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Characteristics Of Masculinity—I Am Proud Of Being A Man

I have felt a need to take control over what I do in life and have had many reasons to question this over the years. I now realise that this is an essential aspect of my masculinity, an important part of being a man. It is part of the characteristics of masculinity.

II find myself drawn into being in charge or leading. In any group situation I find that I see what we need to do to make a group vision work and that I work to create this. In committees I find myself chairing them to create a common vision.

I see that this is about my mind and the skills I have developed over my life. I also see it as an expression of myself as a man. I have the ability to focus and see the way ahead—the vision—as well as what needs doing to get there—the detail. It is a part of what I see as my masculinity that I am proud of.

I should clarify what I mean by masculinity. The details vary for each man, dependent on his personality, family and the culture he grew up in. The common thread, in my mind, is a set of characteristics or attitudes that allow men to feel masculine.

As a male I have a desire to feel masculine. It is this inner sense that is part of my identity. It comes from my knowledge and understanding of myself as a male. I decide what is right but I need to feel the fullness of it. That, for me, is masculinity; feeling like a man.

I know that I need to be comfortable with myself and not feel shame about the past, not shrink from the present nor be fearful of the future. As a man I need to allow myself to be a man.

Domination, abuse and suppression of women by men has existed throughout history. Men still dominate women by physical, psychological and emotional means in today’s enlightened world.

Our personal view of the world and our role in it influences our view of this domination. Men both deny it and accept it. Most men see its existence but deny any personal involvement in it. They approach it from their own needs as men and leave women to resolve their own relationship to it.

To embody masculinity I find I need to understand this from a perspective other than my own. I need to respond to it in a way that helps women overcome the centuries of pain and humiliation.

Where I have a personal responsibility for abuse I accept that I need to acknowledge it and deal with it at a personal level. Many men feel that at a personal level they aren’t responsible, and they aren’t. They also feel it is false to take on the guilt of others and that a simple apology does not change the situation.

There are men who take on all the guilt and shame and prostrate themselves before women. It is alright for them to deal with their own personal views in this way, but adopting this stance creates a divide among men. It turns this into a problem about men and responsibility.

If we seek masculinity, as men, we must take responsibility. If we seek common ground to support our growth we must see that it is in this common ground that the responsibility lies. No matter how we express our own masculinity, it is by working together with other men that we strengthen it. In this joint process we create a common male energy that has often been the source of the domination.

We can help women move beyond their fear and anger and understand us as men—and we can help women to find their power and face us as equals. To do this we don’t need to feel guilt or pain for all the abuse women have taken in history, but as men we need to respect women. It is in this joint respecting of each other that union and polarity between us can grow and flourish.

If men cannot take on this responsibility we must reject any sense of universal masculinity. We cannot accept that there are connections between us at a higher, or spiritual, level. We can only exist as individuals without any connection to others. I don’t find that this is what men think about themselves.

What worries me in the general debate on masculinity is that so many people see gender as a battleground.

It is like the stagnation of the First World War. The soldiers filled the trenches, they faced each other and died for forgotten principles. There was, and still is, no point to this type of battleground. No one wins.

Society socializes men and women to conform to gender stereotypes that suit the dominant group. This happens in all societies and is a characteristic of human behavior. The inequality created by this socialization causes many of the issues of tension between men and women.

People can be more concerned with how others perceive them than with being authentic. The media and people’s expectations create arbitrary norms for masculinity and femininity. Individuals feel they have to conform to these norms or isolate themselves as ‘different’.

The problems stem from people seeing these socialized models as reality and not as models.

I see equality as equality of rights and responsibilities. People are equal no matter their age, sex, color, religion. But there are areas in which none of us are equal. Our skills and abilities differ in many areas, our knowledge, our understanding are different. We all have different characteristics, emotions, physical qualities. This does not make any group better than any other, it should not make any group dominant.

We are equal in our differences. We should celebrate and enjoy the differences between men and women. We can define a world of union and polarity between men and women through the balance between us, a world of power and strength for both.

If we develop our own masculinity based on our core masculine characteristics we can move forward as men. We can do this by measuring our response to cultural conditioning not acting on dominant cultural norms. We do this by creating our own personal masculinity.

