If you will bear with me for a few sentences, I will eventually come to the point of how I personally came to a pro-choice position at 8 years old. My life is often influenced by the experiences of my past and this memory was recently brought to the surface. I personally enjoy the intricate set up of a story, my personal creative process and the moment of opportunity to contemplate the speculative.
by Sarah Roberts
You may have seen the trigger warnings on articles posted at this blog, or on your Facebook newsfeed. Not sure what trigger warnings are?
Triggers warnings are an explicit statement that a following piece of media contains descriptions, language, or imagery that some may find disturbing, or ‘triggering’; i.e. likely to induce an extremely emotionally distressing response such as posttraumatic flashbacks, anxiety, or a strong urge to self-harm.
By Anna Blue
So it’s not like any of us didn’t expect it. There’s been so much name-calling and political sassing in Congress in the last couple months that a government shutdown was bound to happen. Especially after conservative Indiana Representative told the Washington Examiner on October 2, “We’re not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this.
**The following is an excerpt from the Higher Unlearning post 'Understanding Boys, Understanding Girls'**
I spoke at a conference in Toronto back in 2012 where my mission was to hang with a group of Grade 4 boys, all day. All. Day. Just me.
These boys from various parts of the city settled in, as their educators then went into their own day session.
PAVE's National Campus Sexual Assault Summit: Prevention, Empowerment, and Policy
Featuring Sarah Rice from MTV's The Real World
WHAT: National nonprofit PAVE (Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment) present the National Campus Sexual Assault Summit: Prevention, Empowerment, and Policy, webcast live to 300 colleges nationwide from Georgetown University Law Center, with MTV’s Sarah Rice, among other guests.
WHEN: Friday, September 27, 2013…
Just the other day I attended a fundraising kick off for the Melrose Alliance Against Violence's annual Candlelight Vigil and Walk. It is an event held every year in October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness month, to raise funds for programs and resources in effort to break the cycle of violence. MAAV has been a huge support to me, and continues to be, as I continuously cope with being a sexual assault survivor.
Man up and grow a pair; woman up and grow a vagina?
Both are daunting psychological demands, let alone biologically challenging feats. The first tautological taunt reflects an empty, ridiculing reaction to (usually) male emotional vulnerability. The second I've rarely heard. Since when is acting 'like a woman' and having a vagina aspirational, particularly for men? Of course neither unsympathetic suggestion is in any way useful in engaging with another person's problems.
"I am very aware that I’m another woman writing about ‘the crisis of masculinity’, not that I’d like to call it that. The Guardian recently published an article about the prevailing absence of men from debates about their own gender; public females, often figureheads for feminism, are speaking out about masculinity more and more, but their rallying cries are often met with stoic male silence. As the article says, this doesn’t have to be the case, and hopefully won’t continue to be."At MasculinityU, we certainly believe in ending that silence and will continue to work to do so. Please check out Sophie Hemery's blog post and continue to follow her writing. She has a powerful perspective and will undoubtedly emerge as a prominent voice in this space.
”To the middle class, white, socially concerned activist who wears a shirt emblazoned with those slogans, you are wrong. I know you wear that shirt to stand in solidarity with Trayvon, Troy, and other victims of injustice. The purpose of those shirts is to humanize these victims of our society, by likening them to the middle class white activist wearing it. And once we’ve humanized the victims, this proves to us the arbitrariness of their deaths and thereby the injustice at play. But the fact of the matter is that these men’s deaths are anything but arbitrary. The fact that the real Troy Davis and Trayvon Martin and countless other victims of oppression are buried under 6 feet of cold dirt while we middle class white activists are alive, marching, and wearing their names is an indication that our societal system is working exactly as it’s intended.” - Emma Halling, March 2012
My brothers are black. That often throws people off when we talk about our family, but it is true. In March of 2012, I was initiated into the Pi Lambda chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated. The five distinguished men who were on that line with me are five of the people that I am closest to in this world. They know that they can call me up day or night and I will drop what I am doing if they need me. They do the same for me. They have been there for me in my darkest moments. They have shown me love and compassion that I thought couldn’t exist beyond the blood bonds of family. They have shown me the true meaning of solidarity and brotherhood.
Around the same time that my line brothers and I were having one of the most transformative and rewarding experiences of our life, Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman. Many young people rallied around his parents in a call for justice. We marched. We took to social media. We demanded that Zimmerman be apprehended and be put on trial.
On Twitter many, myself included, took to using the hashtag #IAmTrayvonMartin and demanding #JusticeForTrayvon. One young woman saw it a little differently though. Emma Halling, a young activist, took to YouTube with a compelling message for people like me (that is to say her white, middle class peers). She called us out for identifying with Trayvon when in reality we needed to check our privilege and recognize that we had more in common with George Zimmerman. On that account, I don’t disagree with her. I am tremendously privileged. As a white man in America, my cup runneth over with societal privilege. I am also tremendously fortunate, like Emma was, to have had life experiences that led me to question societal norms and the status quo.
