Tag Archive | "equality"

Hey, Look! There’s a Big, Disgusting Bias on My Dick! (Part 1)


Disclaimer: I am writing not as a representative of the Filipino Freethinkers but as an individual with an opinion. My views are my own and should, in no way, be viewed as an indication of what beliefs or values members of our organization hold. Throughout this article, I might use hetero-centric language in that, more often than not, when I refer to “men,” I’m actually referring to heterosexual men. Though I am aware of its importance, I decided, for the sake of brevity to omit the heterosexual part in the assumption that through this disclaimer I have clarified the context of the erasure.

“Shut-up and Man-up!”
According to the American Heritage Dictionary, a double standard is a “set of principles establishing different provisions for one group than another; also, specifically, allowing men more sexual freedom than women.”

According to Dictionary.com, a double standard is “any code or set of principles containing different provisions for one group of people than for another, especially an unwritten code of sexual behavior permitting men more freedom than women.”

In many instances the word double standard is commonly defined and commonly accepted as a belief or view that discriminates against women and provides men with unfair advantages and privileges. The most common example of this is the Stud/Slut double standard that goes something like, “If a man sleeps around, he’s a stud. If a woman sleeps around, she’s a slut?”

It is implied, even in most dictionaries, that when double standards occur, women are on the losing end of it. We always hear about female side about their problems with the double standard because women were actually smart enough to come up with a movement, feminism, that dealt with issues like this and that fought for policies that could educate and assist women in dealing with these matters.

Straight men didn’t bother (I’m making that distinction because gay men have the gay rights movement available to them), partly because they were expected, pardon the sexist idiom, to “shut-up and man-up.” Majority of straight men do not have a proper venue for productive discourse with regard to men’s issues because, in the dominant paradigm of gender politics, straight men are considered to be the privileged oppressors in patriarchal cultures and are, therefore, in no position to voice out grievances, especially grievances about the opposite sex. However, this postulation of dominance by males does not exempt them from bias, harmful double standards and oppression.

“I Want to Make Boys Feel Bad Because It’s Fun.”
The illustrations I used for this article are T-Shirt prints marketed and sold by David & Goliath Inc. Radio host Glenn Sacks started a campaign calling for the boycott of what is perceived by many as the widespread marketing of misandry, disguised and often justified as female empowerment.

In fairness to Goldman, he made no mention of how his products were meant to be sold under the pretense of empowerment. In fact, in a news article by from National Post, Goldman explicitly denies that his T-shirts have anything to do with the girl-power movement. “I’m a guy. I couldn’t give a rat’s ass about girl empowerment. Our market is teenage girls. I know what sells.”

He’s right. I haven’t found a single feminist movement that officially promotes these shirts as “empowering.” And, in my opinion, although these products reinforce false masculine archetypes that suggest that men are stupid liars, Goldman has a right to express his opinion and to take advantage of a trend to make a profit.

However,  the fact that these products sell to such a degree, the fact that shirts printed with these slogans have mainstream acceptance, in my opinion, points towards a cultural trend of tolerance for violence towards men, especially, once we consider the target market for this merchandise – quoting Goldman, “Our market is teenage girls.”

Let’s Go, Girls! It’s Beat Up Your Boyfriend Night!
Joan Arehart-Treichel wrote an article, “Men Shouldn’t Be Overlooked as Victims of Partner Violence”, to address the issue of violence towards men and to present surprising statistics about the nature of partner violence.

In that article she writes:

“Regarding perpetration of violence, more women than men (25 percent versus 11 percent) were responsible. In fact, 71 percent of the instigators in nonreciprocal partner violence were women.”

Nonreciprocal violence, by the way, is when a woman hits a man and the man doesn’t hit back. When he does hit back, it’s called reciprocal violence a.k.a. criminal violence; a violation of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in the States and a violation of Republic Act. 9262 Anti-violence Against Women and Their Children act of 2004 in the Philippines.

Some people would argue that violence by women can’t be as serious as violence by men because women are, most of the time, physically smaller and weaker than the men they fight with. Unfortunately, research proves that women also have a tendency to compensate for their smaller size through their greater use of weapons and the element of surprise, and that only a small percentage of female domestic violence is committed in self-defense.

An annotated bibliography of around 300 “References Examining Assaults by Women on their Spouses or Male Partners” compiled by Martin S. Feibert points to the same conclusion  – within heterosexual intimate partnerships, women have a higher propensity for violence than men:

Doroszewicz, K., & Forbes, G. B. (2008).  Experiences with dating aggression and sexual coercion among Polish college students.  Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 23, 58-73.  (The CTS-2 was used to study dating aggression in a sample <men=100, women=100> of unmarried Polish college students.  Results reveal that women were overall significantly more aggressive than men <48% vs 35.6%>).

