#HeForShe

Reblog: Dear Men, it’s Time We Had a Conversation¬†

Are you a man?

If so, Chuck Wendig has something he wants to you to read – something that should be self evident, that should be common sense, but that daily seems to be just the opposite.

 Go on, Dear Reader – check out what he has to say:

Dear Men, It’s Time We Had a Conversation 

Reblog: For the Record

While this may not be a blog post per se it is something that is important enough to share: Jennifer Aniston‘s response to the speculations about her personal life, published this Tuesday by the Huffington Post. This goes beyond one celebrity being fed up with the media – it speaks about how society in general values and objectifies women.

Take a moment and listen to what she has to say:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/for-the-record_us_57855586e4b03fc3ee4e626f

Excitable Boy

“Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power.”
–Oscar Wilde

Neomasculinity

Have you heard that term, Dear Reader? If you haven’t, be glad! The term is a misnomer, attempting to justify the lowest form of sexist, misogynist, chauvinistic supposedly ‘manly’ behaviour that seems to be on the rise behind computer screens in basements, garages and bachelor pads all over the world.

Where did this asshattery come from?

Some will blame patriarchal structures, some will blame the entitlement modern society instills in its citizens, others will blame multiculturalism or feminism or bad parenting or the downfall of politeness in society. I don’t think it is that easy.

I am a man.

I was brought up with a mix of traditional values an modern thinking, adopting both gentlemanly chivalry and gender equality. I was surrounded by strong women and strong men, by socialism and libertarianism, by traditional values and progressive thinking. I am very confident in myself – in my gender, in my sexuality, in my masculinity. I don’t feel a need to prove myself to others and I know I’m not perfect.

Maybe that’s why I can’t understand this femophobic trend.

As a long time student of the human psyche and culture, I think I have a fair understanding of the more traditional expressions of manhood and patriarchal structures. Some of my views and conclusions may be controversial or speculative, but until I find convincing evidence to the contrary I will stand by them. I can understand the desire to buy sex, to dominate and humiliate (as well as the desire to be dominated and humiliated), to assert control and exaggerate expressions of gender. I can even understand why some resort to violence in the pursuit of such things, though I will never condone or excuse it. But I cannot understand for the life of me understand the reasoning of those who support and express the “neomasculine” views.

They call themselves real men, but they aren’t men at all.

A real man doesn’t need to oppress women to assert himself – real men celebrate strong women instead of feeling threatened by them. A real man is in control of himself and has no problem accepting rejection or accepting a ‘no’ – even if it comes in the middle of intercourse. A real man makes his partner feel safe, cared for and respected – whether it’s a life partner, a a friend with benefits, a one-night stand or hell, even a prostitute! The lowbrows who demean, belittle, ridicule and threaten women (and usually lgbt-people as well) from behind their keyboards and aliases aren’t men at all.

They are excitable boys.

Insecure, immature, insolent children with a false sense of importance and entitlement. They seem to think the world owes them something and they act as if they are they are the ones who are mistreated.

What’s worse is, they aren’t all sociopaths, uneducated halfwits or isolated extremists either. Many of them are educated, intelligent, functioning members of modern society. That’s what frightens me the most. Their level of ignorance cannot be fought with reason and education, nor can it be conquered by violence or be legislated away.

Their mindset is a disease, and it seems to be spreading.

But how can we treat it?

Feature: Portrait – Dorothy Richardson

Depending on the literary circles you find yourself in you may or may not have heard of Dorothy Richardson, but I’ll hazard the guess that most of you haven’t read her.

Dorothy was born in Abingdon on May 17th, 1873. Before her 23rd birthday she had lost her mother to suicide and her father went bankrupt – young Dorothy moved to Bloomsbury to work as receptionist and assistant in a dental office. During the next decade she associated with several writers, european exiles and political radicals – including the Bloomsbury group – becoming a supporter of feminism, socialism and vegetarianism. During this time she had a brief affair with H. G. Wells, getting pregnant by him and suffering a miscarriage. This seemingly gave her the final push toward becoming a writer, and between 1908 and 1914 she published several reviews, essays and journalistic pieces in the Saturday Review, as well as two books on the Quaker movement.

In 1915 she published Pointed Roofs, the first part of her literary masterpiece The Pilgrimage, and became one of a very small group of authors – along with Proust, Joyce, Woolf and Faulkner – who forever changed the literary scene by creating modernist literature.

Richardson’s The Pilgrimage was the first literary work to be described as stream of consciousness writing – though the author herself objected to the term, preferring to call it “inner monologue'”, and even said her work wasn’t a novel at all. In 1923, Virginia Woolf said that Richardson “has invented, or, if she has not invented, developed and applied to her own uses, a sentence which we might call the psychological sentence of the feminine gender.” and today The Pilgrimage is considered a feminist classic as well as one of the first modernist novels.

The semi-biographical work spans 13 novel-length parts, published with decreasing frequency from 1915 until 1967, when the final unfinished part she had been working on up before her death was published. It features a protagonist (modeled after Richardson herself) uncomfortable with the established femininity of nineteen century England, who explores the city whilst also crafting her own identity somewhere between the feminine and masculine, using the posibilities offered by the big city to further her cause.

For years, Richardson supported both herself and her husband, Alan Odle – a bohemian artist 15 years younger than her – mainly on freelance work for periodicals.

Feature: Portrait – Iaia of Cyzius

Iaia of Cyzius – also known as Marcia Varronis – was a Roman painter and ivory carver active sometime in the around 100 BC.

Not much is known about her. Pliny the Elder mentioned her in his writings and she was one of 106 women featured in De mulieribus claris (aka On Famous Women – the first collection in Western literature devoted solely to biographies of women) written by Giovanni Boccaccio in the 14th century.

Iaia was born in Cyzius and remained unmarried her entire life (Pliny states she remained a virgin, but let’s be realistic here – he couldn’t have known that and neither can we). She was known for her portraits of women, including a self portrait created with the aid of a mirror and a large panel painting of an old woman.

Aside from ivory engraving and regular painting, Iaia specialized in encaustic painting – a technique where color pigment is mixed with hot wax, which allows the artwork to be both painted and sculpted at the same time – applying the hot wax with a cestum (a sort of spatula) and brushes. The technique was used at the time to color marble sculptures and produce paintings on wooden panels.

Reportedly, Iaia’s hand was faster than that of any other painter and this, as well as the high quality of her works, ensured that she was paid more than most other celebrated painters of the time.

Sadly, no works attributed to her survives to this day.