Breaking a Woman

The strength of a woman is taken for granted. But when she breaks, she breaks. Then she’s judged.

The strength of a woman is taken for granted. But when she breaks, she breaks. Then she’s judged.

I feel women are given few liberties to find themselves. A man can go play and come back home. Learn from his mistakes. Women are expected to be strong enough to take him back or strong enough to let him go. But women, we have to be perfect. Our lives depend on it.

I think it goes back to a time when women were seen as possessions. I’m not interested in being possessed. I’m not interested in belonging to anyone or any man. I have no master. If you were my master, you would know how to fix me after you’ve broken me, but alas you have no clue. This is because I do not belong to you. I belong to myself. I know the difference between right & wrong & I can wade through the gray area. I am enough.

Partners share equally in the gains & losses. That’s the only relationship of interest to me. We were not partners. I took the weight of it, all of it. Like lifting, I grew stronger. But when I reached my max, you kept putting more weight on top. I couldn’t lift anymore. I was not as strong as I needed to be, so I walked away. But walking away felt strong. But then it felt weak.

Was I suppose to be able to bear more? Was I suppose to be able to handle more weight? Undoubtedly, I loved you.

But that wasn’t enough. I needed a teammate. There’s no I in team. Sounds cliche, but it’s true. I shouldn’t be the only one lifting if we’re a team. The damnedest part, was that you weren’t even spotting for me. That’s why you didn’t notice that I couldn’t lift anymore.

So I did the only thing I could do — I put the weights down, and walked away.

This post was previously published on Mariposa Magazine and is republished here with permission from the author.

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What Scares Me about Being a Woman in this World


The scariest thing about being a woman in this world is men who view your intelligence as a threat, your humanity as a nuisance and your body as something to be controlled.

This attitude gives permission for every type of abusive, restrictive and dismissive action that creates a barrier to understanding and intimacy.

Or, maybe the scariest thing is there is nothing I can do to change it.

I can oppose every idea that has been created for me or I can embody every role created for women and there is nothing I can do to repel the dangerous attitudes towards women.

Being intersectional as a black woman, it’s doubly scary for me. I not only have to protect myself from sexist attitudes but also racist attitudes. There is no way possible I can be everything to everyone enough to convince people that I deserve peace in this world.

I walk through this world confident that I am okay, but never really certain. And, with each report of a woman being raped, murdered, disappearing or otherwise maligned the only thing that keeps me from going crazy is to convince myself that my choices will keep me safe.

When really, there is no way to sniff out someone who may hold deep resentment and anger towards you while smiling and pretending to think the world of you to get what he wants.

Yet, as I interact with men online, some feel completely justified in their duplicitous, self-serving behavior. Some even try to convince women that despite their outer appearance to be aligned with the woman’s wishes that she should inherently know that he feels completely different whether he says it or not.

And, if he leaves her to pursue his future with another woman that she knowingly agreed to waste years of her life with him because she didn’t figure out his true intentions. If she possessed self-love, she would have recognized his deception.

The lack of respect for the feelings, investment, and desires of the other person is almost an expectation in the dating world. We are viewed as silly or naïve for expecting common decency.

And, if we challenge disrespect then a woman is viewed as shrewd, bitchy or a nag while simply calling out less than stellar behavior in her male counterpart.

There is cognitive dissonance and deflection when a woman expresses her feelings about being treated like a barrier to male desire whether she is protecting her own sexuality or securing her own future.

There are times when I wish I could just take off my gender like one would slip a dress over their head and stand with just my humanity under the scope.

There you would see that I just want to accomplish dreams that have been put inside me by some higher power. And, that I just want to be loved and appreciated for my contribution.

I don’t shun being a woman. I actually love it and everything that comes with it.

I just wish everyone did.

The scariest thing is to fall for a man who never loved you. To trust a man who never had your best interest at heart. To be vulnerable to a man who would put you in harm’s way from his selfish decisions. To give years to someone who has many more years than you to have children and marry again. To sacrifice in support of a man who has no intention of reaching his potential but also demands you serve his ego. To hope, wish and wait for something that you will never receive even when you appear to get it.

To never be the version of greatness you see for yourself because you gave it up for the wrong person.

And, to have no blueprint to choosing the right person or knowing a good one versus a bad one because no one modeled that for you. And, then to be blamed for every mistake you ever made because you are expected to be the model of perfection. To be placed on a pedestal instead of loved on land.

But, the scariest thing in the world about being a woman in this world is to never truly believe someone will love you in a way where the world doesn’t feel so scary when you’re in his arms.

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Why Crappy Dads Think They’re Amazing

Episode Info

In episode 9 of the Just Stick To Parenting podcast, Doyin rants about how some dads think they’re amazing simply because they pay the bills. He’s here to set them straight.

A few other things you’ll find in this episode:

– The one thing Doyin will judge you for (9:00)

– A parenting story that is guaranteed to make you angry (20:00)

– An eye-opening story about the realities of parenting and corporate life (38:00)

– Who would win in a fight between the Justice League and the Avengers (42:00)

– A super-cool activity that every parent with a new baby should do immediately (45:00)

This post was previously published on Stitcher and is republished here with permission from the author.

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Am I Too Old to Start Over Again?

I am a sixty-two-year-old, retired, financially secure man, and I would like to start dating, but I don’t know where to turn. I am openly gay and a couple of years ago my husband who I’d been with for twenty-five years died suddenly of a heart attack. We had a wonderful relationship, and now I am very lonely and want someone in my life again. I dated one man for a while and later learned he had a wife. I’m considered handsome by my friends, physically fit, and drink only socially. I read and I like to travel. I don’t like gay bars and I’m not interested in meeting someone just to have sex. Do you think it is possible at my age to find someone? Is it too late for me?

