Tag Archive: politics


Let’s start simply…I’m a man.

I had a pretty crummy time growing up knowing that I was socialized to be a “man’s man” and like john Wayne and see women as body parts and such. I knew this was happening, but everyone told me it was normal and ok.

I knew it wasn’t…..but when you’re alone and you’re 6…you do what everyone else is doing.

Flash forward – I have a son and 2 daughters.

I begin raising them exact like I believe kids need to be raised. I teach them about gender equality. I let them choose their clothes, their toys, the colors they enjoy – etc, etc.

At a young age they begin to speak out on the inequality of women’s clothing. They see the problems with calling an adult spider-“man” and another adult spider-“girl”. They don’t utter words such as “like a girl” or any gender based nonsense.

One of my daughters loves peace signs and wants to promote peace and non-animal-cruelty tot he world.

One of my daughters loves the world and wants to create the world into a conscious living organism for understanding.

Both of my daughters (1 in 5th grade, 1 in 6th grade) are accepted by their friends, and the boys just look at them as that’s who they are. One boys said, well girls are like that and it’s pretty cool.

Then we have my son…he’s confused!   Why you ask.

My son loves pink, hates fighting, thinks there’s way to solve problems without anger, thinks football is too violent (not my influence thank you), and wants to play games that involve vehicles with tires (trucks, cars, bikes, skateboards, etc).

Mid-way in the 1st month of 2nd grade he dresses himself in his new pick shoes, pink pig shirt (btw – he loves pigs), and his light up shoes. He got teased by the other boys mercilessly for liking pink, liking pigs, and not wrestling with everyone else.  By the time I found out about this, a month later, many things had come up. Suddenly my son was different – he wanted to fight and hit all the time. He hated his pig shirts and pink (he even changed his favorite color to red…but kept a secret drawer of pink things and pigs). In the middle of playing catch he yelled at me (in front of his sisters) you throw like a girl you little woussy. We all were shocked…but I took it as a compliment since one of my daughters can throw a heater that would tear your hand off.  Little by little he wanted to be more and more violent, he wanted to play football, but hated learning it. When I finally asked what was going on….I heard about all the problems.

He was girly. He was soft. He was (enter every derogatory gay term in existence). He was dumb. Because he didn’t fall into the same norms, he was mercilessly teased…so he changed. OUCH!  For more of his experiences check out “why does it have to be this way”.

Then one of my daughters suddenly wanted to shave herself….she’s 11 and has hair on her legs and under her arms. She began to cite all the same nonsense I’ve heard women say for years…the same societal training that all women get about hair and what looks good and what doesn’t. Then her shorts were hiked up 2 inches. Her shirt was tied at her waist. The other daughter followed suite….

Augggggghhhhhhhh!!!!  My children have gone crazy!!!!

Nope….this is the power of peers!

Every parent in the world knows the power of peer pressure. It can change clothes, the way a person acts, and even turn a law abiding citizen into a jail bound thug.

Humans, whether we want to accept it or not, inherently know that we are part of a larger community. We subconsciously know that we are part of a global community of people all around us. Just looking at a picture of masses of people walking down the street in New york, you have an overwhelming sense that in some way they are like you and you are part of what we call human kind. In addition to that, our brains break down the idea that we are in a global community, a continental community, a country community, a state community, a county and city community, and a local community. We also see ourselves as part of our parents and groups of friends community and lives.

Though we know this deep down, we want to feel accepted in all those communities as well. As children, the first communities we see that we are part of is our family. This family dynamic is extremely important because it is a microcosm to the outside world at large. The family dynamic teaches us morals, values, and accepted beliefs of our world at large. When we leave the family unit…we go holding on these ideas and thoughts that were taught to us in our family unit.

However, that familiar sense of belonging starts to nag at us. We are not individuals alone on this planet, we are part of this class, and this group of people. We want to be accepted by classmates, teachers, and everyone around us. But when they are thinking differently than us..it becomes difficult.

We as an American culture, and as a global culture, do not teach the idea of understanding and acceptance. This would be the idea that everyone is different. However, these differences are what makes all people neat and awesome. We must celebrate these differences and accept the people who have them as wonderful points of light ready to light the world.

