Breathtaking Assumptions

Twitter has been a really interesting source of new contact with the global community. I’m sure I’ve done things that end up on lists like, “Top 10 Things Never to do on Twitter” but overall, joining has been a good thing.

One of the Tweeps that I follow is Rick Belden (@rickbelden), a man who is working his way toward a healthy psyche and mental peace by dealing proactively with a really crappy past. He posts thoughtful and thought provoking stuff, most of which he writes himself.

Recently, he wrote an excellent post about defining masculinity. It’s here – and worth reading.

Women defining what is masculine is ridiculous. When was the last time you heard someone say anything like, “Healthy femininity is defined by how a woman treats a man?”


Me, neither.

Why is that some women have the audacity to believe they have a right to define masculinity? It’s ridiculous to even begin to think that a MAN could define what it is to be feminine, yet the same is not said of women defining what it is to be masculine. It’s difficult for me at this point to even get some traction on all the thoughts tumbling around in my head. It seems like it’s becoming difficult to find women who just genuinely like men. Individual women may love a particular male, but speaking generally, that same woman, married to a man she professes to love, may diss, demean, vilify, or ridicule men in general and hold ‘men’ (as a homogenous group) accountable for the actions of wicked individuals.

Maybe it’s more reasonable to say, “‘Healthy’ is defined by the way one treats one’s self.”

It seems like inexcusable arrogance to assume that I, as a discrete, living-in-my-OWN-skin individual, can impose a judgement on the quality of masculinity or femininity (or not) of another human being.

Quixotically, what is running through my head now are the words to ‘War,’ by Girls Aloud.

Ladies, you’re damn right

You can’t read a man’s mind,

We’re living in two tribes,

And headed for war!

What if we stopped generalising and began to work together as human beings to deal with, root out, and otherwise contain the damaging and traumatising behaviours individuals perpetrate? Stop looking at gender and start looking at humanness? What if each individual were permitted by society to define him or herself? (What a novel idea!) I’m still wrestling with the whole “rape culture” thing, and the consequent blaring headlines that we have to “…teach boys not to rape.” That just requires a whole set of assumptions about boys, men, masculinity, and core beliefs that doesn’t seem to be in evidence. That’s like asking some random guy, “When did you stop beating your wife?” The breathtaking assumption inherent in that question places a man in an untenable position; not unlike the assumption that boys need to be taught not to rape.

Maybe, as contended in one of the blog links at the end of this post, what we actually need to do is to teach our children – all of them – codes of conduct which include honour, compassion, empathy, serving others, personal integrity… ???

Variations on a theme….

Theorizing Masculinity; Toxic Masculinity; Men and Honour;

Talk amongst yourselves...

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