This is an opportunity to challenge beliefs that you carry which may be your parents or those of some group. It's a chance to challenge your own free thought process. Those beliefs, both conscious and unconscious, shape our relationships. We often pick up these beliefs from our parents, some group, or the general culture, and never examine them. And often these beliefs warp our relationships and prevent us from owning our truth. This piece points out beliefs that hold us back from healthy relationships and fulfilling lives.

For Starters
Another 'Smiling Man' Bites the Dust
Are You Man Enough to Ask for Help?
As in Sports So in Life
Chore Wars
A Different Perspective on the Movie Sideways
Fathers & Teen-Age Daughters Rite-of-Passage
Fox TV Continues to Promote Domestic Violence
"Friends" Supports Adult Female Teachers Seducing Their High School Students
Homophobia
How do you know when "Yes" means "Yes"?
In-Dependence
It's Not Time for Relationship Work
I Wish I Knew Now What I Knew Then
Magazines Stink
Make the Political Personal
Mascots & Racism
The Mask of Masculinity
Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, but we have to live on Earth
"Men have five fewer years to enjoy life versus women. That's good news."
Men Make the Best Fathers
Men’s Endangered Health
No Name-Calling Week - January 21-25, 2008
Ritual Abuse of Boys
"Roseann" Supports Women's Violence against Men and Children
Special Rights for Women
There Are No Criminals - Just A Lot of Lost Souls
A Twisted View of Hatred
Viagra news coverage concerning discrimination in insurance payments.
Violence is a Social Disease
We Are Different
What's Happening to Men's Work?
When Daughters Come Second
A World Without Passion Will Die

For Starters


For starters, I believe that women and men are each other's natural allies. We are inherently eager to be in close, warm, loving contact with each other, regardless of sexual orientation. Men and women are not natural enemies. We need to listen to each others' stories of victory and struggle to eliminate the rigid rolls into which we have been locked, taking responsibility for our own lives and moving forward.


We Are Different


As women and men, even as men and men, we are different. No two bodies, minds, thoughts, or people are the same. Too many similarities usually represents someone without a mind of their own.

Men’s Endangered Health


National Men's Health Week is June 12-18. Many people think men don't have any issues beyond work and family. However, it is estimated that over a million men will die this year. It is also felt that the majority of those deaths are preventable.

In the 1920s, males and females lived to be roughly the same age. Today, females in the U.S. live 5.2 years longer than men, on average (HCHS, 4/06 for 2004). Male mortality is higher than female mortality in every age group. The average longevity for women is 80.4 for females and 75.2 for males. The disparity is even worse for men of color. Longevity is 66.1 years for Native American men, 67.6 years for African-American men, and 69.6 for Latino men.

Men have higher death rates than women for each of the top 10 causes of death in the U.S. Men are 100% more likely to die of heart disease; 40% more likely to die of cancer (by age 75, 100% more likely to die of cancer). Men lead women in every category of cancer (e.g., lung, throat, mouth, urinary) except breast. Men are 450% more likely than women to die of HIV-related illnesses. Men are more likely than women to die of stroke, pulmonary disease, accidents, pneumonia, diabetes, and cirrhosis of the liver.

An estimated 6 million men experience depression annually in the U.S. About 9% of men report depression at some point in their lives.

Although men are half as likely as women to be diagnosed with depression, men’s rate of completed suicide is 400% higher than for women (although women are twice as likely to attempt a suicide). Men ages 20-24 are six times more likely than women that age to take their own lives. Suicide is 10 times higher among elderly males than females.

Men are three times more likely to be the victim of a homicide. Homicide is the leading cause of death among African-American males ages 15-24. Black men have a 1 in 30 chance of dying of homicide, compared to 1 in 179 for white men, 1 in 132 for black women, and 1 in 495 for white women.

Ninety-four times out of 100, a person killed on the job will be a man. Ninety-eight percent of all employees in the 10 most dangerous professions are men.

Men die in auto accidents twice as often as women. They are three times more likely to die in an accident in which they are intoxicated. They drown four times as often as women – eight times as often in ages 14-34. Males account for 82% of spinal cord injuries. They are less likely than women to use safety belts, helmets, or sunscreen, and more likely to carry weapons, drive dangerously, and participate in dangerous activities and sports.

About 80% of substance abuse addicts are men, and 9 out of 10 who are arrested for alcohol or substance abuse are men.

An estimated two-thirds of all alcoholics are men and more than 8 in 10 of those who die from alcohol-related liver disease are men.

Use of tobacco is strongly related to mortality rate, with the most common results of extended use being bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, and cancers of the respiratory system, mouth, and throat. Although the sex difference in smoking is shrinking (about 26% of men and 22% of women in the U.S.), men’s smoking habits continue to be more dangerous than women’s, including number of cigarettes smoked daily, inhaling deeply, and using high tar or nicotine products and non-filtered cigarettes. Smokeless tobacco, in addition, is used almost exclusively by males, with the average age of first use being age nine.

Men are half as likely as women to see a doctor – they are less knowledgeable in general about health and symptoms of specific diseases, less responsive to health care information, and less likely to utilize the health care system. In one study, in a 15 minute conversation with a medical doctor, the average number of questions a woman asked her doctor was six, whereas men averaged near to zero questions.

Men are more likely than women to have no medical insurance coverage.

