I believe that 21st century cultural expectations for men (qua the masculine ideal) are unrealistic and undesirable. CMV! (self.changemyview)

{changemyview}

14 ups - 6 downs = 8 votes

I perceive a strange tension between myself (27-year-old man), my friends, and society. I have seen the extreme masculine in its most beautiful and terrifying forms. I believe that society asks men to anesthetize themselves. And male safe-spaces (for lack of a better term)- aka places where men celebrate masculinity- are relegated to weird corners of society. The last bastion of masculinity may literally be the locker room.

As a amateur philosopher (10 years going strong), I have read quite a lot of feminism, and I understand where academic feminism stands on the issue (from their various viewpoints ofc). As an amateur philosopher (and probably a biased observer) I am unimpressed by their arguments- which literally never start from a universal premise- and literally always end in an emotional appeal.

WHAT ISSUES DO I PERCEIVE WITH 21st CENTURY MASCULINITY?

They are mostly subtle. For example, I find myself being unable to say a broad range of things in public. I usually cannot congratulate a man on bedding a beautiful woman if I am in a public space for fear of offending someone perceived misogyny.

My gf recently blew up at me for feeling good for the man and not also mentioning the women in this situation. My reply to her was this: "aren't I allowed to put my arm around a guy's shoulder and congratulate him for putting a notch on his belt?" This comment didn't work for her at all.

These instances are also historical. I find myself longing to have lived in 19th century Prussia, ancient Greece, Rome, or Crete. In each of these the masculine was celebrated (in addition to the feminine).

I wish everyone knew how good it feels to participate in a good clean fist fight. I wish everyone knew how good it feels to get a sack in a state championship game; or how men have a particular way of shaking hands with each other.

WHY AM I BRINGING THIS ISSUE HERE?

I would prefer to believe that all the beta-men that I see around me are not being cheated out of something valuable by a bullshit-pc culture. I see weakness and fattness in men, I shake limp wrists too often, and I hear all the time that men my age prefer not to practice their more violent virtues (or potentialities).

CMV

25 comments submitted at 16:34:47 on Feb 9, 2014 by doughd

  • [-]
  • maxpenny42
  • 1 Points
  • 17:01:35, 9 February

You don't seem to be describing masculinity to me. If I'm being honest you're describing douche bag. But I will try to hold off my judgements and be polite. You're describing aggressive, traditional western masculinity. And that's fine. If you like getting into fist fights and bragging about banging every where you go that's your choice. So long, of course, that you aren't being violent or verbally abusive to anyone who doesn't share in your appreciation.

I'm a dude. I don't think I am less masculine or less of a man because i strive to be a pacifist. Or because I'd rather have a relationship with one person than check off a meaningless number of people to have banged. Fuck, sex is better the second time and first time sex with someone is the pits.

Real men are secure in themselves. They are empathetic to other peoples feelings and perspectives and can sacrifice their own immediate pleasures for the well being of those around them that they dare about. Masculinity doesn't have a single particular look. Just because the people around you are more comfortable with a different style doesn't mean that they are staving off masculinity nor that you are barred from practicing yours. Find people who share your interests and ideals. They are all over the place, I see them everywhere. If your girlfriend or friends are trying to change you fuck em. If everyone you ever meet makes you feel low for being you maybe you aren't acting masculine but just being an asshole. I don't know you well enough to know if you just have the wrong group of friends or are truly a jerk. I'd hope the former.

  • [-]
  • doughd
  • 1 Points
  • 17:07:41, 9 February

I think your last line contains a false dichotomy. I have only close lifelong friends, and I am not a jerk.

And your whole post reveals to me that I did a bad job explaining my issue. My issue is that there is no clear ideal (or an anesthetized ideal) in 21st century America, as there was in Prussia, Rome, and Crete, et al.

Jerks are those people with ugly and untempered testosterone driven choices. The things I described (poorly, apparently) are a more beautiful, tempered, testosterone driven choice. Try to accept my initial premises if you can.

