Who are the real men? Where are all the Gods? Who are our counterparts?
Being a nice guy does not mean you are owed a date. Being a family man doesn’t mean you are owed discretion when you act inappropriately outside your marriage. Being a real man at age 65, does not mean being surrounded by a bunch of adoring babes who are attracted to your um…wisdom. Insisting you be acknowledged for being a real man,means that you are not. Demanding to be treated like one, makes you a child throwing a temper tantrum for not being viewed as a grown-up. Sorry, but if you have to be pandered to, if you need your ego stroked or if your must be validated so your mask of manhood doesn’t shatter, you are not a man.
There has been a lot of retaliation against narcissistic masculinity lately. The rise against the patriarchy, and more recently the #metoo movement have left a lot of males reeling in anger, while other males welcome the conversation about what masculinity is.
Narcissism has been confused with masculinity since the dawn of mankind. And our concept of maleness has been artificially manipulated by society, religion, culture, and politicians to not only support the power and unlimited freedom of anyone born with a penis, but also to control, manage and diminish the power and freedom of those trained from birth to pander to that narcissism.
The patriarchy, machismo, fake manhood, aggression, dominance, vanity are just attempts to protect the glass mask a huge portion of our population is hiding behind. This is not masculinity, it is narcissism, and the men who are most afraid of being exposed are blaming women, the #metoo movement, beta males, gays, feminists, liberals and pretty much anyone who no longer buys into their false image for destroying it. We aren’t destroying masculinity, we simply refuse to prop it up.
There are plenty of real men out there who have been taking part in the conversation rationally, without taking these arguments as a personal affront. You see, real men aren’t afraid of losing anything. They never had women pander to their manhood, they never depended on validation from others, they never insisted on being made to feel like a man, they never controlled or manipulated women into giving them respect, so now that this kind of support is no longer available, they aren’t losing anything, they are still in fact a man.
We don’t give enough credit to the real men out there. Many of them have been voting pro-choice for years, have been fighting for our rights for decades, speaking up on our behalf when we didn’t have the courage. Real men have joined the conversation, not as angry, belligerent bullies who are offended by women who don’t respect masculinity, but as rational, understanding, empathetic humans who thrive among women who are their equals, and have nothing to gain by suppressing the freedom of another human being.
Real men don’t seek to control the other half of the population to create a safe haven for their bloated egos, they are man enough to accept women as their equals. They value our contributions to science, business, the law and politics. They value our opinions, ask for our counsel, take our advice and give credit where credit is due. They have no problem with equal pay for equal work, because they see that all too often our work is superior yet often diminished and unrecognized.
Real men were not anointed with the crown of manhood the minute the baby was pronounced a male. They were not called a ‘real man’ by the age of 5, instead, they are the boys who had to earn that title. When I speak to men I admire, I see that many of them had to work hard and learn to take care of their own feelings from a young age. Either they grew up sons of a single mother, or they watched their mom juggle a job, children and household while they were growing up. They learned to respect women who work, and witnessed first hand what women do to support them as they grow into adults. The men who demonstrate deep respect for women are the only real men.
Unfortunately, these men are the first to be ridiculed by the patriarchy. Why? Because women prefer them. They are ridiculed for their lack of aggression, dominance, or superiority complex. They are vilified for their liberal ways of dealing with the opposite sex, for their fairness, temperance, tolerance, for their willingness to contribute fairly to a relationship, and for their ability to say “I don’t know”. They “let” their wives exceed them, they “let” their wives lead them, and they take care of their own children. Some are stay-at-home dads, some are in touch with their feminine side, some have no ambition to dominate anything. They are not pretending to be anything more than who they are.
Why do successful, independent women prefer the modern man? I prefer him because I view him as my equal, and not some empty jack-ass whose ego I have to pander to. I prefer him because he creates less drama, he isn’t competing with me, nor does he need me to act like a “little lady” so he can be confident as a man. His ego does not combust when I out-earn him, nor does he feel shattered when I am surrounded by men. The modern man is confident in his humanness, and he doesn’t derive his value from women, but from his own responsibility to himself.
