Saturday, July 20, 2013

The "Mask" Of Masculinity


That's professor and author of Guyland Michael Kimmel on the Kickstarter page of a documentary called The Mask You Live In.

Jennifer Siebel Newsom, director of the documentary Miss Representation, that looked at the portrayal of women and girls in the media, now focuses on masculinity with The Mask You Live In. (Say the title slowly and it sounds like "masculine." Get it?)

From the film's Kickstarter page:
The Mask You Live In documentary will examine how gender stereotypes are interconnected with race, class, and circumstance, and how kids are further influenced by the education system, sports culture, and mass media- video games and pornography in particular. The film also highlights the importance of placing emphasis on the social and emotional needs of boys through healthy family communication, alternative teaching strategies, conscious media consumption, positive role modeling and innovative mentorship programs.



The Mask You Live In hasn't completed filming and they're still raising funds at the moment. It would be very timely to look at the portrayal and challenges of black masculinity in America in light if the discussion of race and the perception of black boys after Trayvon Martin's shooting and George Zimmerman's acquittal.

You can read more about the The Mask You Live In and contribute to doc here.

(H/t: Huffington Post)

Prince William To Take Paternity Leave

Whenever the next in line to the British Crown is born, his father will take paternity leave.

Prince William will be the first senior British royal to take statutory paternity leave when the Duchess of Cambridge (aka, his wife Kate Middleton) gives birth to their first child any day now.

If you think William is a royal and doesn't have a job in the common(er) sense - as I thought for a moment - you might remember he is a search-and-rescue helicopter pilot in the British Royal Air Force.

His two weeks of paid leave may not add much to their royal coffers, but I think it's a great example of a high-profile new father taking time off to be with his new baby.

Read more from Yahoo/AP

Thursday, July 11, 2013

14-Month-Old Plays With Dad's Cellphone, Buys Car on eBay

It's not as bad as it sounds. The car was very cheap (just over $200), the parents will keep it and maybe give it to the young shopper when she can drive.

But it's a good reminder: I need to keep a sharp eye on Spencer when he's on my phone!



(H/t: Mashable)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Day Trip: Hastings-On-Hudson

A couple of weeks ago*, we took a trip to Hastings-On-Hudson, NY. And while not much was happening on the town's Main Street, it was much livelier on, well, the Hudson.

We walked to MacEchron Park where there was a tennis club, kayakers and a playground that Spencer took advantage of.

The best part was the beautiful view of the Hudson River.



To get a sense of the view of the Hudson, take a look at this video. You might be able to see the George Washington Bridge.


*I thought about posting sooner, but the video wouldn't have come well. Then I read today that Instagram now allows pictures and video to be embedded. So, here you go!

What Is Happiness?

Happiness is not a goal, it is a by-product. Paradoxically, the one sure way not to be happy is deliberately to map out a way of life in which one would please oneself completely and exclusively.
-Eleanor Roosevelt
The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.
-Steve Jobs

What is happiness to you? Finding a good job? Spending time with your family?

This week, Time magazine has a cover story and several articles on happiness: what it means to different people, who has it and who doesn't, and a how to get it. Time also quotes several people throughout American history, like Roosevelt and Jobs above, on the finding of happiness. And there's a piece about what Thomas Jefferson and the other Founding Fathers meant by "the pursuit of happiness" in the Declaration of Independence.

Read the articles in Time.

Photo credit: Oliver Munday/Time

Monday, July 8, 2013

Mos Def Is Force Fed To Protest Treatment Of Guantanamo Bay Detainees

This is tough to watch.

Actor and rapper Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def, was force fed to protest the treatment of detainees at the U.S. base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The video was produced by the human rights group Reprieve and released by the Guardian website.

It was clearly difficult for Bey. He eventually stopped the procedure because it was too painful to continue.

The demonstration was based on the Standard Operating Procedure written by U.S. Southern Command and published online. Of the 166 prisoners, 106 are on hunger strike and about 45 are being force-fed.

