The War Against Women

It isn’t new. There has been a war against women since the bible was distributed, and even long before that, when written scripture was just beginning.  Things are changing, though. I can feel it. Whether the backlash outweighs the gains is still a question, but a movement for justice for women seems to be brewing. I’m a guy, and I have a tenuously large ego. So here’s my perspective that I think is interesting enough to share:

Why men are angry:
Change: Men are seeing their perceived role change from dominance to something else. Not equality, but something less than total dominance. In some cultures, male dominance is extremely important. It wasn’t always important, but has become so since literature was introduced, at least. Now we’ve got movies and television media glorifying male dominance, not to mention porn.  The men who fantasize themselves in dominating roles in society seem to be very uncomfortable at the prospect that what they consider as their rightful role of dominance is more and more frequently being criticized as immoral. Their media-driven perception of the ideal man (who they identify with) is being slowly changed by people who see that ideal man as the psychopath he is.

Fear of the Unknown: Men don’t understand vaginas.  Until men have babies or have their genitals bleed for several days each month, some men won’t understand that female genitalia is just as normal as male genitalia; they just don’t have the empathy to understand vaginas. And people fear what they don’t understand. You can respond to that fear by learning as much as you can, or you can respond with anger. There is some part of human nature that chooses anger over learning. The reptile part of the brain, maybe.

Apathy or Lack of Empathy: Why aren’t tampons subsidized, yet medical care, cheese, and lard are? There are more people on this earth who need tampons than eat cheese, but the people designing the subsidies don’t need cheap tampons. Apparently they do need cheap cheese. It doesn’t even matter that some of the taxes funding the cheese subsidies come from people allergic to dairy.

Peer pressure: I’m referring to gangs, religion, and social groups like friends, family, and colleagues. When you only hear one side of an argument for long enough, no matter how illogical or evil, you will find a way to force it to seem logical or moral. I think peer pressure is one of the greatest drivers for the vitriolic comments and speeches made by men–irrational vitriolic speaking out gains little to nothing for an individual other than satisfaction at hurting someone’s feelings or showing validation of a cohort’s beliefs. I don’t think most people are evil and want to hurt others, but I do think most people seek approval from peers.

What else is there that I’m missing? I’m totally open to understanding this issue better. It is bewildering to me, for the most part. Women gaining justice is not the same thing as men losing rights, and I can’t find any reasons why a man would be angry, much less violently outraged.

Stop Recycling, Stop Conserving Energy, Stop Ignoring the Problem

You think you’re helping by recycling your two bags of garbage every week? All that does is make you think you have the right to deflect personal responsibility. If you use services provided by any wasteful corporation, you are the problem, and you are still responsible for finding a solution. “…the vast majority (of energy consumption) is commercial, industrial, corporate, by agribusiness and government. So, even if we all took up cycling and wood stoves it would have a negligible impact on energy use, global warming and atmospheric pollution…. Personal change doesn’t equal social change.” Midnight
Creative Commons License photo credit: mpwillis1

We need policy changes that require social responsibility to qualify for subsidies and tax cuts, not random scatterings of hippies who skip a shower to save water. You want to know how to really help? Fight to end corporate welfare for those who make the world a worse place to live. If a corporation isn’t making the United States a better country, do you think they deserve your tax dollars? We need to make the world better, not just slow down how fast we make it worse. And we can, but not by skipping showers, recycling, riding a bike, and then brushing our hands off like we fixed everything.Waste Management Logo
Creative Commons License photo credit: Neubie

Jensen, Derrick. "Why personal change does not equal political change.(Upping the Stakes: Forget Shorter Showers)." Synthesis/Regeneration  1 Aug. 2009. Print.

This woman is braver than you.

Pia_Glenn_and_Salman_Rushdie_Shankbone_2009_Vanity_Fair[1]Look straight ahead. Looking down seems weak. But looking up makes you seem like a tourist. Look straight ahead. Ignore the periphery. Don’t make eye contact, but don’t go out of your way to avoid it, either. Walk quickly and with purpose. If the catcalls come, just keep walking. Don’t show any sign of having heard. And do not smile, under any circumstances.

I’m 11 years old and walking up the street, heading home after school. A man’s voice calls out: “Pssst. Hey baby, hey girl.” I just keep walking, and now he’s walking too, gaining speed behind me.

“Oh, you’re just a young thing. But you got a big girl’s body. Where’s your daddy? I’ll be your daddy…”

Alphabetizing Group Directories in Buddypress

Buddypress is awesome. It is really pretty amazing. But it is far from perfect. Some things are really difficult to modify unless they’ve been expressly designed to be changed. One of those things is the issue with the sorting of group directories.

I’ve built a site where members are given access to follow a group of professionals. I use Buddypress Follow, and it works pretty well. One problem, when the members come with the intent to sign up and follow a specific professional, the group members directory is not alphabetized. By default it is sorted by sign up date (I think?), which is pretty much the last sorting method you’d want to use if you are trying to look up a specific person by name. I’ve spent the past six or seven months off and on trying to find some nice way to rectify this without any luck. A lot of people seemed to be looking for a method, but nobody was finding it. So I figured this one out on my own.

Right now, I have a custom activity loop showing only activity done by the professional members of the site, and it is the default home page for all members. This page had to be set up to look up member ID numbers, which I look up directly in the MySQL database like so:

Continue reading

An Essay on Relationships

Relationships provide us with context for our lives. Every single external action we take is done in terms of a relationship. Relationships with hot water and tea leaves, potassium and oxygen, or wood and heat. But physical relationships are the obvious ones that don’t always have a significant lasting effect on us. The intangible interpersonal relationships are the ones that drastically shape who and what we are to become. Interaction between people is the only way the context of your situation can change. Those skilled in learning from the relationships of others can use that information to find the most effective ways to interact with those around them. When looking for a job or a promotion, we have to know the ways to create an appropriate relationship with someone who is in the position to give us what we seek. When finding a romantic partner, we need to have the experience to know what to say and the ways to say it to get a positive response. When buying groceries, we need to know the right ways to behave to not get kicked out of the store. The range of situations where a good understanding of the ways relationships work is infinite.

Continue reading

BuddyPress avatar cropping function broken?

You might be getting two images, one smaller on the right, and a larger version on the left.  This is the typical layout for the crop interface in BP.  But you won’t be getting the crop selection tool.  In Chrome, right click on the page and click “Inspect Element”.  If you see an error icon in the bottom right corner, click on it to find out if you are dealing with Jcrop not loading.  If that isn’t it, go back to your search engine and type that error into your query to help you find the solution you really need.

If you are getting this error: “Uncaught TypeError: Object #<Object> has no method ‘Jcrop’” in a BuddyPress Multisite installation of WordPress, make sure you aren’t using ThickBox.  The ThickBox plugin is usually one of my first plugins for sites, and it works great in both basic WP installs, even with BP, but it doesn’t work on Multisite.  Something in there is leaving an open script, I believe.  If you find out a way to fix ThickBox, let me know in the comments – I bet it isn’t too hard.  A great alternative is FancyBox for WordPress.

Web Marketing, Design, and Generally Interesting Stuff