Do traditional gender roles hurt me if I follow them?

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I honestly can't remember where I heard this, but I head that Gender Roles hurt everyone... and I'm just wondering, how are they hurting me? I fit the traditional male mold. I'm a man, and I couldn't care less about expressing my emotions, or raising children, or wearing women's clothing or whatever else breaks the gender boundaries.

I feel the same way about this as I do about gay marriage. I'm not gay, so I don't give a shit. If it becomes legal then great, but don't expect me to go protesting for it, or voting for it or whatever. So basically, I'm selfish. If it doesn't affect me, I don't care.

I'm a stereotypical man. I don't want to do anything that's considered feminine, so (bearing in mind that I'm selfish) should I give a shit about tearing down gender roles?

Are choosing to do these thing? If so, then no.

Even if you would indeed be the perfect fit for the stereotype, you are not an island. Society has an effect on you, and on the people close to you, which in turn affect you. Unless you life in an environment exclusively dominated by "naturally" stereotypical males and females, you will be affected.

That doesn't really tell him anything he wants to know though. He seems to be asking what, if any, effect does it have on him personally, and why that effect should be considered detrimental to him. Just stating that there's some vague, undefined effect is exactly why he created this thread, because people say these types of things as if they should mean something to him, and he's just not sure what specifically it's supposed to mean or why he should care about these supposed effects.

Assuming that:

A) There are absolutely no scenarios where you don't exactly fit the stereotype of what's expected of a man

and

B) That you don't grow or change in any way during your life

and

C) That society's expectation of what's expected of a man doesn't at any point change

and

D) That you don't care about anyone other than yourself.

and

E) You don't personally mind that large parts of your personality and being have been crafted to fit a generic mold

and

F) You are very lucky and are never in a situation where fulfilling a stereotypical masculine role will cause you objectively real 'hurt' (Think someone being insulting to your wife/girlfriend so you start a fight instead of laughing it off or being offered a good opportunity that means swallowing your pride so you turn it down).

Then absolutely nothing is wrong and you will in no way be hurt.

Choice. It isn't *that* you are fulfilling a certain gender role, but that you are choosing to fulfill a role that (in the past) has generally been assigned to a specific gender or station.

If someone wants to be a stay at home parent -and is a woman- there's nothing wrong with that. But if someone wants to become, say, a scientist or politician or business person and can't (or is said that they shouldn't) merely because they *happen* to be a woman; that's NOT fine. And it does hurt EVERYONE because in so denying their ability to pursue their dreams, we deny ourselves any contributions they might have made in the fields they are so passionate about.

By all means, be the manliest man your manly ways can afford you, but take care not to impose your perceived masculine roles on those who have different priorities.

I find the answers turn out to be highly specific and situational. Let's say you are the traditional male. Then perhaps a more "progressive" female might not take interest in you because she prefers a more emotionally in tune and sensitive male as a mate. Did your gender role harm you? Only if you take into consideration a potential life with said woman.

Another example, and one I've seen someone suffer from admittedly on these forums, was his removal from child care work because a female parent didn't trust him around her and other's children. Not his fault in the slightest; but it's a reflection in how the perceptions of gender roles can potentially harm someone through no fault of their own. This one economically and professionally.

There was also the recent policy of an airline to ban single men from sitting next to children do to misguided (and factually inaccurate) assumptions regarding child abuse, which basis stems from gender roles.

And when you start to consider "roles" being the basis and poor consort of ideas like generalizations and stereotyping, you can see it affect all aspects of life. Women getting ladies night. Men paying more for care insurance. Etc etc.

How they affect *you* personally, would have to be determined on both the macro and micro level. I personally suffer random external judgments based on the length of my hair on a guy, which may or may not harm me in ways that I think, but like you, I couldn't care less what most people think about me. But I also don't know for sure if it's affected certain things like employment, which would irk me greatly.

And externally, we may judge others based on gender roles as well, potentially for good or bad. I, for example, despise women who seek to capitalize on feminine gender roles to gain a free ride through life. I have no issues "harming" their chances because I think some of them are lazy cunts. But that's just me.

Culture is not healthy. To glide through life following roles without thinking sounds like hell on earth to me. Maybe I have listened to too many radical thinkers.

