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The pressure to 'be a man'.

 
 
Reply Fri 27 Dec, 2013 07:29 pm
I've long disliked the terms 'man up' and 'grow some balls', simply because I don't feel that acting with agency/boldness/deftness is a primarily masculine trait.

http://www.upworthy.com/theres-something-absolutely-wrong-with-what-we-do-to-boys-before-they-grow-into-men

I saw this trailer on facebook recently, and I realised although throughout my lifetime I've been told to be more decisive/deal with something, I've never known what the pressure is like to have to 'man up', even if I have felt pressure to be tough/a leader etc. in certain situations. So I wanted to ask men for their experiences: have there been times in your life where the pressure to 'be a man' has made you act in a way that was different to how you would have maybe otherwise acted? What was that like?

pq

 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Dec, 2013 07:51 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
I have mixed feelings about this--

There are real biological and inbuilt psychological differences between men and women. Since the 1970s we have been trying to erase these differences and failing.

Every culture has ways to define gender roles. These roles make it easier for individuals to find their way in society.

The male role in modern American culture is broken. This is recent. Men used to be the provider, now they aren't. Male relationships were built on toughness, now they are not.

I would never claim that these changes don't have a good side-- clearly we are a more equal society now. But the costs are losing social institutions that functioned, and men no longer have a clear role in society.

I am not sure if I agree with the direction this video is taking...

0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Dec, 2013 07:58 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
To answer the question directly: Being a man was a lot easier when there was a clear message from society about what that meant.
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maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Dec, 2013 09:20 pm
No one else is biting? Well I have a couple of anectdotes.

A friend of mine is a woman from Spain. Some American guy asked her out for a date and they had a really nice time. He took her to her home and as they were sitting in the car, the guy asked my friend if he could kiss her.

Well... my friend burst out laughing at this. You see, there is no man anywhere else on earth that would ask for permission to kiss a woman (rather than just reaching over and kissing her). There is not even any self-respecting male in the primate world that would do such a thing. Yet American men are so afraid of being "macho" that they can't even risk affection.

I am pretty sure the poor guy never got his kiss.
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Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Dec, 2013 12:52 am
I pretty much want to do the things that society expects from me as a man. Societal pressure is largely a reflection of actual differences between men and women.
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The Pentacle Queen
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Dec, 2013 04:44 am
Wow, don't agree with either of you, but I'm not going to argue with what you're saying as I don't think it would result in anything fruitful for either of us. Let's stick to thread.

If you largely to relate to gender roles presented to you by society, well good for you I suppose. I guess it makes life a lot easier.

Any other experiences out there?
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Dec, 2013 08:14 am
@The Pentacle Queen,
Very interesting Pentacle Queen. You ask for experiences from men about being pressured on what it means to be a men. Two of us, actual men with real experiences, show up to respond. And, you discount what we have to say.

I think my point is a valid one, and an experience that is shared by many of us (including my sons). Society today has mixed messages on what it means to be a man. There isn't really a clearly defined role for men.

I am willing to avoid the discussion on biology (I think this is what you don't want to argue about).

I do think it is important to understand that modern American culture is different than other cultures or even earlier American culture. Being a man in modern American culture is more difficult and less well defined then anywhere else. This is a very important point if you really want to understand the experiences of American men.

I also want to point out, ironically, this very clear example of one way modern society puts pressure on men to be a certain way...

Quote:
If you largely to relate to gender roles presented to you by society, well good for you I suppose. I guess it makes life a lot easier.


I hope you see why this sentence made me chuckle.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Dec, 2013 08:49 am
@The Pentacle Queen,
Another anectdote,

At my work I passed a female co-worker carrying one of those big 5 gallon water jugs to the water cooler. Those things are heavy. I have two choices.

1. Offer her help, risking the real possibility that this will offend her.
2. Walk by without offering help, risking this real possibility that this will be taken as asinine.

I offered help, and sure enough she was a little taken aback. I did ask her if she would have thought I was a jerk if I had walked by without offerering and she laughed... this is a no-win situation.
The Pentacle Queen
 
  3  
Reply Sat 28 Dec, 2013 09:16 am
@maxdancona,
Quote:
Very interesting Pentacle Queen. You ask for experiences from men about being pressured on what it means to be a men. Two of us, actual men with real experiences, show up to respond. And, you discount what we have to say.


URL: http://able2know.org/reply/post-5534337


No, because I asked for experiences where the "pressure to be a man" made men act differently to a way you would have acted if this pressure was not present. You seem to be suggesting that you "act like a man" innately and do not feel any inner conflict. What you post was interesting and valid, but not what the thread was about.

