I can’t be the only one tired of the blustery masculinity surrounding the cult of the beard—almost an extension of the most infantile elements of frat culture. If the 12 days of Christmas or the eight days of Hanukkah seem long enough, the various facial hair-themed months that all coincide in November are intolerable. Events like No Shave November and Movember are some of the more amusing developments in contemporary culture. “I’m sorry, I can’t hear you over how awesome this looks,” I heard one November man in my office say when teased over his stubble. Sometimes irony takes you in a full 360 right back to being embarrassing.

TEN RESPONSES TO THE PHRASE “MAN UP”

1. Fuck you.

2. If you want to question my masculinity, like a schoolyard circle of curses, like a swordfight with lightsaber erections, save your breath. Because contrary to what you may believe, not every problem can be solved by “growing a pair.” You can’t arm-wrestle your way out of chemical depression. The CEO of the company that just laid you off does not care how much you bench. And I promise, there is no lite beer in the universe full-bodied enough to make you love yourself.

3. Man up? Oh that’s that new superhero, right? Mild-mannered supplement salesman Mark Manstrong says the magic words “MAN UP,” and then transforms into THE FIVE O’CLOCK SHADOW, the massively-muscled, deep-voiced, leather-duster-wearing super-man who defends the world from, I don’t know, feelings.

4. Of course. Why fight to remove our chains, when we can simply compare their lengths? Why step outside the box, when the box has these bad-ass flame decals on it? We men are cigarettes: dangerous, and poisonous, and stupid.

5. You ever notice how nobody ever says “woman up?” They just imply it. Because women and the women’s movement figured out a long time ago that being directly ordered around by commercials, magazines and music is dehumanizing. When will men figure that out?

6. The phrase “Man Up” suggests that competence and perseverance are uniquely masculine traits. That women—not to mention any man who doesn’t eat steak, drive a pickup truck, have lots of sex with women—are nothing more than background characters, comic relief, props. More than anything, though, it suggests that to be yourself—whether you, wear skinny jeans, listen to Lady Gaga, rock a little eyeliner, drink some other brand of light beer, or write poetry—will cost you.

7. How many boys have to kill themselves before this country acknowledges the problem? How many women have to be assaulted? How many trans people have to be murdered? We teach boys how to wear the skin of a man, but we also teach them how to raise that skin like a flag and draw blood for it.

8. Boy babies get blue socks. Girl babies get pink socks. What about purple? What about orange, yellow, chartreuse, cerulean, black, tie-dyed, buffalo plaid, rainbow…

9. I want to be free, to express myself. Man up. I want to have meaningful, emotional relationships with my brothers. Man up. I want to be weak sometimes. Man up. I want to be strong in a way that isn’t about physical power or dominance. Man up. I want to talk to my son about something other than sports. Man up. I want to be who I am. Man up.

10. No.

—  a spoken word poem that is way to under appreciated
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"America views us one-dimensionally and, for the most part, it’s in a negative way. […] It vacillates from extreme fear to extreme infatuation."

Buzzfeed Presents, That Is Not Who I Am: Things Black Men Are Tired of Hearing 

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Just watched the 3 parts of this documentary on gay conversion therapy, and it really was interesting to watch. Hearing the choice words that the organisations and counsellors use repetitively throughout this gives such an insight on how they work. Constantly using negative emotions such as anger, sadness and fear along with the negative connotations of surrender to force negative association with non-heterosexual and non-cisgender identities (especially evident in the Journey into Manhood weekend retreat scheme). The same Journey to Manhood scheme shows the use of masculinity and heterosexuality synonymously multiple times just within the first part of this documentary, which, anyone can see, is utterly incorrect usage; the LGBT community is hugely varied and the stereotypes cannot be applied to it in such generality. 

In part 3 of the series, on part in particular really angered me. In the state of California the legislation on conversion therapies is as follows: “865.1 Under no circumstances shall a mental health provider engage in sexual orientation change efforts with a patient under 18 years of age”. One licensed clinician in California responds to this law on treating minors as follows: “We don’t have any law restriction here…There is a law in California, but it doesn’t effect us because (the) law says you cannot try to change sexual orientation. Well we don’t try to change sexual orientation…. If there’s going to be a law that says we cannot try to change, well we cannot try to change, how can we possible change anybody, so it’s a law we don’t have to be concerned about really.”. It’s a disturbing reality, that they use ‘wordsmithing’ as a device to rationalise what they are doing, and it is a perilous situation to be in. For minors who are sent to conversion therapy, without choice, it can be extremely damaging, leading to loss of life and mental health issues. Their ‘wordsmithing’ is allowing this to be a continuing problem.

A snippet of a speech (shown in part 2) given by a LGBT individual describes their experiences of an extreme conversion therapy, almost had me in tears, with what is disguised as therapy, is in all reality, physical and mental abuse.

I could go on and on about this subject but for now I’ll leave it here, there are so many important issues and I’ve just pointed out a few of them which are demonstrated in the documentary/series, which is definitely worth a watch.

part 2    part 3

It’s here! It’s finally here!

The Chronicles of Navigating Disclosure is now available for purchase! You can find a copy at http://www.earlofplaid.com/earl-of-plaid-publishing.html

The collection is available both as a hard copy and Kindle/eBook.

