Author Topic: What’s wrong with men?  (Read 4998 times)

GuitarStv

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #50 on: June 10, 2021, 02:53:08 PM »
What about me, a woman with sailing experience who hates kids?

Yeah, this is where my mental concept runs into problems.  As a man with no sailing experience of any kind, I'd expect that you would be much more capable to help out.  But I'm sure I'd feel a compulsion help put people in boats before getting in one myself.

Is this toxic masculinity?

Kris

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #51 on: June 10, 2021, 04:09:36 PM »
What about me, a woman with sailing experience who hates kids?

Yeah, this is where my mental concept runs into problems.  As a man with no sailing experience of any kind, I'd expect that you would be much more capable to help out.  But I'm sure I'd feel a compulsion help put people in boats before getting in one myself.

Is this toxic masculinity?

I mean, no, I don’t think so exactly. But at the same time, let’s just say that making assumptions about women’s and men’s “natural” abilities probably doesn’t do either women or men as a whole many favors. You know?

SunnyDays

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #52 on: June 10, 2021, 04:12:53 PM »
These are my thoughts on the matter:

"Toxic" masculinity seems to me to be simply exaggerated masculinity.  Instead of strength, you get aggression, instead of leadership, you get force, instead of anger, you get rage, etc.  It's everything that is acceptable taken to the extreme.  Why?  My guess, is it's hormones/male DNA interacting with societal changes.

As women have moved into the workforce, starting during WWII, out of necessity, because men were suddenly absent to perform their typical duties, and proved themselves capable of doing pretty much any type of work, men are being pushed out of their roles.  Women are also entering post-secondary education in high numbers (in fact, higher than men now), taking on many of the jobs that educated men used to do.  Now that more people are educated, most decent jobs require an education.  So there's a lot more competition for well-paying jobs/careers and the uneducated are left with jobs that mostly just require physical strength.  But don't always pay well.  So the role of provider has been taken away.  (As someone upthread pointed out, the current schooling system is better suited to girls than boys.)

That imbalance is further felt by the fact that only women can have babies and still take on much of the nurturing roles, leaving men with nothing unique to do.  In most societies today, women are equal to men and no longer "need" them as they used to.  So men get angry.  And given lots of testosterone and other male hormones, they express it strongly.  Combined with it being "unmanly" to show emotions, anger is all that is acceptable.  (Anger is just a cover for fear, hurt and frustration.)  And that turns to rage and acting out of the rage in violence.

In spite of social contributions, though, I think that hormones/genetics have the larger role.  Even in societies where roles and relationships are still traditional, there is violence from men, although perhaps more so against women than anything else.  So, even though men have the upper hand in most areas of life, they still feel a need to be violent.

I remember a sociology professor, in the early 80's, talking about a study (I don't have the source) that showed that something like 80 % of men surveyed said they would rape a woman if they thought they could get away with it.  He said "those are the ones that were willing to admit it."   Why is this?  I mean, it was the 80's, men could get sex pretty freely.  But most still wanted to rape.  We know that rape is not about sex, but about power and control.  So, it seems that biologically, men still feel the need to dominate.  Clearly, most men do not rape, so there are some reasons they don't, and hopefully, it's not just the possibility of punishment.

But, bottom line, is there seems to be a lot of willingness to engage in aggressive acts in a lot of men, and throw in a gun culture and you've got problems.  Throw in any/all of the above and you've got problems.  Will it ever change?  Maybe, but biology is a powerful thing.

Syonyk

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #53 on: June 10, 2021, 04:27:49 PM »
Will it ever change?

Unlikely in this culture, which increasingly views men as "Defective women" that need to be fixed, or, further to one end of the discussions, caged up to protect society.  I'll point to Hollywood - when was the last sitcom or such you can think of with a strong male character?  Outside of action hero/superhero movies, which increasingly have badly broken men presented, how common is it to see strong, competent, men of character in movies?  It happens, but it's pretty rare.  You're far, far more likely to see the comedic oaf who is saved from himself by his brilliant and competent wife.

However, as western industrial civilization continues slowing in the face of the ever-increasing headwinds, there's probably going to be a role for men again in the future as things change, because on the way down the backside of empire, physical strength and the ability to protect find themselves in demand again.  It's just going to be a hard process, with most of the good role models for that having died off, and most of the good fiction involving strong men being older than is popular to watch.

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #54 on: June 10, 2021, 07:00:17 PM »
I have for some time privately theorised that the lack of unskilled physical employment and the lack of simple physical recreation is doing great disservice to teenage boys in modern Western society. They have all these raging hormones and no positive outlet for them. Sure, many things about ye olden tymes were terrible, but it's a shame that a teenage boy used to be able to earn his own money (and therefore a degree of independence and self-respect) hefting bales of hay around (or similar work that just needs youthful vigour and testosterone-fuelled muscles and endurance) and nothing has replaced it. Likewise, it's often hard to access simple physical recreation like playing football on some wasteland, swimming in a river or taking your shotgun out to the woods and firing rage shots at every squirrel you see until you calm the fuck down and go home with a grand plan to make a squirrel tail hat.

It's hard to be a "manly man" these days. It's all so artificial. It's easier to be a non-manly man, which is nice because there have always been people like that, but I don't think anything has replaced the ease with which young men used to be able to let their feelings physically.

You can still play sports, go to a boxing gym, eat well, get a good job, invest and then use the money to buy nice clothes, whatever. There are still outlets if you want that sort of thing.

My theory is that the increase in inequality since the 1970s has led to suppressed men becoming angrier etc. Like all those weirdos who shoot up their schools. You never hear about the popular high-status kid in class becoming a mass murderer.

Malcat

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #55 on: June 10, 2021, 07:28:36 PM »
These are my thoughts on the matter:

"Toxic" masculinity seems to me to be simply exaggerated masculinity.  Instead of strength, you get aggression, instead of leadership, you get force, instead of anger, you get rage, etc.  It's everything that is acceptable taken to the extreme.  Why?  My guess, is it's hormones/male DNA interacting with societal changes.

I don't really see it this way, I see toxic masculinity and healthy masculinity as basically totally different things.

Toxic masculinity comes from a place of profound insecurity, whereas healthy masculinity comes from a place of confidence. They're not on a continuum from my perspective.

Toxic masculinity is a defensive reaction, like a sad, desperate imitation of masculinity.

former player

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #56 on: June 10, 2021, 08:19:08 PM »
What about me, a woman with sailing experience who hates kids?

Congratulations, you're an exception to the general case.  Enjoy.
There are quite a lot of us around, if people care to look - but generally they don't.

(Although I don't hate kids in general, I just don't get the sentimentality about them or think in the abstract that their lives are worth more than an adults.)
« Last Edit: June 10, 2021, 08:23:52 PM by former player »

Sailor Sam

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #57 on: June 10, 2021, 08:20:59 PM »
What about me, a woman with sailing experience who hates kids?

Congratulations, you're an exception to the general case.  Enjoy.
Me too.

Since traditionally, I’ll be going down with the ship. I think it’s more “Enjoy..?”

Kris

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #58 on: June 10, 2021, 08:22:20 PM »
What about me, a woman with sailing experience who hates kids?

Congratulations, you're an exception to the general case.  Enjoy.

Why would I need congratulations?

Malcat

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #59 on: June 10, 2021, 08:40:27 PM »
What about me, a woman with sailing experience who hates kids?

Congratulations, you're an exception to the general case.  Enjoy.
There are quite a lot of us around, if people care to look - but generally they don't.

Yup.

I've handled a lot of nasty emergencies, and I am NOT the person you want comforting the children. Handling gore, danger, violence? That's my territory.

That's the norm for women in my family though. The men are usually the nurturers, the women...not so much.

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #60 on: June 10, 2021, 08:47:25 PM »
These are my thoughts on the matter:

"Toxic" masculinity seems to me to be simply exaggerated masculinity.  Instead of strength, you get aggression, instead of leadership, you get force, instead of anger, you get rage, etc.  It's everything that is acceptable taken to the extreme.  Why?  My guess, is it's hormones/male DNA interacting with societal changes.

I don't really see it this way, I see toxic masculinity and healthy masculinity as basically totally different things.

Toxic masculinity comes from a place of profound insecurity, whereas healthy masculinity comes from a place of confidence. They're not on a continuum from my perspective.

Toxic masculinity is a defensive reaction, like a sad, desperate imitation of masculinity.

I think this is correct. I have seen both.

OtherJen

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #61 on: June 11, 2021, 04:30:06 AM »
What about me, a woman with sailing experience who hates kids?

Congratulations, you're an exception to the general case.  Enjoy.
There are quite a lot of us around, if people care to look - but generally they don't.

Yup.

I've handled a lot of nasty emergencies, and I am NOT the person you want comforting the children. Handling gore, danger, violence? That's my territory.

That's the norm for women in my family though. The men are usually the nurturers, the women...not so much.

Same here. My husband is far better with kids than I am. I think they can be funny and cute, but I can only handle them in limited doses. I've never been a maternal, nurturing type.

chemistk

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #62 on: June 11, 2021, 06:32:48 AM »
On this specific thread -

First off, I'm more nurturing than my wife sometimes, and would gladly stick with the kids while our hypothetical ship is sinking. If you all want to take the lead on trying to save/evacuate the ship, I'll gladly stick with the kids. I don't say this as  'not all men' excuse, but an earnest admission that I, a dude, tend to slightly prefer the domestic/nurturing stuff.

That out of the way, I think this is a great example of what triggers "men" (unshaven boys?) to take up the cause of toxic masculinity. Earlier it was mentioned that the societal need for a man, at least as it was historically viewed, is dwindling rapidly and I'm sure some would even go as far as to decry that our society could persist similar to the Amazonians with a few cryo donor banks.

A run-of-the-mill emotionally and sexually frustrated dude is probably going to be real defensive that "his role" to evacuate the ship, or to fight in a war, or to go to work, or whatever other societal circumstance was usurped by what he has (either through nature or nurture) come to see as a weaker being*.

These arguments get turned into straw-men for emotionally stunted guys everywhere, leading to genesis of many a boys' negative thoughts and feelings toward women who have rightfully fought for and earned parity (or even an edge over males) in our broader society.

These guys probably very easily buy into Syonyk's endgame of caged animals, and without cultural role models of how a modern man who accepts women as his equal can fit within a society, reservoirs of these boys will forever exist citing the crusade against them, without understanding that the very battle is one of self-sabotage.

On a broader level, I don't know what the right approach is, I certainly don't want to tell man-children to fuck off but I'm also not going to go out of my way to convert every one I come across. I think the veneration of the strong woman culturally still needs to be prioritized, but there's going to come a point where public figures pivot back to demonstrating how a dude can be a good role model without resorting to playground schisms.

*I've witnessed 3 childbirths, and there's no way that a woman should ever be considered a weaker being. Equally so, I've also seen plenty of women kick a dude's ass - verbally, emotionally, mentally, and physically (in most I've seen, it was absolutely deserved).

