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Memo To Candidates: How To Talk About Rape

Elected officials (especially men), here are the only things you should say when the issue of rape comes up in an interview or debate:
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My First Book

My Dearest Readers,

Over the past year, I have been witness to the incredible loyalty and support that all of you offered me. I am incredibly grateful (and humbled) for the attention that you have given my work and equally grateful that you have chosen to share my work with your family and friends. Every week, the readership of my column has increased, and I still find it hard to believe that my work has been read by millions of people around the world, in every country, with the exception of North Korea. I’m also incredibly grateful for your engagement with my work in the form of social media, and through the emails and letters you have sent me–I read each and every single email, letter, tweet and Facebook and am endeavoring to respond to as many as possible.

I’m writing to you today because I want to share some good news with you. I have just signed a deal for my first full-length book with Amazon/Houghton Mifflin, which will be in bookstores–and of course on Amazon–late next year.

My first book is tentatively (keyword: tentative) entitled, On Her Terms: The Modern Woman’s Guide to Rewriting the Rules of Romance. For this book, I use the word “romance” on broad level, to include dating, courtship, relationships, and breakups.
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You Don’t Miss Him. You Miss The Idea Of Who You Wanted Him To Be.

It doesn’t take much to miss him: a song, a movie, a TV show. Maybe it’s a friend mentioning his name, or seeing or meeting someone who shares his name. The pain is almost unbearable.

The “him” I speak of is the man you used to be in a relationship or the man who you hoped to be in a relationship with. But he’s no longer in your life in the way he used to be. You still think you genuinely feel love for him, despite the fact that he’s no longer a major part of your life for a reason: he is a jerk. He hurt you, probably repeatedly. And you know in your heart of hearts that you have no business ever having a relationship or probably even having any sort of friendship with him. But you still miss him a lot–even if he was and is bad for you.

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Silencing The Silent Treatment

I hate the silent treatment. Of course, I hate being the recipient of it, but even when I’m not at the receiving end of someone else’s silent treatment, I hate what the silent treatment often represents: an intentional effort initiated by someone to provoke attention from a partner, friend, family member, or worse yet, a sign that someone’s voice has been squelched so often that silence is their only way of responding to a difficult moment.

So why am I writing about the silent treatment?

Because I think that too often, we treat the silent treatment much too casually. This strategy for communication becomes a behavior that we excuse or simply put up with, like accommodating someone who claims he or she is not a “morning person.”
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For Boob Jobs: Head To The United States Senate Credit Union

Pop Out 2

If you opened up your mailbox to find a mailer from your bank and on the cover were printed the words: “Got Big Plans?” what would you initially think your bank means by “plans?”

You’d probably assume the “plans” refers to the bank advertising a mortgage for a home purchase, or perhaps a small business loan to setup that cafe you’ve always wanted to open up, or maybe the banks are reaching out to you about a loan to send your kids or yourself to college.

However, if you are a woman and you received this flyer (see below) from the United States Senate Federal Credit Union, the banks have a different idea. No, you shouldn’t get a loan from them to start a new business or buy your first home. You should get a loan to finally get the breast implants you’ve always wanted…or maybe never wanted, but still feel pressured to get.

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Why Many Men Don’t Embrace Equality

In our next guest post for The Current Conscience, we feature the column, “Why Many Men Don’t Embrace Equality,” in which Micheal Kimmel considers the very real, historical barriers to gender equality in the workplace and makes the argument that this equality is a both a benefit to men and women.

People often ask me why men don’t support gender equality in the workplace. After all, if you looked at it from an ethical standpoint, it’s as American as apple pie: it’s the right thing to do, it’s fair. You know, with “liberty and justice for all” and all that.

That argument, what we might call the ethical imperative – supporting something because it’s right – doesn’t necessarily resonate with a large number of men. That’s not because men are “bad” or “stupid” or anything of the kind. Partly, it’s that those abstract principles feel so remote and distant, as if you could agree with it in the abstract and not really do anything about it.

Actually, most men are quietly – and without much ideological shift – accommodating themselves to greater gender equality in their homes and in their workplaces. In many cases we’re more egalitarian in the concrete than in the abstract.

But I think we need to go further than simple accommodation. We need to embrace gender equality because not only is it right and fair and just, but because it is in our interests as men to do so.

In order to do that though, we need to get underneath the ethical imperative, underneath the casual statement of general support for equality “as long as it doesn’t hurt me.” We need to untangle that knot, examine the equation that somehow gender equality is a loss for men.

Many men see gender equality as a zero sum game: if women win, men lose. There are only so many positions at the top, right? So if women get half of them, then there are fewer of them for us. Affirmative action, diversity awareness, and gender equality projects are thus seen as actively discriminating against men.

