America’s Next Bill Clinton!


Of love and masculinity

For the last few weeks, I’ve become more interested in exploring the theories of masculinity in feminism. This came after charges were brought up that I was still hanging on to male privilege – and that my tendency to compete, be violent and even my ambition to grab power and go into politics are signs of male privilege. Because of that, I will be exploring male privilege and masculinity a lot in my notes.

 

One thing I’ve noticed a lot – sometimes in my own life, but in other men’s lives, is their reaction to a rejection of love – and how, no matter how genuine they were in wanting to get to know someone, a rejection drives them into showing their masculinity.

It is, as if, a rejection of love is a challenge to their “manhood” and masculinity – speaking volumes of their maleness when they are rejected. More over, it also says something – coming from a male perspective, that they’re not manly enough and that they don’t have what it takes.

The rejected man, his ego and self emasculated, takes it upon himself then, to re-energize his manhood. How does he do this? He does this by being a womanizer. This does not always have to be about sex – but sometimes does include it. He has to prove to himself (not to others because the rest of the world probably doesn’t know or doesn’t give a damn) that, much like Stacy’s Mom, he still has it going on.

He has to prove to his close circle of friends that he still has it. That he can still get women – even if it just means them falling for him, and him rejecting them. This reinforces his masculinity and ability to attract women. I am not a fan of evolutionary psychology, but I think that there’s some truths hidden in that idea when mixed with masculinity.

This brings up a paradox: if women are seen as less than men, and if what is “feminine” – or belonging to women – is considered negativity, then why does a man, in his manhood, need a woman to elevate his status and to make him feel good about himself?

The reason I bring this up is that I am beginning to realize that masculinity can hurt us all. It hurts us in that our relationships and interactions aren’t defined by who we truly love or care for, but rather, how does our interaction with that person make us feel? Further, it also opens doors to less-than-desirable relationships, in which the purpose isn’t to nurture and to share and to love, but to boost one’s ego.Also – in such cases, the victims are also the women who fall for men who feel like they need to be with these women to feel boost their masculinity. When come to find out that they’re not in it for the love, but rather, their status, women are hurt.

Moreover – it does make one wonder: did this man want to get into the relationship with the original and supposedly true object of his affection because he truly felt something for her, or was it just to boost his masculinity?

Love, after all, isn’t defined by how you react if your romantic advances are welcomed. It’s how you react if your romantic gestures have been turned down.



Pornography, women, misogyny and feminism

I’d wanted to write about my recent examination of my own musculinity, violence, the struggle for power and the patriarchy, as a response to claims that I lacked (indeed I do) of self-examination, but I ran across something yesterday, after corresponding about musculinity and violence with Dr. Robert Jensen, a women’s studies professor, that I wanted to write about. More, tomorrow, on my recent discoveries of why my urges to fight for power through violent means are a direct result of male privilege and masculinity. For now, you get this.

As many of you know, I’ve become fascinated with research of pornography and how it effects our daily lives. I was in the middle of research when I found a slideshow that already had the things I was looking for. The link is below – and it’s upsetting.

http://www.yousendit.com/transfer.php?action=download&ufid=44490EB8214A0657

More than just objectifying women, porn also affects us in ways we’ve never really thought of before – in tells us what is sexy, what is desirable, and more importantly, how women should be viewed.

With porn, women are no longer seen as whole, complete people with feelings and minds, but rather, a vehicle for men’s pleasure. If we can separate fantasy from reality, is it wrong? The problem is when it starts becoming that prevelant in our culture, it’s hard to tell.

We start to buy into these ideas, and as a result, two things happen: women are harmed, in that they are seen as sex objects, and will become subjects of harrassments, bad relationships, and worst, rape.

Secondly, it doesn’t allow us to truly love one another – because we see our partners through the pornographic lense – they are all resemblences of what the porn industry portrays.

I have to admit – even as a pro-feminist male, I’ve gotten into the mindset of (in the past) women with whom I’d like to have sex, and women for whom I feel an affinity, and would like to know as a person. It’s the slut vs. good girls syndrome, and it pits women against one another.

The thing that most saddens me about porngraphy is that no one is spared. As you can see in this slide show, whether you are college student, school teacher, mother, wife, black, white, Asian, Latina – so long as you’re a woman, you are objectified.

Sex, no matter how kinky, is beautiful when it comes with respect and love. But these sex acts, especially when it comes with describing women as bitches, whores, dumb sluts and other adjectives, I have a problem with that. It’s hurtful, and it does not treat women as equals.

Feminism isn’t about just freedom to do whatever the hell we want. It’s the ability to free us all – from oppression, from a violent, male-dominated culture, from the social norms that have hurt us rather than free us



I just occured to me that the blog is being talked about over at another feminist board related to I Blame the Patriarchy – and negatively. I think it’s a wonderful things because while positive things makes us believe in what we say even stronger, the negative things force us to examine our beliefs.