  • [-]
  • maxpenny42
  • 1 Points
  • 17:20:35, 9 February

I guess I don't see how enjoying a fist fight is not intemperate testosterone. As for the lack of an ideal that is a good thing. There is no one way to be a man. We can be men without becoming a stereotype. If your interests do not fit those of your friends I'm not sure what to tell you. Maybe I'm still not understanding what exactly it is you want.

  • [-]
  • doughd
  • 1 Points
  • 17:23:44, 9 February

I think not knowing what I want is the problem.

Also "enjoying a good clean fist fight" is the definition of temperate testosterone. It is managing the passion to keep it clean and safe, while celebrating the very essence of our capable bodies through a challenging (and I would say loving and excellent) demonstration.

  • [-]
  • forever_erratic
  • 1 Points
  • 17:42:48, 9 February

So what is the purpose of the physical aggression? Is it to determine the winner from a non-physical disagreement? If yes, to me, that is silly, because fists have never made convincing arguments except in the short term.

If you are just talking about boxing for fun, then ok, but I don't think most people object to that.

  • [-]
  • doughd
  • 1 Points
  • 17:45:46, 9 February

People who played football have been punched literally hundreds of times. Ask them why they like it.

If you want me to answer; the best I can do is tell you that it feels good to chew on a fat lip.

  • [-]
  • maxpenny42
  • 1 Points
  • 17:31:18, 9 February

Ok but it still seems brutal and pointless to me. No matter how you word it you are inflicting pain on another individual. Apparently for the sport of it. Sounds awful to me. But if you and the other guy are enjoying yourself so much the better. Why should I be subject to that as some ideal I'm falling short of? Why can't we just have different tastes. What, again, exactly do you want in terms of an ideal and why

  • [-]
  • doughd
  • 1 Points
  • 17:41:45, 9 February

I want brotherly love, because brotherly love is unique and valuable.

  • [-]
  • maxpenny42
  • 1 Points
  • 17:58:26, 9 February

What the fuck does this even mean.

  • [-]
  • doughd
  • 1 Points
  • 17:20:19, 9 February

While I appreciate your objection to my characterization, I am sure that my "ideal men" would have these selfsame characteristics that you describe. I am afraid that we already agree on literally everything; and you have cmv on nothing in particular.

  • [-]
  • doctorralph
  • 1 Points
  • 17:31:38, 9 February

Ha, so a strong handshake, fist fight, lay, and some bullshit high school glory is all it takes to be the ideal masculine form?

Who gives a shit, honestly? What is the value in some idealized masculine form? Is society actually suppressing that ideal? I honestly don't see why anyone should give a shit.

And maybe that's your point. Do you feel your "glories" are no longer respected? No one is praising you for your state championship sack? Maybe the ideal isn't fading; maybe you're just realizing no one gives a shit about this stuff.

This comes from someone who checks off all your criteria, even a state championship. And someone who's never given two thoughts about who is an alpha or beta male, or what it takes to be masculine. Why should anyone care about such trivial "achievements"? Go on about your life and maybe try not to be an asshole. That's all I've really got for you.

  • [-]
  • doughd
  • 1 Points
  • 17:40:22, 9 February

No I think you hit the nail on the head. I think I do go through life in this way, and I find myself wishing that men behaved according to a romantic ideal.

My guess is that my history with Christianity has something to do with my opinion. I probably believe that there is a perfect version of a man, and that all men should strive for this ideal.

I suppose I feel jealous that women seem to commiserate with each-other easily, and they sort of radiate femininity as they change their behavior around their karass. Men do this too, but it usually feels strange and buffoonish.

I suppose I do not want validation from my past achievements so much as I want to participate in a virtue in the future. As we both agree, this virtue is non-existent.

I like your post in particular. Well done.

  • [-]
  • forever_erratic
  • 1 Points
  • 17:52:14, 9 February

I think this is the best argument so far. OP is defining masculinity as traits that are frankly not important for society. True leaders do not spend much time thinking about those actions, they spend their time thinking about (and doing) things that matter, like how to better themselves, how to help those around them, etc.