Instead we teach, your way is right and others’ ways are wrong. You are a light unto yourself and you must shine brighter than anyone else. A familiar adage is “lead or get out of the way.”

Therefore, when our children go into a group of students in a class…and they aren’t being accepted because of their “different” views…they have a choice: Change or be alone and teased.

Most people change!

This is where this 6 part series all comes together!

With the media, society, and the cultures all saying the same thing – the children are taught these things as well.

These children that have been taught by all these factors then go out into the world of school. They find other students that don’t buy into the norm and in order to validate themselves and their own beliefs force the people who don’t buy into the norm…into being like everyone else. Some people see this as a favor to the children. Some do it because different is not acceptable.  Some do it to make their own questions of the ideals they uphold make more sense or simply go away.

We are teaching our children that violence, violence against women, and gender inequality are ok in so many different medias, forms, and ways – they are bullied and forced to see the world that way.

In the end, if we don’t change the other factors raising our children in thinking the correct way gets harder and harder because of the constant peer pressure.

Then we decide that we must end bullying, but we don’t teach acceptance and understanding…instead we teach: Don’t bully!

In order to justify oneself about what they’ve been taught and believe, a student must get others to think like them. They must work on creating  their own community and culture of understanding or group that they can feel they belong to. When they are taught that violence is ok and the right way of doing things, these same people use violence to create this community of people thinking the same. The obvious response is power and control which turns into abuse, violence, and bullying!

In the adult world it turns into oppression, domestic violence, intimate partner violence, rape, atrocities towards other human beings, and war!

We must end this violence against women.

We must end bullying of all kinds.

We must end the abuse of power and control.

We must eliminate violence of all kinds.

AND

We must promote healthy relationships.

We must promote understanding and acceptance.

We must begin teaching understanding and acceptance of all experiences and people.

You’re flipping through your favorite magazine, newspaper, or just general rag that happens to be around. You’re focusing on 1-2 things per page, and if you asked most people they wouldn’t know half of what they saw while they were flipping the pages. You noticed a phone number here, a dress someone was wearing there, an interesting 100 word article that you skimmed, but nothing truly significant…and you put the mag down and (if you’re like most of us, like the majority of the people int he world) you’ll pick up another one and do something very similar.

What you don’t realize is that though you thought you were just flipping, your mind has allowed you to think that through the use of many many filters.  If you consciously knew everything you saw, you’d go into brain overload.

SCARY PART – Your brain is imprinted with every single thing that crosses your eyes. It’s imprinted ont he main central control unit, or the CPU of your brain, the part of your brain that is in complete control of your thinking, your emotions, and how you live your life – your subconscious.

So in your 10 minutes of flipping, your brain was imprinted with every picture you saw.

Now, a lot of research has been done (by marketing and advertising agencies…this is no coincidence) as to what will catch your eye, what colors will entice and shock you, and what images and shapes will cause your eye to imprint onto your subconscious.  The breadth of research is phenomenal…and it’s where a lot of our optical illusions come from. So everything that crosses your eyes’ path, is immediately imprinted on your main central influence section of your brain.

To begin this series we’ll start with Print media consumption.

So what are we looking at on a daily basis…here’s a group of print ads:

This blog has spoken about the problems of print media for years:

Images create our reality

Can you believe these pictures?

Iron Girl?

Woman not girl

No sexism in these mags

 

Go here for more of these kinds of ads.

 

These are a very very very small example of ads that are seen throughout the fashion magazine, glamour magazines, and women magazine industries. Ads depicting women in brutal, abusive, object-like ways are churned out by the millions.

Most magazines are on average 60% advertising. Many of the fashion magazines ramp it up to 80-90% advertising if you add the captions that tell you the price and make of the things the models are wearing.

So let’s quickly do the numbers and see how far-reaching these images can be – Each magazine has about 800,000 subscribers (this is a very low number). There are 7 ads in each of our hypothetical magazines (the pictures above), that means these images were imprinted on 800,000 people. in a year, these people have each been imprinted with 84 images….that means 800,000 people have been accustomed and trained that images of violence against women are merely advertising and entertainment.

