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 don’t 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.
Masculine and Feminine – Gender
I have looked at gender and found that we can be equal in our difference.
- Accept that there is a core essence you are born with, understand what that is and seek to live authentically with it.
- Understand how you have been socialised by family, friends and society, look at what you can do to make your own decisions on this.
- Celebrate the differences between men and women and treat others as equals in those differences.
- Understand that social norms are simply models created by the dominant culture and media. They are not to be adhered to unless they are appropriate to you.
Masculine and Feminine – Men
I have inspected men and laid out a new way we can be men.
To counter the media driven masculine stereotypes and move on from old school masculinity it is essential that men take back control from the dominant cultural influences and develop what they see as masculinity. This will vary for different men and will, in time, develop new norms for men.
What does all this mean for men, what does it mean for the future?
Men have generally been the dominant group in society. We have run things, organised 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 We have hung on to outdated beliefs and complained when they haven’t worked.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 whinged when they fight back. It seems to me that we have wanted it all and stamped our collective foot when it hasn’t worked.
There is a lack of men who are sure in themselves and who radiate certainty to those around them. There is a lack of men who see masculinity as an enduring quality that can be used for good. There is a lack of men who are willing to step out there and give themselves for the good of others.
Yes, they exist, but do they exist in the full strength of their masculinity as giving, caring men? Do they, on the other hand, just cling to an idea of their moral superiority? Gail Sheehy in her book ‘Passages in Men’s Lives‘ said,
For tens of thousands of years men lived as warriors, hunters and providers, dominant over women and indispensable as breadwinners. Their brawn was admired and feared and they were usually employed in work that required the strength of a male physique. The idea that a man’s moral superiority is related to his physical attributes harks all the way back to the ancients
But surely it is no longer relevant. We have moved on as a society, it’s time we moved on as men.
Men’s problem with defining and proving their masculinity is an eternal one. True manhood is an elusive status beyond mere biological maleness. In aboriginal North America, for example, among the non-violent Fox tribe of the Iowa area, real manhood was described as ‘The Big Impossible’. It was an elevated staus that only an extraordinary few could achieve.
We don’t want it to be so rarified but we do want it to mean something, to be something that is respected by men and women.
A man who approaches the second half of life, still valuing his physical strength and the aggressiveness to make things happen, can find a new challenge in developing the more creative, intuitive, nurturant side of himself. If he cultivates this side, he can be even more enduringly effective.
It is this challenge that we need men to take up. It’s not about becoming feminine, it’s not about developing a feminine side, it’s about re-aligning masculinity so it becomes relevant today.
Men are needed more than ever. they are need by their children, particularly by their sons, they are need by their women, they are needed by society. They are needed to stand alongside women to create a new more caring society, they are needed to take their place and feel proud of it.
Men, your time is now, seize it, grab the future of masculine and feminine.