Blue Lives Matter

One hundred fourteen and counting.

Somewhere between the cries for justice one will post #bluelivesmatter and a chorus will chant.

Knowingly, #bluelivesmatter is worse than Santa or The Bunny.

At least after exposing those lies hurt feelings are the only fatality.

Don’t say #bluelivesmatter when people of color are getting moved down in this country.

Don’t say #bluelivesmatter when the poster child is a man whiter than alabaster with a gleaming badge and disarming smile.

Don’t say #bluelivesmatter when a cop-veteran of over twenty years has the same chance of getting gunned down because of his skin.

That is my reality.

Since we’re only been saying #bluelivesmatter when one is accusing of gunning down a person of color

One hundred fourteen times and counting.

From the rural areas to the florescent lights not one place is safe

Cause our color is like a bull’s eye to a trigger happy child.

Even a cop of color isn’t safe and blanketed from the #bluelivesmatter or systematic racism

They are actually in more danger than others.

The trigger happy ones are their partners who must have their back as they go about their sworn duty

Those same ones could pull off that badge and put on a bullet

And some will just chant #bluelivesmatter while he gets a slap on the wrist.

So actually, your hashtag is just a silly cover protecting those who should not be equipped with that much responsibility.

Like #alllivesmatter only some of the force will be covered

While the rest will always walk with the bull’s eye on their chests.

The Caring Man

 

“As human beings, we all care for one another” is a statement that is used to encourage unity and kindness in the hearts of all. It is told to children to try and establish a sense of peace and love. We do not all care for one another. Not every person is equally involved in care-type work. Women are lead more into the role of caregiver, leaving the boys to be class leaders and wrestle in the playground. Despite this gender imbalance involving care work, plenty of decent men have the capacity to care for another individual. What about the men in care work? Those who choose to show their nurturing side to help others are often treated differently than ‘normal men’. What are the challenges and attitudes that men in care work face?

 

Eva Feder Kittay suggests that the act of caring, from children to adults, is an activity placed on women. It is stated that men are assigned the role of breadwinner automatically when they become fathers. This new role changes the man from the individual he used to be as both parents, ideally, come together for the child. Yet the two genders experience social differences with these new roles as breadwinner and caregiver. Pressures from society and family largely impact her decisions. A woman that, without outstanding reasons, abandons her child comes under harsher judgment than a man would for the same offense. The responsibility of parenthood is pressed harder on women as men would earn the money for living. The caring qualities of women are passed on in domestic work also. Most nannies, babysitters, and in-home caregivers are women instead of men. This ‘standard’ impacts not only women in these positions but also the men who choose to care for others for a living. In such a female dominated field these men are looked upon as the ‘outsiders’ and can be treated as unusual cases by their communities.

 

The traditional gender roles for men and women impact male caregivers and how they are viewed. Carl Hirsch and Judith Newman examine the traditional gender roles and how they impact male adult caregivers. Both write that the lack of monetary value and prestige from care work makes it harder for men to accept this form of labor than women. Most caregivers have to  negotiate for a wage, and the amount paid by hour usually does not correspond to the type and amount of work done.  Stereotypically men expect to meet the needs of others through self-achievement and personal success. This and hints of homophobia and incest make it harder for men to get involved with hands-on care treatment of dependents. For hetrosexual men in society the fear of being seen as homosexual is played on by sitcoms, movies, and other forms of media. With the stereotypical homosexual male behaviors like being overly concerned for others, an odd speech pattern, and the ability to do housework are done for laughs.

Unfortunately this sends a message to young and older men that these ‘feminine’ behaviors are connected to homosexuality and thus are not encouraged in straight males.  The other fear is the fear of incest in the case of related caregivers. This fear branches off from the stereotypical male sex drive, as men are seen as borderline sexual predators in the quest to sate their unrelenting libido. Adding this convention with history is troublesome for male caregivers. The practice of older men marrying pre-adolescent girls was practiced in many societies throughout history and is still done in some instances. Teenagers were considered adults in the past, ready to be married and get into family life early due to several factors. In modern US society this practice manifests into the fear of incest, usually with a male caregiver and younger persons in need of care. This stigma haunts men, from caregivers to blue-collar workers who are seen getting ‘too close’ to family members, as forming particularly close bonds is socially acceptable for women and not for men. Because of these fears, women are socially conditioned to help others with nurturing and hands-on care for both children and adult dependents. This helps to create the gender divide in care work.

 

This does not explain the fact that male caregivers are out there. How is their manhood evaluated by other men who do not participate in care labor? Although care labor literature has documented men being caregivers to family members, research on the topic has conformed to the female caregiver stereotype, overlooking male contributions. Richard Russell documents that men comprised almost 30 percent of elderly in-home care are performed by males yet are still overlooked by researchers. Assumptions such as ‘men cannot process the emotions of another being’ or that ‘men lack the necessary skills to deal with another in continual care’ downplayed the contributions and value of male caregiving. The thought that men cannot process their own emotions, not to mention taking on another’s emotional stress, hints at being subhuman to a degree. Men are the ‘logical’ ones, making rational decisions without the ability to consult the heart on life matters. These gender laden thoughts can easily block men that wish to get involved with care labor.A recent trend in caregiving literature acknowledges the presence of male caregivers as significant yet many studies seem to have some blocks from progress. Some studies still hold to the concept of ‘women work in the home’ by using biological differences and different moral approaches to keep the large portion of care labor on women.

