Category Archives: equality

One Leg at a Time

WOW…seriously???  I mean…seriously???  Dockers, what are you thinking?  Take a look at this new ad campaign that Dockers is putting out there and tell me what you think:

So is it that Dockers is of the opinion that their pants will somehow make men more “manly”.  I hate that this campaign is calling for a return to the days when a woman’s place was in the home cooking dinner and minding the kids and that men are the ones doing “real work.”  And that somehow our world has gone off its tracks and landed in a feminized (and therefore chaotic and broken) world that could be fixed with a healthy dose of testosterone.  If only we could go back to a time when men were in charge then the world would be one big Shangri-la (but not in a frilly, fluffy, emotional way – that wouldn’t be manly).  I get that the ad is trying to be funny.  However, funny sexism is still sexism.  It is just more palatable and easier to dismiss as harmless.

I happen to have a different opinion of what is wrong with the world today.  Try this on for size.  I feel that society has lost its way, at least in part, not because of feminization but because far too many men can’t (or won’t) let go of the past.  Far too many men have remained in a state of suspended animation – frozen in that mindset that men work so they don’t have to have a hand in child rearing and house cleaning.  Well fellas, women work too (they always did – we just didn’t call it that).  In most families today both parents have full time jobs outside the home.  Gone are the days of the bread winner and care taker roles.  Nowadays, both parents need to share the responsibility of raising the children and maintaining the house.  Unfortunately, many men have been reluctant to engage and the results have been catastrophic.  We know that something has to change, but many men are afraid of that change.  We have a fear of the unknown.  Unfortunately while we are “sitting idly by” cities do crumble and children do misbehave.   In my opinion, you can add to that list that family relationships crumble.  Children are forced to raise themselves (or let their television or X-Box do it).  Divorce rates skyrocket and children’s grades plummet.  How about things like childhood obesity? Dating violence? Self mutilation?  Is it possible that they are also symptoms of this larger problem?  I think so.

Please don’t mistake this for male bashing or that I am blaming all men for the world’s problems.  I certainly am not.  After all, I am a man and I know plenty of other men that are wonderful partners and fathers.  I also know a large number of men that aren’t meeting their potential as partners and fathers because they feel like they cannot be masculine and be a loving and engaged partner and father at the same time.  I can certainly understand that.  The messages men receive from all around us is that men are supposed to be anything but engaged and loving.  Most men, I feel, are at a crossroads.  We feel like it isn’t safe to be authentic, yet we can see that problems in our families, in our schools and in our communities has reached critical mass.

It is time for men to engage, in meaningful ways, in our families and in our communities.  It is not enough to bring home a paycheck and make sure the yard looks nice.  Those things are important, but they will not ensure that the world our children and grandchildren will live in will be a place of equal opportunity for everyone where people’s differences are celebrated rather than shunned.  I truly believe that the majority of men in this world want to be really great guys (and often are).  What I think we need is a way to bring these men together so that we can meet one another (either in person or online) and see that we are not alone and that we can be considered masculine by our peers.  That would be the permission we need to be more visible as engaged partners and fathers.  That is why I started Responsible Men in the first place.  Now all I need is guys who are willing to take that small step forward to say “I am one of the Responsible Men.”  Are you willing to be that guy?

If the world were set up so that men could feel safe about being authentic I imagine it would be a very different place.  I imagine in that world the advertisements might look something like this:

Maybe a good place to start is to recognize that regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, religion or any other ways we classify people, we all put our pants on one leg at a time.