Malcat

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #63 on: June 11, 2021, 07:08:42 AM »
On this specific thread -

First off, I'm more nurturing than my wife sometimes, and would gladly stick with the kids while our hypothetical ship is sinking. If you all want to take the lead on trying to save/evacuate the ship, I'll gladly stick with the kids. I don't say this as  'not all men' excuse, but an earnest admission that I, a dude, tend to slightly prefer the domestic/nurturing stuff.

That out of the way, I think this is a great example of what triggers "men" (unshaven boys?) to take up the cause of toxic masculinity. Earlier it was mentioned that the societal need for a man, at least as it was historically viewed, is dwindling rapidly and I'm sure some would even go as far as to decry that our society could persist similar to the Amazonians with a few cryo donor banks.

A run-of-the-mill emotionally and sexually frustrated dude is probably going to be real defensive that "his role" to evacuate the ship, or to fight in a war, or to go to work, or whatever other societal circumstance was usurped by what he has (either through nature or nurture) come to see as a weaker being*.

These arguments get turned into straw-men for emotionally stunted guys everywhere, leading to genesis of many a boys' negative thoughts and feelings toward women who have rightfully fought for and earned parity (or even an edge over males) in our broader society.

These guys probably very easily buy into Syonyk's endgame of caged animals, and without cultural role models of how a modern man who accepts women as his equal can fit within a society, reservoirs of these boys will forever exist citing the crusade against them, without understanding that the very battle is one of self-sabotage.

On a broader level, I don't know what the right approach is, I certainly don't want to tell man-children to fuck off but I'm also not going to go out of my way to convert every one I come across. I think the veneration of the strong woman culturally still needs to be prioritized, but there's going to come a point where public figures pivot back to demonstrating how a dude can be a good role model without resorting to playground schisms.

*I've witnessed 3 childbirths, and there's no way that a woman should ever be considered a weaker being. Equally so, I've also seen plenty of women kick a dude's ass - verbally, emotionally, mentally, and physically (in most I've seen, it was absolutely deserved).

I think models are coming about though.

Men who are more caregiver types who aren't subscribing to traditional gender stereotypes, but demonstrating strength and healthy masculinity are thriving and setting examples for the next generations.

More and more non-toxic versions of masculine strength are being modeled and portrayed in media over time.

There's this nonsense discourse of "traditional masculinity" losing its place in society, but that's a load of shit. What's actually happening is a broadening of scope for masculinity where it isn't so limited and *limiting*.

All change comes up against resistance though, this is an issue specifically because change is happening.

GuitarStv

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #64 on: June 11, 2021, 07:35:00 AM »
What about me, a woman with sailing experience who hates kids?

Yeah, this is where my mental concept runs into problems.  As a man with no sailing experience of any kind, I'd expect that you would be much more capable to help out.  But I'm sure I'd feel a compulsion help put people in boats before getting in one myself.

Is this toxic masculinity?

I mean, no, I don’t think so exactly. But at the same time, let’s just say that making assumptions about women’s and men’s *“natural” abilities probably doesn’t do either women or men as a whole many favors. You know?

Did I made any assumptions related the differences between men and women in my previous comments?  I was trying to honestly answer the question of what the difference between masculine and feminine behaviour meant (at least to me).

What is your definition of masculinity and femininity Kris?





*As far as natural abilities go, there is not need for quotes.  There really isn't any scientific disagreement that they do exist and are quite obvious.

If you take two average people who are the same height, the same weight, and who work out the same amount (and the same way) . . . but one is a man and one is a woman, the man will be physically stronger (this holds true for the whole body but is particularly notable in the upper body, where women average 50% less muscle mass).  The man will have a basal metabolic rate of between 6 and 10% higher.  The man will have denser bones, tendons, and ligaments, and will have an enhanced clotting ability which tends to manifest in a faster ability to heal wounds.

At the same time, the woman will be better equipped to cope with trauma, survive illness (women carry more white blood cells and produce antibodies faster than men), and will have a greater expected longevity.  On average, women are physically smaller (9% shorter and 16% lighter in weight).  There is a significant hormonal balance difference between men and women.

Do these well documented natural differences make the man or the woman 'better' though?  My argument would be no, in the majority of situations there isn't going to be significant difference.  As with most scenarios, during the sinking ship example I'd expect that actual knowledge of sailing would be much more important than upper body strength or ability to produce antibodies.

tooqk4u22

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #65 on: June 11, 2021, 08:40:46 AM »
A lot to unpack....

I struggle to some extent bc I was as a kid and still am in my mid 40s that stereo typical manly man, but have become far more sensitive.  I worked in an office job and crazed physical outlets in my off time whether it was exercise, building crap, chopping wood (who does that for fun?)...and yes there is a so called war on masculinity that was mostly targeted at the boomer generation due to history but mostly impacted millenials and younger.   So you have these boys that don't know what to be and parents that don't know what to do because of political correctness or being woke or developing anything that is viewed as traditionally male traits would be equal to disenfranchising women.   There are also confusing signals for these boys to "use your words" so to speak but when they do they are told to man up or keep quiet.

I have two boys and a girl.  My goal inraising them all is to be strong  in mind and body and to be good productive members of society. 

All three have different strengths and weaknesses.   All are in sports and do well in school.   Sometimes it's tough, sometimes it's not.  We encourage our boys to share their feelings and discuss when somethings wrong and talk about solutions.   We encourage my daughter to be strong and not take crap.   When they were little and the boys were rough housing and girl got into the mix it was OK, there was no take it easy on her bc she is a girl.  If the boys were playing with her dolls it was OK.  We got my one son a grocery cart and toy food that he wanted on Xmas.   

We have been accused of raising our girl like a boy....which I fund offensive, of course it was said to us by stereotypical women who married well and expect the man to work.  Our answer was "No, we are raising a strong independent woman that is fearless and  doesn't need a man to take care of her"

I do worry about my boys in this environment bc it is confusing still but it is extremely important that they feel comfortable expressing their feelings with out fear whether that be with us, friends, specialists, etc.   There is a place for masculinity but there has to be a so called safe place for boys to be more sensitive and maybe express those more traditionally feminine traits.


As for the physical toxic masculinity,  when in was in a high school another kid went to hit his girlfriend (definition of toxic), he was bigger than me and yet I stepped in and asked him if he wanted to hit somebody that wasn't afraid to hit back.   That ended it.  If I had not had that masculinity she would have been hit.   I want my boys to be ok with that and I want my girl to hit back or duck and dodge and hit first preferably.   

Masculinity or femininity are not bad and both sexes should be able to have some of both but there needs to be positive outlets and examples and acceptance. 


StarBright

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #66 on: June 11, 2021, 09:12:35 AM »
I'll point to Hollywood - when was the last sitcom or such you can think of with a strong male character?  Outside of action hero/superhero movies, which increasingly have badly broken men presented, how common is it to see strong, competent, men of character in movies?  It happens, but it's pretty rare.  You're far, far more likely to see the comedic oaf who is saved from himself by his brilliant and competent wife.


Most movies w/ big releases are action/adventure/superhero so it seems kind of like an unfair bar to be like "show me amazing male characters in the other 15% of movies!"  :)

I do think it is interesting that you think the super hero characters are being shown as "badly broken" men. I feel like the MCU, in particular, shows pretty strong men, who react fairly realistically to trauma that they experience over the course of several movies, but always rise above their own experiences to become better men and save the world/their people, etc. Is it the actually showing the trauma affect them (I'm thinking of Iron Man and Thor, specifically) that you are thinking of as badly broken? And what would you prefer to see?

I would say most Judd Apatow movies are pretty positive - some of the male characters may start oafish, but they grow as men, and often through their relationships with other men. The Father in Quiet Place is a typically positive masculine character - the father character in most horror movies (almost anything Patrick Wilson plays is a protector).

Of movies that came out last year that aren't super hero shows,  Minari, Da 5 Bloods, David Copperfield, Bad Boys for Life, The Gentlemen and One Night in Miami all had archetypal male characters/leads shown positively and/or sympathetically (that's just off the top of my head because I saw very few movies in 2020).

Re: Sitcoms, if I recall, NBC isn't even releasing any new sitcoms in the coming season - so again most shows are hour long dramas or reality, and your bar seems to be "what about the other 10%?".
« Last Edit: June 11, 2021, 10:23:45 AM by StarBright »

Kris

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #67 on: June 11, 2021, 09:34:17 AM »
What about me, a woman with sailing experience who hates kids?

Yeah, this is where my mental concept runs into problems.  As a man with no sailing experience of any kind, I'd expect that you would be much more capable to help out.  But I'm sure I'd feel a compulsion help put people in boats before getting in one myself.

Is this toxic masculinity?

I mean, no, I don’t think so exactly. But at the same time, let’s just say that making assumptions about women’s and men’s *“natural” abilities probably doesn’t do either women or men as a whole many favors. You know?

Did I made any assumptions related the differences between men and women in my previous comments?  I was trying to honestly answer the question of what the difference between masculine and feminine behaviour meant (at least to me).

What is your definition of masculinity and femininity Kris?





*As far as natural abilities go, there is not need for quotes.  There really isn't any scientific disagreement that they do exist and are quite obvious.

If you take two average people who are the same height, the same weight, and who work out the same amount (and the same way) . . . but one is a man and one is a woman, the man will be physically stronger (this holds true for the whole body but is particularly notable in the upper body, where women average 50% less muscle mass).  The man will have a basal metabolic rate of between 6 and 10% higher.  The man will have denser bones, tendons, and ligaments, and will have an enhanced clotting ability which tends to manifest in a faster ability to heal wounds.

At the same time, the woman will be better equipped to cope with trauma, survive illness (women carry more white blood cells and produce antibodies faster than men), and will have a greater expected longevity.  On average, women are physically smaller (9% shorter and 16% lighter in weight).  There is a significant hormonal balance difference between men and women.

Do these well documented natural differences make the man or the woman 'better' though?  My argument would be no, in the majority of situations there isn't going to be significant difference.  As with most scenarios, during the sinking ship example I'd expect that actual knowledge of sailing would be much more important than upper body strength or ability to produce antibodies.

The thing is, there is a big difference -- and not necessarily even a connection -- between talking about things like metabolic rate and hormonal differences, and talking about "masculine" and "feminine" traits. The latter being largely socially determined.

If I hate kids and am six-two, and the guy next to me loves kids, wants nothing more than to be a parent, and is five-four... then are we going to say I am "masculine" and he is "feminine"? And if so, I mean... why?

It occurs to me (and this is more me just thinking "aloud" than responding to you, Steve) that when people like Syonyk express anger at the breakdown of traditional gender norms and the ability of women to move in the world with more freedom, they see it solely as something that is a threat to men. Like, it's very weird to me that this cultural shift is seen by them as opportunity for women and threat to men. Women can do things that used to only be the domain of men. But also, men can do things that used to only be the domain of women. Why wouldn't they also see the greater freedom for men to not have to conform to a rigid model of masculinity as an opportunity, as well? Unless, of course, they see traditional female roles as lesser than.

