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Posted by Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Dr. Evangelos Katsioulis, M.D., M.Sc., M.A., Ph.D., works as a consultant psychiatrist and psychotherapist through online psychotherapy and counseling for Psycall. He earned an M.D., Medical Doctor Diploma (2000), M.Sc., Medical Research Technology (2003), M.A., Philosophy (2012), and Ph.D., Psychopharmacology (2015).

Dr. Katsioulis earned the best performance in the Cerebrals international contest (2009), best performance in the Cerebrals NVCP-R international contest (2003), best performance in physics for the national final exams in Greece (1993), and third place in the Maths national contest in Thessaloniki, Greece (1989).

Dr. Katsioulis scored some of the highest intelligence test scores (SD16) on international record with an IQ score of 205 on the NVCP-R [Rasch equated raw 49/54] in 2002. Dr. Katsioulis remains a member in over 60 high IQ societies. In addition, he is the president and founder of Anadeixi Academy of Abilities Assessment and World Intelligence Network (WIN), and OLYMPIQHELLIQCIVIQGRIQQIQIQIDGREEK high IQ societies.

Dr. Katsioulis writes articlesnovels, and quotes including screenplays – ELLHNAS.com (2008) and TI PEI (2009). Also, he contributed to the web advertisement-management of NAMANIC.com and the web development of Charing Cross Scheme in Psychiatry (2006), Charing Cross & St Mary’s Membership of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (2006), and Aristotle University of Thessaloniki – School of Medicine – General Biology Laboratory (2012). He lives in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, Greece.

Dr. Evangelos Katsioulis is a Greek friend and colleague through membership on the Advisory Board of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. Here is an interview with him, just for you, part 2.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What global problems do you consider most important at the moment? How would you solve them?

Dr. Evangelos KatsioulisIdentity crisis is the main global problem. People lost their identity, their orientation, their life quality standards. They don’t care about who they are, they develop personalities based on the mainstream trends, they play roles and they waste their lives in their attempts to adjust to what some few others expect from them and their lives.

People have neither time nor any intention to realize what life is about. They are born and live to become consistent and excellent workers, minor pieces of a giant puzzle for some few strong people’s entertainment purposes and benefits. Therefore, they don’t care about the quality of their lives, about other lives, about relationships and the society in general, about our children’s future.

It is indeed a pity, however it is a fact. Education could be helpful towards self-realization, awareness, knowledge, mental maturity, overcoming any external restrictions and limitations. As I usually say to my psychotherapy clients, the solution to any problem is to make a stop and one step back.

Jacobsen: Generally, many interacting systems operate in societies: political, economic, religious, corporate, educational, and so on. If you could build and run a society, how would you do it?

Katsioulis: I would say no more than what a great ancestor said 25 centuries ago. Plato suggested an ideal society based on the special abilities of the citizens. The most capable ones should be leading the society functions, the strongest ones should help with their physical powers, a meritocracy should be in place.

We should all contribute to the society well-functioning, if we intend to live in the society and benefit out of it. The definition of one’s prosperity should be defined only in the context of the society prosperity. If we act against our nest, how should this nest be beneficial, protective and supportive for us.

We often see people who have no other than marketing skills or powerful backgrounds to guide societies, decide about millions of people, control people’s future, when many capable and talented others live in the shadow. The most important element in any society is the citizen and people should realize their power.

There is no society without citizens, there are no rules without people to follow them. People can claim their right to live their ideal society.

Jacobsen: If you do consider a general moral, intellectual, spiritual, and emotional progression or development, how do you view development from the basic to most advanced levels at the individual and collective level?

Katsioulis: [This is covered above]

Original publication on www.in-sightjournal.com.


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Posted by The Conversation US


Mehrdokht Pournader, Macquarie Graduate School of Management

On July 14, Maryam Mirzakhani, Stanford professor of mathematics and the only female winner of the prestigious Fields Medal in Mathematics, died at the age of 40.

In just a few hours, her name, both in her native Farsi (#مریم میرزاخانی) and English (#maryammirzakhani), was trending on Twitter and Facebook. Most major news agencies were covering the news of her death as well as recounting her many achievements.

The grief was especially hard-hitting for a generation of younger academics like me who have always held Maryam as a role model whose example is helping redefine women’s status in science and especially mathematics.

The irony was that Maryam always tried to avoid the media’s spotlight. Her modesty and simplicity despite being the only woman to gain such high status in the world of mathematics – winning what’s often called the “Nobel Prize of math” – stood out to those who knew her.

Unfortunately, I did not get the chance to meet Maryam personally. But like many of my Iranian peers in academia, I looked to her example as proof that the world would welcome us and our scientific contributions no matter our skin color, nationality or religion.

As people around the globe grieve the loss of this talented mathematician, Maryam’s life stands as an inspiration for young girls and boys from all walks of life the world over.

Maryam Mirzakhani in her own words in a video by the Simons Foundation and the International Mathematical Union.

Steady advances of a hardworking genius

Despite her calm expression and warm smile, Maryam was a warrior. She and her family, alongside many other Iranians, lived through the hard economic and social transformations after the Iran revolution in 1979 and also survived the eight years of the Iran-Iraq war a few years after that.

Maryam originally wanted to be a writer, a passion of hers that never faded away even during her postgraduate studies. However, she found an even greater joy in how rewarding it felt to solve mathematical problems. As a student, she was the first female member of Iran’s national team to participate in the International Math Olympiad, and she won two gold medals in two consecutive years – still a record.

She received her bachelor’s degree from Sharif University of Technology in Iran and later a doctorate from Harvard. In 2014, Maryam was recognized with the Fields Medal, the highest-ranking award in mathematics, for her efforts in what’s known as hyperbolic geometry. Her work focused on curved surfaces – such as spheres or donut shapes – and how to understand their properties. Her achievements have applications in other fields of science including quantum field theory, engineering and material science, and could even influence theories around how our universe was born.

Maryam was a “hall of fame” all by herself. She modestly attributed her own success to her perseverance, hard work and patience. As she put it:

“The beauty of mathematics only shows itself to more patient followers.”

Unfortunately, when she was honored with the Fields Medal, she was already tackling her last challenge, the breast cancer that eventually killed her.

Who she was, not just what she did, matters

Maryam’s contributions to the field of mathematics will long be remembered. But just as important is her legacy as a role model.

Maryam was an Iranian, a woman and an immigrant to the United States. Unfortunately, these three words together raise red flags for some in Western countries, particularly in the U.S., in the time of Trump’s proposed travel ban.

Against all odds, Maryam’s talent was nurtured in Iran and later flourished in the U.S. Her successes discredit the xenophobic stereotypes that are encouraged by a politics of fear. Maryam defied expectations and rose above all the labels that make it easy to judge others who are not like “us.”

Maryam’s legend may continue to grow after her early death. Still only 20 percent of full-time math faculty at U.S. universities are women, according to a 2015 demographic survey of 213 departments by the American Mathematical Society. Research shows that stereotyped role models can influence whether people “see themselves” in certain STEM careers. The example of a woman who rose to the top of this still very male field may help inspire math’s next generation.

The ConversationIn the same way people think of Marie Curie or Jane Goodall as scientific pioneers, Maryam Mirzakhani will go down in history as a trailblazer as well as a mathematical genius.

Mehrdokht Pournader, Lecturer in Operations Management and Organizational Behavior, Macquarie Graduate School of Management

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.



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Posted by Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Dr. Evangelos Katsioulis, M.D., M.Sc., M.A., Ph.D., works as a consultant psychiatrist and psychotherapist through online psychotherapy and counseling for Psycall. He earned an M.D., Medical Doctor Diploma (2000), M.Sc., Medical Research Technology (2003), M.A., Philosophy (2012), and Ph.D., Psychopharmacology (2015).

Dr. Katsioulis earned the best performance in the Cerebrals international contest (2009), best performance in the Cerebrals NVCP-R international contest (2003), best performance in physics for the national final exams in Greece (1993), and third place in the Maths national contest in Thessaloniki, Greece (1989).

Dr. Katsioulis scored some of the highest intelligence test scores (SD16) on international record with an IQ score of 205 on the NVCP-R [Rasch equated raw 49/54] in 2002. Dr. Katsioulis remains a member in over 60 high IQ societies. In addition, he is the president and founder of Anadeixi Academy of Abilities Assessment and World Intelligence Network (WIN), and OLYMPIQHELLIQCIVIQGRIQQIQIQIDGREEK high IQ societies.

Dr. Katsioulis writes articlesnovels, and quotes including screenplays – ELLHNAS.com (2008) and TI PEI (2009). Also, he contributed to the web advertisement-management of NAMANIC.com and the web development of Charing Cross Scheme in Psychiatry (2006), Charing Cross & St Mary’s Membership of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (2006), and Aristotle University of Thessaloniki – School of Medicine – General Biology Laboratory (2012). He lives in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, Greece.

