Quick Hit: Looking at the Met Art Collection Through the Fatherhood Lens


Who knew there was such a thing as a “fatherhood lens?”

mStud likes this.


A Little Humor: Forehead Tittaes

Keepin’ It Fair: The Chick Code

The Official Chick Code, which begins with

1) Chicks before dicks. The bond between two women is stronger than the bond between a man and a woman because, on average, women are more willing and able to commit than men. Unfortunate for our love lives, but true.

is a clear response to the Bro Code, but has 50 more articles. Ah, women. They never rest.


Stay tuned for the Man Code (the older, more mature version of the Bro Code). Comin’ right up!

The Bro Code, deciphered.

I think many of us have heard of the “Bro Code” by now. If not, do brush up on the 89 articles of the rule book. Or you can simply have the first 14 articles recited to you in true dramatic fashion here by Neil Patrick Harris and Matt Kuhn, two actors from the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother. (Funny quote below:)

A bro never divulges the existence of the Bro Code to a woman. It is a sacred document not to be shared with chicks for any reason. No. Not even that reason. Note: If you are a woman listening to this, first, let me apologize it was never my intention for this book to contain so much math. Secondly, I urge you to take the Bro Code for what it is: a piece of fiction meant to entertain a broad audience through the prism of stereotypical gender differences. I mean sometimes it really is like we’re from different planets. (Dry, nervous laughter) Clearly no real person could realistically believe or adhere to the vulgar rule contained within. Those boots are adorable, B T Dub. Pssst. Hey guys, ignore what I said. The Bro Code is definitely not a piece of fiction. . .”

I giggled quite a bit listening to this video and you probably will too.

The positive thing about stereotypes is that they show us how far or near our thoughts and beliefs lie in relation to them. If our convictions match the gender cliche, we feel soothed and more secure in our beliefs. And if we viscerally sense our opposition to the stereotype, then we feel somewhat enraged, but simultaneously more empowered and secure in our contrary views.

Everyone wins. Bros and hos.

What are all these men hiding?!

(Cartoon by Zachary Kanin from the January 10, 2011 issue of the New Yorker, Photo from here )

Mum Men: How Men are Discouraged to Speak

Earlier this winter, I found myself staring sadly at the Johnnie Walker subway print ad campaign “Say it Without Saying It.” One short message read: “To never having to say ‘I love you, man'” and another: “We only shake hands. We call each other once a month max. I still think you’re adopted. And even though I would rather streak across a packed stadium than tell you this, you deserve it. You’re a great little brother. There, I said it.” Witty and charming, no? Kind of.

But, could the same effect have been achieved without playing on men’s inability to communicate with one another? This campaign confirms, embraces, and celebrates helplessness, passive aggression, and emotional and social underdevelopment. But it masquerades it as self-aware manliness. Brothers are only fodder for jokes or target practice for farts. Verbal and physical affection are saved for special (read: unavoidable) occasions. And now thanks to the negative encouragement of these ads, handing over a bottle of whiskey to a man close to you, is a substitution for any meaningful expression. It also acts as a rubric for seeing how far men need to go before they can wash down their unease.

Why are boys less encouraged to express their thoughts and feelings to themselves or each other? Mattel’s new Sweet Talking Ken Doll may help explain, but in the voice of a kindergartner.  This toy is marketed to girls ages 5 and up as “…the ultimate boyfriend for every occasion. Why? Because this handsome Ken doll says whatever you want him to say! Just press the button on his chest to record your own voice for up to five seconds. Then play it back in a high, normal, or low pitch.” Before these girls start the first grade, they are taught to understand that if they want the “ultimate boyfriend” or any man to speak the things they wish to hear, they will have to feed their unspeaking partners the lines. Boys can resign themselves to act the dummies in their relationships with their (ventriloquist) partners.

These not-so-subtle hints to boys and men from pre-K to adulthood may be the reason why girls exceed boys in language skills. By relegating men to the roles of the non-communicators and encouraging inarticulate self-reflection and self-expression, the media and the culture at large are doing both men and women a discriminative disservice.

mStud Editorial Schedule

Every Tuesday:

Foundational Texts: Weekly summaries of writing, film, art, and other cultural or scholarly outlets that will contribute to the mStud curriculum and reading list.

Every Wednesday:

What’s In Your Wallet: A pictorial essay examining the contents of the wallet

Every Thursday:

Conversations with Men: 5 questions with men all over the city

Every Friday:

Sacred Objects: An examination of objects dear to men – tools, iPhones, the riding mower, the corvette, the desire to name cars and possessions, truck nuts, guns, etc.

Every other Sunday (beginning 2/6):

Cultural Icons and Archetypes: Clint Eastwood, Hugh Hefner, Jesus Christ

Every other Sunday (beginning 2/13):

Men’s Products: Packaging and marketing reviews of razors, underwear, deodorant, etc.

Every other Monday (beginning 1/31):

Men in the Media: Who’s on the cover of this week’s/ month’s magazines? What do they represent about masculinity?

Examination of the Sub-species: the hipster, the metrosexual, the geek, the old man, etc..

Every other Monday (beginning 2/7):

Men and Power: Positive and negative uses in the hands of men

Every other Tuesday (beginning 2/1):

Evolution of Male Costume: Where we present and examine male dress from olden times to today’s modern-day hipster lumberjacks.

Every other Tuesday (beginning 2/8):

Transitions in the Male Life Cycle: puberty, mid-life crisis, andropause

Genesis of the Male Myth: childhood– where does the differentiation begin? Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, Steve Harvey’s Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, Mars and Venus on a Date

Men and Sexuality: How Gay Culture moves into the mainstream. How sex lives of men change in light of AIDS. Policies that affect sexuality (DADT)

Every other Wednesday (beginning 2/2):

Women and Masculinity: Women and Men who Subvert the Binary (i.e Androgyny)

Every other Wednesday (beginning 2/9):

Omega Males: Never-never land for men, peter-pan complex, men who never want to leave guyland, the culture perpetuated by Judd Apatow, etc.

The International Male: Customs, policies, societal norms, expectations of men in other countries.

Every other Thursday (beginning 2/3):

Male Mythologies: Religious and mythological examinations of men – Adam’s Rib, Greek mythology, etc.

Stereotypes and Etymology of Terms: the language of Male-Hood

Every other Thursday (beginning 2/10):

Cinematic Portrayal of Men: Men in film, men on television

Every other Friday (beginning 2/4):

Men and Redemption: Charlie Sheen, Ben Roethlisberger, Mel Gibson -How men get forgiven in culture, or do they?

Every other Friday (beginning 2/11):

Boys Club Deconstructed: Ivy Leages, Golf, ESPN, Pitchfork, Men’s Bath Houses, No Girls Allowed Signs