Which is a pretty big problem in and of itself.

OtherJen

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #68 on: June 11, 2021, 09:43:14 AM »
Why wouldn't they also see the greater freedom for men to not have to conform to a rigid model of masculinity as an opportunity, as well? Unless, of course, they see traditional female roles as lesser than.

Which is a pretty big problem in and of itself.

Ding ding ding, we have a winner. It isn't just the female roles; many men (and women! women can also perpetuate toxic masculinity!) see women as lesser than.

Think of all of the casual insults: "Quit being a girl." "You throw like a girl." "You're such a pussy." Consider parents who think that it's cool that their daughters are "tomboys" (i.e., like traditionally male pursuits) but discourage their sons from "girl stuff." Men who still refuse to take an equal share of housework and childcare, even when their female partners work full-time, because that's "women's work."

GuitarStv

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #69 on: June 11, 2021, 09:52:32 AM »
The thing is, there is a big difference -- and not necessarily even a connection -- between talking about things like metabolic rate and hormonal differences, and talking about "masculine" and "feminine" traits. The latter being largely socially determined.

Agreed!


If I hate kids and am six-two, and the guy next to me loves kids, wants nothing more than to be a parent, and is five-four... then are we going to say I am "masculine" and he is "feminine"? And if so, I mean... why?

We were discussing what it means to be masculine or feminine, as this conversation was started to discuss the problem with men and toxic masculinity.

If I'm reading you right here, it seems that you believe all discussion of masculinity/femininity seems to be (if not toxic) then negative?


It occurs to me (and this is more me just thinking "aloud" than responding to you, Steve) that when people like Syonyk express anger at the breakdown of traditional gender norms and the ability of women to move in the world with more freedom, they see it solely as something that is a threat to men. Like, it's very weird to me that this cultural shift is seen by them as opportunity for women and threat to men. Women can do things that used to only be the domain of men. But also, men can do things that used to only be the domain of women.[ Why wouldn't they also see the greater freedom for men to not have to conform to a rigid model of masculinity as an opportunity, as well? Unless, of course, they see traditional female roles as lesser than.

Which is a pretty big problem in and of itself.

I'm not sure the conclusions you're drawing are entirely true at least not in all instances.

I certainly wouldn't be comfortable working with children in a kindergarten, (not just because little kids suck) but because I'd expect to be accused of molestation at some point during my career due to cultural expectations around men who are interested in children.  I don't think many women experience the same concern.  This probably factors in to why early childcare workers are overwhelmingly female (less than 1% male last I checked).

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #70 on: June 11, 2021, 10:09:16 AM »
The best thing we can do is keep taking power away from men in society. It's been a patriarchal society for too long and the more we can balance it out and celebrate non-male achievements and accomplishments the better our society becomes. In a way all those unhappy men who vote for Trump are a sign that society is evolving.

scantee

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #71 on: June 11, 2021, 10:18:47 AM »
Will it ever change?

Unlikely in this culture, which increasingly views men as "Defective women" that need to be fixed, or, further to one end of the discussions, caged up to protect society.  I'll point to Hollywood - when was the last sitcom or such you can think of with a strong male character?  Outside of action hero/superhero movies, which increasingly have badly broken men presented, how common is it to see strong, competent, men of character in movies?  It happens, but it's pretty rare.  You're far, far more likely to see the comedic oaf who is saved from himself by his brilliant and competent wife.

However, as western industrial civilization continues slowing in the face of the ever-increasing headwinds, there's probably going to be a role for men again in the future as things change, because on the way down the backside of empire, physical strength and the ability to protect find themselves in demand again.  It's just going to be a hard process, with most of the good role models for that having died off, and most of the good fiction involving strong men being older than is popular to watch.

It’s hard for me to imagine us ever going back to a situation where physical strength has high value, at least not if we sustain any higher level of technological investment. In a technological era, brains absolutely trump brawn (ie, you’re much better off being someone who knows how to design missile systems than the person who is good at hand to hand combat). For physical strength to become very important again we would REALLY have to regress into a Canticle for Leibovitz type of situation. Should that happen we’re all going to be much worse off anyway, so.

My guess it that like most of human history we’ll have progress and regress on both the small scale (over decades) and the big one (over millennia). During periods when we regress to “traditionalism” it won’t look anything like it did in the past. A modern traditionalism, one that involves posting on social media about how trad you are…

My guess is that we’ll see gender differences become less and less pronounced assuming that technology continues it dominance. We are already seeing the influence of tech on gender definition in that it is masculinity is seen as being good at maths, science, business. That trend will continue and women will want in on the action thereby becoming more “masculine.”

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #72 on: June 11, 2021, 10:28:02 AM »
My guess is that we’ll see gender differences become less and less pronounced assuming that technology continues it dominance. We are already seeing the influence of tech on gender definition in that it is masculinity is seen as being good at maths, science, business. That trend will continue and women will want in on the action thereby becoming more “masculine.”

Does this also mean that you foresee 'toxic femininity' becoming a thing in the future, and sexual assaults by women climbing to equality with those perpetrated by men?

dougules

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #73 on: June 11, 2021, 10:33:43 AM »
It seems like half of the population is more and more actively calling out long-standing problems like unhealthy ideals of masculinity, and the other half is reacting by doubling down and intensifying what they'd been doing.

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #74 on: June 11, 2021, 10:39:20 AM »
Why wouldn't they also see the greater freedom for men to not have to conform to a rigid model of masculinity as an opportunity, as well? Unless, of course, they see traditional female roles as lesser than.

Which is a pretty big problem in and of itself.

Ding ding ding, we have a winner. It isn't just the female roles; many men (and women! women can also perpetuate toxic masculinity!) see women as lesser than.

Think of all of the casual insults: "Quit being a girl." "You throw like a girl." "You're such a pussy." Consider parents who think that it's cool that their daughters are "tomboys" (i.e., like traditionally male pursuits) but discourage their sons from "girl stuff." Men who still refuse to take an equal share of housework and childcare, even when their female partners work full-time, because that's "women's work."

I once got shouted down on this very forum for suggesting that there's something wrong with the fact that traditionally female occupations tend to pay less. I got a lot of "what's the big deal?" and "just choose a different career"

Coincidentally, some of the manliest men I know are in those occupations!

Tyler durden

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #75 on: June 11, 2021, 10:39:49 AM »
The best thing we can do is keep taking power away from men in society. It's been a patriarchal society for too long and the more we can balance it out and celebrate non-male achievements and accomplishments the better our society becomes. In a way all those unhappy men who vote for Trump are a sign that society is evolving.

This thread started out asking what is wrong with men in reference to rage shootings. You want to pin the blame on some 14 year old boy for the sins of men that came before him and try to proactively screw with their life prospects ? i couldnt think of a better way to ensure more rage shootings.

dreadmoose

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #76 on: June 11, 2021, 11:07:51 AM »
I believe we've started missing the point when we attempt to define what masculinity means and decry the loss of traditional male role models. Defining a man by masculinity itself seems needlessly derivative. Each person is unique and if we have the attention span to not try to fit everyone in a box instantaneously we can focus on defining common moralities (such as be nice, don't be selfish, etc).

Whenever we water down this discussion to a point of the average man's vs the average woman's characteristics we tend to delete both. As already alluded to a small-statured man that prefers nurturing children should not "fit" into the feminine category the same as a large muscular woman that faces a situation physically should not fit into the "masculine" box. These terms are seemingly defined in order to further an "us vs them" narrative that simply needs to die out for humanity to start cooperating properly. If human nature needs to always define an "us" to get by we certainly can't stop what this thread asks about from happening. This is worded great above when someone said toxic masculinity defines itself as "not" something rather than as something.

I think the latest generation is doing a much better job than ever before of defining a person the way they chose, rather than simplifying the world so they can make assumptions. Lessons from those younger than us appear hard to take, but if we can incorporate them faster we may see oversized returns.

For those reminiscing about a time they never lived through, I'd caution the hidden parts of history. Women could not vote, could not get loans, could not do anything they chose and there simply was no avenue to report domestic abuse. Complete oppression wasn't simpler and easier. Anything I've seen trying to suss it out has shown that rates have gone down over the generations and work should be done to keep pushing forward, rather than revert to typical "easy to define" roles.

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #77 on: June 11, 2021, 11:11:50 AM »
The best thing we can do is keep taking power away from men in society. It's been a patriarchal society for too long and the more we can balance it out and celebrate non-male achievements and accomplishments the better our society becomes. In a way all those unhappy men who vote for Trump are a sign that society is evolving.

This thread started out asking what is wrong with men in reference to rage shootings. You want to pin the blame on some 14 year old boy for the sins of men that came before him and try to proactively screw with their life prospects ? i couldnt think of a better way to ensure more rage shootings.
Bloop appears to me to be advocating for equality, and you seem to see his advocating for equality as "putting the blame on some 14 year old boy" and that this will "proactively screw with their life prospects".

Advocating to remove an unfair advantage is not putting the blame on anyone, and giving someone an equal chance with everyone else is not screwing with their life prospects.

Please adjust your perspective to that of the 21st Century.  Thank you.

Kris

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #78 on: June 11, 2021, 11:12:37 AM »

If I hate kids and am six-two, and the guy next to me loves kids, wants nothing more than to be a parent, and is five-four... then are we going to say I am "masculine" and he is "feminine"? And if so, I mean... why?

We were discussing what it means to be masculine or feminine, as this conversation was started to discuss the problem with men and toxic masculinity.

If I'm reading you right here, it seems that you believe all discussion of masculinity/femininity seems to be (if not toxic) then negative?



No, definitely not. I think discussion in good faith is almost always a net positive.

"Masculinity" is a social construct. As is "femininity." It used to be, not that long ago, that most people didn't see them as the social constructs they were. And it also used to be that most people did not question the ways in which those social constructs might limit or even harm those who have had to live within them.

I, personally, am someone who has absolutely, 100% benefited from living in a time when a woman's need to be "feminine" is allowed to be questioned. I would have chafed mightily from a lot of the restrictions that would have been placed on me in the name of femininity if I had been born in an earlier time. Many of those things, had I lived, say, in the late nineteenth century, would have had such a negative effect on me that it might have made me physically or mentally ill -- as many women of the time became when faced with those restrictions. I consider that to be a sort of "toxic" femininity, in that it was proscriptive, and meant largely to limit and put up boundaries around women's behavior. Not all "femininity" is toxic. But the kind of femininity that is proscriptive and designed to tell women what they shouldn't or can't do for fear of ostracization, mockery, or worse, is definitely toxic. And I think women are much, much the better for not having to be tied by those chains anymore.

I also think there is a "toxic" masculinity today which does similar things, but for different reasons. It is meant to limit maleness to a set of strict boundaries. Men are encouraged to self-police and limit their emotional range to a narrow range of acceptable "masculine" reactions. They are also encouraged to ostracize, mock, or worse other men whose behavior does not fall within those strict parameters. Some women, too, of course, are also encouraged to mock those behaviors. But in general, it very much seems to me that it is males who are tasked with most strictly enforcing the toxic form of masculinity on other males. Peer to peer, brother to brother, father to son, etc. I think men would be much, much the better for not having to be tied by the rigid and toxic form of "masculinity" as well. Thankfully, it seems to be changing, at least in some circles.

