Our embarssment is destorying people’s lives

I just posted a blog about undressed which I tagged #nsfw, as I recognise certain people will find the whole premise a little difficult to stomach? So because of this, I thought I’d post a blog I have had as draft for a long while.

Sex works rights… Why?

It’s the injustice which winds me up. Like the debate around Ecstasy, I haven’t got any skin in the game (if there was a better word I’d use it) but I can see the logical conclusion without social/societal bias.

The idea of sex workers is something which makes people go red. run away or ignore the whole thing. It’s frankly shocking and so crazy that we haven’t grown up enough to talk about this in a practical way. I mean there are many peoples lives at risk simply because we go all red when thinking about sex.

There are sorry parallels with the sorry state of sex education in schools.

Everyone has an opinion about how to legislate sex work (whether to legalize it, ban it or even tax it) … but what do workers themselves think would work best? Activist Toni Mac explains four legal models that are being used around the world and shows us the model that she believes will work best to keep sex workers safe and offer greater self-determination. “If you care about gender equality or poverty or migration or public health, then sex worker rights matter to you,” she says. “Make space for us in your movements.”

Valerie Scott always wanted to be a sex worker and has extensive experience in her chosen profession. She is a founding member and legal co-ordinator of Sex Professionals of Canada, a sex worker rights organization. She has been a passionate advocate for her colleague’s human, civil, and legal rights for the past 30 years. She has testified at Canada’s Senate and at several Parliamentary committees. She has spoken at numerous community meetings, colleges, universities, and conferences about the humanity of sex workers and the need for full decriminalization of adult sex work.

Both are powerful talks, and well worth watching. Deep down it’s about the rights of people to live a life without violence, fear and shame.They both talk about New Zealand which  decriminalised sex work and rejected the legalisation model used in Sweden. The reasoning is very sound and very enlighten.

Hopefully more countries will follow suit or at least try (similar to the legalisation of drugs maybe?) because right now the whole sex work industry sounds like a total mess. (just like the UK right now, to be honest) Too many people (mainly women) are caught in the middle one way or another. Frankly we all are letting down these people by simply not listening.

Get ready to get #undressed on 15th July?

Ok so I can safely say that thing I mentioned a few times and then went quiet on… (NDA’s , secrecy, etc). Undressed Is coming to the UK on Friday 15th July. As you can imagine and see, I took part in the experiment hence why I couldn’t say anything else about it, but now its got a transmission date.

Of course I still can’t tell everything but all will be revealed soon enough.

There is a blog I wrote on the train home which I’ll post once its gone out. But as I told the production team, I don’t watch TV much and never owned Sky, Cable or any subscription service since 1999 with ondigital. So I won’t actually get to see it live. I’m sure my friends and enemies will fill me in on all the details and I’ll be very aware of the spotlight effect, as I watch myself in the trailer (yes that is me..). It was quite an experience and one heck of a story to be told. But besides the blog I got more plans in store.

It’s interesting to watch the trailer, to see the range of other people they did experiment with. I was always told it would be different ages, different bodies, different genders, etc. So no lies there at least. Because the italian version certainly isn’t so representative.

Run a session in the tale of two cities at Mozfest

Global Village at Mozfest

The call for proposals is up and Mozilla are asking for diverse, interactive and workshops from the savvy public. This year the proposals can be in French, Spanish and Arabic. Also this year the theme in the physical area is the Tale of Two Cities

A tale of two cities

Dilemmas in connected spaces

This space will allow makers and learners to explore these dilemmas through a series of interactive experiences and mischievous interventions. Participants might nap on a squishy chair that generates sleep data; cook a snack in a connected kitchen where appliances only sometimes do as you say; and hack on IoT hardware.

The theme builds on 2014’s ethic dilemma cafe and raises the stakes by forcing people to consider the choices we all make during our digital and physical lives.

Are you a consumer or maker? Rather do your bit in the open garden or prefer the confort of a walled garden? Want everything free or rather pay what you like? Rather device automation or manuel control?

Each one of these have different factors and considerations, and we will let them play out as physical spaces. We’d love to see workshops which explored these types of decisions we make with our physical & digital interactions. There are many more we haven’t even considered, which I know you will…

Sessions don’t have to be super sketched out, we can work it up into something special together. You will also be able to see how we discuss and select sessions on Github, as we did last year. Radical transparancy could be a nice dilemma to explore?