To avoid or detest doing constructive things because they seem feminine sounds like ungrounded hatred. I absolutely hate how women are portrayed as lazy shopaholics, even more so I hate the women who perpetuate the stereotype. Men self identifying as beer swilling sports nuts could all disappear for all I care too.

Us humans are far too gifted. Don't place yourselves in roles that accomplish nothing besides segregation, cheap thrills, false aspiration and slow down intelligence.

One example where traditional gender roles might hurt you personally is mental health. Males are less likely to seek help for mental health problems, with one reason being male gender roles and expectations. Then again, you might never have such problems. Another thing would be children, where traditional gender roles would make being an important part of your childrens upbringing or getting custody in case of a divorce very hard. But again, perhaps you don't want children or are okay with the mother taking care of the upbringing.

But frankly, the claim that gender roles hurt everyone is pretty stupid, as are most absolute statements about huge, diverse groups of people. Humans are just far to different from one another to make such sweeping statements. A less stupid form is "gender roles also harm men", in my experience usually used as an argument that feminism also works or at least benefits men. And with this version of the statement it becomes clear that it's entirely possible to not be negatively affected by gender roles (see the examples above where you could be affected, but aren't necessarily). And even if you are negatively affected by gender roles, it is entirely possible that a change in gender roles would affect you even worse. After all, there is no change without winners and losers and there are always unintended consequences.

Genocidicles:
I honestly can't remember where I heard this, but I head that Gender Roles hurt everyone... and I'm just wondering, how are they hurting me? I fit the traditional male mold. I'm a man, and I couldn't care less about expressing my emotions, or raising children, or wearing women's clothing or whatever else breaks the gender boundaries.

The harm is not directly in that you follow a traditional gender role. Half of the harm is that you very likely unthinkingly follow it. You learned the role, and if you learned it like most children do, you learned it implicitly and uncritically. That means you aren't truly in control of your actions- you have been trained to believe certain behaviors aren't available to you. You aren't truly free.

I'm a stereotypical man. I don't want to do anything that's considered feminine, so (bearing in mind that I'm selfish) should I give a shit about tearing down gender roles?

See that part where you used the word "stereotypical"? That's the other half of the hurt. Maybe it doesn't bother you to be a stereotypical man, but that stereotype imposes restrictions on the rest of us, and most of us are not so passive that we aren't bothered by it.

You're welcome to live your life the way you choose, but own up to that choice. You should live the way you do because you chose of your own free will to do so. Not because you were trained from birth to fit a stereotype.

I think the harm gender roles do to an individual greatly depends from person to person. Some people's personality and disposition is more attune to gender norms than others. I'm a heterosexual male, with a number of typical "masculine" interests like video games and drinking good beer. From my experience I don't generally feel oppressed by masculine gender roles. The only time I feel at a disadvantage is my lack of interest in football really, and my lack of sexual conquests of the opposite sex- but I don't associate myself with the sort of "lad culture" that obsesses around these points. However, for a homosexual male I can imagine they would indeed feel a lot more oppressed by masculine norms regarding, say, shagging the opposite sex. It varies from person to person depending on the extent to which they "fit" the stereotype.

This may be a contentious point to some, but I think the majority of people don't find their gender roles to be particularity oppressive. Or at least, it is only in a very specific context when someone does find their gender role oppressive (Like if a girl decided to play COD say). On the whole, this is because we're socialised from birth towards our respective gender norms, and underpinning this is our own biology.

I don't agree with the claim from some feminists that gender roles need to be destroyed. Partially because I feel such a task is impossible anyway, but also because I like my masculine identity and I don't think gendered identities are oppressive enough to justify their destruction. Identity isn't something which is necessarily forced down on people by "society" or by the ruling powers, it is something which people choose to adopt and "play" with. I didn't choose my national or racial identity, but I play along with it, modify it and adapt it suit my own ends by making jokes about being British, criticising certain British behaviours whilst embracing others- same goes for gender identity. This identity, like most identities, can be oppressive at times, but not enough to justify getting rid of it.

Genocidicles:

I'm a stereotypical man. I don't want to do anything that's considered feminine, so should I give a shit about tearing down gender roles?

Gender roles do harm you if they are causing you emotional distress in your attempts to comply or conform. Not living up to others' expectations of you is one thing, but not living up to your expectations of yourself can be just as bad.