I receive questions like this quite often, sometimes from men who are recently leaving heterosexual marriages after coming out but also from men who’ve been widowed after having been in long-term, loving relationships with a spouse. Men who’ve lost their partners seem to have a particularly difficult time of it. The latter group has built a social world based on being a part of a couple, and now that structure is gone. And just like their heterosexual peers, they sit at home eating dinner alone, staring at the chair where their former lover used to sit.

The surviving partner first must go through a period of grieving, and grief doesn’t have a an expiration date. I often describe the process like waves on a beach. You get hit by a big one, and then the force of it subsides, only to be followed by another one. Over time, they become less frequent and have less amplitude and power. Then a birthday, a holiday, a photograph will suddenly leave you gobsmacked with grief. Eventually, you learn to bob with the waves, and they don’t overwhelm you.

The point of discussing grief first is that this work must be completed before one has the emotional energy to even consider investing in a new relationship. Those who seek a partner before this work is completed are vulnerable to choosing someone, almost anyone, who can fill the void left by the deceased partner.

One of the other caveats for grieving people is that they must develop a network of supportive friends and not focus all their efforts on finding a partner. But I can also assure you that as a person whose values include making a commitment to one person, you are a hot commodity for others who are looking for someone like you!

In the past, gay bars were often the community centers for the gay community. That is where people went to meet others and to socialize. But gay bars aren’t what they once were, particularly for older men, who often feel on the outside.

In Psychology Today, I wrote “Loneliness Is a Killer,” and evidence shows that loneliness can be hazardous to our health. It can cause everything from heart problems to dental problems and is more deadly than cigarette smoking or excessive drinking. And unfortunately, loneliness removes the motivation to take the one action that would lead to its demise: connecting with people. In that essay, I wrote, “The keys to fighting loneliness are:

  1. Identifying with a larger social group
  2. Having frequent and unplanned interactions with others
  3. Having a chum with whom one can share the most painful of our conflicts”

Although online dating apps are used increasingly, most people meet their partners face-to-face. For many years, I have been associated with Prime Timers Worldwide, a social organization of mature gay and bisexual men with about eighty chapters, mostly in the United States and Canada. Its primary mission is to provide social opportunities for men. Des Moines, Iowa, where I live, has many other organizations: a breakfast club, a gay men’s chorus, gay bowling, country and western line dancing, and others. Try something out. If it doesn’t fit, try something else.

Dine-outs and dinner parties are good ways to engage, but often they are oriented to couples. One concept I love is “Nine to Dine.” The concept is that by having an odd number of people for dinner, singles are not only welcome but essential.

Although most couples get together outside of dating apps, the Pew Research Center polling in 2016 found that 15 percent of US adults report they have used online dating sites or mobile dating apps. Although young people use them more than older people, the numbers are growing for older people too. Online dating has lost much of its stigma, and a majority of Americans now say online dating is a good way to meet people.

One man in his early fifties who is just coming out of a heterosexual marriage has used online dating apps very successfully. I asked him about his experience and here is his response:

 "For dating (i.e., not just hooking up), I really like OKCupid. It requires more work up front, with lots of questions to answer and pictures to post. But, it is well worth the effort. I also like it because it allows me (for an extra nominal fee) to go incognito, meaning only those I choose to see me can see me.Having said that, gay friends in less populated areas (especially rural areas) of the country tell me there aren’t enough gay guys nearby to justify its use. In those areas, they may have no choice but to use Grindr (which is geared more towards hookups) or Tinder (mainly for straight but also for gay).Match.com is also okay and may have more users, depending on the location.

Are you too old? As I wrote in this essay in Psychology Today, “The Curse of an Attraction to Older Gay Men”:

 "Former Pennsylvania Senator Harris Wofford . . . at ninety years old [married] Matthew Charlton, his forty-year-old lover, whom he had been together with for fifteen years. Senator Wofford had spent nearly half a century married to his wife, Clare, who died when they were both almost seventy.

I have heard stories like this over and over. In every case, the man who’d been left alone had to take the first steps. The bottom line in all of this is “you don’t get the butt you want if you don’t get off the butt you have.” It means taking some risks, making yourself vulnerable. It means taking some action.

A version of this post was previously published on lorenaolson.com and is republished here with permission from the author.

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Trigger Not-So-Happy

A trigger can be anything that sets off your personal “red alert.”

 Richer Life Counseling

Apparently, even, a barking dog.

Have you ever experienced an emotional trigger?

Here’s a good definition:

A trigger in psychology is a stimulus such as a smell, sound, or sight that triggers feelings of trauma. A trigger is a reminder of a past trauma. This reminder can cause a person to feel overwhelming sadness, anxiety, or panic.

— Goodtherapy.org

On the morning I had to put my dog, Sadie, to sleep, I experienced an emotional trigger that launched me, lickety-split, into red alert.

Here’s what happened:

The previous afternoon, I had received the news that Sadie, my 12-year-old Golden Retriever, had bone cancer. I had left the vet knowing I had to make a very difficult decision that evening, seeing as I was leaving the next day on a 3-week trip to Ecuador. I had taken Sadie home and we’d spent a special, albeit heart-breakingly difficult, last evening together.

We shared a T-bone steak as I talked to her and thanked her for all the fun times we’d had together. I cried and cried and cried, hoping to God she would understand that the time had come for us to bid farewell. Yes, it was a dreadfully sad evening…but it was a peaceful one because I was able to quietly make—and accept—the decision that was best for her. I knew I had to call the vet in the morning and make an appointment to have her put to sleep.

