TalkAboutSexxx.com

Sex and sexuality news and information forum

 forum - business directory - image gallery

It is currently Sat Dec 15, 2018 1:42 pm

All times are UTC




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 51 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 7:36 am 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 11:58 am
Posts: 94851
Location: Floating in space
In Istanbul, tourists seek their dream moustache
8 August 2013

Image
Men dressed as members of the Mehteran Band, an old Ottoman military band, at Gallipoli, west Turkey in 2004.

AFP - Already known the world over for its baths, coffee and sweet Turkish delights, Turkey is on the way to adding another item to its roster of specialities: the moustache.

Moustaches remain a highly sought-after symbol of masculinity in Turkey and the Middle East -- to the point that the less hirsute are increasingly seeking out transplants at the hands of Turkish cosmetic surgeons.

Among them is Selahattin Tulunay, head of a thriving private practice that once specialised in hair transplants but has been adapted to cater to the increasing demand for moustaches. "I've been doing moustache implants for around three years now," he said. "A lot of men have come to see me saying 'I'm 40 years old, I'm the head of a large company and no one takes me seriously abroad. I want people to see that I have hair'," he added.

Image
An employee of state tobacco company Tekel at a protest in Ankara in 2010.

Engin Koc, 30, had long despaired of his clean-shaven face before he opted to go under the knife seven months ago and get the upper lip of his dreams. "I wanted to look like ancient Turks, like the Ottomans, and since I'm a nostalgic soul with an admiration for that era, I got the implants," he said, calling the moustache "a symbol of Turkish virility".

Moustaches have long been a serious matter in Turkey, with a popular saying that goes, "a man without a moustache is like a house without a balcony." The shape of the specimen even holds political meaning. "The bushy style, like Stalin's, is more the prerogative of the left or of Kurds," said anthropologist Benoit Fliche from the French Institute of Anatolian Studies in Istanbul. "When neater, like that of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, it becomes religious and conservative. "And when it shoots down on both sides of the mouth like fangs, it's a mark of the extreme right," he added.

Image
A woman at a protest in Istanbul in 2009 against the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

Although the bewhiskered look is winning over fewer Turks from the big cities -- who are drawn more towards Western fashion -- a moustache and beard remain a must for men from Arab countries or the Turkic republics of Central Asia, who journey over to Istanbul to satisfy their need for hair. "The Turkish television series broadcast in the Arab world wield a great influence," said Tulunay, adding that "it's upon seeing our actors that these patients called on us for the same beard or the same moustache".

These clients constitute the core of the new market for facial hair. In Istanbul alone, around 250 clinics or private practices are locked in fierce competition to sell their services, with promotions galore. The majority are linked to travel agencies and offer package deals that include the operation, a hotel stay and airport pick-up, with the most competitive offering package deals starting at 2,000 euros ($2,700). Hair tourism is thus in full swing, fuelled by a constant uptick in the number of foreigners visiting Turkey, with estimates suggesting more than 35 million people flocked there last year.

Image
A man dressed as a member of the Mehteran Band, an old Ottoman military band, at Gallipoli, Turkey in 2004.

"Every week, we welcome 50 to 60 patients for a hair transplant and five to six for a moustache transplant, Istanbul Hair Centre surgeon Meral Tala said. "And as our results are now much better than before, we expect a large rise in demand."

Source: France24.

_________________
"My bed is my office."
Visit our Gallery, list your business in our Directory!


Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on TuentiShare on SonicoShare on FriendFeedShare on OrkutShare on DiggShare on RedditShare on DeliciousShare on VKShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on MySpace
Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 6:02 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 11:58 am
Posts: 94851
Location: Floating in space
Y chromosome: Why men contribute so little
22 November 2013
By James Gallagher

Image

Scientists have practically obliterated the ultimate symbol of maleness in DNA, the Y chromosome, and believe they may be able to do away with it completely.

They condensed all the genetic information normally found on a mouse's Y chromosome to just two genes. Their study, in the journal Science, showed the male mice could still father babies, albeit needing advanced IVF. The team in Hawaii argues that the findings could one day help infertile men with a damaged Y chromosome.

DNA is bundled into chromosomes. In most mammals, including humans, one pair act as the sex chromosomes. Inherit an X and Y from your parents and you turn out male, get a pair of Xs and the result is female.

Two genes 'enough'

Image
A human X and Y chromosome

"The Y chromosome is a symbol of maleness," lead researcher Professor Monika Ward told the BBC. In mice, the Y chromosome normally contains 14 distinct genes, with some present in up to a hundred copies. The team at the University of Hawaii showed that genetically modified mice with a Y chromosome consisting of just two genes would develop normally and could even have babies of their own. Prof Ward commented: "These mice are normally infertile, but we show it is possible to get live offspring when the Y chromosome is limited to just two genes by using assisted reproduction."

The mice could only produce rudimentary sperm. But they could have offspring with the help of an advanced form of IVF, called round spermatid injection, which involves injecting genetic information from the early sperm into an egg. The resulting pups were healthy and lived a normal lifespan.

Reproduction still possible

The two necessary genes were Sry, which kick-starts the process of producing a male as an embryo develops, and Eif2s3y, which is involved in the first steps of sperm production. However, Prof Ward argues it "may be possible to eliminate the Y chromosome" if the role of these genes could be reproduced in a different way, but added a world without men would be "crazy" and "science fiction". "But on a practical level it shows that after large deletions of the Y chromosome it is still possible to reproduce, which potentially gives hope to men with these large deletions," she added.

Image
The father has hardly any Y chromosome

The genes which were discarded are likely to be involved in the production of healthy sperm. Dr Chris Tyler-Smith, from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, said: "This is a great step forward in understanding basic biology. "But it is important to bear in mind that other mouse Y genes are needed for natural reproduction in mice and as the authors carefully emphasise, the conclusions cannot be applied directly to humans because humans don't have a direct equivalent of one of the key genes."

Dr Allan Pacey, a senior lecturer in andrology at the University of Sheffield, said: "This is a very interesting paper, trying to both unravel the genes responsible for sperm production and also shed light on the function of the Y-chromosome. The experiments are elegant and seem to show that in the mouse sperm production can be achieved when only two genes from the Y-chromosomes are present. Whilst this is of limited use in understanding human fertility, this kind of work is important if we are to unravel to complexities of how genes control fertility."

Source: BBC.

_________________
"My bed is my office."
Visit our Gallery, list your business in our Directory!


Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on TuentiShare on SonicoShare on FriendFeedShare on OrkutShare on DiggShare on RedditShare on DeliciousShare on VKShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on MySpace
Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Dec 10, 2013 6:11 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 11:58 am
Posts: 94851
Location: Floating in space
Are men becoming too metrosexual to be sexy?
By Caroline Kent
28 November 2013

Image
Metro man: David Beckham Photo: Alamy

The metrosexual male is almost 20 years old, but has he become too narcissistic for his own good, and a turn-off for the opposite sex?

It's nearly the end of Movember. But for many men, their furry face furniture is a year-round must-have accessory. While previously the preserve of truckers, woodsmen, and the homeless, beards and moustaches are now firmly part of the manly make-up that metrosexuals use to make themselves adorable, and to adore themselves.

Men's newly-discovered obsession with looking good has been joyously liberating for some, but difficult to negotiate for others. Way back in 1994, when women pondered whether we could shave our armpits and still call ourselves feminists, the writer Mark Simpson was studying the modern man in the mirror. He coined the term "metrosexual" and has studied the development of his "Frankenstein's monster with flawless skin" ever since, right up to the Jersey Shore incarnation of eyebrow-plucking carb-dodgers. Simpson argues that metrosexuality is now not only the norm, but an integral component of modern masculinity.

The "selfie" generation is no stranger to the notion of narcissism as a survival strategy, yet Simpson's metro man rallies against the traditionalists; including another Telegraph writer who described metrosexuality to me as “gratuitously fey. What the hell is wrong with a decent suit and a smart haircut?” Quite. I can't help but wonder if my metrosexual date's position of choice will be based on the angle at which he can check himself out in the wardrobe mirror. Vanity for vanity’s sake isn't as sexy as it looks.

Poor men. Women have been telling them for years to smarten themselves up, and when they finally do we accuse them of preening. No doubt many men are tired of women like me who lust over buffed boys, but complain if they take longer than five minutes to get dressed for dinner. “I think most men have noticed this, er, discrepancy,” Simpson reasons. “What women say they think about metrosexuality and how they respond to it can be two very different things. But metrosexuality is not ‘for’ women. It’s for men. "It is the male desire to be desired," he adds, "it's about how men feel about the way they look. Because – as women have been told by advertisers for some time – they’re worth it."

Indeed, women are constantly reminded that our eyelashes are never quite long enough, our legs aren't smooth enough, our hair is not sleek enough. It's hardly surprising that advertising that there's a male market to be milked too. Men are suckers for this stuff too.

