"The often vicious and violent anxiety about masculinity is one reason that the ways in which homosexuality is stigmatized in our culture look nothing like the ways we treat many other things Scripture calls vices. Kids on the playground taunt each other for being gay, even disparaging other kids’ backpacks or pencil cases as “so gay.” People get beaten up or harassed on the street for their real or perceived homosexuality. Parents reject their children for coming out—I suspect most gay people know at least a few friends who were rejected in the most hurtful and vicious ways. (If we care about family breakup, we need to care about families broken by the actions of homophobic parents, as well as those broken by divorce.) This isn’t how we treat the acts we really consider sinful. It’s how we treat scapegoats."

— Eve Tushnet. (via thegayguyyouneverknewyouknew)

I plugged a portion of the first chapter of my novel into this program and it has concluded that I am male.  As I have mentioned here before (when another “check the gender of your text” tool was posted) the copy editor of my last book kept referring to me in the margins as “he.”  So maybe there is something to that.

I do not think of my writing, especially my fiction, as sounding particularly “male.” That said, I remember as a girl in junior high or high school reading a book by Deborah Tannen about the differences between how men and women communicate.  After reading her observation that women equivocate more, I made the conscious decision to take expressions such as “I think” and “I believe” and “in my opinion” out of my writing.

Strangely, this program uses “the” as a masculine keyword (what??) and it decided I’m less female because I didn’t use the words “she” and “her” in the sample I submitted. The presence of the word “he” throughout did not give me any “man points.”  It is neither masculine or feminine, according to this test, to speak about men.  I must conclude that this program assumes that only women are interested in talking about the lives of women.

Speaking about “we,” “me” and “myself” is “feminine.”  Talking about “it” is “masculine.”  So what I gather is that this tool measures the internal vs. the external, the subjective vs. the objective.  Inside is the woman’s sphere.  The world is the man’s sphere. 

The criticisms about “lady writers” below are too ridiculous to be taken seriously.  I have trouble getting outraged by stuff like that. 

It is interesting that the traits we generally associate with arts and poetry are usually labeled as “feminine.”  Women are supposed to be more verbal and emotionally expressive.  Going on the power of stereotype alone, one might expect that men who want to create written works of art would try to emulate the artistic, verbally and emotionally connected female in writing. 

thelateisabel:

 

Nobel Prize-winning novelist V.S. Naipaul has helpfully explained why women will never be great writers like him. It’s because they’re not “masters of a house.”

Naipaul shared his insights with the London Evening Standard, saying,

“I read a piece of writing and within a paragraph or two I know whether it is by a woman or not. I think [it is] unequal to me.”

The reason: a lady-writer will betray her “sentimentality, the narrow view of the world.” Also, “inevitably for a woman, she is not a complete master of a house, so that comes over in her writing too.”

I wonder if he’s ever read Nicholas Sparks. 

 I scored an unimpressive five out of ten. Sloppy, according to the generator. I must read more books written by men. Gender Genie  (a generator that takes in portions of user submitted text and tries to figure out the gender of the author according to the text submitted) however, thinks I’m a man. 

Stick that in you pipe and smoke it Naipaul.

(via goodmenproject)

Text Analysis

Mine says: authorlauralee.tumblr.com is probably written by a male somewhere between 66-100 years old. The writing style is personal and happy most of the time.

Apart from the age (between 66-100?) I’ve heard this before.  The copy editor of my last book kept referring to the author (me) in the margins as “he.”  I also tend to be called “British author Laura Lee” in reviews a lot.  If you’re happy and you know it…

Now I’m wondering if my other blog is written by a “man” too.

My other blog is even more manly.  author-laura-lee.blogspot.com is the 437th most manly blog of 7834 ranked.   That’s pretty testosterone-ish.  It is also “academic” and “upset.”  You’re probably better off over here with the nice me.

brainpicker:

brainpicker.tumblr.com is probably written by a female somewhere between 66-100 years old. The writing style is personal and upset most of the time.

