Is this site religious?

No.

What does it mean to be (gender) Equality Agnostic?

Gender Equality Agnosticism is a form of Egalitarianism, specifically limited to gender equality. In brief, it is the belief that equality is not a men’s issue, or a women’s issue—it is a human rights issue and therefore needs to be pursued from a standpoint that takes on the position of both sexes.


Equality is defined as: The state or quality of being equal; correspondence in quantity, degree, value, rank, or ability.

Agnostic is defined as: A person who holds neither of two opposing positions on a topic. Socrates was an agnostic on the subject of immortality.

Source—www.Dictionary.com

...Read more...

Get a balanced perspective on gender equality, read both sides of the same story:

Feminism

MRM

The top gender issues experienced by men and women



 Click to see:

PLEASE NOTE: This is an incomplete list that I update as able and I need your help to complete it. To submit a critical issue (eg please don't send me something like "man-spreading") that you would like highlighted,with supporting evidence where possible, please contact me via equalityagnostic @ gmail.com (remove the spaces) or via the Equality Agnostic Facebook page.

Men and women both experience gender issues.

One of the reasons I call myself equality agnostic is that I do not believe you can fight for gender equality from the perspective of sides, or even just one side. While I speak most frequently on men's issues I do so because I think it's generally done badly, or not at all.  Regardless I believe the plight of women is real and want to be part of the solution to the issues they experience also... which leads me to my next point.

It is my experience that people fighting for gender equality from only one side do so either from a position of self-interest or ignorance (hear me out). To fight for only one side you need to either believe that 1) the other gender has no issues or 2) that those issues are inconsequential compared to the gender you represent. 

The purpose of this section is to draw attention to issues experienced by both genders, to fight ignorance and to highlight why both genders need help in resolving the issues they experience.  They need your help, even if it's just by fighting ignorance through making others aware of these issues.

Below is an incomplete list of gender issues that I have put under the categories of mens and womens issues, I have no wish to marginalise anyone who happens to have been unfortunate enough to experience a gender issue that predominantly affects the other gender.

I understand that it is a rare instance where gender issues happen only to one gender (eg acid attack: women / conscription: men).  Generally speaking, gendered issues happen to both genders, it is my opinion they predominantly affect one gender far more often than the other (eg rape: women /, murder: men). I say "opinion" because no matter what statistics I present, I find myself suddenly presented with completely contradictory statistics by both feminists and MRAs.  I will look at any statistics anyone wishes to submit - but if they come from a feminist or MRA lobby group, rather than a neutral source - I'll take them with a grain of salt.

I have also avoided tackling gender specific health issues such as breast cancer and prostrate cancer.

Over time I will be listing sources and where possible supporting statistics for the issues already listed and then writing up follow up blogs to clarify each individual area.  So without further adieu I present:

Is it ok to give a baby girl a boy's name, and vice versa?


Gender distinction and differentiation is something we enforce in our children before they are even born, and we do so by selecting our child's name from a list of names broken up into the categories of "boy names" and "girl names". While there are names that are considered to be unisex, giving your child a unisex name isn't quite the same as awarding them one that is deemed to "only be appropriate" for a child of the opposite gender.

Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher have just had a baby girl, and named her Wyatt.
Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds have also just had a girl, and named her James.
Both are masculine names for girls.

When my partner found out about this particular parental choice, she was shocked.  How could caring parents do this to their baby?  I on the other hand was quite impressed at the rejection of socially constructed gender norms and a significant debate ensued between us, the crux of which was, "Is this irresponsible parenting?  Is it something that non-celebrities could ever do?  What example does this celebrity trend set for the average parent?"

The challenge with going against gender naming conventions is that when adults break gender norms, they are doing so with an adult understanding of how those norms are created, enforced and most importantly, what breaking them means.  A child does not.

As a conscientious parent you can attempt to enlighten your children to the trials of adhering to or breaking gender conventions, unfortunately you can't enlighten all the other school children or their parents...  That can make life very difficult for your child.

The problem with breaking gender norms is that it isn't too different to breaking cultural or religious norms, all three are just belief systems.  The average human being doesn't like people or actions that go against their core belief systems.  I have a 7 year-old son who is required to go to a generic-Christian religious studies class as part of his public state-school curriculum, though you can choose to have your child opt out by filling out tedious paperwork that says you don't want to have your child participate. I find the idea of enforcing generic-Christianity at a state school to be incredibly inappropriate and just another step the fine nation of Australia takes to keep itself white and free from "brown-people religion", or heaven forbid, rational atheism.  My choice to make this particular stand has not made myself or my son any friends in his overwhelmingly Christian school...