 

Caregiving can be rewarding, but comes with its own set of challenges. Many male caregivers were studied for duration of time and reported some of the challenges that go with care work. One of the most challenging functions reported was food preparation. Tasks like planning the meal, estimating the quantity of food needed, time juggling, and preparation were taken for granted for many male caregivers. As their wives learned these skills from growing up, the husbands had to learn the skills from trial and error at an advanced age. There is variance with culture, ethnicity, race, and background that determine each individual’s experience learning this vital skill. Yet food preparation has a hidden side that most men do not realize. Especially during large family gatherings, cooking can be seen as masculine and very heroic. It is an example that the man can provide for his family in one of the most important and basic forms: food, nourishment. This goes in hand with the breadwinner stereotype and ‘defeminizes’ the art of cooking. This type of ‘masculine’ cooking is usually seen by a crowd instead of the daily preparation for two adults. Cooking for a small sample presents unique challenges that men will have to adapt to be successful caregivers.

 

Another daunting task that some male caregivers are forced to face is personal care. This includes, but is not limited to: bathing, dressing, household tasks, etc. Most of the men expressed extreme discomfort, especially in the areas that required more of an intimate touch. Attending to one’s personal needs are a struggle for any person, and especially ‘normative socialized’ men. As the stereotypical man, the list of ‘normal’ responsibilities does not include changing clothes, bathing, and cleaning children or adults. Learning to take care of another’s needs pushes against normal male behavior and causes tension. Even when caring for their significant other, there was a point when some male caregivers questioned their ability to handle these tasks before fully accepting the role. Pushing through one’s social conditioning proves to be challenging in the least. Yet adaptation is one of the many skills that people use to live fulfilling lives. To adapt to your circumstances is a very human trait, which these men prove from handling mundane tasks like cleaning to providing a shoulder of comfort.

 

Men in caregiving should be given the credit they deserve instead of being subject to ridicule, odd looks, and societal judgement. In our independent society we overlook that every person relies, will rely, or relied on someone else somewhere in life. To exclude men from caring also enframes their human experience to a moving, working ATM  with no heart. That is not what real men are about. The two sides of logic and emotion live within men and women and should be expressed in both genders without judgement and assumptions.

 

Bibliography

 

Kittay, Eva Fender. “Chapter 1; Relationships of Dependency and Equality”. Love’s Labor; essays on women, equality, and dependency. Desire to Learn. 1 May 2013.

 

Hirsch, Carl, and Judith L. Newman. “Microstructural and Gender Role Influences on Male Caregivers.” Journal of Men’s Studies 3.4 (1995): 309-. ProQuest. Web. 24 Apr. 2013.

 

Russell, Richard. “Men Doing “Women’s Work:” Elderly Men Caregivers and the Gendered Construction of Care Work.” Journal of Men’s Studies 15.1 (2007): 1-18. ProQuest. Web. 25 Apr. 2013.

 

Damned

High School Poetry (before 2008). Enjoy!

Prices are sky high.

People are being killed everyday, on both sides.

The economy is traveling into a downward spiral…

The present United States of America.

A great country full of proud people…some with egos larger than life itself.

Prices are sky high.

People are being killed everyday, on both sides.

The economy is traveling into a downward spiral…

A war is being fought, but over what?

Is it over pride?

Is it over oil?

Is it retaliation?

A war is being fought, people dying everyday.

The endless blood…

The countless lives ruined…

The many families destroyed…

The people losing faith in humanity…

We are in a war…

The economy is in a recession…

Gas prices are unbearably high…

Money, the spread is just too thin…

All of this, but for what?

The College Bubble.

While the German spirit has striven to maintain a connection to the Greeks, through the work of Goethe, Schiller, and Winkelmann, this connection has grown progressively weaker. We see that opinions concerning the value of Greek contributions to culture have been degenerating rapidly. Thanks to the current understanding of Greek culture’s focus on “beauty,” “harmony,” and “Greek cheerfulness,” the academic establishment has affected a skeptical abandonment of the Hellenic ideal and a perversion of ancient studies. The cultured man of the present has sought to take over Greek antiquity “historically,” and thus is at a loss in the face of the now.

Culture and true-art have never been so estranged as they are at present. The current culture hates and fears true art, for it fears destruction from its hands. But, as this current Socratic culture has now exhausted itself, this destruction is unavoidable. The impending rebirth of tragedy is nothing to be feared, however. It alone promises the renovation and purification of the German spirit through the power of music. The culture is exhausted, and we have nowhere else to turn. We must look now to Dionysus, who will seize everything decrepit, decaying and broken in our culture and tear it away, so that we may be bathed in the golden light of tragic redemption.