Accurate. urlai.com

(via mythighsarehotforgoatfelons-dea)

This 13 year old from Ohio has launched his own range of “manly” smelling candles. Designed for those who, like himself, harbor a strong dislike for the “girly” scents given off by other candles…The resultant Man Cans are available in scents such as bacon, campfire, grandpa’s pipe, and new mitt…

Campfire actually sounds kind of nice.  I’m holding out for the line of manly bubble baths.  Imagine bathing in bacon scent.  Yum!

How the Wall Street Journal Spreads Stereotypes about Men

goodmenproject:

For the men who are part of the Good Men Project—guys fighting wars in foreign lands, working diligently to be good dads, recovering from economic hardship, striving to be loving spouses, searching their souls trying to figure out what it means to be a good man—the piece is one more example of mainstream media portraying us in an egregiously negative, quasi-sexist light.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Not sure why he uses the term “quasi-sexist.”  It is blatantly sexist.

We’ve gotten used to the idea that female models starve themselves and torture their bodies in the attempt to meet the demands of the fashion industries ideal.  An article in The Sunday Times exposes what some male models do to their bodies to live up to modeling’s standards. 

This came as a surprise to me.  I had always assumed that the male ideal was the product of a healthy, if perhaps a bit obsessive, exercise regime while the feminine ideal was based on starvation and was destructive to health.  It turns out bodily abuse in the name of beauty is an equal opportunity malady:

Daniel Martin regularly puts his body through hell. For days at a time he restricts fluid intake so severely that the resulting dehydration causes headaches, haziness and overwhelming fatigue. Having trained for weeks like an Olympian with high-intensity circuits, running and weightlifting, he then cuts out exercise for 48 hours and opens a bottle of red wine to drink alone. A six-day carbohydrate-depletion diet, in which he eats little more than chicken and broccoli, leaves his muscles weak and his brain so starved of glycogen, its source of fuel, that he feels dizzy and disorientated when he stands up. He can barely walk, let alone hit the gym. And the reason for this torturous ritual of self-deprivation? Martin is preparing to bare his abs in a photoshoot for the cover of one of Britain’s top-selling men’s magazines. At 33, Martin is a veteran of the fitness model circuit, his finely etched torso having gleamed from the pages of Men’s Health, the market leader, more often than that of any other cover model.

The article goes on to describe some of the false promises of the articles and advertisements that are presented along side the images of men with six-pack abs. 

The word “unattainable” comes up a half dozen times, which brought to mind an article I posted here back in March.  I argued then that the real danger was not in the images themselves, but in the idea that model’s bodies are something we are meant to “attain.”  I wrote:

For some time American women, and to a lesser extent, men, have been made to feel threatened by images of beautiful people. We have been trained to see beautiful fashion models and actors as a commentary on our plainness. But why?

When exposed to a painting of a reclining nude in a museum, or a statue of Venus or Michelangelo’s David, we appreciate the physical beauty but we do not take it as a commentary on ourselves. We do not resent the artist for presenting an idealized physical form. We simply delight in its beauty.

We relate to media images of beautiful people in a different way…

Our deeply held assumption is that we are not only meant to look, we are meant to look like the beauties we see in media. Who said that? Who told you that someone else’s beauty is something you should strive to “attain?” My guess is that they were trying to sell you something.

The problem is not that models are beautiful. It is not even that they are impossibly beautiful—extraordinarily young, skinny and photoshopped. It is only our relationship to the images that is unhealthy and dangerous.  The danger is in our unshakable belief that our beauty ideal is aspirational, that perfection is something we should always strive towards.

theformofbeauty:

tuesday-johnson:
ca. 1847, [newlywed couple, groom with gold earrings]
“Men’s earrings are nothing new, old salts will tell you. Even before  the days of pirates, mariners who had sailed the China seas or had done  any Asiatic duty took to wearing earrings as a mark of their service in  the Orient. It was the campaign ribbon of its day.
The modern  gob, after he has sailed in Asiatic waters, gets his ears pierced and a  ring inserted, then goes to a tattoo parlor and has various Chinese  legends etched on the shank of his left leg.
But  not all men who wear earrings are veterans of Asiatic sea service. The  custom has been adopted by many who have sailed in the Central, South,  or Southwest Pacific without entering the waters of the China Sea .”   —Hal J. Kanter, The Saturday Evening Post, December 8, 1945, page 119
via Lisby1’s photostream

theformofbeauty:

tuesday-johnson:

ca. 1847, [newlywed couple, groom with gold earrings]