Men can take back control from the dominant cultural influences and develop what they see as masculinity. This will counter the media driven masculine stereotypes and move on from old school masculinity. The new masculinity can embrace differences.

There is a challenge for men to take up. It is to re-align their masculinity so it becomes relevant today. It is not about becoming feminine, it is not about developing a feminine side. It is about developing compassion along with strength, courage and certainty.

What does all this mean for men, what does it mean for the future?

Men have been the dominant group in society in most cultures. We have run things, organized life and dictated how we should all be. Men have created the cultural norms that now so distort society. We have hung on to outdated beliefs and complained when they haven’t worked. We have dominated and abused women and complained when they fight back. It seems to me that we have wanted it all and stamped our collective foot when it hasn’t worked.

The world needs men now more than ever. Children, particularly sons, need them. Women need them. Society needs them. They need to stand alongside women to create a new more caring society, they need to take their place and feel proud of it.

There is a lack of men who are sure in themselves and who radiate certainty to those around them. There is a ack of men who see masculinity as an enduring quality. There is a lack of men who see masculinity as good.

There is a lack of men who are willing to step out there and give themselves for the good of others. Men, your time is now, seize it, grab the future of masculinity.

I find that I am happy in my personal definition of masculinity. I enjoy my strength, whether it is physical, mental or emotional. I enjoy leading and see that it is role I am meant to embody. This involves me creating a vision for myself and other people. I do that with enthusiasm. I do not seek to suppress my sense of masculinity in case I upset people, I live my life as a man to the full. I live it without domination but with my innate power.

I am a man and I am proud of it.

Jimmy Savile, Rape Culture and the Lessons for Us All

Graham Phoenix finds the term ‘rape culture’ offensive, but in hearing the British Health Secretary, this week, reporting to the British Parliament on the Savile Affair, he questions whether his being offended is valid any more.

When I was 16 years old, in 1964, a British TV show featuring pop music started. ‘Top of the Pops’ was an iconic show from the BBC. It came from an old church in Manchester that had been turned into a TV studio. I used to pass it by bus on my way to and from school. I can remember seeing the queues of girls hoping to get in and see their favorite ‘pop stars’. It was like nothing that had been presented before and the first presenter was a man destined to become famous—perhaps infamous would be better—and an icon of my generation.

He went on to host the continually popular TV show ‘Jim’ll Fix It’ where he fulfilled the dreams of children, mainly, and wound his way into the imagination of a generation of children and their parents. In Britain the phrase ‘Jim’ll Fix It’ became a by-word for getting your dreams fulfilled.

He was famous for spending his spare time as a hospital porter, looking after children and adults in need. He raised an estimated £40 Million for charity and was knighted by the Queen in 1990. He was a quite extraordinary man.

♦◊♦

This week Jeremy Hunt, the British Health Secretary, spoke to the House of Commons about the revelations contained in a report, published on behalf of Britain’s National Health Service (NHS), about that man, Jimmy Savile. He said,

“I know this House, indeed the whole country, will share a deep sense of revulsion at what they reveal – a litany of disturbing accounts of rape and sexual abuse committed by Savile on vulnerable children and adults over a period of decades.

“At the time, the victims who spoke up were not believed and it is important today that we all publicly recognize the truth of what they have said.

“But it is a profoundly uncomfortable truth.

“As a nation at that time we held Savile in our affection as a somewhat eccentric national treasure with a strong commitment to charitable causes. Today’s reports show that in reality he was a sickening and prolific sexual abuser who repeatedly exploited the trust of a nation for his own vile purposes.”

He went on,

“Mr Speaker, today’s reports will shake this House and our country to the core.

“Savile was a callous, opportunistic, wicked predator who abused and raped individuals, many of them patients and young people, who expected and had a right to expect to be safe. His actions span five decades – from the 1960s to 2010.

“The family favourite loved by millions courted popularity and used it to perpetrate and cover up his own evil acts.”

The issue I want to address is how we should we look at this situation and what lessons we can draw.

♦◊♦

I have recently been involved in a discussion here on GMP about the concept of ‘rape culture’. I disagreed with the idea that this culture is prevalent. I said in a comment,

“I find the concept of ‘Rape Culture’ offensive. To me it is offensive because it lumps men together as being offenders, something that is simply not true. Individual men are offenders but not men in general.”

