Healthy Masculinity

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4 comments

  1. I guess I should have opened with “I disagree with the arguments presented here on gender roles”. Gender roles do matter.

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    1. Perhaps we’re approaching the topic from different angles. I also agree that protecting a family is important, but I would argue that *all* adults involved in the family are responsible for its protection, regardless of sex.

      That’s sweet of you to pay special attention to doing nice favors for your wife, as I assume you would not continue if she didn’t appreciate the gestures. I also admire your opportunistic view about breadwinning because you’re absolutely right that men — especially white, middle- and upper-class men, I’d like to note — tend to have better opportunities for the highest paying jobs, but I do disagree that there should be an implicit expectation for one specific partner to be the default breadwinner based solely on sex. Specific to your example of men as default breadwinners, where would the expectation fall within relationships between two women, or other relationships where partners do not identify as men? Does the burden always fall to more masculine partners, or does it not apply? And if it did apply, what about within relationships between partners whose genitals don’t match up with their expected gender presentation? Are we defining male by genitalia alone, or also behavior?

      What an interesting phrase you provided — “a need to prove their masculinity.” Personally, I believe everyone has elements of both femininity and masculinity within their internalized behavior, and that gender expression is entirely socially ingrained. It sounds like you are quite comfortable with how you choose to express your own feelings of gender, which is fantastic. But, in general, *how* gender is defined and expressed is entirely dependent on a person’s culture. After all, we have to learn as kids what femininity, masculinity, and other gender descriptors mean, and what behaviors to perform to be associated with those terms. You choosing to express gender in a less exaggerated fashion than other men does not mean gender roles are “invalidated”, as you put it, but rather (to me, at least) that they’re being expressed still in the traditional form but to a different degree.

      As for the topic of penis size, I learned a year or two ago that there is actually a wider range among black men than with many other races, so black men’s penis sizes tend to be both larger *and* smaller than average. The stereotype of all black men being massively proportioned south of the belt nods to only half of reality, at best. It also wouldn’t surprise me if that stereotype has been at least partially sustained by the hypersexualization of black men in the media.

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      1. I think we agree more than we disagree… when it comes to a family’s protection, all of the adults should share some responsibility for protecting the family, but the male should be the person who is poised to take immediate action. If a person were to break into our house, I’d want my wife to take one gun and lock herself in the bedroom (or with the children if we had any), while I take the other gun and initiate the violent encounter with the intruder. As the man of the house, I will put myself between my family and the violent offender. In that instance, she’d be the last line of defense for our kids, while I would present myself as the first line of defense, exposing myself to whatever violent intentions the intruder would present, hopefully neutralizing them in the process. If I was unsuccessful, then it’d be up to my wife to protect herself and the family.

        Any way you slice it, a man should be willing to give his life to protect his family if it’s necessary.

        As far as same-gender breadwinners go… that’s not my ballgame, so I won’t try to postulate what the norms should be for a same-sex couple.

        You make an interesting observation about black penis size, how did you come up with this? From what I’ve seen, I’d have to agree, the majority of black men seem to be larger than average, while the others are small like mine. I almost never see an “average” black penis, although one of my long time good friends (a black guy) told me his size a few months ago, which was remarkably similar to mine (of course, he said his was bigger when he saw mine in pictures.) I wouldn’t say that half of black men are really hung, but I’d guess that the upper half is >7″, and the rest are, well, <6".

        Back to the gender norms… I think that we're in a world where it's popular to ignore, disregard, erode or destroy everything that was traditional about society. Quite frankly, it disturbs me, because our morality as a nation is becoming so diluted that there's almost no such thing as "right" or "wrong". Supposedly, it's about accommodating civil rights, but I have a hard time believing that the civil rights leaders of the 60's would have supported the battles being fought based on the issues they've championed. This drive to de-legitimize everything norm and standard that's defined this country is throwing/has thrown us off of our moral foundation, where right vs. wrong is "relative", no one takes a stand against immorality or injustice, because we've lost our moral courage.

        Gender norms are there for a reason. If I were in the Army, I wouldn't want to go to war with a female infantry soldier who could not sustain the physical burden of ground combat because her body wasn't designed to handle it. (I'd fight alongside any woman who can perform to all of the same physical standards as men when the bullets fly, and there are plenty of women who can handle this, but it's bullshit to lower the physical standards for women for the sake of equal opportunity. War doesn't care what your gender is, women need to perform just as well as men in combat, and gender norming should not apply on the battlefield. If you can't run/lift/fight as well as men are required to, take a support role in the rear.)

        That being said, I believe that women should be required to sign up for the draft, just as men are. Women deserve equal employment opportunities as men, but this opportunity should come with the same responsibility that men have to defend these opportunities when the country calls. While I maintain that most women cannot handle infantry, those that can should be allowed to do so, and the women that cannot can serve in other support roles or in non-infantry front line positions (i.e. pilots.). I think it's bullshit that women want equal rights but don't assume the burden that men must to defend those rights.

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  2. I disagree with gender roles. For one thing, a man should always feel responsible for protecting his family. Men are physically stronger, naturally more inclined to combat, and are easily the better sex to assume the role of protector. That’s not to say that a woman should rely completely on a male spouse to protect her, but it needs to be the man’s business to protect them. A man who won’t give his life to protect his family doesn’t deserve to have one.

    I also believe in things like carrying the heaviest groceries for my wife, holding a door open for women, and being a gentleman in general. Men should also plan to be the breadwinners for their families, since men typically have more employment opportunities than women, but that’s not to exclude women from being the primary income provider if she has the opportunity to achieve that.

    Men do suffer from a need to prove their masculinity, which I understand is counter-productive, but I think that it’s too simple to blame this on gender roles. I show my masculinity despite not trying to show off my masculinity: I’m not afraid to admit that I my favorite pets are my two cats, that I still regularly sleep with teddy bears, that I cried when I got engaged and at the altar (out of happiness), and that I use a pink pen at work (not because I like pink, but the pen was just convenient because it was free, I just don’t care enough about proving my masculinity to shun a pen because of its color). Of all things, I’m not shy about admitting that I have a small penis, for a black guy especially, but that doesn’t stop me from modeling nude and offering my naked body (naked used on purpose) for the world to see, understanding that everyone will know that embarrassing detail about me.

    But why the fuck should I care about what someone else thinks of my masculinity? With all of those so-called non-masculine character traits, I’m still masculine when it counts. I know that I’m potentially the most dangerous person that most people will ever meet. The guy who has a metal plate in his face because of me would tell you that I have deadly hand-to-hand combat skills, not to mention that I’m 200 lbs of almost all muscle. Never mind that I’m usually legally armed to the teeth (gun, spare magazine, and a knife) in public. I could kill almost any person I’ve met, without the use of a weapon. Most people do not know my lethality because they don’t put me in a position to need to use it: I’d never resort to my self-defense skills unless I was actually protecting something from violent aggression, and I don’t advertise them because I don’t want people to realize the true level of violence I could visit on them when the chips are down.

    I also provide an income for my family that’s at the upper-end of the middle class. I love, provide for, protect and take care of my family, because that’s what I believe God commands me as a man to do. To me, the fact that I can provide for and protect my family from evil is the pure definition of masculinity, not showing off to prove how masculine I really am.

    Just because there are men out there who feel compelled to prove their masculinity does not mean that gender roles should be invalidated, it just means that men who have to prove their masculinity simply have not grown up.

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