Looked at another way, though, we’d have to admit that white men have been the beneficiaries of the greatest affirmative action program of all time. It’s called world history. By excluding women, we’d insured that we stood a far better chance of getting those positions. Equality can feel pretty unfair when you haven’t had to share any of your toys before.

This historical affirmative action program led to a psychological barrier that keeps men from often embracing gender equality. Let me tell you a little story:

Not long ago, I appeared on a television talk show opposite three “angry white males” who felt they had been the victims of workplace discrimination. The show’s title, no doubt to entice a large potential audience, was “A Black Woman Stole My Job.” Each of the men described how they were passed over for jobs or promotions for which they believed themselves qualified. Then it was my turn to respond. I said I had one question about one word in the title of the show. I asked them about the word “my.” Where did they get the idea it was “their” job? Why wasn’t the show called “A Black Woman Got a Job” or “A Black Woman Got the Job?”

These men felt the job was “theirs” because they felt entitled to it, and when some “other” person – black, female – got the job, that person was really taking what was “rightfully” theirs. “It seems like if you’re a white male you don’t have a chance,” commented a young man to then-New York Times columnist Anna Quindlen a decade ago. The young man went to a college where 5% of his classmates were black. “What the kid really meant is that he no longer has the edge,” she wrote of the encounter, that the rules of a system that may have served his father will have changed. It is one of those good-old-days constructs to believe it was a system based purely on merit, but we know that’s not true. It is a system that once favored him, and others like him. Now sometimes – just sometimes – it favors someone different.

I think it’s hard, really hard, to change that mindset. We were raised to be Don Drapers, Alpha males, casually, uncritically entitled to a gender order that is vertical, hierarchical. And now we feel we have to be more Al Gore-esque Beta-males, oriented to equality, horizontally.

But change we shall – and not just because it’s the right thing to do. It’s also in our interests to embrace gender equality. The empirical evidence is clear: at the corporate level, those companies that embrace diversity and enable everyone (including white men) to feel included and valued have lower rates of absenteeism and job turnover, and higher levels of job satisfaction and productivity. And personally, the more equal our relationships, the happier and healthier everyone will be.

Michael Kimmel is the SUNY University Distinguished Professor of Sociology at SUNY Stony Brook, and the founding editor of the scholarly journal Men and Masculinities. His work work centers around engaging men in the campaign for gender equality. He is a contributing blogger to Men Advocating Real Change (MARC), an online learning community mediating and supporting conversations and dialogue amongst professionals who seek to right gender imbalance in the workplace. His piece, “Why Many Men Don’t Embrace Equality,” was originally published on the MARC website.

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On Marriage Equality: Let’s Not Forget About Gavin Newsom

Yesterday, President Obama’s decision to come out in support of marriage equality, a/k/a gay or same-sex marriage, was a truly historic moment, not just for those of us living in the United States, but for anyone who values freedom and equality.

Because of his support of marriage equality, millions of people in the United States, and around the world, feel a little less lonely and little more included. LGBT kids who are bullied and ostracized will feel the support of our nation’s commander and chief, and committed, loving couples who don’t have the chance to get married will now hold hope that President Obama’s influence and power will be a tipping point for marriage equality.

However, in thanking President Obama for his announcement, I also feel it necessary to acknowledge another elected official who stood up for marriage equality–long before it was popular. This man truly put his career, ambitions, and his personal safety on the line, and in my mind, has not gotten due credit: former San Francisco Mayor and now California Lieutenant Governor, Gavin Newsom.
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On The Status of Women In The Western World: Everything is Not Okay

One of my biggest pet peeves is the question, “How are you?”

It’s become so shockingly meaningless that I always have an internal, visceral reaction of annoyance when asked the question…even though I’ve caught myself asking the same question to others.

This empty question annoys me because people don’t really care to hear the answer and we usually never give an honest answer if we aren’t doing well. Whenever someone, a friend, a stranger, asks how we are doing, we often reply, “okay, great, etc.”

It’s meaningless.
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The Stupid Advice We Give To Single Women Over 40

Last week, I was sitting in a hotel lobby waiting to meet with a friend. As I waited, I noticed a woman having coffee with her mother. During this meeting, the woman was excitedly presenting her mother with an e-reader. After the present was unwrapped, the woman proceeded to thoughtfully explain to her mother about how to use her e-reader, dealing with the wireless connection, etc.

Instead of reacting with excitement or gratitude, her mother started lecturing her. The expression on the woman’s face as she was berated revealed incredible frustration. She looked exhausted and distressed.

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Gaslighting By Omission: When You’re In Love With A Robot

You know the type of guy well: whether you’ve been in a relationship with him or not, he’s always happy and everything is always “great!” You’ve never seen him get upset, sad, distressed, or have hurt feelings. He’s almost always calm…ok maybe you’ve seen him get angry a few times, maybe really angry, and it’s always a shock.

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