Real Men Don’t
Rion Hunter Brodie
509

While it’s more socially acceptable for women to incorporate traditionally masculine fashion and activities, it’s seen as a blight on a man if he behaves or exudes anything that’s considered ‘feminine’.

This is one of the results of historical feminism, where women have become more comfortable adopting typically male traits. Women rebelled against the notion that they were expected to be feminine, and this resulted in them adopting more masculine traits. Men, on the other hand, never really rebelled as a group against the notion that they were expected to be masculine. The net results is that most men, and some portion of women, value masculine traits in themselves, as opposed to generally only some remaining portion of women valuing feminine traits. Your interpretation of the message, that “masculinity is better than femininity”, is flawed. Women moved towards masculinity, men never reciprocated by moving towards femininity.

This shit is engrained. It’s in pop-culture, local communities, our friends, our family. Almost everyone around us has being carrying a grudge against femininity, and quite often, they don’t even realise. Sometime, it’s obvious;
‘Don’t be a pussy’
‘Faggot’
‘Pansy’
‘You throw like a girl’

Most of that is based on the notion that men are typically stronger than women, a fact that, physically, has always been true. It’s also reflective of the fact that men have been expected throughout history to do almost all of the dangerous things. Men fought wars to protect the tribes, men dug in the coal mines, men went out and hunted dangerous prey, men did the dangerous construction jobs (a fact still represented today by the fact that over 90% of workplace deaths are men), men built the railroads and the highways. Men have always been expected to be able to thrive in a competitive world to be able to adequately provide for their families. All that requires strength, of character, of physical form, of resilience. Men have historically not been able to afford the luxury of sitting down and analyzing their emotions, or requesting that their co-workers be empathetic to their stresses and adapt their language so as not to disturb anyone, to make sure work was a ‘safe space’. There was no time for that, there was shit to be done, and if you didn’t do it someone else was going to do it and advance in front of you.

You show a misunderstanding of typical masculinity. It’s not in the least bit a grudge against femininity”. Rather, these kinds of insults are aimed at putting someone down for failing to represent their gender traits well enough. It’s about failing to be masculine enough, not about being too feminine. Women have typically done this to other women as well, in criticizing them for not being feminine enough by comparing them to masculine traits.

Masculinity involves dejecting all notions of femininity as though it were an insult…

No it doesn’t.

Its repercussions on those that identify as female is obvious; you’re made to feel less than.

Not really. The kinds of men who typically place high emphasis on men exhibiting masculine traits are the same men who typically value women exhibiting feminine traits. Telling men to be masculine doesn’t devalue women in the least, just like telling women to be feminine wouldn’t devalue masculinity .

From my understanding — and disdain for the notion — ‘Manning up’ involves being strong, sturdy and stoic. Being a man involves conforming your behaviours and emotions to a certain idealogy.
Real Men don’t cry. Real Men don’t express their personal selves. 
Because of this mentality, Real Men suffer.

“Manning up” doesn’t mean that you can’t cry or express yourself. It means you set those things aside to handle the business at hand. When you’re riveting girders on a skyscraper, digging in some mine, or about to engage in a battle, emotions are a distraction that can get you killed. At the very least, they’re unproductive. You set them aside, do what needs to be done, and you can address them later. There is nothing about Manning up that says you can’t let your emotions out in a more appropriate setting. Have you ever seen a group of soldiers back home after returning from combat, sharing the tales of their experiences, reliving their losses? It’s not uncommon to see tears in that group, a group of men that are typically overflowing with testosterone, as stereotypically “manly” as they come. Yet, no one in that group shames them for their tears. They’re more likely to receive an empathetic arm around the shoulder than a derisive comment.

In the eyes of manly men, feeling sadness isn’t about natural reactions to strenuous or upsetting circumstances. It’s a sign of weakness.
You cry? You’re pathetic. 
Toughen up, Son.

There is truth to this if the crying happens in the moment, in response to the stimulus. Because there is nothing to be gained by stopping in your tracks to sit and cry about something. Rather, one must handle the situation, as stressful as it may be, and once past it the stress and emotion can be dealt with. Men tell their sons to toughen up because they understand that life is hard, that whatever particular stress the kid is feeling now that makes him want to stop and cry, is dwarfed in comparison to what life WILL throw at him, and he needs to be able to handle it without breaking down.

When i was a wee lad, i remember getting hurt, then running and crying to my father, and him telling me “stop crying, you’re not hurt”. Of course i was upset at the time, because i wanted to be consoled, but he was right, i wasn’t really hurt, i just wanted sympathy. He would have been there for me had i actually been hurt, as he was when that was the case. That kind of upbringing prepared me for life. I spent ten years as a paramedic, a job which lead me to seeing the worst humankind has to offer. I’ve seen women beaten by their husbands, I’ve seen children murdered by their parents, I’ve seen an entire family murdered by a mother. I’ve seen entire families killed by drunk drivers who walk away unscathed. I’ve seen parents whose children have just died, grandmothers who have woken up and found the husband they’ve been married to twice as long as I’ve been alive, not breathing and cold. I’ve seen victims of rape and every other crime imaginable.

I’ve never been in combat, so i can’t really compare it to my experiences. However, those instances are among the worst experiences i can imagine. If you have any shred of empathy or a human heart, you can’t be present in situations like these without experiencing a torrent of emotions and horror. But you know what, that didn’t matter, because i had shit to do. If i had frozen and allowed myself to be overcome with emotions and stress, more people would likely have ended up dying.

That’s why men try to toughen up their sons, to prepare them for the world.

Emasculation is such a concern. The fact that ‘emasculated’ even needs to be a word in our vocabulary advocates this. By making femininity an insult, then defining aspects of human function by that label, men are cornered by themselves.

