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Today is World Toilet Day

07-24-2013toiletday

I was going to write up something today about International Men’s Day, the me-too what-about-the-menz holiday that’s so meaningless that even Men’s Rights activists can barely remember to celebrate it. Do we really need a day to “celebrate [the] achievements and contributions” of men? Don’t we get quite a lot of that already? Do we need a day given over to “highlighting the discrimination against [men]” as if this is really a thing?

But then I discovered that today was also World Toilet Day, and realized it was probably more worthwhile to promote this event, as the lack of toilets and proper sanitation — a widespread problem in parts of the developing world, particularly in south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa — can have devastating public health consequences.

Some disturbing facts, from the UN, which I clipped from this CNN story:

  • 2.5 billion people — one in three people in the world — do not have a toilet or access to sustainable sanitation
  • Diarrheal diseases are the second most common cause of death in young children in developing countries
  • They kill more than HIV/AIDS, malaria and measles combined

Learn more at the official website. Also, Al Jazeera has a useful infographic.

And just a note to the MRAs who have somehow concluded from this post that I am comparing men or men’s issues to toilets (!?), let me try to make my point very clear: I am contrasting a sharply focused activist campaign aimed at a very real problem — lack of toilets and proper sanitation in large parts of the developing world — with large consequences — disease and death, of adults and children alike — with a badly thought out International Men’s Day that seems largely driven by jealousy that “women get a day so why can’t we have one too.”

How halfassed is International Men’s Day? Here’s a screenshot of the International Men’s Day website’s “resources” page.

resources

Generally speaking, you would expect a “resources” page to list facts and figures and possibly link to relevant other groups. All you get at the International Men’s Day site are some posters made from stock photos.

What I found on the site’s “about” page was much more troubling. The site was put online by a group called the Dads4Kids Fatherhood Foundation, working with the founder of International Men’s Day, Dr Jerome Teelucksingh. The Dads4Kids Fatherhood Foundation, as I discovered with a bit of Googling, turns out to be a virulently homophobic and transphobic organization that is also behind a site called Gendermatters.com. A quasi-manifesto on the site titled 21 Reasons Why Gender Matters asserts, among other things, that:

Transsexuality signals a deceptively fierce disorder. Elective castration, mastectomy, hysterectomy, etc., are futile non-solutions. The cruel, permanent disfigurement of so-called gender reassignment is not the answer. Transsexuals need psychological and spiritual insight that frees them to celebrate the chromosomes they received at conception.

So, yeah, a halfassed men’s “day” that’s associated with transphobic assholes. Not exactly a winning combination.

Look, if you’re concerned about making a difference in the lives of men, pick the issue that matters most to you, and work on that. If you want to increase funding for prostate cancer research, work on that. If you want to raise money to help male victims of domestic violence, work on that. Actually do the hard work of activism. Don’t just have yourself a “day” and pretend that it means something.

EDIT:  Rewrote part of the first paragraph and added all the stuff after the Al Jazeera link to clarify the point of this post, because clearly some people have missed the point entirely.

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Posted on November 19, 2013, in actual activism, all about the menz, announcements and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 680 Comments.

  1. My hairdresser still has an outhouse. Down the rickety steps and across the crappy path to a loo with water, but no light, so no closing the door.

    Still not exactly a sanitation issue, though; more like a Cheap Landlord issue.

  2. Argenti Aertheri

    Relatedly, how does one shit in a sandstorm?

    Also, worm toilets. (You pretty much need a plastic container, worms, and somewhere to shit, I’m not sure if the worms require other food, but any food scraps or such would work for that.)

  3. “Relatedly, how does one shit in a sandstorm?”

    Very carefully!

  4. I wouldn’t bother, Pecunium, she’s been put on moderation.

  5. @Pecunium

    I think it’s safe to say that Moma Sita wouldn’t take your criticism well or capitalize your name.