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Falling on Tone Deaf Ears

Well, well, well…Reebok, it seems, has themselves a new product called the EasyTone running shoe.  It is said to use “balance ball inspired technology” to get “better legs and a better butt with every step.”  So, how do you market this miracle shoe???   Take a look:

OR this one:

I wanted to discuss this from a couple of different angles.  First, and the most obvious, these ads objectify and sexualize women.  Like so many ad campaigns before this one, Reebok has bought into the idea that sex sells.  In this case it is fitness wrapped in sex.  In addition, the entire ad campaign spews the message that if you buy these shoes then men will be “speechless” (meaning they will be too busy staring at your body to bother talking to you) and other women will be jealous.  Is that what being a woman is all about?  Attracting men and making other women green with envy with by having a firm backside???  I don’t think so.  Yet Reebok would like you to think so.  Even Oprah is getting in on the act…YES OPRAH.  It is plastered on the Reebok EasyTone website.  Take a look…

While you were on their website you might have noticed another video.  In case you missed it, here it is:

…which beings me to part 2.  It bothers me that men in many ads (and other forms of media) are often portrayed as being mindless and only thinking about one thing – SEX.  Now some of you may be saying that men really do think about sex all the time or that it is in our genetic make-up and we can’t help it.  My response to that is that might be true to a degree.  After all, we are sexual beings and we survive as a species by having sex and making more of us.  However, we are not without the ability to choose when and where we are sexual.  If this were not the case then people everywhere would be having sex in places like the cereal aisle at the grocery store.  We’d have to step over naked, writhing bodies in the throws of passion to grab a box of Fruit Loops.  It would be like like seeing two dogs going at it in the park or one dog going at it with a basketball or your leg.  AND IT WOULD SEEM NORMAL!!!  But we don’t and it isn’t because we were also born with the ability to choose – free will.  We get to choose how we respond in any given situation.  Unfortunately, we are socialized to believe otherwise.  We are told what is masculine and what is feminine by society.  Society tells us that “boys will be boys”  and “nice guys finish last” and “diamonds are a girls best friend” and “girls just wan to have fun” and millions of other messages that slowly but surely define gender in very narrow terms.

If we can agree on that, then it is concerning when companies like Reebok produce ads that portray men as being mindlessly and completely sexually-minded – as if that part of us never shuts off and that we are powerless over its constant influence on us.   This is just as problematic as portraying women as sexual objects.  It is when these two things are working in concert that potential danger becomes reality.  It is in the space where men buy into the notions that they must to be hypersexual AND that women are objects that exist for men’s pleasure and enjoyment that sexual violence lives.  If men view women as sex objects and men are told that men are judged by their sexual conquests (quantity or quality), then it stands to reason that some men will go to great lengths to prove they are a “real man” – including rape.  Also, if it appears that there are no real consequences for their “hyper-masculine” behavior (i.e. staring at a women’s bodies, cat calling, groping, forceful sex, etc.) then why would these men stop?  What is stopping them from committing a rape?  ***Please note that I am NOT saying that all men behave in this way.  In reality it is a very small number of men that do these things, but it is these behaviors that have come to define all masculinity.

I decided to look into Reebok’s philosophy as a company to see what they stand for (if anything other than making money).  What I found is worth sharing.  I found that Reebok is owned by Adidas Group.  Adidas Group, who also owns Taylor Made Golf, has a very strong belief in social and environmental sustainability.  They have a “Social and Environmental Programme” (they are a European company) that is dedicated to promoting social and environmental sustainability as the name suggests.  While I feel like this is a great step in the right direction, I had some questions for them.  So, I wrote them a letter.  Here it is:

