More gender issues I’ve spotted

I had planned a series of blog posts about different gender items I’ve seen in blog posts, the news , etc but never got the time. Instead I kept adding them to wallabag and tagging them to blog.

So think of this blog post as a series of micoblog with little comments after each link.

No baby slings or bananas: are these the new fragile masculinity rules?

This one sums up so many things I hear and can’t stand. Shes right, how fragile is masculinity that eating a banana in a certain way can cause idiots to worry. Its frankly so stupid I can’t bring myself to say anything more that what I’ve said before.

We can’t want gender equality and still expect guys to pay for the first date and Viewpoint: ‘Why most men should pay on first dates’

Dare I say anything more…? To be fair its been a long time since I mentioned who pays on the first date. But to be fair there is arguments and tensions, which is why it keeps coming up. For example if you take the massive gender pay gap and then exercise it in who pays for the bill. Most heterosexual dates would have the man paying 20-33% more for the bill. This was noted to me and I pointed out the minority pay gap is pretty awful too making things even more tricky on a first date.

How thrillers offer an antidote to toxic masculinity and Flirting and you’ll be called a rapist? Oh please grow up, Superman

Lessons in how to be a good man? Maybe? Not so sure as the old-fashioned view from Superman actor Henry Cavill says it all. Generally the men in  thrillers I’ve seen, might be better than the toxic masculinity you see now but not exactly enlighten to feminism.

What Do Men Think It Means To Be A Man?

So this is very interesting research. I originally heard the love, sex and money issue a while ago, but didn’t dig into the survey till recently.

When I read,

Pop culture was a source of inspiration for an understanding of manhood for younger men (42 percent of those age 18 to 34), while only 17 percent of men 35 to 64 and 12 percent of men 65 and over said the same.

My instant thought was something of a worry, as I’m not seeing the best examples in pop culture (although I have to admit I don’t spend much time in pop culture so maybe I’m automatically biased).

The society pressure and daily concerns was another key one, which I’d love to have similar results from a decade ago and a decade before that.

The question How would you say it’s an advantage to be a man at your work right now? Blew my mind…

59% of men surveyed didn’t think Men are taken more seriously, Men make more money, Men have more choice, Men have more professional development opportunities, Men generally have more support from their managers, Men are explicitly praised more often?

This is delusion at its worst, even Even with the #metoo movement making this super clear. But it is consistent with a conversation I had in my barbars a while ago to be fair, when I mentioned going to see the Guilty Feminist live recording in Liverpool.

All of the survey data is on Github, which feels like could be more data to add to the Modern Romance reddit data. Some of this may appear in my book one day.

What does it mean to be a man?

“Don’t be weak. Don’t be small. Don’t be poor. Don’t be emotional. Don’t be feminine. Don’t be aggressive. Don’t be unapproachable. Don’t be sexist. Don’t be patronizing. Don’t be entitled. Don’t be unemotional. Don’t be big. Don’t be loud.”

What does it mean to be a man in modern time, is a question which keeps popping up again and again. Things have change for the better I would say but every once in a while the old fashioned legacy comes fighting back. Better known as toxic masculinity

One such thing is the nightmare which sexual harassment, abuse and rape. Its one of those things men don’t like to talk about, mainly the notion that it makes them less of a man? What ever that really means?

Now I hear some of you say, “Surely Ian, no one would give someone a hard time for encountering sexual harassment?”

To which I would say, where have you been?

So although most men have the right attitude for women, this is totally reversed for other men. Perfect example is 50 Cent’s mocking of Terry Crews’ sexual assault is no surprise given the toxic masculinity engulfing African American communities.

To be fair I careless what 50 cent thinks or says but its a example of what I see and hear too often when men get together. Its a typical pack mentality with each one outdoing each other with what they would have done, or how it wouldn’t happen to them. Yep the usual nonsense…

Dr NerdLove sums up my thoughts so well, that I’m going to say little else about it; theres also audio only if you prefer it like I do.

I don’t have absolute answers but belittling men victims of such abuse can’t be the right way…!

There are serious problems with masculinity but not talking or trying to outdo each other isn’t helping at all. I would also add there is a lot that can be learned from feminism, regardless of what others may think.