Once again want ya’ll to know that the contributions are going to my attendance to the Black Trans Advocacy Conference where I will be diving into community healing work by presenting a workshop on Debunking the Masculinity Myth: Confronting Physical Fixation, Emotional Degradation, and Mental Stagnation in Masculine of Center Communities.

This workshop has had many heavy bearings within my life and I have seen it seep into the lives of many other transgender people, especially transgender people of color who carry the extreme weight racism and cissexism in combination place on them.

Currently, I’m halfway in raising funds so that I can present this presentation at the Black Transgender Advocacy Conference in Texas from April 26 to May 3rd. Only $475 left to raise by April 1st for hotel stay and registration (as compared to the $875 dollars needed).

The countdown is commencing!

In the meantime, any other donations can go to http://blacktrans.org/index.php?option=com_civicrm&task=civicrm%2Fpcp%2Finfo&reset=1&id=54

Also, any hotel vouchers/points would be super helpful if you have those to share and may not have a donation.

May you all be a part of making this come true. Be Blessed and Thank You for your support.

Asé and Namasté ✊💚

I think my biggest “huh” moment with respect to gender roles is when it was pointed out to me that your typical “geek” is just as hypermasculine as your typical “jock” when you look at it from the right angle.

As male geeks, a great deal of our identity is built on the notion that male geeks are, in some sense, gender-nonconformant, insofar as we’re unwilling or unable to live up to certain physical ideals about what a man “should” be. Indeed, many of us take pride in how putatively unmanly we are.

Viewed from an historical perspective, however, the virtues of the ideal geek are essentially those of the ideal aristocrat: a cultured polymath with expertise in a vast array of subjects; rarefied or eccentric taste in food, clothing, music, etc.; identity politics that revolve around one’s hobbies or pastimes; open disdain for physical labour and those who perform it; a sense of natural entitlement to positions of authority (“you should be flipping my burgers!”); and so forth.

And the thing about that aristocratic ideal? It’s intensely masculine. It may seem more welcoming to women on the surface, but - as recent events will readily illustrate - this is a facade: we pretend to be egalitarian because it suits our refined self-image, but that affectation falls away in a heartbeat when challenged.

Basically, the whole “geeks versus jocks” thing that gets drilled into us by media and the educational system isn’t about degrees of masculinity at all. It’s just two different flavours of the same toxic bullshit: the ideal geek is the alpha-male-as-philosopher-king, as opposed to the ideal jock’s alpha-male-as-warrior-king. It’s still a big dick-measuring contest - we’re just using different rulers.

Oldie but goodie: As Twitter user @MrPooni points out, this is worth a reshare today.

The list of what 9-year-old boys don’t like about being boys:

  • Not being able to be a mother
  • Not supposed to cry
  • Not allowed to be a cheerleader
  • Supposed to do all the work
  • Supposed to like violence
  • Supposed to play football
  • Boys smell bad
  • Having “a automatic bad reputation”
  • "Grow hair everywhere"

Gender norms are the worst. So is growing hair everywhere, I guess. (h/t BuzzFeed)

  • Men:You're so beautiful ;)
  • Women:I know (:
  • What men reply:Ew nevermind you're not pretty anymore
  • What the reply really means:I can't handle it when a woman knows her own worth and isn't an object for me to project my faux validation onto. You're hurting my masculine savior complex and making me uncomfortable with your confidence stop making me realize that my "generous nice guy" opinion is unneeded you're oppressing me :(

A 9-year-old boy’s list captures the problem with “being a man” 

When we talk about the unreasonable expectations of gender roles, we’re normally talking about women. But a 9-year-old boy made a good point: Men face a lot of pressures too.

The boy made a list of all of the things that he doesn’t like about being a guy, and his answers are incredibly spot-on. While it’s originally from 2012, the list went viral on Twitter on Thursday as part of International Men’s Day

Masculinity problems that often go undiscussed | Follow micdotcom

There is nothing wrong with being Feminine

There is nothing wrong with being Masculine.

Femininity is not weakness.

Masculinity is not toxic.

In one survey, women and men were asked what they were most afraid of. Women responded that they were most afraid of being raped and murdered. Men responded that they were most afraid of being laughed at.
—  Michael Kimmel, “Masculinity as Homophobia: Fear, Shame, and Silence, in the Construction of Gender Identity,” Toward a New Psychology of Gender
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16 stunning images shatter the emasculated stereotypes of Asian men

What makes a man handsome? 

Whatever your opinion, few can argue that these metrics are inclusive. The American beauty standard is undeniably a white standard, and people of color are bombarded with words and images that celebrate features they, as a matter of genetics, do not possess.

It’s part of why Idris + Tony, a Brooklyn, NY-based fashion photography duo, embarked on the Persuasian project earlier this year. 

"[Asian] masculinity wasn’t acknowledged," Tony Craig said. "It was stripped away … And the way Asian men are depicted in popular culture, [we’re] never the object of desire … we’re still very much ‘just a friend.’”

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There is only one emotion that patriarchy values when expressed by men; that emotion is anger. Real men get mad. And their mad-ness, no matter how violent or violating, is deemed natural—a positive expression of patriarchal masculinity. Anger is the best hiding place for anybody seeking to conceal pain or anguish of spirit
—  Bell Hooks, The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love p. 7