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The Lost Art of Masculinity.

Father and son surf lesson in Morro Bay, CA 12 of 12

In the heart of the divorce boom (starting in the ‘60s, peaking in the ‘70s) a generation of women ended up parenting (mostly) solo, and a generation of boys ended up being raised (mostly) without a positive father figure, if they had one at all.

Maybe it was partially a reaction to “women’s lib” that led men to feel less-than-needed. And maybe it was the grey flannel rebellion, personified by the whining tone of the dissatisfaction of the Playboy Men of the ‘50s, that led women to feel fed up enough to stand up and say, “To hell with this!”

How far back this winding battle for self-actualization as war-of-the-sexes goes is a question that can’t be answered. But irrefutably, while entirely necessary, the attempt towards a leveling of the playing field has resulted in some serious casualties.

In the absence of a paternal figure, an inadvertent, angry, faux matriarchy emerged; one that was bound by the confines of the walls of the home, because outside of the home all the old rules still applied.

But in the home, woman ruled. Boys (and girls) grew up with women, angry women, women who were (righteously) angry at men, as the alpha and omega of their young lives. The mother became the sole ruler of the world that is childhood.

A generation of men really did fuck up. They left, fucked around, used women and dumped them. Fathers bailed, leaving an abscess as often as an absence.

And the absence of men, of good men, of real men, of responsible men, left a nasty taste not only in the mouths of overwhelmed mothers, but of boys raised in a world of righteously angry women.

This group of boys would grow into men. Men who still had a bad taste in their mouths. A bad taste about men. Which is hard to live with; especially if you’re a man.

For these reasons and more, a generation (or three) of sensitive and careful men have had to struggle to reclaim their man-parts. And the women of that same generation have had to cultivate the ability to trust men who, themselves, don’t trust men.

The struggle goes on.

As women have defined and redefined feminism, femininity, the feminine, men have seemingly struggled to keep their heads above water in the shifting tides of what it means to find equality. We’ve all had to learn that equal does not mean the same, that sharing responsibility and control means both men and women can be strong and vulnerable, and that there are things – some perhaps genetic, but most almost certainly social conditioning – that women want, and things that men need to step up to.

Vive la differance!

These desired things have come as a surprise to a generation of women who were raised with slogans like, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle” batted around. But under the stratum of fear and distrust lies a substrata of desire.

A desire to be desired. A desire to be seduced. A desire to be taken care of.  A desire to be matched and met. And, most surprisingly, a desire to be stood up to, while being stood up with and stood up for.

The Lost Art of Strength

Women want strong men. I’m not talking about a man who can bench press their own weight, I’m talking about men who are not afraid to say yes, and not afraid to say no. I’m talking about men who aren’t afraid to take control of the wheel when the boat is drifting off course.

Strength comes in many forms. And the kind of strength a woman is looking for in a man is rarely, if ever, showy or flashy. That sort of display is more often insecurity masquerading as strength. Yet, most women aren’t looking for the “strong, silent type,” either.

There’s a ground between aloof and overbearing. That’s where most women want to see a man standing. Better yet, it’s where she wants to see a man walking toward her from.

Women are tired of men who are scared to be men. They’re tired of playing mommy.

When a woman says, “You decide!”, she’s most likely not trying to trick a guy. She’s requesting that he make the decision at hand. Too often men of generations X and Y (and some late boomers) would rather say, “No honey, it’s okay. You decide.” In many cases this dynamic leads to the woman feeling like she needs to take responsibility for everything, and the man feeling disempowered. So if you’re a man, next time a woman says, “No, really, you decide!” just do it.

Once a guy gets the hang of that, he may even graduate to the level of being able to take the reins without first receiving permission.

That’s the lost art of strength.

The Lost Art of Chivalry

There was a time not long ago that a man opening a door for a woman may have been met with scorn. For most of us, those days are over.

News flash; it’s safe to offer to pay the check. Offer to take her coat for her. Offer to walk her to her car – not to cash in on a kiss, but just to make sure she’s safe. The kiss may just come naturally as an expression of gratitude.

Furthermore, a man shouldn’t feel afraid to protect a woman’s honor. There’s nothing as sexy as a man speaking up to defend a girl’s reputation.

Whether it’s a stranger, a catty bitch at a party, guy friends, or The Mom who’s speaking ill of the object of a man’s desire, he should decide carefully whose side to take. You can bet that the object of admiration will notice when the chivalrous man admiringly corrects someone’s misconceptions about her personality, attributes, or intents. Not only will she notice it, she’ll remember it fondly.

This attitude should not be abandoned once a man is safely ensconced in a relationship. These proper niceties will go a long way in making a woman feel safe, taken care of, adored. And all of these things are likely to lead to a sense of more stability and more freedom of expression and actualization in any relationship.

