Where Have I Been?

August 7th, 2012 by Pelle Billing

I’m finally updating this blog again. The reason for my absence is that I’ve been finishing up my Swedish book on gender issues.

The book is called “Jämställdhetsbluffen” which roughly means “The Gender Equality Bluff” – though it’s hard to properly translate a short title. I’m self-publishing the book and it should be released in roughly a month.

I wish I could tell you that I have an English book up my sleeve as well, but unfortunately I don’t. Most of my writing is in Swedish these days, and my Swedish blog is a real force in that country.

However, I will keep updating this blog so stay tuned for some upcoming interesting stuff.

The Guardian Interviews Author of The Second Sexism

May 13th, 2012 by Pelle Billing

Lagging at school, the butt of cruel jokes: are males the new Second Sex?

You might not have realised it, but men are being oppressed. In many walks of life, they are routinely discriminated against in ways women are not. So unrecognised is this phenomenon that the mere mention of it will appear laughable to some.

That, at least, is the premise of a book by a South African philosophy professor which claims that sexism against men is a widespread yet unspoken malaise. In The Second Sexism, shortly to be published in the UK, David Benatar, head of the philosophy department at Cape Town University, argues that “more boys drop out of school, fewer men earn degrees, more men die younger, more are incarcerated” and that the issue is so under-researched it has become the prejudice that dare not speak its name.

Do Benatar and Farrell have a point? A handful of statistics seems to bear out their thesis. Not only are men more likely to be conscripted into military service, to be the victims of violence, and to lose custody of their children in the event of a divorce, but tests conducted in 2009 by the programme for international student assessment, carried out by the OECD thinktank, showed that boys lag a year behind girls at reading in every industrialised country. They work longer hours, too: in 2010 the Office for National Statistics found that men in the UK work an average of 39 hours a week, compared with 34 for women. Healthwise, men develop heart disease 10 years earlier than women, on average, and young men are three times more likely to commit suicide.

It’s great to see a book on men’s issues gain some international traction. Warren Farrell has of course been the pioneer, but other academics and authors joining the ranks leads to more credibility.

Brené Brown: Listening to Shame

March 17th, 2012 by Pelle Billing

I just saw a TED talk about shame. The speaker was Brené Brown, who’s previously talked about vulnerablity.

This talk is especially interesting from a gender perspective, since she addresses the specific types of shame that men and women tend to struggle with. For women it’s more of a case of wanting to be perfect, and wanting to handle everything from having a nice home to keeping it together at work. For men it’s about always being strong and not showing any weakness.

So how does this relate to gender issues? To feminism? Well, feminism (combined with consumerism and the traditional female gender role) can be a driver of female shame, since it tells women that they can have it all, they can do it all, and perhaps they even should do and have it all.

For men, the obligation to always be strong (in order to avoid shame) means that it is very hard to address men’s issues. Talking about men’s issues feels like admitting to weakness, even though it’s really about vulnerability and being human.

Enough said. I leave you with her talk. Let me know what you think in the comments.

The Flip Side – Role Reversal in a Bar

February 26th, 2012 by Pelle Billing

Check this out. What happens if the women are men, and the men women, in a bar:

A man slaps a woman, the men reject the women and a man is totally self-centered when a woman talks to him.

The men have to deal with various kinds of unwanted attention from the women, as well as some touching.

All in all a pretty enlightening clip.

Tom Martin Sues London School of Economics’ Gender Institute for Teaching Sexism

January 25th, 2012 by Pelle Billing

From Youtube:

Tom Martin began studying an MSc in ‘Gender, Media and Culture’ at The London School of Economics in the 2009/10 term, but withdrew six weeks into the course, filing a £50,000 damages claim against the elite university, for ‘sex discrimination, breach of contract, misleading advertising, misrepresentation, and breach of the Gender Equality Duty Act.’

It’s interesting to see how the gender students don’t actually know much about their own subject.

I’m impressed by Tom Martin’s ability to handle strong criticism and aggression. I hope his case gets even more attention when the court proceedings start.

(Thanks to ConZor for sending this in.)