Thursday, October 19, 2017

Pinning up for men's rights...

Last night, while drinking the only beer I've had since Saturday, I ran across an article in Britain's Daily Mail about a group of young women who have decided to crowd fund a pin up calendar for a special cause.  These women are donning swimsuits and modeling on a beach to raise money for...  men's rights.  That's right.  Women are stripping down to bathing suits to raise money for equality.  But they are not fighting for women's equality; they are fighting for men's equality.

The Lovely Ladies for Men's Issues, led by 22 year old Vanessa Lussier, is a campaign to recognize that men do not have equality when it comes to legal issues.  Men tend to get harsher sentences and are more likely to go to prison.  When men fight for equal parenting rights in family court, they are more likely to get the short end of the stick than women are.  So these ladies have decided to make a calendar addressing this issue.


I'll admit that when I read the news article about Lovely Ladies for Men's Issues, I thought it sounded a little kooky.  The women pictured in the Daily Mail do not exactly look like your everyday models. They have tattoos, piercings, stretch marks, and hair dyed more than one color.  They don't all have flawless complexions, straight teeth, or perfect bodies.  And they have interesting names, too.  Behold, the list of models for the fully funded 2018 calendar.

I think "Stuttering Soliloquy" is an especially interesting name.

Apparently, the response to this campaign has been pretty good.  The women evidently didn't have high hopes for reaching their financial goals, but they have gotten a lot of donations.  There have been so many donations that they say they will probably do a calendar next year, too.

For the record, I happen to agree that men and women should be more equal, especially when it comes to family court.  I agree that men tend to get longer prison sentences and higher fines, especially for sex offender crimes.  I probably agree with these ladies on principle, if only because I've seen Bill and other decent guys lose contact with their kids because of women like his ex wife, who take advantage of a legal system that favors women in divorce situations.  

I watched Bill pay his ex wife an exorbitant amount of child support for eleven years for three kids, one of which wasn't even his legal responsibility, and the other two of whom were his kids and completely alienated from him by their abusive mother.  For many reasons, Bill didn't feel like he could fight for his kids.  In the long run, that was harmful to the kids and to Bill.  And it also wasn't fair, especially since the ex clearly wasn't the better or more stable parent.  (On the other hand, if I'm honest, I will admit that I'm very glad parenting duties didn't fall to me.)

I also happen to think that women shouldn't have it both ways.  We can't be clamoring for equality, yet demanding special treatment or consideration.  The two conditions can't really coexist.  If equality is really the goal, then men and women should be on equal footing in the eyes of the law.  I doubt it will ever happen in my lifetime, though.  In that respect, I think it's kind of cool that this group consists of a bunch of women championing equal rights for everyone.  I'm sure they've gotten a lot of flak for their efforts, yet they're still sticking to their guns.  Good on them, especially if they're serious.

At the same time, the pin up calendar idea seems a little dumb to me.  I mean, obviously people have donated to the cause and, in that sense it's successful, but it seems a little counter intuitive to be selling pin up calendars for men's rights.  Especially given that they have to warn potential high dollar donors that they deserve respect and won't be putting up with offensive sex talk.

People who donate $1000 or more can have a thirty minute one on one Skype call with Reading Wren or Modern Medusa.  However, I notice they are quick to warn that the call will not be sexual.  Why would they need to warn potential donors about this?

Now see...  it seems a bit strange that these women would put on skimpy bathing suits and pose on a beach for "men's rights" and offer a Skype call to high dollar donors.  But then they feel they must warn callers that they won't be putting up with any offensive sexual behavior.  That tells me that perhaps men and women still aren't as equal as we'd like to think they are.  If their project was for women's rights and they wore business suits in their calendar, would they feel the need to post the above warning (even though I know it doesn't matter what a woman is wearing)?  What does it say about their gender equality activism if they have to openly warn men they won't be putting up with perverts as they claim to fight for equal rights for everyone?

Anyway, if any of the Lovely Ladies happen to read this post, let me say that I think it's great that you recognize the gender disparity in legal issues.  I agree that the pendulum has swung pretty far in the opposite direction from what it used to be.  I can see that there is some unfairness when it comes to courtroom issues involving men and women.  I don't necessarily think it's wrong to campaign for equal rights for men, even if you're a woman.  However, I'm not sure selling sexy pin up calendars is the best way to promote a message for male empowerment.  It basically caters to the cheapest and easiest way to get attention and support and it also kind of highlights the reason why feminism is a thing in the first place.

When you strip down to make a point, especially about something like men's rights, you open yourself up to a lot of criticism.  A lot of the "feminist" based laws are put in place because, for so long, women have been treated like sex objects or simply property.  It's taken many years for women to have the right to vote, to work for a living, to be educated, and to be "free"-- as free as men are.  And yet, we still have campaigns like "#me too" on Facebook, because so many men are still treating women like conquests and showing them disrespect.  In that respect, I don't think making a swimsuit calendar really helps promote true gender equality or even raises awareness, even if the calendars fly off the shelves.  I'm not so sure the people who buy the calendars will be thinking about the issue being raised as they look at pictures of young, inked women in skimpy bathing suits.

Yes, sex sells, and in theory, I am for true gender equality, but I think there are better ways to advocate for that goal than selling sexy calendars.  Maybe I'm just an old fart, though.  Your mileage may vary.


  1. The whole premise sounds ever so slightly half-baked, but i would practically kill to have a name as cool as Stuttering Soliloquy.

    1. :D It is a pretty creative name. I'm sure you're smart enough to come up with something just as awesome.


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