Unfortunately, the next morning did not go as I had hoped.

What I had wanted—and expected—was to spend my last few hours with Sadie, talking to her, petting her, giving her treats and saying goodbye in the peaceful back garden of our new home…in our QUIET new neighborhood. The one I moved heaven and earth to find because of the experience in my last home—the one in Sidney, where I pretty much lost SEVEN years of my life living next door, in constant anxiety and frustration, to the world’s noisiest neighbors.

After I had finally made the decision to flee that sinking ship (rats moving into the crawlspace was the last straw), I sold my home, put my belongings in storage and embarked upon—and fully embraced—the gypsy life with Sadie for 18 months. If it wasn’t for Sadie’s deteriorating mobility due to arthritis, I probably would have continued the gypsy life indefinitely, mainly because I was terrified of purchasing a home again, only to discover I had landed near noisy and inconsiderate neighbors …again.

Perhaps you can see where this is going?

For on my last morning with Sadie, guess what happened? The morons across the street allowed their dog to bark, non-stop, for three hours. And let me tell you, the psychological and emotional response this triggered in me was rather like The Tell-Tale Heart, the short story by Edgar Allen Poe, where the main character thinks he can hear the heart of the man he murdered beating in the wall of his home. In his head, the heartbeat gets louder and louder and LOUDER.

So, too, did the barking of the dog across the street.

In reality, of course, the barking dog wasn’t really that loud (especially since I had moved inside and shut the windows) but in my head it certainly was.

I had gone into Red Alert.

Thankfully, I was still able to think somewhat rationally…

This, I thought to myself, is what it must be like to go crazy. This, I thought to myself, is not overly conducive to the state of mind I need to be in to put my beloved dog to sleep. This, I thought to myself, could end badly…for the neighbors. I had the fleeting idea of calmly walking across the street, knocking on their door then cheerfully ripping their heart out.

No, I thought…better not. That would be messy. Plus, I already have one death ahead of me today that I have to get through.

In other words, I was a little too close…to losing my cool.

Now the astute reader, such as yourself, might be inclined to point out that when the barking dog trigger occurred that morning, I was already in an extremely emotional state because I was preparing to put my beloved dog to sleep.

This, of course, is true…which is another reason I didn’t walk across the street and get into what would have undoubtedly been a spectacular Jerry Spring style argument with my neighbor. They probably weren’t even home anyway and had just left their distressed dog in the back yard.

At any rate, yes, I was indeed already in full-on grieving mode and had the wherewithal to recognize that I HAD to stop a moment and ask myself: “What’s Important NOW?”

The answer: I had to calm down enough so that I could fully be there for Sadie when the dreaded (and rapidly approaching) time came to say goodbye. I needed to be in a relaxed, peaceful and present state of mind.

So I loaded Sadie in the CRV and drove around awhile to calm down. Then I took her to the vet and was able to sit with her, comforting her as she passed, peacefully, between life and death.

Then I drove home, threw my suitcase in the CRV, backed out of my driveway, gave the finger to my neighbor’s house, yelled a few choice words then drove away…knowing full well that the anger—the fury—I felt towards them was going to have to be dealt with at some point.

And over the next couple of months, it was.

Thankfully, I was able to grieve Sadie’s death, and pretty much come to peace with her passing, while I was in Ecuador. But the anger I felt towards my neighbor stayed in my heart and mind.

And I realized that beneath the anger was something else: fear.

I was terrified of what my future might hold. The entire time I was in Ecuador, I worried that the new home I had just bought—partly for the dog I had just lost—would not be the quiet and serene surroundings I SO needed for my work and peace of mind.

What if I returned home from Ecuador and not only would I not have my furry best friend around anymore, I would now be subjected to the irritation of a constantly barking dog? Dear God, what if I was in for another seven years of noise?

I began to realize that the dog barking on the morning of Sadie’s passing had, in fact, been an emotional trigger to a past trauma: that of remaining next door to a noisy neighbor far longer than I should have.

Now, some people might laugh at the fact that I had been “traumatized” by a noisy neighbor (one person did laugh when I shared this recently). But I had. And I make no apologies. For different things are important to different people. And for me, as a writer who works from home, a quiet neighborhood is really important to me…and I will never again waste precious time and energy pretending it isn’t.

In preparation for writing this blog, I did some research into triggers and came across an excellent an article, How to Deal with Anger Constructively, by Registered Clinical Counselor, Esther Kane, that helped me better understand what I had experienced. Here’s a snippet:

“From the vantage point of my therapy chair, I can often sense lots of emotions coming up in the person seated across from me, even if they aren’t necessarily showing what they’re feeling on the surface. When I checked in with a client recently who I sensed was angry, she said, “I AM angry. Really angry! I don’t know what to do with this feeling.”

At that moment, the image of a volcano came to me: On the surface, my client was the calm-looking solid volcano, but brimming beneath the volcano’s surface was red-hot lava bubbling and churning and wanting to explode. I see this a lot with women-especially when it comes to identifying and dealing with anger.

But before I go on, I’d like to make you laugh with a wonderful clip from INSIDE OUT– a children’s movie about emotions…this one explores anger and will definitely make you laugh.

I always tell my clients who are startled by the hot-lava emotions which bubble up to the surface that while it can be upsetting to feel such strong emotion; that there is no danger in any feeling. Feelings like anger are energy that come up and out and with some mindfulness applied, can be channeled for healing and peace—in our relationship to ourselves and others. The most important caveat I give clients is to not lash out in anger either to ourselves or at another person. That never turns out well.”

