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Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+ 

What is masculinity actually meant to be though? I think we have done some good work (which must continue!,) to gain understanding of what it should NOT be... but what SHOULD it be? Any opinions? (preferably from men/masc people, non-men welcome too). Asking *As A Men*.

Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+ 

@restioson

The problem is that everything is so steeped in power relationships that it's hard to say anything positive about masculinity without sounding sexist. Like, because of binary oppositions, it sounds like anything good masculinity IS is something that femininity ISN'T.

Thus I don't know how to answer this question at all.

Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+ 

@celesteh definitely. There's also the thing of like, if we want to abolish gender roles then what else do we leave in gender?

Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+ 

@restioson
People like having genders, so gender roles will always exist. Our goal shouldn't be abolishment, but making them less restrictive and less binary

I also think it's an (completely understandable) error to view gender entirely in terms of power relationships. People don't transition in order to shift their positions within a power hierarchy. Some gender dysphoria is related more to social signalling than embodiment

Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+ 

@restioson

So given that trans people exist, which demonstrates the existence and importance of gender outside of positions of relative power, how do we talk up masculinity without denigrating femininity?

I think the first step is to stop seeing them as polar opposites, like points along a one dimensional spectrum, but maybe more as perpendicular, as a two dimensional graph. They're certainly related, but they're different.

Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+ 

@restioson if masculinity is not three absence of femininity and it's not a power relationship, what is it?

The expression of masculinity is very much culturally encoded and contested. Sometimes it's seen as essentially authentic, unadorned and related to labor. Sometimes, it's seen as the exact opposite, as in portraits of French kings in tights and frills.

Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+ 

@restioson
Masculinity also cannot be encoded within the body, or it would not be accessible to trans and gender non conforming people. On the other hand, there is some relationship to embodiment. Gender is a human universal (not the specific expressions of it, but there's no societies that don't have gender) and it's heavily influenced by cis people and cis bodies. So masculinity is not cock and balls, but is related to them

Masculinity discourse, cishet lewd 

@restioson

With penetrative sex, a person with a penis enters triumphant, but exits deflated. A certain amount of identity seems to surround one's cock, but one has almost no control over it.

Cis hetero masculinity is a struggle towards inevitable defeat.

Masculinity discourse 

@restioson

I think that within my culture, a defining factor in masculinity is struggle. Against oneself. Against society. Against each other in terms of social ranking. The last one is toxic, but the others need not be.

Defeat is inevitable, as one is never entirely in control of one's self or anything else. Where masculinity is good or toxic, I think may lie in how it copes with defeat or victory.

Masculinity discourse 

@restioson

One can have grace and humility, or one can have terrified bravado. A lot of toxic masculinity seems to stem from fear of being unworthy or attempts to establish one's worth based on unearned systemic power relationships. As masculinity itself can socially function as such a relationship, it makes the whole topic somewhat fraught.

Masculinity discourse lewd 

@restioson

I don't know. I'm not cis. Maybe activity masculinity had been a struggle /for me/ and I'm trying to universalise it?

I did an art installation about militarism and masculinity which used a joystick as a penis. Men seemed to understand the work was about over compensation. Women tended to think it was about the power of a cock. It was strange to get such divergent readings....

Masculinity discourse lewd 

@celesteh wow, that is a lot of stuff to unpack. Personally I don't understand all of it right now but I will be going to talk through it with my friends. Thanks so much!

Masculinity discourse lewd 

@restioson

I wrote a blog post. celesteh.com/blog/2019/09/03/m

It quotes your question. I hope that's ok.

Masculinity discourse lewd 

@celesteh that is okay! I am excited to read!!

Masculinity discourse lewd 

@celesteh was a very good read, and I think I understand better now. Thanks!

Regarding the stance that gender is always present and we therefore can't abolish it, isn't that an appeal to nature?

Secondly, was the gender nihilist manifesto not written by a trans woman (I thought so but can't find out exactly)? It specifically mentions that it was almost *made for the liberation of gender oppressed people*. Do you think that it fails in that?

Masculinity discourse lewd 

@restioson

1. I am not making any appeals to nature, but just saying there are no examples anywhere of gender being abolished and that doing so would take away something that most people seem to like. I may be universalising here, but I know I'd be upset if somebody tried to take away my gender.

Masculinity discourse lewd 

@restioson

2. I don't know anything about that manifesto and I don't mean to misrepresent anybody's good intentions. British TERFs really really are on board with the idea of abolishing gender. Alas, they want to start with trans people. They say there's a love-the-sinner-hate-the-sin line between abolishing (trans) genders and trans people, but it's hard to say. They've really adopted this slogan and made it their own.