“Men’s earrings are nothing new, old salts will tell you. Even before the days of pirates, mariners who had sailed the China seas or had done any Asiatic duty took to wearing earrings as a mark of their service in the Orient. It was the campaign ribbon of its day.

The modern gob, after he has sailed in Asiatic waters, gets his ears pierced and a ring inserted, then goes to a tattoo parlor and has various Chinese legends etched on the shank of his left leg.

But not all men who wear earrings are veterans of Asiatic sea service. The custom has been adopted by many who have sailed in the Central, South, or Southwest Pacific without entering the waters of the China Sea .” —Hal J. Kanter, The Saturday Evening Post, December 8, 1945, page 119

via Lisby1’s photostream

Sociological Images is weighing in on the controversy surrounding Dossier Magazine’s Andrej Pejic cover.   (And I am sure Dossier Magazine is deeply disappointed that everyone is making such a fuss.)

The article discusses what the fundamental difference between chests and breasts is, and why one can be seen and the other must be covered. 

I was reminded of something that happened a few years ago.  A friend of mine, a British comedy writer named Mark Oswin, had a web site devoted to his work.  It was called “The Digital Comedy Nipple.”  (I don’t think the site exists any more.) 

The splash screen for the page was a disembodied nipple— just the areola with no skin surrounding it.  My first reaction was that it was a bit obscene.  Then I realized that I was not sure, without the context of the chest surrounding it, whether the nipple belonged to a man or a woman.  (Most likely it belonged to one of the male writers responsible for the content of the site, but I never did find out.)  It was jarring to find myself looking at an image of something that was either forbidden (if female) or fine and dandy (if male) and that there was no way to know.

Lisa Wade, in her Sociological Images article comes to a similar conclusion about the ambiguity of chests and breasts:

It’s not true that women have breasts and men have chests. Many men have chests that look a bit or even a lot like breasts…  Meanwhile, many women are essentially “flat chested,” while the bustiness of others is an illusion created by silicone or salt water.  Is it really breasts that must be covered?  Clearly not. All women’s bodies are targeted by the law, and men’s bodies are given a pass, breasty or chesty as they may be.

Unless that man’s gender is ambiguous; unless he does just enough femininity to make his body suspect.  Indeed, the treatment of the Dossier cover reveals that the social and legislative ban on public breasts rests on a jiggly foundation.  It’s not simply that breasts are considered pornographic.  It’s that we’re afraid of women and femininity and female bodies and, if a man looks feminine enough, he becomes, by default, obscene.

“For girls nowadays, it’s OK to play with boys’ toys, dress like boys, talk like them – it’s often encouraged,” said Isabelle Cherney, a Creighton University psychologist. “Boys have to walk a much finer line, and their fathers tend to be more stereotyped, telling them not to deviate from what’s typically seen as masculine.”

For little girls and their parents, there’s ample room to maneuver. Ultra-feminine toys and activities abound, along with an ever-growing range of “tomboy” sports options and other pursuits that in the past were mostly the domain of boys.

“The norms of femininity have expanded much more than the norms for masculinity – a lot more androgyny is allowed for girls,” said Judith Stacey, a professor of social and cultural analysis at New York University.

“With boys, it’s not seen as OK to wear skirts, play with princesses’ wands,” she said. “There’s still a lot of anxiety about being sufficiently masculine.”

The trends are reflected in career aspirations. Women now make up close to half the enrollment in U.S. law and medical schools, up from less than 25 percent a few decades ago, yet men continue to shun nursing as a career, comprising only about 8 percent of registered nurses.