Dr. Evangelos Katsioulis is a Greek friend and colleague through membership on the Advisory Board of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. Here is an interview with him, just for you, part 1.

Scott Douglas JacobsenHow did you find developing from childhood through adolescence into young adulthood with extraordinary giftedness?  Did you know from an early age? What events provided others, and you, awareness of your high-level of ability?

Dr. Evangelos KatsioulisThank you for your question. Well, I didn’t have any forehead mark indicating that I have any special abilities, so my childhood was mainly full of activities that I enjoyed, such as reading literature, solving math, logical problems and puzzles, getting involved in discussions with adults and having rather many questions.

I can recall an instance that I was a little boy and I made a reasonable for me at that point assumption that given that the white sheep produce white milk, the black ones should produce cocoa milk. I should emphasize that I enjoyed more spending my time on my own instead of socializing, which lasted till my adolescence. Teachers’ feedback was positive and promising at all stages of my education.

At this point, I should mention that I am very grateful to my parents, both teachers of the Greek language, who provided me a variety of mental stimuli and a proper hosting setting for my interests. During my adolescence, I had a distinction in the national Math exams in 1990 and in the national Physics Final exams in 1993 among some thousands of participants.

I was successful to enter the School of Medicine on my first participation in the entrance exams in 1993 and I was one of only six successful candidates who sat for the exams for the first time.

Jacobsen: You scored some of the highest intelligence test scores on record, nationally and internationally.  In many cases, you scored the highest.  For some of your scores on these tests, I recommend readers to your website: katsioulis.com.

You competed in the Physics National Final Exams (Greece, 1993), Cerebrals NVCP-R international contest (2003), and the Cerebrals international contest (2009).  You earned the best performance in all three. In light of this, when did you find your first sense of community among fellow ultra-high ability individuals?

Katsioulis: Thank you for the impressive introduction to your readers. My ranking on the Physics National Final Exams is mainly the result of hard work and personal interest in Physics. Having scored quite well in some IQ tests and contests, I joined many High IQ Societies since 2001.

I noticed that there were some difficulties in their proper functioning minimizing interactivity and subsidizing creativity. Therefore, I took the initiative in 2001 to form a pioneer organization focused on promoting communication and enhancing productivity for the individuals with high cognitive abilities.

This organization is the World Intelligence Network, (http://IQsociety.org), standing as an international collective entity dedicated to foster and support High IQ Societies. Currently, 48 High IQ Societies are affiliated with WIN.

Furthermore, I formed 5 core High IQ Societies covering cognitive performances from the 1st to the 5th standard deviations above the mean (IQ 115 to IQ 175, sd 15), (QIQ, http://Q.IQsociety.org), (GRIQ, http://GR.IQsociety.org), (CIVIQ, http://CIV.IQsociety.org), (HELLIQ, http://HELL.IQsociety.org), (OLYMPIQ, http://OLYMP.IQsociety.org), one High IQ Society only for children and adolescents (IQID, http://Child.IQsociety.org) and one only for the Greek people (http://IQsociety.gr).

Last but not least, I started a Greek NGO about abilities, giftedness and high intelligence named Anadeixi (http://aaaa.gr).

Jacobsen: If you could, how would you change the educational systems of the world? In particular, how would you develop an educational system to provide for the needs of the gifted population?

Katsioulis: The development of a more personal, more accurate and proper educational system is one of the target goals of Anadeixi. I strongly believe that not even 2 different persons can have the exact same profiles, characteristics, needs, personalities, interests, abilities, backgrounds and goals.

Imagine the diversity and variety of the students’ profiles if you expand this hypothesis including all the students of any educational system. Any person is different from any other and should be treated as such.

It is rather an unfair, conforming generalization all of the students to participate in the exact same educational program. There should be an introductory level of the basic sciences offered to anyone and on top of this an additional specialized education program based on the personal needs and potencies of any of the participants.

Anyone should know how to read and write, to make simple math calculations and to have some basic awareness of history, geography and the rest main fields of knowledge. However, some of the students have specific preferences and interests and the educational system should take these into consideration and respond accordingly.

Regarding the structure of such an educational system, there could be a 2-dimensional. The horizontal axis may include all the special fields of science, knowledge and interests and the vertical axis may demonstrate the various levels of performance and awareness.

Thus, any participant can be allocated to the proper horizontal and vertical places based only on his interests, preferences, goals and current expertise and awareness. In such an educational system structure, there is no place for any age or other restrictions or limitations.

Original publication on www.in-sightjournal.com.


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Posted by Kevin Johnson

I have erectile dysfunction (ED). I’m 45 years old. I’ve been given a clean bill of health at least 5 times over the past three years. I’m with my second therapist in two years. I’m a fucking mess.

This is the worst thing that’s ever happened to me. More than once I’ve wished for something like cancer rather than deal with this. At least that has an official diagnosis with a roadmap and outline as to how to treat it. I’m aware of how stupid this sounds as I type it. Deep down I don’t mean it but it gives you a glance into just how bizarre and maddening ED is to contend with.

Those jokes made at the expense of the couple holding hands while lounging in individual bath tubs are no longer funny. I get physically ill when I hear “If you have an erection lasting longer than 4 hours …” and long for the day when I can achieve a multi-hour erection.

While the simple diagnosis is the inability to get or maintain an erection sufficient for sex, it is the fallout/aftermath of this issue that makes ED so difficult to manage. My biggest misstep has been how I’ve handled the fallout of ED, not the inability to get an actual erection.

My purpose for writing this piece and sharing my story (read Part 1) is threefold:

Writing about it is therapeutic.

There is virtually no one to talk to when you have ED. Other than my therapists, there is no one else who knows a thing about my issue. I’m not comfortable sharing it with friends and family partially due to shame and embarrassment, but also as a means to protect my relationship with my wife. I don’t need people analyzing our interactions during Thanksgiving dinner. While I’m sure my male friends have had their own ED moment or five over the years, they haven’t suffered like we have. Admitting to having ED over a beer isn’t in the cards.

So I’m selfishly dumping it all on you, the anonymous reader. If you haven’t figured it out by now, that is a fake name attached to this story. But simply typing the sentence “I have ED” has an anxiety reducing effect. And I’ll take a reduction in anxiety anywhere I can get it. When you have trouble doing something that’s supposed to come naturally (pun intended and yes, dark humor is alive and well) and something you did with little mental effort your entire life, it’s easy to not grasp how it is playing out. It never feels real. Every morning I wake up and convince myself that this ED is a non-issue. It seems ludicrous and easily solvable.

But it isn’t, at least not right now. Writing about makes it all that more real and I need more of that if I’m going to win out in the end.

Others who suffer need not feel alone

I’ve found a few well written articles that address ED and each of them provided a sense of “I’m not alone.” But the supply is limited. I want to now throw my hat in the ring to help others because Lord knows I still fucking need it. Since I’m writing this while in the throes of ED’s painful grasp, you won’t get any “10 ways to cure ED” listicles from me; as if it were that simple. Instead I’ll tell you where I’ve gone wrong and where I’ve gone right over the past few years. If the reader can breathe just a little bit easier after reading my story, I’ve done my job.

I selfishly hope that I can rediscover myself through the exercise of reliving it all.

I’m about to take you through my ED journey chronologically. To a fault, I remember it all in great detail. Maybe, just maybe I will be able to consolidate the collective history and utilize it in a way that helps guide me towards a smarter future. While there were good times buried amongst the ED wreckage, it has been three years of hell and it never needed to be that way.

After that first fateful evening back in 2014 when I was unable to do the deed, I spent most of the remainder of that night promising my wife that she wasn’t the cause. I wasn’t turned off by her in any way and it wasn’t any indication of my waning physical attraction. It simply happened. It sucked but it was only a blip on the sexual radar. I knew deep down that she didn’t believe me and with her already low self-esteem in terms of her body, I knew that this had potential to linger even then.

Hello performance anxiety.

There was no post-sex bliss. There were post-sex tears and sadness and anger. I get nauseous on a daily basis thinking about it.

I don’t recall how soon after we “tried” again, but I clearly recall failing again.

And again soon after that.

This was now clearly a thing.

I regularly hopped on the internet to read up on ED and I always found it comforting post-failure. The gist of it was this: relax, change things up, communicate with each other and it should work itself out. The key was to relax and not force things. Enjoy each other sexually without viewing intercourse as a must or as the only outcome. I would say out loud “I got this” and would convince myself that all I needed to do was relax.