However, Simpson believes the metro movement is driven by men themselves, not marketing. And he believes it has heralded a shift towards a new sense of male autonomy and empowerment, “Men are not only more sensual creatures nowadays," he says, "but also more independent. For some women, perhaps with more traditional ideas about sex roles, the fact that grown men are able to clean and feed themselves without a surrogate mum is very alarming indeed.”

Hmm. While I dare Simpson to show me a woman who "WLTM" a sauce-pot either incapable of or unwilling to wash his own pants, I do agree that the metrosexual movement is unsettling for some of us females. But what's more worrying, to me, is the inevitable tipping point at which men become so fabulous that they outshine me. I am less capable of switching on a washing machine that most five year old males, and can often be seen sporting a monobrow and several hundred blackheads. Where will the evolution of metrosexuality leave women like me?

Simpson assures me that this new metro phase is nothing for women to be worried about, rather “It represents a global revolution in masculinity which has profound significance. It’s about men becoming everything. To themselves.” So womankind can sigh with relief that it's just about self-actualisatian and empowerment? And that our men aren't, in fact, preening themselves in preparation to dump us and seek out someone more in tune with their "improved" image?

“No, that's exactly what he's doing,” a female friend insists, “he's doing it for one simple reason. Toxic bachelors have learnt to adopt metrosexual traits in order to seem the likeable, befriendable type - but they actually just want a shag.”

I'm momentarily shocked and appalled - but then again, what’s so wrong with "just a shag"?

Source: Telegraph UK.

_________________
"My bed is my office."
Visit our Gallery, list your business in our Directory!


Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on TuentiShare on SonicoShare on FriendFeedShare on OrkutShare on DiggShare on RedditShare on DeliciousShare on VKShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on MySpace
Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2014 11:51 am 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 11:58 am
Posts: 94851
Location: Floating in space
Jon Snow: 'I am in touch with my feminine side'
by Jon Snow
Friday, 17 January 2014

Image
Jon Snow: 'My feminine side is revealed, for example, in colours and clothes … hence the ties.' Photograph: Johnny Green/PA Archive/Press Association Ima

As a man about to take part in the Southbank Centre's first ever Being a Man festival, I have been thinking a lot recently about what 'being a man' actually means.

In discussing the subject with a few women and, admittedly, fewer men, I have found, perhaps unsurprisingly, that it is not the sort of thing we really feel comfortable talking about.

In the course of my research, I spoke to a psychiatrist friend, who talked about dividing men and women into male and female portions. Some men are male/male; some are female/male or male/female – the dominant gender attribute coming first. We both agreed we are each female/male. My wife, he asserted, is male/female – she didn't disagree, and nor did I. He went on to argue that men who are female/male tend not to get on well with similarly gendered female/male women. In other words, like poles repel.

Now you may argue that this is all nonsense, but the more I think about it, and apply it to myself and others, the more I find myself agreeing with the analysis.

I have always felt that for a man to call himself a feminist is somewhat presumptuous, because although I aspire to be one, it is probably for others to judge. But I do argue that I am in touch with my feminine side – something I would have been teased, if not beaten up, for saying when I was at school. My feminine side is revealed, for example, in colour and clothes. One instance is that I notice what both men and women wear, and if I like it I invariably comment on it. Another is that I paint in watercolours. I wear colours – hence the ties.

And while I can manage my bit of such a conversation, I find football talk unrewarding. I find massed male activity as manifest in sport, largely unappealing, and to an extent alienating. It seems to me so much a predominantly male escape from talking about things that might affect daily life very much more. Don't get me wrong, I do understand that for some people, Arsenal's fortunes in the Premier League are paramount and have nothing to do with gender. Nevertheless, I think many men find safety in numbers and in activities that evade the issues between our sexes.

I am fortunate to work in an environment where sport is talked about and participated in, but never to the apparent exclusion of everything else. But too many of us men seem to be too happy to go along with the herd and talk about predominantly male sport, instead of breaking out to discuss art, music, inequality, politics and the rest. Where, in my experience, women are happy to discuss feelings and emotions, many men will run a country mile to avoid such stuff. As a result, I seem to be prepared to confide in women more than I would in a man.

Since the 1960s, we men have been on a journey. A journey during which, for example, women have entered our workplace. In the early days, many men molested and verbally demeaned women at work – some, albeit fewer, still do. The cascade of celebrity sex abuse allegations tells us something of how far we have come from what was tolerated just four decades ago.

Many men have thrived in the new environment, but others – dragged along in the slipstream of change – have found it harder. They have felt challenged by the increasing role of women. Challenged too by the increasing demands made of them for equality in the home – childcare, cleaning, cooking, and more. So I cannot help but wonder how discussions at the Being a Man festival will pan out. Will it draw women who want to talk about men, or men who have been dragged along by their women? Will men en masse even want to talk about being men? I believe that men in particular have a lot of thinking to do about the emerging discourse of the sexes. Politics and even everyday conversation are lagging behind both the changes in our lives, and in the balance in the sexes. And that's something we really do need to talk about.

• Being a Man festival, 31 January – 2 February, Southbank Centre, London

Source: Guardian UK.

_________________
"My bed is my office."
Visit our Gallery, list your business in our Directory!


Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on TuentiShare on SonicoShare on FriendFeedShare on OrkutShare on DiggShare on RedditShare on DeliciousShare on VKShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on MySpace
Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2014 4:36 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 11:58 am
Posts: 94851
Location: Floating in space
Bit by bit, macho stereotypes lose ground
12 February 2014
By DAVID CRARY

image

NEW YORK (AP) -- Traditionally, the American male was measured against the stoic hero who shook off all doubts, vanquished all foes and offered women a muscular shoulder to cry on.

But that was before feminism, gay-rights activism, metrosexuals. Husbands took on a greater share of housework and child care. The military welcomed women and gays. A romantic movie about gay cowboys, "Brokeback Mountain," won three Oscars. And this week, the ground shifted under the hyper-masculine realm of America's most popular pro sport - the National Football League, it seems, will soon have its first openly gay player.

Off the playing field, in their daily lives, countless American men are trying to navigate these changes. For some, it's a source of confusion and anxiety. "Men are conflicted, ambivalent," said James O'Neil, a psychology professor at the University of Connecticut who has written extensively on men's struggles over gender roles. "On one hand they've been socialized to meet the old stereotypes." he said. "On the other hand, particularly for men in their 30s and 40s, they begin to say, `That's not working for me. It's too stressful.' They're looking for alternative models of masculinity."

But for other Americans, the upheaval is a good thing. "Ultimately, confusion about modern masculinity is a good thing: It means we're working past the outmoded definition," wrote journalist and blogger Ann Friedman in a nymag.com article last fall titled "What Does Manhood Mean in 2013?"

After World War II, at least on the surface, there seemed to be an overwhelming consensus of what American manhood was all about. It was typified by Gary Cooper and John Wayne on the movie screen, by the GIs on America's foreign battlefields, by the executives with homemaker wives and no corporate worries about gender diversity. The feminist movement that emerged in the 1960s fractured this consensus and fueled significant, though gradual, changes in many Americans' perceptions of gender roles and stereotypes. By now, although women remain underrepresented as CEOs, they comprise close to half the enrollment in U.S. medical and law schools, and are being welcomed into military combat units.

Over the same period, perceptions of manhood and masculinity also have evolved. Surveys show that husbands are handling far more housework and child-care than they used to, though still less than their wives. Soccer icon David Beckham proved that a male sports star with a celebrity wife could embrace nail polish and flamboyant fashion without losing his fans. "The women's movement showed that women didn't want to be restricted by their gender role, and it's opened things up for men to not be restricted as well - they can be stay-at-home dads, they can be nurses," said Bonnie Grabenhofer, a vice president of the National Organization for Women, though from her perspective the pace of change has been "agonizingly slow."

Fatherhood remains a key element in the discussion of masculinity, and there seems to be broad support for encouraging fathers to be more engaged in child-rearing than they were in the past. As evidence, Christopher Brown, president of the National Fatherhood Initiative, notes that the military is investing more energy these days in supporting soldiers' roles as parents. "Fathers are really embracing that broader role," said Brown. "It's become accepted that they can share more of the work, and more of the joy."

Ask Tom Burns of Ferndale, Mich. He chose his current job with a Detroit-area publishing company because it offered flexible working hours that give him more time with his daughter, who's in second grade. "I could have taken a better paying job with less flexibility ... but I can't imagine how I would function," said Burns, 36. "I use the time piecemeal to make sure I can attend concerts, do class functions. It was important to have a career that allowed me that work/home balance."

