#MasculinitySoFragile

The above hashtag made headlines for all the right and wrong reasons. Its original purpose was to have a frank and honest conversation about the changing notions of gender in general, and masculinity in particular. However, many people on Twitter took it as an affront to men. What did they read? #MenSoWussy? That was NOT the hashtag, and NOT the intention. Anyway, considering the changes in the notions of manliness, why is masculinity perceived so fragile, anyway? Much of this can be blamed on a marketing campaign towards men, to get them to use things apparently not perceived as “manly,” like soap or trail mix. (Seriously? A clean man will more likely get a woman.) But seriously, what is masculinity and why do men need it? More importantly, why did the above hashtag get coined and used in the first place?

Let’s start with the concept of masculinity. What makes a man a man? A man is described as somebody with male sex characteristics. Assuming that my readers know what those are, masculinity is very simple, and very strong. What we are talking about is the connotations of masculine behavior, and nothing else. Masculinity is very undefined, but apparently it means “tough,” “violent” and “not gay.” Of course, when men say “gay,” it usually means “effeminate,” or “like a woman.” (What makes you think gay men are effeminate, anyway? The Birdcage? That is a stereotype.) I’m not including any right or wrong arguments about lifestyle, though. Those do not help the cause of manliness, which seems so threatened by women.

What is so threatening about women anyway? Our emotions? Please do not tell me that men do not have emotions, too. The outcome of any professional sports team’s game can affect morale for a man until the next game, either positive or negative. My case in point: the University of Kentucky Men’s Basketball Team had an undefeated regular season, and was on its way to winning the NCAA basketball championship when it was stopped by the Wisconsin Badgers. Of course, the fanfare and camaraderie leading through the season was loud and boisterous. But, when the Badgers beat the Wildcats, the mood was so silent, I felt a societal pressure to change out my UK purse to another one in my bags. My point is, a sports team’s outcome can affect morale around local businesses so much. Please do not say that men do not have emotions; it is just not true. So, what is threatening about women? The fact that we can get you to like us? Well, liking is a two-way street. In general, we like you, too. So what is exactly threatening about women? That is so undefined, I cannot even describe it now. Unless it is the “different” factor, of course. Curiosity and bravery are important virtues which can remedy the fear of difference.

But let me get back to masculinity and femininity. Many feminists regard the idea that masculinity is toxic, but what exactly is toxic about masculinity, anyway? Masculinity is, apparently, the opposite of femininity, because that is the only definition I can come up with. One of the main polarizations of this masculine/feminine divide is where the genders stand on crying. For instance, crying is apparently feminine. Men, according to Jeff Foxworthy, whose viewpoint I can trust on this, have been trained not to cry. See above statement about crying as to why. But the truth is, if men cried a little bit more, I think they would live longer, and maybe as long as women. It is a given that most women live longer than men. In less advanced cultures, the difference is a mere two years, but in industrialized cultures, the difference can be up to eight years. My own experience is that men often encounter health problems earlier as well. For men in the US, the average heart attack risk age is 55; for women, 65. Personally, I think this is relevant because bottling up your emotions, which is apparently masculine behavior, is unhealthy, and therefore, toxic.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not putting down men in general. You are strong, beautiful and self-sufficient creatures which most women tend to love. What I am not fond of is the bottling up of emotions and apparent disrespect of emotions and emotional people in general in the name of strength and toughness. If men can find a safe place to vent their less-pleasant emotions, it would be grand. It would lead to better health, greater understanding, and, let’s face it, living longer lives. We of the #MasculinitySoFragile hashtag users want to help you live long and prosper. So what’s the animosity towards that?

ADDENDUM

I forgot to add the main point about #MasculinitySoFragile: Truth is, masculinity is only as fragile as you let it be. For example, if your masculinity is threatened by a Pomeranian, it’s pretty fragile. If the little doggie does not threaten it, it’s not that fragile, now is it?

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Are There Levels of Humanity???

Contrasting: the act of seeing how different two or more events or people are. It’s usually good when used on events in order to create a better outcome, but not when it’s used to determine if a person is really worth listening to. Contrasting two people to determine which one is more “worthy of life,” or more “human,” is wrong. It is exactly what led to such atrocities as slavery, genocide, and much of the police brutality we see going on even today. But if we ignore it, contrasting and assigning lower levels of humanity to the different is going to continue, like a deadly mold allowed to grow and take lives.

Here are a few things people compare to decide how “human” a person is:

  1. Age
  2. Race
  3. Gender
  4. Nationality
  5. Sexual Preference
  6. Ability to function “without difficulty”
  7. Adherence to gender norms
  8. Moral standing
  9. Income Level
  10. Adherence to Beauty Standards, especially in Body Type

*(Note about moral standing: I adhere to a Christian moral code, but I know not everybody does. However, a British-based Protestant Capitalist is generally the description of those in power, so their codes are usually the ones used to compare their so-called humanity levels.)

Anyway, I have determined that these levels of humanity lowered because of difference is just plain harmful to society, no matter who is doing the comparison. What would an alien race decide to do with us if they discovered this intersectionality among us? Would they allow humans to live, or would they eradicate us because our thinking would be determined a detriment? I shudder to think of the consequences. All people, no matter how different, are humans, and not one is “life unworthy of life,” as those advancers of intersectionality the Nazis put it.