Rather than addressing all the issues at the moment, I wanted to take time out to simply say that, perhaps, I was wrong all along and that i am sorry. Perhaps all the patients and teachings and devotion my WMST professors showed to me have gone to waste – and that rather than truly understanding the issues and seeing things from a true feminist view, I am still looking at the world from a very patriarchal view full of male privilege and the lack of true understanding.

I could (but wouldn’t) say that this is MY brand of feminism and no one has the right to critique it. But that would be the wrong thing to do. My intent is to become a better person in life, not to always be “right.”

Perhaps I ought to take more time to listen to the veterans of feminism – and those who come before me. Perhaps starting fights in bars for feminism isn’t such a great thing. Perhaps I only see it as effective because it’s a showing of my musculinity.

In any regard, I will be examining my personal life in the next weeks (and beyond), and perhaps with the patience and teachings of those who have truly understood why we fight, I can become a better person, and thereby affecting those around me to move to action as well.

Know that my intentions are good. It’s just that sometimes, caught in the passions of what I feel is right, I wear my heart on my sleeve and do not take enough time to examine the complexities of what it truly means to be a feminist.

I hope to learn, hear and be critiqued by you.



Gen Peter Pace is still an asshole and homophobe

This is funny. It really is funny. At work this morning, the thing that’s being passed arpimd is at the below link.

http://www.blackfive.net/main/2007/10/general-ret-pet.html.For those who can’t see the picture, it’s a note card written to his platoon, with four stars pinned on it. It says, “These are yours, not mine. With love and …”

Apparently, former Chief of Staff Peter Pace, who not once, but twice as CoS condemned homosexuals serving in the military and also made some very anti-women comments earlier in his career, put that below at the Vietnam Memorial in DC.

A little chubby Navy girl showed it to me and goes, “You read it, because if I read it, I’ll cry.”

It’s written to his platoon – many of whom died during the Vietnam War. It was written as a way to “honor them” saying that he owes them for these stars, and they made him who he is today.

Everyone was moved by it. I asked the question of why it’s so touching knowing that he is anti-women and anti-gays.

He was a leader of all troops, speaking out against homosexuality, equating it to adultery.

I am sorry – but being unfaithful to the person you love is wrong – and should be condemned, but two people in love, sharing the gift of love and touch and emotions is not wrong.

I wonder if he knew that some of those who died during the Vietnam War was gay, whether he would still have done what he did.

The military wants to talk about leadership and love and brotherhood – but it only applies if you’re straight, god-loving and buy into its ideals.

“People’s actions speak louder than their words, why are we moved by this bigot?” I asked.

She walked away and said, “You’re ignorant.”

Who’s really ignorant here – the person who will be moved by a gesture of a bigot, or one who recognizes the inconsistency in all of this? I vote for the former.

The fact of the matter is this: either these people in the military are really fucking dumb, or have been brainwashed. The logic is clear as day – you can’t be a leader and appreciate your troops, unless you accept for who they are. As a leader, you lead all people – just not the people you don’t see as being sinful.

Peter Pace can go fuck himself too, now that he’s retired. Sometimes, war is a good thing – it weeds out people like that.



My disenchantment with the military

It’s a one-percent chance, but I could get out of the Army as early as next week. It was a decision made in the heat of emotions – and it’s a decision, if the paperwork goes through, is one of the best decisions in my life.

This morning at work, I was asked again, about my re-enlistment and whether or not I planned on signing it. In short, I told them that the Army was no longer my passion – that there are changes I’d like to see in the world, and that I found the military to be useless in my vision for the world.

A co-worker shot up and said that that I wasn’t honoring my commitment and that if it wasn’t for the military, I wouldn’t be able to be able to do the activism for the “stupid feminism and gay rights shit” that I do.

It turned into a screaming match, me telling the Army people to go fuck themselves and them telling me that I am cutting and running, and that I don’t truly believe in America or freedom.

I’d argued that I spent the past six years of my life wasting it away in the military, when I could have done so much more for the world. They shot back in saying that the military is an honorable profession and that they were the true defenders of freedom. I told them they were stupid and hypocrites, for getting angry over the flag being trampled upon, but do nothing when the Constitution gets trampled upon.

To make a long story short, I was asked if I could get out of the Army right now, whether I’d agree to it. I did.

It was supposed to be a challenge to me – I was supposed to say it was only my emotions. But it’s not. It’s truly how I feel.

