I tend to think that the differences between my writing on masculinity and Brett’s writing on sex roles are differences of emphasis and timing. I am interested in distilling out fundamental, amoral, cross-cultural and primitive aspects of masculinity, whereas Brett places men in a more advanced civilization with a sense of morality and balance. We need to understand manhood at the most fundamental amoral level to understand what went wrong, and be honest about what men are and what they want, so that eventually, we can arrive at some sort of balance. The balanced civilization that Brett writes about sounds pretty good to me.
However, I am pessimistic about the future, and I believe there will need to be a primal bloodletting and a great gnashing of teeth required to get from what Brett calls AMERIKA to any kind of civilization worth saving. I’m Charlie like that. Call me a pornographer of the apocalypse.
At GROIN, expanding on a discussion of masculinity and referencing a post here, Brett wrote something that I’ve seen often, so I’m going to use this opportunity to make a point of my own.
Masculinity is not “everything which is not feminine” — that would be a truly woman-centric view.
This is said often, but rarely phrased the other way.
Humans are, for the most part, male and female. For the professionally “genderfucked,” this is a hate fact: humans are biologically binary. The intersexed are statistically rare exceptions to the general rule.
If we said that femininity is “everything which is not masculine,” would we be taking a man-centric view?
If we made BOTH statements with a semicolon, we would not be skewing things either way.
Here’s how I would say it:
Masculinity is that which is least feminine; femininity is that which is least masculine.
This is simplified. There is a big grey area that covers what we would simply consider “human.” For a biologically binary species it is logical for the characteristics of the sexes to be defined by their opposites. Masculinity and femininity are polar extremes.
Masculinity doesn’t exist as a shadow of femininity any more than femininity exists as a shadow of masculinity. They are shadows of each other.
We can give masculinity direction and purpose through constructed functional moralities, and we can give femininity direction and purpose through functional moralities.
In their purest forms: masculinity is “most male;” femininity is “most female.”
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I recently finished my book, which defines my theory of masculinity more explicitly, but I’ve decided to make some organizational and stylistic revisions that could take a few months.
It will be done when it is done.