Our liberation as men is tied to yours as women

Jordan Stephens

It was during a Christmas lunch at Pie & Ale, Rachel Wise pointed me towards a post in the Guardian and short video from Jordan Stephens.  Well worth watching and reading. Here’s one of the key parts…

It’s our responsibility as we become adults to acknowledge this pain and gain compassion for ourselves and acceptance of others. But for men in particular, when the patriarchy says that it’s OK to grab a woman’s ass, or tell her what to do, or watch too much porn or deny her space – and you accept this as a way of treating another human being – you deny yourself the opportunity to understand why you desired that comfort of power in the first place. The ego wants dominance and control. And the male ego is currently everywhere.

As far as I can see, this toxic notion of masculinity is being championed by men who are so terrified of confronting any trauma experienced as children that they choose to project that torture on to the lives of others rather than themselves.

What’s even more upsetting is that often when men allow themselves to feel this pain, it’s so new to them that they kill themselves. We live in a society where men feel safer killing themselves than acknowledging pain. Accepting the patriarchy from a place of false benefit will prevent you from ever truly loving yourself or understanding others. It’s OK to feel sad. It’s OK to cry. It’s OK to have loved your mum and dad growing up. It’s OK to have missed them or wanted more affection. It’s OK to take a moment when you’re reminded of these truths. When you allow your brain to access these emotions, it knows exactly what to do. So nurture yourself. Talk honestly to the people around you, and welcome the notion of understanding them more than you have ever done before.

This is something I’ve written about a few times in previous posts.
I always refer back to Tony Porters talk

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

How to be a right old plonker

The Plonker and the Tosser

Simon seemed to be having a conversation with the writer of the list how to be a fcuking man on twitter. He then added me into the conversation as such. So I had a look at the list which was being talked about. What I found sometimes made me smile and nod but others made me erupt into small bouts of anger.

Ok heres the points I agree with….

  • Stop talking about where you went to college.
  • Never stay out after midnight three nights in a row… Unless something really good comes up on the third night.
  • You will regret your tattoos
  • Never date an ex of your friend
  • Join Twitter; become your own curator of information
  • People are tired of you being the funny, drunk guy.
  • Ask for a salad instead of fries
  • When a bartender buys you a round, tip double
  • One girlfriend at a time is probably enough
  • Measure yourself only against your previous self
  • Staying angry is a waste of energy
  • Always bring a bottle of something to the party
  • Date women outside your social set. You’ll be surprised.
  • Never take an ex back. She tried to do better and is settling with you
  • Eating out alone can be magnificent. Find a place where you can sit at the bar
  • Read more. It allows you to borrow someone else’s brain, and will make you more interesting at a dinner party – provided that you don’t initiate conversation with, “So, who are you reading…”
  • Don’t gamble if losing $100 is going to piss you off.

Although I agree with alot of it, there are some which are just not working for me. (still no idea what a small white baggy in a bathroom is about? I assume its to do with drugs)

  • Always carry cash.  Keep some in your front pocket
    I’m like the queen, never (ok almost never carry cash) my debit card is very warn out and you can’t read the cvc number at all. Good thing I remember it. Yes it is a pain to go get cash for certain times like going to the market and buying drink at some out of date bars. No idea what the front pocket thing is about, but I will agree my dad says the same thing.
  • Rebel from business casual. Burn your khakis and wear a suit or jeans
    This is crap, wear what your comfortable in but be aware of the situation, aka don’t go in shorts and tshirts to meet someone on the first date. Its your life, don’t waste it living someone elses. Sure I’ve said that a few times.
  • If riding the bus doesn’t incentivize you to improve your station in life, nothing will
    This is ballcrap, ok I just switched from riding the Tram into work everyday to scootering to work, but I won’t lie. I quite liked the time I had to read and think. Now I get to work in 15mins and waste the time I use to have thinking, sleeping. I also enjoyed taking the Metrolink when it worked out. When it was delayed or cancelled it use to drive me nuts. Now I have the option of changing it up, so life is good.
  • When the bartender asks, you should already know what you want to drink.
    No no… This is fine for a pub, but theres nothing better than describing what kind of cocktail your in the mood for and them making it up or suggesting something new. Like the cash issue, I get really peed off when a bar requires cash only. I mean its only 2013! If I’m getting charged £7-9 for a cocktail, I want a card machine!
  • When people don’t invite you to a party, you really shouldn’t go.
 And sometimes even when you are invited, you shouldn’t go
    Rubbish, gatecrashing has its ups and downs. I’ve had some great fun gatecrashing and some less interesting fun. If your not invited it could be an oversight or you were not invited because your not. Judge the situation and decide accordingly.
  • Act like you’ve been there before.  It doesn’t matter if it’s in the end zone at the Super Bowl or on a private plane
    Nothing wrong being excited about a different experience. Theres many times people say we should adopt a more child like approach to life. Being a man shouldn’t be about having a stiff upper lip
  • Be a regular at more than one bar and A glass of wine or two with lunch will not ruin your day
    Please! Come on, being a man shouldn’t centre around drinking
  • Own a handcrafted shotgun.  It’s a beautiful thing and Buy expensive sunglasses.  Superficial? Yes, but so are the women judging you. And it tells these women you appreciate nice things and are responsible enough not to lose them.
    You can’t be for real, buying or owning a gun is certainly not going to make you a man. Not anymore than owning a motorbike or a chess set. These things are simply things you own and they don’t make you or at least they shouldn’t. If they make you happy great but don’t buy them to please others or show off
  • Don’t split a check
    You already know what I think about this one. But what makes this worst is the fact theres no context, so I have to assume it means always. Bullcrap! Want to be the big man, well prehistoric man is dead or should be dead. We live in 2013 now, time to get over it. Split the check and be happy and respectful. Also what incase its a friend?
  • Pretty women who are unaccompanied want you to talk to them and When in doubt, always kiss the girl
    Maybe, maybe not. Women are people, people are busy but people don’t mind being interrupted for a decent relevant conversation. As for the kissing one, well maybe.

