To Be A Man Is To Be Responsible

By Jonathan Kalin, founder of Party with Consent

 “To be a man, is to be responsible,” – Antoine de Saint Exupery

My father died in a car accident when I was 12 years old. While I was old enough to understand that this spontaneous event would have monumental significance, I was unaware of how much my father’s passing would affect my understanding of masculinity as I grew during my formative teenage years.

As an only child, there was an immediate void of masculine guidance. Masculinity was something I would have to develop an understanding of without a consistent interaction with older men. That said, this did not attribute to a void of love. Experiencing the death of her father at a young age, my mother did everything in her power to teach me how to be a man, while simultaneously being my mother and my father.

We quickly found that certain educational moments between father and son were nearly impossible to duplicate as mother and son.We learned and struggled together as I grew up and grappled with things many take for granted like learning how to shave or how I was supposed to talk to women at school

Still, in her commitment to my development, she taught me more than I could have ever asked for. She showed me that , no matter what happens to you or what predicament you find yourself in, there is something you can do about it. So even if her husband died suddenly, she could still be my support system on her own. And for me, even if statistics show that 71% of high school dropouts grew up in fatherless homes, with my mother as my foundation, I knew I didn’t have to become a statistic.

My respect for my mother grew into a strong respect for all women in the world. When media and peers at prep school consistently portrayed women as objects or lesser than men, I always knew that something wasn’t right because of the strength that my mother portrayed day-in and day-out.

And in that strength, I learned from my mother how to be a man. See, being a man isn’t about shaving. It’s not about making rape jokes. It’s not even about having a dick. It is about accountability. It is about responsibility. And it is about doing our part to leave this world better than how we found it.

I didn’t just magically arrive at this point. It has been a journey and a struggle and it will continue to be.  Going into my freshman year of college, I didn’t define myself as a feminist. I didn’t define myself as an activist on gender issues. I actually didn’t even define myself as a man.

Blinded by my male privilege, I typically didn’t notice my gender.

This all changed the winter of my freshman year, when a friend of mine shared with me their story of surviving a sexual assault on campus. At the time, I thought sexual violence was something that happened in a dark alleyway, not at the campus of an elite liberal arts college for the leaders of tomorrow.

That was the catalyst that spurred me to act. I was a part of the inaugural class of Male Athletes Against Violence which is currently the only anti-violence group at my college. Now, I am entering my second year as president of this organization (since re-named Mules Against Violence)

Unfortunately, some people still think that sexual violence is a women’s issue and not one for men to consider. For years, people have been asking women why they got sexually assaulted for years. We are asking the wrong question. We need to stop portraying women as weak. We need to stop “blaming the victim”. We need to start focusing on men,, the perpetrators in 90% of sexual assaults, and considering ‘why did you sexual assault?’ It’s time for men to step up and be responsible.

That’s how my story ends today. Excited to see how it continues tomorrow. And the greatest thing about this movement is – you don’t need an intricate story. All you need to believe is “To be a man, is to be responsible.”

Jonathan Kalin is the President of Mules Against Violence at Colby College and the founder of Party With Consent.

What Is Feminism?

A great primer on feminism!

angry nerd girl

Let’s talk about feminism.  What is it?

According to the Mirriam-Webster dictionary, it has two non-medical definitions:

1: the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes

2: organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests

Look at that #1 definition.  Equality of the sexes. Nowhere does it list misandry, man-bashing, or the destruction of family.  So guess what?  If you believe in political, economic, and social equality that crosses sex and gender lines, congratulations!  You are a feminist!  Wait, don’t run away!  Did I make you uncomfortable just now?  Why is that?  Do you associate the term feminist with “feminazi?”  Are you afraid of being seen as an activist?  Causing a fuss?    Well guess what?  Activism is NOT a part of the primary definition.  Of course, we appreciate activism, but being a feminist doesn’t mean you have to go to marches, get abortions, burn…

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The New Yorker, Bert, & Ernie: Man friends

Just about the best possible unpacking of the upcoming New Yorker cover.

I wouldn't have it any other way.

hey bert

“Hey, Bert. Want to talk about masculinity?”
“Gee. Masculinity? What is masculinity, Ernie?”

An upcoming issue of The New Yorker (pictured right) will feature Bert with his arm around Ernie, who is leaning into Bert while they watch a really old television with rabbit ears, which shows on it an image of the Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS).