Many men take better care of their car. And, there are things they can start doing now to help them live a healthier life for their family, children, grand children and community. Don't be the one to wait 'til it's broke to start doing some preventative maintenance on your life.

In-Dependence


How's your Independence Day going? Are you independent or in-dependence? After a few weeks or months, most baby animals are ready for independence. Humans spend nearly a quarter of their lives just getting ready. If we're lucky, our families help us to grow straight, so we can stand alone. Growing up means learning to make decisions that are right for us, in tune with the larger design of our life as it is woven into the larger pattern. We'll always want other people for companionship, love and cooperative work, but by the time we're ready to choose how we want to live we should be able to stand by ourselves. Even when our families aren't able to give us the best start in life, we have the power to remake choices, rechoose activities and companions that will grow along with us.

Our human parents may be precious loved ones or they may be strangers; the aim of our search for self-knowledge is the power to parent ourselves. We need steady nurturing all our lives, and no other person can supply it. I've enjoyed walking on this journey with you thus far. Here's to even greater independence for us all. Yours in continued growth and independence.

A Twisted View of Hatred


Some say a man rapes in the name of all men. Is this true when a woman premeditatively kills her husband. Even when the women cheer her on a talk show? Interesting concept. Reminds me of the Feminist Dictionary definition of "misogyny: the hatred of men as a refusal to suppress the evidence of one's experience with women; a man's defense against fear and pain; an affirmation of the cathartic effects of justifiable anger." While their definition for "Misandry, the hatred of men includes the beliefs that men are stupid, petty, dishonest, silly, irrational, incompetent, undependable, narcissistic, dirty, unemotional, oversewed, undersexed. Such beliefs culminate in attitudes that demean our bodies, our abilities, our characters and our efforts and imply that we must be controlled, subdued, abused and used, not only for female benefit but for our own." Are either of these acceptable concepts? Would either of them be acceptable if the meanings were switched, which is the way they actually were in the dictionary. (I switched the definitions in the above to see how it would feel to be viewed as the other. The actual definitions in their dictionary make the hatred of men is justifiable but hatred of women is a sexist attitude that should be fought against at all costs.

Chore Wars


We understand that some states are developing laws that require one spouse to pay the other for chores. If you know of any such laws, we'd like as much information as possible

Our initial thinking is that it sounds like a good law - if it is applied (1) only to chores that one spouse wants done by the other, and (2) that that spouse pays the other spouse out of their personal income. The spouse contracted to do the chores should be required to provide all the equipment and supplies needed to perform the chores since that is what professional services offer.

Other considerations: charge for room and board, clothing allowance, vehicle rental and maintenance, shared vacation expenses, etc. We could even consider sex, depending on who wants it. (Gigolo's get paid, too.) And, either spouse should also have the right to contract outside the household for any such chores if there are more economical or professional ways to perform them. We can make marriage an economical contract yet (as if other state laws haven't already. See laws (and consequences) you should know before you get married in Divorce & Custody.) In the meantime, check out what Hagar has to say about chores.

Violence is a Social Disease


Violence is a social illness that is only getting worse. While it's mandatory that we work with the after effects of violence or potential violence, it is becoming clearer each day that preventative measures must be implemented soon if we ever want things to change. And, the education of our youth towards conflict resolution and appropriate emotional release (not hitting and not thinking it away) seems to be the primary preventative opportunity. Changing the fundamental attitudes and behaviors of our youth, is key. As long as we teach our children to stuff feelings, we'll get nice girls and boys growing up and nice men and women who, when things get to be too much, blow their problems away. (See violence.)

Magazines Stink


This concerns men's magazines like GQ, Esquire and Maxim. I 'm not talking about what these magazines publish. While there are some articles and stories that are better than others, that particular content is not the issue. Let me share with you my recent experience.

I opened my post office box and was almost overcome by the smell coming from it. You see, it's the holidays and, between the magazine's advertising departments and the chemical, I'm sorry, the cologne manufacturers, they worked hard all year to bring you their December and sometimes their November issues filled with vial smelling scents. And, the combination is especially repulsive.

Now I know there are some women out there who really like the smell of a chemical man. And, I know there are a lot of guys out there who shower less than they should. What I'm worried about is the rest of us possibly suffering from Second Hand Stench. It makes we want to drop my subscriptions and go back to the newsstand editions that I can sniff check before putting my money down.

I wonder if OSHA has issued any warnings to post office employees? If not, they should.

Special Rights for Women


It's long been understood that there are different rules and laws for women and men. Men get longer sentences, often times women get off for crimes at least as severe that bring men automatic sentencing. Men can't work out in a men's only health club, but women are allowed to have women only health clubs. The state will send men to prison for not paying full child support yet a great many women deny the fathers right to visitation, and nothing is done. Women rail against the Promise Keepers having men only space, yet the Minnesota Women's Music Festival, the Lilith Faire, and many other events usually have a cutoff of eight years or less for any male wanting to attend, if they are allowed at all. Mills College refused to allow men. Mary Daly, a professor at Boston College (a college that was forced to include women) has excluded men from taking her classes for years and the most she got was a slap on the wrist until a male student had had enough and sued. Now Gloria Steinam and others want her to keep her special rights. After all, according to Mary, as reported in the 6/14/99 issue of People, "....she adopted her woman-only policy when she noticed female students spoke more freely when no men were around."  Of course, if she noticed that men have much the same difficult with women in a class, she failed to mention that when these same woman were fighting to have women attend (invade) all classes at Boston College. "There's a great need for women's space," said Daly. Apparently, she believes that men don't have similar needs. Once again, the 1972 Title IX is set up only to bar gender discrimination against women, not men.