The gallantry of a fully expressed man is without compare, and that fully expressed masculinity becomes attractive rather than threatening when a woman knows that her man would not only lay his coat over a puddle for her, or raise his voice to defend her, but that he’d put his body in front of hers to protect her.

The Lost Art of Romance

There is no study that can prove whether men or women are more romantic, but I know very few women who feel that their man is too romantic. Besides, for most of us, there’s no such thing as too much of a good thing!

A woman is likely to do a million little things a day to take care of her man. They may be things he doesn’t even notice. She’ll offer subtle romantic gestures like reaching out for his hand when walking side by side. Touching his neck while he drives. Stroking his arm gently while engaged in conversation.

It’s just plain courtesy for a man to offer his lover the same. When he pays attention to her, she notices. If he strokes her, she’s likely to purr.

But it’s the larger gestures that make most women melt; a candle-lit bath drawn for her without request. A massage without the expectation of return. A gift offered for no particular reason. A public display of affection. A surprise romantic celebration of a day that’s special to her.

Needless to say, some of these may be scary to try to pull off. But everyone, male and female alike, wants to be treated like the most important thing on earth every once in a while.

We all want to be someone’s everything. More over, we all want the one who is everything to us to show us that we are everything to them.

Reclaiming Masculinity

There’s more and more being written about the divine masculine and the divine feminine. There’s been plenty written about the wounded woman. There’s little to nothing being written about the wounded man.

It’s time for men to claim their wounds, and in claiming them, start healing themselves into wholeness.  I’m not your mama, but as a friend let me entreat you to take this advice seriously.

Many women are realizing that they want to be with men who are proud to be men. So guys, stand up, hold your head high, own those man-parts, and walk forward into the equal-but-different future of a world beyond the sex and gender wars.

 Sexy If its unladylike, fattening or fun, I'm in!
  

by on Oct. 28, 2013 at 7:59 AM
Replies (11-20):
Kate_Momof3
by Silver Member on Oct. 28, 2013 at 9:05 AM
4 moms liked this

 I agree.

I think that culturally the Western world has been all over the map regarding gender roles and identity. Gay marriage, adoption, cohabitation, children out of wedlock, single parenting, divorce; all of these have radically changed what families look like (and the male role within them) in a few short years. I'm not disparaging any of these (I have three children with two different men and am recently married for the first time), but as with any change that occurs there are always negatives.

We need to discuss those negatives without becoming defensive or myopic and try  and find solutions.

I think that women have come a long way, and that's fantastic, but this habit of marginalizing men because it has become socially acceptable to do so isn't fair to the boys who were not a part of the problem. They're our future.

Quoting Themis_Defleo:

I had a different take on it.  I believe the author of the piece to be saying that men are being negatively affected by women who hate men - who spew about their "sperm donors" and jump from relationship to relationship with assholes who become more fuel for the angry woman's fire.  I don't view that as strength.  That's not to say that there aren't a hell of a lot of strong single moms who are able to put their anger aside and be good role models for their sons.  Single =/= strong.

 

Quoting stacymomof2:

I disagree with this. I skimmed to be fair but doesn't this say men are being negatively affected by strong women? That's bs


 

lizzielouaf
by Gold Member on Oct. 28, 2013 at 9:08 AM
I think this is one of those pendulum swing kind of things. For centuries a woman's role has been often seen as less than and women started taking on less "traditional" roles and men are having to adjust their traditional thinking.
Growing up my father was a strong presence and none of us kids wanted to get the "wait till your father gets home" speech. However, when it came to my parent's marriage, my dad's motto was "happy wife, happy life".


Quoting Themis_Defleo:

I had a different take on it.  I believe the author of the piece to be saying that men are being negatively affected by women who hate men - who spew about their "sperm donors" and jump from relationship to relationship with assholes who become more fuel for the angry woman's fire.  I don't view that as strength.  That's not to say that there aren't a hell of a lot of strong single moms who are able to put their anger aside and be good role models for their sons.  Single =/= strong.


Quoting stacymomof2:

I disagree with this. I skimmed to be fair but doesn't this say men are being negatively affected by strong women? That's bs



lilangilyn
by Member on Oct. 28, 2013 at 9:17 AM
1 mom liked this

I think the article is simplistic. Stroke her and she'll purr? Ugh on that one.

I believe that the type of woman in this article sounds like someone with a personality disorder. Someone who is a blamer, a shamer, and possibly an abuser. It's probably why dad left in the first place.

The world is still on a growth curve when it comes to women's rights and our past and present oppression by men. Sometimes for something to be truly balanced, it has to go overboard at first and this overboard process is what may be happening currently.