Genocidicles:

I'm a stereotypical man.

I am not a sterotypical man, and I've gotta say that whenever I bump up against male gender roles (all the time) it causes me a distress. Some things more than others. At some times more than others. Think of what you're supposed to be, ideally, and then think about how you're not that. Not to pick on your insecurities, but I highly doubt you are a perfect specimen of manliness- even in your 'own' opinion.

So, I've decided to adopt some aspects of the sterotypical gender role that I think are good in-and-of themselves, while ignoring others. In this situation, some of my views merely coincide with what people expect them to be, rather than complying with them. Much happier in myself now- I can be whatever I want to be.

Are you truly happy? Does following the typical gender role of a manly man bring you true joy and fulfillment? If the answer is yes then keep on trucking and you have my blessing. The second it makes you genuinely unhappy though, drop that shit.

Odd side question though, how is lacking compassion and being totally self interested a stereotypical gender behavior of men? The traditional male as I had understood it wasn't self absorbed so much as competitively focused. Manly men of yesterday still had bros and families, they weren't psychopaths. Hell, being expected to do the manly thing includes sacrificing yourself for women and children, a self absorbed person would never do that.

Treeinthewoods:
Odd side question though, how is lacking compassion and being totally self interested a stereotypical gender behavior of men?

Being self interested is an independent thing, but it is a traditionally male behaviour to hide your emotions and act stoic.

Genocidicles:

Treeinthewoods:
Odd side question though, how is lacking compassion and being totally self interested a stereotypical gender behavior of men?

Being self interested is an independent thing, but it is a traditionally male behaviour to hide your emotions and act stoic.

Yeah, I can see that hiding emotions things but as I see it a stereotypical man takes action and is willing to sacrifice their life for others. It didn't seem to gel with the OP talking about how self interested he is. Apathy doesn't seem that manly to me either, I would say it's more manly to stand on either side of his given example (gay marriage) by fighting for or against it on principle as opposed to simply not caring.

EDIT - Just realized you are the OP, sorry to talk to you in third person, lol.

It may actually be hurtful for you, if you just acting out of habit. You describe your self as a typical man and that is in and of itself a problem. Something like a normal or typical person doesn't exist. A gender role is a role that most people in reality can't identify with, it's an ideal of how people should act. The role for a man isn't what a man actually is or look. You mentions stereotypes for women to explain how you do not converge from the male norm. The thing is, stereotypes are lies. The "Boundaries" between the sexes is not a well defined line. We, as human, exist on scales, and each scale is different for each person. Stereotypes are used to describe the believed difference between the sexes but in reality there are larger differences within the same sex than in between.

If you have truly felt like you "fit" the stereotypical male model and couldn't find another way of describing yourself, that's fine. I will just pity you a bit because you most likely looked yourself from experiences you could have if you let yourself define yourself as human before defining yourself as man.

I'm a women, I don't fit the role of a stereotypical woman, I don't even try. So I want to break free from the bonds of gender that binds me. Me and everyone else need allies, people who can accept we don't want to act according to the existing rules of society. That's really all you need to do, so that's a reason why you should care about your gender role. Good reason right?

Genocidicles:
I honestly can't remember where I heard this, but I head that Gender Roles hurt everyone... and I'm just wondering, how are they hurting me? I fit the traditional male mold. I'm a man, and I couldn't care less about expressing my emotions, or raising children, or wearing women's clothing or whatever else breaks the gender boundaries.

I feel the same way about this as I do about gay marriage. I'm not gay, so I don't give a shit. If it becomes legal then great, but don't expect me to go protesting for it, or voting for it or whatever. So basically, I'm selfish. If it doesn't affect me, I don't care.

I'm a stereotypical man. I don't want to do anything that's considered feminine, so (bearing in mind that I'm selfish) should I give a shit about tearing down gender roles?

One Negative I can think of is that men are expected to Get married and have children. Its not to big of a deal if you dont do this, except advancement in certain carreers/professions. Your upward progress could be hindered since having Children and a wife makes you "Stable" and "Normal" In the eyes of the higher ups. Not having a family can make you appear like you are without a solid foundations/an Oddball and might just move on form the job at a moments notice.