Viagra news coverage concerning discrimination in insurance payments.


In the investigation of insurance payments for Viagra versus birth control, are the media in your area also looking at the gender discrimination of HMO’s and insurance companies in two additional areas:

1. Covering tests for women for breast cancer and not covering tests for men for prostate cancer. FACT: Almost twice as many men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year versus women diagnosed with breast cancer. In addition, virtually as many men die of prostate cancer as women who die of breast cancer, and there is no treatment for prostate cancer to date that improves a man’s life.

2. Covering tests for girls for breast cancer and not covering tests for boys for testicular cancer. FACT: 7,200 boys 15-34 will be diagnosed and 350 will die this year from the disease, much greater than girls/women in that age group dying of breast cancer.

Also, a review of the disparage between the amount spent for research and awareness campaigns on the above should be of great interest. The National Cancer Institute estimates that they will spend $332.9 million on breast cancer research this year while spending $74.0 million on the study of prostate cancer and $0 on testicular cancer. Prostate cancer receives the least amount of funding per patient of all major cancers. Source: American Foundation for Urologic Disease.

The National Cancer Institute also reported that during the period 1950-1991, women's rate of death from breast cancer increased 2% while men's rate of death from prostate cancer increased 25%. Until the last few years, you never heard anything about prostate cancer. Even today, it's not a high priority on health programs or the news. There's no postage stamp or brochures at the post office. (The second Breast Cancer postage stamp will soon be issued to raise awareness of breast cancer and to fund additional research.) There’s no special research or funding organizations for prostate cancer, no national prevention month, week or even day.

This is not to say that everything that is being done to find a cure for breast cancer should not be done. However, where do men’s health issues fit in in your local news analysis and reporting? What about the fact that of the 15 leading causes of death, men lead in every single category.

If you’re interested, I’ve included some additional information on the subject which can be verified with a simple call to The National Cancer Institute regarding the facts on new diagnosis, death and research spending. Calls to HMOs, health insurance carries, etc. will verify the differences in coverage.

A Different Perspective on the Movie Sideways


I was shocked to read all the press around the movie Sideways. Particularly in defense of Stephanie (Sandra Oh), the single mother who smokes dope in front of her adolescent daughter.

I can't believe that people actually think that, of the hundreds of guys Stephanie serves wine to every day, Jack is the first guy she has flirted with and taken to bed. Seemed like she had her game on pretty good from the start. And, to believe someone was going to marry her after a few nights in the sack - come on.

Stephanie is a violent woman and if she had testicles, she'd be in prison right now. But, because a man did something emotional to her, the women in the audience gave their approval - as did many reviewers without making any reference to her totally out-of-control behavior. Fifteen years ago men said that it's something the woman said or did that made them violent. Today, the tables have turned so that it's totally acceptable to crush a man's scull, or perform premeditated murder as the Dixie Chicks sing in "Goodbye Earl" (to the roars of approval from the women in their live concerts) a song they got a Grammy for. The fact that the Domestic Violence movement hasn't spoken out against either act speaks volumns. If you are part of the solution...

A second aspect I haven't seen mentioned in any review regards the wife of the trucker, a scam that is not unheard of and one where the date rape drug is now being used to incapacitate the man so it makes him easier to rob and then dump along the way. A pretty clean crime since few men, caught in an uncompromising situation, dare tell the police.

Sideways has it's weaknesses. Both sexes acted dispicably. And, that's pretty real. While we might wish we were more honest and sincere with each other, as many of the relationship books teach us, it's a game and most people still play it. A visit to any watering hole on a Friday or Saturday night will confirm that. Unfortunately for many couples, reality never kicks in after marriage and the games continue. I'll stop playing the game. Will you?

"Roseann" Supports Women's Violence against Men and Children


Here's the story line. I think it's Roseann's sister who is in an abusive relationship. Roseann uses no humor to confront the husband and get the reluctant wife out of the house. She succeeds. The scene moves to the sons bedroom where Roseann's husband is talking to his teenage son. He is making it clear that it isn't okay to hit. It's serious. He goes on to say, it's not okay for men to hit women. The son asks, what if it's someone very close to you. It's really not okay. Then, the son asks, what if it's a woman who is doing the hitting. The father doesn't answer the question and instead brings in humor to ignore the question "Don't you want to talk about how babies are born?" And, the scene is over. The show had a very strong opinion about men's violence and had a perfect opportunity to say that women's violence against men or children is not okay either - and didn't, and, to me, gave that boy and the audience a position that it's okay for women to be violent, even with their children.

I Wish I Knew Now What I Knew Then


Men are inherently gentle, intimate, responsible, enthusiastic, sensual, tolerant, courageous, honest, vulnerable, affectionate, proud, spiritual, committed, wild, nurturing, peaceful, helpful, intense, compassionate, happy and fully capable to express all emotions safely. When will we stop training them to be otherwise? (See Feelings.)

