How to be a man in 2015

This piece from The Guardian is fascinating and led me to look on Wikipedia for whether there is any such thing as “masculism” or “masculinism” (there is, it’s called both).

Can we be both male feminists, as I consider myself, and masculists at the same time? Can we embraced masculism without it being androcentric (see the Wikipedia entry) and exclusive of women?

As men we spend so much time talking negatively about ourselves, to perhaps try to make up for past or present crimes of men like a national apology for slavery, even those of us who aren’t raping or harassing or discriminating, and perhaps do a disservice to ourselves and our feminine counterparts who play such critical roles in our lives. Just to write about this takes me out of my comfort zone … but why do we as men continue to deny ourselves permission to talk about the things and address the things that women talk about, insisting on stoicizing ourselves and punching through our quiet desperation decade-in and decade-out in denial of anything like depression or weakness to perhaps our detriment and to our early graves from our obligatory heart attacks?

Maybe a redefined concept of both feminism and masculism that doesn’t include dominance or exclusion is in order. But then comes the little voice from somewhere deep in the DNA, no, you have to be at least somewhat dominant, you have to make more money, asset your creativity more, be stronger, because she (the collective, feminist, editorial “she”) has all the sexual power. But does she? And even if so, we don’t have sexual relationships with every person of the opposite sex with whom we have interactions, so should notions of femininity and masculinity in every day life be tied to or metaphors for private physicosexual (I feel justified making up that word right now if it doesn’t already exist because I have come across the word “physicochemical” in my work) power dynamics? The scene around the fire in Quest for Fire comes to mind. And if the racism analogy holds any water, well, we’ve seen how entrenched our culture still is in racism and how many still want to hold onto antiquated power norms during this embarrassing last few years in the U.S. I’m no social scientist, but I do wonder what it takes for quantum shifts to take place, or if they are possible when it comes to race and gender equity.

These are questions way beyond my puny man-brain capacity … but there I go again … .

One thought on “How to be a man in 2015

  1. A contemplation deserving of a much larger discussion. Saw your post as I was sampling an interview by Krista Tippett on her amazing program “On Being” (NPR, website, or app). Her interview with Joy Landin, a transgendered professor from an Orthodox Jewish institution, while not completely directed to contemplations on masculinity, gives interesting insights into meanings and cultural expectations of gender. Link is here if you’re interested. Write on!

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