Now add this 800,000 to 10 different magazines for a total of 8,000,000 people! That is a country. That is a large cross-section of our Untied States. The sad part is that this is a low number.

BUT….

With what we know of brain imprinting we know that these images were imprinted on the subconscious and then created into a thought and opinion. A woman will see this as a representative of herself and her self-worth. A man will see this as a Representative of women in general and is actively learning how to treat “her” through these images. When we see 1 million images a day and 1/2 of them depict violence against women and gender inequality – we have a very heavy imprinting on our brain to think 1 view and idea of women.

When we put all of the ads together we see only 1 thing:

Woman are to be treated in violent ways.

Women are happy to be treated in violent ways….creating the idea of accepted sexual assault. This website explains this idea wonderfully.

Men are superior to women.

When 1 gender is seen to be superior to another gender, the superior gender will react in violence towards that lesser gender. This has been seen in racism, ageism, and sexism!

Add another aspect to this: Remember what I said above: “A woman will see this as a representative of herself and her self-worth.” Not only are men seeing that women should be treated with violence and that they as men are superior, but women are being taught they deserve this violence and they are less than a man. When a group of people are taught to see themselves as less than another group – the downtrodden group accepts the violence that is put on them as deserved and “normal”.

By allowing our brains to consume these images and by allowing these images to exist, we are promoting and imprinting on our brains – inequality towards women and violence towards women.

opt 4 writing letters to every advertising agency and magazine to end this violent campaign against women.

Opt 4 eliminating this kind of consumption from our society.

Opt 4 ending the consumption of disrespectful print media.

 

It’s amazing how much we are influenced on a daily basis.

However, what if you are part of the group that is being targeted to be and think in a different way – the influence is even greater.

This is the onslaught that our daily teenage girl is exposed to….the affects are staggering.

Before the movie….a side note:

In Fiji they took a field study of the women of the island as part of a National Geographic special. The women saw themselves as leaders, a great women in the tribe, and aspired to be great women of the island. They saw their bodies as beautiful, a body to be adorned and revered, and all were very very happy.  Coincidentally, 1 year later, TV and magazines began to be imported. They decided to do the same study 4 years later, they found that women saw themselves as fat, malproportioned, and deserving of abuse and hatred. The was an influx in eating disorders, dieting, and a lack of self esteem. Not only that, the number one goal of most women were to mary a good man (a prince to be taken to a great castle with lots of money) and be skinnier (at any cost). The story that was released in 1999

When I was a kid a very important thing happened to me: I was beat up by a girl.

I was 6 years old. The girl was crying and I called her a cry baby. The girl was crying because another boys flipped up her dress and everyone saw her panties. This was the talk of all the boys in the 2nd grade class, and classes above as well. Because not only did you see her panties, she had a wedgie (’nuff said).

The girl yelled at me and asked “Why do you have to be so mean!!!”

Interesting enough…these are the EXACT same words that I hear everyday from survivors, teenage girls who deal with boys all the time, victims, parents of victims, etc, etc when talking about the abusers, the men of the world, and the patriarchy.

I told her that she just needed to get over it. (A phrase that I hear everyday out of the mouths of men when they read, hear, or talk about the atrocities that happen to girls and women all the time.)

She stood up and hit me in the jaw. So, I hit her back. That was when all the anger that she had towards every boy that had ever made her feel bad about being a girl was unleashed….and I ended up a bloody mess on the ground.

Much, much, much later…we became friends. She asked me why does the world have to be like this towards girls?  Why are boys taught to be so mean?

I said the words that have plagued me for the next 30 years…..that’s just the way it is.

{I’ll tell you what that little girl is doing at the end of the post}

That moment changed my life…and I think and hope we have all had this epiphany moment…when we realize…

The world doesn’t have to be this way!

However, if you’re not in the right company this idea is difficult.

I have lost jobs because I’m not going to accept that inequality is just the “way it is”.

I have lost relationships because I’m not going to be ok with the constant double standards.

I have lost places to live because degradation of women is not just “a guy thing”.

I have lost truck loads of friends because I don’t think it’s ok to “say nothing”.

I have lost groups and memberships because exclusion should not be “what’s always been accepted.”

There is a wrong and a right!  PERIOD!