"Friends" Supports Adult Female Teachers Seducing Their High School Students


The scene. One of the Friends brothers is in high school. You can tell that he has a hard time with being loved. His 44 year old female home ec teachers gets romantically involved with him. They make a point to insure that you know he is 18 (no longer a minor), and we have to assume that the romantic attachment started after he turned 18. The Friends talk to both of them about the age difference. They both agree that it should end. When this decision is made individually, they end up coming over to the Friends apartment to break it off. They agree to break it off and almost immediately fall into this intense embrace, start kissing passionately, fall on the couch and continue to make out. The cast of Friends basically shrug it off and that's it. No comment of the teachers authority and power over the boy. No discussion on the sexual trauma. No comment that the relationship is totally inappropriate. Is it? My challenge to the writers of the show is do the same scenario but make the teacher a male shop teacher and the 18 year old student a female. My sense is that, if that story was played out their would be public outrage, there would be talk shows about sexual harassment. There would be an investigation. And, it wouldn't be funny. If it's a male teacher, it can't be love. If it's a female teacher, it's okay. It brings to mind the case on Mary Laturno, the 35 year old teacher and mother of 4 in Washington State, who has been charged with 2 counts of rape for developing a sexual relationship with a 13 year old friend of one of her sons. The American Journal spent most of the story time talking with people in community that couldn't believe she would do something like that, some questioning if it's really true. There was noone talking about the young boy, what it took to come forward in a culture that supports this kind of behavior, that says, he probably enjoyed it so it should be okay and they don't say that about a 17 year old girl in the same situation. No discussion with psychologists on the trauma this can create in his life. Rather, if a 17 year old girl is involved, let's keep her as a girl, telling her she isn't a woman yet and creating another victim. If it's a 13 year old boy, it'll help him become a man. It's all so ironic. Many cultures, especially in Catholic countries like Peru and Equador, find it quite normal for 13 year old women to marry 22 year old men - it's the custom. There's nothing unusual about it. That's the way its been for centuries. Yet, in our culture, we still want to keep our girls as little girls, even at 17. Don't grow up. Don't become a woman when your body and mind have developed to that level. You're still just my little girl. I'm not saying we should lower the age of consent, what we do need to do is see the boys and girls are impacted by information and messages that say that we have to protect our girl children, the boys can take care of themselves. Think about it!

A World Without Passion Will Die


"Young men will burn down the culture rather than live meaningless lives," quotes Michael Meade. A culture that denies passion and intensity, mistaking it for potential violence, creates a situation that offers no healthy alternative. Most women and men have been required to "stuff it". "It" is one's feelings and intensity for life, leaving us without the opportunity to face our multitude of tasks with mystery, fascination and passion. The importance of understanding that anger is an emotion, not a behavior, and violence is only one of many behaviors that can be drawn on, is our true lesson. When that is learned, by women and men, we will see men's intensity return, including safe expressions of anger, leading to a passion for positives changes in the world, the likes of which have never been seen.

Another 'Smiling Man' Bites the Dust


I'll never forget it. Robert Subby was on stage talking to several hundred people in recovery. He asked the crowd, "You know when you can tell a man's in trouble?" He crosses his arms, puts a stern smile on his face, and scans the crowd. Well, on March 22, 1999 we lost another Smiling Man. He seemed to have it together. A rising star on a popular TV sitcom, a hit movie about to be released. A seemingly strong relationship. A popular and personal 29 year-old who appeared on the outside to have it together.

A friend who helped me through a bout with suicide during my divorce committed suicide 8 years later without my knowing that anything was wrong. Another 'Smiling Man' who had done a lot of personal work, threatened to kill his former girlfriend and after a six-hour standoff with police, killed himself. Another 'Smiling Man' was in a personal growth workshop with his adolescent son. He had done a lot of work and was in a men's group. Several weeks after the workshop, he killed himself. All of these men were white-collar professionals. All saying "I'm fine." As some think, that could be interpreted as Furious, Isolated, Numb and Empty.

It's not really important to know what went wrong. What is important is to learn how we men can learn to open-up and ask for help well before these kinds of times come, instead of taking our own lives. Do you have at least one man in your life you will go to with the tough stuff?  Or are you a 'Smiling Man'? Do you know any men who are going through some real tough times? Or are all your male friends 'Smiling Men'? Look hard. Listen hard. Be sure your friends know you are willing to listen. Make sure you've got atleast one man to spill it all to. And spill it all. There's nothing wrong with a smile - unless it's hiding something you're too embarrassed to talk about. Real men ask for help. So, don't be one of those "Smiling Men" who will die of embarrassment! Don't let a friend be one either. (See Suicide for more information on the issue and books on suicide.)

How do you know when "Yes" means "Yes"?


This story took place at Brown University. On that campus, women students drink but refuse to take any responsibility for their actions. In this case, she's the one that came to his room. She didn't appear to be drunk. And, she was the one who started the kissing. She's the one who starting petting. She's the one who asked him to get a condom. She talked with him for hours after they had sex and left her name and number and asked him to call before she left. But, five weeks later she claims to have no memory of the event and accused him of rape.

According to the group, Coalition Against Sexual Assault, if we think you're guilty, you're guilty. This small group of the self appointed "politically correct" activist students and teachers from CASSIA (which stands for "home" in Spanish - not a very safe one if you disagree with them) obviously aren't interested in the truth. Because they believe that they hold the moral position and they shout down anyone who disagrees with them. And, in this segment, when that didn't work, they pulled the cord on 20/20s recording equipment. Their music teachers agrees. He claims the background to state that this student is a leper to this college campus.

