Friday, September 30, 2011

Relationships between mothers and their sons change during childhood and adolescence

Good research summary from Science Codex - nearly a month old but still interesting. Once again, this study show that the problems that teen boys experience are often the result of issues they experienced in the family as small children. If you want a happy and healthy teenager (as much as that is even possible), then you need to start preparing for that from the very beginning.

Mother-son ties change over time, influence teen boys' behavior

posted on: august 30, 2011

Relationships between mothers and their sons change during childhood and adolescence. However, not all relationships change in the same way, and how the relationships change may affect boys' behavior when they become teens.

Those are the findings of a new longitudinal study of low-income families by researchers at Wayne State University, Oklahoma State University, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Montreal, and the University of Oregon. The study appears in the journal Child Development.

The researchers looked at 265 mother-son pairs from low-income families in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, starting when the boys were 5 and continuing through adolescence. The families were taking part in the Pitt Mother & Child Project, an ongoing longitudinal project examining vulnerability and resilience in low-income boys.

For each of the pairs, the study looked at the family's neighborhood, the mother's relationship with her romantic partner, the quality of parenting provided by the mother, and the child's temperament. It also assessed the level of conflict and warmth between mothers and sons, and the boys' delinquent behavior, relationships with best friends, and sense of morality during adolescence.

Mothers of boys who had a difficult temperament when they were toddlers reported that their relationships with the boys included a lot of conflict and lower levels of closeness over time. When mothers had better relationships with their significant others, they tended to form closer bonds with their sons that lasted throughout childhood and adolescence. Boys who experienced a lot of conflict with their mothers were more likely to engage in delinquent behavior as teens. On the other hand, boys who hade a close relationship with their mothers were more likely to have a better relationship with their best friends during the teen years.

"These results suggest that successfully adapting to the transitions of childhood and adolescence may require parents and children to maintain relatively high levels of closeness and minimize conflict in their relationships," according to Christopher Trentacosta, assistant professor of psychology at Wayne State University, the study's lead author.

"The findings also have implications for prevention and intervention," Trentacosta suggests. "Family-focused programs should address conflict in the parent-child relationship if the goal is to reduce delinquent behavior, and should foster greater closeness between parents and children if improving peer relationships is the goal."

Source: Society for Research in Child Development

The Secret Lives of Men - The Authenticity Hoax: Andrew Potter

Secret Lives of Men

This was an interesting post from a couple of weeks ago at the Secret Lives of Men with Dr. Chris Blazina. Andrew Potter is author of The Authenticity Hoax: Why the "Real" Things We Seek Don't Make Us Happy. You can read an excerpt from MacLean's at this link, with a taste below the podcast.

The Authenticity Hoax: Andrew Potter

by Secret Lives of Men

According to Potter (coauthor of Nation of Rebels), the cost of modernity's dismantling of traditional frameworks of truth and meaning has forced meaning and authenticity to become individual searches that are private and consumercentric. Potter's lively cultural analysis combines an astute analysis of foundational antimodernist thought (in particular Rousseau) with savvy surveys of mass culture to flag the pitfalls and ironies of the modern obsession with authenticity in its every incarnation (authentically punk, spiritual, environmentally conscious) from our jeans to our celebrities. Potter champions a mitigation of modernity's negative, alienating effects rather than a rejection of modernity, and his characterizations of antimodernists can be dismissive to the point of oversimplifying a large and varied spectrum of dissent from the status quo. But in redeeming modernity from primitivists, apocalyptic doom-mongers, and more subtle critics, the author offers a shrewd and lively discussion peppered with pop culture references and a stimulating reappraisal of the romantic strain in modern life.

Listen to internet radio with Secret Lives of Men on Blog Talk Radio

An excerpt . . . .

