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Found 4 results

  1. Gillette & Toxic Masculinity A Positive Message or an Attack on Men? If you read the news or participate in social media, you have no doubt seen the phrase "toxic masculinity." If you haven't, the concept is simple on the face of it: behaviors and expectations of what a "real man" is that cause or increase likelihood of harm for self and/or others. The is an ad produced by Gillette that has taken the internet and news media by storm in the last two days that attempts to highlight "toxic masculinity." Here's the rub: what the hell does that mean? Why do we even care? Why Dads Should Care Boys or girls, biological, step or adopted, uncle, grandpa or just mentorship-related; we influence children and adults through our interactions and through our value systems. These value systems are held in close connection to our self identification. We define ourselves through our values, and our values should influence our actions. As we hold these values so closely, we tend to try and pass them on to others. If the values have served us well (or more accurately, when we perceive that the values have a positive influence on our lives) we want share our beliefs so others can have our success. What if our values are actually holding us back or causing other harm? That is the reason why we should care about this "toxic masculinity" discussion. It is far too complicated cover all of this in a single post, but lets take a quick look at what is going on in this ad and what we can do; perhaps more importantly - should we do anything? Gillette - The "Mens" Company that Jumped into the Discussion In the last two days, my news feed has been swamped by reports and discussion on this advertisement by Gillette (a company that makes razors and other personal care products for both men and women) which "calls out" the "toxic" behaviors of men. I suggest you watch it for context for the rest of this post. Gillette "Toxic Masculinity" Advertisement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=koPmuEyP3a0 Welcome back. How are you feeling? Happy? Sad? Confused? Angry? I felt all these things. It is a complicated and emotional topic. Look at the stats on the video (again this is just the last 2 days): The comments on the video are quite "enlightening" as well. Wade into the comments with care - they are not known for their "depth" but they give a good reading on a commentators emotional state at the time. The initial gut reactions are telling. Large numbers of men feel attacked and respond negatively. Why wouldn't they? The question is: Are the feelings justified? What is masculinity? Hell of a question, isn't it? I will take a stab at, though. Think of belief and action systems that are often held up as "good and virtuous" or as the highest forms of "masculinity": a "classic/old school gentleman," the "chivalrous knight," or the "hardworking father." All of these share common threads - responsibility & bravery among them. Think of the actions and believes these archetypes, the typical example of a thing, tend to have: kindness and consideration to others, forgiveness, mentorship/leadership, resoluteness, protectiveness, and strength in the face of adversity. (Disagree? Feel free to say so in the comments!) Each of these requires one to have both a sense of responsibility to act and bravery in order to live up to these concepts. With this idea of "masculinity" in mind, does the commercial attack those things? Spoiler alert: no. The ad doesn't attack any of these concepts; rather it highlights and encourages these concepts. I am thinking of breaking it down scene by scene but that a bit long for today - let me know if you would be interested in more commentary on this ad. So if the ad was mostly positive, why so much backlash? Where it went Wrong (for me) I can identify nearly every scene, but the one that stood out the most for me was the scene with the two boys 30 seconds into the ad. The narrator says "making the same old excuses" and the video cuts to two young boys "fighting" (more on that in a moment), then the dads standing idly by the grill repeating "boys will be boys" over and over again. The narrator continues, "but something finally changed," and a news caster talks about accusations of sexual assault. It was at this point that I had my negative emotions. The preceding scenes made me sad - bullying, sexual harassment, party culture, the "sitcom dad" attacking the maid, the board room guy using power and authority to silence the woman and "assume" her thoughts - these are situations that I believe represent harmful beliefs and actions. I was on board and supporting the message thus far; there are elements in our culture (and specifically in the culture of men) that are wrong and need to be confronted. Then the "fight scene." I became confused. I fell attacked and my mind went into defensive thoughts. I have two young boys and they do this all the time. Am I a bad parent? The narrator set it up - "making the same old excuses." What excuse am I making for my two sons when they fight? "Boys will be boys." I believe that boys DO have certain tenancies, and whats wrong with that. "Finally something changed," "sexual assault," "sexual harassment," berated me, the vision of my two sons wresting on the ground still in my mind. I became angry, and it clouded my view of the ad completely. Here's why: Attack on a Core Belief The scene, unlike the rest, lacked clarity. We see the two boys, of similar size and age, start to tussle. No context. Just a yell and down they go. From my perspective, I see two "boys being boys." To me, that is a thing - my sons like to wrestle with each other. They love to wrestle with their dad! This sort of play is not negative or "toxic," not any more than baby chimps or lion cubs tussling in nature. It gives an opportunity for my children to play and discover things, learn lessons, and connect with each other. Such play fighting or sport cannot be the entirety of a persons existence, as that would have a negative effect for sure, but in measured amounts, it serves to be a teaching tool; teaching about