– Esther Kane, MSW, RSW, Registered Clinical Counsellor

A volcano about to erupt is a perfect analogy to what I experienced that morning. And if you haven’t seen the clip from the film, Inside Out, take a moment and watch it…it’s brilliant.

As for the barking dog across the street?

When I got home from Ecuador, the dog did still bark on occasion throughout the summer. But in all honesty, not that often. I have been keeping a log of when the dog barks and for how long, just in case I decide to make a noise complaint to the town. But truthfully, it hasn’t been a big deal…and for this, I am extremely grateful.

How to Cope with an Emotional Trigger

As for how to cope with an incident that triggers you emotionally, I shall leave that advice to the experts, such as Esther Kane. But this much I can tell you: when something happens and we lose our cool—or are dangerously close to losing it—then we better pay damn close attention and start asking ourselves some questions:

#1) What might be happening here?

#2) What do I have to do to get safely out of this moment: What’s Important NOW?

#3) Why do I think I was so impacted/triggered?

#4) Why do I REALLY think I was so impacted/triggered?

#5) How am I going to deal with it, if it happens again in the future?

Then we need to get some sort of plan—and healthy coping mechanisms—in place.

The world is full of stimuli, any of which could be potential emotional triggers. We can’t always control what happens around us, but we can control how we react to it…even if that means simply getting ourselves AWAY from a distressing situation as fast as possible.

Previously Published on Pink Gazelle

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Man is a Wolf

How do you create trust and friendship?

According to the Roman playwright Plautus “A man is a wolf, not a man, to another man which he hasn’t met yet.” Share with your team what approach(es) you use to create trust in and become friends with another man.

If you were, in fact, a man in this situation, how might you feel or react?

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Comment below, or write your own essay related and submit it at the red box, below.

The Manhood Game cards were created and developed by Dr. George Simons as a way to reframe men’s perceptions of themselves.

As Dr. Simons writes in his intro post:

Life is often played as a game in which men’s welfare is a pawn to be sacrificed. Today I invite you to join me in another game, diversophy Manhood, a game for reframing men’s perceptions of themselves, for refreshing their mission in life, and disarming social biases that attack male health and limit the possible in their own eyes and actions. Each day I will post a new card from this game, a snippet of wisdom to GUIDE our exploration, a RISK to face, facts to test our SMARTS, a CHOICE to make, or an experience to SHARE.

More Manhood Game Cards:

See all published Manhood Game cards here. Several new cards are published every week!

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We are always looking for people to write about the changing roles of men in the 21st century. The Manhood Game Cards make great writing prompts. What is your view on how men’s roles are changing? Can you write a post (300-750 words) that tells us your own unique point of view? If so, please join our writer’s community and click here to submit via our submissions portal.

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This post was previously published on www.linkedin.com and is republished here with permission from the author.

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Indonesia Is Looking to Overhaul Its Tax System. Here Are 6 Important Changes You Need to Know

Muhamad Ikhsan, Paramadina University

Southeast Asia’s biggest economy, Indonesia, is planning to issue a new tax law to jump-start its economy amid stagnant local and global economic conditions.

The new law aims to deregulate existing tax requirements to create a more open business climate.

Indonesia is the world’s tenth largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity, and a member of the G20. But the country has been experiencing a growth slowdown since 2012.

Indonesia’s economic growth has been stagnant for the past few years at 5%.

If the draft tax law is approved by the Indonesian parliament, individuals and businesses will be affected by at least six important changes.

1. Income tax for investment gains (dividends) at home and abroad would be abolished

This only applies if the dividends gained are reinvested again within Indonesia. It can take the form of business expansions, improvements to production capacity, and the recruitment of skilled workers to boost production output.

For investors, this is good news as their investment profits are no longer subject to any income tax.

2. Indonesian citizens living overseas for more than 183 would no longer be taxpayers

The new law specifies all Indonesian citizens that stay in foreign countries for longer than 183 days and have legally become taxpayers in that country, will no longer be a taxpayer for Indonesia.

This is because the new law overhauls Indonesia’s tax regime into a territorial one, which is usually applied by industrial nations. Currently, Indonesia implements a worlwide tax system that allows the government to tax its citizens wherever they are.

3. Sanction would be reduced for inaccurate tax reports

Sanctions will be eased for taxpayers who have misstated information in their tax filing because they pay less than they are required.

The current penalty is 2% per month of the amount of unpaid taxes. The new regulation will calculate the penalty percentage every month following the market interest rate. It will add 5% and divide that by 12 months.

As an example, at the moment the market rates hover around 6%. The sanction would then be calculated as 6% plus 5%, divided by 12 months – which is around 0.91%, much smaller than the previous 2%.

The government will also reduce fines for taxpayers who either don’t file their tax reports or don’t report them on time. The fines will be lowered to 1% from the previous 2%.

4. Tax exemptions would be introduced for businesses

Indonesia doesn’t have any laws that regulate tax incentives for businesses that perform CSR (corporate social responsibility) activities. In other countries, businesses that do so receive tax cuts. The new law would make this possible in Indonesia.

For instance, when corporations, through their foundations, support activities related to culture and arts in Indonesia, they are entitled to tax cuts on operations conducted by those companies.

These exemptions can also be given to businesses that are not required to pay taxes, which in Indonesian law are those with revenues under US$340,000 per fiscal year.

The government hopes this plan can motivate entrepreneurs to file their tax returns, as nearly 60% of Indonesian businesses are not yet registered as taxpaying entities.

Data from the Central Statistics Agency show there were around 8 million enterpreneurs in Indonesia in 2017. The number amounts to around 3.1% of the total population which at that time reached 225 million.