Politics: Choosing Between a Douchebag and a Turd Sandwich

Midterm Voter Turnout Drops to 72-Year Low: March 20, 2015

The above headline is quite predictable, in my viewpoint. The trouble is, this is the nation which gave birth to modern democracy, in which everybody has a say in their political process – at least since 1975, when most people above 18 have been given “permission” to participate in the process. I have always cherished my right to vote, no matter how hard a person has had to fight and wait for it. Why don’t people use their right to vote? I believe there is a real set of reasons people are disillusioned and disenfranchised – they think their vote does not make a difference. However, there are some reasons why a woman like me might not want to participate in the process:

Most political ads tell you who to vote against, but who am I supposed to vote for? There are usually more than two people running for the office. For instance, I cannot remember the name of the Republican running for Attorney General of Kentucky, but I certainly know about Andy Beshear, the Democrat. (I may even vote for Andy Beshear if I don’t get someone telling me who the Republican candidate is – just to set the haters off!)

Both sides, left AND right, can get to downright screaming and mudslinging. I mean, let’s take the Kentucky Governor’s race. Do I vote for Matt Bevin, a pathological liar, or Jack Conway, Obama’s nasty little minion? I think South Park got the dilemma right when one of their kids refused to vote because the choice was between a Douchebag and a Turd Sandwich.

Nobody wants to talk to me, the independent. Currently, I am a registered Republican, but I am not a pure Republican – maybe it’s because I am a woman, or an autistic? Who knows? Most of the ads and speeches are used to “energize the base” to vote and cancel out the other guys, but who is wanting to try and change minds? I would like to hear a speech or see an ad based on that.

So, which would you like to choose for a leader: A douchebag or a turd sandwich? I think the system, as it is currently, is designed to disillusion and disenfranchise the regular voter, even more so than things like, say, society and Jim Crow laws did in the South. I currently used examples running around in Kentucky, but feel free to apply your own disillusioning political race.

I Am Autism

My Autistic Dance

You don’t know me.

You see me sit, rocking.
You hear me talk to myself,
Repeating phrases from the TV.
You watch my hands as they flap
And touch. Seemingly random,
My patterns escape your notice.

You don’t know me.

You see me on the edges,
Quiet, listening but not speaking.
You hear my outbursts:
Violent eruptions of sound and motion.
You note my non-compliance
With black marks in your ledgers.

You don’t know me.

You try to change me,
Remake me in your own image.
You teach me that I am broken.
You punish me for being myself.
You make me fearful and anxious,
Afraid to break your rules.
You drive me deep inside myself.

You don’t know me.

You don’t empathize with me.
You don’t learn about me.
You don’t try to understand me.
You fear me, hurt me, hate me.
You don’t love me: if you did,

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Hey, Look Over Here! I’m a Usable Resource!

I just saw a news interview from my local Autism Society (of the Bluegrass) for their Autism Walk. I’m not involved with the Autism Society as much as my mother used to be…but I believe their hearts are in the right place. My mother and I did not have a good initial meeting with them, but I would like to be more involved, because I realize they have the best of intentions for people like me. Here is why:

  1. When the newscaster said “eradicate” autism, it was not further discussed. That is a viewpoint I respect.
  2. The leaders involved seem to push supports and involvement in society.
  3. They mentioned there is still very little true information out there on autism, since autism is still very unknown (except by us autistic adults and children).
  4. They did not mention the debates on causes.
I may be just some autistic adult, but I think I can give them insider information as a resource usually not exploited, which is the autistic adult. Granted, I do not have a psychology degree, but that hopefully will soon be remedied. What I have, however, is a voice and a life which has been affected, negatively AND positively by autism. Why don’t the psychologists and parents ask us autistic people what we are thinking, instead of trying to guess? We have the insight you guys are looking for, and most of us are verbal, and will tell you. This begs the question, how will you find us? Don’t worry; many of us will tell you about our autism when it becomes relevant.
Ask me anything about autism. Chances are, I know a few things.

Better Off Dead?

http://www.vox.com/2015/9/17/9346685/republican-debate-trump-autism

Wow. Thanks a lot, Donald Trump. You have reiterated why I have to go over the same ground in the war for my safety and the safety of others like me. I know I am autistic. I just do not want to be pathologized, pitied and feared for it. Calling autism an “Epidemic” and “out of control” makes it sound scarier and harder than it really is. Do you have any reason why I find that offensive? I find it offensive because it makes me feel like a tragedy. I know I should not listen to people like you, but you invade my head and make tunnels in my brain. You make me think I ought to get off the planet, because that is the only way I can make it a better place. How do I put this? I am not going to get off the planet for you. I am not a tragedy. I am not a burden. I don’t know what I have to do, or how much money I have to make for you to value me, but I am glad I don’t have to prove my value to you. I prove my value to those who really care about me every single day, and none of them are you.

Let me bring up another point to this debate: Leaving aside the fact that the so-called link between autism and vaccines has been left unduplicated, debunked and left the man who published the study without a medicine license, you, Jenny McCarthy and the anti-vaxxers are simply saying this, by withholding vaccines from diseases that maim and kill:

“My child is better off dead or maimed than autistic.”

Thank you very much, Donald Trump. You have proven to me that your reliance on emotional anecdotes and wanton ignorance of science and medicine knows no bounds, and your tongue knows not the poison it carries and strikes into the hearts of your followers.