On Manly things

To me the definition of true masculinity - and femininity, too - is being able to lay in your own skin comfortably.
Vincent D'Onofrio
Yesterday I explained how this is a wonderful time to be a man thanks to the ranting havoc created by two groups; those who view masculinity as a problem to modern society and those who view modern society as a problem to masculinity. My original intent in the post was to offer examples of what I meant, but it was already a pretty long entry already. For that reason I feel that we need to do a part deux, one more focused on the practical exposition of how modern masculinity has evolved within our society and how it has exposed the ridiculous attitude of both groups.

There is this retrograde notion that masculinity will either keep you from doing certain actions or that certain actions will hurt your masculinity. In reality, you can do anything you want and still be true to your masculinity. We don’t tell our daughters that taking on challenges traditionally viewed as “manly” will make them lesbians, why the hell do we assume that having our sons take on the challenges traditionally viewed as “womanly” will make them gay? More interesting still is, why do we assume that “gay” is a bad thing or will hurt their masculinity? But more on that last statement later on.

Good Dads aren't born, they're raised.
We need to start breaking these preconceived mentalities and teach our boys about manliness since their childhood. How do we start? Letting them play with dolls or play house if they want to! “But won’t that will make them grow up funny?” Take a second and consider why girls were given baby dolls or given miniature kitchen sets. Those where teaching tools to prepare them to be mothers and home makers. So the worst thing that might happen if a boy plays with baby dolls is … he will learn to be comfortable with take care of a baby and a home. At what point was being a good father and a self-sufficient home owner unmanly?

And speaking about homes, we need to get rid of the notion that the kitchen is the exclusive domain of women. Cooking is about creating, crafting, and forging a meal out of individual elements. Our kitchen becomes our laboratory as we transform simple seeds, grains, and crystallized chemicals into Cupcakes. Cooking is the perfect example of man’s triumph over nature! And if you ever thing about arguing that point, just think of Gordon Ramsay.

Man being Unmanly?
As we speak about our domination over nature, what about our domination over ourselves. That’s what dance is for! Although women might not believe it, men have been traditionally told to be self-conscious about our own bodies, or at least how they can use them. Dance is about learning control over your own limbs, about finding pleasure with what you were given from birth, about letting go while being in control all at the same time. Furthermore, when we look at partner dancing, it’s about knowing how to lead respectfully and caringly, all while making your partner feel safe. Still not finding the wussification in dancing.

Sure, dominating the body is easy, but what about the soul and being in touch with your emotions? “Won’t art, acting, and writing make you lose your masculinity?” If it does, nobody told Hemingway, Paton, Tupac, or Hugh Jackman. I think I covered this to a greater extend here.

Gareth Thomas
Because nothing says
effeminate gay man like Rugby.
“But what about all those effeminate men doing all those womanly things? That’s proof that these things make guys gay.” Let me start with the simple reality, a man’s sexual orientation has nothing to do with his masculinity. We need to step past the media promoted trope of the “flaming queen” or the idea that any gay man being masculine is trying to “act straight.”  Being gay or bi doesn’t make a man any less of a man. If anything, the fact that these gentlemen have been willing to live life in their own terms shows more balls than most of us straight men have.

I’m not saying that men need to be masculine by the simple definition of being a man. What I’m saying is that men can be masculine by choice, and nobody has the right to tell them otherwise. Only when you learn to be comfortable with yourself and your masculinity can you be proud of being a man.