The difference between these two toxic forms of gender roles is, women moving away from toxic femininity has corresponded to gains in freedom and socio-economic power within society. Whereas men who most strongly adhere to the toxic masculinity model see the devaluing of that model as corresponding to a loss of their own unquestioned power in society. And of course, many of those men blame women for this. That there has been a loss of socio-economic power for some social strata of men in the last sixty years or so is undeniable. But to blame that on a loss of respect for "manliness" instead of the incredible shifts in civil rights, global capitalism, corporate power structures, seems incredibly naive. It is simpler, though, I guess, which is why it's probably attractive to some people as an explanation.

On an interpersonal level, toxic masculinity is damaging to men and women alike. It is damaging to the women these men aim some of their more aggressive behaviors at. But also, the rigidity with which they hold onto their own sense of what "manhood" is, along with their hostility toward anything they think threatens that model, puts them at risk of being emotionally brittle and unable to cope with an evolving world. I see it quite a bit in the community I grew up in, and also in my extended family.

One final note: You asked whether I see all discussion of masculinity and femininity to be negative? Insofar as those words are ascribed as positive traits in the gender to which they are traditionally ascribed, and negative traits in the opposite gender, then yes. If we ever were to arrive at a point where calling a boy's interest in cooking or playing with dolls "feminine" was considered a valueless judgment -- instead of a negative one designed to discourage the child or coerce his parents into stopping him -- that would be a watershed moment. But my guess is, if and when we get to that point, we won't need those words all that much anymore.

« Last Edit: June 11, 2021, 11:19:17 AM by Kris »

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #79 on: June 11, 2021, 11:13:00 AM »
The best thing we can do is keep taking power away from men in society. It's been a patriarchal society for too long and the more we can balance it out and celebrate non-male achievements and accomplishments the better our society becomes. In a way all those unhappy men who vote for Trump are a sign that society is evolving.

This thread started out asking what is wrong with men in reference to rage shootings. You want to pin the blame on some 14 year old boy for the sins of men that came before him and try to proactively screw with their life prospects ? i couldnt think of a better way to ensure more rage shootings.

I think the thread was a broader "why do men commit violence" than just shootings.

That being said, no one here is actively advocating for the neutering of the future prospects of young boys. Even Bloop isn't trying to argue that today's young boys should enter into a society that sees them without productive things to do.

But there's absolutely zero justification for the perpetuation of the conditions that lead to "boys will be boys". As a society, we can parity for women (which yes, means fewer opportunities overall for men) but also have a norm for masculine behavior that doesn't lead males young and old to believe that they are entitled to a role that no longer exists for them (a protector, head of household, whose wife and children subjugate themselves to him, whose genitalia alone entitle him to be and say and do things that will be written off as acceptable).

scantee

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #80 on: June 11, 2021, 11:16:50 AM »
My guess is that we’ll see gender differences become less and less pronounced assuming that technology continues it dominance. We are already seeing the influence of tech on gender definition in that it is masculinity is seen as being good at maths, science, business. That trend will continue and women will want in on the action thereby becoming more “masculine.”

Does this also mean that you foresee 'toxic femininity' becoming a thing in the future, and sexual assaults by women climbing to equality with those perpetrated by men?

Climbing to equality? Probably not. Increasingly higher numbers of female sexual assault perpetrators? Yes, certainly. We’re going to see a lot of weirdness and shifting of gender roles over the next few decades and a lot of that is going to defy expectations and not fall into a neat trend pattern.

To continue on the technology topic: we’re in the absolute infancy of the technological age, maybe a hundred years. Civilization is maybe ten thousand years. Hunter gatherers, a few hundred thousand years. We really have no idea where the tech age will bring us. I mean, of course we don’t, it’s the future, but also also over the course of human history it’s a blip because we’re at the very beginning.

That said, if we continue on with technological progress, everything points towards greater gender convergence. Smaller men because there is less need for size. Reproduction that is detached from sex. Greater need to work together as systems become more complex and increasingly out of the full understanding of individuals. These are trends that are on the horizon. Maybe not in our lifetimes but in the next few hundred years certainly.

Will there be violence in reaction to these changes? Certainly, but I would be surprised if we fully regressed into some post apocalyptic scenario.

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #81 on: June 11, 2021, 11:26:35 AM »
I didn't think this was about masculinity or femininity, but rather individuals who for whatever reason do not behave like adults after reaching a certain age. The majority of these people seem to be male. It is worthwhile to discuss societal factors that play into this. Why are more girls than boys raised to be responsible? What can parents do to make sure their children grow into decent human beings?

Tyler durden

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #82 on: June 11, 2021, 11:37:41 AM »
The best thing we can do is keep taking power away from men in society. It's been a patriarchal society for too long and the more we can balance it out and celebrate non-male achievements and accomplishments the better our society becomes. In a way all those unhappy men who vote for Trump are a sign that society is evolving.

This thread started out asking what is wrong with men in reference to rage shootings. You want to pin the blame on some 14 year old boy for the sins of men that came before him and try to proactively screw with their life prospects ? i couldnt think of a better way to ensure more rage shootings.
Bloop appears to me to be advocating for equality, and you seem to see his advocating for equality as "putting the blame on some 14 year old boy" and that this will "proactively screw with their life prospects".

Advocating to remove an unfair advantage is not putting the blame on anyone, and giving someone an equal chance with everyone else is not screwing with their life prospects.

Please adjust your perspective to that of the 21st Century.  Thank you.

What does taking power away from men look like to you ? I see that as an entirely different thing than empowering women and making sure women are on an even playing field.

former player

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #83 on: June 11, 2021, 11:44:19 AM »
The best thing we can do is keep taking power away from men in society. It's been a patriarchal society for too long and the more we can balance it out and celebrate non-male achievements and accomplishments the better our society becomes. In a way all those unhappy men who vote for Trump are a sign that society is evolving.

This thread started out asking what is wrong with men in reference to rage shootings. You want to pin the blame on some 14 year old boy for the sins of men that came before him and try to proactively screw with their life prospects ? i couldnt think of a better way to ensure more rage shootings.
Bloop appears to me to be advocating for equality, and you seem to see his advocating for equality as "putting the blame on some 14 year old boy" and that this will "proactively screw with their life prospects".

Advocating to remove an unfair advantage is not putting the blame on anyone, and giving someone an equal chance with everyone else is not screwing with their life prospects.

Please adjust your perspective to that of the 21st Century.  Thank you.

What does taking power away from men look like to you ? I see that as an entirely different thing than empowering women and making sure women are on an even playing field.
I don't think I've ever seen power "taken away from men" so I don't know what it would look like.  Do you have an example where something that men do has been stopped when it wasn't at the same time a power to subjugate women?

Tyler durden

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #84 on: June 11, 2021, 12:00:17 PM »
The best thing we can do is keep taking power away from men in society. It's been a patriarchal society for too long and the more we can balance it out and celebrate non-male achievements and accomplishments the better our society becomes. In a way all those unhappy men who vote for Trump are a sign that society is evolving.

This thread started out asking what is wrong with men in reference to rage shootings. You want to pin the blame on some 14 year old boy for the sins of men that came before him and try to proactively screw with their life prospects ? i couldnt think of a better way to ensure more rage shootings.
Bloop appears to me to be advocating for equality, and you seem to see his advocating for equality as "putting the blame on some 14 year old boy" and that this will "proactively screw with their life prospects".

Advocating to remove an unfair advantage is not putting the blame on anyone, and giving someone an equal chance with everyone else is not screwing with their life prospects.

Please adjust your perspective to that of the 21st Century.  Thank you.

What does taking power away from men look like to you ? I see that as an entirely different thing than empowering women and making sure women are on an even playing field.
I don't think I've ever seen power "taken away from men" so I don't know what it would look like.  Do you have an example where something that men do has been stopped when it wasn't at the same time a power to subjugate women?

I dont have an example off hand. Then again I'm not the one advocating for taking power away from them. What is that supposed to look like in the here and the now. I am a man, what power should be taken? I'm not trying to assume what the poster means. You can ask them to answer.

Cool Friend

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #85 on: June 11, 2021, 12:02:19 PM »

If I hate kids and am six-two, and the guy next to me loves kids, wants nothing more than to be a parent, and is five-four... then are we going to say I am "masculine" and he is "feminine"? And if so, I mean... why?

We were discussing what it means to be masculine or feminine, as this conversation was started to discuss the problem with men and toxic masculinity.

If I'm reading you right here, it seems that you believe all discussion of masculinity/femininity seems to be (if not toxic) then negative?



No, definitely not. I think discussion in good faith is almost always a net positive.

"Masculinity" is a social construct. As is "femininity." It used to be, not that long ago, that most people didn't see them as the social constructs they were. And it also used to be that most people did not question the ways in which those social constructs might limit or even harm those who have had to live within them.

I, personally, am someone who has absolutely, 100% benefited from living in a time when a woman's need to be "feminine" is allowed to be questioned. I would have chafed mightily from a lot of the restrictions that would have been placed on me in the name of femininity if I had been born in an earlier time. Many of those things, had I lived, say, in the late nineteenth century, would have had such a negative effect on me that it might have made me physically or mentally ill -- as many women of the time became when faced with those restrictions. I consider that to be a sort of "toxic" femininity, in that it was proscriptive, and meant largely to limit and put up boundaries around women's behavior. Not all "femininity" is toxic. But the kind of femininity that is proscriptive and designed to tell women what they shouldn't or can't do for fear of ostracization, mockery, or worse, is definitely toxic. And I think women are much, much the better for not having to be tied by those chains anymore.

I also think there is a "toxic" masculinity today which does similar things, but for different reasons. It is meant to limit maleness to a set of strict boundaries. Men are encouraged to self-police and limit their emotional range to a narrow range of acceptable "masculine" reactions. They are also encouraged to ostracize, mock, or worse other men whose behavior does not fall within those strict parameters. Some women, too, of course, are also encouraged to mock those behaviors. But in general, it very much seems to me that it is males who are tasked with most strictly enforcing the toxic form of masculinity on other males. Peer to peer, brother to brother, father to son, etc. I think men would be much, much the better for not having to be tied by the rigid and toxic form of "masculinity" as well. Thankfully, it seems to be changing, at least in some circles.

The difference between these two toxic forms of gender roles is, women moving away from toxic femininity has corresponded to gains in freedom and socio-economic power within society. Whereas men who most strongly adhere to the toxic masculinity model see the devaluing of that model as corresponding to a loss of their own unquestioned power in society. And of course, many of those men blame women for this. That there has been a loss of socio-economic power for some social strata of men in the last sixty years or so is undeniable. But to blame that on a loss of respect for "manliness" instead of the incredible shifts in civil rights, global capitalism, corporate power structures, seems incredibly naive. It is simpler, though, I guess, which is why it's probably attractive to some people as an explanation.

