Masculinity as a whole has been subject to some fierce criticism for the last 60-70 years. As a result, it has warped into something ugly and aggressive, at least publicly that’s how it’s viewed.
This whole article doesn’t strictly relate to gay and bisexual men but is a call to all men.
We’ve lived through “Alpha” males, and sexual harassment, men abusing their position and power to demean, degrade and assault women and men alike.
I want to discuss how I believe that real masculine traits are positive and generally beneficial to society.
The Mr Nice Guy Generation
This led to the Mr Nice Guy generation, a generation of men that are consumed by appearing the ever nice, ever sensitive, and overall roll over and do what you say kind of guy.
The modern man is taught that his self worth is tied to external factors. He is so consumed by that desire for external approval that he will change who he is to gain that approval.
These men are so used to having to lie and deceive to get what they want. The actual idea of an actual Mr Nice Guy is actually a complete fallacy.
They become the ultimate con artist. Going after what they want but in the worst way possible.
Because no longer are men allowed to go after what they want overtly, say what they want, or look after themselves. To the point that they’ve become nervous wrecks unable to understand why underneath it all they are miserable.
Why they are unfulfilled, and under-appreciated because they think they are doing everything right, or how others want them to behave.
Unaware that the desire for external validation is destroying who they are.
How we got here
I believe that the reason we have such an explosion in the “ALPHA MALE” generation is that this incessant need for external approval has led to rebellion.
Men no longer want to be defined externally, but the actual act of rebellion has enhanced all the negative qualities in men.
Worst of all men will pretend to be exactly what you want. Will say they’re exactly what you’re searching for. The changed man. Go on 4 dates, sleep with you and say “I don’t have time for a relationship, I want to focus on my business” or some other bullshit excuse, but he got what he wanted. He just went the long way round to get it.
They no longer know how to have a healthy emotional environment, they chide and attack each other and cover it up as affection.
Men laugh at each other through failure. They humiliate each other because they no longer know how to be emotionally masculine.
The reality is they don’t know how to have tough conversations or give you real answers to real questions, because they’re afraid. They can’t handle the emotion because they’ve been switched off from it.
My personal belief is that equality is a must, and equal opportunity is imperative. Because anyone must be able to do anything their heart desires.
My belief is also that instead of becoming one big homogenous mass. We should be celebrating our differences and our strengths.
It is after all the fact that we are so many, with differing strengths that we were able to create the modern world.
In reality, at a base level, men are different to women, they are motivated differently, but have the same base needs.
How are men supposed to behave in 2018?
If you are to believe the multitude of social media posts and memes, then a man must be strong, decisive, and sensitive, who must love his partner, not stray, look after the home (family or not), and generally be the rock of the household.
And yet these very same traits and stereotypes are also attacked. Because men must be strong and sensitive. Yet that very sensitivity is uncomfortable for most partners. Thus the man’s support structure is ripped out from under him.
All he is left with is “at all costs do not look weak, because my need for support makes people feel uncomfortable”.
This idea of the “superman” is reflected in one of Brené Browns TED talks. She recalls a story of having been at a speaking event where post-event a man approached her.
He described how yes, in general, the women in his life desired that he be sensitive, but the overwhelming expectation to “not be weak” overrode this very desire.
We must not expect men to be fully rounded, emotional and emotionally supported/supportive if we do not give them the environment to do so.
I’m always reminded of the aeroplane analogy before you can help others you must secure your own oxygen mask.
For a man to be truly happy and secure in himself he must first look after himself.
For a man to be decisive, strong, a provider, and support, he must be able to go after what he wants, to ask for what he wants.
And to get his emotional needs met he must be provided with a non-judgemental environment to explore his thoughts and feelings.
The man must concern himself with himself before he can help others.
I need to, of course, reinforce that this applies to all. That the man must also provide the exact same environment for the people in his life. Friends and family alike.
The modern man, who sees his masculinity as a strength must:
- Take full responsibility for his actions and words
- Be honest
- Have integrity
- Ask for what he wants
- Be able to have tough conversations
- Embrace who he is
- Live by his values and principles
- Provide emotionally supportive environments
- Be vulnerable and view vulnerability as a strength
- Never compromise his self-control
What masculinity isn’t
- An excuse to be aggressive
- An excuse to abuse your power
- A reason to be dishonest
- An excuse to avoid your responsibility
- A reason to lose control and blame actions on external factors
I believe that in a world that promotes equality, we have chosen to remove the thing that makes us human, the right to choose who we are.
The question I ask myself is “does this action have the potential to hurt someone?”
No one should be degraded, no one should be unnecessarily humiliated, or to feel less than they are. Which is a wonderfully unique human being that should be celebrated.
The choices you make, the beliefs you hold, if they hurt or harm no one you are safe.
If your choices or actions, or beliefs directly affect someones ability to choose their own life, full of love and support and happiness. It might be time to question your belief structure.
Provided you can pass that test I think you will be fine.