Nickolai77:

I don't agree with the claim from some feminists that gender roles need to be destroyed. Partially because I feel such a task is impossible anyway, but also because I like my masculine identity and I don't think gendered identities are oppressive enough to justify their destruction. Identity isn't something which is necessarily forced down on people by "society" or by the ruling powers, it is something which people choose to adopt and "play" with. I didn't choose my national or racial identity, but I play along with it, modify it and adapt it suit my own ends by making jokes about being British, criticising certain British behaviours whilst embracing others- same goes for gender identity. This identity, like most identities, can be oppressive at times, but not enough to justify getting rid of it.

It's one thing to define yourself as male or female (or either if that is) and identify yourself through your gender. I define myself as a women but I don't identify myself through the fact that I'm a women. The same with nationality or race, it's two different thing. To abolish gender roles wouldn't deprive you of the possibility to be a man, it would allow you to act and think regardless of you being male or not. You wouldn't be less a man, if that's how you define yourself. You would just be allowed to act through the fact that your human before the fact that you're a man. Quite opposite to how it is today.

Ikajo:
The thing is, stereotypes are lies.

Stereotypes are lies, but at the same time they're not. The main reason stereotypes come around is because of trends/patterns that a very real thing (to some extent/scale)...otherwise said stereotype will never "take off" and become popular. Obviously stereotypes tend to exaggerate and generalize over those patterns, but it IS based on something real i.e. not lies :)

I agree that there is more variance between individuals of the same gender than the genders themselves. But if an alien was to come to earth and observe everyone on a global scale, the very FIRST trend/pattern (i.e. "stereotype") it would notice is that that men and women lean towards different things, think in slightly different ways, look/behave differently, etc.

Yuuki:

Ikajo:
The thing is, stereotypes are lies.

Stereotypes are lies, but at the same time they're not. The main reason stereotypes come around is because of trends/patterns that a very real thing (to some extent/scale)...otherwise said stereotype will never "take off" and become popular. Obviously stereotypes tend to exaggerate and generalize over those patterns, but it IS based on something real i.e. not lies :)

I agree that there is more variance between individuals of the same gender than the genders themselves. But if an alien was to come to earth and observe everyone on a global scale, the very FIRST trend/pattern (i.e. "stereotype") it would notice is that that men and women lean towards different things, think in slightly different ways, look/behave differently, etc.

But if that is the case, why is it that stereotypes can be wildly different between cultures and across different times? And is not the environment in which the stereotype developed also a factor to consider?

Genocidicles:
I honestly can't remember where I heard this, but I head that Gender Roles hurt everyone... and I'm just wondering, how are they hurting me? I fit the traditional male mold. I'm a man, and I couldn't care less about expressing my emotions, or raising children, or wearing women's clothing or whatever else breaks the gender boundaries.

I feel the same way about this as I do about gay marriage. I'm not gay, so I don't give a shit. If it becomes legal then great, but don't expect me to go protesting for it, or voting for it or whatever. So basically, I'm selfish. If it doesn't affect me, I don't care.

I'm a stereotypical man. I don't want to do anything that's considered feminine, so (bearing in mind that I'm selfish) should I give a shit about tearing down gender roles?

Do you wish to get married and have children with your wife?

If you answered "no", will it bother you if your career advancement is hindered because you're still single at an age where a traditional man is expected to be married?

If you answered "yes", assume you meet an equally traditionally-gendered woman, and you have a son together. Congratulations! However, there's a problem... your son wants to become a fashion designer, and he's about as athletic as a brick. He's routinely bullied and called "sissy-boy". Does this bother you? Do you like being put into the position of either disapproving of (and thereby hurting) your son, who you love, or defending your son's choices and being ostracized by other manly-men in your community, whose company you enjoy, for it?

Let's turn away from family, for a moment. You do well in your chosen career (we'll assume it's one that has co-workers), congratulations! You work closely with another man whose work you find exemplary. He's easy to work with, has great ideas, has a really good work ethic, and you genuinely enjoy working with him. But, he's gay and a lot of his traits are perceived as feminine. Your boss is also a very traditionally-gendered man, and your co-worker offends him. Your boss finds every excuse to shit on your co-worker, to the point where your co-worker starts looking for another job. Does it bother you to see how he is treated? Does it bother you when he leaves, and is replaced by a more traditionally-gendered guy who screws up badly enough that it affects your job?