For the next few months we found ourselves in a two-part cycle. Part One is where I struggle to get erect when it’s time for intercourse and we spend minutes trying to get me hard. If I would get even slightly erect, I would try to force insertion and concentrate with reckless abandon. If I would lose my already weak erection, I would get more frustrated and become completely lost in my own world. It was awful. I was using my wife like a blow-up doll. Eventually, I would give up or even worse, I would “finish” in a moment of brutal selfishness.

There was no post-sex bliss. There were post-sex tears and sadness and anger. I get nauseous on a daily basis thinking about it. What was happening to me? How did I allow this to spiral so badly? I had always prided myself on being an attentive lover and now I was anything but that. I felt shame for the first time in my life. Was I incapable of resolving this on my own?

Part Two of the cycle was to ignore sex and intimacy all together in the name of denial. My thought process was that we needed a temporary break in order to keep the household afloat. It isn’t easy addressing an issue like ED when the kids are always around and life still propels forward at a rapid pace.

Pushing it aside allowed us to breathe.

The breathing was OK until Part One came back around again. Denying ED’s existence only lasts for so long before the stress and anxiety emerge once again.

After way too many months of mishandling the situation, I finally decided to do something concrete about it. I scheduled an appointment with my urologist. The same urologist who snipped my vas deferens 9 years earlier. The irony wasn’t lost on me.

I’ll never forget stepping into that office. The waiting room was filled with elderly men, most of who walked in with the assistance of a cane or walker. While they were all there for various ailments not necessarily related to ED, I assumed they were all laughing at this supposedly healthy 42 year-old. As I approached the receptionist to announce my arrival and she glanced at her appointment info, I felt shame like I’d never felt in my life. I’m pretty sure she quietly mumbled to herself “What’s up with this guy? Just get a boner already.”

The blood rush to my nether region was palpable and I felt like I had some of my swagger back.

As I dropped my pants and the doctor cupped my testicles, I was consumed with the longing to find out that something was physically wrong with me. Please doc, just tell me that I have diabetes or that my testes are damaged. If so, I could then blame my mess on something outside of my control. It sounds dark and awful, but it’s the truth. I just craved an official diagnosis that went beyond mental weakness on my part.

I didn’t get that diagnosis. Everything appeared to be OK as there were no physical issues. The only diagnosis I received was that “It’ll all be fine. I’m sure it’s just stress from the kids or from work. Hang in there.” Wonderful, that helps.

Before I could head out of the office, the urologist offered up a prescription for Daily Cialis. He must have used the phrase “jump start things” five times when espousing the benefits of the little pill. My immediate reaction was “Hell, no” I don’t need that. I’m not that bad. But I still grabbed the prescription and a coupon he pulled from his drawer and fled the building. Could I really take this stuff? Would it hurt to just try it out? What will my wife think when I tell her? Should I tell her? Do I secretly take it and make no mention of it?

I opted for openness and honesty. As I told her about it, she seemed to be taken aback by the concept and thought it to be only a temporary solution. I then found myself repeatedly using the term “jump start” and she eventually relented. We were going to give it a try.

Thank the high heavens for drive-through pharmacies. I could score my drugs through a window and a large metal tray. While the encounter was slightly awkward with the elderly pharmacist, at least she was the only one aware of my malady. I avoided a potential run-in with my daughter’s softball coach or a co-worker or my brother-in-law while standing in line at Walgreen’s.

I started taking the Cialis that night and felt it working the next morning. When you struggle to maintain an erection and then you are blessed with one that is borderline painful, it’s kind of awesome. I wanted to walk around and proudly present it to the world. I felt alive again.

The daily version of the drug is 5mg and it felt wickedly powerful. I couldn’t even imagine taking the typical 20mg on-the-fly option. I’m sure I would pass out. Now I understood the message about suffering with an erection for four hours or more. This was a new and interesting world I had entered. I went from embarrassingly limp to aspiring porn star.

I took the Cialis each and every day within that first week and we soon found some alone time and decided to attempt to rekindle our intimacy.

Success with ease.

I had an enormous amount of confidence that evening and knew immediately that I would have no issues. The blood rush to my nether region was palpable and I felt like I had some of my swagger back. When we were finished that night, I remember my wife uttering something profound while she was out of breath.

“Thank you, Cialis.”

Things were very different now.


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Here is Only Being, Gazing at Itself

Jul. 25th, 2017 03:00 am
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Posted by Neil Hill

Tales of time dissolve in this more than human world.

Upon this lofty perch there is only being, gazing at itself with awe and joy.

The dance of light, rush of water, the colour, form and texture, all breathe with one breath.

Falling, falling into the immensity of the mystery.

Photo courtesy of the author.

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Posted by YourTango

By Elizabeth Ayers-Callahan

Talking about your sex life is never easy, particularly when you want to try something “new.”

Because you don’t want to sound ungrateful or critical of your partner. You don’t want to make them think you’re saying, “Hey, I am super bored during our sexy time and it’s all because of YOU,” but, at the same time, you do need to communicate to them if you’re just not feeling it anymore. (Or if you’re just feeling the natural urge to experiment.)

And, even if you can get past the awkwardness with your partner and you both decide you want to introduce something new into your bedroom routine… how do you actually do it?

Unless you’re both licensed sex experts or card-carrying swingers, it’s not likely that either of you has a lot of experience with, let’s call them, “sexual enhancement techniques.”

You’ve probably heard a lot about sex toys, handcuffs, lotions, and fantasy apparel, but how do you know what will work for you?

And, beyond that, how do you even shop for that stuff? Do you order online and trust the Amazon review from the guy with the creepy username who writes in ALL-CAPS? Or do you actually find a local sex shop that doesn’t seem too gross and hope that no one you know drives past while you’re walking to the parking lot?

Why must there be all of this social and logistical awkwardness for something that should be so natural? All you’re looking for is good, positive sex, right?

Fortunately, there’s a better way to handle this problem now and the best part (aside from the sexy stuff) is that it’s not embarrassing AT ALL.

You just have to try out The Nooky Box.

What is The Nooky Box? You know those subscription box services that all your friends are addicted to? Well, the geniuses at Nooky Box decided to use the subscription model to help make it more fun and comfortable to try new things in your sex life.

It’s such a smart idea. They have a team of sex experts and people who are intimately familiar with all of the best sex apparel on the market — sex toys, vibrators, lubes, lotions, and everything else — and they use that knowledge to create curated sexual experiences that arrive in an anonymous box at your door every three months.

You don’t have to worry about being judged. You don’t have to worry about where your sexy stuff is coming from. (Nooky Box only uses the highest-quality and body-safe adult products on the market.)

You don’t have to worry about your partner reading too much into your toy choice. You don’t even have to worry about coming up with any ideas because sometimes that’s the hardest part. (If you thought picking a place for dinner is hard, try coming up with a sexual fantasy scenario off the top of your head.)

You just receive your Nooky Box, which are all designed around a specific theme, and you PLAY.

That’s it. You try new things. And, more often than not (trust us), you’ll both discover something you’ve never tried before that immediately becomes your new favorite thing EVER.

And, if you’re looking for something more specific — rather than their recurring box of surprising pleasures — The Nooky Box has a lot of options for you.

Nooky Box is actually running an Indiegogo campaign right now for their new line of Signature Boxes. These are boxes you can order individually and that are all designed around certain themes.

For example, if you want to explore with sex toys on your own, they have a Bro or a Betty Box that makes self-pleasure so much more fun. They have a special Travel Box, an all-glass toy box (you’ve got to try it once), a Kink box, a box for women in menopause… they have so many options.

You should definitely check out their Signature Box campaign because they just make sex exploration so easy and so much fun. And isn’t that how it should be?

We shouldn’t let our social anxiety and personal hang-ups stop us from trying to make our sex lives more exciting.

But I get it. Things get awkward, it’s a hard topic to broach — despite the best efforts of Salt-N-Pepa, as a society, we’re still not amazing when it comes to talking about sex.

That’s why I’m so glad a service like Nooky Box exists. It lets couples explore new sexual frontiers without any of the usual baggage.

It’s a group of hardworking people from Missoula, Montana (really) who just want people to feel good about their bodies and their desires. So they’ve found the perfect way to do that.

Their boxes will take your sex life to the next level and you never once have to set foot in a sex shop or awkwardly describe a half-considered fantasy to your partner.

You just get your box and you play together.

How much fun is that?

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Posted by Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Marieke Prien is the President of the International Humanist and Ethical Youth Organisation. I am in the Americas Working Group and an editor and contributor to its publication Humanist Voices. Here we discuss Prien’s background, part 1.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What is your familial and personal background?

Mariek Prien: I was born and raised in Hannover, Germany. When I had finished high school, I spent a year in the Philippines for a volunteer service, then moved to Hamburg to study Cultural Anthropology and Educational Sciences. After getting this degree, I moved to Osnabrück and started studying Cognitive Science. Right now, I am in Oswego (New York) for a semester abroad.

