers and the victims are male? People of the same gender can absolutely reinforce expectations of masculine or feminine behavior. Women who bully other women regarding their clothing, sexual behavior, etc. are still acting on expectations of feminine behavior even though they're also women.

I find it particularly odd that you're taking this line of argument because you've repeatedly talked about how horrible it is that (you feel) sexual violence is seen as such a major part of masculinity. Well, guess what? Men are statistically more likely to be sexually violent than women. Frankly, it's horribly offensive to me to have seen you spend so much time and digital ink rallying against women speaking up against sexual harassment and violence, and now brushing off police murdering men of color as irrelevant to men as a general group. I have listened to men and women of color talk about the issue. Those I've heard very much see it as an issue of how men are perceived, not just of race. Maybe you should spent a little time finding out what the hell you're talking about before you start sweeping immense problems under the rug as being none of your concern as a fellow man.

I'm sure you will say you didn't intend it that way or some such. But intent is not magic. You are coming across as incredibly dismissive of the problems of huge numbers of other men when they don't align with your particular mental paradigm. You know, kind of like you're accusing other people of dismissing your problem, which you seem to think is quite wrong? If you don't want to come across that way, you should probably give a little more thought to way you're saying and the words you're using.


Wisp,

I'm not sure how recently you did this searching, but I just googled "dating advice for men" (without the quotation marks) and in the top ten results found:

http://ca.askmen.com/dating/dating_advice/
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/news/dating-advice-for-men/

As well as dating advice sections from Men's Fitness, Esquire, and GQ magazines (which I doubt are full out PUA/MRA, but I'd guess are probably questionable... along the lines of a lot of the women's dating advice--Cosmo etc.--out there).

Kleenestar and reboot have spoken to the academic side.


Everyone,

I think it's worth noting that this entire discussion revolves around a conference Sam pointed to, with his usual agenda of proving that people don't care enough about his particular concerns about men's sexuality. Funny thing: I did another google search for "conference masculinity" and you may be pleased to know that there seem to be plenty of these going on around the world, and plenty of the other ones do consider the topics that may not be represented by this one particular one. For instance (again, from the first couple pages of results--no real digging required):

https://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=219689 (mentions "desire and sexuality" as one of the main topics of discussion)
http://icsmsymposium.org/ (program included talks such as "Sexuality, Conservatism, and the Masculine Identity" and "Men, sexuality, and space", and one that looks like a critical examination of "engaging men and boys" in the issue of violence against women)
http://www.nordkalender.org/nikk_en/arrangement.html?id=8704&back=index.html (among suggested workshops are "women's views on masculinity", which seems likely to consider the impact of women's expectations on men's behavior)

There were also a couple upcoming ones that didn't have anything about the programs listed yet.

So… let's not assume this one instance is representative of how men's issues are tackled across the board? (To the extent that we even know how much sexual relations etc. will end up being discussed in any of the given topics for that instance.)
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Re: Reality check.

Post by SomeSamSeaborn on Tue Feb 03, 2015 7:50 pm

Mel wrote:
Sam, It sounds to me like the problem is you're using a non-standard definition of "masculinity." It's not really fair to use a non-standard definition and then tell other people they're wrong for going by the standard one. The generally accepted definition (for this I'm sourcing wikipedia, but it lines up with dictionaries and other sources) "a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles generally associated with boys and men."

I think that's a fair definition. I wouldn't say I'm using another one.

Mel wrote:Notice there's nothing there about "by women" or "in relation to women." Notice there's nothing there about "that have no basis whatsoever in reality."

Defining something as "generally associated with boys and men" only makes sense in relation to something that comprises things "not generally associated with boys and men", that's simple set theory. Note that "not masculinity" doesn't mean "femininity")

"So I'm not sure why you'd suggest that "masculinity" has nothing to do with police officers being much more likely to kill unarmed black men in particular."

I'd say the fact that more men than women get killed in violent crimes is a matter of masculinity. As for the question at hand, I think a two-pronged approach is helpful -  assuming that the officer would not have shot a white teenager in the situation and thus that the victim's race was the decisive variable that made the officer kill him, I think the question with respect to the effect of masculinity would be to see if there is c.p. a significant difference in the performance of masculinity between black and white teenagers from the same soco-eonomic background as the victim. It's certainly possible, I just think this was racism pure and simple.

Mel wrote:So what if men are statistically more aggressive and violent? That doesn't mean seeing aggression and violence as male characteristics isn't part of our societal view of masculinity.

No, that's why, of course.

Mel wrote:So what if both the officers and the victims are male? People of the same gender can absolutely reinforce expectations of masculine or feminine behavior. Women who bully other women regarding their clothing, sexual behavior, etc. are still acting on expectations of feminine behavior even though they're also women.

Sure, but here the question is, I think, whether Michael Brown was killed because he was a man, or because he was a black man.

Mel wrote:I find it particularly odd that you're taking this line of argument because you've repeatedly talked about how horrible it is that (you feel) sexual violence is seen as such a major part of masculinity. Well, guess what? Men are statistically more likely to be sexually violent than women. Frankly, it's horribly offensive to me to have seen you spend so much time and digital ink rallying against women speaking up against sexual harassment and violence, and now brushing off police murdering men of color as irrelevant to men as a general group.