The Defense of Marriage Act was just partly overturned and Prop 8 was found unconstitutional. These are things to be celebrated, for sure. As much as this image makes me smile and makes me happy, I also find it incredibly problematic.

Bert and Ernie have been roommates

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We #StandWithWendy in her fight

Watch this remarkable woman, Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis, stand up as one person against a bill that would greatly restrict women’s rights in Texas.

It is troublesome to me that men believe that they should be making laws to dictate the lives of women. That is institutionalized sexism at its very worst. When we stand against choice, when we stand against equal pay, when we stand against equality in any form, we are standing against women, ourselves, and the history of freedom that our country was founded on.

If we truly believe in equality and equity, then we must stand with Wendy as she fights for the rights of women to control their bodies and make their own informed (and often excruciatingly difficult) decisions.

If you find the reading of the testimonies in the filibuster hard to listen to, just think about how hard it much be to stand there and read them without breaking down. If you find yourself wanting to turn away and turn it off realize that ignorance is a privilege that we can no longer afford.

Male Allies Marching Onwards for Women’s Rights

Guest Blog by Marvin Mathew

Gatorade ran a well-known Commercial in 2006, Everything you can do I can do better between Michael Jordan and Mia Hamm. It framed the ability of women to compete just as well as men. Gatorade’s commercial tied into a movement dating from the 1970’s in America. It continues today with President Obama’s words, “Our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts.”

It’s time to join the President and stand alongside women. According to Dolores Huerta, 2011 Medal of Freedom Recipient, a great way for men to get involved is to “Talk to other men and sometimes step back and let women step up.”  Directly from the words of a legend, all it takes is speaking to a brother, father, and friend.

Women are capable, but as long as we don’t stand alongside our mothers daughters, and sisters, reminding them of the endless possibilities for them, then we, as a society have not finished our journey and our duty to our children. Raised by a single mother in New York who did the job of a father and a mother, my sister and I learned firsthand that women are just as capable as men. I share this story with many Americans from urban city centers to the suburbs and most rural towns in this grand nation.

The ability to achieve, succeed, and shine must be protected through legislation and enforcement of that legislation. However, these results will never come about if we allow the injustice of todays systems to continue. Many are standing up and recognizing the tides are turned towards equality—it’s our time to stand with them.

Take note of this moment in American history as is a precious time to bring to light the importance of this cause. It is clear that our leader and President is ready to stand with women, it is our duty to join him and stand with them as well as men of all ages, but particularly as millennial and young men.

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Let us mark not the end of our lives with silence, but the beginning of opportunity and justice by our simple conversations. Since 2001 our lives have been American has swayed many ways and the world has watched us, sometimes confused at our actions. It’s time to identify with those that birthed us and remind the world why America is the great nation that it is.

We must not let this time to make what is wrong, right, pass by. The time for change is now.

Marvin Mathew is the Director of Male Allies Outreach at the National Young Women’s Council.

How @DoSomething Did Something About @Kickstarter

When young people ROAR change happens…

  1. Last night, I couldn’t sleep. I had been at Netroots Nation for all of a day and my head was spinning. See, I had signed a DoSomething.org petition in protest of Kickstarter to pull a project that endorsed “seduction techniques” that qualify in most states as sexual assault. I assumed that Kickstarter would see the error of their ways and pull the project. I was wrong. So I stayed up late into the nights trying to get my thoughts on paper…
  2. Open letter regarding Kickstarter’s tacit endorsement of rape culture ow.ly/mforS via @masculinityU #NN13 #NN13women #fem2
  3. And then I emailed some allies in the work in the hope that they would share the blog in the morning…
  4. Dear @kickstarter, sexual assault should not be funded! ow.ly/mforS @MasculinityU
  5. This is a must-read. @rippleofhope, you’re awesome. masculinityu.com/2013/06/21/dea…
  6. Well done, friend RT @rippleofhope: What was @Kickstarter thinking? Open letter on why rape culture’s never okay ow.ly/mforS
  7. So of course, it felt nice to get some kudos.Then after Kickstarter apologized, this happened:
  8. @MasculinityU of course it took a blog post written by a male instead of 50,000 signatures from mostly females. Still a win, though.
  9. Main props to @dosomething RT @hkearl: @MasculinityU congrats on kickstarter apologizing and donating to RAINN! Great work
  10. …and I was upset. Because I know the people at DoSomething and they are wonderful and I know that 99.9999999% of the reason that Kickstarter took the actions they did was because they successfully mobilized tens of thousands of people. So here is my Storify attempt to chronicle their efforts:
  11. The Petition is Launched