I got involved in Hannover’s local group of the youth wing of HVD (Humanistischer Verbands Deutschland, the German Humanis Association) when I was 13 or 14. Since then, I have held different positions in the local and national young humanist organizations and eventually got involved in the International Humanist and Ethical Youth Organization (IHEYO), where I was first elected Membership Officer and now President.

Jacobsen: How did you become involved in humanism as a worldview?

Prien: Pretty much all of my family members are humanists, so you could say my sister and I were raised this way, though I don’t remember the term “humanism” being used. Our parents and grandparents taught us about this lifestyle not only with words but by living and acting according to these values every day. We were encouraged to be skeptical and question things, to think for ourselves, to not prejudge people, to take responsibility for our actions, take care of the environment, and be independent.

Also, my parents love to travel and get to know people from different cultures, and I think my sister and I have definitely profited from that. It made us more open-minded towards new things and different ways of life.

Jacobsen: When did humanism as an ethical hit home emotionally for you?

Prien: Since I was raised with humanist values, there is no specific event or time that marks this. It was simply the worldview I had. You could probably say I found out about the term “humanism” and actively chose to identify as a humanist when I decided to join our local Humanist organization and take part in their coming-of-age celebration. The next step was becoming a member and actively volunteering for the organization. By doing this, I dedicated myself to the cause, so to say.

Jacobsen: What makes humanism more true to you than other worldviews, belief systems?

Prien: I think about these things a lot. Ethics, religion, why do we act and feel the way we do? I try to stay objective about it and approach questions openly. And every time I come to the conclusion that humanism is the right way.

I found that the belief in gods does not withstand reason and never understood why people call religion the root of ethics, morals or values, and why they minimize the horrible things it has caused and is causing. Why do you follow rules that only exist to oppress you? Why would you need religion to love thy neighbors?

Some people will argue that being nice to one another is not a necessity or is even “unnatural”, that not caring about others will not cause them any disadvantages. But this is where love and empathy come in, a wish to live in a peaceful and kind society, something that I believe everybody has somewhere inside them.

To me, humanism is the derivation of being a compassionate and reasonable person.

Jacobsen: You are the President of International Humanist and Ethical Youth Organization (IHEYO). It was launched in 2004. What tasks and responsibilities come with this position?

Prien: As President, I am taking the bird’s eye view. I know what is going on in the organization and coordinate and connect people and activities. There are also decisions to be made, but I always make sure to consult with other committee members first because I want to get to know other peoples’ thoughts and perspectives before deciding on something that will affect the organization and the people involved.

Original publication in www.medium.com/humanist-voices.


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Posted by Christopher Williams

The date was November 4, 2014. It was an Election Day Tuesday. I groggily maneuvered my legs onto the hardwood floor and meandered towards the bathroom to get ready for work. My two-month-old son and my girlfriend were in the other bedroom. We had been sleeping in separate rooms since the end of her first trimester. The tension between us was palpable. My girlfriend’s mother had been staying with us to help with the baby and with her daughter’s transition back to work.

I entered the bedroom to check on my son and girlfriend. I peeked into the bassinet and saw a big smile. He was very active; his arms and legs would flail wide in the morning. I glanced toward my girlfriend who was curled up on the bed in the fetal position. She looked pale and exhausted. I asked if she was feeling well and she said that she was having pelvic pain and that she was going to stay home. I kissed her on the cheek and asked if I could do anything. She replied that she needed to rest. I nodded in empathy and went back to the bassinet to pick up my son and hold him for a few minutes before heading to work.

My girlfriend abruptly sprung from the bed to her feet when I picked him up and said that I wasn’t supporting his head properly. Her mother, alerted by her daughter’s vocal distress, rushed in from the kitchen and flanked my back left. I turned toward my girlfriend, showing my middle and index finger firmly supporting the center of my son’s head. She started to ease, claiming that she did not see my fingers supporting him from her angle. Her mother returned to the kitchen. I said goodbye to my girlfriend, grabbed my lunch, and went to work.

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I returned home at 3:47 pm to find an empty driveway and an empty home. I received legal papers from a Sheriff’s Deputy a short time later and a forwarded text from my Aunt indicating that my girlfriend had taken our son and had left the state. She was heading home. We were not married and had no custody arrangement, therefore she was well within the law to cross state lines.

The next year-and-a-half was torment. I filed for child support almost immediately upon confirmation of DNA paternity. I was confident that infidelity wasn’t an issue, but I had to be sure. I spent thousands of dollars an attorney that was young and inundated with litigation. We had no custody arrangement and summoning her back to my son’s birth state was nearly impossible. I was fighting a losing battle in a system designed to destroy the father physically, financially, emotionally, and spiritually. I was drinking heavily and making bad decisions to numb the pain.

I reached an epiphany in the Spring of 2016: I would never see my son unless I moved halfway across the country to be with him. A plan was needed, so I buckled down. I informed my ex via email that I had made my decision to move out to the Midwest upon securing gainful employment. I didn’t expect her to reply and she didn’t, but I didn’t care. I moved in with my mom to save money. I applied for approximately 110 jobs total and I found the right one that placed me an hour away from my son. I embarked on my journey in December of 2016 and sent my ex another email, informing her that I had relocated to the area and wanted to talk about our son. She responded a week later asking me if I could meet her at a local coffee shop. I agreed.

She told me she left because of my anger and resentment and was afraid I would harm her. For the first time, my ears were receptive as I put things into perspective. I told her I wished events would have unfolded differently, but that I understood her reasoning.

I was served with legal papers again, this time with a No Contact order. My head drooped in sadness and disappointment. I was tired and I wanted the madness to stop.

Over the next six months, I witnessed profound changes in our lives. We talked about the past because it was the only way we could heal. She told me she left because of my anger and resentment and was afraid I would harm her. For the first time, my ears were receptive as I put things into perspective. I told her I wished events would have unfolded differently, but that I understood her reasoning. I apologized and asked for forgiveness. She said she would try. There was no malice in our voices. I needed Father Time, healing conversations, and an unwavering commitment to my son’s best interest to reach peace.

My son was diagnosed with autism. At first, I was in denial, but after reviewing medical records and spending more time with my son I accepted it. It did not change how I felt about him.

I witnessed how hard my son’s mother worked to give him a good life. She married a man that loves her and my son. He was with her when my son first received his autism diagnosis. They work together as a team to take my son to therapies and appointments. Together they provide a stable and loving home environment that every child desperately needs.

A couple of months ago I requested that my son’s mother meet me at a coffee shop to come up with an agreement. We had previously undergone legal mediation, yet we were both dissatisfied with the tentative agreement. She showed up.

I informed her that I wanted to move forward with adoption, something I knew both her and her husband wanted to do since the beginning. I told her that I did not want to drag all of our families through years of court litigation and that I wanted what was in my son’s best interest. It was the hardest decision I have made in my life. The right decisions are oftentimes the hardest ones.

Parenting involves sacrifice and terminating rights is mine. My decision required soul searching, perspective, acceptance, healing, and love.

Every Sunday morning I am welcomed into the home of the woman I used to hold in great contempt. I greet her husband and I flash my son a smile. We discuss his therapies and how he is surpassing all expectations. We talk about our week and I spend the morning with my son. I help him with counting, sorting, and hand-eye coordination. We read books, play with trains, and play in their backyard. This has been going on for nearly a month and the awkwardness we all experienced in the beginning has nearly subsided.

I acknowledge that once the adoption is finalized that she could prohibit me from seeing my son, but I don’t think it will happen. However, if she does, it is on her to live with. I have made peace with my decision. I also realize that I will not be financially responsible for my son, but I will help out anyway.

Parenting involves sacrifice and terminating rights is mine. My decision required soul searching, perspective, acceptance, healing, and love. We all unfairly judge each other based upon individual perceptions of a situation. I will be judged for my decision and I’m okay with that, but I refrain from judging others as best I can.

We are never fully capable of walking in another person’s shoes.

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Photo credit: Getty Images

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Posted by Jeremy McKeen

This is the first of many #ThisIsHowSexismEnds prompts, essays, podcasts, memes, interviews, reviews, and articles over the next month that will focus on sexism, gender bias, misogyny, and ending prejudice against women as well as ending toxic hypermasculinity against men (and the overlap attitudes against all of us).

Please visit our page here for updates of who and where to read next!


Men don’t want to believe that other men have done the worst things to women.

Women don’t want to believe that other men have done the worst things to women.

And so the cycle continues and progresses—even with proof that the worst things are, indeed, true.

At this point, the darkest parts of our human history have been illuminated for everyone to see, read, learn, and discuss. For most of us.

But not debate.

And still, women are not believed.

Just ask those who have settled out of court during celebrity rape case lawsuits.