Does this seem familiar? Some in this group say that anyone accused doesn't deserve the benefit of the doubt Brings back images of Salem, doesn't it?. It's obvious that the Brown University campus has a dictatorship of the politically correct. The "victim" who would speak at rallies, didn't want her name used and it wasn't used in public, on television or in the campus newspaper. The same rights weren't afford the male involved. But, this isn't unusual nor the first time the Brown University campus has been a hot bed of political tourney. In the future, they'll probably blame it on the water.

How can we ever expect to bring up our girls to take responsibility for their lives when we make sure that they know that they don't have to be. Nothing is their fault. What they do when they're drunk, or depressed, or on PMI or break up with their boyfriend, whatever they do they cannot be held responsible for. What a far cry from the many cultures who bring up their daughters as responsible adults by 13, who start and maintain healthy families at 13. Who, at 13, raise their children to become responsible adults. But, at Brown University, 21 year olds aren't responsible and so blame others for their actions. And, get away with it.

The result is that men must really be aware if you're in any kind of a relationship with a woman - whether lover or spouse - No means No and only yes means yes and then only if she hasn't had anything to drink. And, even when sober, be sure she's on top. It's much more difficult to be falsely accused of rape, that way.

Has political correctness gone too far? Six year old boys are being trained not to try to kiss a girl. Nine year old brothers are taught not to poke their older sister in the butt or they'll be classified a sexual deviate. Connect this with a recent survey that showed that 35% of men 18-35 never plan to marry. With this trend growing, it's going to be interesting if the next generation of boys will have anything to do with women, romantically. But, I guess that's what sperms banks are for.

Fox TV Continues to Promote Domestic Violence


An hour and 28 minutes into the Super Bowl game on Sunday, Fox TV ran a commercial to promote domestic violence on Melrose Place. If you read our section on tv violence, it demonstrates how much violence from women hitting men is being promoted to viewers and children. This time, Heather Locklier hauls off and slaps a male to promote the next show. Kids and teenagers are confused. Is it any wonder domestic and relational violence continues to rise. And, if you think it's okay for a woman to hit a man, there's the problem. Domestic and relational violence is still violence regardless of who does it but why is it okay, accepted and being promoted, without any comments from the Alternatives to Violence community, the women's movement, newscasters, etc. It starts and stops with you.

"If breast cancer targeted men rather than women, emphasis on research leading to a potential cure would have taken on an added sense of urgency."


The true story amidst all the National Breast Cancer promotional energy.

This statement, often used in comments and articles, just doesn’t reflect the truth, according to the National Cancer Institute's information as of the close of their fiscal year, 8/31/97. Yes, 1997.

Fact: 1996/7 new cases: breast cancer - 180,200, prostate cancer - 334,500.

Fact: 1996/7 deaths - breast cancer - 43,900 women and 290 men; prostate cancer - 41,800. (Percentage wise, as many men die of prostate cancer as women who die of breast cancer.)

Fact: Both are the # 1 cancer killers of nonsmokers

Fact: From 1950-1991, women’s rate of death from breast cancer - +2%; men’s from prostate cancer - +25%.

Fact: 1996/7 research spending: breast cancer - $332.9 million, prostate cancer - $74.0 million. (American Cancer Society estimates they will spend $12,547,500 on breast cancer research, $5,576,000 on prostate cancer and $875,000 on testicular cancer in 1997.)

Fact: Of the 15 major causes of death, men lead in every category, but no one talks much about it.
Until the last few years, you never heard anything about prostate cancer. Even today, it's not a high priority. There's no postage stamp or brochures at the post office. No special research or funding organizations. No national prevention month, week or even day. Newspapers like the San Francisco Chronicle report un-researched stories with headlines like the above, yet are silent when presented with facts.

Health plans often include free breast screening and testing for girls and women. If a man wants to be tested, he has to push the issue and pay full price. Schools have programs to teach girls how to examine themselves. A woman 15-35 dying of breast cancer is extremely rare. In this same age group, 7,200 men will be diagnosed and 350 will die this year of testicular cancer but nothing is being done to teach them how to check themselves to protect against this disease. The American Cancer Society is the only organization that I could find doing testicular cancer research. They estimate that they will spend $875,000 this year on the subject. Would you want to lose your son just because schools, health services and the media don't think it's that important?

This is not to say that everything that is being done to find a cure for breast cancer should not be done. However, until men think it's important to live a healthy life, it is doubtful that much more will be done about it. And, it's our responsibility to do something about it, not someone else's. For those interested in more info on prostate cancer see: www.menstuff.org/issues/byissue/healthprostate.html

Homophobia


Homophobia is the fear of being or being perceived as a homosexual. It locks all people into rigid sex-based roles that inhibit creativity and self-expression. It inhibits appreciation of other types of diversity, making it unsafe for everyone because each person has unique traits not considered mainstream or dominant. We must remove all oppressions so we and our children can lead full, creative, happy lives. (See Homophobia.)

"Men have five fewer years to enjoy life versus women. That's good news."