On an interpersonal level, toxic masculinity is damaging to men and women alike. It is damaging to the women these men aim some of their more aggressive behaviors at. But also, the rigidity with which they hold onto their own sense of what "manhood" is, along with their hostility toward anything they think threatens that model, puts them at risk of being emotionally brittle and unable to cope with an evolving world. I see it quite a bit in the community I grew up in, and also in my extended family.

One final note: You asked whether I see all discussion of masculinity and femininity to be negative? Insofar as those words are ascribed as positive traits in the gender to which they are traditionally ascribed, and negative traits in the opposite gender, then yes. If we ever were to arrive at a point where calling a boy's interest in cooking or playing with dolls "feminine" was considered a valueless judgment -- instead of a negative one designed to discourage the child or coerce his parents into stopping him -- that would be a watershed moment. But my guess is, if and when we get to that point, we won't need those words all that much anymore.

Great post

Syonyk

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #86 on: June 11, 2021, 12:12:31 PM »
It occurs to me (and this is more me just thinking "aloud" than responding to you, Steve) that when people like Syonyk express anger at the breakdown of traditional gender norms and the ability of women to move in the world with more freedom, they see it solely as something that is a threat to men.

I'm not sure what position you think I hold, but I'm quite certain I wouldn't describe it, in the slightest, in the way you just did.

Our society is doing an exceedingly poor job of raising boys into responsible, respectable adult men.  There are a variety of reasons, and I'm pretty angry about some of them (that the solution for a few decades to "boys with tons of energy don't sit quietly in school" is to drug them would be one I'm pretty incandescent about at times), but I don't see how this has the slightest to do with "breakdown of traditional gender norms."  It has to do with the fact that a man is not a woman, a little boy is not a little girl, and we have been picking the methods that work for girls and do not work for boys, instead of the methods that work for both genders.

Throw in a lack of solid, respectable male role models, and, yeah.  You end up broken after a while.  Boys need men then can look up to.  Presumably girls need women the can look up to as well, but as I'm not a woman, I simply don't know as much about issues on that side.

It’s hard for me to imagine us ever going back to a situation where physical strength has high value, at least not if we sustain any higher level of technological investment.

I agree with you 100%, we just seem to have very, very different estimations as to the arc of the future in terms of energy, technology, etc.  I question how long the technological structures we have created will last in the face of a variety of headwinds, and I think a decline in that is already well under way (outside the increasingly small circles who benefit from it).  It's a bit off topic to go into too far in this thread, but the arcs of empire, the arcs of energy trends, etc, mean that we're exceedingly unlikely to make it to the stars, and I expect a return to more manual labor in the years ahead.

Quote
For physical strength to become very important again we would REALLY have to regress into a Canticle for Leibovitz type of situation. Should that happen we’re all going to be much worse off anyway, so.

Correct.  But it would be a path in which a more traditional masculinity would prove useful.  Obviously you don't think it's likely, I consider it something we're already arcing our way down.  Yes, I'm aware that puts me rather at odds with the FIRE community, and my chosen path is one that isn't nearly as common here (looking to build our property into something that provides for most of our needs locally, to reduce our required external expenses in the future).

Quote
My guess it that like most of human history we’ll have progress and regress on both the small scale (over decades) and the big one (over millennia).

Perhaps, but as we've been seeing, the downside to globalization is that when it fails (which it is currently doing, look at all the supply chain issues currently orbiting around and all the stuff that simply isn't available anymore), it takes everyone down with it together.  We don't have much in the way of isolated civilizations that do "a bit of trade" with others, we have a global system.  And the wheels are coming off.  But, again, probably a different thread and not one I particularly care to rehash here.


But in general, I do consider the problems to be largely a failure of previous generations of men to effectively pass things on to the next generation of boys, who have failed to grow properly into men.

GuitarStv

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #87 on: June 11, 2021, 12:29:12 PM »
I didn't think this was about masculinity or femininity, but rather individuals who for whatever reason do not behave like adults after reaching a certain age. The majority of these people seem to be male. It is worthwhile to discuss societal factors that play into this. Why are more girls than boys raised to be responsible? What can parents do to make sure their children grow into decent human beings?

The two things that seem most likely to be causes for this:

1 - Traditional gendering of behavioural roles.  The old school, 1950s era approach to women is a lot more protective and to boys is a lot more lenient.  If boys are taught at a young age that they can get away with stuff, and girls are taught at a young age that they need to be fearful . . . this impacts how they behave later on.  This has been changing for the better, but is still pretty deeply ingrained into our culture (guy who has lots of sex is a stud, girl who does the same is a slut, etc.).

2 - There exist hormonal differences between boys and girls that have been shown to impact decision making.  It's possible that some of the methods being used to teach young people correct behaviour are just not as effective for men as they are for women.  It's also possible that the physical differences between men and women predispose men towards more aggressive tendencies . . . and that there is less emphasis being given on the need for release of this aggression (through sport, physical labour, etc.) than in the past.



A parent should probably attempt to limit 1 through both words and actions, and by paying attention to the media that their kid is consuming.  It's very common for these gender roles to be embedded in great children's literature . . . I've had to have discussions with my son about things that we ran across in childrens classic - The Hobbit, The Chronicles of Narnia series, Peter Pan, some of Richard Dahl's books, etc.  It's also difficult because kids pick up a lot of weird ideas from other kids at school.  The same goes for movies . . . Star Wars is usually thought to be relatively innocuous, but the only female character is either being kidnapped, rescued, or running around in a metal bikini.  Some modern movies have better, more equal gender roles.

Getting into the habit of regular exhausting exercise is a great idea for any kid, but may be especially important for boys.  Minimizing things that impair children's ability to play (like video games - which are often hyper violent and reinforce the worst kinds of gendering) and limiting unfettered access to the internet is probably a really good idea.  In the teen years easy access to pornography for young boys is particularly troubling as there is a lot out there and there doesn't appear to be much of it that gives a good kind of message - and there appear to be lots of negative potential negative impacts on development even beyond the women issues.

GuitarStv

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #88 on: June 11, 2021, 12:43:41 PM »
The difference between these two toxic forms of gender roles is, women moving away from toxic femininity has corresponded to gains in freedom and socio-economic power within society. Whereas men who most strongly adhere to the toxic masculinity model see the devaluing of that model as corresponding to a loss of their own unquestioned power in society. And of course, many of those men blame women for this. That there has been a loss of socio-economic power for some social strata of men in the last sixty years or so is undeniable. But to blame that on a loss of respect for "manliness" instead of the incredible shifts in civil rights, global capitalism, corporate power structures, seems incredibly naive. It is simpler, though, I guess, which is why it's probably attractive to some people as an explanation.

I guess my question to this is . . . why do so many men appear to be drawn to toxic masculinity?  It is rewarded in certain religions and certain cultures, but in North America there aren't many fields where this outlook is going to help you get ahead as far as employment goes.  It doesn't seem like this is particularly attractive to women, so it's not likely to get you laid.  There must be something in the toxicity that is appealing.  Is it just the old white supremacy style "you've been kinda a loser for a long time but now someone is telling you that you're better than someone else and it makes you feel good"?  Or is there something else?


One final note: You asked whether I see all discussion of masculinity and femininity to be negative? Insofar as those words are ascribed as positive traits in the gender to which they are traditionally ascribed, and negative traits in the opposite gender, then yes. If we ever were to arrive at a point where calling a boy's interest in cooking or playing with dolls "feminine" was considered a valueless judgment -- instead of a negative one designed to discourage the child or coerce his parents into stopping him -- that would be a watershed moment. But my guess is, if and when we get to that point, we won't need those words all that much anymore.

I've got a great many traits that I consider feminine, and a great many that I'd consider masculine.  I don't personally see my femininity as being a negative, and don't consider the masculine traits that my wife exhibits to be negative.  There's a spectrum from yin to yang that everyone sits on.

That said, I do understand that societally, female traits are often seen as negative.  My son's habit of playing in pink dresses and with dolls came to a screeching halt after he started elementary school - he definitely got the message about how he's supposed to behave.  (It's very frustrating that he'll now vigorously complain if we're going to watch a 'girl' movie like Beauty and the Beast because "it's not for boys".)  So I think I understand the hesitancy in assigning 'feminine' or 'masculine' that you're running into.

RetiredAt63

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #89 on: June 11, 2021, 12:56:38 PM »
It occurs to me (and this is more me just thinking "aloud" than responding to you, Steve) that when people like Syonyk express anger at the breakdown of traditional gender norms and the ability of women to move in the world with more freedom, they see it solely as something that is a threat to men.

I'm not sure what position you think I hold, but I'm quite certain I wouldn't describe it, in the slightest, in the way you just did.

Our society is doing an exceedingly poor job of raising boys into responsible, respectable adult men.  There are a variety of reasons, and I'm pretty angry about some of them (that the solution for a few decades to "boys with tons of energy don't sit quietly in school" is to drug them would be one I'm pretty incandescent about at times), but I don't see how this has the slightest to do with "breakdown of traditional gender norms."  It has to do with the fact that a man is not a woman, a little boy is not a little girl, and we have been picking the methods that work for girls and do not work for boys, instead of the methods that work for both genders.

Throw in a lack of solid, respectable male role models, and, yeah.  You end up broken after a while.  Boys need men then can look up to.  Presumably girls need women the can look up to as well, but as I'm not a woman, I simply don't know as much about issues on that side.

It’s hard for me to imagine us ever going back to a situation where physical strength has high value, at least not if we sustain any higher level of technological investment.

I agree with you 100%, we just seem to have very, very different estimations as to the arc of the future in terms of energy, technology, etc.  I question how long the technological structures we have created will last in the face of a variety of headwinds, and I think a decline in that is already well under way (outside the increasingly small circles who benefit from it).  It's a bit off topic to go into too far in this thread, but the arcs of empire, the arcs of energy trends, etc, mean that we're exceedingly unlikely to make it to the stars, and I expect a return to more manual labor in the years ahead.

Quote
For physical strength to become very important again we would REALLY have to regress into a Canticle for Leibovitz type of situation. Should that happen we’re all going to be much worse off anyway, so.

Correct.  But it would be a path in which a more traditional masculinity would prove useful.  Obviously you don't think it's likely, I consider it something we're already arcing our way down.  Yes, I'm aware that puts me rather at odds with the FIRE community, and my chosen path is one that isn't nearly as common here (looking to build our property into something that provides for most of our needs locally, to reduce our required external expenses in the future).

Quote
My guess it that like most of human history we’ll have progress and regress on both the small scale (over decades) and the big one (over millennia).

Perhaps, but as we've been seeing, the downside to globalization is that when it fails (which it is currently doing, look at all the supply chain issues currently orbiting around and all the stuff that simply isn't available anymore), it takes everyone down with it together.  We don't have much in the way of isolated civilizations that do "a bit of trade" with others, we have a global system.  And the wheels are coming off.  But, again, probably a different thread and not one I particularly care to rehash here.