In looking at the Savile case I have had cause to re-think what I feel and what I see. Let me explain why.

‘Rape culture’ is a concept that links rape and sexual violence to the culture of a society, and one in which prevalent attitudes and practices normalize, excuse, tolerate, and even condone rape. It is a term that was originally coined by the feminist movement but has now moved into common usage. It is believed that the culture starts with a lack of respect by one individual to another, and moves through dominance and control in intimate relationships and in business to people not taking sexual violence or rape seriously. This is seen as a big issue in the US where there are many examples of society appearing to condone such behaviour. The concept takes in everything from ‘micro aggressions’ to the behaviour of a sexual predator.

I have never seen such a prevalent attitude here in Britain, but the fact that Savile was allowed to get away with his behavior for many years in the BBC and the NHS, major British institutions, would appear to suggest that such a culture exists in those institutions and therefore at the highest level in British society. It also suggests that such a culture exists at all levels of society because of the extent to which Savile’s crimes were not reported by ordinary people mainly because they were not believed.

Men are often accused of being controlled by their sexuality. We, reputedly, think about sex all the time and it is only with great difficulty that we are able to control ourselves. In the case of Savile it would seem that he was totally unable to control his sexuality, or perhaps he just chose not to, because he could. It is important to understand that there is nothing wrong with men and their urge for sex, in many ways that is a good thing. The only aspect that is wrong is when that urge results in non-consensual sex. Men, or women, do not need to ‘control’ themselves they just need to accept that consent is a pre-requisite for any sexual act. For Savile there was no sense in which he sought consent, he just assumed that because people were in awe of him they were fair game.

Ben Belenus, in a article on Savile in The Good Men Project in 2012, ‘Jim’ll Fux It‘, said,

“If we all celebrated and talked openly about our sexuality, maybe there would be fewer prisoners, men would respect women and we would all respect the earth.”

We do need to be more open about sex and not let our sexuality control us, we need to acknowledge our sexual desires and, at the same time, accept that our desires do not give us the right to prey on other people to fulfill them.

♦◊♦

It is possible to see this situation as just about our ridiculous adoration of celebrities, whether they are movie or TV stars, sportsmen and women or just people ‘in the news’. We give these people control over our lives, we give them our power. Savile was allowed to get away with it because people thought he did so much good for children and the needy. It is power and privilege that allow some people to get away with rape and other sexual offenses. This has nothing to do with being a man and everything to do with the exerting of power and control.

We see this not just with celebrities, but with priests, with coaches and with teachers. It is the celebrities that get the attention, but the predator is often in a trusted position within the community if only because they organize that to get access to their prey, their victims—ordinary men, women and children.

I was involved in a lighting project in a Catholic Church in Ireland. As a part of the refurbishment work within the church, the Vestry, where the choir boys and men changed for services, was being divided to ensure the boys were separated. Glass doors were being put in the confessionals so that whatever happened inside could be seen by anyone. The idea that boys are at risk has, at last, gone deep into the Catholic Church.

Nick Triggle, health correspondent of BBC News said today in an analysis of the report on Savile,

“He enjoyed unsupervised access, particularly at two sites, Leeds General Infirmary and Broadmoor psychiatric hospital, and was able to use his fame to intimidate junior staff. What is more, senior management were too unquestioning.”

Savile was an example of a rampant sexual predator using his fame and influence to pressure people into letting him have free and open access. There are a lot of people who have a great deal of soul searching to do. There are still a lot of questions to be answered but the reaction over the past few years of revelations has been universal. Except that, interestingly, the news is off the front page the next day. We may be horrified but we don’t want to hear too much about it.

♦◊♦

What lessons are there for all of us? We need to be aware of what people are doing with their fame and celebrity. Sexual predators exist everywhere and they will use any means to get what they want. They may be evil criminals who will not be stopped, but they achieve their ends by our consent, which is often expressed as a lack of objection, a lack of reporting or, more importantly, a refusal to believe people when they do report it.