Opting out of gender norms is a much tougher sell than abstaining from religion, because gender norms are so subtly ingrained in our everyday lives most of us barely register them until something flies in the face of them... like naming your child something we feel is "inappropriate".

As a child I grew up with a boy called Kimberly.  He was ridiculed constantly and often bullied or beaten.  Breaking the gender norm of boy names for boys and girl names for girls will mean that your child is likely to spend their entire youth getting physically attacked, or mercilessly teased, a situation the child would most likely blame the parent for (and possibly rightly so).

I doubt that this is an issue that "Wyatt" and "James" will likely ever have to deal with; being rich, famous and having bodyguards probably comes with perks like not needing to deal with school yard bullies.  Although they may need to deal with tabloid trolls and cyber bullies in their place.  The other side of that debate is girls becoming more masculine is seen as acceptable in a world that still strictly enforces male gender-role, I sincerely doubt the same would be said if these were celebrity male babies being given girl's names...

Anyway, those are my thoughts.

What do you think of their decision to award what is considered a masculine name to a girl?  Do you think the child will suffer for that decision or will they be fine?

Source


Please show us the Facebook love!

I don't want to be "a good man" anymore




I wish I knew what it was like to be a normal, emotional, human being.  But I don’t.  

Instead I was raised to overcome my nature, to be the poster child for the male gender-role, to protect and provide.  

If you look at the backs of my hands, particularly on the knuckles of my right hand, you will see a series of hairline white scars.  They are the fading reminders of where my fists connected with people's teeth instead of their jaw.  My nose is a little off centre from taking one too many hits. I have a hairline scar in my right brow where it was split open by the impact of a man’s ring.  Most notably, I have a fading scar now covered by my beard when my lower front teeth were smashed through my lower lip and became lodged in the top of another boy’s skull (while still stuck through my lip).  I also once bit through the centre of my tongue from an uppercut that caught me at just the right (wrong?) moment. 

But I walked away from all of it with a smile, because that is what’s expected of my gender… 

Be a man! Which really means:  

Don’t acknowledge your pain.
Don’t acknowledge your feelings.              
Don’t be a normal human being.  

I learned to suppress my emotions and now as an adult rarely know how to process them.  Worst of all, I know that I didn’t start this way; I know this isn’t my nature.

By nature, I am not silent. 

I like to talk about my feelings and I love to hear about other people’s feelings.  I consider there to be no greater honour than for someone to share with me anything that is weighing on their mind, to trust me enough to let me in. 

By nature I am not ‘tough’ or emotionless. 

I cry for every father-son scene in any TV show or movie and I completely fall to pieces for anything where a child is hurt or bullied.  

By nature I am effeminate. 

While I don’t care much for any other special occasion, Valentine’s Day and anniversaries at my house are an extravaganza, romance means something to me—I try as often as possible to leave little notes and surprises for my amazing other half to remind her how much I love her.

But my gender-role upbringing and environment taught that to be a protector, to be ‘a real man’, I must overcome my nature.  It taught me that there is no boy's club, no brotherhood; it taught me that a violent confrontation with a man is not an if, it is a when.  I view men at all times as potential enemies first and potential allies second—and there are plenty of people just like me.  It taught me that if I want the people I love to be safe, to feel safe, if I want to be ‘a good man’, I must suppress my feelings, I must prepare for violence, I must invite it when it presents itself, I must endure it when it occurs and when I have done those things—I meet the criteria of being ‘a good man’.

But I’m so tired of being a good man.
I’d like to be allowed to just be a good person.

Is gender the cause of violent crime? A Racism vs Sexism comparison



Poor people are often forced to take extreme measures to survive, these measures may involve crime. Statistically, African-American’s live in lower socioeconomic conditions than other Americans.  At one point, questionable reporting of crime led to strong perceptions that African-Americans had a greater criminal prevalence than whites.  How did this happen?

In the 1980’s news headlines had a tendency to highlight when African-Americans were part of criminal activity.  Headlines reading ‘Black man arrested…’ appeared with regularity, whereas if the perpetrator was anything other than African-American then no mention of race was made. Raised awareness for the media’s propensity for highlighting race only when an African-American was a perpetrator led to a decline in racial distinction in criminal reporting.  The reason for this is not that the reporting was false, it’s because we came to a simple realisation…

We came to the understanding that ‘issue’ was not synonymous with ‘race’.