What if you lose your job, and cannot be the breadwinner for your family? Will it hurt you if you can't "provide"?

Selfish or not, you're not an island. If some of the people you're working with are bullied because they don't fit the ideal the way you do, and their job performance suffers, it affects you directly. On a bigger scale, all of the contributions people *could* be making to their society, their economy, and their community if they weren't hit in the psyche for things they have no control over is a loss that affects *all of us*. I don't understand why so many people can't see it.

As others have said; The gender-roles hurt you because they too enforce you to act in a specific manner, and there is backlash if you do not.
However, if you do not care about the fact that you are implicitly being told to follow a VERY narrow set of rules or be scolded, then they won't hurt you. Not in this manner, anyway. There's a multitude of nuances, but it's early right now, I'll bring them up later.

It depends culture to culture, sub culture to sub culture, era to era.

What would have been acceptable at one point in time might not work a decade or a century down the line. What is perfectly acceptable for a white man such as my self in California might be looked down on from another white man in Poland.

In this current day and age, as long as both partners are that, partners, and have equal footing, then yes either going against gender roles or following them should not be bad, so long as one gender or the other is not treated as an expendable commottiy because of that role.

Do I believe certain genders are better at things than others, or have roles in the family that are better then the other? Sure. At the same time I am also of the opinion sometimes the woman needs to pick up a pair of slacks if the man won't man up, and a man taking care of his child when his partner is gone for a bit is not baby sitting but doing is damn job as a father (long story short, I'm Mormon, that means we get lots of callings and do meetings and stuff, and my dad often took me and my siblings along so my mom could get other things done or rest. She is also the type to tell him he can jump off a bridge when he became an jerk).

I think what people mean by that is that the expectations of gender roles limits people. Sure, some people fit right into it just fine but we should drop the expectations that people should fit into it. There are maybe more chances for happiness and freedom without those roles being expected of everybody.

Well, no more than the absence of gender roles would potentially hurt you too.

One may device all sorts of scenarios where absolutely anything would be to one's disadvantage. Me winning a trillion dollars, and getting the hottest woman on earth as my girlfriend, would certainly be to my great disadvantage, in the situation that she choose to kill me and run off with the money!

There's potentially, and then there's plausibly though. For all practical purposes, the vast majority of people will never be inconvenienced by something as abstract as "gender roles". If they did, then it'd already have been kicked to the curb.

This might be viewed as "unfair" by an entitled few, but in actuality, people have no right to determine how they are viewed by others. Such falls under Freedom of Thought, and the right to express it falls under Freedom of Expression. If they wish to think and speak their own mind on matters which concern others than themselves, then they have better acknowledge that everyone else has those very same rights.

Imperator_DK:

There's potentially, and then there's plausibly though. For all practical purposes, the vast majority of people will never be inconvenienced by something as abstract as "gender roles". If they did, then it'd already have been kicked to the curb..

I think you are wrong in you assumption that all people are coldly rational in determining what most benefits them. Most really aren't. If they were, we wouldn't have the problems that we do.

Imperator_DK:

This might be viewed as "unfair" by an entitled few, but in actuality, people have no right to determine how they are viewed by others. Such falls under Freedom of Thought, and the right to express it falls under Freedom of Expression. If they wish to think and speak their own mind on matters which concern others than themselves, then they have better acknowledge that everyone else has those very same rights.

So wait, let me get this straight but I'm not sure I understand the argument? Are you saying those that try to break gender norms are actually infringing on the rights of other people who think they shouldn't?

Are you saying people have a right to tell other people what to do with their own gender?

Isn't that the same as saying you have a right to be racist, sexist, homophobic and if people call you out on it it's an infringement on their freedom of thought and expression?

BreakfastMan:
...
I think you are wrong in you assumption that all people are coldly rational in determining what most benefits them. Most really aren't. If they were, we wouldn't have the problems that we do.

There's quite a gap between not maximizing benefits to their full potential, and actually being inconvenienced though. In fact, I'm not even convinced it's beneficial at all to always seek to maximize one's life to the fullest, as very little satisfaction and very great stress would likely be the result. If a man is not a coldly rational creature, then a coldly rational approach to how to live his life is hardly the best way of life for him. Ignorance might not be bliss, but a certain framework to evaluate one's knowledge within would be, in that no human can function without it.