Among the growing (but still small) cohort of stay-at-home dads is Ben Martin of Brookline, Mass., husband of a physician. "My wife, Wendy, brings home the bacon, I cook it, and our two kids (ages 9 and 7) would eat it, except our 7 year old is too picky to eat bacon," Martin wrote recently on his blog. In a telephone interview, Martin, 35, said his goal "is to be as good a husband and father as I can be." "I'm going to do what's practical, what's right for my family," he said. "I like to think of that as a trait that a lot of men would appreciate." Still, Martin says he knows few other stay-home dads. "I get curious looks sometimes when I drop the kids off at school," he said. "It's a little isolating at times."

James O'Neil, the UConn professor, would like to see an expansion of psychological support for men wrestling with changing expectations. "There's denial about men having problems related to gender roles," he said. "We need to break through that."

Gays as well as heterosexuals have played a role in the changing concepts of masculinity. Certainly, Michael Sam - the all-American defensive end who this week told the rest of the country what his University of Missouri coaches and teammates already knew, that he was gay - is already helping break down stereotypes about gay men. But there were many examples before him, including Olympic diving champion Greg Louganis and NFL players such as Jerry Smith and David Kopay who came out after they retired. Louganis, while still in the closet, impressed the world with his fortitude at the 1988 Seoul Olympics by winning the gold medal despite suffering a concussion in a preliminary round.

"When it comes to gay men, the script is being rewritten," said Sarah Kate Ellis, president of GLAAD, a leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy organization. "It's a wonderful thing happening as the definition of manhood evolves, and it becomes more inclusive of more types of men."

Merriam-Webster defines manhood as "the qualities (such as strength and courage) that are expected in a man." Such qualities should be preserved, even amid all the changes, says Holly Sweet, a Boston-area psychologist and co-director of the Cambridge Center for Gender Relations. "There are so many good things about being a man - being a provider, being honorable, taking care of others, taking responsibility, being fair," she said. "It's not about picking on gays or dissing women."

Source: AP.

_________________
"My bed is my office."
Visit our Gallery, list your business in our Directory!


Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on TuentiShare on SonicoShare on FriendFeedShare on OrkutShare on DiggShare on RedditShare on DeliciousShare on VKShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on MySpace
Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 5:30 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 11:58 am
Posts: 94851
Location: Floating in space
Sex in men's prisons: 'The US system cultivates rape. If you treat people like animals, they behave like it'
by Patrick Strudwick
Saturday, 1 March 2014

Image
An inmate in Arizona's Maricopa County Jail who has volunteered to work on the chain gang. Corbis

The crook of another man's elbow is on my Adam's apple, pressing down, choking me. After just a couple of seconds, I panic and gasp.

Shaun Attwood, who spent more than five years in some of America's toughest prisons, including Arizona's infamous Maricopa Jail, is showing me how men in prison are raped. "Generally they put the victim to sleep with a choke hold – locking the windpipe like this," he says, rendering me unable to reply. "Within about 10 seconds you're unconscious."

Attacks don't always begin like this. Sometimes, "they'll lure them with drugs and get them really high – 90 per cent of prisoners shoot-up drugs". Sometimes they'll trick the victim into a debt and then make them repay it with sex. Other times it can start with a beating or stabbing.

Human Rights Watch estimated in 2010 – three years after Attwood left jail – that 140,000 US inmates have been raped. Other studies have helped fill in the quantitative picture: 21 per cent of prisoners in the Midwest reported being forced into some form of sexual activity, according to Prison Journal. Young inmates are five times more likely to be sexually assaulted, says Just Detention International, an organisation devoted to ending prison rape. Similar statistics aren't available in the UK but in the year 2011 – there were 103 male and female prisoner-on-prisoner sexual assaults.

The statistics, then, we know. The jokes, of course, we know, too: "Don't drop the soap!" is repeated so often by so many as to become Britain and America's prison-rape refrain – a chorus of discomfort to muzzle the horror. But the 3D picture of prison rape in America, the how and why and what happens next, is scarcely uttered because those who survive the system almost invariably have no voice. Attwood, however, a tall, skinny, somewhat geeky 43-year-old from Widnes, doesn't just have a voice, but has written three books on life inside. And his latest, Prison Time, details the sex – consensual or otherwise – the prostitution, the pimping and the equal, loving relationships behind bars.

The details of which cast fresh light not only on the culture, politics and dynamics in America's penitentiary system, but on the nature of male sexuality itself. Heterosexual? Bi? Gay? Labels erode, irrelevant, in the absence of women and societal constraints. We begin by discussing rape because it is everywhere in prison and everywhere in his book, an ever-present threat.

"I was constantly mentally preparing to fight to the death to stop it happening to me," he says. "I would leave pens out [in my cell] – I was getting ready to, you know..." his voice trails off. Pens can be a deadly weapon. They can also blind. (A transgender inmate called She-Ra, whom Attwood became friends with, was so broken by gang rapes she finally stopped them by popping an eyeball out of one of her attackers.)

"I had a profound determination to stop it happening because once that's happened to you, everyone finds out and the whole prison society will treat you differently. From then on you're game for anyone to do anything to do you. Not only sexually, but in any way you will be taken advantage of."

Image
Shaun Attwood photographed in Widnes last month (Mike Poloway)

It's not only young men who are more likely to be raped, but obviously gay ones, too. What are the chances, then, that a young-ish gay man such as myself would be raped? Attwood looks down. "It is inevitable," he says quietly. "And no one on the outside is interested. Until someone's son is calling them from prison saying, 'I've got a cellmate with a padlock in a sock who is threatening to rape me,' they couldn't care less."

In 2003 – a year after Attwood's incarceration for dealing ecstasy on the Arizona rave scene – a federal law was passed, the Prison Rape Elimination Act, decreeing statistics must be compiled nationally and grants given to prisons to help reduce rape. This manifested in what Attwood calls "rape classes". "It involved us being taught about rape and being told we have to report rape," he says with a snort of derision. "Everyone laughed throughout and said to the teacher, 'We are not going to report rape!'. If you report anything in prison you're deemed a snitch and it's KOS – kill on sight – for snitches. At the end of the class everyone was saying, 'They might as well give us rape kits' – a how-to." Not that they needed it. Immediately after the class, "a mentally-ill prisoner was gang-raped. No one reported a thing".

Is there anything, then, that could be done to stop it?

"When you've got two guards watching hundreds of prisoners – to keep costs down – prisoners can do whatever they want. The US prison system cultivates rape. If you treat people like animals, they behave like it."

Unsurprisingly, in such an epidemic, sexually transmitted infection (STI) rates are sky-high. Attwood says in one prison, he counted up the cons with hepatitis C: it came to two-thirds. Many had HIV. The only ones receiving treatment were those who had taken legal action. And thus, some prisoners had full-blown Aids.

Without realising, Attwood himself illustrates how normalised inmates become to rape and sexual assault, to the extent they don't even recognise it. In Prison Time, he describes walking in on a young man being forced to fellate another prisoner, an act considered rape in several states and many countries. But when I ask if Attwood ever witnessed a rape, he says no. And when I ask if he felt he had been assaulted when another lag grabbed him, French-kissed him and groped him with hands moist with lubricant Attwood replies: "No, not at all. If I did that to a woman in a bar, that's sexual assault, but in prison the limits are completely different from society."

Image
Shaun Attwood, photographed by a fellow inmate at Buckeye Prison, Arizona, 2004

The man who grabbed him he had nicknamed Jeeves. This is because Jeeves was his "butler". Jeeves was sexually obsessed with Attwood and so offered to work for him cleaning his cell and looking after all domestic concerns – a dynamic from which he derived sexual kicks. There was no payment, just the thrill of it. He would make advances to Attwood fairly regularly, but was always rebutted. To the English inmate, Jeeves was comparatively harmless – before being moved to this cell, Attwood would have to walk past another every day in which resided a prisoner called Booga. He documents their first meeting:

"I'm pulled into a cell reeking of backside sweat and masturbation, a cheese-tinted funk. 'I'm Booga. Let's fuck,' says a squat man in urine-stained boxers, with WHITE TRASH tattooed on his torso...I can't believe my eyes when he drops his boxers and waggles his penis... He grabs me. We scuffle... When I feel his penis rub against my leg, my adrenalin kicks in so forcefully I experience a burst of strength and wriggle free."

For Attwood, escaping rape, as well as "murder, or even having bones broken or teeth knocked out", for nearly six years was "freakishly" lucky, and thanks in part to his "English wit" and "people skills" as well his friendships with some of the gang leaders. Other prisoners avoid rape – or at least consider themselves to be avoiding it – by becoming a "punk".

This relates to the word's original meaning – the receptive male partner in anal sex – but in prison becomes a job, an identity. You are a receptacle, owned by another. "They tend to be the younger, prettier inmates – or the transsexual ones," explains Attwood. "If you're a big, bad gang member, which gives you the right to have a punk to use for sex, as long as you're the 'giver', it's not considered remotely gay."

