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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 (21-30):
lga1965
by on Oct. 28, 2013 at 10:03 AM
1 mom liked this
I agree .
I'm not getting thus woman's blog. It's simplistic and not accurate. She doesn't seem to understand the concept of masculinity and blames women for men not behaving the way she thinks masculine men should behave.


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



Posted on CafeMom Mobile
GLWerth
by Gina on Oct. 28, 2013 at 10:10 AM
2 moms liked this

Masculinity is different things to different people.

My DH doesn't like sports. He's not interested in feeling "macho", but it doesn't make him less masculine.

And yet, I've seen other dads who freak out if their boys aren't good at or interested in sports, as if that is the sole indicator of being a 'man'.

Just one aspect, but it gives the idea.


Quoting lga1965:

I agree .
I'm not getting thus woman's blog. It's simplistic and not accurate. She doesn't seem to understand the concept of masculinity and blames women for men not behaving the way she thinks masculine men should behave.


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




 

krysstizzle
by on Oct. 28, 2013 at 10:13 AM
3 moms liked this

I mostly disagree, just because the premise of the entire article rests on the fact that men lack masculinity because of children raised by mothers with an absent father. Firstly, no. Masculinity is defined by culture. It's silly to presume that "masculinity" as defined in the states is some sort of universal male trait. It's not. 

Secondly, forgetting the whole "masculinity" thing, there have been many successfull societies where children were raised with no biological father present. Women are dominant in matriarichal societies with the closest male relative often being the brother, etc. 

And thirdly, why does the author assume that boys have no male role models just because a father isn't in the home? I've yet to meet a single mother that doesn't surround her kids with anyone but herself. 

The whole concept is just silly. The only logical part is still slightly ridiculous. Everyone should be strong and confident. Dealing with self-conscious, incapable people is frustrating, woman OR man. 

Euphoric
by Bazinga! on Oct. 28, 2013 at 10:21 AM

 Mostly disagree.

ReadWriteLuv
by Silver Member on Oct. 28, 2013 at 10:23 AM
4 moms liked this

I often wonder Liz, especially when I'm reading threads in L&M, if part of the reason that so many women have husbands that expect them to "do it all", as in take care of the home, kids, and bring in income, is because they grew up with single Mom's who had no choice but to "do it all", kwim? It's how they grew up, it's what they know. Their Mom was able to do it all, they expect their wives to do the same. 

Quoting lizzielouaf:

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




punky3175
by on Oct. 28, 2013 at 10:33 AM
1 mom liked this
I think that's a good point. Using my ex-husband as an example, he grew up with both parents. His dad was in the Navy and I really don't know how often his dad was gone. We never really discussed it. Now he's (my ex) almost 39 and seems to need someone to take care of him. He's now married to a woman who has no kids so she can do that. When we were married, the kids were barely in elementary school and I didn't has time or patience to take care of 3 kids when I gave birth to two.

For me, I watched my mom spend the first 7 years of my life as a single mom. She had men in and out and when she went to Germany and Korea, I stayed with my grandmother. So I had no real male role model until I was 7. I watched her stay in a miserable marriage for 15 years in order to support me. When my own marriage was failing, I knew I wouldn't set the same example for my kids.

I'm hoping my son and daughter are learning how to be good partners regardless of what the expectations are. I want them to be true to themselves. And I'm hoping my current relationship demonstrates that. I'm allowed to be the strong independent woman I am as well as allowing someone to take care of us when needed.


Quoting ReadWriteLuv:

I often wonder Liz, especially when I'm reading threads in L&M, if part of the reason that so many women have husbands that expect them to "do it all", as in take care of the home, kids, and bring in income, is because they grew up with single Mom's who had no choice but to "do it all", kwim? It's how they grew up, it's what they know. Their Mom was able to do it all, they expect their wives to do the same. 

Quoting lizzielouaf:

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





furbabymum
by on Oct. 28, 2013 at 10:36 AM
1 mom liked this

 There are enough womeon on this site who claim a father isn't necessary to their children for me to believe it. There is a reason children seek out parental figures they may be lacking at home. A father is not something you should be able to decline to have in your kids lives. A father should be necessary. I know my DH is.

stacymomof2
by Ruby Member on Oct. 28, 2013 at 10:51 AM
3 moms liked this
Right. She just jumps into stereotypes without allowing for any other definitions. I am actually a woman who complains about men who are into obvious romantic gestures. I find them smothering and false. Does that mean I am not feminine enough? Or how about a man whose focus is not on daily decisions and lets his partner make the call. Does that really mean he isn't masculine or that he is struggling with it? Maybe he is just happy go lucky and is more interested in having his partner pleased then what the actual decision may be.
Like I said before this article just seems to glorify stereotypes and assume we are all happy to fit in them. I think men are as a rule just fine with a strong woman and the vast majority of men I know are perfectly adapted to taking a woman as an individual. The few who seem to ststruggle seem to have personal issues that are not related to how the women around them act. I have known strong men in my life who much prefer a partner rather than a purring cat.


Quoting lga1965:

I agree .

I'm not getting thus woman's blog. It's simplistic and not accurate. She doesn't seem to understand the concept of masculinity and blames women for men not behaving the way she thinks masculine men should behave.




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



AtiFreeFalls
by Silver Member on Oct. 28, 2013 at 10:55 AM
2 moms liked this

 My husband was raised by both parents until 8, his dad until age 12 (during which time he basically had little or no supervision), both grandparents until 16 and just his grandfather thereafter.  He and I both feel he is perfectly secure in his masculinity, yet he somehow doesn't require anyone to submit to him.  I am a SAHM, but I do basically all home repairs.  He works outside the home, but he pitches in with house hold chores and child care duties.  He is perfectly fine with me working outside the home, going back to school, staying home forever and never working again... he just wants for me to feel fulfilled.  And our gender roles overlap a lot in this house, and it WORKS.  We are both happy.  Our kids are happy.  I don't see any reason why men and women MUST be "different but equal".  Simply equal works just fine.

AtiFreeFalls
by Silver Member on Oct. 28, 2013 at 10:58 AM

 I think just having supportive parents is necessary.  Single parents raise great kids when they get enough support.  I think the idea that the parents and ONLY the parents should have a hand in raising a child is detrimental, because it leaves single parents without enough support. 

Quoting furbabymum:

 There are enough womeon on this site who claim a father isn't necessary to their children for me to believe it. There is a reason children seek out parental figures they may be lacking at home. A father is not something you should be able to decline to have in your kids lives. A father should be necessary. I know my DH is.

 

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