Men can have many roles in society now; even more than they had in the past as we live in a wider more plural society. If you are talking about "role" meaning "providing for woman and family" -- there are still families and partnerships where this occurs, it just isn't 'compulsory' anymore.

Like I said, I'm not really talking about biology on this thread so examples about lifting water aren't really connected with the thread. I'm not trying to argue that men aren't often physically stronger than women.
The Pentacle Queen
 
  2  
Reply Sat 28 Dec, 2013 09:17 am
@maxdancona,
Quote:
I hope you see why this sentence made me chuckle.


Not really. I know a lot of people who feel a great deal of tension between the role society expects them to play, and the role that they want to play. Transsexual friends in particular.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Dec, 2013 09:25 am
@The Pentacle Queen,
Pentacle,

You are part of the pressure "to be a man" that you are talking about.

You obviously have ideas on what a man should be like. Many of us feel the "inner conflict" you speak of is caused by several messages pulling in different directions. When I read your posts, I feel the pull of you urging me to "be a man" (you just want us to be a different kind of man).

Read the water anectdote again. It isn't about biology. It is about societal expectations. In the water bottle example, there were two competing pressures. I think that it is very relevant to a discussion on "being a man".
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Dec, 2013 09:29 am
Pentacle Queen,

I would like to hear your opinion on the kissing story. Should a man ask permission before he reaches in and kisses a romantic interest after a nice date?
Frank Apisa
 
  3  
Reply Sat 28 Dec, 2013 09:35 am
Yo...Queen,

I used to use the expressions "man up" or "grow a set of balls" all the time, but I honestly recognize the difficulty you expressed with the comment...and have decided that "grow some spine" is a way of conveying the thought without having a sexist element involved. If the thought is appropriate, I try to use "grow some spine" these days.

I'm a small guy...and at times when I was younger, the expression "be a man" (when directed at me) involved standing up and physically confronting someone who obviously was big enough to kick my ass in a serious way.

I didn't like to have that happen. Tried to avoid it at all costs.

At some point, I would mouth back to an "or else" delivered my way.

Often, when I did, the response would be, "If you were bigger, I'd kick your ass for that!"

At some further point, I would respond to that with, "Yeah, guys like you are always talking about what they would do if some guy they are giving **** to were only bigger. But most of you assholes carefully avoid actually getting into these kinds of things with people who actually ARE bigger. You don't impress me."

I learned that saying stuff like that can get you an ass-kicking.

Is that what you were looking for?
The Pentacle Queen
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Dec, 2013 10:01 am
@Frank Apisa,
Hello Frank, nice to hear from you.

Haha. Yeah, that's interesting, and quite funny. I like it.

It's interesting that we live in a society where we tell other people to 'grow some spine' in the first place, I guess.


0 Replies
 
The Pentacle Queen
 
  2  
Reply Sat 28 Dec, 2013 10:07 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

Pentacle,

You are part of the pressure "to be a man" that you are talking about.

You obviously have ideas on what a man should be like. Many of us feel the "inner conflict" you speak of is caused by several messages pulling in different directions. When I read your posts, I feel the pull of you urging me to "be a man" (you just want us to be a different kind of man).



Of course, everything is socially constructed. Yes, I am skeptical of essentialist definitions of what it is to 'be a man', but I am skeptical of all essentialist definitions. This is why I started this thread, to understand the inner 'conflict' if there is any. The only definitions I 'dislike' or would actively challenge are definitions of masculinity which try to deny those born biologically female any agency.

I will come back to your other comments.
0 Replies
 
The Pentacle Queen
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Dec, 2013 10:11 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

Pentacle Queen,

I would like to hear your opinion on the kissing story. Should a man ask permission before he reaches in and kisses a romantic interest after a nice date?



I don't really see how this is relevant. Should a woman ask?
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Dec, 2013 10:18 am
@The Pentacle Queen,
Of course a woman shouldn't ask.... but then again, a woman doesn't have to accept the risk of getting slapped.
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Dec, 2013 10:20 am
I don't think it's that complicated. I just offer.
0 Replies
 
The Pentacle Queen
 
  3  
Reply Sat 28 Dec, 2013 10:21 am
@maxdancona,
I don't really agree with people slapping people.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Dec, 2013 10:28 am
@The Pentacle Queen,
Quote:
don't really agree with people slapping people.


Thank you Queen.... but there was one time I actually deserved it Wink
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