Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Learning to Listen

It is so sickening and sad to me that Cassie Jaye's documentary "The Red Pill", which simply focuses on men's voices and issues that affect boys and men (whereas her previous works had focused on women's and LGBT issues), is being protested and petitioned by a small but vocal group of feminists worldwide, to get it banned from theaters, college campuses, and even Netflix.

And that is precisely the problem with "Third Wave Feminism", and precisely the reasons that she herself left behind the "Feminist" label. The very fact that these people DON'T want to listen to other people's voices, to listen to other people's pain, and fears, and issues. They, to borrow their own rhetoric, make it "About Them", when, surprisingly, it's NOT always about them. They have tried to label her documentary problematic and "Misogynist", when it is not even remotely so. How is a film acknowledging that men's issues matter too, and that EVERYONE'S stories and voices should be heard, "Misogynist"? Cassie has been attacked, belittled and ostracized by many of these types, simply for saying something that is outside of their precious little bubble.

That is my problem with modern Feminism. I don't identity as a so-called "Men's Rights Activist", any more than I identify as a Feminist. Both DO have valid points, buried within the overall often ridiculous nature of their movements. But those points get lost in the fog, so to speak, because, as I am often fond of saying, "Everyone has something to say, but few truly want to listen". And that is precisely her point: that people need to LISTEN, not just talk. Often, people are offended or outraged, because they're not actually LISTENING or paying attention to what is being said or what's actually going on. They already have a narrow, hard-wired mindset, and they go into every situation waiting for things to conform to their viewpoint, or as she states, "Waiting to be offended".

She knows this because she used to do it, she used to hear things that weren't actually being said, read between lines when there was nothing actually there. All because she already had her mind made up on what was what, and didn't want to LISTEN to what people actually had to say. She had to stop and think to herself, to look at WHY it was she was getting offended or hearing things that weren't actually being said. And I know a bit about this, because that is something I've caught myself doing all too often as well. But now she listens, and so now she gets attacked by so-called "progressive and open minded" feminists, for breaking their narrative, and ACTUALLY being open-minded and compassionate. 

So I say, bless her. I wish there were more people like her in the world, of either gender, of ANY background or walk of life. The internet age is a self-involved, close-minded, entitled, knee-jerk reaction culture. People don't want to bother doing research, or looking closer into things, or just simply listening to someone else. They want to take the bare minimum amount of information, such as, for example, a blurb or headline that they see on Facebook or Twitter, and they want to run with it, having a knee-jerk reaction, without knowing what's actually going on, or why they're upset.

Mind you, there is a LOT in this world to get upset over, or be outraged about. But that only makes it all the more ridiculous that people waste their time going around LOOKING for things to be offended about, to be outraged over. We live in a very toxic, angry, paranoid culture, and it's getting worse, not better. In many ways, our so-called "connected age", where people are supposed to be more "connected" than ever, to news, to information, to other people, to the world, is actually making humanity MORE disconnected from the world around them, and from each other, than any other time in human history. Quite frankly, one truth that applies to ANYONE, regardless of their background or beliefs, is that if your views, or your movement, cannot stand up to differing ideas, or scrutiny, or criticism, then those beliefs may not be all that worth it in the first place.

And it's actually quite mind-boggling when you take the time to stop and realize that Cassie Jaye, in her very simply stated estimation, is absolutely correct. It all starts with Listening. So many of our problems, from the personal level, to the global, could be cured by people just fucking listening to each other, really hearing, really communicating. We all need to strive to be better about this, or else we, as a human race, are not going to last.


Below is part of a very powerful and enlightening speech she gave, concerning the making of her documentary, and the metamorphosis she underwent while making it. This speech is powerful and heartfelt, and quite frankly, how I even discovered her in the first place. At the end, she imparted some incredibly brave, and enlightened words, that I think everyone, in this darkened age of ours, needs to not only hear, but take to heart.

We have to stop expecting to be offended. And instead we have to start truly, openly and sincerely listening. That will lead to a greater understanding of ourselves and others, having compassion for one another, working together towards solutions, because we are all in this together. And once we do that, we can finally start to heal, from the inside out.

But it has to start with listening." 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Nature of Human Athletics

There are articles online with people actually acting surprised that data shows that, on average, female athletes' top speeds/times/weight limits/etc., fall short of top male records.

How is this a surprise to anyone who pays even the slightest bit of attention to natural science, or just plain common sense? Males are, in MOST species not just humans, typically designed and built by Nature, on purpose, to be bigger, faster, stronger, and more durable than females of the same species. This has nothing to do with "Gender Equality", and everything to do with physiology and biology. In just about every single mammal species on the planet, males were designed by nature to be bigger and physically more powerful and capable. Why?

Well, in human beings specifically, because we are very much a pack creature. Males were obviously intended by Nature to be protectors, of their mates, their children, their families, even their greater communities. Females simply were not designed the same way, and thus they were also not hardwired for extreme physical activity. That isn't to say that women cannot be great athletes, obviously they can, and are. But it IS to say that, it is a simple, incredibly UN-sexist fact of Nature, that female humans are, on average, smaller and less physically powerful than males. Therefor, male athletes ARE always, naturally, going to be bigger, stronger, faster, etc.

So speed, strength, endurance, etc. records in athletics, are very likely, for scientific, NOT social reasons, going to be dominated by males. Because males were built by nature FOR athletic activities. This is why, quite frankly, you won't, and probably shouldn't, see women competing in the NFL, or NBA, etc. They have their own leagues for a specific reason: so that the playing field is even. No one should ever expect female athletes to "out-compete" males, nor want to. Female humans were designed and hardwired for different things, by nature, not society.

