I always thought it was rather peculiar, if not outright strange, that anyone can sit down at their keyboard, cobble up together some words, sentences and paragraphs and then call it “Guide To Being A Man” or something like that.
But that’s exactly what I did few years ago when I sat down in my humble apartment and wrote seven articles which I called “The Seven Commandments of Manhood.” To say that I was a fully-fledgfed king of men back then would probably be a stretch; I was some scrawny (okay, maybe not that scrawny) dude in his early 30s, who definitely hadn’t lived long enough and accumulated enough experience to know what being a man is all about. Nevertheless, people read the articles, agreed with most of the points and even commended me on putting such a helpful list together.
Since then I’ve written many articles about masculinity, but I’m certainly far from the only one; there are articles all over the Internet that discuss the meaning of masculinity and manhood at great length. Plenty of books have also been written on this subject. In fact, it’s one of the hotly debated topics today.
As proof of how prevalent the discussion about masculinity dominates our contemporary society, just ask any guy (and, even, any woman) to give their thoughts on the subject, and he or she will surely have an opinion about it. They will duly define masculinity by telling you the characteristics that they would consider to be “masculine” and characteristics that they wouldn’t. Ask one hundred people to define masculinity, and you’ll get one hundred different definitions.
The reason that almost anyone alive can have an opinion on such a seemingly “biologically hardcoded” topic is because masculinity is anything but hardcore—it’s a flexible concept. Masculinity, like beauty, is really in the eye of the beholder; masculinity is subjective.
Not too long ago, a frequent reader forwarded me an article written about masculinity by a blogger who writes about dating and gender relations. I wasn’t familiar with his work up until that point, but I was curious how others defined masculinity so I went over and read it.
His point was that masculinity is completely cultural. Masculinity is like water, and, thus, the same way that water assumes the shape of its container, masculinity similarly assumes the shape of the underlying culture.
That means that in Latin cultures, where the man is expected to be super macho, anyone who’s not super macho isn’t really considered to be a man. In cultures where men are not as dominant (i.e., Scandinavia), women would freak out by a very dominant man, and so a very strong man would find himself completely out of place. He ends the article by proclaiming that, “Our canvas is ourselves and we’re all artists. The developmental blueprint is that there is no blueprint.”
I think it’s a very informative article, and, while I understand what he was trying to say, I don’t agree with the notion that masculinity should trail behind and assume the shape of the underlying culture. I don’t think masculinity should be that flexible. In fact, I think that masculinity is exactly the opposite: masculinity is what defines the underlying culture instead of being defined by it. Masculinity is more rigid with strongly defined bounds.
Personally, I consider masculinity to be very important and sacred, which is why I’ve written so much about it. Masculinity is the seed that gives rise to everything else. It’s what gives definition to cultures; it’s what actually defines a culture. It’s also what dictates the strength or weakness of a culture. It’s no wonder that one of the main topics on this blog is not travel but masculinity. In short, masculinity is everything.
If the culture has strong masculinity, then it has a correspondingly strong femininity. That means traditional dating, healthy family values, strong male role models, and strong pillars that the entire society rests and flourishes on.
On the other hand, if the culture doesn’t have strong masculinity, then you can forget all of the above. Of course, you still have a culture—some kind of culture—but it’s a culture that’s increasingly filled with void and emptiness.
The reason you don’t know what the heck to do with your life is because you weren’t told what to do by someone who was stronger and more experienced than you—a good role model—when you were growing up. A culture without masculinity is a culture without polarity, a culture without meaning.
I’m not saying that all men should be super macho, like in some Latin or Eastern European cultures. Dominance and aggressiveness doesn’t necessarily need to define the man. For instance, Danish guys are pretty easy going compared to Serbians or Croatians. But that doesn’t make them any less manly. Scandinavians grew up in a culture where things are done very differently than Croatians, Serbians and Bosnians. The same comparison could be between Finnish and Russian men.
Furthermore, we’ve came a long way from the Medieval Ages and the era of Vikings and Kings, an era where there wasn’t much of the rule of law and pretty much anything went. Society has evolved, and so did our gender relations. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. We live in 2015, so it’s foolish to expect to have the gender relations that was normal in the year 1350 or 1650.
Nevertheless, to underscore why masculinity is so crucial, I like to point out that I wouldn’t even be thinking these thoughts and typing these words, and even having this blog you’re reading now had I been raised in a country such as Brazil, Colombia, Ukraine or Russia—or pretty much any place outside the West—where gender relations are more or less “traditional.” I would’ve had a normal life and not wondering if something is masculine or not.
The end of masculinity
Few months ago, a guy bashed me on twitter. Since my blog is far from politically correct (which is probably why you read it in the first place), I’m no stranger to criticism. It’s very common to have feminists and their sympathizers come and write nasty comments on my posts. I don’t mind. I’m completely used to it by now. But where I was taken aback was that this time I wasn’t criticized by a feminist, or even another woman. It was another guy.
He bashed me because of some of the things that I’ve written about Brazilian women. Brazil is one of my favorite countries and the world, and I have the highest praise and admiration for Brazilian women. I’ve routinely written that I find them extremely beautiful, sexy and approachable. They’re the epitome of true femininity.