Just ask those in high school and college who have been denied rape kits or legal counsel because we don’t want to believe that bad things happen without consent.

Just ask the architects of myth and religion or of theatre and battle, who agree that women are the spoils of war, or that things are different for boys than they are for girls, or that there’s no way we do the things in the dark that we spend years warning against.

Or just ask the cultures of men and women—in 2017—who marry off their daughters to have or save money because there are no factories or schools for young girls.

Whatever the case of power and influence is, we need to believe girls and women, and erase the toxic, sexist arrogance that keeps women silent.

Or not.

Most people in power positions—whether it’s privilege or actual monetary or political power—will turn the case against the minority, whether the minority is a minority of power, physicality, wealth, or gender.

It’s a story as old as Lilith and Lady Macbeth.

And it’s time we solidified the new narrative and retire the old guards of sexism.

What do you say? What’s your story?

And how are you going to erase, stop, or end sexism?

Tell us, write us, call in—this is how sexism will end.

#ThisIsHowSexismEnds

#StopSexism

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The #StopSexism Social Interest Group aims to address the issues of everyday sexism, identify contributing factors, and discuss the implications and effects of sexism. We will hold weekly calls by phone, and together will explore ideas to combat inequality, gender bias, and society’s expectations.

The group is led by The Good Men Project editor Jeremy McKeen and writer Gretchen Kelly. We will connect via the #StopSexism Social Interest Group Facebook page for dialogue and community building.

The weekly conference calls will be avenue for deeper conversation and for coming up with innovative plans to counter sexism on the ground at the grassroots level. Weekly conference calls are every Monday at 7:30 PM EST.

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The post Men Don’t Believe Women—Why Is That Again? (Call for Submissions) #ThisIsHowSexismEnds appeared first on The Good Men Project.

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Posted by Penn Collins

Walmart has long been on the cutting edge of logistics and supply-chain management, but the megastore chain is now making headlines in its quest to get data from an entirely new source: the faces of its customers. The largest retailer in the world has applied for a patent for technology that monitors and analyzes patrons’ expressions while they wait in the cashier lines. 

The store claims in the patent application that the technology would be implemented for the sake of better customer service, but it’s not hard to foresee this Big Brother-type technology utilized in other manners, including their time spent walking the aisles. Walmart’s stated goal in its patent filing is to improve the experiences of existing customers rather than acquiring new customers using more expensive marketing methods.

“It is easier to retain existing customers than acquire new ones through advertising. Often, if customer service is inadequate, this fact will not appear in data available to management until many customers have been lost. With so much competition, a customer will often simply go elsewhere rather than take the time to make a complaint.”

Once an unhappy customer is identified via the technology, store management would be notified automatically so they could address the issue personally. 

Not only would Walmart want to keep this filing quiet because of the potential privacy issues with the technology, but also because it suggests a radical and perhaps questionable departure from personal interaction that is so closely tied to traditional customer service efforts. Further, programs such as this may inch closer to a business less dependent on human labor. Walmart is the largest private employer in 19 states, so any reductions in the company’s dependency on people would likely lead to economic and political ramifications in many markets.

For consumers, the decision to stay with Walmart may be as simple as considering the human aspects of customer service against in-store surveillance dependent on cameras and algorithms. 

We’ll see where this goes, but it could get very interesting if customers realize that mugging and emoting in the checkout line will result in improved customer service. 

Sexism in Pain Management

Jul. 25th, 2017 12:30 am
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Posted by Stephen Bitsoli

When two contradictory facts are both true, it’s called a paradox, or a catch-22, or maybe just a quandary.

Fact 1: women’s pain isn’t taken as seriously as men’s pain, so women are less likely to be prescribed painkillers, or at least strong painkillers.

Fact 2: women are increasingly becoming addicted to painkillers which are too readily prescribed. Dr. Nora Volkow, director the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), says, “Women are more likely to have chronic pain and be prescribed prescription pain relievers, be given higher doses, and use them for longer time periods than men.”

It doesn’t seem like both “facts” can be true, but they are.

I have firsthand experience that doctors treat men and women differently. My wife had excruciating back pain. Her regular physician, a woman, prescribed something like Tylenol 3, basically alternative aspirin. The pain didn’t go away. In fact, it got worse. I finally had to take her to the emergency room.

Her primary physician knew her, knew that she wasn’t an addict, but even though she was a woman herself, she didn’t take my wife’s pain seriously.

Shortly afterward, I suffered a shoulder injury to my rotator cuff. The problem wasn’t so much the pain as that I couldn’t move the arm. I had to see a specialist. In addition to setting me up with physical therapy, he prescribed a painkiller. I think it was Percocet, an opioid, an oxycodone-based medicine. Maybe it was Vicodin, a hydrocodone-based painkiller. It for sure wasn’t Tylenol or aspirin.

Sexism, right? Maybe not, or maybe not entirely. Anecdotes are good, but large-scale, wide-ranging studies are better.

A rotator cuff injury is a short-term pain. I only needed a painkiller in case the physical therapy hurt so bad that I wouldn’t want to continue with it. Back pain can be chronic, long-term pain and opioids are not a good fit for long-term pain. Even in the short term, taken as prescribed, it’s possible to become addicted.

Prescribing opioids such as oxycodone for back pain is a good way to create an addiction—or at least a dependency—because opioids lose their efficacy over time as the body builds up a tolerance for it. If that happens, you need to take more – and, over time, more and more – of the medicine just to have the same painkilling effect.

Not that my wife wanted to take them long term. She dislikes taking any medication because of the side effects, but she was in too much pain to function. But doctors, unfortunately, have to assume the worst, and may even be ordered to by their hospital or health system superiors. If a patient displays symptoms of oxycodone addiction, it reflects poorly on the doctor, too.

Another problem with taking painkillers long term is not only addiction or tolerance, but according to Kelly Servick of Science, “Morphine, oxycodone, and other opioid painkillers … can actually make you more sensitive to pain over time.” When oxycodone starts to hurt rather than help, that’s one of the symptoms of oxycodone addiction.

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But there is sexism in medical treatment, starting with the belief that woman can tolerate more pain than men. Many people believe this is scientific fact, including many women. It’s almost a badge of honor that whereas the least little injury reduces a big, strong man to a whimpering mess, women if need be, can give birth to a baby while fighting off hostile forces. A 2010 episode of the Discovery show MythBusters “proved” that women have a higher pain threshold than men.

As flattering to women’s resilience as that sounds, it’s not true, according to pain researcher Roger B. Fillingim. “While most people think that women are more pain tolerant than men because of childbirth, the opposite is actually the case,” Fillingim says. The myth is partly derived from the fact that “during pregnancy, hormones are released that are believed to make women less pain sensitive.” Those hormones aren’t released on demand.

“In general, women experience higher levels of pain and are more likely to have certain pain disorders than men,” Fillingim adds. “In addition, women have greater nerve density (more nerves in a given area of the body) – which may cause women to feel pain more severely than men.” So women, unfortunately, are more susceptible to symptoms of oxycodone addiction than men.

On a 2015 Discover magazine blog post, physicist and science writer Michael Brooks agrees with Fillingim. “In some quite macabre experiments, researchers have shown that women are much more sensitive to electric shocks, muscle pain, hot and cold, and chemical pain….” Rather than being more tolerant of pain, Brooks writes, women are better at “putting on a brave face.”

“In some quite macabre experiments, researchers have shown that women are much more sensitive to electric shocks, muscle pain, hot and cold, and chemical pain….” Rather than being more tolerant of pain, Brooks writes, women are better at “putting on a brave face.”

That’s not just figurative. Women often put on full makeup before heading to the doctor. If you look too healthy, doctors tend to underestimate your distress.

Women don’t even suffer heart attacks the same as men. According to a 2017 Marie Claire article by Kayla Webley Adler, “A 2000 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that women are seven times more likely than men to be misdiagnosed and discharged mid-heart-attack … because doctors fail to recognize women’s symptoms, which can differ widely from men’s. Only one in eight female heart-attack patients report feeling chest pain, the classic warning sign in men; instead, 71 percent of women have flu-like symptoms.”

Adler adds, “Even though science tells us men and women are biologically distinct, medicine largely views us as one and the same.” In medical school, they teach using as the standard patient a 154-pound man.

Writing for Everyday Health, Tammy Worth reports that drugs affect men and women differently for a host of reasons, including metabolism, weight, stored body fat, stomach acid, hormones, etc. “Painkillers are a class of medications that have different side effects in women and men.”

But while this has been known for decades, as of January 2016, prescription medicines are still often tested on men only – if women are included, the results aren’t usually sorted by gender – in part for simplicity’s sake. Men don’t have the same monthly hormone fluctuations as women, and men don’t get pregnant, so researchers don’t have to worry about symptoms of oxycodone addiction in a newborn child.