I do agree with the part that angry women could be raising dysfunctional sons. I have seen it in my stepson who is now 19. He is more like a 14 yr old and just already a bitter person.

stacymomof2
by Ruby Member on Oct. 28, 2013 at 9:19 AM
3 moms liked this
I tbink this article is putting the onus on women to curb their ideals so a man can "be a man." Why is women taking a stand seeen as detrimental to men? It isn't a zero sum game.
I balked at the characterizations of both men and women in this article. A woman " purrs" and just wants het man to draw her a bath? A man is confused if a woman makes the call on something? I'm not going for it.
Most men are perfectly capable of not losing their mind if a woman stands up for herself.


Quoting Themis_Defleo:

I had a different take on it.  I believe the author of the piece to be saying that men are being negatively affected by women who hate men - who spew about their "sperm donors" and jump from relationship to relationship with assholes who become more fuel for the angry woman's fire.  I don't view that as strength.  That's not to say that there aren't a hell of a lot of strong single moms who are able to put their anger aside and be good role models for their sons.  Single =/= strong.


Quoting stacymomof2:

I disagree with this. I skimmed to be fair but doesn't this say men are being negatively affected by strong women? That's bs


GLWerth
by Gina on Oct. 28, 2013 at 9:21 AM
2 moms liked this

The article makes excuses.

Oh, poor men, they've been so damaged by their moms that they cannot behave like men.

Nope, sorry, not buying.

Put on your big boy pants and do what needs to be done.

Themis_Defleo
by Bronze Member on Oct. 28, 2013 at 9:33 AM
1 mom liked this

You and I are either coming from very different places or reading a different article entirely!

I'm not seeing any suggestion that a woman curb her ideas - rather, I'm seeing the author suggest that men are afraid to make the decisions - that they are afraid that no matter what, their answer will be wrong.  I get where the author is from.  My husband won't even tell me what he wants for dinner.  He won't choose a restaurant, a movie, or a necktie.  His father was a cad who cheated on his mom repeatedly and he watched that play out.  Did that play a role in who he is?  I'm really not sure.

I'll agree that the "purring" thing is kind of stupid, but when I talk to women who are considering divorce, one of the recurrent themes is that she doesn't feel cared for.  She doesn't feel that she is "getting" on the same level that she is "giving."  (Of course, the men feel the same way....)

I think that most men *do* like it when a woman tells him what she wants.  I know I'm not alone in wishing that my man would tell me what he wants, too.

Quoting stacymomof2:

I tbink this article is putting the onus on women to curb their ideals so a man can "be a man." Why is women taking a stand seeen as detrimental to men? It isn't a zero sum game.
I balked at the characterizations of both men and women in this article. A woman " purrs" and just wants het man to draw her a bath? A man is confused if a woman makes the call on something? I'm not going for it.
Most men are perfectly capable of not losing their mind if a woman stands up for herself.


Quoting Themis_Defleo:

I had a different take on it.  I believe the author of the piece to be saying that men are being negatively affected by women who hate men - who spew about their "sperm donors" and jump from relationship to relationship with assholes who become more fuel for the angry woman's fire.  I don't view that as strength.  That's not to say that there aren't a hell of a lot of strong single moms who are able to put their anger aside and be good role models for their sons.  Single =/= strong.


Quoting stacymomof2:

I disagree with this. I skimmed to be fair but doesn't this say men are being negatively affected by strong women? That's bs



stacymomof2
by Ruby Member on Oct. 28, 2013 at 9:55 AM
1 mom liked this
I guess I just disagree that so many men are struggling with this. It could be your husband just prefers to have your input or just has different priorities and so is happy to let you make the call on things. But as a rule the men I know and work with have no trouble asserting themselves as a decision maker, as a matter of fact many times they overstep.
And if the men actually are struggling with this how is it women's fault?
I disagree that it's either/or.


Quoting Themis_Defleo:

You and I are either coming from very different places or reading a different article entirely!

I'm not seeing any suggestion that a woman curb her ideas - rather, I'm seeing the author suggest that men are afraid to make the decisions - that they are afraid that no matter what, their answer will be wrong.  I get where the author is from.  My husband won't even tell me what he wants for dinner.  He won't choose a restaurant, a movie, or a necktie.  His father was a cad who cheated on his mom repeatedly and he watched that play out.  Did that play a role in who he is?  I'm really not sure.

I'll agree that the "purring" thing is kind of stupid, but when I talk to women who are considering divorce, one of the recurrent themes is that she doesn't feel cared for.  She doesn't feel that she is "getting" on the same level that she is "giving."  (Of course, the men feel the same way....)