To clarify, even if statistically a race is more frequently arrested for criminal activity, does not mean race is the criminal cause.  If whites made up the majority of low socioeconomic America, whites would be more frequently arrested for criminal activity.  Race doesn’t promote crime, a lack of wealth and legitimate opportunity promotes criminal behaviour.  Being a minority however removes opportunity, which directly affects wealth.

The media now is unlikely to promote the headline “black man arrested”, however making crime synonymous with gender, “man arrested”, is still a media norm.

Studies have shown that within African-American communities, the idea that ‘black men’ are dangerous has been so socially internalised, that it now affects the self-perception of its own male members.  In short, even the men living in these communities fear each other and view their fellows as dangerous.  I personally believe this occurrence, this norm of viewing men as dangerous has spread outside the African American community to western culture at large. In other words, it is socially accepted that the male gender is synonymous with violent or dangerous crime.

Regardless of whether men are frequently arrested for violent crime, do you believe that gender is the criminal cause?

If you are one of the people who feel that ‘issue’ is synonymous with ‘men’, I would leave you to consider a few questions.  I do not offer answers to these questions, they are merely there for you to give some thought to how you feel and why you might feel that way.

Food for thought

  • Do you think adult violence is the result of nature, or nurture?
  • Is the male gender inherently violent, or does societally-enforced male gender-role promote violence?  
  • Is it considered masculine to be violent, to commit violence, to be the subject of violence, to endure violence?  
  • Is violence associated with masculine strength and toughness—effectively, is a male required to be violent or a victim to violence to be ‘a real man’?
  • Is male violent crime systemic of the male gender role?
  • If historically women had been tasked with the gender role of protector, and men with the gender role of mother/nurturer—do you think that violent crime gender stats would still be what they are now?

“But it’s just a joke…”—Sexism and humour

 

From time to time, I’m accused of being funny (not here though).  When I’m not blogging, I write inappropriate comedy/drama novels on topics that occasionally offend the hell out of people, which is why I smiled when I received a letter asking for my thoughts on sexist humour.  

Comedy is an amazing tool that can be used to push boundaries, to start discussion when a topic is given more reverence than it deserves and when our silence is part of the problem. I think that it’s ok to be off-colour, even cringe-worthy when tackling difficult topics because sometimes that’s the only way we can start a discussion that must be had.  There are ways that gender-based humour can be used to start those kinds of discussions, but rarely is that how it’s been used.

In the 1950’s it was impossible to turn on the TV without finding hapless-female-punchlines looking to be saved, exploited or controlled by male saviours, all in the name of cheap laughs.  I remember watching reruns of “I love Lucy” as a child and being horrified—what women acted this way?

65 years later and you can’t turn on a family sitcom or even the average laundry detergent advertisement without finding idiotic, hapless men, presented as overgrown children incapable of looking after themselves without the ‘gracious’ management of over-indulgent, ever-patient women (eg Malcolm in the Middle, Everybody loves Raymond).  I’m not saying sexist humour against women is dead, but it certainly isn’t commercially condoned in the way it used to be.  

Feminists have worked tirelessly to create awareness that sexist jokes against women are demeaning, and they're succeeding at getting that message heard. Unfortunately people aren’t hearing the true crux of that message which is “jokes that target gender are demeaning.”  In the words of Warren Farrell: "In the past quarter century, we exposed biases against other races and called it racism, and we exposed biases against women and called it sexism. Biases against men we call humour."

What started as an attempt to be more politically correct and level the comedic playing field, has turned into men becoming the new ‘safe’ derogatory punchline all in the name of equality (case in point).  But why does it matter? Let me give you the the feminist perspective, which I've merely rearticulated to represent anyone of any gender.

Derogatory gender humour helps foster prejudice against the gender it demeans—that joke is the humour equivalent of a gateway drug.  Sure it may seem harmless, but by telling jokes that demean a person because of their gender, you are essentially lowering inhibitions around the promotion of genderist attitudes, behaviours and treatments, while also enforcing gender stereotypes. 

So unless  your goal is to promote that kind of thing, I’d like you ask yourself one question each time you think about forwarding a joke that belittles either sex or promotes a gender based stereotype:

How would I feel if this joke was specifically about me or someone I cared about?

Gender is one of the central concepts of each person's identity, when you belittle a person's gender you are making a direct commentary on who that person is and how they see themselves.

I think we can all agree, there’s nothing funny about being demeaned.


These are two examples of the things that float my way thanks to Facebook – how would you feel if any of these were specifically about you?