  12. Help us get the word out! Tweet this petition to tell @kickstarter to shut down a how-to-rape book: dosomething.org/petition/kicks… We can stop it!
  13. We’re close to 1k signatures to have @Kickstarter shut down funding to a book that teaches how to rape: dosomething.org/petition/kicks… Help us!
  14. 1,000 of you have joined us to tell @Kickstarter NOT to fund a how-to-rape guide. Let’s keep it going! This ISN’T ok dosomething.org/petition/kicks…
  15. WOW! We’re already at 7,000 signatures telling @Kickstarter to stop funding rape culture. Help us get more: dosomething.org/petition/kicks…
  16. Allies Step Up

  17. Tell @kickstarter to refuse to fund a book that promotes sexual assault. Sign and share here! dsorg.us/102NArY via @dosomething
  18. Handing over the signatures

  19. We’re headed to Kickstarter to present them nearly 50,000 SIGNATURES! (All in under 24 hours) dosomething.org/petition/kicks… pic.twitter.com/dDsVrV2UM5
  20. We’re delivering our petition with nearly 50k signatures to Kickstarter to tell them to stop funding a… instagram.com/p/ayJ_SByd_h/
  21. Winning!

  22. Kickstarter Petition Update: WE WONAfter our petition gained over 61,095 signatures, Kickstarter has issued an official apology and statement here: kickstarter.com/blog/we-wer….

    It’s titled, “We were wrong.” (Yup!) While they are still funding the dude, they’ve committed to reviewing their terms of service and will immediately prohibit “seduction guides,” or anything similar, effective immediately. They are also making a $25k contribution to RAINN. (No mention of us, the petition, or deleting your Facebook posts…)

    Our response:
    1. We’re proud. Despite the fact that the statement didn’t mention DoSomething.org and the 60,000 young people who signed the petition…clearly, we won. Nice work. Lesson? When young people ROAR, it matters.

    2. We are thrilled Kickstarter is reviewing and changing its policies to stop anything like this from
    happening again. We think it’s lame that they are still funding the project – but we have reached out to the author himself to help him write something positive. He is meeting with one of our team this weekend for coffee.

    3. We love that our friends at RAINN will receive a donation to continue to combat sexual assault.

    4. We hope Kickstarter did something nice for that office manager…

    We’re happy we won this one…there is a lot more out there to tackle. Send us your ideas for campaigns and petitions: dosomething.org/petitions/i…

    You matter. When you roar, people listen and change happens.

  23. Thanks @Kickstarter for the apology and pledge to donate $25k to @RAINN01! kck.st/19arxpy @dosomething
  24. Wow! Kickstarter has issued an apology! The author is even having coffee w/ @dosomething WE DID IT! @SophiaBush pic.twitter.com/1gOrKIieHZ
  25. Post-Mortem

  26. @kickstarter issued apology for not immdtly removing “seduction guide!” Thnx every1 who signed @dosomething petition! kickstarter.com/blog/we-were-w…
  27. Congrats to @dosomething for their successful petition to end the Kickstarter campaign to stop funding on a how to sexual assault book!
  28. .@Kickstarter apologizes but no mention of the @DoSomething petition, on a good note they donate $25k to @RAINN! kickstarter.com/blog/we-were-w…
  29. “In Wake of Creep ‘Dating’ Guide, Is it Time for Kickstarter to Do Something?” bit.ly/12RCFEd via @adage @portergale
  30. “How not to do Crisis PR (A Real-Time Case Study)” via @nancylublin @LinkedIn linkd.in/17s55HY
  31. Big thx to our friends @dosomething for their petition against the “how-to” manual & to the 60k people who turned their outrage into action
  32. That is how it is done. That is how young people create change. That is how DoSomething does something.

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Kickstarter: “We Were Wrong”

Props to Kickstarter for stepping up and trying make amends. It is unfortunate that the project got funded (which is automated), but the rest of their response was pretty spot on. -Marc

Dear everybody,

On Wednesday morning Kickstarter was sent a blog post quoting disturbing material found on Reddit. The offensive material was part of a draft for a “seduction guide” that someone was using Kickstarter to publish. The posts offended a lot of people — us included — and many asked us to cancel the creator’s project. We didn’t.