Hello,
My name is Ted Rutherford.  I am the founder of an organization in Austin, Texas called Responsible Men which is dedicated to promoting gender equality and ending men’s violence against women.  I am writing today to thank you for your dedication to the concept of sustainability through your Social and Environmental Programme.  I am glad to see that you are making a public commitment to this on your website and that large corporations like Adidas Group are leading the charge so to speak. I’d like to also ask you if you have considered looking at sustainability in terms of gender.  I recently came across your ad campaign for the Reebok EasyTone shoes and was sad to see that some of the video and images objectify and sexualize women.  Also, in one ad, there is an off screen character (presumably male) who repeatedly stares at the on-screen woman’s butt despite her redirection, which reinforces the gender stereotype that men only care about sex.  While I get that the campaign is telling women that they can have a sexy butt and legs by wearing the shoes, I think these ads reinforce the notion that women’s primary value lies in their sexuality and sex appeal.  In addition, the entire campaign reinforces gender stereotypes (men are always thinking about sex and women are out to make other women jealous) which simply aren’t true.  In my opinion, it is ads like these (when combined with other ads and other social factors) that help build versions of masculinity and femininity that are not sustainable.  In fact what we are left with are very rigid, narrow and oppressive options for expressing our gender that have much larger social ramifications.  If men are taught that all men care about is sex and if men are taught that all women are sex objects, then we have a “perfect storm” for things like sexual assault to occur.
Please don’t get me wrong.  I am not suggesting that Reebok EasyTone shoes cause rape.  That is obviously ridiculous.  However, I am suggesting that this ad campaign is part of a much, much larger system that helps create a culture where sexual violence exists on a large scale.  What I am asking you to do is to really do some soul searching as a company to see if you care about the sustainability of your customers.  While you cannot change the actions of other companies and other social influencers, you are responsible for your own actions.I must tell you that I purchased a new pair of basketball shoes today.  Because of this ad campaign, I chose to leave Reebok off of my list of options.  I liked the shoes that I saw, but opted to spend my money elsewhere because I can’t support a company with sexist advertising practices.  I know that may not mean a great deal to you, but it is an example of how I may not be able to change your actions, but I can certainly be responsible for my own.Please consider marketing the EasyTone shoes and all of the Adidas Group merchandise in a way that promotes gender equality and sustainability.  Thank you for your time and consideration.

The idea of gender sustainability is one that I have been pondering for some time now.  In fact, when I think about it, gender isn’t actually a  real, tangible thing.  It is a social construct, to which most of us subscribe, that is one way to organize and make sense of the world.  It is the way males and females are supposed to look and behave according to society’s definition of “normal” in gender terms.  In other words, we are not born with our gender predetermined.  It is largely imposed on us by society.  When babies are born we wrap them in a pink or blue blanket (according to their sex) and assign them a name that usually indicates whether they are male or female.  We encourage them as they grow older to look and behave in a way that is consistent with the way society defies “normal” in gender terms.  We throw around phrases like “boys don’t cry” and “that is not how a lady acts” in order to teach the next generation to ignore their true selves and assimilate into the gender binary world.    Companies, like Reebok, market products to us in a way  that leverages our socialization to maximize their profits.  This Reebok ad campaign is a great example of that.  Reebok is banking on lots of females buying these shoes because they want to be successful at playing the role of  “woman” – meaning that they want to have a great butt to attract men with and to make other women jealous.  After all, many of us are just acting the part of “man” and “woman” so that we are not ostracized from our gender culture.   Throughout our lives we are pushed into very narrow gender roles that ultimately are not sustainable.  We are pressured to be something that we frequently are not.  That is a very fragile and precarious state that will collapse sooner or later.

The take away from all of this is hopefully that it is the job of conscious citizens to embrace gender diversity and stop perpetuating the gender binary that society has created.  While it is becoming cliche, it is true that if we want to change the world we must first change ourselves.  It is our job to demonstrate to corporate America that we embrace our diversity as human beings and we expect them to honor and accommodate us by acknowledging our differences rather than denying them.  If we choose to live outside the gender boxes they have built for us, then they will have no choice but to shift their approach in order to reach us.  Never forget that it is our money that is lining their pockets and informing their decisions.  Perpetuating narrow gender roles is just a strategy that corporations use to manipulate and control us in order to maximize their profits. If they can convince the majority of males to buy into one version of masculinity, then they only have to create (and pay for) marketing strategies for that one type of man.  That means less money spent on advertising and more money in the bank.  In the end, it is our money and we can choose to spend it in a conscious way that will send a clear message to corporations that we are tired of the same old song they are singing and they had better change their tune.