Realer than you

Andrew Potter: How did authenticity become the hot new status symbol?

by Andrew Potter on Wednesday, April 14, 2010 
How did authenticity become the new status symbol
Photograph by John Elk III/Loney Planet Images
In the summer of 2008, a 28-year-old French engineer named Florent Lemaçon, his wife, Chloé, and their three-year-old son, Colin, embarked on what looked to be the trip of a lifetime. After quitting their jobs, the Lemaçons set sail from France in a boat into which they had poured their life savings, a restored yacht named the Tanit. Their destination was Zanzibar, an archipelago off the coast of Tanzania, and to help them sail around the clock, the Lemaçons had picked up another couple. As the Tanit left Egypt and headed down into the Indian Ocean, they spoke to a French frigate that strongly advised them to turn back from a journey that would take them into some of the most lawless, pirate-infested waters in the world.
The undaunted adventurers continued on their way, and over the weekend of April 4, 2009, they were seized by Somali pirates intent on taking their five hostages back to the mainland, where they would be harder to find and, hence, easier to ransom. After negotiations with the pirates broke down, French commandos launched a rescue operation during which four of the Tanit crew were rescued. Mr. Lemaçon was killed during the ensuing gunfight, perhaps by friendly fire as he tried to duck down into the yacht’s cabin.
On a blog the couple kept of their trip, the Lemaçons wrote: “The danger is there and has indeed become greater over the past months, but the ocean is vast . . . the pirates must not be allowed to destroy our dream.” And their dream, as they told everyone who would listen, was to protect their son, Colin, from the depraved elements of the modern world, especially the sterile government and its officious bureaucracy, the shallowness of the mass media, and the meaninglessness of consumer society and its destructive environmental impact. “We don’t want our child to receive the sort of education that the government is concocting for us,” Florent told a French newspaper. “We have got rid of the television and everything that seemed superfluous to concentrate on what is essential.”
Read the whole excerpt.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dads Less Likely To Die Of Heart Problems, Study Finds

Interesting study - it suggests that I am screwed, since I will never have children. On the other hand, my cholesterol is under 140, my calcium score is 8 (on a scale of 0-400+), and my resting pulse is 52. I work out regularly and I eat a very healthy diet. Heart disease is not likely.

A quote of note:
Men often ask him what they can do to keep from dying of a heart attack, he said. 

"I'm not really prepared to, on the basis of this, tell them to start having a few kids," Dr. Daniel Rader said.
Good answer, or Gee, ya think?

Dads Less Likely To Die Of Heart Problems, Study Finds

Dads Heart Problems

-- Fatherhood may be a kick in the old testosterone, but it may also help keep a man alive. New research suggests that dads are a little less likely to die of heart-related problems than childless men are.
The study – by the AARP, the government and several universities – is the largest ever on male fertility and mortality, involving nearly 138,000 men. Although a study like this can't prove that fatherhood and mortality are related, there are plenty of reasons to think they might be, several heart disease experts said.
Marriage, having lots of friends and even having a dog can lower the chance of heart problems and cardiac-related deaths, previous research suggests. Similarly, kids might help take care of you or give you a reason to take better care of yourself.
Also, it takes reasonably good genes to father a child. An inability to do so might mean a genetic weakness that can spell heart trouble down the road.
"There is emerging evidence that male infertility is a window into a man's later health," said Dr. Michael Eisenberg, a Stanford University urologist and fertility specialist who led the study. "Maybe it's telling us that something else is involved in their inability to have kids."
The study was published online Monday by the journal Human Reproduction.
Read the whole article.

NPR - Congratulations, Television! You Are Even Worse At Masculinity Than Femininity

Sadly, it's very difficult to expect anything good about men on network television. Perhaps, as a culture, we get the depictions of masculinity we deserve. If we want to see better images of men, we need to do better as men (and those who are Good Men might need to become more visible), and thereby change the expectations.

Here is the key point to me, a too common message that puts men in a double bind:
But there is something about this narrative hectoring about men not understanding manhood that seems particularly brutal in that it specifically attacks them for emotional ineptitude while simultaneously attacking them for having emotions.
The idea of the psychological double bind goes back to Gregory Bateson - he perceived that double binds are employed as a means of control, a way to do so without visible coercion. The subtle creation of confusion in the recipient of the double bind inhibits resistance or response. This is the position a lot men find themselves in right now, consciously or unconsciously, in terms of how to be masculine.

This is from the Monkey See blog at NPR.
Congratulations, Television! You Are Even Worse At Masculinity Than Femininity


David Hornsby and Kevin Dillon star in CBS's How To Be A Gentleman.

David Hornsby and Kevin Dillon star in CBS's How To Be A Gentleman. 

