214 – “So Called” Women’s Issues

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“So Called” Women’s Issues…

So, I listened to a Ted Talk a couple days ago and it really got me to thinking, it’s the kind of stuff that every man needs to hear.  I’m going to be talking about that here in a minute, but first I’m going to talk about the sponsor of todays program, Stump Town Kilts.

When I first started this podcast almost a year and a half ago I decided that if I ever had a sponsor that I wanted it to be Stumptown kilts.  There are lots of things I could try to sell you here, but I wanted to have a sponsor that I was familiar with, that I could stand behind and represent with a clear conscience.  I wanted a sponsor that I could feel confident about when I recommended them to my listeners.

Well, Stumptown kilts fit every one of those criteria, and they were gracious enough to agree to become a sponsor of this show.  I have been a customer of Stump Town for several years.  They make the only kilts I will ever buy now.  Part of the reason for that, is the fact that they design these kilts with the people wearing them in mind.  They are durable and washable, I don’t have to iron them, they are adjustable to five sizes and I really, really appreciate the precision with which every kilt is made.  They come in a wide range of colors and they have different snap on pockets and stuff too. 

Do yourself a favor.  Go to their website; stumptownkilts.com and look for yourself.  Hope around a little and when you get ready to buy one enter the code:  betterman, at checkout.  All one word, all lower case.  When you do that you will receive 10% off your online purchase, and you will let them know you heard about it right here.  You will be thrilled with your new kilt.

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Now before I dive into today’s topic, there is one other thing I want to tell you about as well.

As I was getting ready to launch my book, Forging A Man, I gathered together a group of people who wanted to help out, I referred to them as the launch team. 

As a way of returning their kindness, I offered to promote their books and products or services here on the podcast.  This is the second installment of that, and today I am featuring  a woman named Marilyn Murch.

Marilyn is a personal friend of mine and she is also an artist.  She is a sculptor, and painter.  She works with steel and other mediums as well.  Now—she is also an author herself.

Marilyn specializes in books for children, combining the art of story telling with her own illustrations. 

What I like about Marilyn’s books aside from the fact that she illustrated them herself, is the way they are told.  They are written about animals—pets, and they are written from the animals point of view.

Besides being entertaining for a child and igniting their imagination I think it’s important for kids to learn the lesson that animals are creatures…like us.  They aren’t toys.  They can feel pain, and hunger, and joy as well.  I think these books of hers would help convey that lesson to a child. 

Particularly if a child isn’t around a lot of animals growing up.  I have seen kids where it hadn’t ‘clicked’ yet, that this puppy or kitten is a living, breathing, creature that is worthy of a certain amount of respect and care.

So far she has two books out, the first is called Peppermint, and it is about an orange cat.

The second is called:  Cinnamon – And the little girl giant with chocolate eyes.  She is currently working on a third book called:  Sky Blue, this one is about a bird…I think it’s a parakeet.

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I strongly encourage all my listeners who are fans of animals who also have children in your lives to go ahead and get these books.    They are available both in print and on kindle through Amazon, so you can find her there as well just by putting her name; Marilyn Murch, in the search bar.

Look, one of the great things about buying books for kids, is that then you get to read them to them.  You get to spend some real quality one-on-one time with a tiny human, and talk about what you are reading.  That my friends, is a great way to be a better man 

The last thing I ask that is very important, please leave a review for Marilyn on Amazon.

Here are the links for Marilyn’s books, or you can click on the pictures:   PEPPERMINT       CINNAMON

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OK guys, like I said at the beginning, I recently watched a Ted Talk and I am compelled to share with you some of the stuff I heard because it deals exactly with what we talk about here on Being A Better Man.

The talk was given by a man named Jackson Katz.  Here is a link to it so you can watch this yourself and I strongly encourage everyone to do so:  Jackson Katz Video

I had never heard of this guy before I watched this.  Turns out Jackson Katz is a P.h.d., an author, speaker, and leadership trainer.  Basically, he an an activist, helping men be better men just like we do here, only he has been at it much longer.  He has done a lot of work with the military and sports teams as well, training them to be better leaders, better men.

Jackson Katz is really anti gender violence.  How often do you ever consider that phrase?  I can tell you the term ‘gender violence’ hardly ever crosses my brain.  Why?  Because it doesn’t sound like it applies to me, it sounds like more of a woman issue. 

