Men and the Condom Conundrum

Condoms ya'll !
Lately one of those times where several disconnected conversations have all centered around the same topic. This past week, it’s been condoms. While the year is 2011 and plenty of people are having sex that would necessitate the use of a condom, the stigma of buying or having condoms seems to still rage on like it’s the mid ’50s.

In conversations with male strangers and friends alike, they often comment how embarrassed or shamed they are when they buy condoms. Really, dudes? You’re embarrassed that you’re A, most likely having sex, and B, doing something healthy and responsible in regards to it? Where does the stigma come from? I can understand the deep-seated idea that having sex for pleasure and not solely to reproduce might stir up some latent religious guilt, but that only goes so far. The idea that condoms are something to be ashamed of needs to be railed against.

Unfortunately, some men aren’t really helping the cause. Will.i.am of the Super Bowl worthy Black Eyed Peas was interviewed in Elle recently sharing his disturbing and, if I may borrow from him, straight up tacky views about women who keep condoms in their own homes. They’re not supposed to, guys! It’s tacky for women to be responsible about their own sexual health! Feministing ran a great commentary in response, quoting Jamilah Lemieux:

“Keeping condoms in the house is not the signature behavior of a slut; it is a responsible action taken by a sexually active person. Whether you are in a monogamous relationship, sleeping around all over town or simply open to the possibility of having sex at some point, it’s good to be prepared. Men have been known to keep condoms not simply in their homes, but in their cars and wallets. This isn’t about suggesting that the onus of providing protection should be on the part of the man (or that a couple should purchase all prophylactics together); this is basically saying that women should not be able to make the decision to have sex as casually as men can. And that’s nonsense.”

Guys, let the ’50s attitude toward sex go. Being less ashamed of your own sexual responsibility might even get you laid.


In the News: “Being the bigger man” Led to Grisly Murder

If you somehow missed reading the highly disturbing details of the murder of Seath Tyler Jackson, I consider you a lucky person. I’m not going to recap it for you, because I also found it highly disturbing. On another level, though, I found the article’s conclusion quote just as disturbing, and it’s from a friend of the victim who attempted to stop him from going to the house where he was murdered.

Jones, the friend who tried to stop Jackson from going to the house, said the killing should never have happened.

“It’s just boys and their stupid fights,” Jones said. “It’s just who wants to be the bigger man.”

If wanting to be the “bigger man” leads to heinous crime like this, perhaps being the bigger man shouldn’t be such an aspirational thing.


Teaching Boys Feminism

Required reading for all people.
Ileana Jiménez at Feminist Teacher has an excellent account of teaching high school boys about feminism. She offers great insight into the transformation possible when boys are given the forum to discuss the same issues women discuss about feminism all of the time. Well worth the read.


Men/Redemption: Chris Brown’s Good Morning America Meltdown

Not that I need to make any further comment on this than what has already taken over the internet, but seriously. How many excuses does Chris Brown get? And as a bigger question, how do men think that there’s somehow a 2 year statute of limitations on talking about extremely messed up assault? No one’s past it dude, least of all, you. Keli Goff does a great job talking about Chris Brown’s non-apology at HuffPo, and in case you weren’t aware of what went down, Chris Brown had a meltdown after appearing on Good Morning America.

Previously: How Crying At Awards Shows Doesn’t Heal All Wounds


Tony Porter’s Call to Men

Tony Porter discusses the indoctrination of men and boys to “act like a man” leading to possible abuse and mistreatment of women and each other. By breaking out of the “man box”, he believes men are able to have more beneficial relationships with the opposite sex and one another.


In the News: NYTimes Coverage of Sexual Assault

While a lot of the news makes my blood boil, certain stories make my head explode. Today’s NYTimes coverage of a sexual assault case regarding an 11 year old girl in Cleveland, Texas would fall into the latter category.

Eighteen men and boys ranging in age from middle-schoolers to 27 year old adult men have been arrested in connection with this case, where the girl was repeatedly assaulted in an abandoned trailer. Videos were recorded on cellphones. Mob mentality must have reigned. What the article fails to do, however, is ask anything of the men who are accused of committing these acts. Instead, the Times runs quotes about how these men will “have to live with this for the rest of their lives” and others that ask questions such as “Where was her mother?”

Where was her mother? Where were the parents of these boys and men? While victim-blaming is unfortunately common, it’s grating to see it perpetuated by an institution like the Times. I hate to say I expect better, because it never happens, but I do. These men are not “victims” in the way the anonymous girl is and they shouldn’t be pitied as such. Jamelle Bouie at the American Prospect elaborates on this kind of treatment of sexual assault.