The particulars of this relationship can vary. The higher up the prison strata (which generally means the more violent) the gangster, the better looking his punk. "But he's got to fight to maintain that punk. It's a warrior society." The punk becomes their property. And as such, can either be kept for their sole use or pimped. "People use them like a commodity and rent them out," he explains. But it's only others with high status who hire them. "Some will allow their punks to be unfaithful with other punks only, which is called 'bumping pussies'. It's all tied up in notions of property ownership, with sexual jealousy a secondary factor."

The rules of ownership are also governed by race. With most prisoners grouping socially on racial lines, so, too, must their punks. "A punter – say a Mexican American – might rent a white punk from a white pimp, but a Mexican American wouldn't be running a white punk."

As Attwood utters these words in his rather resonant Cheshire tones – an excitable Gary Barlow if you will – he attracts several glances. We are in a vegetarian restaurant called The Beano, in Guildford, where he now lives. Tables of slate-haired women are seemingly unused to hearing about sexual slavery as they chow down on mushroom lasagne. They look round again when he describes a prisoner regularly selling his semen to another who used it in ways perhaps unsuitable to describe in a newspaper. And again when he enthuses about the aforementioned She-Ra melting down bits of plastic to make dildos. Needs must.

Image
An inmate taking exercise at Maricopa Jail (Getty Images)

Attwood is as out of place here as he was in Arizona's prisons. But the "shy" raver who went to America's Wild West aged 21 to become a stockbroker, before giving it up to supply the state's party scene with ecstasy, could scarcely care less. He is alive and five thousand miles from the world that stripped his identity like white spirit. Even his sexual identity, even after just a few years, started to wane, tracing a fairly typical trajectory for inmates. "Early on, the other prisoners told me, 'After so many years you'll start to turn', and I was like, 'No, no, no, I've got a girlfriend'. But, gradually, all my belief systems and conditioning started falling away. Being in prison made me question my own sexuality."

Three magnets started tugging at his old heterosexuality. First, prison mores.

"Any number of activities deemed 'gay' on the outside aren't inside," he says. "Being the 'top' in anal sex? Receiving oral sex from a [pre-operative] transsexual? Considered perfectly straight."

Then there were the transgender women themselves – found in male prisons because the American system doesn't recognise chosen gender. One in particular, called Gina, he describes lusting after, fantasising about, and coming "this close" to having sexual contact with, prevented only by her pimp.

And finally, there is the vast, gripping loneliness.

"The deprivation of physical contact in any form plays a huge role," he says, frowning and looking more forlorn than ever. "You miss the warmth, that bond, the intimacy, the touch." He enunciates the words as if salivating over an exquisite dessert. "Going without sex kills you – it's one of the hardest parts." At this he shrieks with laughter, a paroxysm of stress and relief. Now, he has a girlfriend.

But he wasn't just unusually lucky to avoid rape or extreme violence; he was almost anomalous in never engaging sexually with another prisoner. "The majority are at least receiving oral sex from a transsexual." One of whom, he says, cut her own testicles off in her cell, to quell testosterone.

But perhaps more striking and surprising than all of the above is the tender, loving relationships he documents. Mostly, couples keep their relationship private, as having anything valuable on display leaves one open to sabotage. But not all. "There was one couple – an older and younger guy – and the young guy had broken up with him, so he was crying his eyes out, running across the recreation field, shouting, 'You broke my heart!' in front of all the men. It was quite a sight."

And when forced apart, for example when one prisoner is moved to a lower security unit, they would then often deliberately get into trouble to be moved back with their partner. "Lots of these guys had wives or girlfriends on the outside who knew nothing about these relationships, and they'd return to them, on release."

Although unsure about the previous sexual identity of some of these men, Attwood is certain of one thing: the longer the sentence, the higher the chance of crossing the line. "Presently, I couldn't imagine ending up with a man, but I know you change over time – after a 10- or 15-year stretch I would in all likelihood be thinking differently. Your old life gets crushed out of you."

He also received some aching love letters from ostensibly straight prisoners. One of which was from a Mexican mafia hit man called Frankie who imagined being engaged to Attwood and explaining how he wants someone he can "make love to". "I spoke to Frankie on the phone last year, he's back with his wife. I asked him how he reconciled all this and he said, 'My mind works in all kinds of ways'." He shrieks with laughter again.

After everything the writer witnessed, it is perhaps no surprise that seven years on, Attwood remains psychologically scarred. "I still have nightmares," he says. "I used to get flashbacks." This might also explain the place where he chose to make a new life. "I don't want any more mad excitement. I've had enough of it, so Guildford's perfect for me. Just to be able to walk along the river, sit on a bench and stare at the water. It's the height of ecstasy".

'Prison Time' is available now (Mainstream Publishing, £12.99)

Additional research by Andrew Mackereth
Source: Independent UK.

_________________
"My bed is my office."
Visit our Gallery, list your business in our Directory!


Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on TuentiShare on SonicoShare on FriendFeedShare on OrkutShare on DiggShare on RedditShare on DeliciousShare on VKShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on MySpace
Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 6:57 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 11:58 am
Posts: 94851
Location: Floating in space
What is the cost to boys of our traditional view of masculinity?
by Lola Okolosie
Friday, 7 March 2014

Image
'I have lost count of the number of times I have heard people assert that boys are good because they are emotionally 'uncomplicated'.' Photograph: Stock Connection Distribution/Alamy

I am the mother of a boy child, as my Nigerian family would say.

Having a boy means not having to worry about what to do with a girl. Here in the UK I have lost count of the number of times I have heard people assert that boys are good because they are emotionally "uncomplicated". Collectively, we might want to think long and hard about the ways in which our boys will have to pay for these constricted and restricting views of masculinity. What do boys lose when brought up to believe in macho ideals?

This week, the Harvard Business Review published findings on how senior executives manage that thing we all find difficult – the elusive work-life balance. The article, written by Professor Boris Groysberg and Robin Abraham, academics at Harvard Business School, found that both male and female business leaders continue to view family life as the woman's domain.

In interviews conducted over a five-year period with more than 4,000 participants, they note that "executives of both sexes consider the tension between work and family to be primarily a woman's problem". This despite the fact that "88% of the men are married, compared with 70% of the women. And 60% of the men have spouses who don't work full-time outside the home, compared with only 10% of the women. The men have an average of 2.22 children; the women, 1.67." The facts speak for themselves: for these high-achieving men, children and/or elderly parents are life problems that wives and girlfriends will have to wrestle with. While they are being honest, we too should admit that more than just a few thousand share this sexist view.

Striking the right balance between work and home life should be tricky for all, not just women. That it isn't seen as such reveals how we carry on buying into traditional ideas about performing gender. Men continue to be hemmed in by narratives telling them that emotion isn't their strong point and stoicism is manly. Being stunted emotionally and unable to share meaningfully with family and friends isn't what I want for my son. Not least because some men who subscribe to this version of masculinity pay with their lives. And that last line, sadly, isn't journalistic hyperbole but fact: men total 67% of all alcohol-related deaths, are between three and five times more likely to commit suicide, and are more prone to emotional isolation. Some men are trapped in a vicious cycle where emotional honesty and vulnerability cannot be communicated. Notions that our private lives are really only distractions from the real world of work exist as part of a continuum that enables and perpetuates these saddening statistics.

In its 2012 report looking at the reasons behind the gender gap in suicide rates, the Samaritans cites traditional notions of masculinity as a contributing factor. Stating that "men compare themselves against a masculine 'gold standard' which prizes power, control and invincibility", they explain what feminists such as Bell Hooks have been saying for years – that patriarchy hurts men too. Told from a young age that boys don't cry, many men are restricted by a culture that believes emotional openness and caring for your family are examples of girlishness. Rather than looking to blame feminism for making men feel as though they have lost their way, we need to talk instead of how sexist stereotyping cuts both ways, damaging all.

Boys aren't easier than girls. Raising someone not to be tempted by the privilege their "winkie" will be given in a society rife with gender inequality will be complicated. It will be worth it if I can raise my child to be free from the confines of traditional masculinity; that which continues to wreak havoc on so many lives, including that of "the man's man".

Source: Guardian UK.

_________________
"My bed is my office."
Visit our Gallery, list your business in our Directory!


Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on TuentiShare on SonicoShare on FriendFeedShare on OrkutShare on DiggShare on RedditShare on DeliciousShare on VKShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on MySpace
Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2014 12:16 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 11:58 am
Posts: 94851
Location: Floating in space
Cockocracy: Size matters in the locker room, researcher finds
By Christopher Morriss-Roberts
March 17, 2014

Image
South African rowers celebrate 2012 Olympics medal - Ezra Shaw

Interviews with British athletes confirm what we all know -- guys look and compare, and the bigger the better.

Does cock size really matter in sport? In short, the answer is yes. The bigger the better, but if it's too big, there will be doubts that you can use it.