We need to understand whether there is a difference between people, often men, with twisted minds who think it is alright to abuse, dominate, threaten and rape at will, and a culture of disrespect in society. The problem, for me, with the word ‘rape’ in ‘rape culture’ is that it tends to focus the blame for a culture of disrespect on sex and people’s, often men’s, sexuality. But rape is a problem of control, not sex, and control is, necessarily, linked to general disrespect and dominance, to a general lack of consent even in mild issues of dominance. We need to decide if there is a continuum of disrespect, micro-aggressions, sexual advances, sexual violence, rape and predatory sexual behavior. They are all issues to be talked about and dealt with and until people at large become schooled in the concepts of inclusion, respect, understanding and consent we need to careful of making light of any of it.

The use of the word ‘rape’ in ‘rape culture’ is offensive, but I am beginning to think it is necessary to shock people into understanding what is happening. I never saw this as being a big problem because I have always respected what other other people want or do not want. I have never forced a woman to do what she did not want to do, no matter how much that frustrated me. So I saw respect and consent as normal. Yet even I have to understand the extent to which this approach is alien to many people and to large parts of society. That shocks me, and, perhaps, the lesson of the Savile affair, for me, is that I need to be shocked to accept what is happening, at an institutional level, and, worse, at an ordinary level in society.

I will finish with the final words of Jeremy Hunt in speaking to the House of Commons,

“But today, above all, we should remember the victims of Savile.

“They were brave. They have been vindicated. Savile was a coward. He has been disgraced.

“The system failed to prevent him from abusing. It failed to act when people spoke up. We must not allow this to happen again.”

  • Do you fully understand the implications of a Rape Culture?
  • Do you understand your role in this?
  • What are you doing to change this?

Read the following articles to open up your perspective…


Other articles by Graham Reid Phoenix:

It Is About Control Not Sex – Henry Rollins Speaks Out
Is A Woman A Feminist, A Goddess Or A Dependent

Other relevant articles:

A Gentleman’s Guide to Rape Culture
What Is Rape Culture?

Anger and the Superior Man – Is it about Gender or Personal Inadequacy?

I look at the anger surrounding the recent shooting in the US, and explains how it all relates to an expression of personal inadequacy.

Anger is a part of all our lives whether it comes from inside or whether we experience it from other people. Anger is a recurring theme in relations between men and women both on a personal and cultural level. The recent shooting in the US has generated countless pages both about the shooter’s anger and the anger of those reacting to him and what he did. Much of that anger has been directed at a perceived battle between men and women, some of it has been about the pressure of men’s entitlement and the effect this has on women.

Read more

What On Earth Is A Good Man? (And What Is The Good Men Project All About?)

For Graham Phoenix, being good means going beyond what he feels inside himself into what he feels about the world outside. Here, he explores just what that means.

I write stories about myself that relate to my essence as a man. I draw parallels for other men that might help them to look at the issues they face in a different, more powerful, way. This is a superficial view of the columns I write; on a deeper level I am exploring my world and challenging it.

What is the purpose of this exploration, is it important to do it?

Many years ago, when my children were young, I lived in Edinburgh, Scotland, and went to a prominent Episcopal Church in the city centre. I was approached to co-lead a group being set up for men and women to explore their sexuality and christianity, and find ways to integrate them. I felt that my involvement could highlight the intersection of being gay and being christian and help open up the congregation to the fact that it could even exist. My intention was to challenge people in this area and, at least, open up a conversation.

That is the purpose of the Good Men Project, to open up a conversation, in this case about men, in particular, good men, and to challenge what people think. But what is a good man? What does ‘good’ mean for me and for the Good Men Project?

“There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.”
(William Shakespeare)

The alleged Indo-European root of good is ghedh (to unite, join, fit), so that which is united is good. You can stretch this to mean that if you accept the majority view, you are good, in other words being morally right is good, being conformist is good.

This approach relies on an authoritarian view of the world. It re-enforces a patriarchal view of society. It establishes the status quo and does not accept challenge. If you challenge you do not fit the majority view. This is how many people see the world and if you step out to change this, it scares them. It is hard for them to see that letting go of their certainties could make a better world.

“The strength and power of a country depends absolutely on the quantity of good men and women in it.”
(John Ruskin)

In Ruskin’s nineteenth century world there was a need for people to come together to create a new world of industry that would respect nature and build a bridge between life and art. That was a great idea but still does not help in defining what a good man is.