Emasculation does not mean to be feminine. Emasculate: to make (a man) feel less masculine : to deprive (a man) of his male strength, role, etc.

Emasculation happens when someone is perceived as “less” masculine. Do not conflate less masculine with more feminine. Someone may be completely without masculinity, yet not exhibit feminine traits. It’s not a zero-sum game where losing one means gaining the other.

Men have to try and deny themselves the privilege of being human, so as to fit a constructed role that has been perpetuated through ignorance.

What is it you’re referring to by “being human?” The construction of the role of masculinity is a function of the demands that have been placed on men throughout history, and how the man must conform to certain character traits to meet those demands. You attempt to describe those roles as merely arbitrary.

All the cards have fallen the way they have by complete happenstance, and now is the first real time we’ve had the chance to stop and look at what it is we’ve become.

Again, the cards have not fallen the way they have by happenstance, they have done so in response to the demands of life on this planet. Now, it is true that the external stresses that have shaped men into what they have become are much less omnipresent in modern life, so if we want to have a societal discussion about the propriety of this or that we’re all free to do so. You’re of course free to express yourself however you like, and more power to you. Yet, acknowledge that we’re really only talking about maybe the last hundred years or so where the pressures that molded masculinity have been easing. You’re not doing anyone a service by describing the molding as arbitrary and random.

If humouring more feminine aspects of identity has taught me anything, it’s that there are a LOT of dickheads that unwaveringly abide by the law of masculinity. So much of their value is imbued in it.
Detesting femininity isn’t masculinity’s only pitfall. Its values and priorities also err in the way of problematic.

Again, detesting femininity is not what masculinity is about. However, one thing that masculinity absolutely is about, is competition. Men have evolved to exist in a perpetual state of competition with other men. Competition for mates, competition for jobs, competition for the resources to provide for their families. Putting other men down is simply part of the perpetual jockeying for position that men go through. It’s not necessarily a healthy thing, as a competitive drive should push someone to want to be the best they can be, to be better than the next man, rather than by making the next man seem less than he is. But it isn’t about detesting femininity.

‘Real Men get laid’ is the most concerningly relevant here.

This is a perpetual refrain coming from feminists and critics of masculinity in general. This notion that most men find having sex with women to be the most masculine thing they can do, that other men see someone as masculine because they sleep with a lot of women, is complete bullshit. Every time i hear someone say something like “when a guy sleeps with a lot of women he’s the man, but when a woman does it she’s a slut”, it makes me think that that person has really never spent any time around men. These kinds of people keep wanting to portray male interactions as basically a frathouse, locker-room kind of behavior, and again, it’s complete bullshit. MOST men do not respect someone for having a lot of sex. Period. Most men tend to look down on the man whose identity and self-worth is tied to his sexual escapades. This kind of Jersey Shore looking/acting person is seen as a boy, acting childishly, not as a real man. This notion can keep being pushed all you like, it’s simply false.

Consider this:
- A precarious value system that instills the need to ignore any negative emotions and/or ramifications

This “precarious” value system that you refer to is what has contributed throughout history to making men of steel, the kind of men who were able to storm the beaches of Normandy instead of being paralyzed in their stresses and fear, crying in a corner. It’s what has pushed men to all the great acts they’ve achieved throughout history, to take chances and ignore the potential ramifications.

- The belief that not abiding by this value system makes one pathetic

Not pathetic, merely less able to handle life.

- The criteria of ‘abiding by this system’ involving the assertion of dominance, and frequent intercourse

In a competitive world, the assertion of dominance is a necessary trait to ensure one’s survival, and the survival of one’s family. Frequent intercourse has nothing to do with it, you’ve just tacked it on to this sentence to come in under the radar, but it’s a non-sequitur.

- An engrained lack of value for femininity and women as a whole

Really? Really? This is why men have historically considered it right and proper to sacrifice a man’s life to save the women and children? Men have historically been shamed and shunned by fellow men for failing to protect and provide for their wives.

Seriously think about what this all adds up to. Traditional masculinity pushes Men to take what they may not be given.

Another non-sequitur. This conclusion does not at all follow from the premises presented.

In Real Men’s Hierarchy of Needs, sex is valued higher than fashion. If you show feminine traits, but have lots of sex with women, you’re a goddamned rockstar. A+ for you.
However if you are superficially masculine, but don’t sleep with women, sorry, but that’s a no go. You’re not a Real Man.

Ok, this, you’re pulling entirely out of thin air. I assume you’re modifying Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs here, which is not gendered at all so i’m not sure why you say “real men”. If so, sex belongs on the third level, with fashion probably being at the top of the pyramid in self-actualization, which encompasses creativity. If this is the case, then yes it says sex is considered more important to an individual than fashion. However, you’re improperly tying this to an ideal of manliness. This pyramid is an idea to express the priorities that motivate an individual, and have nothing whatsoever to do with how we evaluate others, nor with how we evaluate notions of gender. That pyramid places the same emphasis on sex over fashion for women.

If, on the other hand, you’re not necessarily referring to Maslow, but are instead trying to describe your own hierarchy of manliness that you perceive in society, you’re still wrong. In general, men don’t tend to care whether other men are having sex, and they certainly don’t rate them for it, but they also don’t really tend to care about fashion either, so a comparison of the two is rather silly on the one hand, and on the other, impossible to quantify.

This means Real Men can still rock nail polish, if it means they get laid. The rulebook allows that one.

See previous.

None of this is to say anything about whether traditional notions of masculinity and femininity are proper and appropriate in modern society, or whether they should be maintained or modified. It’s simply to address erroneous notions about why they developed in the first place, and to dispel the men hate women crap.

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