Be a man! Be insensitive, overaggressive, homophobic knuckleheads like us!

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So, I saw on Facebook today that some of my friends were participating in an event called National Man Day on Monday, June 15.

Here is an excerpt from the event’s description:

I’m not asking you to throw some sissy party, or to go buy a new power tie because you’re a man. All I’m asking you to do is step up live this day like a man would. Blow something up, shoot some animal, punch your buddy in the face for no reason, be a good father, play football and literally knock someone’s head off… Do something manly. Be a man like God intended you to be…
Take this day and celebrate your manhood!

When I help teach the amazing Gender Justice class at my current university, I ask my students to consider the question: “Which came first, men exerting power over women or men having power over women?”  Centuries after the seeds of patriarchy were planted, the question is moot, because the two are in a vicious cycle.

Why do we have gender roles?  Why does “being manly” mean what it means?  Because being manly means taking control, being aggressive, being hard and not showing your feelings.  Being womanly means being submissive and weak.  This is the nature of patriarchy.  It promotes power over women.  It promotes power over the LGBT community (gay men don’t actively oppress women and lesbians don’t submit to men, so they are circumventing the power structure).  It promotes power over other men, and competition, and aggression, and violence, and war.  It all comes back to these simple gender roles and the idea that our society is male-dominated, male-centered, and male-identified.  This is what we mean by patriarchy and the male privilege it enshrines.

So, seeing how (at the time of this posting) there are over 70,000 individuals actively participating in this event, I decided to add my voice to the mix.  After all, my commitment is to putting myself on the line, speaking up, and resisting privilege.  It’s important, even on a small scale like an inappropriate joke that really isn’t funny, to interrupt privileged views.  Here is the message I posted on the event’s wall:

This event is extremely sexist. It just forces men back into their stereotypical, unfeeling, block-headed roles that so many of us are trying to undo. Whether you believe it or not, you’re contributing to violence and homophobia, and I think that’s pretty sad.

I’d like to share some of the responses I received.  Since Facebook does not protect anonymity, neither will I.  Here’s Ethan Gray (Montana):

dude zack do you have a pair of balls?

And here’s Chaz Cool (London):

Yeah Zack, grow a fuckin’ pair, pfft

The next response was one of my favorites, because the young man proceeded to demonstrate not only how sexist he is, but how racist as well!  I can’t help but note the irony of his current network.  Here’s Chase Weaver (Santa Fe Christian High School):

most stereotypes are true, zack. why else would people like you hate them? if they werent true… how come theyve done such an astounding job of sticking? men have just as many feelings, but a majority arent outwardly emotional. men play football and (metaphorically) try to knock peoples heads off. black guys can jump. white guys cant dance. asians are really REALLY good at math. stereotypes are defined as generalizations and thats exactly what they are. some black guys cant jump and some white guys can dance

How about just a few more for posterity?  Here’s Joe Deligio (SEMO):

zach…. why u gotta be so gay

Parker O’Neill:

zack, you lost me (and everyone) at “this”

Brian Plant (De La Salle High School):

zach, you’re a woman, go make us really men sandwiches

And lastly, we definitely could not leave out this one.  This one really takes the cake.  Here are some words of wisdom from Jc Swaney (Lakeville Senior High School):

I think Zack’s gay, and we should commit acts of violence upon his head for being gay.

Is it sad that there is still a part of me that respects Jc’s attention to sentence structure and spelling?

Notice that most of these responses were from high school boys.  They are not even 18 yet, but they are already conditioned to be sexist, heterosexist, aggressive, violent, and “superior.”

Somebody has to speak out.  Somebody has to do better by these young men.  If we want gender equity in this nation, we have a LONG way to go.  We all have to acknowledge that there is a problem, acknowledge that this is NOT the way that our society has to be or should be, and acknowledge that it is not going to get better unless we cooperate proactively to resist and reverse the power imbalance and negative behaviors that maintain it.

I’ll end this post by sharing a very positive response that appeared while the others were gay-bashing me.  Here’s Andrew Perrigo (Des Moines, IA):

You can be a man without having to blow shit up, kill something, beat something up, or commit some other act of random violence. Being a man is about taking responsibility for themselves and their family. Knowing that when times get rough you don’t rely on other people or the government. When a guy sells blood to put food on the table for him family. That is being a man. When a guy works two jobs to make ends meet. That is being a man. When a man sacrifices what he wants for what he or his family needs. That is being a man. Being a man is not about watching football, scratching yourself inappropriately, belching, drinking beer, eating bacon or steak, or some animal you just cook. That is not a man. That is a savage.