Indonesia’s ratio between entrepreneurs and the total population still lags far behind neighbouring countries Singapore (around 7%), Malaysia (around 6%), and Thailand (around 5%).

5. The new tax law is better structured and well-regulated

Indonesia’s regulations on taxation are spread out across a number of laws, such as the 2007 Law on Capital Investment, the 2010 Governmental Regulation on the Calculation and Payment of Taxable Income, and the 2015 Governmental Regulation on Ease of Doing Business in Special Economic Zones.

Tax regulations related to income tax cuts are contained in the Capital Investment Law, while tax incentives to reduce gross revenue are found in the 2010 Governmental Regulation. Meanwhile exemptions for businesses in the special economic zone are regulated by the 2015 Governmental Regulation.

The presence of many laws containing similar provisions has made it difficult for foreign investors to understand Indonesia’s tax system. This has often caused them to invest their capital elsewhere.

The new law will mean regulations involving taxation will be streamlined and made much clearer, as the law is planned to encompass all other tax laws.

The draft law will be discussed in line with the revision of the Value Added Tax Law, the Income Tax Law, and the General Provisions of Taxation Procedures Law. These laws also govern tax in Indonesia.

6. There would be new regulations for digital businesses

Taxation related to digital activities isn’t specifically regulated in Indonesia. This will be more clearly defined with the new law, as it expands the definition of taxpaying businesses for not only those that have a physical presence, but also for those that accrue economic gains from Indonesian consumers.

The previous law on tax only targeted businesses with offices in Indonesia. This resulted in controversial tax calculations for companies such as Google and Facebook, which do not have their headquarters in Indonesia.

The government, along with the parliament, needs to hand in hand ensure the new law will be in sync with existing tax regulations.

We will see how far the government and parliament can maintain a positive economic momentum in the midst of a global economic slowdown. This overhaul of Indonesia’s tax system is an attempt to do so by reflecting on contemporary conditions and creating a more just economy.The Conversation

The Conversation

Muhamad Ikhsan, Peneliti , Paramadina University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Mozambique Criminalizes Child Marriage

According to one study, Mozambique is the 11th country in the world with the highest rate of child marriages.

By Bendito Zivane

On July 18, the Assembly of the Republic of Mozambique passed a law criminalizing marriage between an adult and a person under the age of 18.

The new law states that an adult who marries children and adolescents is to be punished with up to 12 years in prison, and a family member who forces the child to accept marriage will be punished with up to eight years.

Upon the law’s approval, members of civil society organizations, who have pushed for such a law for years, shared hugs and smiles.

Mozambique has one of the highest rates of premature unions in the world. A study by the Southern Africa Network against Child Trafficking ranks Mozambique the 11th country in the world with the highest rates of such unions and the 2nd among the countries of Southern Africa.

Official statistics indicate that about 500,000 Mozambican women aged 20-24 married before the age of 18, and about 57,000 married before their 15th birthday.

According to several studies, premature marriage is a decisive factor for girls to drop out of school. It also exposes them to sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS or obstetric fistula, which contributes to maternal and child mortality.

The president of the Children’s Parliament — a civic organization working with children and adolescents from Mozambique — Kino Fernando Caetano said that:

The recently-passed law is a victory for children and Mozambican society in general. The law is the result of a true effort involving the Government of Mozambique (MGCAS), the Assembly of the Republic and the Civi Society (CECAP).

Challenges after law approval

Speaking with Global Voices, Dércio Chiemo, a local teacher and social activist, points out that while the law is a victory for all actors working to eradicate premature marriages, the communities that still engage in the practice will need support:

It is a victory for the organizations that came together and fought to get this law passed. It is also a great victory for all those unheard voices and screams: screams of girls who were forced to marry prematurely, unwillingly without their consent, without being heard. […]

[But] We can’t think that [only because] this law exists, premature marriages will end, it shows that starting today we will have to start working so that people have the knowledge of the law and thus help to decrease or even end premature marriages.

For Júlio Mutisse, a bachelor of law from Eduardo Mondlane University, the problem of premature marriages go beyond the legal issue, as it’s necessary to understand the phenomenon as a whole:

The challenge is big. It goes beyond the approval of the law. As we know, our country has many good laws with serious measures about certain behaviors but we continue to witness those behaviors repeatedly.

That’s a good step, but you have to understand this phenomenon and tackle its causes. Why was the marriage regulated the way it was before? What was society like? Is this phenomenon new? We have to work on the causes and with great wit.

Meanwhile, Fernando Moiane states that the biggest problem lies in the customs and cultural habits of Mozambicans:

Yes, we need to fight against premature marriages but I think that parliament has done little work, this law finds no support in what is the culture, uses and customs of the Mozambicans. For me, this law is doomed to failure since it does not reflect the set of secular uses and customs of the African people in general and Mozambican in particular.

PS: Prepare the chains to collect all the men from Chibuto, Homuine, Mutarara, Macomia, etc.

This post was previously published on Globalvoices.org and is republished here under a Creative Commons license CC BY-ND 3.0

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War & Expansion: Crash Course US History #17


In which John Green teaches you about the Mexican-American War in the late 1840s, and the expansion of the United States into the western end of North America. In this episode of Crash Course, US territory finally reaches from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific Ocean. After Oregon was secured from the UK and the southwest was ceded by Mexico, that is. Famous Americans abound in this episode, including James K Polk (Young Hickory, Napoleon of the Stump), Martin Van Buren, Zachary Taylor, and Winfield Scott. You’ll also learn about the California Gold Rush of 1848, and California’s admission as a state, which necessitated the Compromise of 1850. Once more slavery is a crucial issue.