But in general, I do consider the problems to be largely a failure of previous generations of men to effectively pass things on to the next generation of boys, who have failed to grow properly into men.

This struck me.  In what way are we doing things that work more for girls?  School with less activity (recess and phys ed cuts) hurts girls.  Girls have ADD and ADHD, but present differently, and are less diagnosed (so are girls on the spectrum, they "mask" better).  Girls were always socialized at school (as well as elsewhere) to be quiet and accommodating and well-behaved and not make waves - has that changed?   Sports are certainly available - and usually more available for boys than for girls, if there are scarce resources in a community. 

Society still uses men as the norm, and I am not just talking about language - read Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men (Caroline Criado Perez) to see how society is still treating women as secondary in almost every area.  I am taking prescription and OTC drugs that were not tested on my biological peers.  I am driving a car that was not designed for a woman in the driver's seat.  Public transportation is not designed with women's needs.  Public housing is not designed for female single parents.  Snow clearing prioritizes men's schedules. And on and on and on.  Because women and women's needs and priorities are still usually invisible.  And someplace I read that in a movie, if a crowd scene has 70% men and 30% women, men watching it will say the crowd was 50/50 or more women than men.  So any presence of women seems to be seen as more than it actually is, we are expected to be invisible in the public sphere. 

And my totally biased and totally non-social science take is that powerful groups in society (mainly old white men but also rich people who are not old white men) see their overall power being eroded by POC and women (and of course POC and women intersect).  And they lash the troops. The ones who are angry because they can't get dates with gorgeous women would never have gotten dates with gorgeous women.  The ones with crummy jobs are told they should have great jobs, but are told the great jobs (like coal) will be brought back instead of being told there are great jobs, but they have to learn different skills to get them.   Men are being trained to be fragile and brittle and have unrealistic expectations, and it is not women who are the enemy here.  But they are also told that we are.

So I don't have answers.  It is better than when I was a girl, when domestic violence was ignored and women had so few legal rights.  But somehow men feel threatened because women can now get credit on their own and can get their own mortgages and so on?  Our financial freedom threatens men who want control - and they usually want control over everything they can, their wives, their children, their subordinates at work, strangers.  Do women tell men who are strangers to smile?  No.  Do men tell women who are strangers to smile?  A surprisingly large number of men do.  So where did they learn this entitlement?  Basically it seems to me that so much of this "toxic masculinity"  is an overdeveloped sense of entitlement that gets angry when the expected perks don't show up.

Sorry, I got a bit carried away there.  I'll go do something heavy duty physical to work off the energy.  (Seriously, I have a lot of digging needing doing in the garden).

SwordGuy

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #90 on: June 11, 2021, 12:58:39 PM »

What we have now, though, is a sizeable amount of media and general cultural influence talking about all of the negatives of masculinity.

This is where I think you are completely and thoroughly wrong.


There is no media attack on men "providing for their family".   

But there is an attack on men refusing to let women do their share to provide for the family by doing the work they choose to do.

There is no media attack on men "defending their family".   

But there is an attack on men beating the hell out of their womenfolk or sexually abusing their children.

There is no media attack on men courting women.

But there is an attack on men who won't take no for an answer or who abuse their position of power at work to coerce women.

There is no media attack on men having sex with women.

But there is an attack on men raping or sexually assaulting or sexually harassing women.

What's different is that there are now -- sometimes -- ACTUAL BAD CONSEQUENCES for the bad shit men do.   Men are simply NOT USED TO being held accountable for their actions towards their children or towards women.   

THAT's what sticks in the craw of a lot of men.   The good ones, not so much, but the bad ones or the neutral ones, yep, it bugs them.

They can't just simply do what the hell they want towards those groups without having to fear the consequences.   It scares them because if other folks have the power to dish out consequences, those other folks might be as petty and vicious and vindictive as they themselves are.

We could have the exact same conversation about white folks in the US and how minorities are treated. 

Don't believe that fear of consequences is such a powerful motivator?   There's a huge overlap between the men that feel that way and the white men crying "Tyranny!" when expected to wear a mask so they won't kill their fellow citizens with covid.

GuitarStv

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #91 on: June 11, 2021, 01:12:46 PM »
It occurs to me (and this is more me just thinking "aloud" than responding to you, Steve) that when people like Syonyk express anger at the breakdown of traditional gender norms and the ability of women to move in the world with more freedom, they see it solely as something that is a threat to men.

I'm not sure what position you think I hold, but I'm quite certain I wouldn't describe it, in the slightest, in the way you just did.

Our society is doing an exceedingly poor job of raising boys into responsible, respectable adult men.  There are a variety of reasons, and I'm pretty angry about some of them (that the solution for a few decades to "boys with tons of energy don't sit quietly in school" is to drug them would be one I'm pretty incandescent about at times), but I don't see how this has the slightest to do with "breakdown of traditional gender norms."  It has to do with the fact that a man is not a woman, a little boy is not a little girl, and we have been picking the methods that work for girls and do not work for boys, instead of the methods that work for both genders.

Throw in a lack of solid, respectable male role models, and, yeah.  You end up broken after a while.  Boys need men then can look up to.  Presumably girls need women the can look up to as well, but as I'm not a woman, I simply don't know as much about issues on that side.

It’s hard for me to imagine us ever going back to a situation where physical strength has high value, at least not if we sustain any higher level of technological investment.

I agree with you 100%, we just seem to have very, very different estimations as to the arc of the future in terms of energy, technology, etc.  I question how long the technological structures we have created will last in the face of a variety of headwinds, and I think a decline in that is already well under way (outside the increasingly small circles who benefit from it).  It's a bit off topic to go into too far in this thread, but the arcs of empire, the arcs of energy trends, etc, mean that we're exceedingly unlikely to make it to the stars, and I expect a return to more manual labor in the years ahead.

Quote
For physical strength to become very important again we would REALLY have to regress into a Canticle for Leibovitz type of situation. Should that happen we’re all going to be much worse off anyway, so.

Correct.  But it would be a path in which a more traditional masculinity would prove useful.  Obviously you don't think it's likely, I consider it something we're already arcing our way down.  Yes, I'm aware that puts me rather at odds with the FIRE community, and my chosen path is one that isn't nearly as common here (looking to build our property into something that provides for most of our needs locally, to reduce our required external expenses in the future).

Quote
My guess it that like most of human history we’ll have progress and regress on both the small scale (over decades) and the big one (over millennia).

Perhaps, but as we've been seeing, the downside to globalization is that when it fails (which it is currently doing, look at all the supply chain issues currently orbiting around and all the stuff that simply isn't available anymore), it takes everyone down with it together.  We don't have much in the way of isolated civilizations that do "a bit of trade" with others, we have a global system.  And the wheels are coming off.  But, again, probably a different thread and not one I particularly care to rehash here.


But in general, I do consider the problems to be largely a failure of previous generations of men to effectively pass things on to the next generation of boys, who have failed to grow properly into men.

This struck me.  In what way are we doing things that work more for girls?  School with less activity (recess and phys ed cuts) hurts girls.  Girls have ADD and ADHD, but present differently, and are less diagnosed (so are girls on the spectrum, they "mask" better).  Girls were always socialized at school (as well as elsewhere) to be quiet and accommodating and well-behaved and not make waves - has that changed?   Sports are certainly available - and usually more available for boys than for girls, if there are scarce resources in a community. 

Society still uses men as the norm, and I am not just talking about language - read Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men (Caroline Criado Perez) to see how society is still treating women as secondary in almost every area.  I am taking prescription and OTC drugs that were not tested on my biological peers.  I am driving a car that was not designed for a woman in the driver's seat.  Public transportation is not designed with women's needs.  Public housing is not designed for female single parents.  Snow clearing prioritizes men's schedules. And on and on and on.  Because women and women's needs and priorities are still usually invisible.  And someplace I read that in a movie, if a crowd scene has 70% men and 30% women, men watching it will say the crowd was 50/50 or more women than men.  So any presence of women seems to be seen as more than it actually is, we are expected to be invisible in the public sphere. 

And my totally biased and totally non-social science take is that powerful groups in society (mainly old white men but also rich people who are not old white men) see their overall power being eroded by POC and women (and of course POC and women intersect).  And they lash the troops. The ones who are angry because they can't get dates with gorgeous women would never have gotten dates with gorgeous women.  The ones with crummy jobs are told they should have great jobs, but are told the great jobs (like coal) will be brought back instead of being told there are great jobs, but they have to learn different skills to get them.   Men are being trained to be fragile and brittle and have unrealistic expectations, and it is not women who are the enemy here.  But they are also told that we are.

So I don't have answers.  It is better than when I was a girl, when domestic violence was ignored and women had so few legal rights.  But somehow men feel threatened because women can now get credit on their own and can get their own mortgages and so on?  Our financial freedom threatens men who want control - and they usually want control over everything they can, their wives, their children, their subordinates at work, strangers.  Do women tell men who are strangers to smile?  No.  Do men tell women who are strangers to smile?  A surprisingly large number of men do.  So where did they learn this entitlement?  Basically it seems to me that so much of this "toxic masculinity"  is an overdeveloped sense of entitlement that gets angry when the expected perks don't show up.

Sorry, I got a bit carried away there.  I'll go do something heavy duty physical to work off the energy.  (Seriously, I have a lot of digging needing doing in the garden).

There is some evidence that different approaches to learning work better for boys than girls, and vice-versa due to differences in brain structure.
https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ895692.pdf
http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/nov04/vol62/num03/With-Boys-and-Girls-in-Mind.aspx
https://gurianinstitute.com/answering-those-who-believe-boys-and-girls-do-not-learn-differently/
https://www.teacherlists.com/blog/parent-corner/types-of-learning-how-boys-and-girls-are-different/

This is the kind of stuff that I was talking about earlier - the danger of pretending that there isn't physiological different between the sexes is that we may be failing to tailor classes as needed.



This was interesting information:
"Girls surpass boys on reading and writing in almost every U.S. school district regardless of local wealth or racial makeup. In third grade, female students outperform boys by roughly half a grade level. By the end of 8th grade, girls are almost a full grade ahead." - https://ed.stanford.edu/news/new-stanford-education-study-shows-where-boys-and-girls-do-better-math-english

I suspect that this is caused by one of the following:
- girls are genetically predisposed to write better
- classroom settings are better designed to teach writing in a way that works with girls than boys

If the former, then there's little that we can do about the deficit in boys writing.  If the latter though, then we may have to re-examine the most common structure of teaching for reading and writing from a male-brain perspective.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2021, 01:18:39 PM by GuitarStv »

Wolfpack Mustachian

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #92 on: June 11, 2021, 01:35:21 PM »

What we have now, though, is a sizeable amount of media and general cultural influence talking about all of the negatives of masculinity.

This is where I think you are completely and thoroughly wrong.


There is no media attack on men "providing for their family".   

But there is an attack on men refusing to let women do their share to provide for the family by doing the work they choose to do.

There is no media attack on men "defending their family".   

But there is an attack on men beating the hell out of their womenfolk or sexually abusing their children.

