A Bunch-O-Links And A Story

[This post of Rachel’s was “lost” in the recent change of hosts, so I’m reposting it. –Amp]

Amp asked me if I would put up the Bunch-O-Links from Rachel’s Tavern over here, so I’m putting them up with a funny little story to tell you about. I’ll put up the story first, and the links second.

Men Don’t Cry??

So last year at about this time my stepson was at our house for a few weeks. At the time he was 5, and it was just before he started kindergarten. He doesn’t see us often, usually only a few weeks in the summer, so needless to say, he was a little nervous to be away from his Mommy. One day after he finished talking to his mother, I though he was unusually quiet so I walked into his room to find him teary eyed on the bed. I asked him what was wrong, and he started to sob uncontrollably. In between the heaves, I was able to get out of him that he was worried about his Mommy. My partner was really troubled by Branden’s crying, and after hugging him, the only thing he (my partner) could muster was “Branden, men don’t cry, and you and Daddy are men.”

Now, I’m pissed about this because this men don’t cry stuff is a crock of crap to me, so I look over Branden’s shoulder and give Daddy the WTF stare, followed by an audible “that’s not true.” As Branden gets calms down, I’m getting more fired up. I have a long discussion with my partner (away from Branden) about how a 5 year old is not a man, there’s nothing wrong with men crying, and what the hell is he trying to teach him. (Of course, I should note that my partner is very troubled by the fact that he doesn’t see his son often, and I think he sometimes says or does irrational things because of that, which would be great for another discussion.) After this point, on several occasions, I tell Branden and Daddy that men do cry, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

So about two weeks later Branden and I are walking down the hall, and Branden says, “Rachel, do you remember what Daddy said the other day?”

I said, “What did he say?”

Branden replies, “He said men don get angry?”

I start laughing hysterically. “Yeah, Branden. He said men don’t get angry.”

I didn’t take the time to tell him that men could get angry too, mainly because I thought Branden’s interpretation was hilarious, and I admittedly like statements that defy stereotypes. I also wondered how our world would be different if we said men don’t get angry, rather than men don’t cry.

Here’s the Bunch-O-Links

1. Changeseeker has a really good post discussing transracial identities.

2. Vegan Kid has a good post on Halle Berry’s reaction and the BBC’s inaction over racist comments a DJ made during an interview.

3. Gil at Lucky White Girl asks why we can’t know the corporate sponsors of politicians, NASCAR style.

4. A new book claims that mixed race people are superior? See more over at Mixed Media Watch.

5. An advice columnist admonishes a childless couple to change their mind about having kids. Republic of T and Feministe are talking about it.

6. Thespian CPA has a good post on the impacts of Black minstrel performers.

7. Women’s Rights Protesters Attacked in Iran. Here are several posts: Kash’s Newsroom, Iranian Truth (good list of the protesters goals/demands), Kosoof (has some good pictures, with writing mostly in Farsi but also a little English).

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19 Responses to A Bunch-O-Links And A Story

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  4. 4
    Daran says:

    I also wondered how our world would be different if we said men don’t get angry, rather than men don’t cry.

    Do you think it would be a better world?

  5. 5
    steven.h says:

    We need emotions. It is a necessary part of our sanity.

  6. 6
    Rachel S. says:

    Do you think it would be a better world?

    That’s a good question. I’m all for letting people express themselves whether it is saddness anger. I wonder if we’d have fewer wars??

    It’s just interesting to me that there is this paradox….anger seems to be the emotion that men have the greatest permission to show, and sadness is the emotion they have the lest permission to show (And, women are in the opposite situation–anger is the one emotion we have the least permission to show.)

  7. 7
    RonF says:

    Well, it seems some original posts of mine were lost here. With regards to the concepts of corporate sponsorship of politicians, here are my proposals:

    Politicians who accepts more than, say, 10% of their total campaign contributions from corporations (whether for- or not-for-profit) should have to wear, while on camera, stickers bearing the logos of those corporations, with the size proportional to the total contribution received from that corporation.

    Politicians who accept more than $50,000 from any given corporation should have to have that corporation’s logo tattooed on their face, neck, or hands.

    Politicians who accept more than $1,000,000 from corporations in total should have their government pensions revoked. The corporations who made the donation should be required to provide that politician with a pension, and the expense of that pension must not be tax-deductible for that corporation.

  8. 8
    RonF says:

    I’m of the persuasion that Real Men Do Cry, when the occasion calls for it. The most recent occasions for me were a couple of years ago, when speaking to the assembled families and friends involved in our Scout Troop at my son’s Eagle Court of Honor, and a few weeks ago when we were making a decision (that happily worked out differently) to put in a DNR order for my father.