Tonight, CBS premieres How To Be A Gentleman, a brainless buddy comedy presenting a dichotomy in which men can be either delicate, ineffectual, sexless weaklings or ill-mannered but physically powerful meatheads. Says this show — over and over, in both its marketing and in its actual dialogue — there aregentlemen, and there are real men, and each might need to be a little more like the other.
Yes, yes, it's a sitcom, and caricatures are common, and on its own, this wouldn't make much of an impression. But this is not just any season. It's a season that also brings Tim Allen whining about what ever happened to "real men" in Last Man Standing, three guys lost in a universe of "pomegranate body wash" in Man Up, and — sometime in midseason, unless the universe blissfully swallows us all before then — two men in drag in Work It trying to overcome the entirely female-driven economy in which they literally cannot support themselves without dressing as women.
And in that environment, How To Be A Gentleman and its overt and unapologetic sexist stereotyping, in which only certain kinds of men are "real men," represents a kind of tipping point: Television right now — at least broadcast television — is even worse at managing its ideas about masculinity than about femininity.
Now, this is a pretty high bar and therefore an accomplishment to be taken seriously. But at least The Playboy Club and Pan Amknow enough to rely on nostalgia. Neither NBC or ABC would put a show on the air in which a physically unattractive woman was trained in how to be a "real woman" by an idiotic but beautiful personal trainer, and if they did, they would not say that she needed to learn how to be a "real woman." 

Other fall shows demonstrate some of this same complete lack of faith in the inherent emotional intelligence of men. Patrick Wilson plays a doctor on A Gifted Man who needs a dead woman to counsel him on how to have feelings. NBC's Free Agents features a female lead who has to counsel the male lead in how not to act like a weepy ... well, a weepy woman, in stereotypical terms. How, in other words, to man up.
I honestly think the men on television now resemble the men I know even less than the women on television resemble the women I know, and at least women are not being out-and-outinstructed that there is only one way to be a woman.
That doesn't mean women are being well-served when television turns its attention to their gender. They're not. But when you see the four men on How To Be A Gentleman — Kevin Dillon as the meathead, David Hornsby as the nice weakling, Rhys Darby as the dopey husband of Hornsby's sister, and an utterly out-of-place Dave Foley as the buffoonish boss who can't age gracefully — it really begins to look like men are the new women, when it comes to being mercilessly pigeonholed and mocked for failing to represent an impossible ideal of perfect behavior and perfect looks.
It's woven into the DNA of this particular show: Dillon telling Hornsby that the sooner he starts working out, the sooner he can get "an adult male body." Foley telling him that the "holy grail" demographic for their magazine is "men in their mid-to-late thirties who act like they're fifteen." Hornsby asking Dillon, "What does a person like you like to read?" and being told, "Sports scores!" And yes, Dillon telling Hornsby — in the revelatory line that sets up their new friendship and the show — "You know everything about being a gentleman, and nothing about being a man."
So yes, the guy who only reads sports scores is going to teach about "being a man." And Tim Allen is upset about what ever happened to men. And the Man Up men are not men the way their fathers were.
There are plenty of silly women in new fall shows — Zooey Deschanel on New Girl and Whitney Cummings in Whitney, just to name two. But at least they are not presented as women who are being women incorrectly. Yes, The Playboy Club idealizes the Bunny, and that's plenty problematic, and the producers' efforts to co-opt the idea of female empowerment to put a shine on it is obnoxious and disrespectful.
But there is something about this narrative hectoring about men not understanding manhood that seems particularly brutal in that it specifically attacks them for emotional ineptitude while simultaneously attacking them for having emotions. Men who are emotionally reactive (like Hornsby's character here) are weak; men who are emotionally inert (like the Man Up guys) are clueless. In both cases, women don't want to have sex with them, even if they're married to them.
I cannot help asking, even more than I usually do when I watch scripted comedies: Where, on television, are the men who both like football and remember birthdays? Where are the men who can have a highly insightful drink-and-talk with friends? Where are the men who are great dads, great husbands, great boyfriends? Where are the men who are dedicated to important jobs? Where are the men who aren't seeking reassurance about what it means to be men? Where are, in short, all the men I rely on in my day-to-day life?
It really takes some effort to match television's historically disastrous relationship with femininity, but at this point, I'm prepared to say it: Right at this moment, I'm more comfortable with what scripted television thinks being a woman means than I am with what scripted television thinks being a man means.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sounds True - David Schnarch: Emotional Commitment and Great Sex?