He went on to talk about some so called woman issues like domestic violence, rape, teen pregnancy and so on.  These are all thought of in our society as women issues aren’t they.  The rape statistics clearly point out how many women were raped in a given period of time for example.

The point Jackson Katz made, and what I agree with is this;  Why are the rape statistics the number of women who got raped…rather than the number of men who raped women?  Why do the statistics of domestic violence cite the number of women beaten in their home instead of the number of guys who beat women?  Why do we hear about how many teenage girls became pregnant instead of hearing about how many men impregnated underage girls?   

These are great questions, and as Jackson Katz masterfully pointed out in the video, men have been erased from these statistics by language.  The focus is on the victim alone and not the perpetrator.  After awhile we start to forget that for every raped woman there is a man who is a rapist, and that is who we should be talking about and dealing with. By only mentioning the victims and not the perpetrators it’s as though men are absolved of any responsibility. 

That is why these things have come to be known as ‘women’s issues’ when clearly, they are primarily men’s issues.  If men were not out there committing violence then it wouldn’t be a problem right?  What are we doing about that as a society?  Not much.

This is an example of what I always say, that the things we focus on expand.  With our language and the way we talk about it our society focuses on the victims, and guess what…the number of victims continues to expand.  We should be focusing on the men who commit these acts.  We should be trying to understand what’s happening in our culture that so many boys are missing the memo, and then growing up to be abusers of women and girls and other people as well.

Girls are being taught techniques and strategies about how not to get raped, instead of teaching young boys and men not to rape. 

Jackson Katz went on to offer a remedy.  That’s something I look for.  When people talk about a problem without offering a remedy they lose credibility with me, but he offered a remedy.

Look, I know that you guys, the listeners of this show are not the problem.  You are here because you want to be a better man after all.  However, you can be part of the solution.  It’s important because violence committed by men affects all of us.  It affects the world we live in.  It affects how men are regarded and thought of as a whole. By the way, the victims are not always female.  Many, many young boys also suffer abuse from men.  Not only that, but all these young boys who are traumatized by not only their own abuse, but the abuse they see their mothers and sisters suffer—how do you think they are going to grow up under that example.

The remedy that Jackson Katz talked about is what he calls “The Bystander Approach”.  It defines a bystander as anyone who is neither a victim or a perpetrator in a situation.  Basically, all of us who are not involved in violent abuse are bystanders.  He calls for the bystanders to stop standing by, and speak up.  He also talked about giving people the tools to do so effectively.  It’s something I have talked bout before on this show, standing up and speaking out whenever we see another man behaving badly.

He isn’t just talking about witnessing an event though.  You don’t have to see someone in the act of abuse in order to speak out.  The analogy he gave was that of the poker game.

Say a bunch of guys are at a poker game and there are no women.  Somebody makes a joke that is sexist or demeaning to women in general and instead of laughing along with everyone else—the bystander will speak out.  He’ll say, “Hey man, that’s not funny.  That could be my wife or daughter your’e talking about.  Let’s joke about something else.”

Pretty simple right?  Imagine if every guy started doing stuff like that.  In time it would change the way that behavior is perceived.  Or if you hear someone talking about so called “women’s issues”, speak up and point out the fact that they are actually men’s issues.  Take the blame off the victim and encourage others to do so as well.

Another thing Jackson Katz said that I totally agree with, is the fact that any guy who speaks out like that and challenges another man in his peer culture is being a leader.  In the end it all comes down to leadership. 

One reason there is so much rape, domestic violence, and other horrible behavior is because men have been terrible leaders.  It’s time that men of courage, strength, fortitude and moral integrity stand up and start being leaders.  That is the remedy.  If it’s ever going to change it has to change from within our own ranks.  It’s really up to us.

So those were some of the nuggets and highlights of the entire talk.  He made some other great points as well though and I cannot stress enough how much I think you should go and watch it for yourself to get all the stuff I missed.  Here is that link once again:  Jackson Katz Video

Go to his website and see what else he’s up to as well.  Jackson Katz is a man who is giving men tools to be a better man, and I applaud that.

Now head out into the world and speak up.  Be a leader.  Do it for all the people you love, do it for yourself, and do it for the generations that will follow us.  It’s a big part of being a better man than you were yesterday.

Hey remember to to check out my new book, Forging A Man, available right now on Amazon.

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 (GET THE BOOK HERE)

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PATREON

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