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I’ve a Feeling We’re Not In Kansas Anymore…

Finally it’s Autumn.  I love this time of year.  In Austin, the weather cools down to a balmy 92° and thoughts turn to things like turning leaves, football, chili, and Halloween.  Ah, Halloween – the one day out of the year where us grown kids can act like our children and nobody will give it a second thought.

Now if you’ve known me for a long time, you know that I have not always been a fan of Halloween.  In fact, I can remember several times in college when I, along with my roommates Pat and Springer, would sit and drink beer with all the lights off in the house so the trick-or-treaters would think we weren’t home.  I hated Halloween.  For me, that tradition more or less carried on until I had a child of my own.  Once my son was born, something changed.  The more he understood Halloween, the more he got into it and the more I got into it.

My son is 5 now.  Last year was the first time he actually cared about his costume.  We shopped at places like Spirit Halloween and Party City to find a Wall-E costume because, in his mind, nothing else would do.  Sadly, none of the costumes we found met his exacting standards.  So, being that I have a degree in art, I decided to make a costume for him.  Check it out…

DSC03299

Pretty cool, huh?  At first I was sad that I wasn’t able to find a costume all ready to go, but it was fun making this with him.  I was also saddened by what I did find in those stores.  So this year I decided to write about it.  In order to research this article, I visited www.spirithalloween.com to see if anything had changed.  They have costumes for babies all the way to adults.  They are also separated by gender and style for convenience.  I started by looking at costumes for men and then for women.  Quickly I was overwhelmed by the stark differences between the male and female costumes.  In fact, it was so bad that I had to find a way to simplify it so that I could even put it into words.

For this article, I wanted to be able to compare apples to apples.  I wanted you to see just how entrenched male and female gender roles really are in our society.  I decided to focus on a set of costumes to which most, if not all of us can relate…the characters from Wizard of Oz.

First, here are the “standard” costumes for Scarecrow, Tin Man, Cowardly Lion and Dorothy:

all_four

I’d say this pretty much what I expected to find.  They seem true to the original movie wardrobes.  HOWEVER…I also found a series of costumes called the “Wicked of Oz”.  Here are the same 4 characters from that line:

all_fourWhat I noticed right off that bat is that the male characters, in this version, appear more powerful because they are more menacing.  Meanwhile, the female character (Dorothy) became more powerful by seeming sexually dominant – down to the black latex corset and knee boots.  She looks like a dominatrix.

These gendered expressions of power are found throughout pop culture.  Nowhere is it more evident than in the world of superheroes.  Male superheros are powerful because they are physically dominant machines that leave collapsed heaps of criminals in their wake.  The lines between hero and villain are often blurred because of the violent nature of many heroes today.  For female superheroes, their power is expressed in their sexuality.  Take a look at these examples of  Batman in the film The Dark Knight and Silk Spectre from the film The Watchmen and you will see what  I mean:

Batman-Dark-Knight-Solo-FP2062SilkSpectre

Batman is the embodiment of raw power and anger who is always teetering on the brink between good and evil.  Silk Spectre, on the other hand, radiates sexuality.  In fact, her story line in the movie is that she is involved in 2 sexual relationships with 2 other superheroes (Night Owl and Dr. Manhattan).  Oh, and she is the daughter of a superhero who was beaten and raped by another superhero (The Comedian).  Both characters are powerful, but they arrive at their power by very different means.

But I digress.  Where was I??? Ah, yes…KANSAS.  I was stunned (but not surprised) at the divergence of the character paths in the “wicked” costumes.  So, I decided to see if there were any other interpretations of these characters costumes.  I did a search on the site by each of the character names (Scarecrow, etc.).  What I found was nearly unbelievable.  Check it out:

SexyOz

This is wrong on so many levels I will have to focus on just one in this particular post.  These outfits scream SEX regardless of the character contexts.  These costumes make the models look like a strange amalgamation of naughty school girl meets farmer’s daughter meets St. Paulie’s Girl meets “Diamond” from the local strip club.  All of them play on male (generally speaking) sexual fantasies.  They also reinforce the cultural belief that women’s bodies are the most valuable currency women have in order to “purchase” power from men.  In a patriarchal society, men are the keepers of power and women are forced to use their sexuality in order to share in that power – even if temporarily.