I would argue that a classic view of a "man" and masculinity puts the leadership qualities first, far ahead of the actions you mention.

  • [-]
  • Grunt08
  • 1 Points
  • 17:17:12, 9 February

NFL. NBA. NHL. MLB. MMA. A cultural tendency to venerate the military. Hell, 50 Shades of Grey and True Blood are pretty strong examples of women venerating traditional (albeit over the top) masculinity.

The alpha/beta dichotomy is bullshit. I've done quite a few manly things in my life, but I also avoid saying or doing things that offend people irrespective of whether or not I intend to offend them. That's because I'm courteous (which is also a component of masculinity), not because I'm afraid. So in your situation I would've thought to myself "hey, if I say this in front of my girlfriend it will upset her. Upsetting her is something I don't want to do unless it's necessary. So I'll exercise a modicum of self-control and not say that."

  • [-]
  • doughd
  • 1 Points
  • 17:47:02, 9 February

No thanks for this. I think I failed to make a good post. I wanted to describe over-pc culture; but what I described was an idiot mischaracterizing a societal problem for his own.

  • [-]
  • kabbotta
  • 1 Points
  • 17:55:21, 9 February

As a guy who was raised by a bit of an alpha and has never had any real problems with confidence, I think the disappearance of exactly the personality you're describing is one of the best changes our culture has undergone in a long time. It's decline is a very good thing.

I think if you try and list the qualities you desire to see more of you'll find the list has two types of items. There will be potentially positive things that can generally apply to any person, male or female, and then there will be primal reptilian instincts that are generally masculine in characteristic and have been holding us back for thousands of years.

Like the notches on the bed post desire. Shall we call it the Spartan desire? I have to admit, even from a young age, I saw this as the height of insecurity. How boring does your life have to be to get into the business of tallying up your baseline carnal accomplishments? You have the whole universe of possibilities available to you and that's how you're going to waste it? It's almost as worthless as being proud/ashamed of your bodily functions. The primal masculine brought us this useless pride and the primal feminine brought us the corresponding shame. I say we're better off without both.

>I would prefer to believe that all the beta-men that I see around me are not being cheated out of something valuable by a bullshit-pc culture. I see weakness and fattness in men, I shake limp wrists too often, and I hear all the time that men my age prefer not to practice their more violent virtues (or potentialities).

I used to think along these lines when I was very young. But the more you learn, the more you realize this has consequences. Consequences that affect you even if you're entirely selfish in your motivations. Confidence reigns under a simple worldview. That is why it feels so good. That's why people are religious fundamentalists or radical feminists. It gives them an easy mold to fill, and that is comforting. Like going home again. A primal view of masculinity does the same thing. It is a drug. Like all drugs, it shouldn't be banned, because that will just make the problem worse. But it does need to be strictly controlled, otherwise it will continue to eat away at our progress.

  • [-]
  • Futhis
  • 1 Points
  • 17:28:14, 9 February

Confirmation bias. You see weak men around you everywhere because maybe you work in a field that's populated by weak men, or live in a liberal region that's scared of masculinity and thus is also populated by weak men. Or maybe you did have a justifiable bitterness towards society but that got warped to the point where now you look for an excuse to see weakness in every man you talk to.

I'm not saying those things are all true, but at least one of them is likely. Ask yourself.

Honestly there are still a lot of places in the world, in fact a majority of the world, where being a manly man is seen as a good thing. Why do you think the American media has a crush on Putin even if they disagree with his politics? Because they admire his manliness. He's not afraid to show off his abs and his smoking hot girlfriend 30 years younger than him. He's not afraid to [whistle and wink at a naked feminist who was interrupting his conference - look at :01 - :04 seconds] (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cC7NIcWiCYc). He's not afraid to be macho.

There are a lot of people the media look up to like this. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Vin Diesel. Football stars. The list goes on.