A lot of people are probably better off not needing to worry about the millions upon millions of ways they could alternately live their life, and just going with the flow and root themselves in whatever mom and dad used to do... utterly baseless and random as that might philosophically have been.

So I'd say that the very fact that these things are clear-but-largely-unconscious-guidelines is exactly what's so psychologically beneficial to many people. It offers considerably and consistently more peace of mind and sense of being rooted than the alternative, while still allowing them to retain a sense of self, firmly defined in relation to something else. The crusade of all these pretty depressed people to "make them aware" that they're living a lie and that their entire personality is the result of societal influences would rightly be seen as an attack on their quality of life and psychological well being (...ironically an attack by people who otherwise tend to insist that "psychological harm" is a real and important thing).

Thus, for a significant part of the majority I'm speaking of, it's the very fact that they aren't forced to be coldly rational which lie at the heart of my assertion that they aren't inconvenienced by it.

Strawman McFallacy:
...
So wait, let me get this straight but I'm not sure I understand the argument? Are you saying those that try to break gender norms are actually infringing on the rights of other people who think they shouldn't?

Are you saying people have a right to tell other people what to do with their own gender?

Isn't that the same as saying you have a right to be racist, sexist, homophobic and if people call you out on it it's an infringement on their freedom of thought and expression?

Call them out however much you wish! That's what's Freedom of Expression is all about.

Just don't seek to deny them ability to be so, and to cultivate that identity. You can voice your arguments for them to hear, but that's where your interference with their lives end. And what allows you to reasonably demand that their interference with your life ends with words as well, and have in place a state apparatus which ensures this by force if necessary.

Imperator_DK:

Just don't seek to deny them ability to be so, and to cultivate that identity. You can voice your arguments for them to hear, but that's where your interference with their lives end. And what allows you to reasonably demand that their interference with your life ends with words as well, and have in place a state apparatus which ensures this by force if necessary.

Is anyone doing that?

Strawman McFallacy:
...
Is anyone doing that?

Since support for censorship - and other active intervention in all kind of things perceived to help form opinions, with the object of consciously manipulating them - is a thing, I'd have to say yes.

If anyone is interested, There's a study here on just how much children are imbued with ideas of gender from a very early age. How things like actions and even just basic shapes are given arbitrary genders.

http://issuu.com/vale-n-tina/docs/summarybook_issus

Just thought I would see what people thought of this since we're discussing how gender roles shape how we view the world.

Genocidicles:

I'm a stereotypical man. I don't want to do anything that's considered feminine, so (bearing in mind that I'm selfish) should I give a shit about tearing down gender roles?

Yes and no. You're happy with who you are and where that fits in society's expectations. That's fine and don't let anyone try to diminish that. Not everyone has that, though. So, on the "Yes" side, I think it would be a good thing for you to care about others attaining that same sort of acceptance, and thus happiness in many cases. But on the "No" side, I don't think it'd be good form to expect you to just pick up a cause for appearances and make it a personal crusade. As long as you're a decent person that doesn't get bent if someone else wants a role outside of society's expectations, then anyone that has a problem with you can sod off.

Imperator_DK:

Strawman McFallacy:
...
Is anyone doing that?

Since support for censorship - and other active intervention in all kind of things perceived to help form opinions, with the object of consciously manipulating them - is a thing, I'd have to say yes.

I don't understand what you're trying to get at, or what your point really is as it relates to the topic. What "active intervention" is taking place? by what side? Who is trying to manipulate who?

You're speaking in way to vague and generalizing terms so it's very difficult to understand your position.

The slogan more means "inequality hurts everyone", which is generally true. However, if how you want to act abides with your sex's societal roles then it is fine to act that way. However, people should not feel compelled to fill any given role simply due to sex.

If you're happy with it, and you don't feel pressured into it or acting a certain way, then there's nothing wrong with living a "traditional" gender role. Nothing wrong at all. In fact, you are probably happier in a traditional gender role than you would be in any other role, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Best of luck to you in living the life you feel comfortable with.

Just keep an open mind to others who don't feel the same way as you do. Keep an open mind in regards to others, and I can find no fault with you.

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