So, if you are the only one in your circle that is standing up for the rights of all people no matter their gender, race, sexual orientation, nationality, or undecided decision – YOU’RE NOT ALONE!

If you are the only one in your circle that sees it’s wrong that women are portrayed as sexual meat for boys to play with – YOU’RE NOT ALONE!

If you are the only one in your circle that sees it’s natural that a woman was breast -feeding her baby in her Air Force Uniform – YOU’RE NOT ALONE!

If you are the only one in your circle that understands that it’s wrong when a person has to justify why they said no to a sexual advance – YOU’RE NOT ALONE!

If you are the only one in your circle that sees it’s wrong that all of these reality TV shows depict women as cat fighting, drinking, mean women – YOU’RE NOT ALONE!

If you are the only one in your circle that sees the fact that 1 in 4 women will be in am abuse relationship is way tooo high and should be O – YOU’RE NOT ALONE!

if you are the only one in your circle that see t-shirts such as: FBI – Female Body Inspector, 3 million people like having sex with your girlfriend, please sit on my face, advertisements for strip clubs with women hanging on poles, and all other derogatory t-shirts as absolutely wrong – YOU’RE NOT ALONE!

You’re not alone…there are a lot of people in this world that see these things and more as wrong.

We must stand united and speak out against every single time a woman is exploited or seen as below a man.

We must stand united and speak out against every single time a person is forced into a gender role.

We must stand united and speak out against every single time a woman is told what to do with their own bodies.

We must stand united and speak out against every single time a person is told how they are supposed to act in regards to their sexuality.

We must end this violence and this oppression of the acceptance of people as people.

 

I was wrangled in to watching prime time TV.  I’m not a big TV fan, and if I am watching TV I watch educational or didactic TV.

As much as I am aware of things going on on TV…it doesn’t mean I have to pollute my head to do my job.

It was amazing what I saw and heard.

Let’s start with advertisements –

Every commercial played to some gender or societal stereotype.  If i watched these commercials every day, I would be fully convinced that boys play sports and get dirty, plus they are ravenous eating machines when they get to the teen-age world. I’d also believe they don’t mind, they try to get away with everything, and they are essentially violent.

Girls are stalkers, they are talkative, they think of only chocolate, family, and housekeeping. They always are participating in either family, girls getaways, or doing the cleaning and cooking.

Wait…let’s look at this for a moment. According to these commercials women hold down a full-time 40-50 hour job, drive the kids around, clean the house, cook the meals, and do the laundry. They are also expected to know what is going on throughout the household and what the answers to everyone’s questions in the family are.  Interesting enough, the man is rough, tough, and likes cars and trucks. He plays with the kids, but doesn’t do any of the housework.

Interesting enough – that is our society’s view on women and women as well. Commercials are merely mirrors to our society…however, when the watchers buy into that reflection..it becomes a reality. Similar to accepting the fact that you are “fat’ because you see it in the mirror everyday.

Taking the mirror/fat example, that is your reflection now…you can change it if you so choose.  When you do change it, the reflection in the mirror will change.

Prime time TV is a call to action… not entertainment.

We are seeing the reflection of our societal views, thoughts, ideas, and conversations when we watch prime time TV. We are watching what people…right now, in the majority of our society is thinking. We are looking at the mirror with all of our flaws and discrepancies all hanging out. This is really how our culture and society sees the genders and the people that are in it.

Now is the time for change.

Now is the time for the mirror to show the more healthy us!

Now is the time to see the world that is possible, rather than the world which we are accepting.

This TV garbage does not have to be what we are…instead it can be our past.

How do we change it?

By writing letters to the corporations and TV channels, locally and nationally and ask them not to put on things about gender stereotypes that produce wrong ideas and feelings.

Begin boycotting the channels!  E-mail and facebook this view to everyone you know and ask them to boycott and send letters as well.

We must take a stand, or this reflection of our society will only get worse and become a very scary reality!

Opt 4 a different reality.

Opt 4 changing our normal.

Opt 4 reinventing who we see ourselves as.

As I was getting ready to speak to a group of middle school students I overheard an old game being played among the boys. It went something like this without the particulars that were said:

“Yo mama is so dumb…….”