I think these costumes send the message to girls and women that females should always exude sexuality or should always give off a sexual vibe.  For boys and men, the message is that females are always looking for sex or to be sexy.  If you combine that with other messages that tell males that “real men” are tough, strong, in control, devoid of emotion (other than anger) and hypersexual, then it is easy to see why some men don’t take “no” for an answer when it comes to sex and/or why some men don’t accept responsibility for getting consent (they put the onus on women to say no rather than actively seeking an enthusiastic “yes”).  It is also easy to see why some women give in when being pressured to have sex even if they don’t really want to and why some women don’t classify or report an unwanted sexual encounter as a sexual assault.  The lines around intent, sexuality, consent, appropriate vs. inappropriate, wanted vs. unwanted are blurred.  Everyone is confused and some men (and women) are taking advantage of that confusion.

Thankfully, most men treat women with dignity and respect (I really don’t like the word respect, but I don’t have a better one in this case).  Most men do not abuse, assault or rape women.  However, I think on some level we all have a hand in paving the way for the men who do.  We are all part of a culture that accepts the sexualization and exploitation of women.  By accepting those parts of our culture, we are creating space and therefore opportunity for the small number of men who see women as sex objects and pressure, coerce and force women into having sex.  When we say things like “I don’t abuse or rape women, so it’s not my problem” we are actually saying that we have no influence on the world around us.  If that were true, then boys who grow up in abusive households wouldn’t frequently grow up to be abusive themselves (for example).

The reality is that men must challenge our own socialization.  We must think critically about the world around us and how we are influenced by it.  If we are ever going to live in a world that values men and women equally, men must join women in challenging anything to the contrary.  We must also be willing to pass on to the next generation a set of attitudes and beliefs that reflect and promote gender equality.  We can do this through schools, community centers, churches, sports leagues, etc. but for these values to really take root and flourish, THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME.

 

CLICK HERE TO READ MY FOLLOW UP POST CALLED “PAY ATTENTION TO THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN”

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Beer Me!

pintofbeer1

*taken from The Inactivist Blog

I love beer!  Not in the “if I drink enough of it I will forget my troubles” sense.  I love it because it is a refreshing, relaxing, interesting, complex, thirst-quenching roller of good times.  We can come together over a beer and talk about the world’s problems or the stupid things we did in high school (or still do).  Not to mention it is the perfect way to wash down a pile of Buffalo Wings from any place other than Hooter’s (I really need to blog about them – stay tuned).  Ah, beer.

Sadly, the beer industry does some pretty hefty social and environmental damage as it cranks out gallon after gallon of the golden nectar.  The industry has made a habit out of sexualizing and objectifying women to make a profit.  Companies like Budweiser, Miller and Coors are notorious for using images of scantily clad women in their advertisments.  Who could forget the Coors Light TWIIINNS???

Of course this is just one example out of literally thousands and thousands of print ads, tv commercials, billboards, and internet ads that bombard the advertising landscape from September to February.  Why you ask???  The answer is simple – football season.  This is a time of year that companies desperately clamor for the business of men by appealing to their inner man.  Sexy women doing sexy things in sexy clothing is one of the main sales mechanisms employed by these large beer companies.  In a hypermasculine culture, sexism sells.

This type of advertising is damaging in several ways.  Obviously, it objectifies and sexualizes women.  This teaches men and boys to value women for their looks and sexuality first (if not only).  It also teaches women and girls that in order to gain the interest of a male, you must behave in a sexual way – even if you aren’t interest in actually having sex.  It also socializes men to believe that men must act like the men in the commercials in order to be a “real man” or perhaps more accurately all men should behave like the men in the commercial because that is what is normal.  Naturally, if men are taught that women are sex objects that are available to them at any time and women are taught to behave sexually even if they aren’t interested in having sex, then you are bound to have scenarios in real life where men force themselves on women sexually.