We were wrong.

Why didn’t we cancel the project when this material was brought to our attention? Two things influenced our decision:

  • The decision had to be made immediately. We had only two hours from when we found out about the material to when the project was ending. We’ve never acted to remove a project that quickly.
  • Our processes, and everyday thinking, bias heavily toward creators. This is deeply ingrained. We feel a duty to our community — and our creators especially — to approach these investigations methodically as there is no margin for error in canceling a project. This thinking made us miss the forest for the trees.

These factors don’t excuse our decision but we hope they add clarity to how we arrived at it.

Let us be 100% clear: Content promoting or glorifying violence against women or anyone else has always been prohibited from Kickstarter. If a project page contains hateful or abusive material we don’t approve it in the first place. If we had seen this material when the project was submitted to Kickstarter (we didn’t), it never would have been approved. Kickstarter is committed to a culture of respect.

Where does this leave us?

First, there is no taking back money from the project or canceling funding after the fact. When the project was funded the backers’ money went directly from them to the creator. We missed the window.

Second, the project page has been removed from Kickstarter. The project has no place on our site. For transparency’s sake, a record of the page is cached here.

Third, we are prohibiting “seduction guides,” or anything similar, effective immediately. This material encourages misogynistic behavior and is inconsistent with our mission of funding creative works. These things do not belong on Kickstarter.

Fourth, today Kickstarter will donate $25,000 to an anti-sexual violence organization called RAINN. It’s an excellent organization that combats exactly the sort of problems our inaction may have encouraged.

We take our role as Kickstarter’s stewards very seriously. Kickstarter is one of the friendliest, most supportive places on the web and we’re committed to keeping it that way. We’re sorry for getting this so wrong.

Thank you,

Kickstarter

Dear @Kickstarter: What the hell are you thinking?! #FORCEKickstarter

DoSomething.org

UPDATE: Kickstarter has issued an apology. It is available in full here. All the credit for this goes to DoSomething.org and their supporters. I can’t wait to see what they do next!

Dear Kickstarter,

I know we haven’t talked in a minute. You must admit that we’ve had a complicated relationship. I loved you from afar when you kept your crowdfunding gate closed to nonprofits. Still, even then, I celebrated the beautiful art that was able to be funded on your site that may have failed to secure funding elsewhere. Then the heavens opened up, the skies parted and for the first time you decided to allow nonprofits raise money on your site. I couldn’t have been happier! Since then, I try and stop by every now and again to support documentaries like “White Like Me” that promote critical race theory or the “The Monument Quilt by FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture”. (Hell, I even came over to donate to Midas Whale after they got kicked off the Voice).

You were the one who launched @femfreq into the stratosphere when people rallied around Anita Sarkeesian after she was viciously attacked. In that moment, you gave people like me  an outlet to support one of our allies who had come under fire from gamers and trolls with little to no respect for a woman in “their space”. So you have to imagine my shock when you started showing up on my Twitter feed because my friends at DoSomething.org were calling for signatures for a petition against you. I know that Do Something doesn’t activate their incredible and powerful network of passionate young people unless there is a compelling reason. And sure enough, there was. Your site, your beautiful platform that provides opportunity for so many, was providing funding for a man by the name of Ken Hoinsky who had penned a manual that he called “Above the Game: A Guide to Getting Awesome with WomenHe might was well have called it “Above the Rules: A Guide to Completely Violating Consent, Respect and Common Decency”. Someone was able to grab excerpts of this “manual” and I have to say that they are not for the faint of heart. Here are just a couple of examples of the gems that Hoinsky offers (TRIGGER WARNING): Continue reading

#Feminism + #Gender at #NN13

#Feminism #Gender at #NN13

I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing my first day at my first Netroots Nation. Struck by the dialogue taking place around gender and equality. Here are some highlights:

  1. Quote of the Day

  2. “Learning sex from porn is like trying to learn Kung fu by watching Jackie Chan movies.” @ibmarcia #nn13 #nn13sex
  3. #NN13Sex

