The boys are not all right

Clippings from news sources involving fashion freedom and other gender equality issues.

The boys are not all right

Postby moonshadow » Sun Feb 25, 2018 4:03 pm

Because if I gave it the real subject the mods would cringe at what this topic is about because in virtually every other avenue of the internet it turns into a political flame war. I'm hoping we here at skirtcafe are gentleman enough to discuss the meat of the topic without resorting to fighting as it does pertain to a subject we have discussed a lot here on this site.

Here is the article:
The boys are not all right

I had a discussion with Amber about this the other day. I made a remark regarding how most, and by most I mean 99.999% of "massacre shooters" are males. Let me stop here...
THIS IS NOT MEANT TO BE A DISCUSSION ABOUT GUNS... THIS IS MEANT TO BE A DISCUSSION ABOUT MANHOOD AND MASCULINITY!

Our various opinions on gun laws are BESIDE THE POINT, please, lets not go there on this thread...

Ahem.. now that that unpleasantry is behind is, I continue...

I actually had my discussion with Amber before I read this article. During my discussion I had mentioned how males, particularly young men (teenage boys-early 20's) are getting squeezed in our society. Too often boys are growing up not knowing what to do with their emotions, nor how to express them. I feel the article hit the nail on the head when it said that boys often turn to one of two scenarios when confronted with the problems of life, withdrawal, or rage.

My comment to Amber was that for what seems like forever, men have always tried to stay a step ahead of women, for after all, to be womanlike was demeaning, or at least that's what our fathers and uncles told us. So over the last fifty years, as women climbed the ladder of masculinity, to the point of many almost being indistinguishable from many boys and men in appearance and practice, it has left young males with few options for retaining the lead over women.

Now to be fair, most men just accept their lot, and many, I'll even say most, men do learn to adapt and work, live, and play side by side with their female counterparts. Many men have adopted what has been called "metro-sexual", what I liken to a "man like form of femininity", a.k.a. "pretty boy". There are others like us, who even go so far as to wear clothes women might wear, of adopt feminine mannerisms, mainly because it doesn't bother them to do so. They have adopted the opinion that "it is not shameful to act like a woman because it is not shameful to be a woman".

Here are some highlights form the article I'd like to point out:

Boys, though, have been left behind. No commensurate movement has emerged to help them navigate toward a full expression of their gender. It’s no longer enough to “be a man” — we no longer even know what that means.


What does it mean to be a man? How can such a simple question be so complex? I understand the lure and desire to maintain some level of uniqueness of being a man. I understand the need for it to be "special", just as many women take pride in their femininity. The trick here is however that women know how to take pride in their femininity and yet are not afraid to be masculine when the time calls for it. Yes, women can kick asses and take names, but they are also not afraid to cry out, hug, and ask for help.

Too many boys are trapped in the same suffocating, outdated model of masculinity, where manhood is measured in strength, where there is no way to be vulnerable without being emasculated, where manliness is about having power over others. They are trapped, and they don’t even have the language to talk about how they feel about being trapped, because the language that exists to discuss the full range of human emotion is still viewed as sensitive and feminine.

There are just too many talking points in the above quote box, I could underline and bold the whole thing. The statement I believe is the end all reason for the issues we are facing.
Men feel isolated, confused and conflicted about their natures. Many feel that the very qualities that used to define them — their strength, aggression and competitiveness — are no longer wanted or needed; many others never felt strong or aggressive or competitive to begin with....

...But to even admit our terror is to be reduced, because we don’t have a model of masculinity that allows for fear or grief or tenderness or the day-to-day sadness that sometimes overtakes us all.


Case in point: A few days ago, I posted a brief thread about these thoughts on Twitter, knowing I would receive hateful replies in response. I got dozens of messages impugning my manhood

I've had this happen to me.. A LOT in my lifetime. Not just on internet boards, but also in meat space as well. The moment I make any remark about handling an issue in a less than violent or ass kicking way it seems society, (men and women) came up with all kinds of colorful names to call me.

There has to be a way to expand what it means to be a man without losing our masculinity. I don’t know how we open ourselves to the rich complexity of our manhood.