Got a question on a gender issue or gender-equality?  Is there an issue you'd like me to raise awareness on?  Send me a message on the Facebook Equality Agnostic page and let me know.

Male nurture—Creating a killer gender


Picture a pair of three year old boys trading pretend blows while play-fighting.  They giggle, laughing as they scream their war cries.  Even if they fell to the ground, wrestling each other as part of this play—what is the tone of this interaction?  Would you feel the need to stop it? Or would you just shrug and say ‘boys will be boys…’?

Ten years later picture the same boy’s play-fighting, and now add testosterone. 
Ten years later again, add adulthood and adult male physicality.  

What is the tone of each of these interactions?  Would you, could you, stop it?  Note your reaction and replay each of those scenario’s, first with girls, then with a boy and a girl—do you feel the same in each situation?  If not it might give you some insight into how you’ve been culturally gender-role conditioned.

We raise boys to be violent.  We promote it with toys, advertising, sports, books, TV and videogames.  Then as adults, we fill our prisons with the children who grew up to be exactly what we taught them to be, while lamenting the issue of violent men, and not the culture and or parenting that created them.

So why do we raise boys to be violent men?

The foundation of glorifying violence is survival-focused society (which all modern culture’s stem from)—cultures that are focused on just trying to avoid going extinct. To populate a species you need many uteruses but only a few penises to impregnate them.  In survival focused society, the value of human’s with a uterus (females) is at a premium, and people without a uterus (males), are more disposable—particularly when many of those uterus-bearers may die from pregnancy, birth, or post-birth complications.

Even with the possibility of extinction, it’s incredibly difficult to convince a gender to put “the greater good” before its own survival. The gender role of 'mother' is much more difficult to avoid than the gender role of 'protector'. Sex is a lot of fun, but no one in their right mind wants to fight a bear with a pointy stick, just because they are male.  

In order to convince men to be willing to face a potentially horrible and violent death at the hands of predators, you must sell to both genders the idea that heroic death and violence is an incredibly good thing; you market one gender as heroes, and one gender as needing to be saved. 

Societally, even as we progressed from sticks, to spears, to swords, to muskets, to guns—we have spent generation after generation selling that idea hard (Why? See the banana experiment).

We no longer experience a world overrun with natural predators, women survive birth as the norm, yet we continue to societally ingrain the idea of heroic death and violence into the masculine identity, and this type of masculinity as essential to men being “good” and “desirable” males.   At the same time we run campaigns to stop men committing domestic violence against their partners, campaigns explaining to men that ‘one punch kills’, campaigns that reinforce over and over that men, not the violence they were raised with, is the problem.

How about teaching our children (of both genders) that boys don’t need to be violent, to be men?



Please, like us on Facebook!

Why men percieve women as being over-emotional

Bonsai is the art of growing a permanently miniature tree of varying breeds inside a tray like pot.

A common mistake is the idea that Bonsais are generally crafted from dwarf trees, when in actual fact most Bonsai trees are carefully handcrafted from specific breeds of normal sized trees.  The Fir tree is a popular choice for the Bonsai tree, when allowed to grow freely it is a large tree that grows to heights of 10-80 metres. In comparison the same Fir when cultivated through the Bonsai practice of “pruning, root reduction, potting, defoliation and grafting,” grow to less than a metre in size.

A Bonsai Fir Tree and Fir Tree allowed to grow to normal height

If a Bonsai Fir Tree could speak and it was placed next to another Fir Tree that had been allowed to grow to its full and natural potential… how do you think it would describe that amazing sight?  Similarly if a normal Fir Tree observed this tiny dwarfed specimen, how would it perceive it?  Would it even recognise the tree as being the same as itself?

The average man is the emotional equivalent of a Bonsai.

Each gender begins with the same emotional capacity.   The female gender role of ‘nurturer’ promotes emotion as positive, especially those emotions attached to caregiving roles and as a result lends itself towards healthy emotional fulfillment.  Men who are societally conditioned to male gender role, over time become emotionally curbed, stunted and reduced.  

When someone who has spent their entire life being shaped and moulded to be unemotional, encounters a human being who has not been similarly conditioned, they perceive that person as ‘over-emotional’.  As a result, what is often misconstrued as a male misogynistic view of women is actually an insight into the harmful effects of male gender role on the emotional health of men. 

Most men will be able to attest to their experiences of being told to ‘be a man’ or to ‘man up’ when experiencing a normal, human emotional response to a situation.