For me being good means going beyond what I feel inside myself into what I feel about the world outside. The essence of a man being good is when he looks outside himself, beyond his world view, and challenges himself so that he can challenge others. It can be seen in a man who asks what he can do to contribute to improving the world or changing it. Being good means committing to have a bigger vision than just feeling great.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
(Edmund Burke)

This famous quote from Burke encapsulates what I mean. It is not men that are evil, it is the system that is evil. Most men are essentially good in themselves, they have a balance that leans towards good.

I realize that what I seek to do in my writing is to challenge men to go beyond themselves and see goodness as what they do out in the world. Whether it is about masculinity, the environment, relationships, fatherhood or any other of the issues that men face today, I encourage men to challenge what they think and find a new world view.

“Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do.”
(Voltaire)

For men to stay comfortable in their own world is for men to give up on themselves, their family and the world. We are in a time when most people realize that we have to do something to change the way we are socializing men. We want to find ways to encourage men to act and to no longer perpetuate what is broken.

“Good men are the stars, the planets of the ages wherein they live, and illustrate the times.”
(Ben Jonson)

The Good Men Project challenges men’s view of the world. The key to the power of the collective message on the site is the diversity of voices in the men having the conversation. The writers are progressive men, they are comfortable with themselves as men.

As writers we have to consider what the people we are talking to are trying to preserve. What are they are trying to protect themselves from? People want to believe in their own world view, in what they believe is right and wrong. They want to know that the world can stay as it is, that is their safety zone. We are here to challenge that safety zone.

We need to concern ourselves with what’s happening in the world and how we can affect it. That is why I write, that is why I push forward in my own way.

I realize that, as a writer, I need to be aware of my own strength and keep challenging. The readers who resist are still exploring their own model of the world. They are showing that they are not yet ready to go beyond it, but they have gone far enough to come and visit the site. So there is a point at which the movement is happening, the movement is getting bigger and more people are accepting the challenge of how they see the world.

I may not agree with everything that is written on the site, in fact I do not agree with a great deal, but the intention is, and has always been, to raise men’s consciousness, to encourage men to think beyond themselves.

It is very hard for many people. They come into this world, are raised a certain way, associate with certain people, and read certain books; they are socialized to see the world a certain way. It is hard for them to open themselves up to a different world view, indeed it is hard for any of us to open ourselves up. The answer is to talk about it and see how we can create change.

The Good Men Project sub-title is ‘the conversation no-one else is having’. It is in the nature of a conversation that it ebbs and flows, but it should, in my view, always move forward otherwise it becomes an argument.

“A man is called selfish not for pursuing his own good, but for neglecting his neighbor’s.”
(Richard Whately)

We need to concern ourselves with what’s happening in the world and how we can affect it. That is why I write, that is why I push forward in my own way.

Why do you come to the Good Men Project? Why do you read the articles? What do you want to see change? How are you a good man?

Let me know in the comments, keep this vital conversation going.

Do Men Cling To Their Mask of Masculinity?

I used to regard the life I was leading as a lie. My fear was that people would see me as weak, indecisive and scared. I wonder whether this is typical for men?

According to Tony Robbins we all have a Primary Question. It’s a question we ask ourselves everyday of our lives, one that controls our focus and the direction of our lives. For many years my Primary Question was, “What if I’m found out?” I regarded the life I was leading as a lie, a mask, an attempt to bolster my male power. My fear was being found out by someone, by anyone. My fear was that people would see the real me, the weak, indecisive and scared me.

To avoid being discovered I put on a front of strength and determination. I hid behind a view I had of masculinity, of male power, a view that I thought protected me.

As I developed my view of myself and moved beyond this phase, as I started asking myself better questions, I found that I was left with a borrowed view of masculinity. I realized I was lost, as a man. My view of myself was based on an idea of being a man that I thought was attractive to women. I realized this was false when I discovered that the women I knew saw through this mask.

It was only when I looked closely at myself, when I discarded what I thought a man should be, that I started living as the man I am. It was then that my outward presence shifted, it was then I became just me, a masculine man not a not pale shadow of a male stereotype.

The context within which I now see myself as a man is one of honesty and authenticity. Its not that they are necessarily masculine characteristics, but they do reveal a man in his true essence. My mask is swept away and what I now see as masculinity appears free and clear. Women see this and respond to the clarity. The nature of the masculinity revealed is personal to me. There is no one model, there are many forms of masculinity, all equally valid.