Transcript Provided by YouTube:

00:00
Hi, I’m John Green, this is Crash Course U.S. history and today we’re going to discuss
00:03
how the United States came to acquire two of its largest states, Texas and…there is another one.
00:09
Mr. Green! Mr. Green! I believe the answer you’re looking for is Alaska.
00:13
Oh me from the past, as you can clearly tell from the globe, Alaskan statehood never happened. No I am referring of course to California.
00:19
Stan, are we using your computer today? Oh. Stan!
00:22
We’ve talked about westward expansion a few times here on Crash Course, but it’s usually about, like, Kentucky or Ohio.
00:27
This time we’re going really west, I mean, not like Hawaii west, but sea to shining sea west.
00:32
[Theme Music]
00:41
So you might remember that journalist John O’Sullivan coined the phrase Manifest Destiny
00:45
to describe America’s god given right to take over all the land between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, regardless of who happened to be living there.
00:53
Sorry Native Americans, Mexicans, French fur trappers, beavers, bison, prairie dogs, passenger pigeons.
00:59
I’m not going to go so far as to give God credit for America’s internal imperialism,
01:03
but I will say that our expansion had a lot to do with economics, especially when you consider Jefferson’s ideas about the empire of liberty.
01:10
Stan, did I just say liberty?
01:12
That means technically I also have to talk about slavery, but we’re gonna kick the slavery can down the road until later in the show.
01:18
Just like American politicians did in the 19th century.
01:20
By 1860 nearly 300,000 people had made the trip that has been immortalized by the classic educational video game “Oregon Trail.”
01:27
Which, by the way, is inaccurate in the sense that a family of 6, even a very hungry one, cannot eat a buffalo.
01:32
But is extremely accurate in that a lot of people died of dysentery and cholera.
01:36
Frickin disease.
01:37
So, Oregon at the time was jointly controlled by the U.S. and Britain.
01:40
Northern Mexico at the time included what are now Texas, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, and California.
01:47
But New Mexico and California were the only two with, like, big settlements.
01:50
About 30,000 Mexicans lived in New Mexico, and about 3,500 in California, and in both places they were outnumbered by Native Americans.
01:57
OK, let’s go to the Thought Bubble.
01:59
When Mexico became independent, there were only about 2,000 Tejanos there.
02:03
So to encourage economic development, Mexico’s government granted a huge tract of land to Moses Austin.
02:08
Austin’s son Stephen made a tidy profit selling off smaller parcels of that land until there were 7,000 American Americans there.
02:15
This made Mexico nervous so, backpedalling furiously, Mexico annulled the land contracts and banned further emigration into Texas.
02:23
Even though slavery was already abolished in Mexico, up to now they had allowed Americans to bring slaves.
02:28
Austin, joined by some Tejano elites, demanded greater autonomy and the right to use slave labor.
02:33
Thinking the better of it, Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana decided to assert control over the restive territory with an army,
02:40
turning the elite’s demands for autonomy into a full-scale revolt for independence.
02:44
On March 13, 1836, Santa Ana defeated the American defenders of the Alamo, killing 187 (or 188, sources differ) Americans including Davy Crockett.
02:53
The Texas rebels would “remember the Alamo” and come back to defeat Santa Ana at the battle of San Jacinto.
02:59
And Mexico was forced to recognize Texas’s independence.
03:02
So Texas became the Lone Star Republic and quickly decided that it would be much better to be a less lonely star and join the United States.
03:10
So, in 1837, Texas’ Congress called for union but all they heard back was, “not so fast, Texas.”
03:16
Why? Because Texas wanted to be a slave state, and adding another slave state would disrupt the balance in the Senate,
03:22
so Jackson and Van Buren did what good politicians always do: they ignored Texas.
03:27
And then after Martin Van Buren wrote a letter denouncing any plan to annex Texas on the grounds that it would probably provoke a war,
03:33
Democratic convention southerners threw their support behind slaveholding Andrew Jackson pal, James K. Polk.
03:39
Polk just managed to get a presidential victory over perennial almost-president Henry Clay,
03:44
and seeing the writing on the wall, Congress annexed Texas in March of 1845, days before Polk took office.
03:49
Congress then forged an agreement with Britain to divide Oregon at the 49th parallel, which restored the slave state/free state balance in the Senate.
03:57
Thanks, Thought Bubble. Hey, Stan, can I get the foreshadowing filter?
04:00
I wonder if we’re going to be able to keep that slave state/free state balance…forever.
04:04
The land-hungry James K. Polk had another goal as president: acquire California from Mexico.
04:09
He tried to purchase it from Mexico, but they were like, “No,” which is Spanish for “No.”
04:14
So Polk decided to do things the hard way.
04:16
He sent troops under future president Zachary Taylor into this disputed border region.
04:20
As expected, by which I mean intended, fighting broke out between American and Mexican forces.
04:25
Polk, in calling for a declaration of war, claimed that the Mexicans had “shed blood upon American soil.”
04:31
Although the soil in question was arguably not American, unless you think of America as being, you know, all of this.
04:36
A majority of Americans supported this war.
04:38
Although to be fair, a majority of Americans will support almost any war.
04:41
I’m sorry, but it is true. At least at first.
04:44
It was the first war fought by American troops primarily on foreign soil, as most of the fighting was done in Mexico.
04:50
Among the dissenters was a Massachusetts Transcendentalist who is probably better known than the war itself.
04:55
Henry David Thoreau was in fact thrown in jail for refusing to pay taxes in protest of the war,
04:59
and wrote “On Civil Disobedience” in his defence, which many American high-schoolers are assigned to read and expected not to understand,
05:06
lest they take the message to heart and stop doing assignments like reading “On Civil Disobedience.”
05:11
Another critic was concerned about the increase in executive power that Polk seemed to show, saying:
05:15
“Allow the president to invade a neighboring country whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion and you allow him to make war at pleasure”
05:22
That critic was none other than noted peacenik Abraham Lincoln, who would go on to do more to expand executive power than any president in the 19th century except maybe Andrew Jackson.
05:31
Right so Santa Ana’s army was defeated in February 1847 but Mexico refused to give up.
05:37
So Winfield Scott, who had the unfortunate nickname “old fuss and feathers,” captured Mexico City itself in September.
05:43
A final peace treaty, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed in 1848,
05:47
under which Mexico confirmed the annexation of Texas and further ceded California as well as several other places that would later become states, but we couldn’t fit on the map.
05:56
In return, the U.S. paid Mexico $15 million and agreed to a no-backsies deal in re: Texas, thereby freeing Mexico from the shackles of Amarillo.
06:04
I’m sorry Amarillians. No I’m not. I am. I am. I’m not. I am.
06:10
This is great, Stan. The people of Amarillo hate me, also the people of New Jersey, Alaska is in the green-parts-of-not-America.
06:15
We don’t even have Arizona and New Mexico on the chalkboard.
06:18
Pretty soon I will have alienated everyone.
06:20