    I have done no reading on the topic, so I’m simply going to put a hypothesis out here and see what everyone thinks. Men have traditionally have been the ones to make the crisis decisions and actions for themselves and their families, and to deal with the outer world in general. Did the “men don’t cry” concept come about so as to ensure that they would at least not make the appearance of making decisions based on emotions rather than facts?

  9. 9
    Robert says:

    Emotions lead to good decisions when you don’t have power. They lead to bad decisions when you do.

  10. 10
    Sarah says:

    But it’s not really a question of whether emotions are good or bad. We all have emotions whether we like it or not. The only issue is whether we can express and deal with them in a healthy way.

  11. 11
    ms_xeno says:

    Emotions lead to good decisions when you don’t have power. They lead to bad decisions when you do.

    Anyone got a spare babelfish to lend ? Mine doesn’t seem to be functioning just now…

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  13. 12
    Jane Doe says:

    I wrote this reply when you were having trouble with the site and could not post it. Rereading it now it reads much more critically than I intend but I don’t have time to rewrite it. I hope you will catch the drift of where I am trying to go without being offended as I mean none.

    I wish I could access some of the other links on this site before I comment so that if some of the questions I have could be skipped if they have already been answered elsewhere. Hence if I’m covering old territory, please correct me.

    My biggest question is why does your partner only see his son, his 5-year-old son?? for only a “few weeks” a year? I don’t mean to get into a subject that is too personal to discuss but you did post this is in a blog, so I’m assuming you don’t mind the questions. I would, of course, understand your answer being that you don’t wish to discuss the private details of your life. However you did also mention that you have some concerns about the motivation and nature of your partner’s, as you term him (I mean no disrespect simply to begin to clarify terms), behavior toward his son and how it may be affected by his limited visitation.

    he sometimes says or does irrational things because of that

    I am going to assume for now that you, Rachael, are a woman living (hence the use of the word partner because you are not married to this man? but have begun to build a life with him?) with a man who has a child by another women from a previous relationship? Was this man married to the other women and is now divorced from her or was the relationship of a different nature? Again, I’m not trying to pry into personal information but being an unusual stepparent myself, I am always curious how parents get so far estranged from their children so quickly. My short comment to the question you posed about whether this distance might affect this father’s relationship with his child and how he chooses to communicate with his child, would be PROFOUNDLY!!!!!

    I would like to continue this discussion, if you are interested. I await your post. And the site getting back to normal:>))

    acupofjane (at) gmail (dot) com

  14. 13
    DJ says:

    The whole, “Little boys don’t cry” subject is an interesting one that has got me thinking. I have always been a advocate of the idea that telling boy’s that they shouldn’t cry only leads to emotional harm in the future, with many men never finding the environment that they feel it is appropriate to shed a tear.

    So I have looked in to the subject slightly, (not flat out research)

    I have found differing opinions on the subject:

    You have those like the author of this post that feels there could be a link to male anger and violence.

    There are those like Robert above, who identify that emotion can sometime cloud decisions and lead to bad judgements. What use too a government is there for a male population that may have to go to war to defend the country that may not be able to handle the realities of War.

    I have read those that feel that it is not men that have the problem but women. That women are allowed to be indulgent with crying, I think the term used was Emotionally Incontinent. I think that this can be witnessed on the current UK version of Big Brother, where you have a housemate called Nicky, who cries at the slightest thing, and use’s her tears as a form of emotional black mail against those around her. Funny that it is only the women in the house that spot this.

    This leads on to the other thing I read that stated that because men only cry when they have a large emotional crisis, they relate that to every time a women cries, thinking that the problem is worse than it may be, as it takes a lot to make them cry, therefore they are likely to give in to the wishes of the person crying in order to elevate their pain.

    So I have moved slightly form my original position on the matter, I think there is a middle ground. Boys need to be made aware that crying is not a sign of weakness, but is a very important emotional release. Whilst at the same time working with young girls in order to help them control their crying in a constructive way, so that it does not harm their lives and so the will not be viewed as emotionally weak.

    Very disjointed sorry, this is more a stream of consciousness from a guy, who at the height of an anxiety condition was unable to shed a tear, no matter how bad I felt!


  15. 14
    Rachel S. says:

    Jane Doe,
    We are married, and he was married to his child’s mother. B’s mother has a job that requires her to move long distances every two years. She has had custody from the beginning, and technically my partner has Sat. and Wed. night, but when the child is 1000 or 200 miles away that doesn’t work. The mother also does not want him to see the child; she has changed addresses repeatedly without providing any information to the father. We fought about this in court, but unfortunately, we need about 20,000 dollars (that we don’t have to hire an attorney), not to mention the expense of traveling to court appearances. So right now we are in a holding pattern, hoping that his mother will come to her senses; we probably won’t even see B this summer. It is a really sad state of affairs.