I’m encouraged by the dialogue that she spurred with her video last year and also fascinated by the “We Are Not Trayvon Martin” meme that has taken hold in the past few days. To see men and women of different colors and creeds name their privilege and talk about how they are honoring Trayvon’s memory, is something that is powerful. Still, I’m conflicted. Try as I might, I can’t fully sign on to that line of thinking. While I recognize that the systems in place in our country treat us differently and in ways that are unbelievably unfair to men of color, I still have a desire to identify with the hopeful young soul who was gunned down tragically.
For me, it boils down to the concept of Ubuntu that Archbishop Desmond Tutu explains so eloquently:
“In our country we’ve got something called ubuntu. When I want to praise you, I say this person has ubuntu. Because in our culture there is no such thing as a solitary individual. We say a person is a person through other persons. That we belong in the bundle of life. And I want you to be all you can be, because that’s the only way I can be all I can be. I need you! I need you to be you so that I can be me.” -Archbishop Tutu, October 2007
For me to live a full life and feel completely whole, I need to see the humanity of Trayvon or that of my line brothers. Just because they were born black and I was born white and we were both born into a system that grossly favors me over them, doesn’t give me the right to say “I am not them”.
I refuse to believe that we are not Trayvon Martin. Because as long as young men of color are not safe to walk the streets in peace, none of us are whole.
By Jonathan Kalin, founder of Party with Consent
“To be a man, is to be responsible,” – Antoine de Saint Exupery
My father died in a car accident when I was 12 years old. While I was old enough to understand that this spontaneous event would have monumental significance, I was unaware of how much my father’s passing would affect my understanding of masculinity as I grew during my formative teenage years.
As an only child, there was an immediate void of masculine guidance. Masculinity was something I would have to develop an understanding of without a consistent interaction with older men. That said, this did not attribute to a void of love. Experiencing the death of her father at a young age, my mother did everything in her power to teach me how to be a man, while simultaneously being my mother and my father.
We quickly found that certain educational moments between father and son were nearly impossible to duplicate as mother and son.We learned and struggled together as I grew up and grappled with things many take for granted like learning how to shave or how I was supposed to talk to women at school
Still, in her commitment to my development, she taught me more than I could have ever asked for. She showed me that , no matter what happens to you or what predicament you find yourself in, there is something you can do about it. So even if her husband died suddenly, she could still be my support system on her own. And for me, even if statistics show that 71% of high school dropouts grew up in fatherless homes, with my mother as my foundation, I knew I didn’t have to become a statistic.
My respect for my mother grew into a strong respect for all women in the world. When media and peers at prep school consistently portrayed women as objects or lesser than men, I always knew that something wasn’t right because of the strength that my mother portrayed day-in and day-out.
And in that strength, I learned from my mother how to be a man. See, being a man isn’t about shaving. It’s not about making rape jokes. It’s not even about having a dick. It is about accountability. It is about responsibility. And it is about doing our part to leave this world better than how we found it.
I didn’t just magically arrive at this point. It has been a journey and a struggle and it will continue to be. Going into my freshman year of college, I didn’t define myself as a feminist. I didn’t define myself as an activist on gender issues. I actually didn’t even define myself as a man.
Blinded by my male privilege, I typically didn’t notice my gender.
This all changed the winter of my freshman year, when a friend of mine shared with me their story of surviving a sexual assault on campus. At the time, I thought sexual violence was something that happened in a dark alleyway, not at the campus of an elite liberal arts college for the leaders of tomorrow.
That was the catalyst that spurred me to act. I was a part of the inaugural class of Male Athletes Against Violence which is currently the only anti-violence group at my college. Now, I am entering my second year as president of this organization (since re-named Mules Against Violence)
Unfortunately, some people still think that sexual violence is a women’s issue and not one for men to consider. For years, people have been asking women why they got sexually assaulted for years. We are asking the wrong question. We need to stop portraying women as weak. We need to stop “blaming the victim”. We need to start focusing on men,, the perpetrators in 90% of sexual assaults, and considering ‘why did you sexual assault?’ It’s time for men to step up and be responsible.
That’s how my story ends today. Excited to see how it continues tomorrow. And the greatest thing about this movement is – you don’t need an intricate story. All you need to believe is “To be a man, is to be responsible.”
Jonathan Kalin is the President of Mules Against Violence at Colby College and the founder of Party With Consent.
Let’s talk about feminism. What is it?
According to the Mirriam-Webster dictionary, it has two non-medical definitions:
1: the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
2: organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests
Look at that #1 definition. Equality of the sexes. Nowhere does it list misandry, man-bashing, or the destruction of family.