Environmentally speaking, the beer industry makes a significant ecological footprint.  On the whole, the industry uses nearly 500 million tons of grains every year.  Since beer isn’t chunky, you have to wonder where all of the grain goes after it has been boiled and the sugars extracted?  In the pre-Budweiser days, smaller breweries would give their “spent” to local farmers who would used it for cattle feed.  This was a tremendous help to farmers and breweries.  It even kept costs lower on beer and dairy products because a production expense has been eliminated (there must be someting to this symbiosis thing after all).  Also, think about the amount of waste that is created during this time of year from the number of bottles and cans of beer consumed is staggering.  What about the massive amounts of petroleum products it takes to deliver the beer across the country to every grocery, liquor store, quick mart and bar in America?  The industry’s environmental load is taxing to say the least.

So, what should an Inactivist do?  Consider drinking craft beers or microbrews made in your state (or locally if possible).  Here is why:

1.  Smaller, independent breweries typically spend their advertising budget (if they have one) on showing you how good the beer is rather than using half naked women to divert your attention from the actual taste of the beer – AND TWIIINNS!!!  Taking your money out of the large corporate pockets just might get those companies to evaluate their advertising practices.

2.  If you buy your beer from a producer that is in your town or in your state, then you are helping to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil and cutting down on the automobile emissions that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere, and helping local farmers keep their feed costs low.

3.  Buying locally made beer supports the people who live in or near your community.  Keeping your money local will help put food on the table for people who are trying to do things the right way and it send a loud and clear message to the large beer companies.

I did a quick Google search for “TEXAS BEER” since I live in Austin.  The first listing that popped up was http://texasbeer.blogspot.com.  Here I found a great list of existing craft beer breweries all in the state of Texas.  I have had most of these beers myself and they are quite good.  I especially like “Fireman’s 4” made by Real Ale Brewing  Company in Blanco, Texas (70 miles from my door) and “Blonde Bombshell” by Southern Star Brewing Company in Conroe, Texas (200 miles from my door).  Honorable mention has to go to “Live Oak Pilz” from Live Oak Brewing Company right here in Austin.

I encourage you to do a quick google search of your own to see what beers can be found in your neck of the woods.  You just might stumble on something you really like.  Craft beers might cost a few dollars more, but you can’t put a price justice.

Here’s to making the world a better place 12 ounces at a time this football season and beyond.

BeerMeWordle

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A New Purpose for Father’s Day

As a father myself, I appreciate a day that acknowledges me and and my role as a male parent.  It is very nice to be appreciated.  However, I believe there is more to Father’s Day than funny cards, neck ties, argyle socks and a round of golf.  Those things are great, but there is something more important that is usually overlooked.  Father’s Day should be a time where all men do a little soul searching about what it means to be a father.  We should be asking ourselves what influence do we have on our children – particularly our sons.  What impact do we make in our families and in our communities?

I say “all men” should do this because these days, the role of the traditional father isn’t what it used to be.  So often children are being raised in homes where the “father” isn’t engaged, involved, or sometimes even present.  Therefore, the role of the “father” gets passed on to any male role model willing to take it on.  We must recognize that all men have a part in raising the children in their lives.  Every interaction we have with a child is an opportunity to pass on a version of masculinity that is thoughtful, kind, generous, caring, loving and most importantly involved.  It is also an opportunity to dispel the myth that men have to always be tough, strong, rugged, silent and uninvolved.  If we do not do this, then traits such as compassion and empathy will continue to be thought of as feminine traits.  This is damaging to men and boys because we all feel things like compassion but are forced to hide it out of fear.  We are afraid that we will lose our social standing in the male community for expressing traits and qualities that have long been considered unmanly.  We must recognize that these traits are not male or female, but human traits that all humans experience.