My doctoral research took me on a journey gaining insight into embodiment and masculinity in sport. As a podiatrist I undertook my research journey with a focus of understanding the experiences of athletes and their footwear. My work produced some interesting findings about footwear and sports shoes and I entitled this podolinguistics. However, to get men to think about their shoes and feet in sport, I had to dismantle the role of embodiment (how men connect with their bodies, and experience life through their bodies). This produced some significant findings, which related to muscle bulk, and more notably, penis size. This work is published in my first book 'Jockocracy: Queering Masculinity and Sport', which is peer reviewed under the publishing arm of the 'Journal of Sport and Society'.

As a podiatrist, specializing in sports sociology, I never thought that I would spend so much time talking about penis size, the role of the penis, and how penis size can shape a sports teams understanding of masculinity.

After ethical approval was granted, the research involved interviewing eight athletes; four self-identified gay men and four self-identified straight men. The participants were recruited from professional and semi-professional sports clubs around London, and undertook a one-hour semi-structured interview at the University of East London.

The athletes included in this study are three soccer players (all straight); one soccer and rugby player (straight); one fitness trainer (gay); one bodybuilder (gay); one squash and tennis player (gay) and one former pro gymnast (gay).

The data were analyzed utilizing Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), developed by Jonathan Smith in 1995. The methodology only requires a small number of participants due to the intensive analytical process. These interviews took over a year to analyze. (See more on the methodology below).

The research suggested that men look at each other’s cocks, as a gauge to see how big or small they are, comparing themselves to the rest of the team or men in the locker room. The activity of checking out each other occurred irrelevant of sexuality and the type of sport; all participants noted that they looked at each other’s cocks in the locker room.

This knowing of who has a large cock and who didn’t within a homosocial environment helped individual sporting males climb up a social hierarchy of importance. Those with the larger penises were revered and idolized by their teammates as a symbol of masculinity. These "large-cocked" individuals became a focus of camaraderie and team building within their sports environments. The cock became a focus on which to banter, create nicknames, and enjoy the fundamental basics of being a man. Two nicknames that were mentioned included "schlonger" and the "biggest dick in Scottish basketball."

It was particularly interesting to note that two of the gay athletes did feel more self-conscious changing in front of other straight athletes, while the straight athletes did not have the same inhibitions. The bodybuilder suggested that if gay athletes were looking, they were probably not just checking out your size, but also possibly hoping for something more. He then suggested that in changing in front of straight athletes, there was no sexual tension, so it didn’t matter. Controversially he also added, that he thought it was "unfair to change in front of heterosexual athletes, in case they felt uncomfortable." It was interesting that this "gazing by the gays" has become a more complex situation than that experienced by the straight athletes, and their locker room changing habits.

This looking and/or fear of looking became quite interesting in the shower, where some of the straight athletes suggested that they "slap their cock around a bit" so it didn’t look too small in the communal showers. The semi-erect penis in the shower became another form of banter, with laughing over the fact that "one of the other athletes might have turned you on." The gay athletes didn’t report this as something they would do; they did suggest that there was an attempt to perform in a heteronormative manner to de-emphasize queer behavior, and having an erection wasn’t a good way to go about it.

Many of the athletes noted the fact that if they had a teammate with a large cock, the nicknames and banter followed them outside of the locker room and into their social lives. It was noted that on a night out with their respective teams or teammates, cock talk and banter followed them into pubs and clubs. For example one athlete started "if schlolger was chatting to a girl, we would all jump on him, and let her know he had a massive cock," promoting him as an idol of sporting masculine prowess. The rugby player telling this particular story seemed to suggest that women weren’t really impressed with this banter; "they often just rolled their eyes," he said. It was significant that this wasn’t a one-off experience and most of the athletes engaged in such activities outside of the locker room environment.

It was interesting to note that one rugby player discussed another athlete who had a really huge cock; he felt that the only reason he was still in the team was because he had a "massive cock" and in actual fact "he wasn’t very good at rugby." It was interesting to gain insight into the fact that actually a large penis in the rugby environment was more important than sporting ability, simply because it cemented the team in unity.

In the thesis I argue that a large penis is now an essential component of hegemonic masculinity, and should be considered a new tenet of masculine capital; taking into account the significance it has on social hierarchy in the sporting environment. I have called this cock-supremacy.

There is a down side to having a large cock. If it was too large, your fellow athletes sometimes doubted that you could actually use it sexually, or that someone would allow you to use it on them. There was an understanding that as an athlete you had to be sexually active; it added significantly to masculine capital, and the qualities associated with a sporting hegemonic male. A large cock couldn’t just be a symbol of masculinity, it had to be used in the sexual context. The large-cocked athletes knew that they had to be sexually active to maintain their positioning within a masculine sporting environment. If you couldn’t deflect this potential reputation, you would become labeled "the 40-year-old virgin" who stays at home and watches TV. So having a large penis comes with responsibilities and expected duties.

It was significant to note that those with a small penis were often seen as the admirers of the large-cocked guys, but not in a homosexual, or derogatory way. It was also highlighted that those athletes who were fat, generally had a small cock. The fatter athletes were considered to be hegemonically negative in this scenario, and so was his small penis. These athletes were placed at the bottom on this social hierarchy; it was suggested that they probably had to work harder to be part of the team.

Image

Taking all of this into account, all the athletes did discuss this fact that fear of exposing their cock for the first time in the locker room was evident. Those with the largest cock and balls were always perceived to be the most confident. However, until you could gauge your positioning to the rest of your teammates, it was a stressful experience for all regardless of cock size, sexuality or sport.

The politics of the cock is sport, or cockocracy as I like to call it, is up for debate. Some athletes might not like to think it exists; some might embrace the concept whole-heartedly and acknowledge its truth in their own experiences. The politics of the penis, this new insight into cockocracy in sport, is an interesting and fascinating facet to the sociology of all male sporting environments. So to conclude, my work suggests that cock size does matter in sport, irrespective of sexuality, sporting discipline and age.

Dr Chris Morriss-Roberts is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Brighton, UK. He has been working in Higher Education for nearly 10 years, with a focus on teaching the psychology and sociology of health. Since finishing his doctoral thesis nearly a year ago, Chris has since been developing his research and publication career. Last year he published "Jockocracy: Queering Masculinity and Sport," focusing on the work taken from his doctoral thesis. This publication and an article in PodiatryNow, UK, on podolinguistics and athletes created a vast amount of international interest. Chris is now working on developing the sociological construct of podolinguistics further.

Methodology: To finalize, reference will be make to the volume of data represented in this study, from a qualitative research context. The data was analyzed utilizing Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), developed by Jonathan Smith in 1995. This analytical approach focuses on the phenomenological (experience), the hermeneutic (interpretation) and the idiographic (individual as part of the whole). The focus of this analytical approach is on a small number of participants, with an extensive in-depth analysis. The aim is to dismantle meaning, experience, and the usage of language to expose the experiences of the participants.

The eight recruited participants should be a very similar representation to many other athletes in western sporting communities; this is referred to as a homogenous sample. This research is therefore not suggesting that the findings from the study are representative of all athletes, in sporting homosocial communities, but there will be some homogenous similarities found in some same sex sporting communities, where athletes work in competitive environments. The principle researcher is aware that this isn’t a blanket representation of all athletes, all over the world, but the sample could be mapped to similar communities and backgrounds in the context of sports sociology research such as this.

Source: Outsports.

_________________
"My bed is my office."
Visit our Gallery, list your business in our Directory!


Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on TuentiShare on SonicoShare on FriendFeedShare on OrkutShare on DiggShare on RedditShare on DeliciousShare on VKShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on MySpace
Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2014 11:34 am 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 11:58 am
Posts: 94851
Location: Floating in space
What have 93% of young straight UK men done together in bed?
29 April 2014
By Joe Morgan

Image
James Franco and Keegan Allen like to sleep together in bed. But what do other straight guys like doing?
Photo by James Franco/Instagram.

Over nine in 10 straight young British men have spooned with another man, new research has revealed.

Not only that, but a full 98% have shared a bed with one of their guy friends.

Two British sociologists, Eric Anderson of the University of Winchester and Mark McCormack of Durham University, have examined what they call ‘homosociality’ and published their findings in journal Men and Masculinities. They believe as straight guys become less homophobic, they are happier to be more intimate with their friends.

‘We’re always cuddling, my lot,’ Jarrett, one of the young men who was interviewed, said. ‘We’re all comfortable with each other.’ Max, another survey participant, described how he and his friends would nurse their hangovers together at university. Following a night out, he said he’s happy to watch TV, play video games, and frequently cuddle with friends. ‘If your mate has a headache you can like massage his head, or you just lie there together holding each other and laughing about how awful you feel,’ he said.

39 out of the 40 students surveyed also said they’d slept in a bed with another guy at least once since starting college. Some cited practical reasons like accommodating a friend who’d come to visit a cramped dorm or crashing at a friend’s house after a night out, but others said they just wanted to feel close to their ‘mates.’

