Masculinity is something as a male that you have to deal with on a daily basis; Its part of life. Some people thrive on it, others find it stifling. I fall into the latter category. Looking back It is clear to me now that I have actively made it the case never to have close friends who are overly masculine, I just can’t stand it. That said I do work in office with ten other guys, they’re not a macho macho bunch, but you have to know how to behave in such an environment to get along, because like it or not that element is going to exist. I feel like I do quite well, but it can feel like an act at times. The worse case for me used to be when I (very rarely I must say) hung out with my cousins back home, for me this was the worse case scenario; I felt like I had to wear a different personality all together; otherwise I’d be flat out rejected and ridiculed. Now I do my own thing and say ‘meh’ to the consequences.
Just to be clear on the definition of masculinity, it is commonly described as a collection of the following qualities (taken directly from Wikipedia): an avoidance of femininity; restricted emotions; sex disconnected from intimacy; pursuit of achievement and status; self-reliance; strength; and aggression; and even in some cases homophobia.
I’m not sure how masculine I appear to others, but not many of those qualities above seem that appealing to me, they seem a trifle outdated, I do believe some sections of society still find them appealing though.
I’ve always been tall, but never imposing… I’m a bit weedy if I’m being absolutely honest. The only time I’m ever aggressive is when I’m playing sport; I would never try to hurt anyone though (and I never have intentionally injured anyone). As for homophobia, that is obviously a painfully outdated way to view the world. I do believe I’m self reliant and I do actively look to improve my status, but I don’t think that is a quality that is (or should be) solely geared towards men.
When it comes to women, I don’t think I’ve ever pursued a woman solely for sex. However you always get fed the same old same old from other ‘blokes’. ‘Treat em mean, keep em keen’ and various other nonsense, I find that hard to stomach and it’s never sat right with me personally. There has to be some sort of intimacy involved otherwise I’m genuinely not interested. This whole culture of pick-up artists (for want of a better term) is something I’ve actively avoided. Negative compliments and other ‘techniques’, it just seems terribly degrading towards women and men. The really annoying thing is this stuff seems to work for them, the question is are they the kind of women I want to be avoiding anyway though? Fuck it, without being wishy washy, I believe the good guys will win in the end, if not then I’m buggered!
Why am I writing about it all this then? I don’t think masculinity is as pivotal as it once was or once was for me, but when I was younger I had real issues with it, to the point where I would get really upset and worked up about it. On TV, and my male influences all around me were strong masculine characters, I on the other hand sang in a choir, was in the scouts and played tuba in a brass band; I was hardly Rocky Balboa! I had no time for football, cricket or any sports, I was fully booked out. I felt a huge deficit in masculinity and was super worried about how my dad, in particular perceived me; I really worked myself up over it all.
All of this said though one of my defining personality traits is that I’ve always believed in getting it all out in the open (that is why I blog!), so in the end I had a mega chat with him about it all and afterwards I honestly felt a ton better. Just talking about something doesn’t necessarily change anything, but it feels great; he told me that he didn’t feel that I was less masculine at all, and that he was actually proud that I was doing my own thing; and on top of that he was proud that I didn’t seem to care about what other people thought about me (although I obviously did, we all do at that age, I just did’nt show it). I don’t think my poor dad is a natural ‘sharer’, but he obviously has no choice were I’m involved!
I like to think the age of masculinity is nearly over. Gender bias, especially towards kids growing up should be avoided at all costs. Allow them to cultivate their personalities and decide what they’re interested in and what they ultimately want to do with their lives!
Here is a little song from Steely Dan that has been eroding my brain for the last few days, it is a TUNE:
Featured image from: http://www.hellomaltatours.com/popeye-village