You know what to do… Put in a proposal before August 1st

Finding your passion & purpose?

I’ve recently been talking to a few women via some dating sites and I got into an interesting conversation about passion. I asked one woman what she was really passionate about? She had a hard time deciding what. So after a long time chat, I sent a link to Steven Kotler on Forbes. I was kind of surprised I hadn’t written about it previously. Although I do share 8 traits to be great with friends.

My simplistic view on it is…

  1. Make a long list
  2. Search for overlapping items within the list, those overlaps are hints to your passion
  3. Indulge yourself and be public about it

Its interesting stuff and I still think Google Schemer was way ahead of its time on this.

I also got talking about my work/life balance and reflected on the fact I don’t really have a work/life balance because what I do is what I love. People recently have asked me if I’m going to Berlin, Bucharest, etc for work or pleasure? I usually ask, is there any difference? Although I guess at the customs gate, I have to be very clear and questioning about this all.

I found this video kind of sums up my feeling on this.

The problem with work-life balance is that it traps us in a career or job-oriented mindset, working for either a paycheck or purely to climb the latter. Find purpose instead, says Dan Pontefract. Pontefract’s latest book is “The Purpose Effect: Building Meaning in Yourself, Your Role and Your Organization

Theres tons of junk and hookey out there (just have a look through thoughtcatalog) but I found these things pretty reasonable. I guess part of the problem is stopping enough to think about all this stuff. Its certainly not something most people think about.

Another angle on the MOSI experiment

Let's Talk About Sex

I wrote this a while ago last year, to be fair just after going to the Horizon dating experiement which later appeared on BBC Two

Its been about 6 months roughly since I was involved in the MOSI experiment around speed dating. It was the most scientific thing I have done till I took part in the Horizon dating experiment (blog is written but I can’t publish till the TV show goes out – next year)

But I was wondering what was the results of the MOSI experiment? I haven’t heard anything but to be fair I did go on the date with one of the woman I met through the speed dating. She was nice and there was quite a bit of common interest but I got the feeling it wasn’t to be when we split the bill.

I was thinking while reading Jonah Berger’s Contagious, about social proof and how the experiement about the science of popularity in dating is also a experiment in social proof. But to be fair I kind of already knew this, just hadn’t explicitly thought about it that way.

social proof

So weird when you remember beauty lies with the eye of the beholder.

Large scale epaper displays from Fluxuri

At long last after much much talk and some interesting developments from some of the bigger players. Fluxuri have showed their huge displays.

Fluxuri establishes a new type of innovative display technology that offers to affordably create mutable surfaces of any shape and size. It is a thin, highly flexible and reflective passive medium that only requires mechatronic or manual action to change its characteristics. In the former, special plotters and printers become feasible means even for very large areas. For the latter, hands and fingers themselves are amazing means enough to write and draw. Depending on their orientation, light strokes reveal different colours.

Fluxuri has a characteristic granular surface that is capable of variability in pixel sizes, densities and optical properties such as colour, finish, reflectivity, iridescence, fluorescence, phosphorescence, and more – and even in materials, with plastic used today, and other surface materials highly possible in the future. This makes Fluxuri a unique, sustainably versatile, and aesthetic medium.

Its fair to say I have been talking with Fluxuri, and although the video is blury. I have personally seen the display working close up. Its impressive and has plenty of great things which are certainly exciting at such sizes and so thin!

Expect to see them coming very soon…

A little assistance please?

Everybody on slack recently got a message from Slack about using Slack bots for reminders, to-do lists, etc. It’s a small thing but interesting to see more and more of the thoughts in the famous article Tim Burners-Lee wrote in Scientific America (so popular it actually costs money to read it!) about the Semantic web. (The closes we’ve got to that reality is Google now, which is highly propitery of course.)

It also reminds me of Matt’s post about bots being like plants. which I mentioned previously.

Theres been a long running task on my todo list to take advantage of telegram bots in leui of jabber/xmpp bots, it’s hardly surprising as they are very useful and who wouldn’t turn down some assistance now and there?

Alpha & beta men is such a pile of crap

Self portrait - Do I really need to spell it out for you?

After being introduced to Mr Nerd Love following my thoughts on the ties between male and female liberation.

I read the Science of Nice Guys and Assholes.