‘Most indicated that it was not necessary to be close friends to share a bed with someone,’ the researchers said. ‘These men are able to share beds with other men without risking their socially perceived heterosexual identity.’ Anderson and McCormack said while they were aware the sample size was small, they were hoping to extend the research to other universities and age groups in order to get a wider view of what straight guys get up to in bed.

Source: GayStarNews.

_________________
"My bed is my office."
Visit our Gallery, list your business in our Directory!


Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on TuentiShare on SonicoShare on FriendFeedShare on OrkutShare on DiggShare on RedditShare on DeliciousShare on VKShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on MySpace
Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2014 8:42 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 11:58 am
Posts: 94851
Location: Floating in space
Is masculinity in crisis?
by Archie Bland
Thursday, 30 January 2014

Image
Getty Creative

Not long ago, I was sitting over a pint with a good friend and jabbing him in the chest to emphasise the validity of my point about Shia LaBeouf when he interrupted me in an uncharacteristically abrupt fashion.

Alex, as I’ll call him, is not prone to emotional outbursts; I can count the number of previous such incidents in the course of our friendship on no hands. So it was surprising when he raised his eyes from his pint and told me, almost apologetically, that his brother was ill.

He fell silent, and in my surprise, I didn't say a great deal back. Gradually, though, he explained some of the circumstances. The diagnosis had come more than a year earlier; his disease would ultimately prove fatal. His family was having a hard time holding things together. And Alex hadn't been able to discuss it with anyone. How are you feeling, I asked? And Alex shrugged, and asked me if I wanted another drink.

This, sitcoms and adverts have always told us, is how it is always bound to be: men are not good at expressing their feelings. And so when Jude Kelly, the artistic director of the Southbank Centre, asked hundreds of men to gather and discuss how they understood their masculinity, you might not have expected them to be forthcoming. As it turned out, though, once they got started, you couldn't shut them up. "It was massively welcomed, from all these diverse backgrounds," Kelly says. "There was a very common theme that, with a few exceptions, men don't talk to each other emotionally about their problems. But they sort of have a hunch that they need to."

The result of those discussions is the Being A Man festival, which starts today and seeks to fill a problematic cultural gap. Over three days at the Southbank Centre's Thames-side campus, people including Jon Snow, Nick Hornby, Billy Bragg and Grayson Perry will lead a series of discussions covering a dizzying range of the problems and pleasures of modern manhood. From fatherhood to football, pornography to prison, the men attending will be encouraged to take what may be a rare look inwards. "Women have had a huge amount of time, necessary time, to think through where they want to be in society," she says. "It's something that women all talk about together. But for men the platform for that discussion just doesn't seem to be there."

Remarkably enough, despite constant media thumb-sucking about masculinity being in crises of one sort or another, Being A Man (BAM) is the first festival of its kind. Partly, that's because it hasn't historically occurred to men that their status is anything but default and such cultural habits take a long time to change. Andrew Samuels, a professor of analytical psychology at the University of Essex, says: "In the past 'men' were a kind of papal balcony from which the whole world was reviewed. There simply wasn't a category of men that people thought about until 40 years ago. Now men are very much the objects of scrutiny."



BAM is not the only acknowledgement of this change. Later this year, there will be an inaugural Male Psychology Conference at UCL, as part of an effort to persuade the British Psychological Society to inaugurate a male specialist section to sit alongside its female equivalent, which has been in place since 1988. So why is the male experience in general still so hard to talk about? Part of the answer may be that to begin such a conversation can put well-meaning men in a difficult position where they risk making common cause with those who yearn for the days of unchallenged male domination of every sphere. Martin Daubney, the former Loaded editor who is one of the participants at the festival, heard a resonant description of the problem from a participant at one of the preliminary discussions convened by Kelly. "Celebrating being a man is a bit like having a Union Jack on your gate," the man said. "It's a badge of shame."

And yet it needn't - mustn't - be anti-feminist to talk about male identity, perhaps even for a Loaded editor. Dr Luke Sullivan, a clinical psychologist who specialises in men's mental health and created an online resource called Men’s Minds Matter, points out that the problems that men experience affect "everyone, certainly women". "I recognise that it's a difficult subject to talk about, but we might be able to reduce some of the impacts of these things on other people," Sullivan says. Steve Biddulph, the author of several best-selling books on raising boys, agrees. "The women's movement was the most positive event of the 20th century," he says. "But it's only half the story. If we don't change men, it will all slip backwards."

Among many other things, BAM will feature discussions about violence against women, pornography, and the impact of patriarchy. "You can't be criticising how male violence appears in the world and other things that need changing and then not provide the levers to do it," says Kelly, who previously created the Southbank Centre's Women of the World Festival. "I think a lot of men are saying, 'Why are issues like domestic violence or childcare only women's issues?' They're saying, 'Look, we're embarrassed about the statistics on rape, and we choose to talk about these things and to try and take control of them'."

There are, though, problems facing men in which they themselves are the victims, and the festival has plenty of material drawn from such issues. Perhaps the most striking is the still growing disparity in the suicide rate. Over the past 40 years, as the rate among women has remained steady, the propensity for men to kill themselves has gone up and up. They are now between three and five times more likely to take their own lives. As Jane Powell, the director of the Campaign Against Living Miserably, put it last year: "Gender runs through UK suicide statistics like letters in a stick of rock."

Why that enormous difference? According to Martin Seager, who was the head of psychological services in two NHS trusts and is now an adviser to Samaritans, men "are in the grasp of these very old rules about masculinity. Too many men would rather die than feel shame". These rules are slowly evolving, Seager says. But, strikingly, he adds that in 30 years in the NHS, the great majority of people to seek his help were women." Whereas with Samaritans, it's 50-50. I think the difference is that it's anonymous. There's a clear shame thing."

Seager points to another problem: an absence of a mental-health strategy that links up male-dominated problem areas, from prison to homelessness to addiction. And some trace those diverse crises back to a common root: a cultural education that from an early age denies men the chance to be open about their emotions. As Sullivan says: "We don't develop boys' emotional skills when they're young. And so, if they do come to face mental health problems, they struggle."

Image
Where do men belong in the world now?

Boys who do experience such struggles may express their pain by lashing out - and, understandably enough, such behaviour is treated less sympathetically than a quiet cry in the cloakroom. Some put that difficulty in processing feelings down to a shortage of role models. "We can't expect boys to be good men if they don't see good men," Steve Biddulph tells me by email. "Schools are for many boys their best and only chance of seeing an alternative way of being a man. So we have to maximise that." Biddulph himself takes part in a programme for schools aimed at encouraging "good" male behaviour. "We directly address a curriculum of maleness how to behave around women, be safe, have goals and work for them, stand for something, be of value to the common good. These things can be taught, and boys lap them up."

Chase High School, in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, was recently rated "inadequate" by Ofsted inspectors. Its headteacher, Victoria Overy, attributes the downgrading from "satisfactory" in 2011 to her policy of accepting more challenging pupils, many of whom have been turned away from other schools. Overy is always looking for ways to help particular groups of pupils flourish. So when she heard the head of Lilian Baylis Technology School, a once troubled inner-city school that's now thriving, ascribe a large portion of the transformation to the institution of "man days", her ears pricked up. Overy's school has already split the genders for lessons in English and maths, with some success; she thought that perhaps a similar approach could help here, too.

The school's "man days" are yet to start but, Overy explains, they will not have a particularly arduous programme. Boys will be taken out of their regular lessons and helped with such grown-up banalities as rewiring a plug and cooking a meal for four for less than £5. But the point is not the activities. "While they're doing all this stuff, there's a lot of chatting," Overy says. "As a rule, girls have more of a propensity to explore their feelings and relationships and things. With boys, I do think it helps to have a vehicle to talk it through ... and I want to connect them with male role models. For some of them, they just don't have any they have absent fathers, or fathers who they wish were absent."

Overy and Danny Chaplin, the art teacher charged with leading the activities, are confident that the days will have a beneficial effect on the boys. "I think they'll open up a little bit more," says Chaplin. "I remember leaving school and how much it would have helped me, then, to have something like that. And when I was their age you could just be the hunter-gatherer type, the Marlboro Man, someone from The Sweeney. Where do men belong in the world now?"

Not everyone is convinced about the usefulness of such schemes, or the idea that a shortage of male teachers is a concern. "You can't reduce it to, if they're talking to a man, boys are more communicative," says Christine Skelton, professor of gender equality in education at the University of Birmingham. To Skelton, there is also a whiff of special pleading about the degree of concern over boys' school performance. "When all these girls were not doing well in science and all the rest of it, nobody gave a stuff," she says. "It was only when the natural order was subverted that there started to be a concern about anyone being left behind."