There is no media attack on men courting women.

But there is an attack on men who won't take no for an answer or who abuse their position of power at work to coerce women.

There is no media attack on men having sex with women.

But there is an attack on men raping or sexually assaulting or sexually harassing women.

What's different is that there are now -- sometimes -- ACTUAL BAD CONSEQUENCES for the bad shit men do.   Men are simply NOT USED TO being held accountable for their actions towards their children or towards women.   

THAT's what sticks in the craw of a lot of men.   The good ones, not so much, but the bad ones or the neutral ones, yep, it bugs them.

They can't just simply do what the hell they want towards those groups without having to fear the consequences.   It scares them because if other folks have the power to dish out consequences, those other folks might be as petty and vicious and vindictive as they themselves are.

We could have the exact same conversation about white folks in the US and how minorities are treated. 

Don't believe that fear of consequences is such a powerful motivator?   There's a huge overlap between the men that feel that way and the white men crying "Tyranny!" when expected to wear a mask so they won't kill their fellow citizens with covid.

Wow, ok...so a lot of bold and large lettering here. Let's take a deep breath and assess what I actually said versus the assumptions you have made (which seem to be plentiful). I never once talked about men not being held accountable for their actions. I am all for men being held accountable for their actions - certainly of rape - it's one of the most heinous crimes out there. I have never once in my life harassed a woman be it physical/verbal/catcalling/whatever else. I'm not perfect, and I'm sure I've in some way demeaned a woman in a way that I wasn't aware of, but if so, it was unintentional and if given the chance and information, I would do my best to correct the behavior. ETA: "I'm not looking for praise for this. It's kind of the bare minimum of being a decent person. However, since it seemed like it was being assumed by saying what I was saying that I was concerned about consequences of actions along these lines, I thought I would throw it out there." So, let's cool your jets and avoid diatribes that seem to insinuate that I am worried about the consequences of actions (I know you said the "good ones" aren't bothered as much, but for real, you kind of went off without prompting there on my post).

I could go into a lot of details, but at the risk of being misinterpreted and yelled at again :-), I'll keep it simple.

At a large scale, birds eye view, from the more liberal side of this issue (the conservative side certainly has and continues to put forth a perspective on masculinity that I'm sure most on here would disagree with) - what I'm seeing in the media is kind of a lot of what I'm seeing on this thread. There's significant pushback against toxic masculinity. I disagree with some of the nuance of what this means with various posters, but if we're talking about pushing back against the specifics of guys being able to treat women however they like, then I'm all for it. My point is, when the topic of masculinity comes up at all on the liberal side of things, it seems to be either - toxic masculinity, - by the very use of the word masculinity, the discussion is about negative aspects of masculinity or at least that there's some tie in there. On the other side of the issue, the positive sides of masculinity never come up. In fact, when I in this very thread have tried to bring up the idea of - let's talk about some positive traits of masculinity to aspire to, I have been told it's really hard to do (agree, but still worthwhile), masculinity and feminity have been brought up as total social constructs, meaning to me there's nothing really worth talking about, etc.

Essentially, the only time I see masculinity brought up as a talking point in circles such as this more liberal forum, it's talked about in terms of toxic masculinity. I'm not saying the media or posters on here are only looking to tear down masculinity as a whole. I'm saying by the very absence of anything that could be called inherently masculine and positive as a combination together or again, as something to highlight as "hey, this is masculine and it's good" - it's crickets. To your point, even if no one is tearing down a man providing for his family, it also seems like people are pretty solidly shying away from saying a man providing for his family is an example of positive masculinity. Maybe I'm wrong about it, but I haven't seen anyone say anything like that outside of, again, conservative circles.

If you'd like to talk about how any aspects of masculinity are positive, again, preferably without boldly yelling!!!, and especially how the media or the overall culture is highlighting or could highlight these aspects, I think it would be a fun conversation.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2021, 01:46:25 PM by Wolfpack Mustachian »

shelivesthedream

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #93 on: June 11, 2021, 01:40:30 PM »
Please could posters be more specific when they talk about "in the olden days" or "in the past"? The known history of the Western world (and I think it's safe to assume we're all talking about that unless someone specifically says otherwise) is REALLY REALLY long and encompasses MANY MANY different ways of living and ways of thinking about gender. Some people seem to be talking about the 1980s, some about the 1950s, some about the Victorians, I'm thinking about high medieval Britain, then there's the Roman Empire... Often I can figure it out, but it would be really helpful to stick some rough dates on "the past". The "proper role of a man" and "proper role of a woman" are very different on a small Tudor farm and in a Victorian London suburb.

Picking up from here:

Quote
In fact, toxic masculinity says "I am a man because I am not a woman" rather than "I am a man because I am not a boy". In order for it to be masculinity rather than adulthood we do of course need both, but we do need both, and modern masculinity lacks or distorts the latter and obsesses over the former. It may sometimes use the rhetoric of not being a boy any more, but when you look closer at it, it equates boy with woman - which is ridiculous.

Some people disagree with that, I think. So while I agree that "a message as powerful as 'this is the right way to be a man' needs to be carefully examined from many angles" I think it's important to establish the proper domain of masculinity as a concept before asking what good and bad masculinity looks like. Taking these two questions separately: What makes a boy different from a man? Moral character and sense of responsibility, according to me. Same as a girl and a woman.

What makes a man different from a woman? Well, I think that's actually a tougher one to answer.

I've been thinking more about this, and I think that taking it strictly philosophically, it's important to think about what "masculinity" and "femininity" are.

Are they:

1. Attributes which are true of ALL men and ALL women. (For example, while all women are capable of bearing children, not all women do. That doesn't make them not women, so childbearing in itself would not be "feminine".)
2. Attributes which are true of THE AVERAGE man and THE AVERAGE woman. (So for example, it would be true that greater upper body strength is masculine.)
3. Attributes which bear only a linguistic or social relationship to biological manhood and womanhood, and might as well have been called "blibbleness" and "blobbleness". (So where we are on the masculine-feminine spectrum truly bears no relationship to our biological sex, as opposed to a masculine woman or feminine man being that way in spite of their gender.)

When thinking about how to define positive masculinity (not-boy-ness and not-woman-ness), none of these are problem-free options. I would guess most posters on this thread would go with the social option of #3, but it's hard to argue that it's just some massive coincidence that some traits have been assigned as masculine and some as feminine for pretty much the whole of known Western history. Is there any period of time in which men have generally worn their hair longer than women?

But #1 and #2 return results which are so bland as to be irrelevant.

I have for some time privately theorised that the lack of unskilled physical employment and the lack of simple physical recreation is doing great disservice to teenage boys in modern Western society. They have all these raging hormones and no positive outlet for them. Sure, many things about ye olden tymes were terrible, but it's a shame that a teenage boy used to be able to earn his own money (and therefore a degree of independence and self-respect) hefting bales of hay around (or similar work that just needs youthful vigour and testosterone-fuelled muscles and endurance) and nothing has replaced it. Likewise, it's often hard to access simple physical recreation like playing football on some wasteland, swimming in a river or taking your shotgun out to the woods and firing rage shots at every squirrel you see until you calm the fuck down and go home with a grand plan to make a squirrel tail hat.

It's hard to be a "manly man" these days. It's all so artificial. It's easier to be a non-manly man, which is nice because there have always been people like that, but I don't think anything has replaced the ease with which young men used to be able to let their feelings physically.

You can still play sports, go to a boxing gym, eat well, get a good job, invest and then use the money to buy nice clothes, whatever. There are still outlets if you want that sort of thing.

My theory is that the increase in inequality since the 1970s has led to suppressed men becoming angrier etc. Like all those weirdos who shoot up their schools. You never hear about the popular high-status kid in class becoming a mass murderer.

What you stated is completely contrary to what I stated. Having to join an organised boxing gym you go to in the evenings when you get home from your largely-seated brain-based "good job" which you have as an adult is the exact opposite of being able to earn some beer-and-ego money using your body in an unskilled way as a teenager and then having random physical fun for free. Who gets a "good job" at 13? But that's when adolescent boys start jockeying for perceived adult status and their hormones start building a "man's body" in great surges. Not everyone can ever get a skilled job. There are NOT outlets for the unskilled, physically oriented male, despite the fact that they continued to exist and before the 18th C Agricultural Revolution, they were essential for society to function - which gave them some well-deserved self-esteem.

But now these men have nothing to offer us. Their "masculine" strength is redundant. Anything they can do, a woman can do too. But the thing is, these people will never stop existing.

I wonder if the next sensible move for feminism is to turn its focus to supporting men. Specifically, supporting men to do "women's work" in a positive way, not just griping about how men don't do chores. There's a lot of experience out there in what works to get women into "male" professions - perhaps it's time to take that expertise and get men into "female" professions. The reality is that not everyone can be a welder, engineer, whatever. We need nurses, teachers, etc too. If all the female nurses become welders, someone has to do that job! And if women enter/remain in the workforce, there's a lot of potential space for SAHDs too. I think a lot of perceptual problems with "female" jobs will erode if they become more gender balanced. Yes, how lovely if "women's work" didn't have to become "men's work too" to be valued, but the theory hasn't worked so well on society so far, so why not tackle things from the practical end? It's hard for men in those roles right now. I have a male friend who is a primary school teacher, and people always give him this "What's wrong with you?" vibe. He teaches the really little ones too, and toileting accidents are a minefield for him.

I feel really lucky that so far, our kids haven't had any gendered messages that I'm aware of. It never even crosses my mind that my son "isn't supposed to" like cooking or my daughter "isn't supposed to" like cars. And my son loves trains and my daughter loves dressing up clothes. They both take tender, loving, sometimes brutal care of their stuffed animals. They play "grocery shopping" together (in as much as they play anything together) and it's only when I read someone upthread that I realised that might be odd to some people. But I'm sure it will come up. I feel lucky that we had a boy first because you can dress girls in "boy clothes" no problem but dressing boys in "girls clothes" is a massive problem and there is definitely some stuff I'd feel weird about putting on him. (Unicorn T-shirt fine, frilly dress not fine.)

It's funny to think about where my personal line with this stuff is, and what bothers me and what doesn't, and wonder why. Right now 3yo son has an alter ego called "Mrs Patand". (Nooooo idea where that came from. It used to be just Patand, then the Mrs got added.) And sometimes I catch myself idly wondering if it's weird. I don't think it is, because "Mrs" doesn't mean anything special to him right now. And there is no difference in what he does as Awdry and what he does as Mrs Patand. But the "Is this weird?" thought does still pop up from time to time.

shelivesthedream

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #94 on: June 11, 2021, 01:55:50 PM »
This is the kind of stuff that I was talking about earlier - the danger of pretending that there isn't physiological different between the sexes is that we may be failing to tailor classes as needed.