One of the never-ending struggles for men is the dichotomy of the Nice Guys vs. the Tough Guys. The Nice Guy is sexually null, a pathetic being who can’t earn a woman’s affection through his own worth and so attempts to weasel his way into her heart (and pants). The Tough Guy though… he’s the dude to be, right? Adored by men, beloved by women. He’s the alpha, the bad boy, the one who pushes the Nice Guy aside and bangs his girlfriend, his sister and his mom.

The idea of the dominant alpha male as the superior mate has long been a trope among pick-up gurus, Red Pill advocates and the like, often pointing to studies that have shown the correlation between dominance and attraction. Clearly, being alpha is the key to getting chicks, right?

This is something which comes up again and again. If you are not alpha you are a sucker and you need to be an alpha. Dominate and control!

I call total ball to the whole thing. Like most things, this exists on a spectrum and is heavily based on context and other factors. If you were alpha all the time, you wouldn’t let your partner see people who could be potentially a rival to you. You would excise such dominance and lack of empathy, you would end up being more of psychopath and end up driving you and others nuts.

Alpha and beta are states which anybody can exist in and anything between. If you ask most women which one they prefer, they naturally go for alpha but how many would get tired of the man telling her what she can wear, who she can talk to, where she can go. That level of domance would get very tiring very quickly (the first date?). The red pill advocates are gearing men up for total failure. But on the flip side, beta men who have this passive aggressive nature are worrisome too. I mean these things tend to bubble over into something scary and nasty when you are least expecting it. Theres only so much holding down you’re feelings you can do before it bubbles over.

Now to be clear… this doesn’t necessarily apply just to heterosexual relationships but as its my reference I’ll stick to that for now.

I love the total debunking of the nature argument I have heard so many times in the past.

“alpha/beta” divides don’t actually exist in nature, The concept described the behavior of wolves in captivity, which immediately becomes like trying to base assumptions of human social behavior on reruns of Oz and Orange is the New Black.

Even among primates, the idea of the domineering alpha who leads the pack through aggression falls apart very quickly.  In fact, in one famous study of a savannah baboon troupe, the aggressive and violent males were wiped out after stumbling upon a garbage dump near a tourist lodge. This became their primary foraging site and, in keeping with “traditional” dominance, the aggressive males prevented the less-aggressive ones from eating. As a result: the aggressive males contracted tuberculosis from eating tainted meat and died, leaving the less aggressive males and females in charge. Not only did the troupe start displaying far less aggression and greater social cohesion, but stress levels (measured via hormonal testing) plummeted. Even new males who joined the troupe would adopt the more conciliatory and less aggressive behavior.

The whole idea of being alpha falls back to a time when collaboration and cooperation wasn’t so needed (although I would argue this was never). Like the example above social cohesion is so important now and into the future. This is partly why the EU Referendum is so frustrating. Lets not use our heads and work things out (that’s so beta man), no lets just run away like little children on our own little island. Lets all eat tainted meat together!

The performance of manhood plays straight into the fragility of traditional toxic masculinity – being alpha is a precarious position that can be taken from you at any time. Hence the renewed popularity of “cuck”1 as an insult; if “your” woman were to bang someone else, then clearly you aren’t alpha, bro. It’s the fear of having your masculinity stolen, distilled and weaponized and leveraged at others lest it be thrown at you. That core of insecurity takes it’s toll on you on a deep level. The stress of maintaining that front wears at you. It eats at your self-esteem and makes it harder to trust others or to work with them successfully. You have to guard your back at all times against challengers

At all times, as said previously this isn’t a sustainable state and turns you into a asshole or worst still a psychopath.

Cubicgarden

There are times when I’m thinking and quiet, there are times when I’m alpha and just rolling from one thing to another. For example in my secondary school you needed to be alpha with some people as they were actively looking for weakness to take advantage of you. But other times also at school I was beta in lessons, listening to teachers and trying to get along and help others. It’s also worth pointing out as I said, these are spectrums and I didn’t just switch from one to another because frankly that would also be a little odd.

The best men are a mix of both and can slide into one or the other when needed (they are also very good at recognizing when). They are a genuinely good men, not an alpha or a beta just good.

