Is A|N mature enough for a discussion about the meaning and expectations of manhood? What is meant by "a man"? Is a man just a male adult homo sapiens? Is a "man" just someone with a Y chromosome and a male appendage, who "subjugates" women? Are there positive traits that can be identified as "manly" without descending into discussions of rape and wolf whistles and "privilege"? Is a "man" just a hetero guy who watches football and chugs beer and hunts deer? Can a masculine ideal be defined in such a way that there is something for men to identify with, and emulate, as men?

This is the essay that prompted me to wonder if A|N is ready for a true discussion of masculinity, or if all gender discussions must descend into rhetoric of "men abuse, women are victims". Linking to this essay is meant to inspire thought, and maybe discussion. My intent on posting this discussion in the general forum is not to bait, or incite endless arguments, but to ask what people think of when they think of "men"? Especially, "ideal men".

A correlary of "Manhood" is "Womanhood". That should be a separate thread.

Two weeks ago I would not have posted this topic, but there have been some changes that make me ask if we are ready for the discussion.

Tags: men

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There was a part of the article which talked about an ad with a woman putting buttons or something on a man, using a nailgun. This was described as an example of sexism against men. I think the writer missed the point: this is a commercial geared towards men, and it is more likely a statement of how they view women as castrating.

I've also seen beer commercials with women nagging and talking in psychobabble, and women on the first date breaking down about how they want to get married and have kids...the punchline was something about now being a good time for a beer. Men are portrayed as dopes on TV, but I think women are also portrayed in commercials, chick flicks and chick lit as airheads who mostly care about shoe shopping and diets.

In the past few decades, society has allowed women to have more options with what to do with their lives, and there has been more awareness of things like rape and violence against women. Maybe also less stigma for men to express their emotions. I don't see most of the changes since, say, the 1950s, as making masculinity unacceptable and I haven't known any men that have gone through masculinity crises.

Actually, one double standard that affects men (certainly not the only one) is that women are much freer to adapt "masculine" traits (short hair, men's clothes, even experimenting with the same sex) than men are to adapt "feminine" traits.

This ad may say masculinity is endangered and women are encouraged to walk all over men, and others still say men are forced into rigid masculine roles and women are subjugated. I say a lot of this is perception and it's very hard to objectively determine.

And, it's just an ad. People will say anything to sell stuff--and controversial advertising gets noticed the most.
"And, it's just an ad. People will say anything to sell stuff--and controversial advertising gets noticed the most."

Prog, that may be the best response to the post. Who knows what Dockers Levi Strauss truly intended as a side effect? But we all know that their main goal was to make money.

People want to blame a simple commercial ad (the media, actually) for social upheaval. The author of the article was just as guilty of the "literalistic reductionism" he admonished as those he accused. In the end, it comes down to blaming someone else for your inadequacies, as goodthink pointed out. The ad may very well have just been a joke.

One thing about us homo sapiens...we take ourselves WAY too seriously.
learn from your mistakes
live life without god
don't beat on women (if she hits you, run; if that don't work, headlock)

> : P

man, woman, child, Earth is polluted and needs help, hello.
I've been thinking about this one. I wonder if the current stereotype of the "male ideal" isn't pretty recent.

The modern mythology that pops out at me is the Clint Eastwood character from spaghetti westerns. The only emotion this character demonstrates is anger, with an occasional undercurrent of anguish . He is near perfect in his ability to exact vengeance. Any feelings of warmth or tenderness are always be camouflaged behind a cool exterior. He is the supreme, unkillable, unbeatable, alpha male. The character resembles a super hero from the comics much more closely than he does a human being.

Older myths about the male ideal feel much more realistic to me. The Greek heroes were strong and brave, but certainly not infallible. They cried, made stupid mistakes, got out foxed by villains, fell in love and demonstrated a full range of human emotion.

I wonder why modern mythology has made the male ideal so polarized and sterile?

PS… I’m getting a little long in the tooth. I could be completely off base with my understanding of the modern male ideal. I grew up with Clint Eastwood, but maybe there is a more recent icon that better symbolizes the male ideal?
You know a few days ago I wanted to cry because of all the negetivity on this subject and now I want to cry because this thread makes me believe in the brilliance of our community again.

Anyway, Sara Connor was the first character that came to mind when I read Rusty's point of the Clint Eastwood hero type, or the brooding avenger archtype. I think that it is interesting that this is probably one of the primary hero types used in cinema and that it is distinctly unisex. The old fashioned hero type seemed to have a greater focus on brute strength and a capacity for melee (Greek heroes are a perfect example)and quite frankly screw any girl that he sees. Well this type of hero is rarely the biggest and strongest, but are often the toughest, fastest, smartest, and best trained. Also, and think about this, they are often monogamous. I think it is awesome because it promotes the fact that heroism is in the will, not in the arm (nor in the sex).