Again, this is difficult to watch. But it's important to know what's happening there.




Friday, January 4, 2013

Looking Forward To Next Movember

I wrote this post about Movember last month. Movember, if you don't know, is the annual worldwide event in which men grow mustaches during November raising money and awareness to fight prostate cancer, testicular cancer and other men's health issues. I thought this post would be published elsewhere, but alas, it wasn't meant to be. So, I'm posting it here.

This year’s Movember has come and gone and I regret not being a part of it. Several of my family members had prostate cancer, including my father and his father. So, between that and being African-American, I’m at high-risk for having it. I participated in two runs to raise money for prostate cancer awareness and research. Comparatively, it should’ve been a breeze to grow a mustache.

However, I didn’t do it. I had some job interviews scheduled and since many men – particularly in the corporate world – don’t rock a mustache, I didn’t need to turn off potential employers by explaining the fundraiser on my face. Holly doesn’t like moustaches, either. Especially on me.

A big part of it, though, was I thought growing a mustache to fight cancer is a little silly and kind of lazy. I thought you needed to do something to raise awareness or money for cancer. Growing facial hair didn’t seem like doing very much.

A few days into December, I came across this post on Slate’s Double XX blog. Torie Bosch wrote about the parody video called “Goodbye Movember, Hello Decembeaver,” in which women raise money to fight cancer by not shaving their pubic hair.



I thought the video was funny. The creators even included a link to the American Cancer Society. It’s good fun for a good cause.

But it was Bosch’s comments about Movember that irked me. She began her piece by calling it,

..that silly month in which men on your Facebook wall grow out their mustaches “for cancer.” (Because one cannot simply donate to groups like the American Cancer Society—a stunt must be involved.)

Later, in talking about what she thinks the Decembeaver video is doing, she writes,

But they’re also skewering the rather narcissist Movember approach. Though that campaign has raised millions of dollars, it does so in a self-proclaiming, patting-yourself-on-the-back kind of way.

I've never participated in Movember, don’t know anyone who has, and have no prior connection to it, but Bosch’s critique really bothered me. I wanted to defend Movember, and more importantly, its cause. Even though I thought it was silly, it didn’t seem right to bash an awareness and funds drive that raised a record $116 million just because it’s done by growing facial hair.

Just about every single fundraiser, especially for an illness, is a stunt: The walks, the runs, the concerts. People admire the endurance of their friends in a walk or run. Celebrity star power persuades the public to donate for a cause. They all try to bring attention to a cause.

Here's a guess as to why Movember works. I concocted the exchange below, but I’m sure there were many similar conversations around the world.

What’s that on your face? 
I’m growing a mustache! 
[Confused look.] Why? 
It’s for Movember.
What’s that?
It’s a campaign to raise money and awareness for men’s health, especially prostate cancer and testicular cancer.

That exchange is an opportunity to talk about men’s health and maybe even make a donation for Movember. Those conversations probably wouldn’t have happened if men didn’t grow their Mo’s. Compared to women, men are less likely to speak about their illnesses and seek medical attention for them. In addition to raising money, one of Movember’s goals is to encourage men to talk more about their health.

In bashing Movember, Bosch woke me up. I don’t think it’s silly or lazy anymore. I realize it’s a very easy and fun way to start a conversation. Friends, family and co-workers notice new a mustache – it’s right there on your face – and they’ll probably say something about it. Those are opportunities to start conversations, increase awareness and raise funds.

I hate making declarations about things I plan to do next year (you never know what life throws at you), but I’m going to participate in Movember next year. We’ll have a laugh when someone asks about the activity on my upper lip, but I’ll use it as an opportunity to talk about a very important issue.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013

I haven't posted in long time. A long.. long.. time.

It's been a busy couple of months. It's been so busy that I might have to take the "stay-at-home dad" phrase out of this blogs sub-heading.

More on that in the weeks to come.

In the meantime here's wishing you a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2013!