Problematic Toxic Masculinity Trope #7: Violence is Normal

My latest (and final) Problematic Toxic Masculinity Trope article is live! Tell me what you think here or there.

A Wandering Road

Problematic Toxic Masculinity Trope #7: Violence is Normal

by Jenn Zuko

Guh that ad always makes me cry. Ahem…/attempts to salvage eyeliner/

Why does it make me tear up?

I think maybe it’s the sort of chantlike description of this trope (boys will be boys = men are violent), and the bare bones showing of what it means to say No to this norm. But the norm is powerful and real, and even in this supposedly enlightened year of Our Lord 2020, it’s still a powerful message being given to our boys and men today. And let’s be real: #metoo is directly and literally because of this … well I was going to call it a trope because that’s what I’m talking about with this series of articles, but this one is far, far more than a trope; it’s ingrained not only in our arts and our pop culture, but…

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Problematic Toxic Masculinity Trope #6: Mr. Mom

The latest in my Problematic Tropes series is ready to read, and it’s an incendiary one!

A Wandering Road

Problematic Toxic Masculinity Trope #6: Mr. Mom

MrMomThe 1983 movie Mr. Mom is a comedy whose humor hinges on the particular misogynistic toxic masculinity trope that I have named after it, because it epitomizes the trope so well. 

Basically, the premise of the movie is this: a man is relegated to homemaking when he gets fired from his job, and his wife ends up going to work as a high powered ad exec in order to pick up the income slack. Shenanigans, both in the form of Mr. Mom not being able to cope with housewifery, and Mrs. Mom finding herself in sexist danger at her “man’s work.” All is well, though, at the end, when both find their way back to their gender-norm jobs which they are best and safest at.

Thus is the basic description of the Problematic Toxic Masculinity Trope that personally pisses me off the most…

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|| AUGUST 2020 ||

I have the great honor and pleasure to be the Featured Poet in this month’s Versification zine! I’m chuffed to bits. Here’s the issue for your perusal:



is dedicated to

all survivors


hate, abuse, oppression, and injustice.


Banana Bread

By Shufei Ewe

420 sifts by quickly,

everyone is still getting baked––

the powder just looks different.


9:47 |By Stephen J Golds

in the morning

eating breakfast out of a ripped plastic bag in a parking lot of an isolated

seven-eleven with gut ache and the shakes wondering if she was right after all.



By Gina Marie Bernard

the very first time, i am twelve—

unscheduled, ill prepared.

blood trickles; i imagine an arroyo.

he grinds my cheek to carpet

and prompts me not to tell.

Sara Dobbie

Kip Knott

Evening Walk after the Divorce

By Kip Knott

Two cops stand over the body of a man

I’ve sometimes given loose change.

They wrap him in plastic. In the body bag’s zip

I hear my ex-wife brushing…

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Problematic Toxic Masculinity Trope #5: Sassy Gay Friend

My latest on A Wandering Road is live! I was worried about what a mess it was, and also about being a mouthpiece for a population I’ve never been, other than friends with. But I’ve gotten some pretty good feedback already, which makes me feel better. Let me know what you think, yeah?

A Wandering Road

Problematic Toxic Masculinity Trope #5: Sassy Gay Friend

by Jenn Zuko

Brian Gallivan’s series of sketches called Sassy Gay Friend retells several classic stories under the premise of: what if _insert straight female character here_ had a sassy gay friend? Countless calamities of the catastrophic type have been nipped in the bud by our good friend the SGF (I highly recommend the Eve one, though the Hamlet one is great too). What Gallivan is doing as a writer is taking an old stereotype trope character and showing how the stereotypical traits of the SGF could actually be good things in certain scenarios. What the series does, too, is to make us question the inherent misogyny (not to mention homophobia) of much of our pop culture classics, inviting us to think as we laugh.

sassygayfriendad_largeSassy Gay Friend is a pretty well known trope already (even TV Tropes has it on their…

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Vote for my seminar!

Hey lovely lurkers—it’s been a minute. I do apologize; I’ve had quarantine brain sum’n fierce.

But I have a big favor to ask you all:

I have a seminar submitted to this year’s virtual Denver Startup Week, and I need lots and lots of votes for it in order for them to consider offering it. So could you do me a solid? Could you vote for me?

I did this very seminar the other month at Boulder Startup Week specifically tailored for Zoom, and it worked great!

Anyway, here’s the link. Thanks a bunch!

My 20 Cents’ Worth on Columbo’s Top 100

Eminent blogger and cultural influencer The Columbophile has begun a series of “best of” posts about everyone’s favorite detective: Lieutenant Columbo. Before embarking on this Herculean endeavor, however, he consulted 12 experts/fans, asking them what their Top 20 1970s Columbo moments were (let’s just avoid talking about the ’90s episodes, shall we). Having gathered this data, he has concocted a Top 100, the first two posts of which are already published to his blog, here.

And the panel of experts? Some pretty awesome names: Steven Moffat (yeah, *that* Steven Moffat), Mark Dawidziak (who penned the most famous Columbo compendium, The Columbo Phile), Jenny Hammerton (of Cooking With Columbo fame), and… wait for it…


Yep, I’m on this stellar panel, and I am ecstatic to be in the company of such high level fanpeeps! Follow this series on The Columbophile’s blog, and I’ll let you know which ones were my choices as we go. Spoiler alert: none of them in these first two entries were on my Top 20, but that doesn’t mean I don’t agree they should be here–they are all fantastic moments, and it’s so cool that the clips of same are there to enjoy.


Oh, just one (hundred) more thing(s)…

Problematic Tropes on A Wandering Road: #4: NERD!

Friend Jason has opened up his blog to the continuance of the Problematic Toxic Masculinity Tropes articles, since we chatted about them on his podcast and since Writers HQ has discontinued their publication. And ‘cos he’s a nice guy like that.

So! Here’s the first on A Wandering Road, being the fourth of the PTMTs. Enjoy it here, and you can also listen to how it morphed from The Tale of the Nerd and the Neckbeard to just NERD!

Deconstruction Workers episode 4.1 (&2): academics on academia in the pandemic

Please to enjoy my latest guest appearance on the Deconstruction Workers. Part 2 coming soon! UPDATE: Part 2 is HERE!

PTMTs on the Outrider #7: Violence is Normal

And with that, we conclude the fantastic Problematic Toxic Masculinity Tropes on Friend Jason’s podcast, The Outrider. This week, Paul joined us again, and we hashed out the world’s problems tipsily, as we are wont to do.

Thanks so much for all of you who listened in, and do leave me comments here if you’d like me to finish those articles that WHQ isn’t taking. I need external motivation, or I’ll never get it done.

PTMT #7 on The Outrider: Violence is Normal

PTMTs on the Outrider #6: Mr. Mom

This week on The Outrider, Friend Jason and I discuss the Mr. Mom trope. Remember that for the last two tropes, we don’t have heavily edited & published articles, and not even outlines like for the 4th & 5th. So we’re hashing out the details of what the trope will be when written as we go.

Original descriptions of the 7

Outrider PTMT #6: Mr. Mom