You'd think so. But what could it be?
"We all have the tendency to make simple things difficult, but the spirit that abides within us achieves its own ends by making all difficult things simple."
-Manly Palmer Hall
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Re: The boys are not all right

Postby Grok » Sun Feb 25, 2018 7:58 pm

I can't really help with the masculinity part. A woman friend commented that my personality is mid way between traditional masculinity and traditional femininity, as is hers. I believe, however, that I come across as bland enough-if wearing trousers-that I am under the radar.

I am actually attracted to an androgynous life style. With the option of wearing skirts. I would like to see an androgynous life style becoming an accepted alternative for males. (Which might be a comfort for those of us who never really fit into traditional masculinity).
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Re: The boys are not all right

Postby Stu » Sun Feb 25, 2018 9:03 pm

We can only speak about ourselves and I regard myself as a traditional male. I don't have any desire to embrace any feminine aspects of my character, if I even have any. I believe males and females are fundamentally different, although there is an overlap in almost all aspects - for example, men tend to be taller than women, but there are some women who are taller than some men. I consider that any feminist who talks about "toxic masculinity" is expressing bigotry and I consider modern feminism to be profoundly toxic, hypocritical and predicated on a hatred of men and an ambition to control women. That said, I do not claim allegiance to the male sex as a unified group: I am first and foremost an individualist and not a collectivist. In the same spirit, I will take others as I find them and I respect those who are different from the norm and who are not afraid to show it. So, if a man adopts a feminine persona because he is more comfortable with that, that has no relevance to me. I will accept him as I find him and according to his qualities and character. Consequently, I don't buy into the narrative of masculinity being some kind of trap, or something which restricts and constricts personality. If a guy is OK as an individual, then he is OK in my book: end of story.

(Incidentally, as for guns - I don't have any strong views on ownership. I hasve never owned or used a gun and I have no desire to do so. As a European, I am content to live in a society which does not permit most gun ownership, but I do not suggest that model is right for other nations that have different histories, traditions, values and circumstances in that respect. This is a matter for individual nations to decide for themselves.)
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Re: The boys are not all right

Postby Grok » Sun Feb 25, 2018 9:37 pm

There was the concept of "Mens Liberation", but it didn't seem to go anywhere.
Last edited by Grok on Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The boys are not all right

Postby oldsalt1 » Sun Feb 25, 2018 10:15 pm

Now to be fair, most men just accept their lot, and many, I'll even say most, men do learn to adapt and work, live, and play side by side with their female counterparts. Many men have adopted what has been called "metro-sexual", what I liken to a "man like form of femininity", a.k.a. "pretty boy". There are others like us, who even go so far as to wear clothes women might wear, of adopt feminine mannerisms, mainly because it doesn't bother them to do so. They have adopted the opinion that "it is not shameful to act like a woman because it is not shameful to be a woman".

There is a lot in this discussion I disagree with the above statement I don't think a lot of the members of the café are trying to take on the "pretty Boy ideology by wearing women's clothing. I may have to be a little gentler when wearing a skirt but that doesn't mean that I am trying to act like a woman.

When you say Many men adapt and accept their lot than say many men become" metro" you are putting the two distinct class on the same level
Last edited by crfriend on Sun Feb 25, 2018 10:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Fixed quoting. Again.
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Re: The boys are not all right

Postby Grok » Sun Feb 25, 2018 10:45 pm

Boys may be broken, but many women seem to want to keep males in a rigid gender role. So the options for a male seem to be to conform, or be rejected by women.
Last edited by Grok on Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The boys are not all right

Postby moonshadow » Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:06 pm

I'm not sure myself and the other participants in this thread are on the same page.

It seems as though I have interpreted the article differently than the others. Further my thoughts on the matter seemed to have been misunderstood.

The replies are so far off my intended point I feel there is no salvaging said point. Such endeavor will only yield frustration for myself.

Oh well.
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Re: The boys are not all right

Postby crfriend » Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:13 pm

Grok wrote:As Stu commented, there does appear to be some overlap between the genders.

There's actually plenty of overlap. What I would caution folks against is confusing masculinity with machismo. The two are not directly related.