As for newer male ideals in cinema, I think of the Tyler Durden character from Fight Club. First of all, clearly insane to pretty much everyone around him, yet is still a man that attracts followers. He exists on the dirty fringe of society (apparently by choice), is knowledgable and self taught, and of course is incredibly tough and intelligent.
I always thought she was sexy in that movie. And I liked that she had a role other than "main character's love interest"
Sarah Connor?

Although statistical bell curves can show tendencies of one gender or the other, they cannot say what a person aught to be.
Daniel: So while there has been a very large amount of text (possibly hundreds of screen pages) written on A|N about negative attributes or negative behaviors of men, subjugation and victimization of women, there hasn't been nearly as much written about positive attributes or expectations.

Daniel, I will go further - there has been nothing written about positive attributes or expectations.

To so much as raise a contrary voice in any of those threads was to invite an immediate branding of misogeny. I, like a lot of other blokes, simply abandoned those discussions altogether for the black holes of nothingness that they were. I had many private discussions with some members here of things that had imediately sprung to my mind that could have been pursued as constructive discussion and I didn't dare mention because of the inevitable knee-jerking that would ensue if a male did. Just a few -

* The women at the Melbourne Atheist convention managed to get organised and met no opposition. They have even managed to book an all female panel session. What is it that they're doing that the rest of the world is not ?

* Prominent females that are atheists do exist - why aren't they promoted ? A specific example that popped up was Naomi Klein. It was claimed that Klein was a non-theist and I have no reason to doubt that person's word, but the info link was "lost". Being familiar with her work, she strikes me as too clear minded to be a believer. She would make a great role model, because she's certainly no intellectual lightweight. However, spending 2 hours googling produced no results as to her actual persuasion. So why is she not known ? Does she not want to be associated ? Or is she fully out and nobody cares ? Why isn't anybody finding out ?

* Why is it that more men than women know who Madalyn O'Hair was ? A spot unscientific poll pretty much confirmed it. She managed to get prayer removed from schools. What has any mere male achieved ?

* Another comment that was offered was "Why is it relevant for prominent females to promote the fact they are atheist ?" Well if that's indeed an issue, why isn't it being discussed ?

* Why doesn't the wonderful ZOMGitsCriss ever get herself bogged down in this collective moaning ? Is it because she's too busy being constructive ?

* Last, but definitely not least, why does a goddamned white male have to point these things out ?

Many promises were made by various people to try and get the discussions to look at some of these things. Several months later - nada. The conversation remains bogged in this formula -

1) There is a problem
2) It sucks
3) The public face of atheism is mostly white male
4) Obviously, it's their fault
5) It has to be fixed. We don't know how
6) Go to step 1)

Like all ritual, it's assumed if it's repeated often and loudly enough, magic will happen.

And ultimately, it's all the white males fault. *Burp*.
Many promises were made by various people to try and get the discussions to look at some of these things. Several months later - nada. The conversation remains bogged in this formula -

1) There is a problem
2) It sucks
3) The public face of atheism is mostly white male
4) Obviously, it's their fault
5) It has to be fixed. We don't know how
6) Go to step 1)

Like all ritual, it's assumed if it's repeated often and loudly enough, magic will happen.

And ultimately, it's all the white males fault. *Burp*.

If things get better, there won't be anything left to complain about. That's no fun at all. Imagine a bunch of atheists typing to each other how refreshing it is to be in the company of people that have mostly moved past superstition and that, for the most part, attempt to live their lives promoting equality and reasonableness. Boring. It's much more exciting to suggest that there's a worldwide male conspiracy(that atheists are fully in on) to keep women enslaved, barefoot and preganant. What about the "quiet" comments that come up from A|N women describing their feelings that they've never felt disrespected or "othered" by the male members of A|N, one of them made by one of the all-female group of moderators? Let them sink into obscurity. They're not at all useful for the purposes of battle.
Your efforts are appreciated, Andrea. It just was getting a little old to read, time after time, that every man that's experienced fatherhood has contributed to the enslavement of women.
Alright, I'm pleading with you to correct my ignorance. Has Greta managed to rise above a dull drone and actually promoted anything constructive ? I read and re-read her blog links and they were strictly following the formula above and going nowhere beyond blame gaming. I really want to be amazed. Truly. I do not want to plough through yet more pointless waffle about it all being my fault. Because all that achieves is to build resentment where none exists.


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