self, others and the world. A child has a toolbox of skills they can use solve conflict. The younger one is, the far fewer the available tools. One of the earliest tools is physical action. That physical action can take many forms: one could walk away, one could sit still, or one could attack another. The youngest attacks his brother on a regular basis, as the oldest is quite astute in driving the little one to "madness." And generally, I let them fight. Why? It teaches them something. I am not completely laissez faire a la "Lord of the Flies" - I am monitoring my children. I am not stepping in right away though. If I step in EVERY TIME they have a physical confrontation my sons learn one thing: if we fight a parent will stop us. While this seems like a good lesson, but is it? To stop every fight at the earliest sign of conflict prevents them from exploring conflict resolution in a most critical situation - after violence has started. What happens when we apply this to the larger world, where there are no parents to step in at all times? My sons do NOT learn to avoid physical confrontation, the learn to avoid getting caught. They do NOT learn that physical solutions often extract more in cost than in reward, only that violence will make parents become involved. They do NOT learn how to de-escalate violence or violent action, they learn others will de-escalate the situation for them. They might never learn there ARE times when violence is necessary, and that even in those cases, there is a cost. By allowing them to fight (supervised) they are actually developing their ability to make judgments and to reach agreements. They learn (the eldest already knows, as he does it on purpose) that you CAN push someone to violence through non-violence. There is a level of teasing, harassment, or just plain "button pushing" that will make violence justified in the mind of another. That is not the same thing as saying the justice is justified - only that it becomes justified to the other person. That is a VERY important lesson. It re-enforces civility and respect. They also learn that violence has consequences. Not just physically, though physical consequences have occurred; bruises, scrapes, bumps and cuts have all happened. More often than not the consequence is social, not physical. It could be a consequence within their relationship; they are far less likely to participate with one another after a significant fight. Less likely to share both physical possessions and knowledge. They are less likely to be trusted. It causes all sorts of problems. I notice the fight and I remember for the next time they ask me for something and then I remind them that those that fight do not get rewards. All of this helps teach that violence has long term consequences. Justified vs Unjustified Violence I have heard people say " no violence is justified," and I completely disagree. There are times when extreme violence is justified: self defense and the defense of others being the central pillar of that belief. More importantly, there is "unjustified" violence, and I think that was what Gillette was trying to highlight in their advertisement. They just did it poorly - there are time of justified violence and without context it is impossible to determine if this either of the cases. Indiscriminate violence is bad, we can all agree. Some violence might be justifiable - but how do we learn that? Through conflict as a child TEMPERED by the guidance and wisdom of adults. Interaction is key - to never intervene is tantamount to abuse, but some risk must be taken in order to allow experiences to happen. Once those experiences happen, it is our responsibility to provide context beyond the immediate situation so that they can learn to apply the experience to the larger world. Where else can we see justified violence? In sports. In many ways sports are the way in which modern societies find a way to allow physical action to manifest itself in a positive manner. Extreme examples are the martial arts (MMA, Boxing, Karate), less extreme is football, wrestling or rugby, but these are violence, make no mistake about it. What makes these justified vs unjustified violence? Agree upon rules and consent to engage in the activity. That is the lessons we need to teach, and by having "zero tolerance" for all physical violence we take away the ability to have learning experiences. Without these experiences (and the guidance from our role models) we cannot understand the world and how we should interact in it. Gillette Actually Gets it Right - They just did it Wrong. A minute later we see the resolution of the fight - the dad steps in and says "that's not how we treat each other, okay?" Small problem, i can hear the kids giggling. Maybe that's my subconscious hearing what I want to hear, but I don't hear complaints, screams or protest. I hear two kids having fun in a physical way. Two boys being boys. That's what touched the nerve. I won't lie, it took some introspection to fully understand the "simple" feeling of anger at this scene. It takes introspection and self reflection to unpack all of that. Going though the exercise is good and has allowed me to better grasp concepts I am teaching to my children. If Gillette wanted the ad to be a conversation piece, they have succeeded. Overall, the message is positive and one that dads can support. Kindness and consideration to others, forgiveness, mentorship/leadership, resoluteness, protectiveness, and strength in the face of adversity. Each scene in the ad highlights at least one of these concepts as being positive (or conversely, a scene shows that lacking these virtues leads to negative results) and that is a huge takeaway. Finally Thought Is that the only takeaway? The idea that some ways of acting are bad? Hardly. To me there is a much larger message that is getting ignored in this discussion of outrage - positive male role models are critical to the development of strong men. That's for a different post though. Let me know in the comments below what virtues you are teaching your children or mentorees; or let me know if you think the commercial was actually an attack and where it went wrong.