Anyway, thanks to the land from Mexico, our dream of expanding from the Atlantic to the Pacific was finally complete.
06:27
And as always happens when dreams come true, trouble started.
06:30
After the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, between 75,000 and 100,000 Spanish-speaking Mexicans and 150,000 Native Americans were under the jurisdiction of the United States.
06:39
Despite the fact that the treaty granted Spanish descended Mexican “male citizens” legal and property rights,
06:45
the Mexicans were still seen as inferior to Anglo-Saxons whose manifest destiny it was, of course, to overspread the continent.
06:51
And the fact that these Mexicans were Catholic didn’t help either,
06:53
especially because in the eastern part of the United States, there was a rising tide of anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant sentiment known as nativism.
07:00
And there was a new political party, The American Party, dedicated entirely to such sentiment.
07:05
They were referred to as the “Know-nothings” because when you asked them about their politics they would answer that they didn’t know anything.
07:12
And indeed, they didn’t.
07:13
This was not an expert branding strategy,
07:15
although they did manage to win an unexpected number of local offices in a state heralded for its ignorance … Massachusetts.
07:21
You thought I was going to say New Jersey, but I’m trying to make nice with the New Jersey people because they take it pretty personally.
07:26
Meanwhile, in California, there weren’t enough white, English speaking American residents to apply for statehood –
07:32
Until gold was discovered in 1848, leading of course to San Francisco’s NFL team, the San Francisco 48ers.
07:38
By 1852, the non-Indian population in California had risen from 15,000 to 200,000 and it was 360,000 on the eve of the Civil War.
07:48
Now not all of those migrants – mainly young men seeking their fortunes – were white.
07:52
Nearly 25,000 Chinese people migrated to California, most as contract workers working for mining and railroad companies.
07:58
And there were women, too, who ran restaurants, and worked as cooks, and laundresses, and prostitutes.
08:03
But the ratio of men to women in California in 1860 was 3:1.
08:08
Aw shmerg. It’s time for the Mystery Document?
08:11
The rules here are simple.
08:13
I read the Mystery Document and I’m either shocked by electricity or by the fact that I got it right.
08:17
“We would beg to remind you that when your nation was a wilderness, and the nation from which you sprung barbarous, we exercised most of the arts and virtues of civilized life;
08:26
that we are possessed of a language and a literature, and that men skilled in science and the arts are numerous among us;
08:32
that the productions of our manufactories, our sail, and workshops, form no small share of commerce of the world;
08:37
and that for centuries, colleges, schools, charitable institutions, asylums, and hospitals have been as common as in your own land.
08:45
And we beg to remark, that so far as the history of our race in California goes, it stamps with the test of truth that we are not the degraded race you would make us.”
08:55
So it’s someone who said that “we” had a great civilization when “you” were a wilderness.
08:58
Plus they called us “barbarous,” so it’s either ancient Rome or China.
09:02
I’m gonna lean toward China.
09:03
That only gets me halfway there. Now I have to think of the name of the person.
09:06
And I don’t know any famous people from mid-19th century China who lived in the U.S.
09:13
People say I can’t sing.
09:15
[buzzing] Norman Asing? Who the hell is Norman Asing? This doesn’t- AAHHHH!!
09:20
So these days California is known for its groovy, laid back, “oh your back hurts?” here’s some pot” attitude, but that was not the case in the 19th century.
09:27
The California constitution of 1850 limited civil participation to whites –
09:32
no Asians, no Black people or Native Americans could vote or testify in court.
09:37
Indians were kicked off their land if it had any mineral value, and thousands of their orphaned children were sold as slaves.
09:43
And all of this led to the Indian population of California dropping from 150,000 to about 30,000 between 1848 and 1860.
09:50
So it wasn’t at all clear whether California was the kind of place to be admitted to the U.S. as a free state or as a slave state.
09:56
The Missouri Compromise was of no help here because half of California is below the 36 30 line, and half is above it.
10:02
So, a new “Free Soil” party formed in 1848 calling for the limiting of slavery’s expansion in the west so that it could be open for white people to live and work.
10:10
I just want to be clear that most of the people who were for limiting slavery were not, like, un-racist.
10:15
So, they nominated the admirably-whiskered Martin Van Buren for the presidency,
10:18
and Van Buren and Democratic nominee Lewis Cass then split the northern vote, allowing the aforementioned Zachary Taylor, to win.
10:25
So in 1850, when California finally did ask to be admitted into the Union, it was as a free state.
10:30
Southerners freaked out because they saw it as the beginning of the end of slavery, but then, to the rescue came Henry Clay, for his last hurrah.
10:37
He said, “We can kick this problem down the road once more”
10:41
and brokered a four-part plan that became known rather anticlimactically as the Compromise of 1850.
10:46
Historians, can you name nothing?! The four points were:
10:49
1. California would be admitted as a free state
10:52
2. The slave trade, but not slavery, would be outlawed in Washington D.C.
10:57
3. A new, super harsh fugitive slave law would be enacted, and
11:01
4. Popular sovereignty
11:02
The idea was that in the remaining territories taken from Mexico,
11:05
the local white inhabitants could decide for themselves whether the state would be slave or free when it applied to be part of the U.S.
11:12
Ah, the Compromise of 1850. A great reminder that nothing protects the rights of minorities like the tyranny of the majority.
11:19
There was a huge debate over the bill in which noted asshat John C. Calhoun was so sick that he had to have his pro-slavery, anti-compromise remarks read by a colleague.
11:27
On the other side, New York’s Senator William Seward, an abolitionist, also argued against compromise, based on slavery being, you know, wrong.
11:34
But, eventually the compromise did pass, thus averting a greater crisis for ten whole years.
11:40
Ralph Waldo Emerson predicted that if the United States acquired part of Mexico, it would be like swallowing arsenic.
11:45
And indeed, arsenic can be a slow-acting poison.
11:48
Now I don’t think Ralph Waldo Emerson was a good enough writer to have thought that far ahead, but he was right.
11:53
Some people say that manifest destiny made the Civil War inevitable.
11:55
But, as we’ll see next week, what really made the Civil War inevitable was slavery.
11:59
But, we see in the story of manifest destiny the underlying problem: the United States didn’t govern according to its own ideals.
12:05
It didn’t extend liberties to Native Americans or Mexican Americans or immigrant populations or slaves.
12:11
Thanks for watching, and we’ll see you next week, when things will get much worse.
12:14
Crash Course is produced and directed by Stan Muller.
12:17
Our script supervisor is Meredith Danko.
12:19
The show is written by my high school history teacher Raoul Meyer and myself.
12:22
Our associate producer is Danica Johnson.
12:24
And our graphics team is Thought Café.
12:26
If you’d like to contribute to the libertage, you can suggest captions.
12:28
You can also ask questions in comments where they will be answered by our team of historians.
12:32
Thank you for watching Crash Course and as we say in my hometown, don’t forget to be awesome.