  6. Moma Sita: You know what I think, I think will write David and I don’t think he’ll be laughing. If his blog gets a rep for being dismissive of opinions and that he allows a group of cliquey trolls to go around censoring, bullying and dismissing anyone opinion that isn’t there’s I’m sure his blog wont be so esteemed. Being a journalist I’m sure he sympathizes with getting your voice out there and having it understood. You DO NOT get to dismiss people because of some bullshit about ‘creating the culture of the blog.’ You DO NOT OWN this blog. Peoples voice IS NOT less than yours because you’ve been here a year longer than others. Get over yourself.*

    The blog is Dave’s. The comment section isn’t really. It’s the joint property of those who inhabit it; suject to the nominal suzereinity of the owner of the blog. It’s clear that he pays a moderately active attention to it, and understand the nature of the community. That, my dear, is what you are dealing with, and why you are failing so miserably.

    It’s what makes the foolish, and unobservant, go off about “the hivemind”, and “claquish cliques”. Community happens, wherever people congregate, and some of the congregants here go back more than three years. There are rules, they are unwritten, but not unspoken. That you broke some, and are being called on it probably stings. To ignore them, and pretend you are somehow sovereign to them, and us, is a short road to ostracism.

    You have not PROVED that my post was racist. I have a right to my opinion and to defend it.

    Which won’t make it less racist.

  7. Alice: You know, I find it funny that I explained WHY the original statement was racist as hell, highlighting the problematic line and saying “dude, that’s why we’re telling you off”, and then Mona Sita yells at me for not “proving” she’s a racist. Reading: she sorely lacks.

    What, you think it would be possible to convince her of the racist aspects of that comment?

  8. Argenti: to shit in a sandstorm one faces into the wind.

    To pee one faces out of it.

  9. pecunium – I run on the assumption that people are reasonable. Unrealistic, yes, but it keeps me sane.

  10. kittehserf . . . that flight sounds much more horrible than my flight. At least my flight didn’t involve grandmothers throwing their grandchildren . . . yeeesh.

  11. grumpycatisagirl

    I meant to chime in on the earlier question about the vegan/vegetarian Thanksgiving menus . . . I am having to pre-Thanksgiving veggie dinners with other veggies – just came from a potluck for which I made vegan quiche with asparagus, beans, and walnuts.

    And, after I have my wisdom tooth out . . .

    Wednesday going to a veg restaurant with some friends – the restaurant does a “traditional” Thanksgiving menu with faux turkey (but I don’t know if I’ll actually order that).

    Thursday itself with non-vegetarian family during which I will ignore the turkey but enjoy the mashed potatoes, green beans and cranberries.

  12. So… Moma Cita is a person who has been paying attention to Manboobz for a little while (knows some of the in jokes), but has a rage boner of the OD on Viagra and Cialis sort.

    Which makes me think there is some animus. I also think it’s someone who has been away for a little bit, and didn’t expect to get the sort of response from people who weren’t the planned target of the attacks.

    It’s all sort of pathetic, and feels like Boston, or perhaps the one we had from India, who came back a couple of times.

  13. Is faux turkey decent stuff, grumpycat? Not that I’d be eating it (not keen on turkey anyway, and vegetarian alternatives or faux meat really aren’t a thing where I live – ie. my suburb) but I’m curious to know if it’s any good.

    That flight to London would have sucked even if Ghastly Granny hadn’t been there. Our lovely cat Thomas was at the vet and it turned out he had malignant cancer. We didn’t even get to say goodbye to him, we had to give the okay from London, by fax, for him to be put to sleep.

  14. Pecunium – yeah, she’d been posting here, not very often, but for a few weeks, under that name. Then came the “am I the only person who doesn’t care about rapists being raped” comment, which got plenty of pushback, and then she has this monumental meltdown.

  15. I think she was hoping that we could all be made to turn on each other by criticizing some and praising others. The fact that the divide and conquer thing wasn’t going to work seems to have come as an unpleasant surprise.

  16. Ah… I see Dave asked us to drop it. Sorry, it’s what I get for working my way forward.

    Re dinners. We are going to the beloved’s parents. Which means turkey, and stuff. Kosher, so the flavors are different.

    I may make some small mince pies for myself. I am partial to them; sadly the beloved is presently not allowed wheat, so I can’t make a pudding for Christmas (which will be done away as well). Mostly I’ve had trad American, though the odd Dobos torte has made it’s appearance.