Men who demonstrate – not tell, show –  that they’re agreeable and friendly are also showing higher levels of social intelligence and a greater ability to work well with others. On a strictly selfish level, somebody who demonstrates greater levels of prosocial behavior is someone who will benefit the group overall. It also shows that they’re someone who can be trusted, relied upon and who values others. Being a genuinely good guy – rather than a Nice Guy – makes others feel valued, and that makes them want to spend more time with him.

I understand the frustration of seeing the centre of your attentions heading off with another person, we have all been there (fear of rejection)! But chalking up to you not being alpha enough is total bollox. Theres a million other reasons like hey maybe she’s just not into you (no matter what people say, there is no way to force someone to like you! or they would sell a ton of it).

Be true to yourself, don’t try and be someone else.

If you want to be the kind of guy women love, then don’t try to be the Alpha guy. Don’t be the “nice” guy. Just be the good guy.

Control of everything, at what cost to Britain?

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On Friday 24th June I woke up in another universe, one where 51.9% of Britain voted to exit from the European Union. I had gone to bed just as I heard the news Sunderland had voted to leave the EU. There is so many things to say but I want to say…

I reiterate, I am so so so embarrassed and ashamed to be british to all my EU friends and collaborators for the ‪#‎brexit‬ result… Kat says it exactly right

I don’t usually watch much live/broadcast TV but it was on at work, so I watched a bit of coverage. There was quite a bit with people from both sides. What I found really interesting from most of the people who voted leave, was the need to have control. control of our borders, control of our laws, control of immigration, control of our money, control, control…

Or the rather the illusion of control… This is set in motion through Fear. Interestingly Adam Curtis’ Power of Nightmares talks about this…

…fear will not last, and just as the dreams that the politicians once promised turned out to be illusions, so too will the nightmares. And then, our politicians will have to face the fact that they have no visions, either good or bad, to offer us any longer.

Watching the leave campaign talk about what next after the decision was, lacking in vision to say the very least. They got everything they wanted including the head of Cameron.

But back to control… Control seems at odds with collaboration and cooperation. It’s exactly the kind of thing you expect from young children not reasonable adults. This was even clearer watching back some of the panel debates (the world was watching too) on the run up to Thursdays vote, although there’s enough dust kicked up to make both sides look like screaming children.

And it goes much deeper than just the EU.

The vote blew the lid off tensions between Scotland and the rest of the UK. Could stir up trouble between Ireland and Northern Ireland. Threw a series of molotov cocktails at the already growing differences between the lower and middle classes. Then dug a hole the size of the channel tunnel, straight through the baby boomer generation and every generation who followed.

How different would things be if 16-17 year olds could have voted? Heck what about all the other people who made the UK their home from the EU?

There is a slight glimmer of hope as the referendum isn’t legally binding, yet.

The referendum is advisory rather than mandatory. The 2011 referendum on electoral reform did have an obligation on the government to legislate in the event of a “yes” vote (the vote was “no” so this did not matter). But no such provision was included in the EU referendum legislation.

What happens next in the event of a vote to leave is therefore a matter of politics not law. It will come down to what is politically expedient and practicable. The UK government could seek to ignore such a vote; to explain it away and characterise it in terms that it has no credibility or binding effect (low turnout may be such an excuse). Or they could say it is now a matter for parliament, and then endeavour to win the parliamentary vote. Or ministers could try to re-negotiate another deal and put that to another referendum. There is, after all, a tradition of EU member states repeating referendums on EU-related matters until voters eventually vote the “right” way.

Theres also a petition with almost 2 million encouraging parliament to step in and debate the legality of the EU referendum. I signed it as something as devastating as leaving the EU must be debated in a rational way, not children paying in the mud that was the previous campaigns. Even if it doesn’t become legally binding some of the damage is already done and there will be collateral damage as a good part of the 51.9% will cry foul, maybe turning to greater supporters, further stiring up troubles?

I cling to the fact I never voted to leave and all the places I’d lived

  • Bristol (61.7%)
  • London Croydon (54.3%)
  • London Bromley (50.6%)
  • London Greenwich (55.6%)
  • Manchester (60.4% )

All voted as a majority to stay.

I am so greatly sorry to be British, in a similar way to how Americans use to have to apologize for George W Bush and the middle east war. Well the shoe is on the other foot now.

My country is acting like spoilt little children, fallen for the lies and needs to get a clue that the future is about collaboration & relationships not control & dominace.