Straus, M. A. (2008).  Dominance and symmetry in partner violence by male and female university students in 32 nations.  Children and Youth Services Review, 30, 252-275.  (A convenience sample of 13,601 students <71.5% women, 28.5% men> at 68 universities in 32 countries completed the CTS2.  Findings reveal that almost a third of students assaulted their dating partners in a 12 month period.  In terms of initiation, mutual aggression accounted for 68.6% of physical violence, while women initiated violence 21.4% of the time and men initiated violence 9.9% of the time.)

Leung, P. & Cheung, M.  (2008).  A prevalence study on partner abuse in six Asian American ethnic groups in the USA.  International Social Work, 51, 635-649.  (A large sample of Asian Americans were surveyed with the original CTS in the greater Houston area of Texas.  Sample consisted of 1577 respondents: 610 Chinese, 517 Vietnamese, 154 Indians, 123 Koreans, 101 Filipinos and 72 Japanese.  In terms of partner abuse high rates were reported for Vietnamese (22.4%) and Filipinos (21.8%)and low rates for Japanese and Chinese (9.7%).  Overall women were more abusive than men (17.6% vs 15.3%).

If, according to science, women are more violent than men in their domestic relationships, how come our laws on domestic violence protect only women?

My idea of gender equality is legal equality. Anything beyond that is, in my opinion, gender biased. Violence should be criminalized regardless of who’s doing it. Apart from criminalizing male violence on females, you know what else I think could help reduce domestic violence?

Criminalizing female violence on males.

Unfortunately, misandry is not only tolerated in contemporary culture, sometimes it is even encouraged. Some radical feminist groups not only condone misandry and violence against men, they advocate it and laugh about it.

A popular feminist blog, Jezebel.com, published an article entitled, “Have You Ever Beat Up A Boyfriend, Uh, We Have.” Guess what it’s about! Right! How fun it is to hit boys who don’t hit back. Ironically, this article was what led me to the statistics on partner violence. Joan Arehart-Treichel’s article, “Men Shouldn’t Be Overlooked as Victims of Partner Violence,” was cited as a source.

Tracie Egan Morrisey writes (bold emphasis, mine):

“According to a study of relationships that engage in nonreciprocal violence, a whopping 70% are perpetrated by women. So basically that means that girls are beating up their BFs and husbands and the dudes aren’t fighting back. With Amy Winehouse busting open a can of whupass on her husband last week, we decided to conduct an informal survey of the Jezebels to see who’s gotten violent with their men. After reviewing the answers, let’s just say that it’d be wise to never ever fuck with us.

“One Jezebel got into it with a dude while they were breaking up, while another Jez went nuts on her guy and began violently shoving him. One of your editors heard her boyfriend flirting on the phone with another girl, so she slapped the phone out of his hands and hit him in the face and neck… “partially open handed.” Another editor slapped a guy when “he told me he thought he had breast cancer.”(Okay, that one made us laugh really hard.) And lastly, one Jez punched a steady in the face and broke his glasses. He had discovered a sex story she was writing about another dude on her laptop, so he picked it up and threw it. And that’s when she socked him. He was, uh, totally asking for it.”

Articles such as this one encourage women to beat up their boyfriends, postulating this behavior, violence against men, as a humorous, laughable norm and going as far as to cite a popular celebrity, Amy Winehouse as an “endorser” for nonreciprocal violence.

“On a Scale of 1 to 10, How Funny is a Mutilated Vagina?”
It is precisely because of this rising trend of misandry that a group of men have decided to fight back and make fun of violence perpetrated on a female, particularly a woman whose vagina was mutilated.

On July of 2011 an Orange County man drugged his wife, tied her up while she was unconscious, waited for her to wake up, then sliced pieces off her vagina and destroyed the severed organs by throwing them in a garbage disposal. Hosts from the show laughed at the idea of little vagina bits bouncing around in the garbage disposal. The all-male audience laughed with them!

I’m just kidding. That didn’t really happen. That will never happen. No man would dare laugh about violence done to a woman on television because such a display of barbarity would end his career and maybe even his life. If a group of men publicly laughs at the idea of torturing women via vaginal mutilation, the public would call for their heads. People would claim that these men deserved to die, or at the very least, they would clamor that all the men involved in the incident lose their jobs. These men might even be attacked by random strangers who would feel justified in beating the shit out of these assholes out of principle. There might be rallies, demonstrations and women’s rights activists all over television.

“On a Scale of 1 to 10, How Funny is a Mutilated Penis?”

But what if was the other way around? What if a bunch of women laughed about a man’s mutilated penis on television? I’m not kidding about that one. That really happened and will be discussed further in part 2.

 

(to be continued…)

 

All pictures taken from:

http://menareangrynow.wordpress.com/2009/11/25/through-a-mirror-bleakly/

Posted in Personal, Politics, SocietyComments (5)

Atheists of Color


Greta Cristina has made a list of prominent atheists of color to reflect the diversity of the atheist community:

If you’re helping to organize an atheist conference, and you want your conference to be more diverse and more reflective of the makeup of the atheist community? If you’re an atheist writer or activist, and you want your quotations/ citations/ blogroll/ etc. to be more diverse and more reflective of the makeup of the atheist community? If you’re simply part of the atheist community/ movement, and you want to be more familiar with the work of a wider range of atheists, a range that’s more diverse and more reflective of the makeup of the atheist community? Hopefully, this list will help.