Real women, the ones who work, build careers, own real-estate, own their own businesses have no time for old-fashioned manhood. We simply do not have time to be unflailing supporters of the male ego, nor can we build what we are building while pushing manhood forward. Real women aren’t looking for men to lead them, we aren’t looking for male wisdom or guidance. We are armed with MBAs and many of us have climbed the corporate ladder outmaneuvering the boys club. We are looking for men who are partners, men who can change a diaper and close deals at the same time. Yes, men who contribute to managing the home, inspire their children to be better humans, and aren’t threatened by her paycheck are the real men.
What kind of a woman prefers the old, bloated, narcissist? That woman who holds no value of herself, and derives her self-worth from serving the egos of others. She trades her loyalty to anyone willing to pay for it. She measures her success not by her own work, but by the man she married. She is quite adept at making a man feel like a man, even when he has the emotional intelligence of a six year old. Yes, even then she can convince the man-child that he is a king. That kind of loyalty can only be for sale. Where there are desperate males in need of support for their erectile disfunctions, there will always be workers willing to stroke their limp egos for a sum. In fact, there is an entire profession for that.
The world is changing and the glass mask of narcissistic masculinity has shattered. We no longer believe in the delusion of that kind of masculinity. It hasn’t served women and has not served most healthy males either. We are doing nothing to destroy it, the glass men are destroying themselves. We are just refusing to help them hide, and refusing to support their self-delusions.
But I think that a lot of credit goes to the men who are fighting with us. Though it is hard to stand up to the belligerent, self-aggrandizing males who ridicule their support of women’s issues, the real men are the ones who are pushing back against the patriarchy, and openly speaking out. They are not served by old traditions, nor do they want to fill the traditional male roles expected of them. How does it serve a man that his wife makes less money, when they both contribute to the same household? Does it serve a man to shun child-rearing, or to protest parental leave, when he too would like to experience fatherhood? Does it serve a man to keep his wife in her place, when she clearly possesses a talent or job that could advance them both?
The modern man thinks differently. The modern marriage is a partnership, not an institution. To work, a partnership must benefit both people equally, therefore both must contribute and enjoy the spoils equally. While the traditional marriage institution relied on a sole bread winner, and his legally bound sidekick or wife, in a modern partnership both people have to go to work, both people have to manage the household, both parents have to change the diapers, and both deserve quality time with their children. Is that wrong?
In my opinion this is exactly what masculinity should be. I admire the dads who willingly change diapers, take time off between jobs to watch their children grow, and teach their daughters how to throw a proper punch. I admire single mothers who chose the responsibility of their own free will, without fear of judgment, and I admire men who are now redefining fatherhood as well. I love the breakdown of tradition because it has freed us to experience relationships in healthier ways. There are more ways to be together than a traditional marriage. If my only prospect was to settle for the marriage my parents had, my immediate response would be No Way In Hell! Most of my male peers agree, that that sort of arrangement would be a life of mindless drudgery.
I love the modern men, in fact I prefer them to traditionalists. I love how they are helping us reframe the conversation of gender roles, reshape the workplace so it is more equitable. I love the ones who are voting pro-choice, I love the ones who are supporting the #metoo movement. I love the ones who are standing up to the bullies society formerly worshiped as men. I love the ones who are not threatened by strong, capable, fearless women- they in fact are the real men. When masculinity is so fragile that no amount of Viagra can prop it up, and no amount of pandering to the fragile ego will prevent the veneer from shattering, it is not a man. We need to come up with a new word for that, so as not to confuse the men we admire, with the men who only admire themselves.
I call the old cronies Limp Dicks. Don’t ask me to apologize, I won’t. I realize that the majority of my blog readers are male, but I suspect most of them agree. Regardless, I think that we don’t give enough credit to the males we love and respect, and I wish we thanked them more often for their support. Rather than claim that there are no real men out there, let’s use our voices and our social media presence to spotlight the men who are making a difference to us.