  2. Alright guys- No one has posted about current gaming rig builds in a while (after looking through the last few pages). I'm looking for advice on a pre-built gaming rig. Wife's agreed to get something for me at Christmas, but I will have to work on her with the price range. She's wanting to be around $500... which I suppose I could get something and upgrade it in that range... but I'd kinda like to get something that's capable to run stuff on high settings for a while without upgrades. I'm probably planning on being around $1000 after I throw some of my own money into it. Games I'm playing or interested in that I'd like to see on high or ultra settings: Wargaming titles (WoWS, WoWP, WoT), Armored Warfare, Heliborne, Fallout 76, SW Battlefront games... stuff along that line. Currently running a slap-dash 10 year old HP that I've upgraded here and there, but it's time to get something more capable. So here's my questions from the research I've done so far: 1- AMD Ryzen or I-5/I-7 chips? The only real advantage I've heard about these is that the Pentium chips are better for straight gaming while the Ryzen chips work better for those who want to play and stream 2- Graphics card- So I'm totally oblivious about AMD GPU's..... I pretty much have always run NvidIa stuff. I'm finding a mixed bag of GTX 1050ti 4gb and GTX 1060 3gb cards in my price range. Usually a GTX 1060 will have a lower end CPU like an I-5 or will be running DDR3 instead of DDR4 RAM. 1060's are typically more expensive... but considering the 1050ti has an extra gig, is it better than the 1060? What are the "comparable" AMD GPU's? I've never really looked at AMD cards as WAY back there were problems with Wargaming titles and AMD cards... which I'm sure is fixed by now... but still always kept me interested in Nvidia cards. 3- 8 Gig of DDR4 or 16-32 Gig of DDR3.... Usually a big point on some of the builds I've looked at... DDR3 is stuff gives you a bunch more GB at a cheaper price... but I understand that moving to DDR4 you can do a ton more with a ton less of RAM... Thoughts on this? So to close out- Where are the places you can cut prices on a gaming rig build and where should you pay for the higher end stuff? Is there a balancing point for it all? Anyone want to suggest a good pre-build rig between $500-$1000? All help is appreciated- I know enough to be dangerous but not knowledgeable enough to attempt a build entirely on my own. Thanks for the help in advance. Oh- last thing- I've shopped Amazon, Ebay (new only), HP, Acer, Cyberpower, and a few other websites as I've done my research.
  3. Hey, you! With the shirt that's all wrinkled up and billowing out like a sail in a strong wind! Want a tip on how to look good? Shirt stays, my man. Wanna look sharp? Use shirt stays. Tired of your shirt coming untucked when you sit down? Use shirt stays. Got an interview? Wearing a suit? Wanna look like a million buck? You got it - use shirt stays! Shirt stays are something I take for granted. I learned about them from the retired Marine instructor of my Junior Reserve Officer Training Course (JROTC) in high school and have used them ever since. I joined the military (shirt stays practically a must use) a short while after high school and it wasn't until I was in college at age 25 that I realized - most men don't know what a shirt stay is! These “kids” wear wearing their slacks and button shirts, but looked like they slept in what they were wearing! At first, I chalked it up to young kids not giving a “care” and moved on. It wasn’t until I was doing a panel discussion one day when a fellow male student asked me, "How do you get your shirt to stay ironed even after you sit down?" At first, I didn’t know what he was talking about. My mind digested his inquiry as literal: Silly kid, you can’t iron a shirt you are wearing… Ohhh! The light bulb went off and I realized that because of my shirt stays, every time I stood up, my shirt was instantly pulled down, removing any sign of wrinkles. “Shirt stays,” I say. “Shirt whats?” he replies. I tilt my head slightly to the side the way a dog does when it hears a strange noise. How can he not know what a shirt stay is? I pull up the cloth on the right pant leg to reveal my shirt stay. “This thing,” snapping it to emphasize the device. He shook his head left and right - he had never seen one! And thus began the teaching of the young mind on the gloriousness that is the shirt stay. Why Use Shirt Stays In a word: Professionalism. Looking sharp is universally associated with competence and professionalism. Studies even show that dressing well changes the way you think - you think more abstractly and increases perspective! (https://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/minds-business/when-clothing-style-influences-cognitive-style.html#.WTmBucaZNBw) That old adage, “You only have one chance to make a first impression,” is true - and it is becoming more and more important as our lives become faster and faster paced. Shirt stays can also make clothing more comfortable as it helps keep your shirt (and sometimes your socks) in the right place, rather than bunching up and being a nuisance. You don’t have to starch a shirt as much with a shirt stay if you have a reasonable amount on tension, it helps “pull” creases away. Shirt stays also help you with posture and core engagement. No, seriously. If you have your shirt stay balanced, you can tell when you are slouching when standing or when you relax your core and let your stomach “hang out.” Which Type to Purchase There are different styles of stays - single stays, stirrup stays, clasp stays, garter stays, two lead and three lead, cross lead…. Take my advice, if you are going to get only one type of stay, get these: I wore these in the