David Schnarch is one of the better sex and relationship psychotherapists who shares his wisdom and experience through books and lectures. Tami Simon at Sounds True recently interviewed him for Insights at the Edge.

Two of his books, Passionate Marriage, and Resurrecting Sex, have been incredibly useful in understanding how relationships fail - and how to prevent that from happening. His newest book is Intimacy & DesireAwaken the Passion in Your Relationship.

David Schnarch: Emotional Commitment and Great Sex?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

ArrayTami Simon speaks with Dr. David Schnarch, a licensed clinical psychologist, certified sex therapist, and clinical member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. David is the author of the books Intimacy and DesirePassionate Marriage, and Resurrecting Sex, and with Sounds True he has published a two-session audio program called Secrets of a Passionate Marriage: How to Increase Sexual Pleasure and Emotional Fulfillment in Committed Relationships. In this episode, Tami speaks with David about the four drives of sexual desires, his understanding of integrity and its importance in a healthy partnership, and what it might mean to “hold onto yourself” in relationship. (67 minutes)
Listen Now:

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Lisa Earle McLeod - Empathy and Innovation: An Unexpected Pairing That Will Solve any Problem

According to Jeremy Rifkin (The Empathic Civilization), empathy is the future of our human enterprise, or we will have no future at all. In this article, Lisa McLeod suggests that empathy and innovation can solve a lot of our problems. I think she has a point.

Men have tended to lead with power and authority (yes, huge generalization), not with empathy - but McLeod suggests that empathy allows us to understand problems better and, therefore, to find better solutions.

I would also argue that this approach allows us to function better in relationships. Despite claims to the contrary (mostly in popular culture), men are equally as good at empathy as women, we just have not be encouraged as much to develop that skill.

Empathy and Innovation: An Unexpected Pairing That Will Solve any Problem

Lisa Earle McLeod - Keynote speaker and author, 'The Triangle of Truth'

Q: What do world hunger and bad customer service have in common?
A: The secret to solving them both is empathy and innovation.
Empathy and innovation seem like an unlikely pairing, but together, they're the secret to solving just about everything.
Here's why. You have to care about a problem before you're motivated to solve it. Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone because his wife was deaf and he wanted to help those who couldn't hear.
Empathy for his wife ignited the innovation.
The challenge is, everyone wants to be innovative; it's powerful. But empathy sounds like some wimpy thing your mother would lecture you about.
Innovation is sexy. Empathy isn't.
Can you imagine a company ad campaign with the slogan "We're the industry leader in empathy?"
Unless they ran a chain of funeral homes, very few would embrace the mantra. But that's a real shame because empathy is a huge competitive advantage.
Read the whole article.

Visit her Blog -- How Smart People Can Get Better At Everything
Web site -- 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Tim Walker - On Men's Pain and Transformation

Over at Beams and Struts, Tim Walker has written an outstanding post - On Men's Pain and Transformation.

This is a crucial conversation for men to be having. For the most part, we are never taught how to hold pain, or how to transform pain, fear, and anxiety into personal growth simply by witnessing them in our bodies and NOT stuffing them down in the unconscious (the body) or in the shadow.

Here is the beginning of the article - I highly recommend you go read the whole thing if this makes any connection with you.

On Men's Pain and Transformation

Written by Tim Walker
"There is no coming to consciousness without pain" – Carl Jung
GI Joe
This article is about pain, its healing, and its transformative importance for men, particularly men in Western, secular culture. It's not to say that this topic isn't important for woman or that the challenges I outline don't translate to woman, but I'm exploring this from a male perspective to attempt to isolate some key hindrances to - and opportunities for - men's transformation. Specifically I'm speaking here of the deep psychosomatic and at times existential pain that comes in moments of personal crisis, loss, identity dismantling, and emotional breakdown – the pain experience that can open us to profound new ways of seeing and being in the world as men.
Since my earliest memories as a child, I remember stuffing emotional pain and hurt out of my awareness – either simply unconsciously as a pattern already set in my individual psyche and the male condition or by external influence from parents, family, father figures, and the pain avoidant Western culture at large. Throughout my childhood and adolescence, I vividly remember the all to common lines, "suck it up!" and "don't be a cry baby!", "boys don't cry", among many others. As a child I swallowed up and began to emulate many of the masculine personifications in television, movies, and play. You know them: Rocky Balboa, The Terminator, Hee Man, Gi Joe, and all other things masculine. At a very young age I learned how (or at least tried my darned best) to be strong, tough, and stoic. I don't mean to say there's anything wrong with these qualities, it's just that my environment and the culture around me provided very little encouragement to experience other essential qualities to healthy development such as vulnerability, openness, and emotional awareness. I know I'm not the only one here. After recently going through a life crisis with probably the most significant emotional pain of my own life I realized that I was very unfamiliar with pain, what do with it, and how to process it in general. After talking with other men during this experience I began to realize that this is a general immaturity among us. Several men I talked to in fact advised me to "just keep busy and keep your mind off it". I began to realize that in our secular, pain-avoidant culture men simply don't have an understanding of the importance of pain nor wisdom or contexts for making meaning out of pain and using it as a catalyst for their emotional and spiritual development.
Go read the rest of the article.