The easy way in life would be for me to spend the rest of my career in the Army. The money would be good. I am good at what I do – I am well known and respected – and I can get a job anywhere I want. In fact, I was once offered a job as the press secretary to the Secretary of the Army. So, yes, I know I’ve got the skills.

But in the end, it’s not about me. It’s about changing the world. It’s about making other people’s lives better. Too often, people get caught up in their American Dream that they forget about others. My America dream is to ensure that others get theirs.

So, yes, the Army can take its God and country and values and religion and go fuck themselves with it.

I doubt the paperwork will go through, but if it does, then good. If not, then by January or February, I’d be a civilian anyway.

Too often, people make the safe decisions in life. Decisions that benefit them and their lives.

A girl once told that I need to think of myself more – and not to be so selfless. What she didn’t understand – and what very few people understand – is that in working for human rights and social justice, I AM thinking of myself – because I wouldn’t be able to live with myself or be emotionally satisfied if I did anything else.

Besides, I am talented. I’ve got jobs lined up. An ambassador today said to give him a call if I needed help with looking for a job, too. I don’t fucking need the military. It can go fuck itself.



I am not a feminist, but …

Really, why are some young women so reluctant to identify themselves as feminists?

We met in a women’s bathroom at a gay club. A few friends and I had gone to an AIDS fundraiser earlier that night, and decided to drop by the Wave for drinks. Having to go to the bathroom and a bit sloshed, I announced that I had to pee. Someone suggested that I used the women bathroom instead, because I was considered “fresh meat” for one reason or another in the men’s bathroom.

A friend was nice enough to walk me into the women’s bathroom, and there I met and shook hands (after we both washed of course) with a nice young woman from VCU. After about an hour of meeting and talking to her in the bathroom, I ran into her again. She was extremely attractive, so I continued our conversation.

Upon minding out I am a women’s studies major and feminist, she said, “I am not a feminist, but …” and started listing a long list of reasons for women’s rights.

In my extremely fogged up mind, I recalled an article I’d read as a freshman in my women’s studies class called, “Feminism: Why Young Women Get the Willies.”

If I can recall correctly, the reason for it is that young women are afraid of the stigma that comes with feminism – the image of bra-burning, man-hating, armpit-non-shaving, head-shaving, dyke. They were, as the article said, also afraid that they had to give up their sexuality for feminism – that, somehow, calling oneself a feminist means that one could no longer love a member of the opposite sex.

So, why is it, I still wonder, that so many young college women are afraid of being labelled as feminists? I contend that it’s because of the above false image of feminists – that somehow feminists are strange creatures; we hate sex; we hate men (I do, anyway); and we hate anything that’s normal.

While I hold these beliefs to be false, my question is this: even if they were true, so what?

Take away those actions and behaviors and feminism is left with love, compassion, empathy, equality and a sense of responsibility, in making the world a better place. What’s so bad about it?

Yet, time and time again, I run across women (and men) who take feminist positions, but never want to describe themselves as feminists for fear of shame.

The truth is you should never be ashamed of your work in trying to make the world a better place. You should never have to apologize for the desire to work toward equality and social justice. In fact, you ought to be very proud of it. I am proud of you for it.

The next time the conversation comes up, proudly and emphatically claim yourself as a feminist – and answer with a loud and resounding “Yes,” if anyone ever asked you whether you are a feminist.

Bill Clinton was right when he said, “There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what’s right with America.” You are everything that’s right with America.

On that note – I want a “This Is What A I-Am-Not-A-Feminist But looks like” t-shirt. 😀



I got a job offer from a pro-choice organization.

Bam! There you have it, baby! Forgive me for gloating, but I think I just shut some doubters up about my ability to sustain myself after I get out of the Army.

My parents, the Army and conservative “friends” have been worried – how will I survive after the Army? Here’s how: you get a job offer without even having to submit a resume. People remember me and see my work and ability and skills and drive and passion and intelligence!

To be sure, I’d already had a low-paying intership offer up in DC. But today, after a few days of being in contact with a prominent pro-choice organization to volunteer for them, and after conversations with them, I’ve been offered a job in the public relations/strategic communications department for this organization …this pays well enough, and it allows to continue my passion, stay in the DC/NoVA area and still finish school. That’s how you build a political career!

A few months ago, the Army offered me $25,000 to re-enlist …and pushed me to sign the paperwork as the “window was closing” on that bonus. I declined. Although I’ve not officially accepted this job, as I am exploring other possibilities, I can officially tell the Army to take their $25,000 and shove it.

This should shut my parents the hell up, too. Although I am sure someone is going to come along and tell me that I will be making my living killing babies. :0)

I get to work in an area of interest, something I am passionate about and I get paid for it? This is not work – it’s pure pleasure – with a condom, of course – as one of my jobs will be to promote contraception vs. abstinence!