On the other hand, Chase High School is now planning to institute a parallel programme for girls. And, to Andrew Samuels, the aim of a restoration of that old order is very far from the point. "The idealising stuff about all these male heroes, soldiers and athletes, it's all very difficult for normal men," he says. "And then there are the denigrating attacks on men as violent, sexually abusive, laddish and stupid and horrible. Where's the man who's somewhere in the middle? Where's the man who's good enough?"

The "good enough" man is, perhaps, the point of the Southbank festival. And it has struck a chord. "This discussion seems to be so welcome," says Jude Kelly. "I'm hearing from men of all kinds saying: thank goodness this conversation is finally happening. It's unusual, but it feels right."

Back in the pub with my friend Alex, he returned with those drinks and steered the conversation to more manageable territory. But later, as we stumbled towards the bus stop, a bit the worse for wear, he began to talk again. This time, somewhat less inhibited by eye contact and sobriety, the conversation took a different turn. And in terms quite unlike any I had ever heard him use before, my friend spoke about his love for his brother, and his debilitating fury at the prospect of his loss.

His brother, on the other hand, had never heard it for himself. Their relationship, so conditioned by toy soldiers and board games and football matches, turned out not to have a great deal of space for the expression of emotional complexity. Standing by the bus stop, Alex softly kicked a lamp post. "Of course, I want to say this stuff to him," he said. "Why does it get so hard?"

Source: Independent UK.

_________________
"My bed is my office."
Visit our Gallery, list your business in our Directory!


Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on TuentiShare on SonicoShare on FriendFeedShare on OrkutShare on DiggShare on RedditShare on DeliciousShare on VKShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on MySpace
Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 7:52 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 11:58 am
Posts: 94851
Location: Floating in space
Teaching young men to break the cycle of sexual violence
by Laura Bates
Monday, 9 June 2014

Image
Participants in the Young Men Initiative at the Mesme Teknike school in Pristina, Kosovo. Photograph: Armend Nimani/Care

'When I saw a girl in the street, I would tease her and pass nasty comments," says 17-year-old Jetmir Fejzullahu.

"What I learned was that it doesn't make you attractive and interesting, but the opposite." Sitting in a bare school hall with graffiti scrawled across the walls, Jetmir is one of several teenagers discussing what they have learned from a special project about gender inequality and sexual violence in Kosovo.

Care International launched the Young Men Initiative (YMI) in 2007 with local partners in Kosovo, where an estimated 20,000 women were raped during the war. It is one of 22 countries worldwide where the UK-based charity focuses on sexual violence.

A study by the Kosovo Women's Network in 2008, almost a decade after the war, found that 43% of the population had experienced domestic violence, and that violence against women and children is largely under-reported. "For most people," John Crownover, programme adviser for the initiative, says, "violence is not seen as a violation of women's rights but as normal interaction between men and women."

Crownover explains why they set up in Kosovo: "Young people growing up in the aftermath of the conflict were faced with the rise of xenophobia, nationalism and gender inequalities. For boys, particularly in working-class neighbourhoods, many of the so-called successful men they saw were either 'hyper masculine' or linked to criminal activities. We're trying to shift attitudes that can lead to sexual and other types of interpersonal violence."

During the workshop at a vocational school in Pristina this month, Jetmir and his classmates appear at ease discussing gender stereotyping and the pressures of masculinity. They participate in a lively discussion about societal expectations, calling out examples of common gender markers ("Beard!" "Muscles!" "Bodybuilding!"), as workshop leader Armend Morina scribbles them on paper taped to the wall. It's a school that draws children from lower socioeconomic groups compared with the more academic local schools but, in contrast to other classroom discussions I've witnessed, even the word "testicles" passes without sniggering.

The boys' comfort seems to stem in part from their close relationship with the male leaders of the project: as Morina and YMI coordinator Besnik Leka enter the classroom, the boys clap them on the back like old friends. It's clear that a strong rapport has developed over the year-long programme, made up of 10 one-hour sessions and a residential course. After the workshop, the boys rush outside, displaying their Declaration Against Verbal, Physical and Sexual Violence, and encourage passing students to sign it.



Alongside the initiative, the participants run the Be a Man club, which sees them carry out public campaigns and even appear on local television. Their Facebook page has close to 20,000 likes and a YouTube video they made with famous local rapper Lyrical Son has attracted almost 1.5m hits.

Across the Balkans, 15,000 boys have taken part in the programme. Later, we visit the headquarters of the local organisation Peer Educators Network (Pen), Care's local partner in Pristina. Bright murals and photographs of program participants cover the walls, adorned with slogans like "Be a man, change the rules!" Here we meet 18-year-old Aid Kelmendi, who starred in the rap video, and his twin brother Ferida. Their mother tells us how "happy and proud" she is about their involvement in the program: "Because Kosovo is a young country, there are fears for alcohol and drug abuse leading to violence. Kids are often out and even for those parents who try to do their best, it's difficult. So I'm happy there are places like this program where they can learn about these things."

The results are striking. Before the initiative, 69% of participants thought physical strength was the most important quality for a man – this dropped to 42%. The number who said they wouldn't automatically join friends in a fight rose from 38% to 57%. And the proportion who thought a man was justified in beating a woman for cheating on him dropped from 52% to 27%.

Clearly, there is a long way to go, but the results are so encouraging that governments in Croatia, Serbia and Kosovo have accredited the programme of Care International for secondary schools, and are training teachers to deliver it. Care is calling on governments worldwide to follow suit, arguing that education on gender inequality, stereotypes and violence is vital.

As representatives from more than 140 countries prepare to gather in London this week for the global summit on ending sexual violence in conflict, hosted by William Hague and Angelina Jolie, Care has launched a petition to #ChallengeAttitudes – calling for a focus on education at the summit.

Alice Allan, global head of advocacy at Care International and adviser to Hague on the preventing sexual violence initiative, says: "We will not end warzone rape unless we tackle its root causes. Sickening attacks on women and girls are a daily occurrence around the world. Ministers must use this moment to galvanise action to shift global attitudes to women."

According to the World Health Organisation, attitudes that accept violence and gender inequality increase the likelihood of both intimate partner and sexual violence. This underlines the importance of education in tackling these problems, not just for conflict-affected areas but also more widely.

The YMI could be valuable here in the UK, where a 2010 YouGov poll found almost one in three 16-18-year-old girls has experienced unwanted sexual touching at school, yet education on healthy relationships and sexual violence is not a compulsory part of the curriculum.

Allan points out: "Gender inequality is not a women's issue – it concerns every member of society. Men and boys must be allies and champions for change and this can stop the cycle of violence from spreading to the next generation."

Source: Guardian UK.

_________________
"My bed is my office."
Visit our Gallery, list your business in our Directory!


Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on TuentiShare on SonicoShare on FriendFeedShare on OrkutShare on DiggShare on RedditShare on DeliciousShare on VKShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on MySpace
Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2014 4:25 am 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 11:58 am
Posts: 94851
Location: Floating in space
If this is what spornosexual means, then God help us all
By Louisa Peacock
12 June 2014

Image
Bobby and Harry from TOWIE on holiday in Marbella Photo: XPOSURE

If you thought the mankini was bad, the penchant for men revealing way more than they need to on the beach has now reached a whole new level. The half-thong mankini hybrid.

I'm genuinely sorry I had to share this picture (above) with you. But really, we need to take note. If this is what some men think makes them look sexy, then we're all doomed. Brace yourself, though, because there's much, more more of it to come, if we are to believe the rise of so-called 'spornosexuality'.

Twenty years ago, Mark Simpson coined the term 'metrosexual'. Now, a new, more extreme, sex- and body-obsessed version of men exists, he says - and they're called spornosexuals. The term encapsulates the new breed of male who thinks nothing of using (and abusing) products, practises and pleasures previously only the domain of women and gay men. Practises including wearing half-thongs to the beach.

"With their painstakingly pumped and chiselled bodies, muscle-enhancing tattoos, piercings, adorable beards and plunging necklines it’s eye-catchingly clear that second-generation metrosexuality is less about clothes than it was for the first," writes Simpson.

The entire male cast of The Only Way Is Essex is a case in point. Think of Towie's Dan Osborne in a pair of glittery speedos, Simpson says. But wait - oh wait - it's already gone one step further... There are no words. Erm... Obscene... this must be a joke... obscene?

Honestly, I'm struggling. I am scarred for life, is what I am. As are plenty of other law-abiding citizens who responded to my outcry on Twitter today. I'm still struggling to find any sentence that can justifiably excuse Bobby and Harry's half-thongs. Quite. Where are the thong police? And please show many any woman - anyone, anywhere? - who actually thinks these look hot.

What if they fall down?

Some have mustered the energy to marvel at the engineering of the half-thong pants. As Bobby, on the left of the pic, shows ever so tellingly with his body language, however, he's worried they're about to slip down. In defence of the TOWIE lads, some point out, including the Ann Summers' boss Jacqueline Gold, that these two boys have 'prepared' well to wear these pants. But that leads to an even more worrying thought.

