Over the last few posts I have touched on some vital aspects of what it is to be a man and the essence of the contrast between masculine and feminine.
There is a challenge that men to take up. It’s to re-align their masculinity so it becomes relevant today. It’s not about becoming feminine, it’s not about developing a feminine side, it’s about developing compassion along with strength, courage and certainty.
Masculine and Feminine – Male Domination
I have entered the Lion’s Den of masculinity and suggested that it is time we found a way to respect women.
“We can help women move beyond their fear and anger and understand us as men, we can help women to find their power and face us as equals. We dont need to feel guilt, pain or sorrow 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.” Read more
The way for us to move forward as men is to develop our own norms based on our core masculine characteristics and our response to cultural conditioning not based on the dominant cultural norms; that is create our own personal masculinity.
What is this masculinity? What are the core masculine qualities? How can we create it? As men we are brought up more by our mothers than our fathers and at a certain point in our childhood we are faced with moving away from the feminine perspective to develop our own approach to the world, our masculinity.
This move away from the feminine was achieved in tribal societies through initiation and ceremony. In modern society we have lost this blunting our access to our masculine characteristics and making the shift more problematic and painful. The lack of involvement of fathers in this process makes the situation worse.
The result is increasing conflict between men and women because men either fail to make the transition or they over-compensate and dominate women. Read more
What is really worrying in the general debate on masculinity and femininity is that people see gender identity as a battle ground.
It is similar to the stagnation of the First World War and its trenches filled with soldiers facing each other and dying for a forgotten principle. There is no point to it and no-one wins.
We face this stagnation in everyday life, The Battle of the Sexes. What are men and women, why all the strife between them? Read more
The domination, abuse and suppression of women by men has existed throughout history. Men physically, psychologically, socially and emotionally dominate women all over the world.
Our view of the world and ourselves in it influences our view of this. Men 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.
I find I need to understand this from a perspective other than my own and respond to it in a way that helps women overcome the centuries of pain and humiliation. Read more
The more men come to terms with their masculinity, the more the tension grows between men and women. Yet from my perspective and my experience this movement brings men and women together.
Why is my perspective at odds with the wider experience? Has Graham Phoenix got it wrong or are there bigger issues at stake?
I have seen this situation brought to light in two different issues about masculinity and femininity. They show a level of discord which is surprising to me in this time of understanding and clarity. I have decided, therefore, to look at the questions raised over a short series of posts. In this one I lay the groundwork for the more detailed analysis to follow.
First, in an Associated Press article, “Gender stereotypes easing more for girls than boys“, the reporter looks at how it is much easier for girls to take on boy’s characteristics than the other way round. He draws a set of battle lines between groups for and against strengthening gender roles. It’s not men against women, it’s androgyny against stereotyping.
“For girls nowadays, it’s OK to play with boys’ toys, dress like boys, talk like them — it’s often encouraged. Boys have to walk a much finer line, and their fathers tend to be more stereotyped, telling them not to deviate from what’s typically seen as masculine.”
Second, in ‘My take on a manifesto for conscious men‘ a female commenter, Marianne, took on the men supporting the site by criticising its approach to the ‘Manifesto for Conscious Men‘. Her objection was that men shouldn’t seem to reject the historic domination of women,
“What I do think is abusive is to deny history […] when you minimize that or make light of it […] then NO healing can take place. The violence and second class status of women throughout history runs deep in womens psyche.”