For instance, we have the modern "macho chick": she drives a pickup truck (or SUV), wears nothing but jeans, t-shirts, and boots, has several tattoos, drinks beer, swears like a sailor (even if she doesn't know what a boat is), and is generally obnoxious to be around. Then we have the well-adjusted perfectly masculine guy who goes to work every morning, does a day's work, blows off a bit of steam afterwards, cares about his friends, and can empathise with those around him effectively. Who is who?

Do not confuse these things. Or -- more to the point -- confuse them at your peril. This is not the country-and-western (delete the "o" at your option) world. It's vastly more complex than that. The sad point is that machismo and masculinity have become confused with one another societally, and it's men who suffer most -- and the worst sufferer is the emotionally and mentally healthy guy who finds himself shoved ever more forcefully into the macho box, where he has no interest -- nor right -- to be in.
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Re: The boys are not all right

Postby moonshadow » Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:16 pm

Okay one thing just to clear this up....

I don't think the article author nor myself ever said anything negative about masculinity or manhood. As for me, I simply sought to have a discussion about what defines masculinity and manhood while pointing out some serious flaws in the current paradigm.

I see Carl had responded since I started this post... from the looks of it I think he gets what I'm saying.
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Re: The boys are not all right

Postby Grok » Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:23 pm

To elaborate, women seem to have reached a consensus that women should be allowed a very wide latitude in their behavior-while males should conform to a very narrow, rigid gender role.
Last edited by Grok on Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The boys are not all right

Postby crfriend » Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:24 pm

moonshadow wrote:I see Carl had responded since I started this post... from the looks of it I think he gets what I'm saying.

Actually, that was my second go at it. I'd penned a much darker one earlier that delved into the sort of insanity that was hinted at from the quotes from the original article -- which I did not read in its entirety -- and which directly questioned the sanity of the modern response to such problems. It was nasty enough -- and damning enough of the modern USA -- that I opted to self-censor it.

See my commentary regarding masculinity and machismo. These are to be confused at one's peril. Society is getting more macho -- and we're paying the price.
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Re: The boys are not all right

Postby moonshadow » Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:29 pm

So then what are the official defining characteristics of masculinity?

Because nobody else seems to have a solid answer. Thus young men don't know what to do with their emotions.
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Re: The boys are not all right

Postby crfriend » Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:38 pm

moonshadow wrote:So then what are the official defining characteristics of masculinity?

I'll offer a few in no particular order.

  • Adaptability
  • Competence
  • Wit
  • intelligence
  • Wisdom
  • Dignity
  • Confidence
  • Empathy
  • The ability to use all of the above either singularly or in combination

OK, the last one depends on all the foregoing ones, but other than that, "no particular order" -- by design.
Because nobody else seems to have a solid answer. Thus young men don't know what to do with their emotions.

Indeed. Couple the notion of "not knowing" with a society entirely awash in ultra-violence, disenfranchisement, hopelessness, and despair for the future and guess what one gets. One gets entirely rotten results.

We've manufactured this ourselves -- or, more to the point, it's been manufactured for us, possibly wilfully. If it's wilful, it's positively shameful.
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Re: The boys are not all right

Postby Grok » Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:46 pm

I have never seen such a list outside a forum such as this. (And there aren't many forums like this). The expectations of the larger society seem to be based on macho stereotypes. Stereotypes that seem to be the left overs of another time.
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Re: The boys are not all right

Postby Darryl » Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:37 am

crfriend wrote:
moonshadow wrote:So then what are the official defining characteristics of masculinity?

...
  • Adaptability
  • Competence
  • Wit
  • intelligence
  • Wisdom
  • Dignity
  • Confidence
  • Empathy
  • The ability to use all of the above either singularly or in combination
...


That's a good list. I've generally been a Heinlein fan and considered this a fair approximation:

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." — Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love


But then you note he is talking about a "human being." A competent and female Sherlock Holmes is not impossible. Nor a female Spock. Then again, I see no reason at all why crfriend's attributes should not be applied to both male and female, aside from gender-related roles: father/mother, and family roles: brother, sister, cousin, father, mother, aunt, uncle, grand-parent...family elders; then perhaps community-related roles, work-related roles, &c. And we'll leave out "Mother Church" / "Father Church" for the nonce.

Perhaps time to prime the pump with a wee draft.....
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