If you care about women, the LGBT community, or even men who don’t 100% conform to the ridiculously unflattering norms of “masculinity,” speak out against this event.  Join the event as “Not attending.”  That number was already over 36,000.  Let’s send a message to these pathetic excuses for men that they don’t control our society anymore.

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There are 15 Comments to "Be a man! Be insensitive, overaggressive, homophobic knuckleheads like us!"

  • Anastasia says:

    If said “Man Day” focused on the positive as Andrew Perrigo describes, perhaps people would be inspired. Instead, they cling to crappy outdated stereotypes. It reminds me of the rape prevention posters on CyRide – real men don’t use their strength to hurt.

  • CMC says:

    The event is a joke, and people like you who act so serious only make real societal problems seem less significant

  • ZackFord says:

    It’s not a joke. It’s not funny. A high school kid threatened me with gay bashing in a public forum and you just shrug it off as not serious? This is real people who think this is really how the world should work, and I don’t think I can think of a more serious problem than hate and privilege, because it causes all the rest.

  • @CMC
    >The event is a joke
    “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

    >real societal problems
    You see the world through rose-colored glasses, unaware of the violence you perpetuate.

    Zack’s comment likely bothers you because it challenges your privilege and the morality of your identity.

  • @Zack
    First, I’m glad you’re still in touch.
    Second, I think you’d like the videos of gogreen18, an outspoken ex-Mormon atheist female with an eye for the insanity we live in.
    Here’s a link: http://www.youtube.com/user/gogreen18

  • fred says:

    jesus mate, its a joke. so grow a pair and get a life

  • Keri says:

    I don’t think this is funny or a joke. I think it’s pathetic that young men still in high school are thinking this way. I would have thought the younger generation would be more progressive, but I guess I was being too optimistic. I guess we’re still a long way away from equality for all. Disgusting.

  • JC Swaney says:

    Zack, I cannot believe I found myself mentioned in a blog when randomly searching my name up on Google. Mind you, I was being 100% facetious in regards to committing acts of violence. I keep up a pseudo-“manly-man” persona mainly for humor reasons. If you happen to not believe that this is me posting, feel free to message me on Facebook in regards to this. It honestly made me laugh to read about myself on here.

  • ZackFord says:

    Well, I suppose it does not matter to me whether it is you or not. Your comments were beyond inappropriate and are just as responsible for fostering a hateful, violent community as the people committing actual violence. I don’t know what you think you get from your persona, but I definitely am not seeing any humor.

  • JC Swaney says:

    Well, in all honesty, if you cannot find humor in something and go so much to say that I’m fostering unfavorable behavior, that’s fine.

    I was completely joking, that’s all I came to say. I just laughed at how you assumed that there was no possibility of me joking, rather you just take me to be a hateful/sexist/racist man, or anything of the like.

    I do feel honored for being mentioned, though.

  • ZackFord says:

    I invite you to share what makes your comment humorous. Let’s take a look:

    “I think Zack’s gay,”

    Well, obviously I am… but you also obviously meant that in a disparaging way. You had no evidence as to my actual orientation, but you saw me defending women and gays, so obviously that makes me gay, and obviously that reduces my qualifications for being a “real man,” so it had to be mentioned. But… there really is not any way for that to be funny, is there? I’m assuming I must look then at the second part of your statement to find the funny?

    “…and we should commit acts of violence upon his head for being gay.”

    Hmmm… committing acts of violence. That’s usually not funny. There really is no situation in the history of the world where violence supported any sort of progress in how our societies developed. There have been times when violence has been the only course of action to resist violence, but my simply being gay isn’t an act of violence, so there is nothing to retaliate against.

    “Upon his head” is worth mentioning, because obviously the head is a pretty vulnerable part of the body. I mean, it doesn’t take that much damage to the head to impart death. Half of the weapons in the original game of Clue depended upon this mechanism to enact murder, so pretty much your indication is that I should die.

    And, not only should I die, but you went out of your way to reiterate (in case your opening clause was not implicating enough) that the reason I should die is because I am gay. Now, this is a great message to the million of young gay people out there (in high schools like yours) who feel alienated and sometimes even turn to suicide because their friends and peers do not know how to appreciate them and support them through the challenging phase of coming out. I wonder how many of them might happen upon National Man Day and feel like what’s being celebrated there reinforces the fear they already have. If they had any doubt, I’m sure comments like yours and the others’ helped clear that up.