It’s slowly getting better. “Today, around half of all human subjects in NIH-funded clinical research studies are female,” Marie Claire reports. But if you’re in pain and the nurses, orderlies, and doctors treat you like you’re whining or crazy, don’t worry about being polite. Or your makeup.

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Photo credit: Getty Images

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Posted by Rebekah Sager

Photo by <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/33738811161">Gage Skidmore/Flickr</a>.

It was listed as one of the must-see panels at this year’s Comic-Con, and it was filled to capacity with mostly women attendees, who crammed the room to cheer for and hear a panel of six of Hollywood’s hottest female directors discuss the future of women in film. 

As “Wonder Woman” is now the highest grossing live-action movie to have been directed by a woman, the “Women Rocking Hollywood” panel was challenged by moderator Leslie Combemale, a D.C.-based film critic and the founder of Cinema Siren, with addressing the burning issues around whether progress has been made in Hollywood or simply made in a vacuum. 

Three of the panelists were hired under Ava DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey to direct episodes of the OWN show “Queen Sugar.” DuVernay and Winfrey have made the commitment to exclusively hire women directors on the show. 

“The reason any of us are on this panel is because we defied someone who said we couldn’t such and such. We’re not people who wait for permission. We find our own opening. When someone says, ‘You can’t come through the door,’ I pop a hole in the ceiling. The word no doesn’t have any relevancy to me,” producer, writer, and director Victoria Mahoney, who directed an episode of “Queen Sugar” last season, tells GOOD. 

Photo by Rebekah Sager/GOOD.

She says that in her career, there are really only two outcomes: “One, I do everything in my power to get them to hire me. And two, if they don’t hire me, I do everything in my power to make them regret it.”

“You have to make a decision in some cold, dark, and lonely night when you feel absolutely invisible and not supported, and in that moment,” she says, “you get to decide who you’re going to be. Either ‘I quit, and I’m going home’ or the road I picked and everyone on this panel picked and peers like Ava DuVernay picked that ‘Come hell or high water, I’m not breaking.’ They won’t break me down. And our responsibility to our ancestors is what carries us.” 

Despite the fierce strength of the panelists, several cited the realities of studies such as the University of Southern California 2016 Annenberg report on inequality in film. Essentially it says that out of the 800 top films from 2007 to 2015 (excluding 2011) and analyzing 35,205 characters for gender, race/ethnicity, LGBTQ status and, for the first time, the presence of disability, the results confirmed what many suspected — Hollywood remains as closed and impervious to change as ever.  

Even inroads made in television by panelist and veteran producer and director Rosemary Rodriguez make it challenging to feel optimistic about the presence of women in the entertainment industry. 

Either, ‘I quit, and I’m going home,’ or 'come hell or high water, they won’t break me down.'

This season, of the 41 broadcast drama pilots, only one — ABC’s “Las Reinas” — is directed by a woman, Liz Friedlander.  

“Eventually, it needs to just be equitable and about humanity and telling human stories because we’re all in it together. I don’t want to be on the female director list, I want to be on the great director list,” Rodriguez tells GOOD. 

There is hope, however, in the diversity of stories being told. 

Panelist Gina Prince-Bythewood is the first woman of color to direct a superhero movie with her upcoming “Silver and Black.” She is known for her work as screenwriter and director of the “Secret Life of Bees,” and she was the writer and director for “Beyond the Lights.” She also recently directed the pilot episode of the upcoming Marvel series “Cloak and Dagger.”

“There’s always been this idiotic belief in Hollywood that women don’t have a desire to do these kinds of films,” Prince-Bythewood said. “But in the last two years, there’s been a drumbeat, and it’s finally clicked. Maybe it’s shame. The numbers are abysmal, and numbers don’t lie, but people just won’t shut up about it. I have these opportunities because of women who haven’t shut up.”

I don’t want to be on the female director list, I want to be on the great director list.

“I did ‘Cloak and Dagger’ because I was watching something with my younger son, and he turned to me and said, ‘How come we don’t ever get to see any black superheroes,’ and that stuck with me, and it’s the reason I wanted to do the show,” she added. “Now, it’s up to us to keep up the momentum and make great films so that it just keeps going.”

With the success of films such as “Get Out” and the critical success of “Moonlight” and now “Black Panther” — which just recently had a record-breaking 89 million views of a trailer in one day — there seems to be an excitement and a hunger for a variety of stories. 

“We all want to see people who come from our communities and want to feel like we have a voice that’s heard,” said Tina Mabry, the award-winning writer and director of “Mississippi Damned.” “We have so many stories to tell. Do not let yourself go silent because that’s how we end up becoming completely powerless within this industry.”

“We’re changing these things one step at a time. I think we’re moving it at a rate that’s accelerating, but we all know it can go even faster,” she added. 

Ultimately, all the panelists agreed that without people of color in positions of power or the understanding of the importance of telling these stories, the challenges will remain. 

The only non-director on the panel was Kirsten Schaffer, the executive director of Women in Film L.A., a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting equal opportunities for women, encouraging creative projects by women, and expanding and portrayals of women in media. 

“We all know ‘Wonder Woman’ has been tremendously successful in the box office,” Schaffer said, “but one unique and important thing about it is that most action movies get about 62 percent male audiences whereas, ‘Wonder Woman’ had a 50-50 audience. This demonstrates to financiers that men will come out to see an action movie with a woman at the center, and women do make money at the box office. That’s where the hope lies.”

“This is why it still matters that we talk about it and that audiences demand the kind of media they want to see. If you want to see more women in the center, that’s the stuff you need to pay for at the movie theater and pay for on your small screens,” she added. The room burst into applause. 

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Posted by Lisa M. Blacker

“Making love” is so much more than the physical intimacy and foreplay starts long before the touch. How do you and your spouse keep the spark in your marriage? We’re looking for an emphasis on the non-sexual acts that help you fan the flame of your romance.

When you tell us your story, include how long you and your partner have been in a committed relationship, what works for the two of you, and why you think it does work.

Were you two always able to maintain the spark, or was there an event that helped you have an awareness and change of mindset?

Here is an article related:

9 Secret Strategies for a Man to Enjoy a Hot, Happy Marriage With a Woman

These proven tips will improve the intimacy and sex appeal in your committed relationship.

When you’re ready to submit your story, click the red box, below.

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Posted by Korie Cantor


Single dads have an amazingly tough job on their hands, something which they were never fully prepared for whilst separating from their partner. Managing kids singlehandedly and holding down a full-time job can prove to be exhausting, taxing and chaotic. When you are solely responsible for running the show, there will be many days when you feel totally inadequate and incapable. But that is just part and parcel of parenting.

As a single dad, you also will not find a lot many compliments coming your way. It can feel isolating when there is no appreciation for what you are doing. Single dad homes are still a minority in the US, though a study by Pew Research Center in 2013 found there has been a 900% increase since 1960. According to a 2016 Census survey, 4 percent of American children live with their father, about 2.5 million families.

Time can be the biggest casualty as you juggle several roles. You may also feel that you are not giving your best to your career either. But there are ways you can regain control over your life and feel happy about being the dad you are.

1) Take Care of Your Wellbeing

A body that is not healthy will not be able to stand up to the demands of your lifestyle. You will also be able to set a better example to your kids if you make attempts to eat right and exercise regularly.

A difficult divorce or death of your partner can take a very heavy emotional toll on you. In such situations caring for young children can prove to be even harder than it is. It is important that you find time to do something that you enjoy. A casual date night, going out with your mates for a drink, a visit to your mom or anything that calms you down will be great for you emotionally as well.

If your kids have a caregiver, work in a few hours every week that will allow you the freedom to do stuff that are otherwise ignored.

2) Do Not Hide Your Feelings

Men are trained to hide painful feelings and appear composed and happy. As a single dad putting on the act too long can make everything doubly stressful. It is important that you stay honest with your feelings, and speak to a counselor or a mentor if you feel overwhelmed and burnt out. Also remember that your kids are dealing with their own pain, so do not depend on them for deep-level emotional support.

It is important that you do not invest time and energy in relationships to boost your ego. Guilt, sadness and loneliness do not go away by pretending to be happy in new romantic relationships. It is important to be humble and give yourself time to work through your emotional state. This will also make you a better and a more connected dad.

3) Manage Time

Good time management is the biggest skill that will help you sail through. You feel your job suffers because you no longer are the bankable guy willing to clock 60-hour weeks. You also feel inadequate as a dad because with school, activities, doctor and dentist appointments, cooking and disciplining, there are just too many occasions when you drop the ball.

Even planning a weekend picnic becomes a chore when you throw in planning, cooking, cleaning, packing and the whole process of getting to the destination with the kids in tow. If you can invest time beforehand, you will find that most of the tasks are manageable with proper planning. Check out the Picnic Planner app to make the process easier.