Looking from the other side of the shift I wonder where the mask came from and why it was so deeply entrenched. It contributed to the failure of a 30 year marriage and to the bankruptcy of two companies.

♦◊♦

I am British, white, and from a normal middle class background. My family were not well off but we did not want for anything. I had a good education and nothing abnormal happened in my life. This is the kind of background that produces many normal men, men who grow up behind masks, feigning masculinity.

I believe that there is a core essence we are born with, an essence of sexuality, gender and personality. This essence creates us as straight or gay, masculine or feminine, extrovert or introvert, etc. This is not the whole truth but it does influence how we react to life, how we make decisions about ourselves.

This core is overlaid in the early years, up to about age seven, with the experiences that most powerfully influence our development. This period can re-inforce or suppress our essence. The influence and effect, or lack of it, of our parents is primary and it is backed up by friends, teachers and many others.

It is in this period that I believe the idea of a mask is born. This when we decide whether we are worthy, whether people like us. It affects our sense of self. Our sexuality and our view of gender can be affected as can be seen in the dramatic effect that sexual abuse can have. It often corrupts the victim.

Beyond these years we continue to grow in a cultural milieu that influences us. As men, if we have decided that by the age of seven that we are not worthy, we will often seek refuge in stereotypical ideas of masculinity to hide what we really are.

William Pollack said in his book “Real Boys’ Voices”,

“When boys speak about ‘being themselves’. Many describe a double life in which they are one person in public — a cool guy who plays fast and lives by the rules of the Boy Code — and somebody completely different in his private life, often a much more creative, gentle, caring sort of guy. Others say they can ‘be themselves’ only after they go home, go to their own rooms, and shut out the outside world. What just about every boy says he knows all too well is what I call the mask of masculinity, a stance of male bravado and stoicism boys learn to use to cover over their inner feelings of sadness, loneliness, and vulnerability, to act cool, and to protect themselves from being shamed by their peers.”

This can happen to all of us but why is this particularly an issue for men.

♦◊♦

Men are normally raised by mothers not fathers, although this is slowly changing. During the formative years, up to age seven, boys tend to be more influenced by women. This is still so today with the large number of absent fathers, for whatever reason. A boy accepts this female role model until the time of separation comes. This is the time when boys are about to become men, puberty is approaching and society dictates that they need male role models in order to develop their sense of masculinity. In tribal societies this was dealt with by ritual and initiation, recruiting the boy into the dominant male group.

Is your life relaxed and peaceful? Have you come to a clear understanding of who you are as a man? Have you dealt with the issues you had when making your transition from boy to man?

The transition to manhood can fail to work for many reasons. It can be forced and happen before the boy is ready for it, the father may fail to provide guidance or it could be unnecessary and harmful to the boy. In many urban contexts this transition happens on the streets with gangs taking over the role of parents. The story of Oedipus is a myth about this period of transition.

This passage can result in confusion for the boy/man, depriving him of connection to his mother and not replacing it, causing him to fall back on the stereotypes he is fed by the media and by friends. This slowly becomes a mask, a masculine stereotype.

In my case I lacked the guidance from anyone to make this shift and, as I retreated from both my parents, I found it difficult to know who I was or how I should behave.

Much of the blame I put on the view of men I had from the media. All men face these issues and the resolution is to help boys and men face the shifts they go through and understand that they can make their own decisions and frame their own masculinity.

I now live way beyond the mask I wore when I was younger. I see myself clearly and understand the issues I faced through my life. I have successfully dealt with the issues and feel happy and relaxed as a man. I no longer worry about being found out, I happily let people see my true essence, see me as I truly am.

Many men have not had the advantage of gaining the understanding and experience to take their life beyond their troubles. I now work as a Men’s Coach, helping men to move forward and come to terms with what they have been avoiding.

Is your life relaxed and peaceful? Have you come to a clear understanding of who you are as a man? Have you dealt with the issues you had when making your transition from boy to man? Let me know in the comments what your view of masculinity and how you balance it in your life.

“Life is all about making a choice regardless what is thrown at you. Overcoming these so call obstacles that will assist you in becoming a better person. Go against the grain and do not just grow into that idol that society wants you to be. Fighting to keep your own image and standing fast for what you believe in is the only thing that counts.”
(Fendson Dorvilus)

Photo Credit: Flickr/Martin Cathrae

When a Man’s Responsibility Has Gone – What is There Left

Men keep going because their wife, children, colleagues expect them to. They keep going because of the shame of giving up. Graham Phoenix looks at when he went to the edge and kept going.