WTF? Raising Boys to Be Cage-Fighters

Jesus' General is a right-wing parody blog that has been doing the satire thing long before Stephen Colbert launched The Colbert Report. Writing as Gen. JC Christian, Patriot, he parodies wacky right-wing policies and beliefs - always using things they have actually done as fodder for his blog.

In this instance, he reports on fathers in England who are locking boys (as young as 8 years old) into a cage and encouraging them to fight each, bare knuckles, no head gear - and they are doing it in pubs, where the alcohol-fueled thirst for blood is likely to remove all lingering elements of common sense and humanity.

What the bloody fuck is that? To me, this is child abuse. At least the police are looking into it.

I have no problem with teaching kids to box - put the gloves on, wear some head gear, and help them learn to defend themselves. Worked for me. But bare knuckle brawling in a locked cage is not something children should be doing. Period. End of story.

Making Men

It ain't easy raising a boy into manhood these days. Femislamunistofascism permeates our culture. Our boys are brought up to play soccer, to express themselves verbally, to resist bullying the weak and different, and to worship the foo foo Jesus of the Beatitudes.

Thankfully, English fathers are bringing traditional boy-raising techniques back. They're locking eight-year-old boys into a cage and making them fight each other, bare handed and without padding. Yes that's right, their making men out of their boys by entering them into bare-knuckled cage fighting matches.

And it's not just about the beatings. The cage fights are held in pubs, where the fathers can model proper manly behavior by drunkenly cheering each cut eye and bloodied nose.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the OBAMUNIST USURPER'S America is getting it's butt kicked in the battle to raise boys into men, but it stings nonetheless.

We, not furriners, should be leading the way. We are the nation that raised Dick Cheney and Rick Perry. We're the nation that cheers for the death of the uninsured and boos homosexualist combat vets. We're the nation that values execution over life, and torture over justice. We should be the ones bringing our boys into manhood by locking them into cages and cheering as they beat each other to a pulp.

We shouldn't put on our Patrick Henry colonial costumes until that day happens. We don't deserve to wear tri-cornered hats and fancy short britches if we don't demand that our boys beat the tar out of each other.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Slate Debate - Apparently, Men Are Finished

Slate held a debate with Dan Abrams (ABC News chief legal analyst) and Hanna Rosin (author for Slate and The Atlantic) arguing for the proposition, "Men Are Finished" and Christina Hoff Sommers (American Enterprise Institute scholar ) and Dave Zinczenko (Men's Health Editor in Chief) who opposed the motion. ABC News Nightline Correspondent John Donvan moderated.

Really? That was the best they could do on the opposition side? Why not someone like Warren Farrell (who I dislike but who really knows his stuff) or Lise Eliot (Pink Brain, Blue Brain) or Cordelia Fine (Delusions of Gender)? Why not include an expert in men's studies such as Ron Levant, or Michael Kimmel, or William Pollack?

Perhaps, too, the proposition might better have read, Patriarchy Is Finished, which is really what the debate revolved around. But the chosen statement garners a lot more attention by being outlandish and inflammatory.

Anyway, the video is included below.

Apparently the Abrams and Rosin side seriously out-argued the Sommers and Zinczenko side. The audience came in with 20% agreeing that men are finished, 54% against, and 26% undecided. A little over an hour later, 66% agreed with the motion, 29% opposed and only 5% were still undecided.

Apparently, Men Are Finished

The fairer sex won big at Tuesday's Slate/Intelligence Squared U.S. debate.