According the 11/98 issue of Life magazine, "Life expectancy is now age 78 for women, 73 for men." This is down from an 8 year difference in the early 90's to only a five year difference today. And, according to 48 Hours, by the year 2040 there will be 24 million centurions (people 100 years or older) and that it will be common to see people in their 130's. Life had some other interesting things to say. More people are exercising - or atlas joining gyms. 75 percent of those 65 and older say their lives are better than they were 20 years ago - or atlas the same. For 15 months in a row, joblessness has stayed below 5 percent for the first time in 28 years - reducing stress. The divorce rate is 4.3 per thousand people, the lowest in two decades. In the past decade, the number of drugs approved to treat AIDS has increased 50 times. Smoking by men is down 48 percent since 1965; by women, 33 percent. School is cool: The high school dropout rate is falling as more students either graduate or return to earn their Geodes. Thanks to more police and shifting demographics, crime rates are the lowest they've been in over a decade. The murder rate is the lowest it has been since 1969. Infant mortality from birth defects has declined 34 percent since 1980. Sexual activity among adolescents is down for the first time in 20 years...which helps explain why teen pregnancy has fallen 12 percent from 1991."

"How long do you want to live?  How much are you prepared to invest in your health and mental well-being?  This negotiation calls upon our inner resources and usually prompts a new willingness to devise stratagems for eluding death and illness."  New Passages. What are you going to do in the next year to insure that your mind, body and spirit will be healthy so that you can join us and celebrate the year 2040? That's not that far away.

Sideways


I was shocked to read all the press around the movie Sideways. Particularly in defense of Stephanie (Sandra Oh), the single mother who smokes dope in front of her adolescent daughter.

I can't believe that people actually think that, of the hundreds of guys Stephanie serves wine to every day, Jack is the first guy she has flirted with and taken to bed. Seemed like she had her game on pretty good from the start. And, to believe someone was going to marry her after a few nights in the sack - come on.

Stephanie is a violent woman and if she had testicles, she'd be in prison right now. But, because a man did something emotional to her, the women in the audience gave their approval - as did many reviewers without making any reference to her totally out-of-control behavior. Fifteen years ago men said that it's something the woman said or did that made them violent. Today, the tables have turned so that it's totally acceptable to crush a man's scull, or perform premeditated murder as the Dixie Chicks sing in "Goodbye Earl" (to the roars of approval from the women in their live concerts) a song they got a Grammy for. The fact that the Domestic Violence movement hasn't spoken out against either act speaks volumns. If you are part of the solution...

A second aspect I haven't seen mentioned in any review regards the wife of the trucker, a scam that is not unheard of and one where the date rape drug is now being used to incapacitate the man so it makes him easier to rob and then dump along the way. A pretty clean crime since few men, caught in an uncompromising situation, dare tell the police.

Sideways has it's weaknesses. Both sexes acted dispicably. And, that's pretty real. While we might wish we were more honest and sincere with each other, as many of the relationship books teach us, it's a game and most people still play it. A visit to any watering hole on a Friday or Saturday night will confirm that. Unfortunately for many couples, reality never kicks in after marriage and the games continue. I'll stop playing the game. Will you?

What's Happening to Men's Work?


More "Women Respond to the Men's Movement" than men. Our continued portrayal that any man in a men's group or doing personal work, runs around nude in the woods beating drums keeps men from risking. Let's find ways to get men out of their caves rather than pushing them further into it. Only people can give warmth to a cold, lost, angry heart. And, a challenge to those who criticise men's work: don't stand on the outside reading inaccurate information written primarily by men who are not willing to experience the work. Find out from the inside. Feel it first. Won't you take my hand? We can help each other stand.


Make the Political Personal


Most men's work in the recovery and mythopoetic areas is personal. Most work within the Pro-Feminist and Men's Rights areas is political and is a place where workaholism is ignored. It's time to look at our own dysfunctional behavior and how, by cleaning it up, our political work will become healthier and probably more effective. As Andrew Harvey said, "Political activity not founded in the heart is doomed." The only thing more painful than going through recovery is not going through recovery. Are you man enough? ("What have you done for you lately?")


Are You Man Enough to Ask for Help?


While many men might think we don't have many if any issues beyond work and family, we have been able to identify over 60 major categories and several hundred issues within these categories. Don't wait 'til it's broke to start doing some preventative maintenance on your life.

The Mask of Masculinity


Subhead for the Newsweek 7/99 "Last Word" by George Will was "Is manliness natural or a 'social construct' that causes wars and sport utility vehicles?" It goes on to say that "both men and women can be brave, rank, aggressive, competitive, loyal, stoical. Perhaps manliness is a "social construct.' Here is the heart of 'gender studies':  If all human attributes are consequences of social arrangements, then clever rearrangement of society can provide whatever results the rearrangers want. If so, neither biology nor history not nature is destiny. All is nurture and ephemeral, nothing is instinctive, innate, permanent. Nothing is destined. Everything is a matter of choice. Free at last, free at leas..." It goes on to say "Maybe the gallantry of opening a door for a woman expresses disdain by asserting that the man is stronger. Then again, physical strength is a merely animal attribute. And opening a door may express sincere rather than guileful deferences. Then again, male sensitivity was not born yesterday. Some of the stuffed animals that children cuddle are called Teddy Bears because on one famous occasion the man who was the rough-riding personification of self-conscious manliness was too sensitive to shoot a wee bear. Yes, Teddy Roosevelt. That (18) '90's Man thought war was splendidly bracing for a nation, and that if a war was not handy, war's moral equivalent, football, would have to suffice. Mansfield says that feminists fault masculinity primarily for its antidemocratic exclusivity. They want society reconstructed so they can act as masculine as men have to, and they want men reconstructed so they will act a little less masculine, more sensitive. Feminists' real complaint, says Mansfield, is with femininity, the 'mystique' (Betty Friedan) of mildness that men supposedly have foisted on women to keep them in their place, which is down, as the 'second sex' (Simone de Beauvoir). 'Why can't a woman be more like a man?' asks some feminists. It is a fair, and complex, question famously asked in 'My Fair Lady' by Professor Henry Higgins, no feminist."