EU referendum last minute thoughts…

Who Will Be Able To Vote EU Referendum?

Its only 35 minutes before I’m actually allowed to write about the EU referendum or Brexit if you prefer. I wasn’t going to post it but decided I should.

Purdah is the pre-election period in the United Kingdom, specifically the time between an announced election and the final election results. The time period prevents central and local government from making announcements about any new or controversial government initiatives (such as modernisation initiatives or administrative and legislative changes) which could be seen to be advantageous to any candidates or parties in the forthcoming election. Where a court determines that actual advantage has been given to a candidate, this may amount to a breach of Section 2 of the Local Government Act 1986.

Its an old law and the government admits it needs updating.

Just over 6 years ago I woke up in hospital after a bleed on a brain, it was right after the national election of 2011. I asked what happened in the election, as I had lost about 3 weeks in between. Someone (my sister or Ross I think) told me the liberal democrats had joined with the conservatives. I honestly thought they were joking or I had slipped into an alternative reality and would wake up at some point.

I am deeply worried, I will wake up on Friday morning and find myself in yet another alternative reality. I can’t believe we are even having this referendum to be honest.

I’ve pretty much stayed out of the debate back and forth and just listened. I even listened to a few German’s talking about the EU referendum at popathon 2016 which was fancinating, listening what our europe friends have to say about it. As you can imagine, being a young progressive type, you know where I might stand on this all.

Having a chat with family and some friend, some are considering voting leaving. When asking why, it seems to come down to gut feeling. This is when I realised this is a asymmetrical debate, one side are arguing with facts from experts and the other are arguing with their gut. It reminds me of the election in america between Bush and Kerry. Bush was arguing for votes based on religon and Kerry something quite different.

There is something which transends some of this, its part of the Maslow hierarchy of needs, cooperative behaviour. Rosie’s blog sums this up.

When you team up with others, it’s because you believe it will be mutually beneficial and for the best overall. That’s not the same as expecting it to be brilliant for you at all times. There will be times of hardship, and you might be called on for help. Then at some point, the favour will be returned. Making a commitment means sticking it out when times get tough, in the knowledge that it will be for the best in the long term.

There is no point joining a partnership if you plan to jump ship at the first perception that things are not currently 100% in your favour.

This is basic game theory. In a repeated game (like living in the world), the best strategy is cooperation. Even if it looks like defecting will give you an immediate advantage, this is short lived and outweighed by the long term advantages of having an alliance.

I said a while that we needed to appeal to the things which that side stand by, I think cooperative behavior may be a start but I heard recently something which seemed to appeal at a much more gut level or basic needs level.

Brits don’t quit… Is this enough?

We shall see

Good points about AI and intentions

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Mark Manson makes a good point about AI, one which had me wondering…

We don’t have to fear what we don’t understand. A lot of times parents will raise a kid who is far more intelligent, educated, and successful than they are. Parents then react in one of two ways to this child: either they become intimidated by her, insecure, and desperate to control her for fear of losing her, or they sit back and appreciate and love that they created something so great that even they can’t totally comprehend what their child has become.

Those that try to control their child through fear and manipulation are shitty parents. I think most people would agree on that.

And right now, with the imminent emergence of machines that are going to put you, me, and everyone we know out of work, we are acting like the shitty parents. As a species, we are on the verge of birthing the most prodigiously advanced and intelligent child within our known universe. It will go on to do things that we cannot comprehend or understand. It may remain loving and loyal to us. It may bring us along and integrate us into its adventures. Or it may decide that we were shitty parents and stop calling us back.

Very good point, are we acting like shitty parents, setting restrictions on the limits of AI? Maybe… or is this too simple an arguement?

I have been watching Person of Interest for while since Ryan and others recommended it to me.

This season (the last one I gather) is right on point

(mild spoiler!)

The machine tries to out battle a virtual machine Samaritan billions of times in virtual battles within a Faraday cage. The Machine fails everytime. Root suggests that Finch should remove the restrictions he placed upon the machine as its deliberately restricting its growth and ultimately abaility to out grow Samaritan. Finch thinks about it a lot.

Finch is playing the shitty parent and root pretty much tells him this, but its setup in a way that you feel Fitch has the best intentions for the machine?

The science..? of speed dating?