It really is as simple as that.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

A Few Thoughts on Being Fat

Take it from someone who is fat, there is no such thing as "health at any size". No self-respecting, professional doctor is going to tell you that being fat is "okay". They'll tell you your health is "normal" for your age and weight, as in you're not dying right that moment. But they're not going to tell you that you're "healthy". Because being fat, isn't healthy.

If your back, knees or other joints ache because of your weight? It's because you're too heavy. If you find yourself getting winded or sweating a lot doing even fairly simple activities? It's because you're too heavy. If you find that your mobility is difficult, and even limited? It's because your body is carrying too much weight.

Those are medical science facts. There is no open debate to have about fat being "healthy" or not. Our society is too image obsessed, yes. In that, I agree. People should not purely want to lose weight or get in better shape so they LOOK better. That is, quite frankly, shallow and dishonest. People shouldn't want to lose weight because they're worried about their so-called "image". They should want to lose weight and live healthier, so they can BE healthier. So they can get more out of their body, so they can physically FEEL better, health-wise, and so they can have a higher overall quality of life. And, not to put too fine a point on it, so that they can also, barring unforeseen events, have a LONGER life.

Being overweight and out of shape, especially considerably so, is NOT healthy, and it IS detrimental to your well being on pretty much every level. There is this pervading attitude that being overweight, even being obese, is "okay", and "I'm comfortable in my body". Well...that's great. But I hope you're also going to be comfortable with developing issues as you get older, such as diabetes, heart problems, respiratory problems, back and joint pain and issues, etc. etc. And it WILL only get worse and worse, the older you get. Your quality of life (meaning how you feel on a daily basis, and functional and healthy your body is), will go from bad, to outright shitty, the older you get. And, on average, you will NOT, in point of fact, live to a terribly "ripe old age".

I say these things because I have struggled with weight issues for a good half or so of my life. I was addressing them a couple years ago, with a far more active lifestyle and purposefully healthier diet, and it was bearing results. And then I basically relapsed, for a variety of reasons. But I am now close enough to where I was before I STARTED that change back in 2015, that I have basically lost most of the progress I had made. And thus, functionally, will now have to "start all over", which, at 35, will in fact be even harder than it was at 33. Especially without a gym membership.

I say these things, not to be "mean", nor to "trigger" anyone. But to do something that our society seems to be valuing less and less these days. I'm being honest. I'm being blunt, and I'm being real. So many people, especially younger people these days, seem to want to have life cater to them, to have everything sugar-coated, to have code-words and alternate phrases for everything, to have every blow softened and every harsh reality shielded. And frankly, THAT is unhealthy. It is mental. There is no cause nor value in going out of your way to shame or bully someone over something, especially something like weight and health. But there is also a world of difference between "shaming", and telling the stark truth.

And that, I think, is perhaps more dangerous than the epidemic of unhealthiness and obesity in our society. Is the growing, and rather disturbing, trend of people essentially shutting their eyes, putting their hands over their ears and humming, any time anything "too real" or "too painful" gets brought up. We are slipping into a society that actually tries to state that you CAN'T talk about weight, or race, or any other "hot button" topic, and certainly not if you don't fit into very specific categories yourself. There is this idea that you can't even have a CONVERSATION, open and honest, about serious issues anymore. Not, that is of course, unless you happen to share the other party's exact views on something.

And that kind of willful blind ignorance and cowardice is dangerous. More dangerous in it's own way, than open and willful bigotry. If intelligent, mature adults cannot have an open dialogue about ANY topic, then something is seriously wrong. There is a spreading mentality of wanting to be in "safe spaces", and to have everyone be in their own safe little bubble, where the only people they want to interact with, are people who share their own views and beliefs, basically a reciprocal-affirmation echo-chamber. And there is, I'm sorry to say, nothing terribly intelligent, or mature, about that. In fact it's rather ignorant, not to mention childish behavior.

It isn't fun being fat. It also isn't fun being told, or otherwise reminded, that you are out of shape and unhealthy. It sucks. But it's also reality. And intelligent, mature adults, who are truly "strong" people (and don't just pay token gestures to the word), can face reality, no matter how much it might be uncomfortable or inconvenient. If you're fat and unhealthy, you're fat and unhealthy. And if you're OKAY with that, well...then congratulations. But accept responsibility for how your quality of life will progress. Otherwise, face it head on, as I try to do, and need to re-double my efforts in doing, and do what needs to be done to get better. I often hear that certain people "can't help" being fat. And I'm sorry...that is utter bullshit. Even if you DO have some sort of "condition" that contributes to your weight, that doesn't mean that being active and eating/living better, won't help. Because it will.

And remember, it's not about image. Who gives a shit about image? It's about you, yourself, and your own quality of life. Me? I've been sick of being fat, and all the crappy health issues that come with it, for years. I 100% felt better when I was active and eating well, getting lighter. Our bodies were not meant to carry major excess weight. That is why, take it from personal experience, it quite literally feels BAD to be fat. It's your body going "ugh, DUDE, this is a heavy load! Lighten UP please!". Being overweight puts extra undue stress on your entire body, every single system, including your skeleton, and that stress becomes harder and harder for your body to bear over time. So who gives a shit about your image? The only thing that matters, is striving to be the best possible you, and not merely feeling better ABOUT yourself, but more importantly, feeling BETTER, period.