military and I wear them in the office. The stirrup style means I can wear them with any sock, pant or shoe style. If your shirt doesn’t need to be laundered, just slip the stirrup off and hang the shirt. Next time you wear it, slip the stirrup on and button up! The plastic grips on the clasps prevent damage to your shirts and you can adjust the strength of the grip by bending (ever so gently) the clasp piece with a set of plyers. If you are worried about the shirt stay showing when you pant leg rises, you could instead go with these: These will also act as sock garters to keep your socks pulled up snuggly, preventing saggy socks and raw heels. How to Use Shirt Stays To attach the stays, take one shirt stay and set the clasps on the shirt first. On the shirt, clip one clasp about a hands’ width forward of the shirt’s side seam and the other about a hands’ width behind the side seam. The side seam runs from your armpit to the bottom edge of the shirt. Using the ones I recommend above, you should now have a “Y” shape when you let the shirt stay hang down, the tail of the “Y” hanging along the outside edge of your thigh. Repeat attaching the remaining stay on the other side of the shirt. Once attached, pull firmly (not a jerk, but a tug) down on the clasps to make sure they are holding the shirt correctly. If they slip off, you can increase the grip by gently bending the arm as shown above. Now attach the bottom of the stay. With the stirrups, you slip them on your feet like a sock with the band resting in the arch of your foot. If using clasps, attach the clasp to the outside of the sock. Give those a firm tug. If they come off, adjust as needed to get a solid grip. Stand up. The stays should be pulling the shirt down, gathering any excess material toward the outside of your hips while making the front and back look smooth. If you don’t have any of that, maybe you don't have any tension! To set the tension (how hard it tugs the shirt) of the stay you need to for the buckle. On my recommended stays, there is a little metal buckle that grips the stay when flat and releases the stay when you lift it up. Some fancy styles have buttons, others have snap fittings. Move the stay tension buckle up or down until you find the stays are tugging comfortably on the shirt. I wear mine with enough tension that I can feel it lightly in my shoulders - you find what works for you through trial and error. The higher the tension, the “crisper” the shirt will look, but the more “unnatural” the shirt will feel. Also, if you go too high with the tension you risk having the clasps work loose no matter how much you bend the clasp for gripping strength. Too little and you might as well not wear the shirt stays…. Finally, put on your pants! Stand up and check that the stays are working. Bend to your left at the waist, then straighten up. Did the shirt go flat or did it just bunch up? If it bunched up, you need more tension. Sit down, stand up. Did the back of the shirt “retuck” itself? Good, you have it set right. Dad's Secret Fashion Tip So there you have it. The “secret” of sharply dressed professionals everywhere! You can use these on any tucked shirt and I promise you the difference is night and day. Oh, one last thing - if you wear an undershirt (which I highly suggest) tuck the undershirt into your underwear, then your dress shirt over your underwear inside your pants.
  4. I have been with my fiancé for 4 years and I have a 5 year old daughter (from previous marriage). My daughter has known my fiancé since she was a baby and really has only memories with me and her not me and her mom. She's never liked when I would kiss her mom even as a very small baby and she has always wanted my attention over everyone else which was easy. As a toddler she would change so fast whenever I'd go get her from her grandma or the sitter and act like it was so bad but I knew she was smiling and playing just moments before. My fiancé and I have had some really bad times when she pulls her stunts at our place. She breaks stuff and starts yelling I can't understand her and to boot, she is hateful and mean and tells my fianc that she wishes she would die! Her sitter says that she doesn't understand why she would be doing that because she always talks about both of us. My fiancé cries all the time because my daughter is so great with her when they are alone and turns her switch when I enter the picture. She acts nice when she's alone with me too and I try to stick with that as long as I can or as long as she will let me. She doesn't start doing crazy stuff unless she is with us both or wants attention I guess. It's driving us crazy and I wonder if this relationship is worth my daughter's happiness. My fiancé is getting put in overload and can't seem to handle much more of my daughter going tantrum so I usually take my daughter and leave the house but fiancé doesn't like that either, nothing makes her happy do what does she expect me to do? I don't know what she expects me to do but if I have to choose then I choose my kid and maybe start looking at relationships later when my daughter is older. She obviously needs me and doesn't like my fiancé and never had. It's not my daughters fault that I chose to be in a relationship and she shouldnt have to be around someone she doesn't like or a person that is always frustrated with my daughter. How do I get my fianc to understand that we will probably not work out unless my daughter can get onboard too? Aren't our kids the top priority? I don't want to see my fiancé hurting all the time because I love her and I don't want to be with anyone else but if my daughter doesn't make her happy then why the hell would she want to stay with me anyway?
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