men, masculinities and gender politics

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Keeping the “hard” in hardware. Thoughts on the every-day sexism of home repair.

It seems to me that few business establishments remain as traditionally gendered as the hardware store. (The auto garage is another testosterone-infused place.) And while I truly love doing home renovation projects, walking into a hardware store often makes me feel like I have stepped back a few decades in time. In most hardware stores, the men are still considered to be

More than just a whore. (On society’s ambivalence toward porn stars and sex workers.)

Recently there was some controversy about a program in Southern California that brings celebrity-types into school classrooms to read to kids. It turns out that they invited an actress named Marina Ann Hantzis to come to Emerson Elementary School in Compton. Hantzis has appeared in a recent Steven Soderbergh movie, and she has had a recurring role in the HBO show Entourage.

Swiper, no swiping! What “Dora the Explorer” can (and cannot) teach us about responding to domestic violence.

I have a little one at home. As a result of this fact, “Dora the Explorer” has become a rather frequent visitor to our house. For those who don’t know her, Dora is a cartoon character: a four year-old Latina who goes on all sorts of adventures near her Central American jungle home. But she travels around the world as well. Sometimes she even goes under the sea, and also into outer space!

Want to avoid getting in trouble for sexual harassment? Don’t be an idiot. And don’t be a predator.

Sexual harassment by a male politician is again in the news, and this time it threatens to derail the “Cain Train” campaign of U.S. presidential candidate Herman Cain. Just the sheer number of women who have come forward to accuse Mr. Cain is beginning to look pretty damning.

What’s the *real* “boy crisis”? That they will soon find themselves having to compete with girls on a truly level playing field.

For the past several years there has been a lot of talk about a “boy crisis” in education. As I will explain, this “crisis” is a myth. But there is another potential crisis for men and boys that is occurring right now. And that is the fact that things are changing fast. Very fast.

“Sitting on a million bucks.” (We want to see Lindsay Lohan naked. Even if it kills her.)

Warning: this post contains graphic language.

This week the news was full of reports that the actress Lindsay Lohan has accepted nearly a million dollars (US) to pose nude for Playboy. And it is reported that the pictures will be explicit, showing her breasts, butt, and vagina.

The pseudo-progressive man: Like the crane flower, attractive but toxic.

The crane flower, also known as the bird of paradise, is a fantastic-looking, vibrantly colored plant that spreads its gorgeous petals and uses their seductive beauty to get birds to come to help it to reproduce. Because of its great beauty and its unique appeal, the plant is immensely popular with gardeners. However, it is also toxic. Too much contact with it can bring on abdominal pain and nausea.

When is a rape not a rape? When the FBI says so.

This week the New York Times reported that the definition of rape that the Federal Bureau of Investigation uses to produce the Uniform Crime Report is so limited that it actually suppresses the number of rapes that are officially reported in the United States. In fact, when law enforcement agencies submit their figures to the feds, the FBI routinely excludes a large number of these assaults from the final national

“Class warfare” and “male bashing”: Tales told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Even though I do not currently live in the USA, I am paying relatively close attention to the political conversations that are occurring there. After all, what happens in the USA deeply affects the rest of the world, even though some people who live there seem relatively oblivious to this fact.