  17. Honestly faux turkey tastes no different from real turkey to me but it’s been so long since I had decent turkey I’m probably totally wrong about that.

    I have no great nostalgia for the taste of turkey myself but I’ll eat soy “turkey” without complaint. I’ll also eat something else instead without complaint, though.

  18. grumpycatisagirl

    And that’s so sad about your kitty, kitteh. :( It must have been terrible to be so far away from him at that time.

  19. I recall the, “I don’t give a shit”. I half think that was deliberate. I’m pretty sure there is an underlying grudge, and they knew that would make people moderately antagonistic.

    I also suspect they hoped to make the older regulars (the actual target of their ire) look like assholes, and hoped the newer members of the community would tell the older one’s to be a bit more tolerant.

    That they didn’t understand the dynamics, well that’s probably why they were carrying a grudge.

    Brooked, I think my name would have been capitalised out of perversity; since it’s not in my screen name.

  20. And now I ought to try to sleep, as I have a full day at work tomorrow (retail, selling cookware, the crazy season starts tomorrow. It’s not “Black Friday” I dread, but “Freakout Wednesday” when all the people who have company on the way discover they’ve lost something (like the roasting pan), and MUST HAVE IT NOW!!!!!!!!!!

  21. grumpycatisagirl

    Did I just say it’s been so long since I had “decent” turkey?? LOL. What the heck was that adjective doing in my sentence. It’s been so long since I had TURKEY at all. Describing meat as “decent” is just a weird thing for me to do since meat is not something I even consider edible.

    I think I need to go to bed.

  22. Question. How do you guys prepare tofu?

    I’ve been thinking of trying tofu again; the last time I tried, it was a disaster, but I want to learn how to cook it. Preferably, I’d want some vegetarian recipies, because I’m trying to eat healthier (plus, I want to have the tofu stand out).

  23. I’m sorry about your kitty, kittehs. :(

  24. It was, grumpycat. He came in the day he was meant to go to the cattery (we were going to be away about six weeks) with a whopping big lump on his neck. We thought it was an abscess – Tom was a burly boy with thick fur, so easy to miss. But it wasn’t, it was a tumour that had blown up really fast. Malignant, and in among the arteries, so there was nothing they could do to help him. He was only eight. That was the worst, with any of our kitties, and hurt the longest in memory.

    [short advertising feature ahead!]

    It was really only after I was in contact with Louis, and so with all the kitties who’ve passed over, that I could think of Tomtom without sadness.

    Thomas – this doesn’t show what a big boy he was/is!

  25. Alice, scrambled tofu is an easy dish to make and you have a lot of options with the vegetables and spices you want to use with it. Here is one recipe: http://vegetarian.about.com/od/tofurecipes/r/Easy-Tofu-Scramble.htm

  26. grumpycatisagirl

    Thomas is beautiful! I am glad you can think of him happily now. :)

  27. Argenti Aertheri

    Crazy season? Here I was just literally beaming with joy in the store today when I saw that it’s finally nut season! Mixed nuts for this mixed nut! (I have yet to meet a nut I didn’t like, though Brazilian nuts are a bit of work…but sooooo goooood)

    As for how to answer nature when nature is throwing sand about, that makes entirely too much sense.

    Kitteh — that sucks, big time.

    In other news, I’m probably going to be one big bruise tomorrow. It’s dry, I’m itchy, and I have a bad habit of scratching myself bruised. ARGHHHH SO ITCHY!!

    …it puts the lotion on its skin…

  28. Thanks, everyone!

    He is a lovely boy. Sweet natured but does. not. do. cuddles (let alone laps). Which is probably just as well given his size!

  29. Also, if anyone else is on an iDevice, does Safari crash on occassion when you load a page here? I was going to add a longer response, but then it crashed on me and I lost all of my work.

  30. Argenti Aertheri

    YES! Luckily I’ve had the mac out to work on the Borg anyways, so I just gave up trying.

    Speaking of which, the footer is on hold until I stop trying to claw my skin off.

  31. Argenti Aertheri

    MOISTURIZE ME!!!

  32. Okay, so not just me! I need to consider installing Chrome on this iDevice…

    BRB, going to bathe in gutter water.