In the middle of Tuesday night's Slate/Intelligence Squared U.S. debate, ABC News chief legal analyst Dan Abrams presented this damning piece of evidence: "Between 1995 and 2008, 82 percent of lightning strikes were on men," Even God, Abrams told the packed house at NYU's Skirball Center, has decided that men are finished.

Abrams teamed with journalist Hanna Rosin of Slate and the Atlantic to argue for the proposition, "Men Are Finished." They squared off against American Enterprise Institute scholar Christina Hoff Sommers and Men's Health Editor in Chief Dave Zinczenko, who opposed the motion. ABC News Nightline Correspondent John Donvan moderated.

The debate—lively, a little bit mean, and extremely funny—ended with a big victory for Rosin and Abrams. Before the debate started, 20 percent of the audience voted for the motion, 54 against, and 26 were undecided. By the end of the debate—in a result that Intelligence Squared deemed the biggest swing in its history—the numbers had more than reversed, with 66 percent voting for the motion, 29 against it, and 5 percent undecided.

Watch the video from the debate:
Debate: MEN ARE FINISHED ( from Intelligence Squared U.S. on Vimeo.

"Men are finished," is a bold claim—"preposterous," as Zinczenko scoffed repeatedly. Rosin and Abrams helped their cause early by defining victory down: They argued that "men are finished" did not mean complete and utter humiliation of the sex, but rather an end to male dominance. Rosin, the author of last summer's Atlantic cover story "The End of Men," used her opening statement to argue that men are through dominating because they've failed to adapt to a postmodern economy that places a higher premium on traditionally feminine attributes (consensus-building, social intuition, empathy, and communication skills). Men have narrow, inflexible ideas of what it means to be a man, and thus have pigeonholed themselves into dying industries. Women, on the other hand, are more flexible and malleable than ever before. There's "some special formula required for succeeding" today that women seem to have in greater abundance," Rosin said, while reeling off favorable statistics. In 2010, women became the majority of the workforce for the first time in American history. They now hold 54 percent of managerial jobs, and are set to dominate 13 of the 15 industries projected to grow the most in the next decade. They're more likely than men to receive a college degree. Meanwhile, one-fifth of men are out of work. And images of the "omega" male (imagine the slothlike, video-game entranced, drugged-up, potbellied guys you see in Judd Apatow movies) dominate movies and television shows. "We'd like you to think of this as the writing on the wall, the sign that points to an inevitable future," she asserted. "The world where men dominate the public sphere, and where male traits lead to public success is the world we're saying goodbye to."

Sommers, author of The War Against Boys, countered that the short-term trends we're seeing are signs of equalization, not dominance: Women are joining men, or even catching up to them, as partners in running the world. They are not surpassing them. She and Zinczenko both cited Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates as proof that we need men to drive innovation in fields like technology and science. And our civilization depends on the brawn and bravery of the men—"and some women"—who fight and die to protect us. "Toughness and assertiveness are obsolete—that's absurd!" she declared, referring to the idea that male traits aren't as crucial to the postindustrial economy.
Go read the whole article.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Jezebel - Bullied Teen Who Made "It Gets Better" Video Commits Suicide

Effing awful . . . . Sometimes it really doesn't get better. Dan Savage, who started the It Gets Better Project, says we shouldn't bully the bullies, but hold them accountable:
His tormenters need to be held to account—not bullied themselves, not prosecuted or persecuted, but held to account—for their actions, for their hate, for the harm they've caused. They should be asked if they're "WAY more happier" now, if they're pleased with themselves, and if they have anything to say to the mother of the child they succeeded in bullying to death.
I suspect the kids who bullied Jamey feel pretty bad right about now. I can't imagine what it would feel like to be directly responsible for another human being feeling so horrible about himself and his life that suicide seems to be the best answer. They need to understand the degree of pain required for another person to take his own life at such a young age.

And we need to do more to make sure this does not keep happening in other schools in other towns . . . to other young men.

Jezebel posted his video and the story about his situation - links to their sources are at the bottom of the post.

