I've always been critical about this term "masculinity" for as long as I can remember. I only recently became curious about femininity but that is a post for another day.
When I was growing up my Dad lived in a different city which meant my brother was raised by my mom and myself, and he was (still is for the most part) the sweetest little boy, he was troublesome like most little boys are but he was also affectionate, caring and giving. He was never short on the "I love you's" and even though it's much less nowadays that he is fifteen that part of him is definitely still there. Of course he has been socialized probably mostly by school that asserting his strength and his power are ways to assert his masculinity, but my mother (bless her) never ceases to put him in check. It is my hope that he will continue to grow in this way and understand that masculinity doesn't equal the oppression of Femininity.
So I was reading a post today by Ev'yan's husband on this very same topic and it literally made me want to jump up and hug him.
I was learning that men are considered queer if they don’t act brash and overbearing; that men are supposed to be dominant, not submissive... To be a man isn’t to live by a rigid set of adjectives. It just means to be fully who I am — expressed in my own integrity, living my own truth. I only struggled to be a man because I was looking for my manhood stamp-of-approval from somewhere outside of me. (full post here)I highly recommend the full post, I wish a lot of men and women actually understood this. The type of men our society is creating is scary and is a reflection on all of us. When I think of the kind of attributes of a man I want to be with I find very few examples around me. A man that doesn't act in fear but acts in truth.
Women too have a personal responsibility towards creating a man who is courageous enough to be understand that his masculinity is not a box of rules that feed into oppression of the weaker. We have to be careful with our words and realize that the consequences of creating this sterotypical man are dire, for us and our children.
I found this TED video and I'm very happy that the two sources i have refered to in this post are by straight males, so that there will be no allusion to "oh don't act gay" etc.
Tony Porter makes a call to men everywhere: Don't "act like a man." Telling powerful stories from his own life, he shows how this mentality, drummed into so many men and boys, can lead men to disrespect, mistreat and abuse women and each other. His solution: Break free of the "man box."
I hope you understand where I'm coming from...