Posted by: Millard J. Melnyk | August 21, 2013

Manliness

OK, the pendulum has swung way over to the… left? Right? Which side is femininity on, anyway? Far to the feminine in some respects, at least.

In other respects, the pendulum has a helluvalong way yet to go. So, a decoupling needs to happen. Actually, more than one.

Divorce machismo from manliness! The first is bullshit and the other is neurochemical. Yes, yes, much maleness results from socialization, and some of that is bullshit, too–but not all, and I’m referring to the “not all” parts. Some aspects of manliness are natural, healthy and–-especially when they’re beneficial and attractive — even women like them.

Men and women share much or most of their neurochemistry in common, but their neurochemical differences are largely responsible for precisely what they love — and hate — about each other. For that matter, we love and hate the socialized differences, too. Ignoring differences doesn’t solve problems. Denial solves nothing. Real problem resolution isn’t about erasing differences, but rather celebrating, honoring, and appreciating them; and learning to let them play together instead of obliterate each other.

In my sincere intent to avoid conflict, promote peace, and be sensitive to the shit treatment endured by women for millennia, I let something — my manliness — fall to the wayside. This didn’t honor women, me, or my gender regardless how we claim gender might be conceived or constituted. Frankly, only part of my manliness fell aside, since much of its fall was denial on my part. I’m very much a man, and I’ve always loved being male, so I could only keep some of it in the closet. But now I’ve come out.

Divorce domineering from assertiveness! The first is bullshit inadequacy compensation and the latter is wildly productive. Show me successful people who aren’t assertive, and I’ll show you people whose backers assert for them. The problem with assertiveness is not failure to get things done, but collateral damage: pissing people off and hurting them, often more so as more gets accomplished, ironically.

Assertive people have a couple of options to deal with this fallout. One is: be sensitive, accept feedback, adjust — AKA be vulnerable — and so, improve things. Those who can’t manage vulnerability tend to remedy the situation by silencing the complaint. Voila! Repression and domineering eruct, inciting rebel twins of resentment and resistance, along with noses pinched against the stench. And the rest is history… 99.9% of human history, in fact.

Feminists who deny males the right to assert themselves are hypocrites, because feminism launched and survived by nothing other than women (to begin with) asserting their rights. And no one — male, female, feminist, masculist — complains when they benefit from assertiveness, whether their own or someone else’s. Manliness and assertiveness are not the problems — their odious, degenerate twins are.

Whether sported by male or female, machismo and domineering are intolerable and have to go. They aren’t gender issues, but stronger-exploiting-weaker issues. Sex, money, seniority, title, physical strength — the means of violation can vary, but all invariably end in indignity, offense, and injury. Power is neither pleasing nor becoming when flaunted, regardless by whom. No demand is tolerable when it ends in “or else.” The twisted irony is: both are ameliorative. Truly powerful people protect. Flaunting power only betrays the insecure and inferior. Truly assertive people don’t rely on threats. They don’t need threats, because fact and inevitability already back them up.

Only weaklings and cowards resort to violation and abuse. Machismo and domineering aren’t proofs of strength and competence, but desperate denials of depravity by the destitute.

Real men and real women assert vulnerably; and both appreciate genuine manliness.

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