Flexible work schedules can help you be at home when you need to get your sick child to the doctor or have to attend to any emergency. You can also choose to work part-time and supplement your income by taking up remote work assignments or project based jobs. They may not pay you well initially, and until you have built up a repertoire of work, but certainly are options worth exploring.

4) Manage Available Resources

Raising young children is expensive and if you are also spending on daycare, then your paycheck may just be adequate to see you through the month.

You may not find it easy to avail financial aid because the relatively small number of single-father households do not make for strong representation. But there are programs and initiatives from federal, state and local governments that you can consider. Also, community and self-help organizations support financial aid programs for single dads whose income is below a certain level. TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), NSLP (National School Lunch Program) and daycare assistance programs are a few options you can check out.

Parents without Partners (PWP) is an international non-profit that works for the welfare of single parents and their kids. Check whether they have a chapter in your area and join the community. There are also other charities and non-profits that you can check out. Many have cooperative exchanges or activities with toy and clothes exchanges, and baby-sitting services.

5) Try to Bring in Female Perspective

Children raised in single-parent households often miss out on gender-balanced parent perspectives. It will be great if you can find a woman mentor who will be able to spend a few hours every month with your little ones. Your daughter will have a role model and your son will learn to see things from a different point of view as well. The mentor can be anyone—a female relative, a friend or a colleague who you can trust with your kids. This will ease your burden of dual roles to a great extent and you can stick to just being a fabulous dad.

Conclusion

Kids of happy and healthy single parents have had the best possible start to their lives. So ensure that you are taking care of your mind and body, and are trying your best at your job as well. As soon as you get it right with managing time and resources, you will be able to resolve most of the common single-parenting dilemmas.



Photo credit: Getty Images

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Love Will Keep You Young

Jul. 24th, 2017 11:00 pm
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Posted by Jackie Summers

My grandfather was a piano tuner, so all of his kids got piano lessons from infancy.

By 4 years old, my dad was playing Mozart scales in the dark. He gave his first concert at 6, composed his first piece of music at 8. By the time he was 16 he was being scouted for professional gigs, but my grandparents insisted he finish his education.

Two months out of high school, he signed on with Louis Armstrong and never looked back, despite the fact he wasn’t allowed to eat in or sleep at most of the establishments he played, thanks to segregation.

Over the course of 60 years he played with all the greats, and was still gigging steady at 80 years old. He could still toss me across the room, still said his prayers and practiced his yoga every morning. The weekend before he was hospitalized, he had four gigs; two on a Saturday and two on a Sunday. I drove him to all.

The lesson: do the things you love with all your heart while you’ve got the chance. Nothing will keep you young and vibrant longer.


Photo courtesy of the author.

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Posted by Allana Pratt


Question: My girlfriend is such a poor planner. She’s always late to everything but gets angry when she feels rushed. I’ve tried to explain to her that it’s about respecting people’s time. She says I’m just talking to her like she’s a child and people just need to be patient. Do you have a better approach to get her to understand that it’s a mutual respect thing, it’s about courtesy!

Answer: Your girlfriend certainly seems like your spiritual teacher 🙂 I say that while recognizing how frustrated you are while acknowledging that you have done your best to be an effective communicator so that the two of you can be on the same team and attend events together having courtesy and respect for people’s time.

I say spiritual teacher because if you communicate with her about being late from a place of judgment or superiority or knowing better or being right and she’s wrong… the only space she really has to respond into is rejection… so she’ll get defensive. It will take a lot for your spiritual evolution to see her with nonjudgmental unconditionally loving eyes. Yet this will give you access behind her exterior behavior of being late, to the place where the core issue lies inside.

This is one of my gifts as a coach and healer. The more self-respect, self-love, self esteem and self forgiveness work I do with myself… in other words the less I judge myself and the more I love myself unconditionally, the more I expand my capacity to see behind the scenes of why people do things. It’s almost as if I have these 3-D glasses that you wear at the movies, and I see a completely different dynamic going on.

If you take on that point of you, why do you believe your girlfriend is such a poor planner?

Why do you feel she is unable to recognize respect and courtesy of other people’s time?

Why do you think she defends telling you to stop treating her like a child and projecting it on to others who need to be more patient?

How was she brought up?

How did her parents treat her?

How grounded is she in her centered being?

How dominated or pushed has she been by a past boyfriend or husband?

I ask these questions because I’m sure she’s intelligent and yet people who are chronically late are either so spinning in their head that they can’t hear their truth or feel safe in their body and it feels like the world is against them. Or they are consciously choosing to be late as a way to assert their power or to be in control in the world where they feel out of control and disrespected and diss honored by life.

Bottom line you’d like to change this, yes?

So the first place to begin is for you to witness her with non-judgment and to have compassion and understanding that she’s doing her best given how she’s wired.

Then would be to remember you’re on the same team, not opposing teams and speak to her about how the two of you can work together.

Third I imagine there’s some inner work she is ripe for, to get to the core of why she isn’t yet able to plan effectively and courteously to be on time for events.

Fourth your job is to live in allowance not judgment of her behaviors and find a way that can work for you whether she ever changes or not.

I personally think that’s a pretty tall order, definitely a high level of spiritual evolution being invited in your relationship 🙂 I find when working with couples I’m able to disband the blame quickly and help people take responsibility for their actions in a judgment free zone. This is how people more efficiently heal on the inside and are able to shift results on the outside with more ease.

It’s important to aCknowledge, praise and be grateful for the positive movement each other is making within the relationship as trust, respect and connection is rebuilt and grown over time 🙂 if I can be of support to your relationship before the divide grows wider, I would be privileged. You can apply for a complementary strategy session at www.allanapratt.com/connect

I find patterns repeat themselves until they are consciously shifted so even if for some reason your relationship didn’t work out long-term, to know that each of you learned the lesson you were meant to from coming together, will be fulfilling in the moment and stay with you as a high return on investment for the rest of your beautiful lives 🙂

So many blessings, Allana

 

p.s. Gentlemen…End the Fear of Rejection.

Enjoy your “How To Be A Noble Badass” Complementary Training at www.GetHerToSayYes.com

Ladies…Be irresistible. Feel sacred. Attract him now.

Enjoy your “Vulnerability is the New Sexy” Complementary Training at www.AllanaPratt.com

Photo: www.BigStock.com

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Posted by Jed Diamond Ph.D


Growing up in the San Fernando Valley was a delight. It seemed that summertime lasted forever and our little home in Sherman Oaks was the center of a wonderful universe from which I began to explore. The front yard was big and it was lined by trees, which I soon began climbing. I was a small, slightly built boy, always one of the shortest boys in my classes, a fact limited my potential to impress the girls. My mother always told me not to worry that I would grow to be a tall man, even though both she and my father were short. “Yes, but your uncles are tall,” she would tell me and I looked forward to the time when I would get my growth spurt. I hoped and prayed to be six feet someday, but I never grew taller than five feet, four and three-quarter inches.

There was a split rail fence that enclosed the yard without cutting us off from the neighbors. The split rails and the rest of the house was built by the man who sold the house to my parents in 1944 for $4,500. He had worked for the phone company. Times were difficult during the war years and the phone company couldn’t pay him. He finally had to leave to find a new job and the phone company paid what they owed him in telephone poles, which he used to build the house and the surrounding fence.

In addition to the fence, the house was made of roughhewn timbers. There was a large fireplace in the living room made out of stones that were brought in one at a time from the river that ran two blocks from the house. There was a large mantel piece above the fireplace where my mother placed mementoes from her time in New York. One I still have is small container with the face of an old man with a beard and turban and a cover on top. I always thought he looked very exotic, like one of the wise men who came baring gifts from afar.

We had a car, though it wasn’t driven much due to the cost of gasoline. Before he was hospitalized when I was five, my father would take us out for a drive on Sunday afternoons. We’d often go north along Sepulveda boulevard towards the mountains. The air was fragrant with orange blossoms and the air was clear. It was exciting to see a waterway cascading into the Valley, part of the Owens Valley Aqueduct which made it possible for the Valley to bloom with orange blossoms and also produce walnuts, beans, strawberries, tomatoes, alfalfa and flowers.

We had a friend in Calabasas who made hand-carved puppets and I loved visiting him. Puppets would play a part in my father’s future, but that would be many years ahead.

Although my father seemed to be preoccupied in his own world during those early years before he was hospitalized, I remember him taking me to the little park in Encino. There was a fountain in the center with trees all around. I would ride on his shoulders and hold on to his big ears and laugh with delight when he’d run around and play horsy. My mother would be waiting at home for our return and make us peanut butter and honey sandwiches.