I lay under the duvet cover screaming, screaming out loud. I could feel the break coming. I felt helpless and hopeless and I did not know what to do, I did not know how to deal with my wife, with my life. I was lost; as a husband, as a man, as Graham. I knew something was wrong, something more than the clash of brute force and stubbornness, something more than titan struggle that had been going on downstairs. I was so lost I could not even work out what was wrong, I just wanted the world to go away.

After thirty years of marriage all I could see was destruction and emptiness. The love was destroyed, the friendship and companionship was being prised apart by the alcohol and the addiction. Over recent years I had done what a man does; I had solved the problems. It was supposed to easy. The application of male logic to a situation could solve anything, no?

I screamed as I realised I had not only not solved the problem of my wife’s alcoholism, I had made it worse. My logic had failed to lever open the door of my wife’s emotions to reveal the dark secrets in side. It had, in fact, nailed the door shut and sealed the gaps. Read more

The Awakening Man by Jeff Brown

The awakening man is conscious, heartfully defined. Through his eyes, being conscious is not a cerebral construct, nor an intellectual exercise bereft of feeling. It is a felt experience, an ever-expanding awareness that moves from the heart outward. It is feeling God, not thinking God. The new man is always in process, awakening through a deepening interface with the world of feeling. He continues to strive for a more heartfelt and inclusive awareness.

jeff brown

The awakening man has shifted his focus from a localized and ethnocentric perspective to a world-centric framework of perception. His community is humanity. Rooted in the relational, his sense of responsibility extends well beyond his localized self and community. Where possible, his choice-making is fuelled by an expansive vision of possibility for all of humankind. Not every man for himself, but every man for humanity.

The awakening man has reverence for the divine feminine, in all her forms. He celebrates the wonder that is woman. He is respectful, honouring and gracious. He is saddened by the horrors perpetuated against women by the malevolent masculine. He holds his brothers accountable. He makes amends for his own misdeeds. He co-creates a world where all women will feel safe to move about freely, to find their voice, to actualize their inherent magnificence. He welcomes a world where women and men stand as equal partners. Humankind. Read more

One Man’s Journey (So Far)

“You can’t teach anybody anything, only make them realize the answers are already inside them.” (Galileo)

My name is Steve Nash. I am a British mixed race 48 year old Yorkshire-man. I’ve been striving to find meaning to my life, to ‘the world’, ever since I can remember.

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It Is About Control Not Sex – Henry Rollins Speaks Out

Rape is generally about control not sex. It is about domination, usually by men of women, although it happens in other combinations as well. In my view it is not so much a gender issue as a human issue. It is about sad people who cannot see how to live decent lives and take that out on others.

What is tragic, though, is how it blights the lives of those involved. Often the lives of the victims are shattered with devastating ripple effects. The lives of the perpetuators are affected as well, often for the rest of their lives. Victims can become perpetuators, and so on.

But I am getting ahead of myself.

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Some years ago my son started a tradition of giving me a journal every year. The first one he gave me had a quote at the front, that he had written, from Henry Rollins. It was my first introduction to this former punk musician, from my punk musician son. The quote said,

“A lot of people spend their lives never getting to know their potential. They show up for work, despise their boss and the way they have to live but lack the guts to walk out the door and never come back. In the end they get what’s coming to them.”

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Become A Man in 21 Days

Week 1
Vision and Clarity

Men, you get advice all the time about how to live, but you are wasting your time unless you take action. You need to look at your life and change it if the advice is going to mean anything. Do something to become a man.

I want to make it easier for you to take the action you need to take to put your life in order. I have created and listed 21 actions, below, you can take in your life. They are all specific, practical actions that will improve your life.

The 21 actions have been split into 3 sections, each covering a week. The intention is that you focus on one action a day. Below are the first 7 actions, the first week. Links to the remaining two weeks will be below the article.

The more actions you undertake, the more progress you will make.

You may have already incorporated some of these into your life, but I guarantee you haven’t done all of them, I have not. If you think you have completed all of them, please tell me in the comments. Better yet, share one of your own tips. Read more