I understand your frustration and I agree that feminism, while well-meaning, has radically altered the social landscape in an unhealthy way for men as well as women. But I think you are not looking at the situation objectively, because it's more complex than you think. American society is pretty bipolar like that. There are still good male role models.

  • [-]
  • doughd
  • 1 Points
  • 17:44:09, 9 February

Well put. You are right all around. I might do well to move away from the northeast; where you basically have to play lacrosse or hockey to find any excellence or chewing tobacco anywhere.

Thanks for the affirmation.

  • [-]
  • doughd
  • 1 Points
  • 17:56:11, 9 February

&#8710

  • [-]
  • premeddit
  • 1 Points
  • 17:46:45, 9 February

Give him a delta if you agree with him.

  • [-]
  • DistortionMage
  • 1 Points
  • 17:17:15, 9 February

I am a 29 year old male amateur philosopher, and I think masculine ideals are mostly bullshit. And that's coming from a guy who lifts weights, occasionally does kickboxing, and drinks beer and whisky. You say you're afraid to say certain things in public, for fear of being labelled a misogynist. Well if you're really masculine, you wouldn't be afraid of offending a few people, would you? Ya pussy. This is the logic of "masculinity" - put on this false front of being a "tough guy" and constantly put down other people to prop up this fake image of toughness. Masculinity does not represent liberation from feminine shackles - it is its own prison. Where men are afraid to express their emotions, bottle it up, and take it out on each other and on women. And any man that tries to express something "feminine" is attacked and ostracized.

Men don't have exclusive rights to attaining power and feeling powerful. We're all part of the human race, and we all struggle to cope with life and get the things we want. Femininity is also bullshit, by the way. Women are held back by the idea that power is the exclusive domain of men - they then become dependent and subservient to men (which I suppose is what "masculine" guys really want).

We need to transcend the false dichotomy of masculine and feminine. Strength is a virtue regardless of your sex, and it comes in many forms. But there are other virtues as well. It is important to share and express your emotions, and its perfectly okay for men to do a lot of things traditionally considered "weak" or "feminine" according to the bullshit masculine ideal. Both men and women have been held back for far too long by this crap. Just be your best self, and don't buy into society's ideals.

  • [-]
  • doughd
  • 1 Points
  • 17:32:30, 9 February

From a phenomenological perspective, I agree with literally everything that you said.

But if Plato was not completely wrong in The Republic, men and women are different in their relation to their essences. I know I know women are guardians too. But try to remove yourself from the particulars for a minute...are we not different? Do the genders not have private experiences exclusive to that gender? Don't women have a special bond with their newborn babies in childbirth? Shouldn't this special bond be celebrated qua mother and child?

And what of the brothers at Thermopylae? Should they not have died laughing and loving one another, knowing that they achieved exactly what they hoped and dreamed to achieve? Is not "brotherly love" a privately male experience that should be celebrated qua brother and brother?

Look, I get the postmodern phenomenological argument that we are essentially the same, except for unimportant (and perhaps purely historical) particular examples that may well beg the question. That said, the things I describe in my post are observable phenomenon, and they are phenomenon that smelled (as it were) of exclusive masculinity.

Fuck me if I am wrong, and I am just a buffoon.

  • [-]
  • simplyswole
  • 1 Points
  • 17:01:36, 9 February

People do know how it feels to celebrate due to your masculinity or (femininity). The problem is they know too well, which is why a lot of alpha males are assholes and don't give the rest a chance to feel that level of admiration.

As far as being realistic, I think the 21st century man hasn't quite evolved to understand his surroundings. It's desirable because we haven't evolved to know better.

  • [-]
  • doughd
  • 1 Points
  • 17:10:18, 9 February

"Simplyswole"

Perhaps you are right. At the risk of supporting a misogynist in my reply, your argument reflects that of Colin McGinn; and I like it. Maybe in the future the imbalance will equalize.

I'll see you around the squat rack.

  • [-]
  • simplyswole
  • 1 Points
  • 17:31:52, 9 February

I doubt the imbalance will equalize because why would you give up your status (of being widely admired) for no status at all?

Stay swole my friend.