(2/n)

Masculinity discourse lewd 

@restioson

I want to be sure I'm not speaking out of my bum, so I've searched DuckDuckGo from the UK, but with no location filters for the terms abolish gender and am looking at the first page of results. I expected to see a lot of TERFism but the only instances of it seem to be on the tumblr, tag.

I'm extremely glad to see this idea has some positive stuff around it. I kins of still don't want my gender abolished, but maybe I'm being selfish

Masculinity discourse lewd 

@celesteh huh I will read that

Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+ 

@celesteh @restioson re: power relationships, I think it's important to distinguish "why people identify with men/women/etc." from "what is gender's function in society"

I think it's totally possible for gender to be fundamentally about power AND for people to transition for unrelated reasons

Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+ 

@restioson I don’t think you can really define what masculinity is without being stereotypical- because anything you describe for what being masc is, someone who isn’t masc can also embody that trait. But for me, a lot of how I want to embody masculinity can be summed up in Dorian Electras “man to man” which is a really good and inspirational song for me

Basically about how being masc should be about being forthright, direct, good communication, saying what you mean, being able to know when to be soft and when not to be, not being afraid of being your true self unapologetically, etc

Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+ 

@FirstProgenitor @restioson this practice of putting some human actions in the category "masculine" and others in the category "feminine" seems extremely fucked up. "men" are "forthright" and "direct" (and implied here is that "women" aren't expected to exhibit those tendencies, even if this is a permissible transgression). fuck this whole thing

Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+ 

@substack @FirstProgenitor @restioson it's only fd up if you demand/expect that all men may only possess masculine traits, and no feminine traits, and vice-versa for women, in my opinion ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+ 

@tethre @FirstProgenitor @restioson allowing for exceptions maintains the domination of the anchoring effect that the categories establish by incorporating deviance and variation into the logic of the core. otherwise those deviations could grow and challenge the gender concept to a point of rupture

Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+ 

@substack @FirstProgenitor @restioson sorry, i can't follow 🤷

Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+ 

@substack @FirstProgenitor @restioson All people, men, women and whatever else have both masculinity and femininity. In some masculinity dominates, in some femininity dominates, in some there is more balance. And note that this not an issue of appearance or physicality, or even behaviour. It is about the nature of one's core self, that which is only (possibly inaccurately) reflected by behaviour.

Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+ 

@FirstProgenitor thanks :)

Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+ 

@restioson i don't think "masculinity" (or femininity) can exist without forced socialization and policing non-conformity. masculinity is something that was done to us, and something you must conform to or suffer consequences. i don't see how any of this is redeemable or desirable. we are put into a box by others and now we've got to navigate society according to that label (or its negation) in innumerable ways

Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+ 

@substack definitely. I have gender abolitionist sympathies. But, who are we supposed to be now that we have been raised with this socialisation and gender? That's kinda what I'm trying to get at

Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+ 

@restioson be whoever you want, recognizing that we are moulded by the collective trauma of Living in a Society. but i don't think trying to reform gender is a worthwhile project personally. gender was something that was done to us, but i think reforming it will only prop it up when we should be throwing it in the trash

Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+ 

@substack dude omg that's so deeep, like we live in a society I just realised that. Duuuude maybe gamers should rise up

/s

But yeah. Good advice,thanks

Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+ 

@restioson fuck if i know

Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+ 

@v0idifier this, honestly

RE: masculinity discourse, bad dystopian economics, aggressive overflow of internet terminology, just rambling out the mind TBH, kinda conspiratorial, U can disregard this 

@restioson
iunno lol
Dollar Shave Club advertisements and gay nationalist bodybuilding? competitive irony poisoning?
If masculinity is hierarchy by Natural Law™ and breadwinning for your nine kids and that 'Industrial+' capital and SCALE leads to societal flattening & economic inequality, what do?

Will power structures convert to decentralized micro-hierarchy? a structural embodiment of "guys being dudes"? or does the western world continue with draconian, arbitrary roles despite the differences being last left to genitalia? Or something equally dumb or tragically pedestrian?

My soul has been sliding on loose gravel for over a decade now, and "I still haven't found what I'm looking for." - bono
A screaming cat is being eaten …

Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+, a 'serious' post 

@restioson
Boosting this post, for it is a challenge just to untangle the spaghetti of where the western 'canon' of masculinity went from the "rennaissance" period to the 20th century. Was never keyed in for historical social waves.

Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+ 

@restioson I don't know. There's no answer I can give that isn't in some way essentialist, so maybe there is no correct answer at all.

My own mascunity for me is just collectively everything I do that's kinda dorky, I guess.

Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+ 

@starwall relate. I think I made a toot on here once which said that my masculinity was wearing boring shirts

Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+ 

@restioson being masculine means that I think that having mustaches and sunglasses seems like a cool idea

Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+ 

@restioson It's a difficult question. The cop-out answer is that I find it easier to explain what it isn't, which are those tropes and behaviours we abhor and know to be wrong (boys don't cry, man up, grow a pair, dominate the household, rule with a firm hand, etc.)