Who says it's irrelevant to men? It's very relevant, and of course it's gendered - because women aren't considered to be as dangerous - but I just don't think I, as a white man, would have been shot in a similar situation, which makes this a matter of racism and makes me wonder about the relevance of masculinity (a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles generally associated with boys and men) as explanatory variable for the shooting *in this case*.

Mel wrote:You know, kind of like you're accusing other people of dismissing your problem, which you seem to think is quite wrong? If you don't want to come across that way, you should probably give a little more thought to way you're saying and the words you're using.

I'm trying to express things as clearly as I can.

Mel wrote:I think it's worth noting that this entire discussion revolves around a conference Sam pointed to, with his usual agenda of proving that people don't care enough about his particular concerns about men's sexuality.  So… let's not assume this one instance is representative of how men's issues are tackled across the board? (To the extent that we even know how much sexual relations etc. will end up being discussed in any of the given topics for that instance.)

I do think people don't care enough about the problem I bring up, yes. Why else would I bring it up? But I am open minded enough to be aware that I am as subjective as everyone elses. I'm glad that these topics are apparently given space about at other academic conferences. I still find it odd that they're only potentially and if that only tangentially touched at a conference called "the international conference on men and masculinities 2015" when there's 34 pages full of talks.

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Re: Reality check.

Post by kleenestar on Tue Feb 03, 2015 7:56 pm

Oh, sweet fucking Christ, did you really just say that crimes committed against black men are issues of racism and not gender? Black men are still men, and the way their blackness affects them interacts with their gender.

As for your point about "the international conference on men and masculinities 2015," you are a) showing that you do not understand either the academic or the nonprofit world and b) reinforcing my impression that your perceptions are severely distorted. The world does not revolve around you and your concerns, despite how much you seem to think it does.
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Re: Reality check.

Post by reboot on Tue Feb 03, 2015 8:02 pm

SomeSamSeaborn wrote:.....

Mel wrote:I think it's worth noting that this entire discussion revolves around a conference Sam pointed to, with his usual agenda of proving that people don't care enough about his particular concerns about men's sexuality.  So… let's not assume this one instance is representative of how men's issues are tackled across the board? (To the extent that we even know how much sexual relations etc. will end up being discussed in any of the given topics for that instance.)

I do think people don't care enough about the problem I bring up, yes. Why else would I bring it up? But I am open minded enough to be aware that I am as subjective as everyone elses. I'm glad that these topics are apparently given space about at other academic conferences. I still find it odd that they're only potentially and if that only tangentially touched at a conference called "the international conference on men and masculinities 2015" when there's 34 pages full of talks.

My guess is the conference organizers wanted to have the conference focus on other issues because sex and dating swamp so many discussions about masculinity. And, with 34 pages of talks (and knowing they probably rejected at least one talk for every one they accepted, as always happens with conferences) it looks like they were not hurting for other subjects.

Not every topic can be covered at every conference, so you often need to pick and choose. They choose to focus on other equally important (if not more important in their minds) topics.
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Re: Reality check.

Post by The Wisp on Tue Feb 03, 2015 8:06 pm

kleenestar wrote:Wisp, I've absolutely seen research about young men and relationships - I wonder whether you were looking in the wrong fields or under the wrong keywords? Sadly new baby means I can't offer to hunt down papers for you, but I've read at least a few and this isn't even my primary area.

I may be bad at using search engines in such a precise way. I don't have much experience doing research...

mel wrote:I'm not sure how recently you did this searching, but I just googled "dating advice for men" (without the quotation marks) and in the top ten results found:

http://ca.askmen.com/dating/dating_advice/
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/news/dating-advice-for-men/

As well as dating advice sections from Men's Fitness, Esquire, and GQ magazines (which I doubt are full out PUA/MRA, but I'd guess are probably questionable... along the lines of a lot of the women's dating advice--Cosmo etc.--out there).

Well I guess I meant high quality, in-depth, and more expressive and confessional rather than advice-based.

reboot wrote:
I did a little Google Scholar fu and found these
http://m.hsb.sagepub.com/content/51/2/168.abstract
http://m.jmm.sagepub.com/content/10/2/137.short
http://m.qrj.sagepub.com/content/5/1/35.short

I cannot speak to quality because I do not have the time to research, but articles on these topics most definitely exist

EDIT: actually there is a whole journal (once again no quality comment) Men and Masculinities

Those look promising (if only I could access them!). Maybe, then, my failure to find them is a mix of me not being good at finding them and them not being well publicized like ones on women are.

Also, though, in briefly trying again to find stuff on the topic, I think part of it too is that maybe I was partially and subconsciously looking for stuff about guys like me and didn't find any, presumably because I'm pretty out of the ordinary, and instead found that the guys being studied weren't like me at all, and thus was disappointed.


Last edited by The Wisp on Tue Feb 03, 2015 8:18 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Reality check.

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