I think that most men *do* like it when a woman tells him what she wants.  I know I'm not alone in wishing that my man would tell me what he wants, too.

Quoting stacymomof2:

I tbink this article is putting the onus on women to curb their ideals so a man can "be a man." Why is women taking a stand seeen as detrimental to men? It isn't a zero sum game.

I balked at the characterizations of both men and women in this article. A woman " purrs" and just wants het man to draw her a bath? A man is confused if a woman makes the call on something? I'm not going for it.

Most men are perfectly capable of not losing their mind if a woman stands up for herself.




Quoting Themis_Defleo:

I had a different take on it.  I believe the author of the piece to be saying that men are being negatively affected by women who hate men - who spew about their "sperm donors" and jump from relationship to relationship with assholes who become more fuel for the angry woman's fire.  I don't view that as strength.  That's not to say that there aren't a hell of a lot of strong single moms who are able to put their anger aside and be good role models for their sons.  Single =/= strong.


Quoting stacymomof2:

I disagree with this. I skimmed to be fair but doesn't this say men are being negatively affected by strong women? That's bs



mehamil1
by Platinum Member on Oct. 28, 2013 at 9:57 AM
4 moms liked this

What is masculinity?

Why are those traits considered masculine? Why are those traits found here in this nation not found in other nations? 

Who benefits from those narrow definitions? Who loses? 

When I read articles like this, it leans heavy on cultural values without questioning why those are cultural values in the first place. It doesn't question where it came from, how it evolved and changed over time. How it affects people in positive and negative ways at the micro and macro levels of our society. 

All I see with articles like this are people bitching about lost privilege. Oh, you have to deal with a woman who won't put up with bullshit? You poor thing. Oh, women are no longer shackled to miserable marriages out of economic need? You poor thing. Oh, as a society, we have a (sort of) large safety net so that women do not have to stay in relationships (and some men) that are not functional or healthy or meaningful or rewarding? 

The shame and stigma of being single and female isn't what it once was. This is a good thing. The shame and stigma of being a single parent (mom or dad) is not what it once was. that is also a good thing. There's still a shit ton of dysfunction going on but I do believe the women's movement had a positive impact on our culture. One being that women are not so economically dependent on men. 

AlekD
by Gold Member on Oct. 28, 2013 at 10:01 AM
1 mom liked this

I fully agree with the article.

Themis_Defleo
by Bronze Member on Oct. 28, 2013 at 10:03 AM
1 mom liked this

 I like assertive men who are not domineering.  I think that's a difficult balance to find.

Quoting stacymomof2:

I guess I just disagree that so many men are struggling with this. It could be your husband just prefers to have your input or just has different priorities and so is happy to let you make the call on things. But as a rule the men I know and work with have no trouble asserting themselves as a decision maker, as a matter of fact many times they overstep.
And if the men actually are struggling with this how is it women's fault?
I disagree that it's either/or.


Quoting Themis_Defleo:

You and I are either coming from very different places or reading a different article entirely!

I'm not seeing any suggestion that a woman curb her ideas - rather, I'm seeing the author suggest that men are afraid to make the decisions - that they are afraid that no matter what, their answer will be wrong.  I get where the author is from.  My husband won't even tell me what he wants for dinner.  He won't choose a restaurant, a movie, or a necktie.  His father was a cad who cheated on his mom repeatedly and he watched that play out.  Did that play a role in who he is?  I'm really not sure.

I'll agree that the "purring" thing is kind of stupid, but when I talk to women who are considering divorce, one of the recurrent themes is that she doesn't feel cared for.  She doesn't feel that she is "getting" on the same level that she is "giving."  (Of course, the men feel the same way....)

I think that most men *do* like it when a woman tells him what she wants.  I know I'm not alone in wishing that my man would tell me what he wants, too.

Quoting stacymomof2:

I tbink this article is putting the onus on women to curb their ideals so a man can "be a man." Why is women taking a stand seeen as detrimental to men? It isn't a zero sum game.

I balked at the characterizations of both men and women in this article. A woman " purrs" and just wants het man to draw her a bath? A man is confused if a woman makes the call on something? I'm not going for it.

Most men are perfectly capable of not losing their mind if a woman stands up for herself.




Quoting Themis_Defleo:

I had a different take on it.  I believe the author of the piece to be saying that men are being negatively affected by women who hate men - who spew about their "sperm donors" and jump from relationship to relationship with assholes who become more fuel for the angry woman's fire.  I don't view that as strength.  That's not to say that there aren't a hell of a lot of strong single moms who are able to put their anger aside and be good role models for their sons.  Single =/= strong.


Quoting stacymomof2:

I disagree with this. I skimmed to be fair but doesn't this say men are being negatively affected by strong women? That's bs




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