Bullied Teen Who Made "It Gets Better" Video Commits Suicide

This weekend, just a few months after he filmed a video for the "It Gets Better" project, 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer of Buffalo, NY was found dead from an apparent suicide. Earlier this month he blogged, "I always say how bullied I am, but no one listens. What do I have to do so people will listen to me?"
* * * * 
Tracy Rodemeyer says her son, "Has had issues since fifth grade. He had suicidal tendencies back then." Things got particularly bad a year ago when he created a Formspring account and started receiving hateful messages:
Another read: "I wouldn't care if you died. No one would. So just do it :) It would make everyone WAY more happier!"
The messages were reported to guidance counselors at his middle school, and Jamey was seeing a social worker and therapist.
* * * *
Jamey is the second Williamsville North High School student to commit suicide this year, but school officials say they did all they could. Dale Bauer, a licensed school social worker and clinical social worker at Williamsville, says the school offers some counseling, but isn't a mental health clinic.
 * * * *
In a post responding to news of the Jamey's death, Dan Savage says that those who bullied him, "need to be held to account-not bullied themselves, not prosecuted or persecuted, but held to account-for their actions, for their hate, for the harm they've caused." He adds:
The point of the "It Gets Better" project is to give kids like Jamey Rodemeyer hope for their futures. But sometimes hope isn't enough. Sometimes the damage done by hate and by haters is simply too great. Sometimes the future seems too remote. And those are the times our hearts break.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Rick Nauert - Men Cooperate as Well as Women, Sometimes

Psychological research is breaking down the male stereotypes one by one - it's good to see more research heading in this direction. As the statistical cliche goes, there is more variation within each sex than between the sexes. From Psych Central.

Men Cooperate as Well as Women – Sometimes

By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on September 23, 2011 
Men Cooperate as Well as Women - Sometimes

Coooperation, it turns out, is a little more complex than the common assumption that women tend to be better at it than men. In fact, researchers have found that that men cooperate as well as women — and cooperate better with other men than women do with each other.

However, women tend to cooperate more than men when interacting with the opposite-sex – in other words, women cooperate better with men than men cooperate with women.

Study findings are published online by the American Psychological Association in the publication Psychological Bulletin.

Researchers began the study by conducting a quantitative review of 50 years of research; 272 studies comprising 31,642 participants in 18 countries.

Most of the studies were conducted in the United States, the Netherlands, England and Japan.

Only articles written in English were examined, and to be included in the analysis, the articles needed to contain at least one social dilemma, in which two or more people must choose between a good outcome for themselves or a good outcome for a group.

If everyone chooses selfishly, everyone in the group ends up worse off than if each person had acted in the interest of the group.

Although researchers did not find a statistical difference between the sexes when it came to cooperating when faced with a social dilemma, closer examination did reveal some differences.

Specifically, women were more cooperative than men in mixed-sex studies and men became more cooperative than women in same-sex studies and when the social dilemma was repeated.

In the study, researchers primarily used a common experiment called the “prisoner’s dilemma.” In this trial, a pair of people must decide whether to cooperate or defect. If they both cooperate, each person receives a modest amount of money, such as $10.

However, if only one person cooperates, then the defecting participant receives more money, such as $40, while the cooperating person receives nothing. If both people decide to defect, they would each receive a small amount – say, $2.

“It is a social dilemma because each individual gains more by defecting regardless of what the other person does, but they will both be better off if they both cooperate,” said the study’s lead author, Daniel Balliet, Ph.D, of the VU University Amsterdam.

Researchers have found that laboratory studies using this tool predict cooperation outside the laboratory very well.

In an effort to interpret their findings, the authors conjectured that evolution and cultural perspectives explain why men were found to be more cooperative than women during same-sex interactions.

“The argument is that throughout human evolutionary history, male coalitions have been an effective strategy for men to acquire resources, such as food and property,” said Balliet.

“Both hunting and warfare are social dilemmas in that they firmly pit individual and group interests against each other. Yet, if everyone acts upon their immediate self-interest, then no food will be provided, and wars will be lost. To overcome such social dilemmas requires strategies to cooperate with each other.”

Evolutionary theory may also explain why women are less cooperative with other women when faced with a social dilemma, according to Balliet.

“Ancestral women usually migrated between groups and they would have been interacting mostly with women who tended not to be relatives, and many were co-wives,” he said. “Social dynamics among women would have been rife with sexual competition.”

Source: American Psychological Association

The Secret Lives of Men - Emotional Awareness: Paul Ekman

This episode of  The Secret Lives of Men appeared a couple of days ago, but I just caught up with it - it's a series of conversations between Ekman and the Dalai Lama.