The image which comes to mind when reading through the last lot of rules is this all adds up to a real plonker. Not really the kind of person I look up to or want to ever be. If I was to write my own rules it would be quite different and a lot shorter. Of course theres a certain amount of culture which is wrapped up in the rules. For example my dad and uncles are not going to own a gun and if they did it wouldn’t be something they polish up and clean all the time..

Too be fair a real plonker might sound bad but its better than being a right old tosser…

Manchester’s got everything except a beach

Castlefield <3

I spent sometime in London over the last few weeks for connected studio and a number of work meetings. I got to see a bunch of people I had not seen for a long while and most asked me…

“So how is Manchester, you don’t regret moving?”

Or something along those lines…

My answer is always something like you should come up and stay sometime, its a great city. Almost 5 years and I’m loving it… The great thing is I’m not the only one spotting the fantastic opportunities available. Specially when it comes to the digital world.

The second factor is the sense that a genuine startup culture is being fostered here. The elements have always been in place for this to occur, particularly that Manchester has the largest student population in Europe with over 100,000 currently studying in the city’s five universities.

These include the University of Manchester, which is playing a really important role in the high-tech space. Meanwhile the University of Salford has recently opened a campus at MediaCityUK, designed to encourage creativity, innovation and collaboration between academics, students, professionals and industry, and develop talent for the creative, media and technology industries.

Between the BBC building a massive base here, TechhubManchester, the stupid amount of bandwidth being put into the city and other stories. Its worth mentioning some of the other things happening…


Essentially a adult/hacker community space complete with different floors running a number of different community minded events. Its amazing and they have expanded already. The owners (4 of them!) hold it all together and even though they struggle most of the time, theres always something interesting on for the local community. I can’t explain how great Madlab is… Everything from Co-working, room hire to the random Art exhibitions and Hackman meetup. Madlab is also the first place to start dabbling with DIYBio which further demonstrates how great a place it is. Well worth a visiting always…

The Classroom

The Classroom is a welcome treat sitting between the likes of working out of a coffee shop and the likes of Techhub which is much more serious about there startup status. It is a co-working space but closer to the kind of thing I’ve only witnessed in San Francisco. Its still quite new but looks to be growing due to the demand.


The brain child of Nathan Rae (can be found regularly behind a camera on the Manchester scene), setup to highlight key people in the Manchester scene. I had a similar idea a while ago but it didn’t quite work out (smallworld). However Northology is now on its 9th podcast and doesn’t look like its stopping anytime soon. Who knows maybe it will expand to video one day?


Manchester’s fabrication laboratory is next door to where I live. Its still doing a great business and I really do need to find something to build. Easily confused with MadLab but completely different, I need a project just so I can mess with the 3D printer, welders, laser cutters, etc.

…and the many coffee shops and bars in the northern quarter and cholton

There are too many coffee shops and bars in the northern quarter and cholton which are friendly to people who want to work out of them or just chillax on a Sunday afternoon. Unlike many places I’ve been to in other cities which will lock down there wifi, block power points and make you feel like a baby eater for sitting 10mins beyond the end of your allocated tea time. Some of the most notable including… North Tea Power, FYG Deli, Common, Soup Kitchen, Vivid Lounge, North Star cafe, Home Sweet Home, sugar junction, etc, etc…