    Well, JC, I have taken the time to dissect your comment in attempt to find the humor you have claimed was present. I have been unsuccessful based solely on the context available. Now, if I were to give you the benefit of the doubt that you were being completely sarcastic and that you actually think the complete opposite, I would still struggle to find the humor. If you really do not believe in violence and really are not homophobic, how is “joking” about the idea that you might be that hateful funny? I’m really struggling, here. Hate = funny? It’s not computing.

    Since you have been willing to engage in dialog, may I ask you to point out the funny for me? I’m sure the other readers of my blog would like to see so we can all learn from you. In fact, it would be great if you could impart the wisdom of your wit to the some 350,000 people on Facebook who have come across the National Man Day group, including who knows how many scared young gay, bi, trans, or otherwise-queer men who have subscribed to the self-hate its participants (like you) promote just because they feel like they have to to fit in?

    When you’re done sharing, make sure you click on over to The Trevor Project (http://www.thetrevorproject.org/) and make a nice donation. You can join their facebook group, too, while you’re there. Thanks.

  • JC Swaney says:

    See, this whole thing is irrelevant, because I’m not anything you claim me to be. I’m not racist, sexist, or homophobic. Actually, in reality, I think people shouldn’t use words like “gay” to convey their distaste in something, because they imply that being gay’s universally bad.

    My comment on Facebook was sarcastic, and mocking even, and I actually hoped that you would’ve looked at it and realized that I was mocking every single person who was insulting you [although my display picture at the time might’ve made you think otherwise].

    My sense of humor’s my sense of humor. I find humor in situations others would deem inappropriate, offensive, or down-right wrong. Does that make me wrong, immoral, or anything? No. Not one bit.

    This whole thing was a misunderstanding. A misunderstanding on my part [for assuming that you would see it as me mocking those dumbasses who were actually willing to insult you and support violence], and a misunderstanding on your part [for assuming that I was being literal in my conveyance. That, or I was being just sarcastic and you didn’t find it funny].

    Why would I judge a person because they’re gay, or anything really? If I would, I would essentially be saying “I do not like you for being yourself, and I want to hurt you for it.” Does that statement really make any logical sense? No. I’m a man of logic, thus I would never think like that.

    Really, I would’ve assumed that if you did some research [because you seem like a man who would do that, because not very many people would try to dissect a comment such as that] that you would’ve found out that I really don’t agree with random acts of violence, especially directed towards someone for being who they are.

    Also, my family donates to The Trevor Project, although I don’t contribute myself, for I’m still living under my parents roof [high school student], and can’t spare any money, because I have to pay for college and get my degree in what-have-you [probably French], and I’m rambling, you get me.

  • ZackFord says:

    I’m happy to know you are interested in being a supportive ally.

    I think it would be important for you to think about your sense of humor, and what about it you think is funny. Given the lack of context online exchanges allow, you might be painting a very different picture of yourself than you intend.

    Your comments were dangerous, and there are probably a lot of people who read them and face value. There are a frightful number of people who agree with them at face value. That is why I think the group is so dangerous itself… it is a breeding ground for self-fulfilling stereotypes.

    It is commendable that you are willing to go the lengths you have in this thread to repudiate your comments. I hope your reflection does not simply end at “my sense of humor’s my sense of humor,” and really consider how other people really perceive your sense of humor. Not everybody is as logical as you are and not everybody is logical in the same way you are… scary, but true.

  • Will Rundle says:

    JC – Mind that I’m not calling you a racist, I’m sure you’re not. But what would you think about saying this?
    “I think Zack is black, and we should commit acts of violence upon his head for being black.”
    Of COURSE you wouldn’t say something like that. And you can tell right away that that is not funny. It’s disturbing to even imagine someone saying it, and if you heard someone say that – you wouldn’t assume that they weren’t racist, even if they were “kidding”.

    You know it’s a horrible thing to say because people are attacked and killed because of their race. It goes without saying. But hate crimes against LGBT people are (proportionately speaking) just as common as racial hate crimes. We’ve all heard of Matthew Shepard, for example.

    You’re not a racist, and you wouldn’t say something like the quote I gave above. But the anti-gay “joke” didn’t seem like a problem to you at all. It’s easy to say you’re not homophobic, but when it comes down to it, you have to ask yourself… are you sure you really haven’t been?

    (I’m sorry if I sound accusatory. Like I said, I’m posing it for you to ask yourself.)

  • Frank says:

    I’m all for cracking down on crimes against gays. BUT STRAIGHT GUYS SHOULD TOE THE LINE OR TAKE THE CONSEQUENCES. IF YOU DON’T DO WHAT IT TAKES TO DESERVE A WOMAN, LEAVE THEM THE HELL ALONE.

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