“Yo mama is so stupid….”

“Yo mama is so…..”

I listened to this go on for about 10 minutes before I asked the boys about it. The boys, knowing who I was, assured me that everything was OK, that this was “just a game”.

Just a game – fellow readers.  Let’s have a look at this “game”.

First, this is a game that boys, not girls, play.

Second, this is a game that specifically attacks only 1 gender.

Third, this is a game that attacks the person who gave these boys life.

Fourth, this is a game that demeans and belittles the mother. But not only that, in order to have as much fun with the game as possible, you have to demean the other person’s “mama” the best. Usually this is done by sexual feats or a pointing out of her size or her lack of intelligence.

Fifth, this is a game that promotes attacks on the woman figure in a boy’s life.

So what conclusion can we draw – it is a tool to continually repeat and demean women and not just any woman, the woman who brought you into this world. There is no other woman more important in a  young man’s life than his mama (or there shouldn’t be anyway).

Not only that, through this repetitious way of playing the game, you are forced to think up worse and worse things about women. It is an exercise in patriarchal sexism.  By the end of the game, women and mothers in general are seen and made to be seen as the worse, most vile, pathetic human being on this planet. AND when you add this to vocal repetition…you have learning taking place.

What have these boys learned? Women and mothers are the worse, most vile, pathetic human being on this planet.

However…lets not forget the male version of this (My daddy). When we compare we see the patriarchy in our society for what it really is.

The my daddy game is played something like this:

“my daddy has a bigger ______ than your daddy”

“my daddy has a bigger____________ than your daddy”

And on and on and on.

This game just shows you that these dads have things, and not only things…big things. So what are they learning with this one, and what is it saying about the socialization of our society?

First, daddies and boys have big things.

Second, daddies are supposed to be better than all other daddies.

Third, you want to grow up and be like a daddy who has all these big cool things.

Fourth, daddies use violence and their big things to solve their problems.

Therefore, looking at these two games what have we seen?

Yet another way to push women down and raise men up.

Women are dumb, idiots, fat, etc….and men are big, tough, and violent.

In these two little games that are still being played and propagated throughout the world….we see the promotion of the theories that aid to violence against women:

Women are below men.

Women are not as good as men.

Men are bigger and better than women.

Men are violent.

 

What other games promote this sexism and patriarchy?

 

Opt 4 changing the culture of our society to promote men and women (mom and dad) as equal.

Opt 4 stopping the yo mama jokes.

Opt 4 stopping the “my daddy” game.

opt 4 not teaching gender stereotypes at all!

 

 

 

 

I was teaching a class to a group of highschool juniors and I asked them what respect was.

As the students say….Cricket   Cricket

As I looked out at the sea of blank and bored faces I asked a different question in hopes of getting an actual response.  Do you want respect

Suddenly…everything changed! It was a barrage of noise as everyone talked and gave examples of the respect they believed they deserved.

“Deserved”…I asked.

The answer that came back was: “Yes, everyone deserves respect! End of question!”

Interesting…everyone deserves respect.

When I gave them the definition of respect: Do to others as THEY would like you to do to them, as long as it’s NOT VIOLENT.

They all agreed, yes this is the respect they all believed everyone deserved.

Let’s hope they keep this idea into adulthood!

What is your definition of respect?

Do you believe everyone deserves respect?

There are a lot of “isms” that people use as an excuse to commit violence and domestic violence. By eliminating them, we get that much close to ending the violence.

Racism…many say is gone.

Many say that once segregation ended racism died.  It would be nice to believe that that was true….but it isn’t.

Racism has taken a new look and a new face…that is all.

A group of people walk into a convenient store: black, white, Spanish, Asian, dark-colored Indian.

Black person will be watched because he might steal something.

Dark colored Indian will be watched because he might blow up the store when he is mistaken for someone who is of Arab decent.

The Spanish person will be seen as an illegal immigrant and watched as well.

The white person will not be watched, but might be pulled aside and asked about his choice of friends.

The Asian person will not be watched.

However, if the black man puts a hoodie on and walks out of the store…he might be shot by someone.

