#53: Is Modern Masculinity in crisis?
One of the reasons I created Man Body Spirit was because I noticed — and experienced first-hand — that the World is changing at such an incredible speed that it was becoming increasingly difficult to keep up.
We are in a golden age for science & technology, with new discoveries and advancements on an almost daily basis. Research is consistently revealing new lessons about our mental, physical and emotional health, and the damaging impacts of many of our habits and lifestyles that have become so ingrained over the past century. Damaging not only to us as individuals, but to our wider communities, and to the heavily impacted environment we are leaving for future generations.
Ancient practices such as meditation and yoga that had been marginalised as esoteric have made a comeback as we’ve come to realise that the wisdom of our ancestors, accumulated and fine-tuned over centuries, might actually be worth putting more faith in than concepts cooked up by the mainstream media and industrial complex that has been around for far less time and is very obviously driven by greed and profit rather than the benefit of humanity.
The global connectivity of the Internet has given us access to news and conversations from parts of the world and communities the mainstream was otherwise ignoring.
And social media — despite its own evils — has at least given almost everyone more opportunity than ever before to get their voice and perspective heard.
When all of these forces, and many more like them converge, it can understandably leave us as individuals overwhelmed. But it also presents us with an amazing opportunity to evolve.
I believe we are in the midst of an important phase of human evolution right now; One where those who are open to new concepts, who can process the new information and adapt to changing circumstances will thrive, whilst those that refuse to try will be left behind, turn inward and find life increasingly hard to navigate as the rest of the World moves forward without them at an increasingly fast rate.
The conversation around masculinity is just one of the areas where we see that playing out.
I don’t think I need to spell out the discussion here, but suffice to summarise as: On the one hand you have the traditionalists — those who believe that a man’s role and therefore the required behaviours, are essentially fixed — and have been, essentially, since hunter-gatherer times. Now, taking cues from the past isn’t entirely a bad thing. In this example it’s a mindset and belief system that can create excellent fathers, providers, protectors and community leaders. But, that primal mindset can, in some individuals, bring many negatives too: a tendency to violence, tribalism, bigotry, skewed attitudes towards women being just a few examples.
Over the centuries — and sadly still regularly in the news — we see an unending list of examples of the negative extremes of this primitive mindset playing out.
On the other hand, you have those more attuned to the evolving world, and learning that a lot of what has been passed down to us in ‘the masculinity playbook’ is in fact not very good for us, for those around us, or for our planet.
I believe in humanity’s capacity to evolve, to adapt to changing circumstances and ever-growing collective wisdom. And that we can hold ourselves to higher standards than to still be taking our behavioural cues from how our primitive ancestors needed to live in order to survive thousands of years ago.
I understand that it might take a little effort to do so, and that it can feel overwhelming to know where to start. But that’s why resources like this newsletter exist. To help filter the noise and curate the valuable.
So, with all that in mind, this week’s Power Up looks at modern day masculinity from a variety of angles:
In this week’s issue:
- Is modern masculinity in crisis?
- The epidemic of numbness in men
- The biggest Covid threat for men may be masculinity itself
- Real men embrace their feminine energy
- How toxic masculinity actively opposes a sustainable future
- How to be a better man in every facet of life
Plus lots of bonus content too…
As ever, I hope this week’s Power Up prompts you to think differently about at least one thing, and gives you fresh perspectives to share with others.
And if you’d like to receive The Power Up delivered direct to your inbox every weekend, you can sign-up here.
Is modern masculinity in crisis?
In this excellent series of video shorts, Guardian journalist Iman Amrani explores modern masculinity through conversations with a range of men across the UK, diving deep into the issues affecting men and boys in 2021.
The epidemic of numbness in men
Numbing ourselves to pain or negative emotions is a ‘skill’ many of us learn from an early age.
It’s how we avoid looking weak in the playground, how we tolerate insane workloads to progress in our careers, and how we build bigger muscles in the gym.
But it’s also ultimately damaging for our health, relationships, and much more besides — including our capacity to experience happiness, gratitude, and much of what makes life worth living.
The biggest Covid threat for men may be masculinity itself
Throughout the pandemic, news stories have highlighted that men are more likely than women to reject masks, vaccinations and guidance limiting large gatherings. And because of this, they seem to get COVID at higher rates.
New research finds the real divide to be among men who care about projecting ‘masculinity’ and those who don’t.
Real men embrace their feminine energy
All people have masculine and feminine energy, which has nothing to do with biology, sexuality, or gender.
For example, women can be purposeful, strong and driven, which are healthy expressions of masculine energy. Meanwhile, men can also embody many traits often associated with femininity — like being sensitive, caring, and kind.
What’s most powerful, and most attractive, is when people of any gender can incorporate both.
How toxic masculinity actively opposes a sustainable future
One characteristic of ‘toxic masculinity’ is its opposition to behaviours perceived as being feminine, which research has revealed to include recycling, vegetarianism, and carrying reusable bags.
This is because, rather than reinforcing toxic masculine traits like dominance and competition, environmental stewardship is nurturing and cooperative.
So what actions can we take to counter this damaging phenomena?
- Free Guide: The Better Mental Health For Men Toolbox
- ‘Manning Up’: Men, Masculinity, and Mental Health
- How to be a better man in every facet of life
- 8 practices for being a more conscious man
- Telling male friends ‘I love you’ is a muscle guys need to flex more
- The Re-Manned project: Transforming a culture one man at a time
- Why fragile masculinity turns men into monsters
- ‘Waking Up Male’: It’s time for a new men’s movement
- Should parents de-emphasise gender norms?
THANKS FOR READING
I hope you found something valuable in this The Power Up.
If you did, and would like to receive this in your inbox each week, you can sign-up here.
See you next time, Adam