By the way, person of color is used primarily in the United States, so here’s a brief definition from Wikipedia:

a term used, primarily in the United States, to describe all people who are not white. The term is meant to be inclusive among non-white groups, emphasizing common experiences of racism. People of color was introduced as a preferable replacement to both non-white and minority, which are also inclusive, because it frames the subject positively; non-white defines people in terms of what they are not (white), and minority frequently carries a subordinate connotation.[1] Style guides for writing from American Heritage,[2] the Stanford Graduate School of Business,[3] Mount Holyoke College,[4] recommend the term over these alternatives. It may also be used with other collective categories of people such as students of color or women of color.

Aside from getting more diversity in the atheist movement, Greta wants to address the impression (at least in the US) that most, if not all, atheists are white Americans. She addresses the issues and problems related to this in two separate posts.

As far as I know, there are two Filipinos on that list: me and Maggie Ardiente, director of development and communications, American Humanist Association; editor of Humanist Network News (AHA’s weekly e-zine). Filipino Freethinkers is also included on the list of organizations.

If you know of an individual or organization that should be on that list, please help Greta out by leaving the details in the comment section of that post.

Posted in SocietyComments (3)

Sex: Control and Consequences


“It’s good if the man agrees with you—then he controls himself.” (Maganda pag ok ang lalaki—siya na ang nagkokontrol.) Were the men controlling their sex drives? Or controlling their orgasms so as not to come inside their wives? I was struck by the language used by a group of urban poor women as our team of community researchers analyzed a video of a focus group discussion last week. The women were all non-users of modern contraception despite their desire to stop childbearing altogether.

pregnant bishopI think they meant both types of control. About half were doing rhythm, and the rest were on the withdrawal method. Almost all were keenly aware that their methods were not so reliable (hindi safe). One woman narrated how a severe hypertensive disorder (eclampsia) during her last pregnancy forced her to stay a month at a hospital to recover.

Men are in control. Women bear the consequences.

Will our society ever put an end to this glaring inequity? I think there is hope. When the group was asked if they thought it was a woman’s right to use contraceptives, all said “Yes!” in unison. None fingered the husband as the reason for non-use.

Gender equity and equality in the bedroom or banig are still far-off, but there are signs of progress. The 1987 Constitution vowed for the first time to “ensure the fundamental equality before the law of women and men.” Forcing sex on one’s spouse became an offence in the Anti-Rape Law of 1997. Women with college education have narrowed the gap between the number of children they want (average of 1.9) and the number they end up with (2.3), according to a 2008 survey. The 2009 Magna Carta of Women has mandated the State to “take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in all matters relating to marriage and family relations.” Reproductive Health bills based on the principles of human rights and reproductive rights have won broad public support in recent years.

There is hope. Except perhaps for the Catholic Church.

Popes, bishops and priests still lord over Catholic sexual moralities with strange antiquated rules. A man may spill his seed anytime with his wife, but not anywhere: rhythm method is moral, withdrawal is not.

The scientific stance about rhythm and withdrawal methods are way easier to comprehend and judge for truthfulness: both are more effective in preventing pregnancy than no method at all, but are less effective than modern methods like condoms, pills, injectables, IUDs, vasectomy and tubal ligation.

If women could become priests, bishops and popes, or if women could participate at the highest level of policymaking, would the Church remain so harsh and dogmatic about contraceptive methods? I suspect the answer is no, but I figure changes like these would take generations or centuries to occur.

Secular structures move faster. Filipino men approved women’s right to vote in a plebiscite in 1937. Less than eight decades later, we have had two women presidents. There are women in the Senate and House of Representatives; women justices of the Supreme Court; women governors and mayors; women managers of enterprises; women in practically all professions. Heck, even elementary pupils elect girls as classroom presidents! In this great social tide of building more egalitarian institutions, the Catholic Church stands firm resisting change.

In matters of sex, the Filipino family and the Church are quite similar. Men are in control. Women bear the consequences. But unlike the Church, each of us can change the family we belong to, or the one we plan to build and nurture.

The Church may be hopeless, but there is hope.

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The operations research of Likhaan Center for Women’s Health is ongoing at a large urban poor community in Letre, Malabon. Why some women like those in the focus group discussion (FGD) are not using contraceptives, and what can be done to help them are the key questions we hope to answer and share with you by year’s end. Nene facilitated the FGD I narrated above. Eric, Lina, Iday, Miriam and I are part of the team. Thanks to Monk for the idea on blurring the lines. Any and all errors in this article are of course mine.

Posted in Religion, SocietyComments (8)


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