  16. 15
    Curious says:

    Why am I not surprised at some things that others are curious about? ;)

    BTW, are “children = property” (eg. vacation homes) to be ‘time-shared’?

  17. 16
    Jane Doe says:

    Ouch. Awful position to be in for everyone involved really. I am in Texas so our state laws may be radically different but if your husband has a custody order from a judge granting him visitation, there should be no need to go back to court. You should be able to take the order to the police station and then show up at her house and leave with the child. A drastic step, I know but worth it in order to make sure your stepson has the time he needs with his father. Usually it only has to be done once so that the other parent is made aware how serious the non-custodial parent is about ensuring that the child spends the time he needs with both parents. I’ve found that once you’ve shown how serious you are about not allowing the custodial parent to deny you visitation, it’s rarely necessary again.

    My husband’s old custody order changed the visitation the minute his child’s mother moved their daughter more than 150 miles away from 1st, 3rd, 5th and Wed to one weekend a month but a much longer time during the summer—42 days I think. Usually the weekend would coincide with holidays like Labor Day etc. so we would get a three or four day weekend. While it would be expensive to fly every month, every other month would not be impossible to save for and when she is as close as 200 miles the drive is easy. (Or was that supposed to read 2 thousand?–still not impossible but you’ll have to get to know the police over the phone)

    When M (my stepdaughter) was little and her mother was “disappearing” we started lining up private detectives. Thankfully we never had to hire one because we knew all the people she went to (her family members) and were able to keep tabs on her that way. Could he get in tough with any of her family and talk to them about the situation? Play up that you just want to see and talk with B. They maybe able at least to keep you informed of where the child is. When he starts school, it should be even easier. She won’t be able to move so much and your husband will have every right to get info from the school about him. We waited for the right time and basically “stole” custody. Not really but an attorney friend filed temporary emergency orders to get a new hearing when we knew M’s mother would be unable to come to it. (She only charged us $1500.) M’s mother wasn’t there and custody changed permanently to my husband. We’ve had custody for 7 years now.

    If you don’t know where she is, find out and then hammer her constantly with certified letters for not keeping her address up to date with you and the court. Most people live “on the grid” and are a lot easier to track down if you are willing to spend a little money and time. Your husband should have her social security number from old tax returns or the custody order. Socials are another very hard thing to dodge. Also does he have any old credit card numbers she still may be using? I would bet you could find her for less than $500. Also is he paying child support? She has to have a compelling reason to keep her address secret (like prior abuse). It doesn’t cost anything to write a letter to the judge asking for the address the last check was paid to because she is refusing to notify you of the child’s whereabouts. You’d be surprised at how much you can get done with letters and phone calls. I’d also contact the county where the case is and find out what the rules on arbitration are. Often you can drag her to arbitration without an attorney, at little cost to you. Also it’s old advice everyone in these sorts of cases has heard before but keep records of everything. I would begin by getting your husband to try to stay in regular contact through mail and phone calls. Send cards RRR often. Even if some of them come back unopened, you’ll have a record of her denying you contact. Record disconnected numbers and phone calls. One of the best investments we made was a tape recorder to record phone calls. Send copies of the things you are doing to the court. Regular reports of an inability to stay in contact with the boy might move a judge to action without the need for you to hire a lawyer.

    I have found that dealing with ex-spouses and mutual children is not only a part-time job but when hostile it’s more like a cold war. Strategy and one small battle at time is how to win a war. This is for B’s life. Most mental health professionals believe it is vitally important for children to have a strong relationship with both of their parents. It is your husband’s responsibility to everything in his power to increase the contact with his son. He son needs to know he is doing everything he can to be with him, especially as he gets older. Forget $20,000 and a custody battle. Keep the pressure up now so that when the boy gets a little older there is no battle. Be ready to file pro se if you have to when the boy is old enough to speak for himself—a mere 5 –7 years away. In Texas, a child who wants to live with a different parent has a great deal of sway with a judge.

    I’m a bit taken aback by your tone. Is your comment directed at me? I certainly DO NOT believe that children are anyone’s “property.” In fact I have advocated for children’s rights for a long time (not only my own family’s) but through volunteer work for all children.

  18. 17
    Curious says:

    No it was not directed towards you. I simply do not think that adults should create the custody situation in the first place. It complicates the life of the child and that is highly unacceptible. Do you believe in a child’s right to a simple life? I do so, and I do think adults need to be careful and need to put their children before their own issues (or not have them in the first place). Apparently, some today’s parents do have a commodity perspective on children, even when they don’t notice it.

    BTW, you miss understood my question – I was not talking of children as property in the sense of ‘owning’ them, rather ‘time-sharing’ them on and off. It is sad that even that is not done properly and people try to avoid their partners (in creating the child) altogether, robbing the child of a biological parent (or whats left of it).

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