The book "At My Father's Wedding" helped me with some insights into what masculinity means to me.

The first step to understanding? Truly love yourself.

Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+ 

@restioson It's no longer 6am and I'm out and about, so I can think more about this. Personally speaking...

Knowing when to be strong but also understanding when being so isn't needed or welcome.

Understanding and accepting my vulnerabilities.

Being able to ask for help.

Accepting and loving the feminine in me as much as the masculine.

Being a daddy, a brother a lover and a little boy (thanks, Mr Big).

Beards.

Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+ 

@restioson

to my mind, masculinity and femininity must be decoupled from gender like gender is from sex

i guess taoist concepts make the most sense to me personally, at least as far as i understand them (which isn't very far tbh)

but i see them as energies more than categories, and everyone has both

as a category you could treat it like gender, like an identity, something you just have a sense of yourself as. but that feels off to me

Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+ 

@restioson I dwell on this often and I don’t have a solid answer for it yet. As a child I did not have many traditionally masculine interests and was more often a victim of the policing of masculinity than an enforcer of it.

After learning about feminism/toxic masculinity, altho I’m not an expert, I’ve tried to navigate a course in these murky waters without harming anyone, including myself. It continues even now. Good toot.

Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+ 

@restioson interesting question - I personally think that it's so tied to (or rooted in) the concept of oppressing other genders* that really it just needs redefining. Though, I dunno how appropriate the word 'redefine' is in my context, as I'd rather it became something more abstract/malleable, that could be more inclusive.

*(specifically by celebrating traits that would otherwise be criticised in anyone that isn't a man)

@oreolek well what is a gentleman then? What should a good father be?

@restioson gentleman is a man who supports women around and a good father supports his family. It does tie into wealth because you can't support even yourself and be an individual when you're poor, you have to join some group and then it's what the group says.

Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+ 

@restioson I wrote this about a year before realizing “oh shit I think I might *not* be A Man” so, uh, take it with a grain of salt:
m.youtube.com/watch?t=305&v=Kg

Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+ 

@mxsparks thanks, will watch when I have time later ☺

Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+ 

@restioson In my book being a man is about strength and reliability. I don't know if it is what it should be for every man, I know that's what I'm working toward: being honest both in and out, being available for loved ones in need, standing for what I think is right, being someone people can count on.

Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+ 

@restioson It once meant men followed a positive code of behaviour, but that seems to have fallen by the wayside nowadays for a myriad of reasons.

Also hard to say what’s good about masculinity without describing things that should probably apply to people of any gender (I.e having confidence, sticking up for other people, having honesty & integrity, being humble, sharing with those less fortunate, etc)

Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+ 

@trechnex exactly!! But then how can we describe it?

Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+ 

@restioson Possibly an unpopular opinion, but I don't think it's useful to try to define masculinity in a prescriptive way - there's too much variation. Hence the negatives: be a man if you like, but try not to perpetuate harmful or oppressive attitudes and behaviours.

Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+ 

@ghost_bird but then what does "be a man" mean even? That's the question I'm asking. It's not possible to frame the negatives completely without the positives.

Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+ 

@restioson @ghost_bird
I guess "man" and "woman" are just cultural signifiers, and their meaning is sedimented in every culture (the concepts of masculinity and femininity are slightly different around the world).
Being a trans man, this is a question I ask myself everyday. The problem is that there are few to none positive models, and being a man "ethically" is tough bc it's something one must create on one's own, everyday.
Just my two cents :)

Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+ 

@Blackbuck @restioson Agreed. And in order to create an "ethical" masculinity you have to start dismantling the systems (of language, of privilege, of oppression) behind those signifiers, which is naturally going to be hard work.

Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+ 

@ghost_bird @restioson
Precisely. It's extremely solitary work if I may add, especially if you're not born a man: you know how bad toxic masculinity can be, because you were oppressed by it, and you "fall for it" pretty easily, if you're not acquainted with feminism.
Then, you have to create positive masc models in your head which are performative enough but not hierarchical: there's no such thing in the world, you have to invent it and it's not easy.

Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+ 

@Blackbuck @restioson Yes, I suspect it's easier for me as a trans woman because when I fail at femininity I have male privilege to fall back on.

Masculinity discourse, question to mostly men, boosts+ 

@Blackbuck @restioson Interrogating my feelings about this, I guess I'm suspicious of positive descriptions of masculinity because of how often they're used to set up an opposition with femininity? Men are strong and women are weak; men are brave and women are anxious; men are direct and women are manipulative. It doesn't have to be that way, of course, but it explains my unease.

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