Apparently this guy disagreed. He didn’t like my attitude. He felt that I was “objectifying” women by describing them using adjectives that referred to their outward appearance.
Fine. That happens, I thought to myself.
But just when I thought I’d seen it all, I was thrown a curveball: he did something that I completely didn’t expect: he immediately complained to the Brazilian Federal Police:
— Matt (@MattInBrazil) March 11, 2015
Up until that point, I really thought I’ve seen it all. I’ve seen men call other men misogynists. I’ve seen men try to destroy another man’s reputation because he called his own country’s women beautiful. Even all of this was a huge eye-opener initially because I come from a much less politically correct culture where men only go after each other because a serious wrongdoing—in real life—has been committed.
But what I haven’t yet seen is a man report or threaten to report another man to a federal government agency just because the other man described women using physical adjectives (i.e., “objectifying”). Perhaps this happens all the time, and I’ve just been living in a cave.
To put the icing on the cake, he wasn’t even Brazilian—he was an American guy who was merely living in Brazil. (Before he criticized me, he also criticized Brazilian men for the way they act towards Brazilian women. How’s that for a riddle?)
This kind of stuff makes you wonder what kind of absurdities can one expect in the future. I can only dream of a day when a foreigner in Russia or Ukraine will be criticizing me (a local) for calling the local women sexy and beautiful, which they are, and love to be called. As absurd as that sounds, we can expect that to happen sooner or later.
This brings me to the all important point: when does a man stop being a man? Where are the limits of masculinity? When does masculinity become a mere catch word without any weight to back it up? After all, everything has its limits.
And that moment comes when the man contacts authority to report another man whenever his own life or the life of loved ones isn’t in danger—another words for petty issues. The moment a man contacts the State to report another man for non-essential issues is the moment the man stops being a man.
Think about it. What is the purpose of government agencies such as the police? Police (or some other gov’t agency) is created to deal with problems in society whenever people cannot resolve these various problems by themselves (by negotiating with each other). Long ago, men were able to resolve these societal problems by themselves (in many countries that’s still more or less the case now).
After all, what can the government do that a man cannot? Government is supposed to provide collective security. In a way, it assumes the man’s duties. It takes over man’s responsibilities. Overtime, it even co-opts a man. It supersedes the man, making the man more or less irrelevant.
The more resourceful the man is, the less he needs the government. Conversely, the less resourceful the man is, the less he knows what to do in various situations, the more he needs external help from some government agency. And once the man starts contacting the government because he feels “uncomfortable” how another man might act towards someone else, he has passed the threshold of masculinity. He’s no longer a man. He’s some needy and helpless atomized “individual.”
The brave new liberal world
Towards the end of my very first podcast, my esteemed guest, Quintus Curtius, made an astute remark: he noted that most of the guys who get involved with game and self-improvement (i.e., “manosphere”) are usually from the liberal parts of America: East Coast (New York, Washington DC); and the West Coast (California)).
The locations of my top twitter followers confirms this:
It was a question that was raised but wasn’t really discussed.
This puzzle has a simple answer: it’s due to the prevailing liberal values in the cities and regions where these guys reside. Unlike some of the inner regions (i.e., “Middle America”), America’s coastal regions are known for being very liberal, especially the big cities. San Francisco, California is the most liberal city in the country (maybe even in the world?). New York isn’t that far behind. I heard Toronto, Canada is even worse.
The main aim of the liberal ideology is to create a genderless society where there are no sexes, no polarity, where everyone is “equal”—equally atomic and meaningless. They achieve that by attacking and destroying everything that makes people different: both masculine and feminine values. And they achieve the latter by “correcting” any “injustices,” whenever people act according to their natural biological imperative. That’s the whole purpose of social justice warriors (SJW) and their accomplices.
Since the government needs a justification to exist, people are programmed to contact the authorities for any issues. The government takes over the tasks that a man once could do all by himself.
The government’s aim is fully achieved when a man trades his fellow men for a government authority: the man ceases to be a resourceful being who can handle the problems by himself by confronting the man and telling another man straight to the face the issue instead of immediately crying to the authorities. If authorities didn’t exist, it’s highly doubtful the man in question would confront another man at all. He would probably say nothing.
I’m not saying that we should roll back a couple of centuries and go back to some middle ages replete with kings or vikings, and live in a society that had little laws that guaranteed individual freedoms.
But, what I’m saying is there must be a limit to the definition of masculinity. Words that carry real weight such as masculinity shouldn’t be taken for granted. We must draw the line in the sand. There must be a point where society throws its hands in the air and says, “Enough is enough! Stop being a pussy! Be a man and stand up for yourself!” For something to be considered masculine, it must operate within certain boundaries.
And that line is now firmly defined: it’s taking responsibility for your own actions and confronting whoever made you uncomfortable—whether in real or virtual life—instead of running, crying and ultimately hiding behind some government authority’s back. It shouldn’t be okay to leave something that’s as important as masculinity to just fall where it may.
What kind of society can there be if one calls himself a man but fails to take any responsibility for it? That’s not a society of men, and that’s not a society that represents something grand: that’s a society made up of meaningless and genderless atoms confusingly lost in space. But maybe that’s by design and we’re just beginning to realize that.
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