It's Not Time for Relationship Work


There's a trend for women and men away from personal work and towards relationship work. Some may be truly ready. But, even more may be using this as an easy escape from really getting to the bottom of their own dysfunction, hoping that it will be cleaned up by working together. Think again.


Men Make the Best Fathers


The more distant the father is kept from his children, the more dysfunctional this society becomes. The brainwashing of the children against their father's is at least psychological abuse of their children. Now that girls are picking up Uzis and running previously all-male gangs, maybe we need to start looking at the impact of making the father a visitor rather than a full, participating parent in his children's lives. (See Videos.)

When Daughters Come Second


A lot of men's work has revolved around fathers and sons. The father's responsibilities encompass many important lessons for his daughters as well. He is the primary shaper of the way the daughter relates to the masculine side of herself. The way he relates to her feminine side will affect the way she accepts that part of her. And, since he is different from her and her mother, he is the only one who can really confirm for her that she is unique and separate from her mother.

We, as fathers, inherently posses the ability to nurture as well as teach the value of setting and enforcing appropriate boundaries and limits. We need to model how to give and receive affection and tenderness as well as the proper use of strength and power. We must openly show our inherent vulnerability and sensitivity. When we accept the role of primary disciplinarian and boundary setter, we must also take the responsibility to lovingly prepare our daughters to venture out from the protected realm of the home - to deal with the outside world and its conflicts. We must seize the opportunity to teach decision making, balanced with objectivity and responsibly along with the ability to work with authority.

If we are not there for her in a committed and responsible way, encouraging the development of her mental, physical and spiritual sides in all of its uniqueness, it will, most likely, have a drastic affect on the way she sees men and sees herself as a woman in the world. (See Fathers & Daughters.)


Fathers & Teen-Age Daughters Rite-of-Passage


When fathers don't take an active role in the raising of their children, their children will go elsewhere to be initiated into adulthood. Many will initiate themselves before the age of fourteen into the world of drugs, alcohol and sex. Others through initiations like the first auto accident, joining a gang, a criminal act, even the first pregnancy. These just aren't adequate replacements for healthy rites-of-passage.

For the first time in history, women are taking on "nontraditional" roles previously the exclusive territory and responsibility of men. Because of this, there is a need to start developing a unique rite-of-passage only a father can give his daughter. One that acknowledges and supports these major social shifts. In doing this, we can actually start developing completely new models for positive ways fathers can be with their daughters, as much as their sons, especially during the difficult teen years. See also Daughter's Rites.

No Name-Calling Week - January 21-25, 2008


This is No Name-Calling Week which aims to end gossip and name-calling of all kinds.

School yard bullying is far more serious than just name-calling and teasing. It can escalate into harassment, beatings and even death threats.

In a two-thousand five survey of more than 3,400 teenagers and more than 1,000 teachers, 65% of middle school and junior high students said they had been assaulted or harassed in the previous year.

Bullying shouldn't be dismissed as a harmless school yard rite of passage, according to a report that found bullies and their victims often develop behavioral and emotional problems later in life.

So, what's a bully? Someone who, either alone or with the help of others, uses actions or words to hurt another person.

Simply put, bullies and gossips are obnoxious, even if they are: cool, humorous, well-dressed, attractive, or athletic.

Bullying prevention can work and have lasting results by addressing the cause of bullying, insure that new bullies are not created out of a need for self-defense. Can you say Columbine? And before that happens, help bullies become good citizens.

So, what can I do, you ask, to stop the bullying?

  • Don't laugh at jokes that make fun of other people.
  • Go out of your way to be nice to the person being ostracized
  • Let someone in authority know what happened and to whom.
  • And, declare every bully a persona non grata. If people knew that teasing or ostracizing someone will cause their own popularity to plunge, who'll be willing to pay that price?

It all starts with you.

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Educators and partners can now exchange stories and activities about No Name-Calling Week in their school. Just go to www.nonamecallingweek.org and click on "forum" in the toolbar.

The week seeks to focus national attention on the problem of name-calling in schools and to provide students and educators with the tools and inspiration to launch an on-going dialogue about ways to eliminate name-calling in their communities. A resource guide with lesson plans, a video for classroom use and other promotional materials will be available for educators to assist in facilitating the week’s activities. Although the project is targeted at grades five through eight – years when the problem of name-calling is particularly acute – the concept can be easily adapted by students and educators at other grades. Want ideas of things you can do? There's 10 pages worth of ideas at www.nonamecallingweek.org/binary-data/NoNameCalling_ATTACHMENTS/file/37-1.pdf

Ritual Abuse of Boys


In the United States, 7 in 10 boys are ritually or sexually abused before the age of 15 (less than 1 in 2 in California.) This common custom of sexual mutilation called "circumcision" is a rite that was picked up from primitive cultures and continues in only two civilized countries in the world - Israel and the U.S. We know how tied it is to sexual dysfunction, we're just learning how it may be tied to misogyny. Whatever the connection, it disallows the child's religious freedom by forcing them to have this primitive blood ritual done to them, leaving them scarred for life. We wouldn't allow clitorectomies of our girls (even if it is a religious practice in other parts of the world). Why do we accept such a violent act to be forced into our boys lives without the same concerns? See more at circumcision and abuse.