The purpose of phrases like this is to reinforce in a male that it is his gender obligation to be willing to suffer in silence, not to process his emotions but to control them, to box them, to put them indefinitely on hold.  The purpose is to build ‘toughness’, the outcome is rigid, emotional inflexibility and a lack of understanding of people not similarly constrained.

Throughout history, most tribes created a trial of manhood that decided whether boys would be allowed to take their place as men in the tribe. In almost all cases that trial was based on the ability to silently endure pain such as ritual adult circumcision, cutting, whipping, beatings or being poisoned.  If they failed this test they would be unable to pursue a partner and were often cast out of the tribe or put to death.

In Western culture, the natures of the tests have changed, but the process remains the same.

When I was a boy, my father would punish me by striking me with a cane, once for misbehaving and if I cried out too loudly, once again for each time I cried after I was told to stop.  Most men I know have similar stories. 

At school most boys are ritually humiliated by friends or attacked by enemies if they present any emotion other than happiness, anger or lust.  Why? Because love, fear, sadness and any similar emotion are all considered potential weaknesses.  The male gender role is to protect and provide.  A protector who cannot endure pain, who fails to act because they are sad, who flees from danger because of fear, who refuses to sacrifice what they love for the greater good—will fail at being a protector.  Ritual physical and emotional attacks weed out males who cannot endure and therefore cannot be relied upon to have our back in the event we need to work together as protectors.

In short, the perception of women as over-emotional is merely a reflection of the emotional damage most men ritually experience, rather than the emotional state of women.  Only by eliminating the enforcement of gender role for both genders will both genders experience, and be perceived as, emotionally healthy.


The logical fallacy of feminism and the MRM



Have you ever spoken to a friend about why they broke up with somebody, and then also spoken to the person they broke up with, only to get two completely different stories?  

As I personally straddle the middle-ground between feminism and the Men's Rights Movement (MRM) it is a question that I'm often reminded of. Whenever I read about the two gender equality ideoligies, one of the things I find interesting is that both of them often take issue with most of the same things, but from completely different perspectives.  

The reason that this often reminds me of a couple that breaks up is that, if instead of picking a side, you speak to both people, you'll often find that neither of them is wrong about the cause of the breakup.  However as both are telling their stories from the perspective of sides, their presentation is biased and more truth can be found in the middle than on either side.

“Everything seems one-sided, if you only explore one side.”

If you’re anything like me, if there is a woman in your life that you love completely, that you would do anything for... the first time you read about the issues, the history, the statistics presented by feminism—you will be incited to a rare form of righteous anger that will make you want to don a sword and armour and run screaming into the streets to destroy the oppressors of women—even if that meant you personally might be part of the face of patriarchy. It just meant that your mission was to kill the beast from the inside.

But if you then took the time to read a little bit about the history of men, the issues, the statistics presented by the Men’s Rights Movement, you would drop that sword, throw down your shield, and collapse in a weeping heap for the suffering of your own gender.

Nothing is ever one sided.

There is a logical fallacy that is presented by both the Feminist and Men's Rights Activist (MRA) perspective and it is the idea that the following statement is true:

"Because I can prove that things are bad for my gender, I have proven that things for the opposite gender, are good." 

In actual fact, the only thing that proving that things are bad for your gender does, is prove that things are bad for your gender.  If you read both about feminism and the Men's Rights Movement you will come to this sad, gnawing truth:  History and gender role has been kind to none of us, and it’s still happening.

I don’t deal well with just passively letting things happen to the people I love. The enforcement of outdated gender role creates symptoms that we identify as gender inequality, then we attack that symptom instead of it's cause.  That inequality is happening on some level to every person I have loved, do love, and ever will love. It's happening to your loved ones too.

When I speak to feminists and Men’s Rights Activists, they are hurt, frustrated, angry—and with good reason!  None of these people feel the way they do without cause, those feelings are valid.  Unfortunately, the only thing anger generates is anger.  Anger is incredibly useful in starting a movement, but it is very rarely successful in bringing to fruition the goals of that movement.  Somewhere the cycle must move from anger, to resolution, if a solution is to be presented. Which is why I personally came to the decision to throw away my sword and shield. I came to a realistion that it's not enough to fight inequality; I need to kill it with kindness, and kindness stems from understanding.

If you’re an MRA or a Feminist, why not see what the other side is struggling to overcome by reading the other team's bible (see books at the top of this site).  The worst that can happen is you wasted your time reading a book, alternatively you could get some real insight into what the other team is struggling with and why it matters.   Imagine what you could achieve if instead of attacking each other, you attacked gender and equality issues, together.