  33. @Alice, I’ve long given up on Safari and gone with Firefox.

  34. Firefox over Safari, and definitely over Explorer.

  35. Argenti Aertheri

    Chrome — FF was giving pecunium issues earlier. And I prefer chrome myself (though, that’s in good part because of the developer tools)

  36. Argenti Aertheri

    It put the lotion on its skin, after a nice hot shower, and is now not trying to claw its skin off.

    Alice — Thank you for sparking the idea of moisturizing body wash before MOISTURIZE ME!

    Now that I can think straight, I have a footer to finish!

  37. For tofu, it doesn’t replace meat well. Sort of. In stir fries it can, but that’s when it’s in little cubes. It kinda tastes like egg whites.
    The fake meats are usually some other protein.

  38. Argenti, I also get reallyreallyreally dry skin in winter, to the point where I claw my legs bloody. This week, I started rubbing coconut oil all over. It absorbs really quickly (unlike bag balm), and has helped immensely. I might even make spring without adding new scars. About a tablespoon will do my whole body. (I use a soup spoon to dig it out of the jar, and I have a little left over on the spoon when I’m done.)

    Tofu: before I had to quit soy products, I found a recipe for soba noodle salad that included firm tofu, cubed, and marinated in teriyaki sauce. Which is to say, press the tofu to remove liquid, cube it, and toss it in teriyaki sauce while you assemble everything else, and then add it in. It would be pretty good stir-fried with broccoli or greens, too. Add some fresh garlic and ginger, which makes everything better, up to and including ice cream.

  39. I have to work on Thanksgiving, but we’re having a potluck at work (and having Thanksgiving on means having Xmas day off, which I’m cool with). And the way my MIL cooks, there will be leftovers forever.

    @Alice

    Also, if anyone else is on an iDevice, does Safari crash on occassion when you load a page here?

    Yes, all the time. Never mid-comment for me, though; it tends to happen sometime in the loading process.

    Tofu: I love it fried. You can slice it and dredge it in flour, and fry in olive or canola/rapeseed oil with a dash of sesame oil. You can marinate it in soy teriyaki or a blend of soy sauce, rice vinegar and sugar, then bake or fry it until the edges are crispy. You can pan fry it with spicy sauce, Korean style.

    Also:

  40. Bleh. I… am probably going to not be doing anything for Thanksgiving. Nowhere to go and nobody to do it with, you know? I’m probably just going to pretend it doesn’t exist; that seems to be the best thing for me. I’m just trying to survive till I’m in Cincinnati. Everything else is just days to burn.

  41. LBT, don’t respond if you don’t want to, but I’m curious. Does your system do in-system events? Or do the other members not really get excited about things like Thanksgiving?

    I’m with you on the “hunker down until you get through the bleh”. Winter’s hit me harder than usual this year, and my new years’ tropical vacation was cancelled, so I feel like I have nothing to look forward to. I had big plans to do Nano and edit before spring, but I can’t seem to bring myself to have the energy for anything besides work and keeping myself fed / hygienic.

  42. RE: Unimaginative

    *sigh* Honestly, the rest of my system is more festive than me. I’ve just been in a pretty crappy mental state, and I know it’s likely only going to get worse as December comes. It just seems easier not to play, you know? Though I do feel bad; we didn’t celebrate anything last year, and I felt bad not getting the kids Christmas presents. We just couldn’t do it then. I suppose we could this year. I dunno. It just seems so much effort to even try, y’know?

  43. I know EXACTLY how that feels. It sucks, and feeling guilty about feeling that way sucks even more. *offers good vibes*

  44. It’s okay. Just… bleh. I hate feeling like I have so little energy for anything. Even the shit that makes me feel better seems like so much effort!

    Bleh. Maybe I’ll feel better tomorrow, after a good night’s sleep covered in blankets. That sounds good.

  45. I for one think its a much more worthy way to spend the day bitching about men’s issues who that’s where it ends for most of them .Than 1/3 of the world living in feces and urine.

  46. ^ Try writing in English next time, it helps.

  47. ^ Try writing in English next time, it helps.

    Are you speaking to me ?

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