Emotional Awareness: Paul Ekman

by Secret Lives of Men September 20, 2011

In this unparalleled series of conversations, the Dalai Lama and Ekman push toward answers to the central questions of emotional experience. What are the sources of hate and compassion? What does science reveal about Buddhist meditation, and what can Buddhism gain from the scientific method? Here, they invite us to join them in an unfiltered view of two great traditions and two great minds.

Accompanied by commentaries on emotion research and Buddhist teachings, their interplay—amusing, challenging, eye-opening, and moving—guides us on a transformative journey in the understanding of emotions.

Listen to internet radio with Secret Lives of Men on Blog Talk Radio

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cool Dad Raising Daughter On Media That Will Put Her Entirely Out Of Touch With Her Generation

From The Onion, America's finest news source.

Cool Dad Raising Daughter On Media That Will Put Her Entirely Out Of Touch With Her Generation

September 22, 2011 | ISSUE 47•38
Campbell presents his daughter with yet another cultural artifact that will in no way help her socialize normally with children her own age.
RENTON, WA—Local man Paul Campbell confirmed Saturday he was raising his daughter Emma on a variety of media carefully selected to help her cultivate an appreciation for artistic quality, a move that will reportedly put the 12-year-old girl hopelessly out of touch with her generation.

Perusing his music and film collections and showing reporters distinctive, well-regarded works that will thoroughly alienate Emma from her sixth-grade classmates, Campbell said he wanted to make sure his daughter enjoyed the benefits of a cultural education he never received at her age.

"Back then, I listened to junk like Journey and watched crappy movies like Iron Eagle," the 41-year-old said in reference to popular music and films of the 1980s that allowed him to have something to talk about with friends. "I wish my own dad had turned me on to the good stuff, so I wouldn't have had to wait until I was in my 20s before I started digging anything halfway decent."

"Well, I'm not making the same mistake he did," Campbell continued as he pulled out vinyl copies of Television's Marquee Moon, Miles Davis' Sketches Of Spain, and Big Star's #1 Record, highly influential albums that will in no way help his daughter interact with her peers at a particularly delicate time in her social development. "There's a lot of cool stuff out there, and it's never too early to start learning what's worth your time. I'm just glad I have the know-how to guide her."

Campbell said he has also been vigilant in ensuring Emma develops an increased familiarity with timeless classic films, a parenting strategy that will inevitably hobble her as she attempts to achieve individuation while negotiating an adolescence heavily influenced by the very latest pop culture.

Since her early childhood, a period sources said featured a Danger Mouse–themed birthday party that utterly baffled the assembled 6-year-old guests, Campbell's daughter has been fed a steady diet of marginalizing cinematic masterpieces from the world's very best filmmakers.

"Jean-Luc Godard, Stanley Kubrick, Billy Wilder—you simply need to know who these men are if you want to call yourself culturally literate," Campbell said of the three iconic directors whose creations could not have less utility to his daughter as she searches for a way to achieve a sense of belonging among her fellow middle-schoolers. "Sure, she makes a face when I don't let her see some ridiculous movie with CGI robots because it's John Sayles Night and we're watching The Secret Of Roan Inish instead. But I'm giving her a leg up, even if she doesn't know it."

"I'm not unreasonable about this," Campbell added. "If she doesn't want to watch Harold Lloyd shorts tonight, that's no problem. We still have another five or six Prisoner episodes to get through."

Insisting he understood the important role entertainment media plays in the life of a sixth-grader, Campbell reportedly bought his daughter the Alice Cooper album Billion Dollar Babies on the grounds that the Adam Lambert CD she had begged for—and that all the girls at school had received—was not even a fraction as good as the 1973 masterpiece.

"I absolutely realize where she's at in life," Campbell said regarding the 12-year-old girl who has seen The Wild Bunch. "I don't care if she likes boy bands, but there are plenty out there that have some artistic merit: the Monkees, the Beach Boys, the Jackson 5. Come on, each of those guys is cuter than the next, and they're slightly talented, at least. I'd even be okay with Peter Frampton if she were really adamant about it, especially his early stuff with Humble Pie."

Reached for comment, Emma Campbell said that while she appreciated her father's dedication, she often had difficulty fitting in with her peers.

"I definitely feel out of place sometimes," said Emma, who told reporters she will never forget the blank stares she once received upon mentioning Petula Clark. "It'd be nice to know what everyone's talking about for a change."