A backlash beckons...

Cue disaster images all over Twitter within days, of ordinary lads - err, they'd be called the non-spornosexuals, then - who backlash against the TOWIE image of perfection and let it all hang out in these half-thong pants.

Image
Bring back the mankini? Never thought I'd say that...

Thank goodness some men have declared today that they will never, ever wear them. And if that means they're not a spornosexual - then brilliant.

Source: Telegraph UK.

_________________
"My bed is my office."
Visit our Gallery, list your business in our Directory!


Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on TuentiShare on SonicoShare on FriendFeedShare on OrkutShare on DiggShare on RedditShare on DeliciousShare on VKShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on MySpace
Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2014 4:25 am 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 11:58 am
Posts: 94851
Location: Floating in space
:yeahright:

If you'd actually bothered to read the definition of spornosexual that you quoted you might have noticed that these two fops are definitely NOT spornosexuals.

    "With their painstakingly pumped and chiselled bodies, muscle-enhancing tattoos, piercings, adorable beards and plunging necklines it’s eye-catchingly clear that second-generation metrosexuality is less about clothes than it was for the first," writes Simpson.

But then, you were clearly too busy being faux outraged at two young guys just being their self-absorbed selves. Fops, gay or straight, have always existed and these two are no exception. Just a couple of trend and fashion victims, like so many young people, male or female. Big deal, so you don't like it, who cares?

Silly woman.

:ind0018:

_________________
"My bed is my office."
Visit our Gallery, list your business in our Directory!


Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on TuentiShare on SonicoShare on FriendFeedShare on OrkutShare on DiggShare on RedditShare on DeliciousShare on VKShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on MySpace
Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2014 6:59 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 11:58 am
Posts: 94851
Location: Floating in space
Whatever Spornosexuality is, I'm all for it
by Tom Mendelsohn
Friday, 13 June 2014

Image
A spornosexual describes a male individual who combines the look of a sportsman and a porn star

If men want to wear tiny pants and spend an unhealthy amount of time in the gym, then we should probably leave them to it.

You’ll have seen the picture by now, of the two TOWIE men, near-naked as the day they were born, their slender bodies a lurid and unconvincing shade of orange, their balls cupped tight by what look like tube socks flossing their buttocks.

These, The Telegraph would have you believe, are the "spornosexuals". They’re primped, tanned, tattooed and self-involved muscle-men, more interested in selfies and highlights than, presumably, The Queen or Margaret Thatcher, or whatever other subject deemed most fitting for the interest of a decent young man in this day and age. And they’re eminently worthy of our outrage.

"Spornosexual" is a grubby little portmanteau implying an unholy combination of "sportsman" and "porn star", apparently created by someone who’s witnessed neither. It describes, apparently, this new brand of neo-narcissist, descendants of the metrosexual but, like everything else in this world that’s new and therefore not as good as older things (see: the 1950s, the 1890s, the divine right of kings; Telegraphs passim), it is supposedly indicative of a crass new strain of particularly onanistic self-regard above all else.

And, well, so what? They do look a bit funny in their mirrored shades and post-structuralist haircuts. Yes, they are undoubtedly quite pleased with themselves and their cut lines, and it's hard to claim that choosing to wear nothing but a literal sack for your balls is on the unsophisticated end of the naffness spectrum, but what’s any of it to you?

Perhaps they do look like berks to your rarefied eye, but that is their right as autonomous humans. It isn’t any of our business if they prefer a weekly sunbed and some crossfit (that’s a gym thing, I think) to, say, an attic of model trains or a real ale convention.

No one’s forcing you to spend any time with them and their ridiculous little panties, so why not leave them in peace? If these people choose to self-actualise as leggier oompah-loompahs with lower air resistance, more power to them. And frankly, if you think this is a youth subculture somewhat lacking in aesthetic fibre, you’re going to be in for a shock if you ever encounter "normcore".

In pictures: What is a 'spornosexual'? Meet the preening celebrities who fit the bill

image
David Beckham

image
Zac Efron

image
David McIntosh

There isn’t a huge amount of point in overthinking what’s happening here. The fact is, kids have been making dressing decisions to irritate the older generation since loincloths were cool the first time around.

This is not a worrying new youth cult, nor the deathknell of traditional masculinity (and it wouldn’t matter if it were). They are not even now on their way to steal your wives or encourage your children to wax themselves more thoroughly. It’s nothing more than a daft fashion trend reaching its likely apex with dramatically poorly chosen beachwear.

Source: Independent UK.

_________________
"My bed is my office."
Visit our Gallery, list your business in our Directory!


Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on TuentiShare on SonicoShare on FriendFeedShare on OrkutShare on DiggShare on RedditShare on DeliciousShare on VKShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on MySpace
Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 7:16 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 11:58 am
Posts: 94851
Location: Floating in space
Back Hair Surpasses Pubic Hair As Most Political Hair
By Kat Stoeffe
11 August 2014

image
Photo: 13/Jonathan Kitchen/Corbis

As long as women have been removing pubic hair, we’ve been debating the practice in almost equal measure.

The articles could populate an entire bush blog devoted to questions like: Do Brazilian waxes perpetuate sexism? Even if you leave some hair in front? And, regardless, what are the least painful and longest-lasting methods for perpetuating sexism?

Somehow, while we were mons-pubis-gazing, we missed the war that was being waged on men’s body hair. Recent essays by Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern and Andrew Sullivan suggest back fur is the new bush: common among adults, yet rarely seen in the wild. Men gay and straight have been silently, stoically waxing and using Nair — sometimes, most poignantly, enlisting a roommate to shave — in order to meet the standard of dorsal hairlessness established by Hollywood at some point between Roger Moore’s James Bond and Daniel Craig’s. Stern describes these travails as well as the rigid standards that demand them: according to GQ, back hair is the only body hair that is “never sexy.” Men have absorbed this edict so successfully that I personally had no idea what was going on. You guys were shaving your backs this whole time?

Now, however, the tide may be turning. Vulture’s Jesse David Fox recently praised Seth Rogen for bucking the back-waxing trend, and Stern urged fellow gay men to embrace back hair because the “gay rights movement is centered around an ideology of self-love and self-acceptance.” Sullivan jumped on board for more prurient reasons. Though without back hair himself, he has been into hairy guys since his first, hand-drawn porn of men “covered in fur.” He writes:

    Maybe it’s because body hair is such a powerful visual indicator of testosterone and maleness; maybe I’m just a perv. Or maybe because when a man allows his body to be what it is, and doesn’t try to micromanage every inch of it, he’s inherently sexier than the manscaped, plucked and trussed twink version.

In the body-hair wars, defenses based on personal sexual preference carry little political weight. The implication here is that men should groom themselves based on the imagined tastes of some potential sexual partner. (And that anyone who isn’t particularly interested in sex with Andrew Sullivan might as well keep on feeling bad about his body hair.) In fact, after a couple years in the pubic-hair trenches, I’ve come to the conclusion that it is impossible to defend one’s body-hair choices without insulting someone else’s. Whether you’re saying a woman should go bare or keep a full bush, you’re telling women what to do. And what about the naturally smooth? If body hair is a “powerful visual indicator of maleness,” as Sullivan writes, does that make Asian men “trussed twink[s]”?

But even if you can’t organize everyone’s personal grooming choices and aesthetic preferences into a coherent party line, testimonies like Sullivan's are still valuable. They indicate that, whatever you decide to do or not do with your body hair, someone will be into it. Even if you are a woman who is hairier than the most self-conscious manscaper. Consider Jon-Jon Goulian’s Vice essay “In Defense of Hairy Women,” an ode to his ex-girlfriend’s untended eyebrows, mustache, happy trail, pits, pubes, and legs — “not to mention forearm hair and rectal hair and hairs running around the circumference of her areolas and a little bit of delicious fuzz where her butt crack meets her lower back.” Goulian doesn’t like female body hair because it is masculine or edgy or because it betrays feminist self-assurance. He writes:

    With hair, of course, comes sweat, and with sweat comes pungency, and pungent hair is suggestive of what? The vagina. A woman with a hairy body has essentially four vaginas — two armpits, the asshole, and the vagina itself.

In other words, not even eschewing the most basic grooming conventions of Hollywood and porn will stop someone from seeing you as an assemblage of sex parts. Thus assured of their basic desirability, men should cease their heartrendingly furtive grooming and join women in the land of open and overshare-prone hair debate. I’m desperate to know whether the artificially hairless among you can feel the difference between sugaring and waxing.

Source: NY Mag.

_________________
"My bed is my office."
Visit our Gallery, list your business in our Directory!


Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on TuentiShare on SonicoShare on FriendFeedShare on OrkutShare on DiggShare on RedditShare on DeliciousShare on VKShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on MySpace
Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 51 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next

All times are UTC


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron

Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group