This was interesting information:
"Girls surpass boys on reading and writing in almost every U.S. school district regardless of local wealth or racial makeup. In third grade, female students outperform boys by roughly half a grade level. By the end of 8th grade, girls are almost a full grade ahead." - https://ed.stanford.edu/news/new-stanford-education-study-shows-where-boys-and-girls-do-better-math-english

I suspect that this is caused by one of the following:
- girls are genetically predisposed to write better
- classroom settings are better designed to teach writing in a way that works with girls than boys

If the former, then there's little that we can do about the deficit in boys writing.  If the latter though, then we may have to re-examine the most common structure of teaching for reading and writing from a male-brain perspective.

Thinking about this with a broad historical perspective, then the "solution" might be to reorganise society so that we have lots of square holes for the square pegs and round holes for the round pegs, rather than increasingly creating a society in which only round pegs have any use and then wondering whether girls are genetically predisposed to be better round pegs or whether classroom settings are better designed to teach being a round peg to girls than boys. The kind of literacy and numeracy that are essential these days to be a functioning member of society at a basic level (plus, increasingly, technological proficiency) were simply not necessary for the vast vast majority of the Western population for the vast vast majority of human history. Is it any wonder that we as a species haven't evolved to universally find the three Rs easy in the last mere few centuries?

In ye olden medieval-type tymes, you could be illiterate and have zero problems in your life. You'd be unlikely to be totally innumerate, though - although it would take a different form to the maths we require in schools these days. I read an interesting book on early learning recently that said that numeracy is learned through three stages: the manipulating of physical objects, the manipulating of imaginary objects, and using numerals by themselves. You master stage one, then master stage two, then master stage three. But in modern schools we actually try to get children to master all three at once. "Put three counters in this pile then add one - how many are there?", "circle the picture with four elephants and the picture with three tigers - how many animals are there?" and "what is 2 + 5?" could all appear in the same lesson.

So ye olde medieval personne could be incredibly adept at stage one, and adequately good at stage two, and stage three wouldn't even be on their radar. So they could work out how much wheat seed they need to sow their three acre field and how much money they'd be likely to make at harvest (Laura Ingalls Wilder and her Pa do this in the books) and still totally fail at a six year old's maths homework.

The skills society requires (both essential skills for everyone and the balance of other skills vs the balance of population) are massively out of step with the natural variation of human biology right now in a way that I would argue they were not in pre-modern society.

This isn't a solution, just something I think is often missed in the "boys v girls at school" discussion - that it never used to be a problem that girls were better at writing because almost no one needed to learn to write. And physical labour jobs in ye pre-modern olden tymes were available for both sexes. Ploughman vs dairymaid, to take one example. You have to be pretty hench to lift those full churns of milk!

GuitarStv

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #95 on: June 11, 2021, 02:25:58 PM »
Is there any period of time in which men have generally worn their hair longer than women?

That practice goes way back, and seems to be constant across most (even non-western) societies.

The ancient Greeks had plenty of men with long beards and hair (but they were called effeminate if they combed it too much, so it needed to be messy), but women still typically wore their hair longer.

Even Paul's letters in the bible cover the practice:
1 Corinthians 11:14-15 "Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, 15 but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering."

In the 1920s the short bob was very popular for women, but men tended to wear the much shorter 'regular haircut' with a part.

Sikh men aren't allowed to cut their hair as part of the religion, so it gets pretty long . . . but Sikh women follow the same rules so their hair would be equally long.

Chinese, Japanese, Indian . . . I can't think of any cultures or time where men regularly wore hair longer than women.  In some African tribes short/bald hair is very common for women, but men also tend to wear the same hairstyle.

That's really odd.

Laura33

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #96 on: June 11, 2021, 02:41:57 PM »
In fact, toxic masculinity says "I am a man because I am not a woman" rather than "I am a man because I am not a boy". In order for it to be masculinity rather than adulthood we do of course need both, but we do need both, and modern masculinity lacks or distorts the latter and obsesses over the former. It may sometimes use the rhetoric of not being a boy any more, but when you look closer at it, it equates boy with woman - which is ridiculous.

+1.  This seems to go to our current tribalism:  the focus on "masculinity" is fixated on what makes a man "not a woman" instead of "not a boy."  The problem is that there is more variation within people of a specific gender than there is across genders, so when we focus on the "male vs. female" aspect, we get wrapped up in averages and stereotypes and social expectations that value one gender's stereotypical traits more than another.  And that puts us in a place where you really can't come up with a positive version of masculinity, because you'd be saying that X positive trait is or should be exclusively male.

OTOH, if you focus on the difference between children and adults, without paying as much attention to boys vs. girls, it becomes very, very easy to build a positive view of masculinity:  a good man is one who is honest, hard-working, thinks of others' needs/takes care of the people who depend on him, is thoughtful, is good at delayed gratification, etc. etc. etc.  And all of those values are the same things we want from a good woman, they just may be exercised differently (e.g., the stereotypes of the male as the defender and the woman as the nurturer and both just different ways of caring for people who depend on you).

IOW, if you want to build a positive male role model, stop focusing so much on what a man can do that a woman can/shouldn't and start focusing on those skills and abilities that we want a grown adult to have regardless of gender. 

I do, btw, agree that there are biological differences and that these should be taken into consideration in figuring out how our systems should work for both genders.  For ex., I read years ago -- so possibly apocryphal -- that men's and women's hormone levels are closest right when a woman starts her period, because that's when a woman's estrogen levels are lowest and testosterone levels are highest.  If true, that would suggest that being male can in some ways feel like a chronic state of PMS -- and I have certainly found it more difficult to control my temper and impulses during that particular period of time.  So if there is a biological basis in certain behaviors -- good or bad -- it makes no sense to deny their existence and just will things to work the way you want them to.  Rather, men should be taught to understand their hormones and feelings the same way women are taught to manage their PMS (i.e., not inflict your bad temper on the world).  And in the same way, the systems that were built by men/for men and don't work for women should also be revised, like the old-school Socratic method/"look to your left, look to your right, one of you won't be there next semester" way of weeding people out of desired professions.  Luckily, there seems to be some focus now on the latter, but we still have a big, giant sucking sound for the former.  We'd just rather keep pretending that men don't have emotions, or excusing bad behavior because biology.

Personally, I think a lot of the current toxicity comes from our long, slow slide into our current economy.  If you compare to the post-WWII era, many of the old "traditional" male jobs, like manufacturing, are gone, and those that remain tend to require more skills and training.  In addition, the slow lifting of laws and social expectations has allowed women and minorities to compete for some of those jobs that remain.  And then of course the jobs that remain are largely non-unionized and can be outsourced to some other country on zero notice at any time.  The end result is that a man born in say 1985 can see that his life is not as secure as his dad's the generation before -- but at the same time, he can see that the women his age are by and large doing better than his mom did, and there are a lot more minorities around getting those jobs, too.  And since most of us are inherently self-centered and live with a fair degree of blinders on, he may well create a narrative to explain that change that's all about the government discriminating against white men in order to give a leg up to women and minorities.  Whereas in reality it's more that the government took its thumb off the scale -- he now has to compete in a way his dad never had to, because in his dad's day women and minorities were excluded from those opportunities.  It's more people competing for a smaller pie and turning on each other instead of focusing on why the pie is smaller and how can we make it bigger for everyone. 

Finally:  men need to work, need a purpose?  Yeah, so do women.  We all need a purpose in our life, something that gives us meaning.

wenchsenior

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #97 on: June 11, 2021, 06:01:56 PM »
This is such a great discussion; thanks for all the thoughtful postings.

One thing I'm pondering as  I read this: What do we define as 'masculine' and 'feminine' traits/qualities?  Is that even a thing now?  I'm trying to think of some and I'm realizing it's a pretty thin list: most traits I can think of seem equivalently gendered to me, apart from purely physical biological traits like child bearing, hormone-driven  body fat distribution/body hair, etc.  Yet at the same time, I suspect if you'd asked me this question in the early 1990s when I was starting college,  I would have given you a pretty stereotypical gendered list (though honestly I am not sure what the lists would have included).

jeninco

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #98 on: June 11, 2021, 06:44:55 PM »
As usual, @Laura33 nailed it while I was out for a walk thinking about this thread. We should be trying to be good PEOPLE, and to raise good people and be less invested in what traits are male or female. Because, for one thing, there are always going to be people who are "exceptions", but if we try to help kids grow up into good people, we (as a society) can include everyone.

I agree that school should be less "sit in one place and behave nicely"-focused, partly because that model doesn't serve loads of boys, but it also doesn't serve some of the girls. (Shit, I don't sit nicely in one place while I'm working -- our big pandemic improvement to the home office is a pair of adjustable desks, so we can stand, sit, balance on a roller, etc. etc. etc.)

Furthermore, I suspect that any job that can be done more effectively/efficiently by a machine probably should be, and we should have a UBI so people who no longer have those "low skilled" (I hate that, because very few jobs are actually "low skills") jobs can try out other options.

I also want to point out that all this focus on "masculinity" and "femininity" not only excludes vast numbers of hetero-cis-gendered people, it completely fails to take into consideration everyone who's non-binary, or not sure about being binary, or various forms of queer. It's like we're trying to define a tighter and tighter pair of boxes and it feels like lots of younger people are all "meh, I would prefer not to" and just giving it a big skip. And some not-so-younger people: at over 50 I'm almost entirely uninterested in anyone else's interpretation of how I fit into a "feminine" mold.

mathlete

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Re: What’s wrong with men?
« Reply #99 on: June 11, 2021, 07:21:38 PM »
Historically? I don't know. Recently? I have some thoughts there.

But it would be helpful to have role models for non-toxic masculinity.

For now, it's camping, running, lifting weights, bicycling, volunteering, earning money with simple tasks, being a good friend, offering help, showing hospitality.
But I'm hard pressed to find any good role-model actions I take as being the exclusive province of men vs women.

Toque.

Yeah, this is my thought as well. As a society, we've gotten really really good at identifying and discouraging toxic masculinity. But we don't have anything to replace it with yet.

There has been a massive push in society to tell young girls that traditionally male coded roles are available to them. And when women enter these roles, we're really good at applauding for them. Conversely, in media, it's okay to portray a SAHM as the boss of the household in a way that I don't think works for dads. In the US, well-paying, blue collar manufacturing jobs have dried up, meanwhile, the healthcare and caretaker industry is booming. The median RN makes $75K/year and 88% of them are women. Maybe it's time to encourage men to go into nursing. IDK.

Before I say this next part, I should make it clear that I consider myself a feminist, and I do not believe in God: I think women's liberation and secularism have had some secondary consequences that young men today are paying for.

The patriarchy and the church suck and I'm glad they're going away. But they provided easy roles for young men to step into. We gotta replace that with something else. Because if we don't provide it through institutions, young men will find guidance somewhere. And that "somewhere" is 4chan. It's hate-subreddits. It's pick-up artist videos and "alpha male" training courses. It's videos on Youtube with titles like, "Feminist DESTROYED!!!"

In my early 20s, I just laughed at guys that fell into this and dismissed them as losers. Now I'm not so naive. Troubled young men as a demographic cannot bootstrap themselves into healthy masculinity any more than marginalized demographics can bootstrap themselves out of poverty.