 

Another example:

A young man goes into a youth group to talk about nonviolence. When he shows up a murmur goes through the mostly “put color of skin here” audience members. The young man sits back stage waiting to speak and he is notified that they will have to reschedule. The young man says he understands and departs….but it is told to him later that because he is not “put color of skin here”, he can not speak to these people.  In fact he is, “Put different skin color here”.  Yes…this does happen in 2012!

 

 

It takes on many many different faces.

 

This is what Racism looks like now.

This view that one person is more valuable or less valuable because of the color of their skin has to stop, or more bodies will be laid on the floor. More mamas will scream when they hear the news that their baby is dead. More communities will cry out asking….WHY!?  AND more people will be seen as less than they are and beat up by a person who says they love them.

In recent events we have seen how racism still lifts its ugly head with the death of 17 year old Trayvon martin.

We must eliminate this ism…or we will never climb out of its shadow.

How are you ending this horrible ism?

What else can we do to end it?

 

 

Many people think that violence is just such a big problem.

Many people think that violence just always is and always has been.

Actually, it can be stopped…..here’s some things that the parents and adults can do to end violence where it starts…the young ones (students, youth, kids, etc).

1. Give children consistent love and attention

– Everyone, especially children need to know they are loved and have that needed attention. Without it, they will begin to crave it and try to get that attention any way possible – including violence.

2. Communicate openly with your children and encourage them to talk about things going on in their lives.

– This type of communication allows people (kids) to know that they are cared about and that their life is important to the adults around them.

3. set clear standards for your children’s behavior, and be consistent about rules and discipline.

– Rules are out there. We all have to follow them. The more consistent these rules are upheld, the more the students learn about standards and self-control. Kids should always have a full understanding of what they did, why it was a bad choice, and the consequences.

4. Make sure your children are supervised.

– Unsupervised children do not know right from wrong because the patterns and attitudes are never developed, and they are a misfit in society. these misfits are just that ….they don’t fit in because they do not know the standards we must live by.

5. promote peaceful resolutions to conflict by being a good role model.

– The old phrase – monkey see, monkey do applies to children too. What they see parents do, they think they should do too. By modeling peaceful solutions, you show your child what is possible in their own behavior.

6.Talk to your children about the consequences of drug and weapon use, gang participation, and violence.

7.Try to limit your children’s exposure to violence in the media.

– it has been proven time and time again – violence goes into the brain, violence is acted out by the person. You must work to make your house a nonviolent house, ti doesn’t just happen that way. We must constantly stopping their exposure to violence. the more violence they see, the more violence they think is OK.

8. Make your school and community safer.

– Start with your own home and continue out to the community. There are so many things you can do to prevent violence in your community and your kid’s school.  There are many ideas on this blog and on many others. Look around the internet and make a difference!

Are we still blaming the victim for what the abuser does?

Are we still seeing this issue of violence (domestic or otherwise) as the victims fault?

Are we still seeing the person who is abused as the person who caused all of the problems?

This theory that –

“I hit you, because you made me mad.”

The woman didn’t leave the relationship, so she deserved the abuse.”

“If you wouldn’t do these things, I wouldn’t have to do these things to you”

“If the woman cared about her kids, she’d get out of the relationship.”

This theory has never been ok. this theory is a very myopic view of the problems of abuse and violence in general. This view states that the person who is abusing, the abuser, is the one that is justified…their abuse is ok. Whenever we blame the victim, no matter what, we say that the violence and the abuse is OK.

ABUSE IS NOT OK! NO MATTER WHAT!

A person has control of their actions and emotions. A person decides to hit. A person decides to yell. A person decides to rape. A person decides to kill. A person decides to get angry. A person decides that another person deserves to be hurt. A person decides to be an abuser. A person decides to be a perpetrator.

No matter what, another person is not responsible for another person’s actions.

A victim of Domestic violence is a victim, and did not ask to be made one.

When we say or infer that a victim is to blame….we say it is ok for the abuse and the abuser to do what they did.

Learn more about how power and control is responsible for RAPE and Domestic violence

There are many articles on this blog alone that deal with power and control…that is the real place to put blame.

Opt 4 erasing the hate.

Opt 4 people learning how to control themselves.

Opt 4 no victim blaming.

 

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