There Are No Criminals - Just A Lot of Lost Souls


People wouldn't abuse others if they hadn't been abused. We tend to forgive women easier, often using the abuse that happened to them as an excuse, and give them probation more often or shorter sentences for the same crimes. There seems to be more tolerance for women abusing men (slapping, hitting, ridiculing, shaming) and it plays out in our movies and on our school playgrounds. (See TV Violence). We also tend to label people rather than their behaviors. You're an abuser, molester, alcoholic, bad person. Some women (and men) writers believe that all men are rapists. (For the men that say this, thank goodness they are admitting that they are rapists so that we know to protect the women that come around them.) The mere statement says that no matter what I do, how much work I do as a man, I'm still seen as a rapist in their eyes. It doesn't give me permission to become a better man. Versus acknowledging the behavior as unacceptable and noting that it is separate from their soul. Shame doesn't bring about healthy change. Acknowledging that the person is good and that a behavior is not acceptable, changes the way people think about themselves and the possibility for change becomes easier. This process of shaming starts at a very early age when we tell children they are bad. While many of us received this in childhood, and it takes a lot of awareness to not pass it on, we must stop our shaming process of our children, and teach our children not to shame and make fun of other children that appear different than them. In actuality, adults and children who shame others are really telling us all how inadequate they are and the lengths they will go to to deflect these weaknesses off on others.

As in Sports So in Life


The Washington Redskins are often a favorite to go to the Super Bowl. Other Division teams seem to consistently end up on top. The NFC South has the Atlanta Niggers, the Philadelphia Guineas are a good pick for the NFC East, in the NFC West, it's the Seattle Chinks and the Minnesota Squareheads in the NFC North For the AFC, it's the San Diego Prune Pickers in the AFC West, the Indianapolis Klan in the AFC South, the Baltimore Wops in the AFC North and New York Kikes in the AFC East. Did I offend you? If so, were you offended when I mentioned the Washington Redskins? When will we start to honor, respect and really understand that Native Americans aren't mascots, they are people. Think about it! (Click here to see predictions for each division this year.)

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, but we have to live on Earth


A recent Barbara Walter’s infomercial for John Gray's work, was two-hours long and was paid for by ABC. They even had an 800 number at the end selling the video tape of the show. Luckily, we were spared the usual hype for books, tapes and video tapes of the course itself. Maybe I missed something, but I didn't really get the sense that most of the couples were much happier. The men seemed to be, but most of the women seemed to have "that look" of not really going along with the changes in the men while appearing to agree. And there was virtually no focus on women needing to change.

The thing that really got me was this whole "chores" mindset. From households with children kept super neat and clean, down to how important it was for one woman to have the inside of the trash cans washed out. Seems like it should have concentrated more on the obsessive-compulsive behavior of cleanliness as much as getting men to help around the house.

Where does this obsession come from? Our mothers and grandmothers? Gotta keep busy? Our fathers and grandfathers - want my castle spic-and-span when I get home? Something's wrong here. I think it has more to do with "appearance - what will the neighbors think" than anything else. But, maybe my experience is unusual. I know many couples with children where the home looks actually lived in, not like a gallery. It's not dirty. It's just not tidy. And, many women I have dated would have a very neat place when they knew I was coming over. Yet, if I dropped by unannounced, the place was in chaos. Clothes on the floor, things scattered everywhere. This is usually the stereotype for men, but I wonder if it's not just the way "people" are and that the obsession with "every thing has its place, and it must stay in that place" hasn't gotten a bit out-of-hand?

Another big reaction from most of the women was men watching sports. We really get a bad rap on this one. My sense is, most of us don't realize how much television women watch, because so much of their viewing is while we are at work. Furthermore, they won't admit how many hours of television they actually do watch every day. The viewing is soap operas (fantasy land), talk-shows (whine time), and game shows (atleast there may be a little socially redeeming value in learning something here). While I haven't looked at the Nielsen ratings for a while, if compared, I doubt that women watch any less television than men, and the content can't be much different. It's escapism on both sides.

And finally, family violence. Of the six women, one admits blowing up, throwing plates, etc. at her husband. Another, we observe, screaming and shaming her husband when he's late coming home from work for his birthday party. He's with the children trying to eat his cake and she's pacing like a tigress waiting to pounce. When their daughter accidentally knocks something over because she's excitedly carrying around a present for her father, her mother screams at her. The daughter cowers and we hear her say "Why is mommy always screaming?" The excuse for women's violence is often, if you had to be with children all day, you would too." There is no excuse for that kind of verbal violence. Whether it comes from a mother or a father. She needs help and it's not up to her husband to change his behavior. It's up to her.

I know women and men are different. I think our differences and our similarities must be explored. However, starting with the image that men are from the planet of war and women are from the planet of love (but don't have any arms) just reinforces the belief that only women are inherent nurturers and men are inherently violent- neither of which are true. Both sexes are inherently nurturers. Both sexes are inherently loving, caring human beings. I would love to see us be able to work together without playing games or manipulating each other because we know what makes each other tick. Cut the game playing. Cut the phony acknowledgment and recognition. Let's get real with each other, for a change. As one advertisement put it, "Men are from Earth. Women are from Earth. End of story."

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Differences challenge assumptions. - Anne Wilson Schaef

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