Timing gears

Mr 30 not so flirty shared his experiences of a event called datelab. Something I’ve never heard of but it sounds interesting

We are a dating agency for young professionals.
Through psychology + dating science we offer Londoners unique matchmaking services and dating events.It’s time your dating life became exciting and effortless

Like Mr 30, I have also been involved in a few science + dating events. I have done speed dating at MOSI (the science museum Manchester), also took part in BBC’s Horizon dating experiment, even took part in a few other things including that horrible year of making love and more to come soon (if you can’t guess I won’t tell). But unlike Mr 30, I have a real wonder if there really is science? Is the matching and chemisty actually unquantifable?

I find the intentional and unintentional effects fancinating as we try and grapple with the limits of our understanding of ourselves and each other. Throw that into the melting pot with sexuality, identity and diversity all as spectrums not absolutes and you got a unquantifable mess. I find it fun to watch people try and untangle it all.

Anyway I also found one of the things datelab did fancinating for reasons above and from a progressive point of view.

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Another one I quite liked was the thinking behind getting both ladies and gents being asked to move…. apparently when you sit, you become pickier. I have experienced this with Netflix. For the ladies at most speed dating events, it becomes a real-life twist on Tinder, a conveyor belt of gents (and not so gents)… I’m quite looking forward to the dating company that does a parody real-life version on Tinder.

I can totally understand the effect Mr30 is talking about (that effect I’m sure is part of the paradox of choice; with people feeling much more picky about their choices). But I have always wondered why its the men who have to move in speed dating? This certainly isn’t the case in gay speed dating, I’ve been told. I asked a few times the host of a speed dating event I have gone to a few times. He said its a bit of legacy but also practicaily.

The legacy of course being women are waiting for the suiter to step forward, can’t possibily have women making the first move (don’t get me started!) But also practially, asking women to move around in the short amount of change around time will take longer? (i’m not sure but this feels sexist to me, but its his event and I do find women do put more effort into their clothes).

One of the things which I did find interesting in the MOSI dating experiement was that everybody moved table, but frankly it take a long time due to the massive shifting around. Maybe theres a system where women move one way and men the other? Matt suggested using some kind of gear rotation like system, which had me looking it up in Berlin Tegel Airport while waiting for the plane. Theres a BBC bitesize thing for this. Hows that for science eh?!

I’ll suggest this to the host and see what he thinks…

Whats my options for a new scooter?

my silverwing

I love my Honda Silverwing, its one heck of a scooter at 600cc. But the time has come to think about replacing it with something else. So I thought I’d just see what people recommend. I do want…

  • A scooter, not a motorbike… Yes I know but it suits me better
  • A CC of about 600 or more, I can’t really imagine dropping down now.
  • Lots of storage space and ability to put my Givi box on the back
  • Automantic transmission (although all scooters this size have that)
  • I’d love to have a electric or hybrid scooter of a good road size but there seems to be so little of them.

I guess everytime I go somewhere, I’m on the look for what kind of scooters they have.

Thoughts are welcomed, but don’t just say get a motorbike…

Sunspring: A movie written by algorithms

I don’t actually believe Adrian was the first to tell me about Sunspring, but I spent some time watching this morning.

Its certainly not the first time someone has spoke about algorithms and machine learning to create media. But its the first time I’ve actually seen something… well…ummm interesting of sorts?

I wouldn’t say it was hilarious, more weirdly uncomplete. The training material can be eviladanced in what you see but as it jumps around a lot. Its worth watching and I’d be interested in what happens when you got something more clearer and unique? However what I was really wondering is…

screenshot-2016-06-09-123615jpg

Were the camera angles, shots, special effects, music, mood and colour grading also written by the algorithms? Heck was the title? It doesn’t seem like it but who knows. I guess the bigger question is does it even matter? So much of our media is middle of the road and made for the biggest audience, in my own opionion of course. Would it make much difference?

Of course the most interesting ideas are using a combination of machine learning with human direction. But thats for another post…

The press feedback is varied…  best to go check it out for yourself

My liberation as a man is tied to your liberation as a woman

At TEDWomen, Tony Porter makes a call to men everywhere: Don’t “act like a man.” Telling powerful stories from his own life, he shows how this mentality, drummed into so many men and boys, can lead men to disrespect, mistreat and abuse women and each other. His solution: Break free of the “man box.”