The Greeks are the example for what the miraculous awakening of tragedy signifies for the inner fabric of a people’s life. First, we must say that even during the time period when the Greeks were most possessed by the Dionysian, they still maintained their individual principles, and thus maintained strong political and domestic sentiments. The Greeks found the right balance between constant, ecstatic brooding and the empty lust for empire and power. Their culture flourished thanks to their ability to blend Apollonian and Dionysian elements in their lives.

What is interesting to me is what Nietzsche writes in his section on higher education. During his time he writes that higher education has never been lower or feebler than at the present, and he even calls out the professor for not being well versed in areas of culture. When I think of higher education (in the US) I think of a different culture that is independent of mainstream American culture, and mainly because they are two entities that are related yet distant from each other. Mainstream culture depicts Americans as sedentary, obsessed with silly things such as reality television, living mostly off of junk food, and less like the creative innovators that we were in the past. Higher education culture often comes off as over the top bourgeoisie education (not all the times but it does have those moments). I’m not saying that higher education is not important (because I am here at GC after all) yet between the high tuition costs and college student culture there is an air of being better than your peers that I stub my toe on occasionally.

Higher education culture suffers from being detached from the larger community culture that the people and buildings are placed upon. When walking up to front campus you can immediately tell that you are still in Baldwin county, yet the atmosphere is different than other parts of Milledgeville. At home there is a huge bubble effect where UGA starts from the other sections of Athens. The air is more cosmopolitan and definitely more ‘refined’ than the other sections of Athens and Milledgeville. There is definitely a certain elegance in coming to GC to pursue your heart’s goals and to build yourself a better life. You were carefully selected out of many other applications and potential students to serve your time here in the realm of textbooks, lecture halls, and group projects. The bubble effect may not be intentional on anyone’s behalf, yet perhaps part of the failure of our higher education could be that sometimes we can be too exclusive as a college community in relation to the surrounding county around us.    

When Doing Right Feels Wrong

The inner caress of the thigh. Feeling secure in your lover’s sleeping arms. Feeling a longing towards your girlfriend, one you love like a sister. Being a loving gay couple deep in the South. Questioning your own gender because it feels like a mistake. Wondering why virginity matters to everyone but you.

In the Christian walk, you look towards the Bible for guidance, advice, and clarification. It lays down a flurry of sins and things not to do: adultery, fornication, gender roles, homosexuality (or same sex behavior), along with others. As unmarried it is hard to love the way that the Bible may say love.

Love your neighbors. Love your enemies. Love God. Love the opposite sex. Love, but don’t have sexual relations outside marriage. Love, but hold fast to virginity. Love, but be chaste and modest in your ways. Love, but be a willing sacrifice.

I can’t sleep as of late. Trying to do better, to get the scarlet ‘F’ off my chest. I sleep well in the loving presence of my significant other, deep within the loving embrace. Not allowed though, living together without marriage. It branches into fornication too easily, too naturally. Thus I sleep alone, or try to. Mostly I crash from exhaustion or my mind finally blanks out enough that sleep can finally take me. It’s usually late when I do sleep, and I start the day more tired than yesterday.

College is hard enough with ample amounts of sleep. This is just pushing it. Yet this is an attempt to get closer to the Lord. By doing the right things, reading our Bibles more, and some prayer. At least I hope so.

Not being able to caress my other half is hard. It’s hard and doesn’t even feel remotely good. Fighting urges of the sexual kind is also frustrating. I am sure that are others that feel the pain. Reassuring yourself that God doesn’t make mistakes about anything, from your biological sex to the gender you are attracted to. Having others state that your love is wrong and perverse, akin to some disease. Stating over and over that the sinful human nature is the reason for your unhappiness and that if you do the right thing everything will work for your good. I have to wonder if all this self denial is worth it. Is it truly worth it to feel disheartened, angry, and confused? Would changing this part of me, by force if necessary, truly be something good and just? Is the conflict with my true morals or with my true self?

I have faith that it is worth it. That’s why I’m trying in combination for the person that I love. Love makes you do things for another, like trying to be a better Christian human being. Closeness is also part of my motive. As a creator myself why wouldn’t I want to be with the ultimate creator? The one that has made billions of masterpieces from the rocks to everyone that has lived, is living, and will be alive someday. I haven’t even made one masterpiece in my artistic career as of yet, at least in my eyes. So why wouldn’t I want a greater closeness? Yet…the start of the process is not fun. Not sure if this is a complaint or a warning to others, so you can take it as what it comes off to you. I have to guess the beginning is never fun.

High Maintainance?

I’m coming upon my 1st year hair anniversary in the natural world. 😀 During this time I’ve looked up so many hair regimens, from 6 hours to a literal day from wash to set style. Natural hair maintenance seems to be quite high for newbies such as myself.

Why so much is needed? Granted, I’ve been permed up since childhood and nobody could get me to properly care for my hair. I could wrap and take it down…and that’s about all. I literally did not care but somehow my hair grew to my shoulders.

Since I didn’t even partake in relaxed hair maintaining this could seen like a daunting task. Water is my friend as I try to stay hydrated as possible. Glycerin is also great in humid areas such as mine. Draw the moisture to my strands!

Products are another thing, as trying to decide between spray bottle conditioner and creamy lotion conditioner. Oh well…I’ll get it eventually!