What is Masculinity for Men

I find that many people have opinions on what masculinity is for others. Too often today people trash the idea of masculinity. What is it for men themselves?

Recently I wrote about my masculinity I am Proud Of My Masculinity. A female commenter said—Graham I loved every word of this. Thank you, thank you! Your masculinity is beautiful. I hope more men come to recongnize how they can create the terms of their masculinity that aligns with their personal values. The same inner sense you feel about your masculinity is the same inner sense I feel about my femininity.

This is a unique and powerful book. It is a record of a series of conversations with Christopher Howard on masculinity, sex, addiction and relationships. In them both Chris and myself opened ourselves up in a very personal and revealing way. We held nothing back and explored what it is to be men.

I was pleased to find someone understanding what masculinity can be to a men, without tearing it open.

But what is masculinity?

You can read what I felt about mine, but what is it more generally for men? I came across this quotation this morning:

“When looking at the attributes associated with masculinity, researchers identified these as important attributes for men: emotional control, primacy of work, control over women and pursuit of status. That means that if men want to play it safe, they need to stop feeling, start earning, and give up on meaningful connection.”—Brené Brown, ‘The Gifts of Imperfection’.

I find this pretty depressing although I must say I am not surprised. For generations men have learned to contain themselves in a prison of control and striving to conform to what they see as masculinity in others. Rarely do men break out of this prison to be what they are inside.

Brené Brown was talking about Authenticity when she made this statement. She says:

“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re suppose to be and embracing who we are.”

Authenticity is word often thrown around but rarely defined adequately. I think Brené has hit the nail on the head—esdpecially the masculine nail!

Men play it safe and do what they think others expect of them. This, in my view, is the exact opposite of being a man, of being masculine.

Masculinity is not about outward displays of power, control and strength, but displays of inner power, inner control and inner strength. A man’s ability to who he is, who he wants to be, is the greatest display of masculinity.

So, men, if you want to explore your masculinity you need to look at starting to feel, and starting to explore meaningful connection. It’s OK on the work thing… we all need to do that!


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