This post was previously published on YouTube.

Photo credit: Screenshot from video

Things To Consider If You Are Planning For A Second Child

Things To Consider If You Are Planning For A Second Child

If you already have a child, you’ve probably learned a few ropes of parenting by now. And you might as well know how having a kid can turn your world upside down. All those hazy, exhausting sleep-deprived days after having your first child seems like a distant memory now and you might be considering having a second one. But it is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Unless you are a royalty or celebrity who is surrounded by nannies, the decision of having a second child requires some serious thought. It is important to consider all your options and resources realistically and then make an informed decision. Here are things you should consider before jumping into the bandwagon.

1) Is Your First Child Old Enough?

Is Your First Child Old Enough

If your first child is very young to understand anything, it is going to be tough for you to manage the responsibilities of both the kids. Having two young kids, your attention is going to constantly get divided between the two, more so toward the youngest one. If you are planning for a second child, make sure your first one is at least potty-trained and is old enough to understand why you are giving more attention to the second child.

2) Are You Financially Stable?

Are You Financially Stable

Sure, babies are cute little bundles of joy. But they are also very expensive. It is not just the pregnancy and healthcare expenditures, once the baby is born, their needs are going to be never-ending. Since you are not a newbie to parenting, you will be a much smarter shopper this time and cut down on unnecessary expenses. You can also take hand-me-downs of your first child.

But there are other things to consider. Do you have the space and resources for another baby in your life? Is your apartment big enough for a second child? Would you have to move to a new home? Would you have to sacrifice on any of your goals and dreams?

3) Are You Physically Ready For This?

Are You Physically Ready For This

Your physical condition and health are of the utmost importance when you are planning for a second child. Will your body be able to take all that comes with pregnancy and labor? Are you ready for the running around and the sleepless nights that are to follow? And this time it’s not just one, but two little souls that have to be taken care of. Your chances for rest and day-time naps will greatly diminish when your time and attention is divided between the two.

Also, many women make the mistake of thinking that they are going to relive the first pregnancy with their second child. Don’t make that mistake. If your first pregnancy was amazing and you had smooth labor, it can go completely different this time around. And vice-versa.

4) Will You Be Able To Manage Time Effectively?

Will You Be Able To Manage Time Effectively

Time management is a valid worry for working moms who will have to juggle work, home, and baby single-handedly. If you have a helping hand or your family close by, then you might want to get their help too.

5) Can Your Mind Handle It?

Can Your Mind Handle It

Are you ready for it emotionally? Do you want to have a second or are you succumbing to the pressure from your family, partner, or society? There are also other aspects to think such as how sure are you of your relationship with your partner. If not, are you ready to take the responsibilities of a new child in every way: physically, emotionally, and financially?

The decision of having a second child ultimately depends on you and your partner. If you are ready to embrace motherhood once again, talk to your doctor to discuss your health and pregnancy options. We wish you the best of luck.

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