I felt we were a typical middle-class, Jewish, family, living the good life. More than once my mother would recount the story of my circumcision. “You had just been born and we still lived in New York,” she said. “We had the mohel come to the house eight days after you were born.” I always began smiling as she got rolling with the rest of the story. “I wasn’t convinced that circumcision was a good idea,” she went on. “I mean, we weren’t religious and I didn’t like the idea of my baby being cut, but your father insisted.”

“Well, the mohel, wanted your father to hold you down while he did the cutting. And do you know what you did?” At this point she would muss up my hair and begin laughing. “As they cut your foreskin you let out a bloody scream and launched a stream of pee that arched over your head and hit your father right in the eye.” My father never looked that pleased to hear the story, but I felt proud that my penis could fight back even as I was being held down.

Later in life, when I had learned more about circumcision, I was sorry I had lost an important part of my sexual anatomy. I learned the penis is meant to have a covering so that the sensitive glans could be kept moist. When we cut it off we reduce the level of sensual pleasure enjoyed during sex, which is likely one of the reasons the early religious leaders came to make circumcision a part of traditional Jewish life.

There were no Jewish kids in the neighborhood when I was growing up, and few kids at all so I spent a lot of time playing alone. There was one family, The Carlson’s who lived just up the street and I played there a lot. They were a real family with a father, Glenn, a mother, Louella, and three girls, Glenda, Sheila, and Caroline, who everyone called Sissy. Glen worked in electronics and built the first television in the neighborhood. It was just a big picture tube and lots of smaller tubes and we watched the limited pictures available in the late 1940s. It was so new and interesting that we’d watch the “Indian-head test pattern” that would be broadcast before the first shows would start at noon and again after the National Anthem was played before the shows would go off at night.

The best thing about T.V. in those days was watching Beany and Cecil about a boy named Beany who sails the seas aboard the Leakin’ Lena accompanied by seasick sea serpent Cecil, and the boy’s uncle, Capt. Horatio K. Huffenpuff.  My favorite character, though, was DJ, Dishonest John, who wore a green hat and black cloak was always going “He, he, he,” in a funny, sinister voice. The characters were originally puppets created by animator Bob Clampett. Years later I met Clampett at a film festival and he gave me one of the original art pieces for the show that he autographed to me.

My favorite things at the Carlson’s was learning to play canasta which was the big game of those times and Sunday mornings where Louella would make hot cocoa and stacks of buttered toast that I’d dip and devour the hot cocoa-soaked toast while drips of brown, buttered goodness would stream down my chin.

Glenda and Sheila were older than me, but Caroline was my age and we’d play together. We were seven years old when we explored each other’s bodies playing doctor and knew that part of the game was putting my penis in her vagina. I have no idea how we knew to do that, but it seemed fun and innocent, playful, and dangerous. Though we enjoyed playing, we knew it was something you didn’t tell your parents. It was our little secret. I never thought of it, really, as sexual, more an extension of exploring the world of sunny San Fernando Valley. Sissy was my playmate, my explore-mate, and my friend.

I also imagined I was getting back at her mother, Luella. I must have been three or four years old when my mother decided I was constipated and in need of regular enemas. She enlisted Luella to help her. They laid me on the floor of the little bathroom, a tiny corner off of the small kitchen. Louella held my feet while my mother inserted the tube into my rectum and water flowed into me. I wiggled and fought, but Lou held me tight. “Stop, stop,” I yelled. “You’re hurting me.”

“Just relax,” my mother said. Her voice soothing me. But I couldn’t relax. I felt like I was going to explode.

“Don’t you dare shit on me,” Luella yelled, “or I’ll kill you.”

I cried and tried to hold it in until my mother finally finished filling me with water.

“O.K., quick now, get up and sit on the toilet,” she told me.

Finally, I could stop holding it in and could let it out.

Louella was also present with a few other neighborhood friends of my mother when they’d talk about their husbands. “I wish Muni could find a job,” my mother told her friends. “He can’t find work and he’s either depressed or angry. He’s never around when I need him and when he is here he just gets in the way. It’s like having another child in the house.”

“My husband works,” said Louella, “but the money he brings in is hardly worth it. I bust my butt taking care of our three girls and I’m tired of being poor.”

“Joe makes good money, but we don’t see much of it,” Clare lamented. “He either gambles it away or drinks it away. What the hell is the matter with men these days?”

“Who the hell cares,” said Marie who was five feet tall and must have weighed two-hundred pounds. “I make my own money and I don’t expect much from Harry. He’s good for sex, but not for much else.” I pictured her rolling on top of Harry and killing him with her bulk.

Their words seared into my 4-year-old brain. I hated the women for dumping on men I knew and cared about and I was ashamed of my father and the other men for being so deeply disrespected. Worse than the words were the feelings that went with the words. There was a mixture of contempt, pity, and disdain. I’ll die before I ever let a woman talk about me like that, I vowed. In my four years of life experience, I didn’t know how I’d do it, but I made three promises to myself:

  • I’ll never be out of work.
  • I’ll never show weakness.
  • I’ll never let myself become dependent on a woman.

I failed on all counts and my vow nearly destroyed my life.

Increasingly, I lived in two worlds, the world of sunshine, success, puppets, and hot-chocolate. And the other, darker, world where pain and suffering is denied and hidden, where a boy’s penis is cut, enemas are given, threats are made, and fathers are shamed.  I was happy and playful on the surface, but walled off and buried my fear, rage, and desires for revenge. I longed for my father and when he escaped from Camarillo after seven years, I hoped he would return for me.

This is the third chapter of my story. You can read the others on my website beginning here. Please share our comments and stories below.

Previously published on Men Alive

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Posted by Tod Perry

Earlier this year, President Trump signed the Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements executive order to block asylum-seekers who come to the United States through Mexico. The law subjects border arrivals to be returned to “contiguous territories,” such as Mexico, while awaiting U.S. court removal hearings. This prevents those seeking refuge from the violence in Central America’s Northern Triangle — many of which are women and children — from finding immediate safety in the U.S.

They made my sister disappear.

Human Rights First, an advocacy group formed to challenge “America to live up to its ideals,” believes the executive order betrays America’s values. “The United States has the ability and the capacity to both protect refugees — in this case, those fleeing violence and persecution in Central America — while also effectively managing its border,”  Human Rights First’s Eleanor Acer said. “We should be setting a shining example to other countries by managing this challenge in ways that comply with U.S. human rights and refugee protection treaty commitments.” 

With the U.S. turning a blind eye to the crisis, Mexico has granted refugee status to about one-third of the nearly 20,000 refugees from the Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala) who’ve applied. “I do think there are fewer people deciding to focus their sights on the United States precisely because it has projected itself as being an unwelcoming country,” Maureen Meyer, a senior associate for Mexico at the Washington Office on Latin America, told the Associated Press

Although the Trump administration appears to have ambivalence toward the crisis, American citizens can still help. The UN Refugee Agency has released an infographic that outlines the dangers facing refugees from Central America and how people can get involved.

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Posted by Tod Perry

Photo by <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Donald_Trump_-_Terrie_Frankel,_Lifelong_Democrat_voting_for_Trump!_Highest_Resolution.jpg">TwinsOfSedona/Wikimedia Commons</a>.

Last Monday, in celebration of “Made in America Week,” the White House highlighted products manufactured in each of the 50 states, including Gibson Guitars in Tennessee, maple syrup in Vermont, and California wine. At a White House showcase, President Trump hopped onto a fire truck and proclaimed, “I want to make a pledge to each and every one of you: No longer are we going to allow other countries to break the rules, steal our jobs, and drain our wealth.”

As the Democratic National Committee quickly pointed out, Trump’s support of American workers is completely hypocritical. “Trump is putting his own interests and profits ahead of those of American businesses and workers,” DNC spokesperson Daniel Wessel said. “Instead of lecturing us, Trump should try setting an example.” Donald Trump has a long history of making his products overseas and staffing his Florida club, Mar-A-Lago, with foreign workers.

The Donald J. Trump clothing line has ties, suits, dress shirts, and accessories made in China, Bangladesh, Honduras, Vietnam, and India. The Trump Home collection features furniture made in Turkey, Germany, and China. Ivanka Trump’s brand of apparel and accessories are made overseas in countries such as Indonesia, China, Vietnam, Ethiopia, and Bangladesh. The Daily Dot recently reported that even Trump’s official online store, which boasts products “100% proudly made in the U.S.” uses a Canadian e-commerce company to sell its products.

The online store on Donald Trump’s website uses Shopify, a Canadian company founded by two Germans in 2004. Shopify is headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario, and allows entrepreneurs to set up online stores on their websites and social media pages. So next time you see someone sporting a red “Make America Great Again” hat or sipping a beer from a Trump inaugural beer koozie, let them know all that American greatness comes courtesy of a Canadian company. 

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