So my Father’s Day gift to all men is permission.  I give you permission to be your authentic selves.  I give you permission to explore your role as a father and to be all of the things you were meant to be to your child and to the other children in your life.  I give you permission to reflect on what being a “father” is really all about and to change the things about yourself that need changing.  Lastly, I give you permission to support other men in their efforts to be better male role models and to create gender equality.

Now that would be something to celebrate!

Happy Father’s Day!!!

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Give What It Takes

A friend of mine named Brooke posted a quote on Twitter this morning that said “In this world of give and take, there aren’t enough people to give what it takes”. I am not sure if it is an original of hers or just one she liked, but it struck a chord with me. There aren’t enough people out there giving what it takes to create social change. With issues like Sexism, Racism, Poverty, Hate Crimes, Global Warming, Violence, etc. still dominating the social landscape, we have to take matters into our own hands to create change. So, I decided to do something about it. With almost no thought whatsoever I launched the “Give What It Takes Campaign”. It is a very simple idea. On the last day of each month pick a charity or non-profit organization or just a person that is doing some good in the world and give them a little bit of money to do what it takes to accomplish their goals. That’s it. You don’t have to give much. Give what yoiu can afford. But what you do have to do is take a moment to encourage your friends to Give What it Takes as well. If we all chip in, none of us as individuals have to bear the heavy burden of creating social change.

If you are on Twitter, tweet your donation like this:

I gave here today (URL of your charity). #givewhatittakes

You can also check out the other blog I just made. It is givewhatittakes.wordpress.com. I will try to use it to highlight some of the good work going on in the world. If you know of some and would like to see it featured, send me a URL and an explanination of why it’s important to you. I will post it on the blog.

I gave here today http://www.etcc.org/MenAgainstViolence.htm #givewhatittakes

Change just happened.

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Normalize Equality

Normalize equality. It seems so simple now that I think about it. Normalize equality. The solution has been here under our collective noses all along. Normalize equality. That is all there is to it. If we want to rid the world of oppression (sexism, racism, homophobia, ageism, etc.) we just need to use the same tricks that have been used on us for ages. We must socialize the world to believe that equality is normal.

You might be thinking if it were that easy someone would have done it a long time ago. Well, I didn’t say it was easy, I said it was simple. Make no mistake, it will not be easy. However, it is possible. I know it is possible because we have been socialized to be what we are today. Men are taught from a very early age (if not birth) that in order to be a man you must be strong, athletic, in control, tough and rugged. Women are taught to be delicate, dainty, subservient and quiet. The messages that reinforce these notions come at us from every angle. They come from advertisements, products, music, movies, our schools, our families, our churches and many other places. We are being trained to be mindless, mass consumers and at the same time we are being sold twisted versions of gender, race, sexuality, faith and ultimately normalcy. We have been trained that if we are not a white, heterosexual, Christian male, then we are not normal. We are also taught that if we are a white, heterosexual, Christian male then we will have power and privilege bestowed upon us and that it is our duty to maintain it.

As you can see, there is something very wrong with this picture. Why does a relatively small group of people (white, heterosexual, Christian males) have so much power in America? I am sure there are a thousand and one answers to that question and I won’t go into it in this article. However, I will say that this group of white, heterosexual, Christian males have worked very hard to keep their power and privilege and it is time for that to end. It is time for equality to become the norm. This is a human rights issue. All people deserve to be treated equally, period.

Equality will not happen on it’s own. We must create it. All oppressed and socially conscious people must unite on this issue for there to be a shift. We must work together to normalize equality in society.

If you are interested in promoting the idea of normalizing equality, and you want to help support the work of Responsible Men, you can buy products with the NORMALIZE EQUALITY message one them in our on-line store with Zazzle. Responsible Men receives 10% of the sales from your purchases. Below is a link to our on-line store. More products coming soon.   If you just like the idea, but don’t want to spend the money, that’s cool too. Find your own way to get out the message. Feel free to share your ideas in the comments section.

Ted Rutherford – Responsible Men

http://www.zazzle.com/improvstitute

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