  4. If we taught drivers ed in the same way we taught sex ed, we would say never step into a car you are going to die #NN13sex #NN13
  5. In order to address sexual violence we have to talk about sexual culture that endorses rape -@jaclynf #nn13sex #nn13
  6. “Rape is not an act of sexual incontinence”, but a result of a toxic attitude towards sex and power. #nn13 #nn13sex
  7. Saying the word rape is not politicians’ problem. The beliefs behind what they say are the problem -@jess_mc w/ @emilyslist #nn13
  8. .@favianna says when you tell women “Don’t be easy,” you insinuate that they aren’t making their own decisions. #nn13 #nn13sex
  9. We’ve got a whole generation of people who grew up with abstinence-only who are judging themselves and others by those standards #NN13sex
  10. .@jaclynf progressive sexual culture must be intersectional – race, economics, gender identity all affect agency #nn13sex #nn13
  11. #NN13 on #mansplaining

  12. Learning the art of mansplaining @ #nn13. Now I know all women’s problems come from women being able to make choices pic.twitter.com/lTfQnmTDC2
  13. .@AmandaMarcotte what we CAN do is normalize at every opportunity women’s authority. #nn13 #mansplaining #fem2
  14. My name for it is #asshole RT @rippleofhope: “giving something a name is very important” #mansplaining #nn13
  15. Women have power. We just aren’t using it. – @ch3ryl Time to get active! #nn13 #mansplaining
  16. Duncan Black: Men who get to 40 or 50 & are still #mansplaining have not been challenged often enough. Challenge them. #NN13
  17. .@trayf #RealTalk: corporate #edreform largely consists of #mansplaining, with the occasional token lady dispatched to cute things up. #nn13
  18. .@Atrios wants for young men that they not have to unlearn a bunch of crap like he did growing up. #Mansplaining #fem2 #nn213
  19. Let’s not defend/justify #mansplaining w “they grew up in a different era”. That’s like justifying Paula Deen’s racism cause she’s 60 #nn13
  20. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. >> That’s some #mansplaining right there. – @ch3ryl #nn13
  21. More than a challenge than an answer @ch3ryl thinking about segregation pt where it became unacceptable #nn13 #fem2 what happened?
  22. Good tip for dealing with mansplainers: give them rope. “Explain to me again how you can’t get pregnant from rape!” #nn13 #nn13women
  23. .@Atrios claims that being a blowhard is a gender-neutral phenomenon, not so sure I agree. #fem2 #nn13
  24. End of “It Wasn’t Me” might have advice for #mansplaining lawmakers – apologize change course. @ch3ryl #NN13
  25. .@AmandaMarcotte if every expert face you see on TV is a male, it gets legitimately hard to think of women as experts. #nn13 #mansplaining
  26. who knew? “In the Bay Area, women make 44cents/men’s dollar” – @ch3ryl #nn13 #mansplaining would be “you chose to make less”
  27. “@LOLGOP: Corporations are mansplainers, too, my friend. #nn13” this.
  28. #nn13mansplaining #nn13 @ch3ryl: Mansplaining by the NRA: “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” Subtler than the usual hogwash.
  29. @cyn3matic @ch3ryl most often it is guys with guns that kill people…or guys without guns…guys period. Ugh.
  30. The war on women is not just policies, it’s the words used. #mansplaining explained at #nn13
  31. MT @KetyE: Women have pwr thru social media. take a Mansplainer & hv him explain it to everybody @ch3ryl “Tell me more about that..” #nn13
  32. @trayf you swayed me to follow my passion to this #mansplaining session and abandon my head back in the eval session. Thank you sir! #NN13
  33. Other #NN13 Gems
  34. Guess NetRoots was serious about the transgender manners instructions –> RT @Kredo0: #nn13 pic.twitter.com/WHKTCTdtfZ
  35. .@MomsRising leaving their mark @ #nn13! pic.twitter.com/SGevpXzlQ0
  36. And we’re back to zero thanks to Maine’s Gov. Paul LePage dayswithoutagoprapemention.com #fem2 #nn13
  37. We are “a community of people committed to radical self love.” EXACTLY. #NN13 #fem2
  38. Interesting #nnwomen nugget: When there is a legislative women’s caucus there is more bipartisan feminist legislation. #fem2 #nn13
  39. If we continue at the same rate to elevate gender equality in Congress, it will take 500yrs #genderroots #nn13 @Shannon_Farley
  40. Netroots Nation will have gender neutral bathrooms! Hurrah! Also a note in conference program about pronouns. #NN13
  41. #NN13 program, p 21 “Pay attention to a person’s purposeful gender expression. It’s polite to ask: ‘What pronoun do you prefer?'”

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