Christie Blatchford: Toronto, City of Sissies

In a recent article published in The National Post writer Christie Blatchford declared Toronto a “City of Sissies” claiming that men in Toronto need “some toughening up”.

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/12/10/christie-blatchford-toronto-city-of-sissies/

This article is so disturbing it is hard to know where to start, so I will start with a list of…..The Top 10 Things I learned from Christie Blatchford:

  1. There is certain behavior that is appropriate for boys, and other behavior that is appropriate for girls.  Girls and boys may not interact with their peers in the same ways.  If they do, it may make Blatchford uncomfortable.  This is to be avoided at all costs.
  2. These rules for gender appropriate behavior appear to be based on 1950’s era stereotypes which (as many of us had already figured out) are extremely limiting for all genders.
  3. Permissible behavior for boys does not include hugging other boys.  It is inappropriate for males to express feelings of goodwill towards other males through hugs.  It is, however, permissible for boys to fight other boys, as evidenced by Blatchford’s recommendation that kids resist bullying by taking “the bully out for a short pounding after school”.  This endorsement of violence is particularly disturbing considering the fact that the largest group of victims of violence perpetrated by men are other men.  So men hitting other men is okay, but men hugging other men is not okay.  Got it.
  4. One reason why hugs are appalling to Blatchford is because she is “just plain sick of hugs, giving and getting, from just about anyone, but particularly man-to-man hugs”.  Which leaves me wondering when, as a woman, Blatchford ever gave or received a “man-to-man” hug?  I’m assuming never.  So she is not concerned with her own actions, but rather very concerned with what some men are doing with some other men.  Hmm, is it just me or is this suspiciously close to ideas of surveillance of same gender relations which have historically been used, and continue to be used, to oppress queer populations?
  5. There is only one way to be a boy or man.  This one permitted way involves: injuring other humans and animals, acting like children, playing sports, and kissing but not hugging.  This list is both limiting and inaccurate.  It is also not clear about who a man is encouraged to kiss but not hug.  Was the problem that these 12 year olds weren’t slipping each other enough tongue for Blatchford’s liking?
  6. While men do have feelings, it is not permissible for them to express such feelings.  If they must, they may note that a certain feeling is present, but may give no further description.  This is of course very helpful, particularly if one has the psychic ability to read another’s thoughts.
  7. The only exception to the no hug rule for men is if said men are involved romantically with other men, in which case they are to be “adored as a group”.  Because all gay men are all the same, and thus can be categorized into one group.  In turn one can choose to “adore” said group.  Or, presumably, to hate them.
  8.  “Anti-bullying messages, gay-positive education, recognition assemblies and social justice” are not “actual education”.  Any such education, which could potentially open students’ minds, cause them to question the world around them, or motivate them to take action, should be rejected in favour of more practical education that will be useful in real life, such as Advanced Trigonometry and Ancient Greek.
  9. This is not “a veiled anti-gay message”.  Uh, ok.  This is sort of like when someone says “no offense”, and then says something terribly offensive and expects a pass.  To be fair, this message is not only anti-gay, it is also sexist and transphobic.  Blatchford is also entirely ignorant of how male-to-male hugging may be interpreted in any cultures other than her own rich white one.
  10. Blatchford, in all seriousness, actually expects readers to share this article with their male children.  The idea that people may indoctrinate their children with this garbage is perhaps the most disturbing part of all.  In Blatchford’s own words, I am “mortified and appalled”.

So, that’s what I think.  What do you guys think about this article? 

J.

P.S.  Here’s another response I came across that I really liked:

http://thesepamphleteers.blogspot.com/2011/12/christie-blatchford-and-mystery-of.html

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About teachtoronto

Teens Educating and Confronting Homophobia (T.E.A.C.H.) is a peer-to-peer anti-homophobia program based out of Planned Parenthood Toronto. We train people between the ages of 16 and 23, of all sexual orientations and gender identities, to facilitate interactive workshops on homophobia. T.E.A.C.H. facilitates workshops in schools and community settings across the City of Toronto, talking to over 4000 youth every year! Unfortunately people who we don't get a chance to facilitate workshops with are still experiencing homophobia on a daily basis. Even in Toronto there are a lot of people who we don't have the chance to meet. This blog is a chance to answer questions, share information, tell our stories and hear yours.
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