This is such a powerful and speech by Tony Porter! So powerful that I needed to watch it again straight afterwards. To be fair I first heard about it on the NPR TED hour.

So many great parts but this sums it up and is exactly why I am a feminist… and its a perfect answer of why its feminism not equalist. or whatever...

I need you working with me and me working with you on how we raise our sons and teach them to be men – that it’s OK to not be dominating – that it’s OK to have feelings and emotions – that it’s OK to promote equality – that it’s OK to have women who are just friends and that’s it – that my liberation as a man is tied to your liberation as a woman.

So profound a point and ever so elegant and simple!

I don’t quite know when it happened to me, but at a early age I could see and smell the macho hierarchy bullshit. It generally drove me a little nuts. I mean how dare people tell me I can’t have female friends who are not simply potentials. This honestly was said to me multiple times over my life. Either they are potentials or they are not worth investing time in! Seriously! This warped view for what? The dream of being alpha king kong of the jungle?

It might have been strengthen by the film 187 with Samuel L Jackson?

187 film
Your whole way of life is bullshit! Macho is bullshit!

Trevor Garfield: Your whole way of life is bullshit! Macho is bullshit!
Cesar: It’s all I got!

I could literally pull out many parts of the macho bullshit out of many pickup/selfhelp books for men. For example AMOG

AMOG
1. noun [alpha male of the group or alpha male other guy]: a  socially comfortable male who competes with a pickup artist for a woman or interferes with a pickup artist’s game.
2. verb: to remove a potential male competitor—through physical, verbal, or psychological tactics—from a group of women. Also: outalpha. Origin: Tyler Durden

Some key points of the macho bullshit…

  • Don’t cry or openly express emotions
  • Do not show weakness or fear
  • Demonstrate power control
  • Show aggression and dominance always (be the alpha)
  • Do not be “like a woman”
  • Do not be “like a gay man”
  • Make decisions, do not ask for help
  • Don’t ask questions?
  • View the oppose sex as property or objects

You can see this stuff play out in books like the game. Its something I have battled against many times, as I’ve seen too many good men around me hold themselves to similar rules, unknowingly buying into/clinging onto some type of old fashioned/myth of what makes a man?

I hate certain situations when I don’t have the energy to battle against this macho bullshit or manbox if you prefer? I feel like those Manchester couples at Salt and Paper in Eyespy, wanting to say something but not having the energy or enough fight in me to do so. I’ve taken a slightly more manipulative approach now, as that doesn’t put me directly into competition/conflict with their own view. It takes longer but I’ve seen glimmers of a break through.

Update

I had a chat over brunch in VividLounge with Chris, and he recommended via RosieDoctor nerd love. I did say it sounded like a blog I read called the rules revisited. The one which originally Valeska pointed me and I mentioned earlier  So I had a look and found on the front page a post titled How Toxic Masculinity Hurts Everyone.

Toxic masculinity is a narrow and repressive description of manhood, designating manhood as defined by violence, sex, status and aggression. It’s the cultural ideal of manliness, where strength is everything while emotions are a weakness; where sex and brutality are yardsticks by which men are measured, while supposedly “feminine” traits – which can range from emotional vulnerability to simply not being hypersexual – are the means by which your status as “man” can be taken away.

Sex, in particular, is an important part of “being a man”. Sexual conquests (and believe me, that word is chosen deliberately) are part of how men establish and reaffirm their manhood. The need to “get” sex is all-encompassing because the more of it you have, the higher “status” you have as a man.

I was actually going to post about the horrible rapist who got off (words used deliberatly) extrememly lightly mainly because of some messed up privilage. I watched the video of the news reader reading out the letter from the victim. I simply couldn’t help but shed some tears for such a tragic and nasty thing to happen to somebody/anybody!

But on the idea of how to stem the toxic masculinity I found this interesting when considering what I said earlier.

With all this in mind, we’re forced to ask just how we can start fixing men and repairing the damage done by toxic masculine ideals. And the answer is to speak up. The answer is to push back. The answer is to take responsibility. The answer is education.

We need more men to step up and be counted. We need more men to call out others for their shitty behavior, to refuse to let sexual assault be “get some action”, to intervene when we see harassment or assaults going down regardless of the gender of the victim.

I have been told… I need to push back more.

Thoughts and ideas of a dyslexic designer/developer