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Wednesday Reads: Back From Vacation Mega Link Dump!

Happy Wednesday Readers! The Hellions and family are back from a week in Maine. We stayed in a lovely cabin on the western edge of Mt. Desert Island and had a wonderful time. Our rental cabins were once the summer vacation residence of Benjamin Welles , biographer and journalist and son of Sumner Welles, a former Undersecretary of State in the FDR Administration, so the cabins were chock full of little mementos, letters and photographs from their fascinating lives. It was a bit like spending your vacation in a time capsule or history museum. We woke up to the sounds of the ocean every morning… at 5:00 AM because Maine gets up hella early! Now lets get to them links!

I was astonished and fascinated to read about this isolated Dominican Republic community where little girls turn into boys around age 12…

The rare genetic disorder occurs because of a missing enzyme which prevents the production of a specific form of the male sex hormone – dihydro-testosterone – in the womb.

All babies in the womb, whether male or female, have internal glands known as gonads and a small bump between their legs called a tubercle. At around eight weeks, male babies who carry the Y chromosome start to produce dihydro-testosterone in large amounts, which turns the tubercle into a penis. For females, the tubercle becomes a clitoris.

But some male babies are missing the enzyme 5-α-reductase which triggers the hormone surge, so they appear to be born female with no testes and what appears to be a vagina. It is not until puberty, when another huge surge of testosterone is produced, that the male reproductive organs emerge. What should have happened in the womb happens around 12 years later. Their voices deepen and they finally grow a penis.

Netflix has a new series called “Atypical”,  about an autistic teen played by Keir Gilchrist. It is getting awful reviews. They look well deserved…

As I watched the series with Gilchrist’s sentiment in mind, I recalled an observation by autistic actor Mickey Rowe who said about “Atypical” that “while exposure is great, if the creative team does not have leadership from the community they will inevitably misrepresent it.”

We need to be better at letting people feel things…

Teen Vogue continues to fight the good fight, first by featuring  two Planned Parenthood videos explaining abortions, both chemical and in clinic, to young people.  Then they provide unapologetic pushback against recent waffling on abortion rights by Democrats trying to retake the House…

“There is not a litmus test for Democratic candidates,” he (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Ben Ray Luján, ) told The Hill. “As we look at candidates across the country, you need to make sure you have candidates that fit the district, that can win in these districts across America.”

Luján’s position marks a betrayal of every woman who has ever supported the Democratic Party, and a rejection of the progressive values that supposedly define it. Being pro-choice is not a “requirement” of being a Democrat, but valuing equality ought to be, and true equality is impossible without abortion access. A win for a Democrat who opposes abortion rights is a loss for human rights. Honestly, if that’s the plan, maybe we should just scrap the two-party system and do a Democrat–Republican combo ticket. Tentative title: The White Supremacist Patriarchy.

A quick trip through the Grounded Parents Vault will show that we here at GP have our minds made up about corporal punishment, whether at school or at home. Which is why this report is so alarming, as a school district in Texas has voted to reinstate paddling as punishment. 

Speaking of school, Suzanne Calulu at the home of the ex-Quiverfull Movement No Longer Quivering takes on a pernicious myth amongst homeschooling parents, that somehow 20 minutes of homeschooling is equal to an hour of regular school. 

It is hard enough being single parent or a poor parent, but it is even worse when you find out that Children’s Services is using the foster care system as a way to punish parents, a burden that falls especially hard on minorities.

“It takes a lot as a public defender to be shocked, but these are the kinds of cases you hear attorneys screaming about in the hall,” said Scott Hechinger, a lawyer at Brooklyn Defender Services. “There’s this judgment that these mothers don’t have the ability to make decisions about their kids, and in that, society both infantilizes them and holds them to superhuman standards. In another community, your kid’s found outside looking for you because you’re in the bathtub, it’s ‘Oh, my God’” — a story to tell later, he said. “In a poor community, it’s called endangering the welfare of your child.”

Kotaku tells us all about how the creators of the dating simulator Dream Daddy  avoided turning homosexuality into a joke. 

I Have to Keep a Neat House Because Clutter Triggers My Anxiety… I feel you Scarymommy… I feel you.

Our society discourages boys from continuing the kind of deep emotional connections they make with other boys as they grow up, and we are starting to understand the devastating impact that can have on the men they become as men in America suffer an epidemic of loneliness.  

In America, men perform masculinity within a narrow set of cultural rules often called the Man Box. Charlie Glickman explains it beautifully here. One of the central tenets of the man box is the subjugation of women and by extension, all things feminine. Since we Americans hold emotional connection as a female trait, we reject it in our boys, demanding that they “man up” and adopt a strict regimen of emotional independence, even isolation as proof they are real men. Behind the drumbeat message that real men are stoic and detached, is the brutal fist of homophobia, ready to crush any boy who might show too much of the wrong kind of emotions.

And so, by late adolescence, boys declare over and over “no homo” following any intimate statement about their friends.

And so, there it is, the smoking gun, the toxic poison that is leading to the life killing epidemic of loneliness for men, (and by extension, women,) look no further. It’s right there: “no homo.”

And finally, have you seen the new short film “In a Heartbeat”?   It’s wonderful… and you can see it here because we live in the future…

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Lou Doench

Lou Doench

Lou Doench is a 48 year old father of three. Twelve years ago he married the coolest woman in the world and gave up the lucrative career of being a photography student to become a stay at home husband and Dad, or SAHD. An atheist geek, or a geeky atheist if you prefer, Lou likes reading, photography, video gaming, disc golf, baseball and Dr. Who. He has been playing Dungeons and Dragons since 1976. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is also an excellent home cook, not that his children would know because they only eat Mac & Cheese. Follow Lou on Twitter @blotzphoto or check out his photography at www.flickr.com/photos/blotz/

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