The other day I had a friend over for dinner. Seeing as my 30th birthday is fast approaching (5 more days, what debauchery can I do while still under the guise of my 20s?) he brought over a cheeky birthday card (quite literally, a guy with nice bum cheeks on the front). It’s awesome that all my friends are so accepting of my delicious dirtiness – I am honoured to be THAT friend…HAHAHAHAHAHA! After we had laughed at it, he asked me where he should put it. He wanted to leave it out, but didn’t want me to ‘get in trouble’ with my attendants. We both reasoned that I am an adult, and should be able to do what I want. While this is true, I couldn’t help feeling awkward about it when it came to my attendants.
People talk about drugs all the time, most often unbeknownst to themselves. I’d wager however that if you were to ask a random person, whether they think they talk about drugs very often, they would most likely reply “no” or “not much”. My generalization is based on my own professional experiences delivering drug education and prevention programs with young people and adults. I talk to people on a daily basis about drugs, all types of drugs. In Ireland, as in many other places, illicit drug use carries huge stigma. When I begin a drug conversation, no matter whether it is with a young person or adult, invariably when I say drug … they think illicit. This reveals much about drug(s) as a social construct, and as word that is hugely value laden. Drug talk in Ireland is taboo, especially when talking about personal drug use or family drug use, and even more so when such drug use is illicit.
However, Irish people generally have no problem talking about a stranger’s illicit drug use. Nor for that matter do they have any difficulty in talking about alcohol, in fact many revel in it. It’s a regular occurrence to hear Irish people talk about being on a night out and how much alcohol they drank, and how drunk they were. Irish people have an exhaustive list of weird and wonderful words and phrases for being drunk – “hammered”, “squiffy”, “pissed”, “blotto-ed”, “skuttered”, “gee-eyed”, “bo-jangled”, “twisted”, “bolloxed”, “three sheets to the wind”, “langered”, “ossafied”, “lamped” and the list goes on! This is drug talk, yet very few Irish would consider it as such. This is because very few Irish would include alcohol in their construct of a drug.
My own PhD research is interested in Irish men’s views on men’s recreational use of illicit drugs, and how illicit recreational drug use contributes to the construction, display or maintenance of specific masculinities.
Finding the ‘Dude’ in My Disability: How being both Queer and Crippled has Re-constructed my Maleness and Masculinity20 Oct
Everybody thinks they know what it means to be a man. We all think we know that being a man means being strong, powerful and having an unforgiving sensuality that just won’t quit. We all know that being a man means you are the provider, the breadwinner, and you are self-reliant and sufficient, right? (I mean, c’mon, hasn’t every action/romantic comedy male lead been written this way for the past 50 years? Also, if I were to see a man like that in real-life, I would automatically fall to my knees. Do with that image what you like.) Imagine that, try as hard as you might, you were unable to meet the male milestones? How then would this shape who you are, and who everyone else thinks you should be?
By Aaron Sternlicht
I’ve never taken my shirt off at the beach. I’m barely comfortable looking at myself naked in front of a mirror; how would you expect me to be comfortable in front of another human being. I’ve been overweight for most of my life. At the age of 25 I found myself having to buy size 44 pants because I could no longer fit into my 42’s. I was incredibly insecure, self-conscious, had low self-esteem and had a tremendous amount of anxiety and depression that stemmed from my obesity. Tipping the scale at 280 pounds at 5 foot 10 inches, I had reached my breaking point. I had enough and was ready to finally do something about my problem. It was the first time in my life that I was determined to take back control of my body. I started to eat less, eat healthier and joined a gym. In less than a year I lost over 100 pounds. It has been over three years since I started my weight loss journey. I’ve maintained my goal weight and today healthy nutrition and regular exercise are staples in my life. In fact, physical fitness has become somewhat of a passion of mine.
But I still won’t be taking my shirt off at the beach.
I’m writing this blog post in my favorite coffee shop, wearing my favorite t-shirt. It was a gift from a friend of mine, but that’s not why it is my favorite. It’s my favorite because it says “This is what a feminist looks like,” allowing me to wear my ethics out into the world, and I feel like I make a tiny dent in misogynist culture every time I wear it. Wearing this shirt declares that feminism is for everybody and that men have a stake in feminism and gender equality, without having to actually say anything at all. I receive compliments pretty much every time I wear this shirt, and occasionally get into really wonderful conversations as well. Continue reading