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.

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Daniel: We're moving off topic again

I'm giving myself a Schopie.

If I may, I'd like to offer some thoughts in this discussion.

I usually don't post into discussions on my work when they appear in other forums, but as an Atheist this one is of particular interest. The reason for that being that I have come to see the preponderance of gender dialog rendered useless by either religious or PC orthodoxy, and felt some hope that a forum of this type could circumvent that. And I saw hope for that in Mr. Apostata's core question in the OP, wondering aloud if this group could have "true discussion of masculinity, or if all gender discussions must descend into rhetoric of "men abuse, women are victims.""

Notwithstanding the fact I disagree that MND is extreme (well, any more than Nontheism in the midst of religious culture) I do acknowledge we have, like any ideology, a problem with fringe elements. I struggle with them all the time, so the points made to that problem are well taken.

But back to the question, most modern dialogs about gender are marred to death by either religiosity, the patriarchal infatuation with traditionalism that stems from it, even in the non religious, or the gender counter-theory of the last forty years that is now just as extreme and pervasive as the others.

Distorted by all of this are the male archetypes that men still seem to innately aspire to, which I thought the Dockers ad tapped in to in a rather unique way. At least novel enough to create some traction in the media. Sure they want to sell pants. But advertising is more a reflection of culture than a driving force in it. And I thought they reflected on a growing, if unpopular mindset.

I'll look forward to seeing where this goes, hoping that people who have already unhinged themselves from a huge piece of social programming can make more sense of things than you might find elsewhere.
Better to close down the whole thread than censor the individual comments as they happen, no one can tell at all who said what or when.

...Or, we could just NOT censor that at ALL. I take issue with bullshit like that cos, as Larry said, it says more about the author than it does about the rest of the thread. It's history; allow time to bury it, but remain all the same. Trying to be ultra-friendly, noncontroversial and sterile isn't the way to go. There are other places for that; that is why I am not there. If you go towards the censorship route, AN will look EXACTLY like the Baptist Church. Try it.
The only kind of censorship I would begin to tolerate is the removal of any spam ads that find their way here.

In terms of posts that are offensive, no, not ever. Freedom of speech, must, at all times, be held unassailable regardless of content and with few, very few, exceptions. And then, the process should be weighed heavily and action taken with the utmost caution.

After all, the only right we have in a society that fosters free speech is the right to be offended and stop listening/reading.
In terms of posts that are offensive, no, not ever. Freedom of speech, must, at all times, be held unassailable regardless of content and with few, very few, exceptions.

It is careful water to tread. If someone causes trouble on the boards, *poof!* they ought to be gone. But their words, on the other hand, SHOULD remain. It is better to see things as they are rather than how we wish they would be - that way, we would be further enabled to move them in the direction of our vision. The same goes with racism, sexism, heteronormity...if they don't keep getting whitewashed, we can look at them and unite by examination - rather than let those words divide us.

I think the problem at AN is the site is run as an experiment in extreme non censorship.

If ever I caught AN starting to hardcore censor things, I would be one of the first to leave. Loudly.
I agree with Larry and the others. I'm opposed to censorship.
The short answer about the ideal is man, is that the ideal man is the ideal. I don't think it is bound to one sex or the other.

A certain amount of stoicism
Moral Character

This has been a great discussion. It showed that it is possible (difficult, but possible) to move discussion of gender into productive conversation. Participants thought seriously about gender differences and showed positive ways to honor those differences.

There are wounds from prior discussions, and we need to be careful about how we broach this topic, and actively, firmly, politely manage the flow. We need to be able to make progress, and sometimes we also need to take breaks and give ourselves a chance to heal. Then think about what was said, even re-read it, and think about how to continue to move forward.

What I have learned is:
*Regardless of ideology, we CAN talk about gender.
*When we do so, diplomacy helps.
*We need to guide the discussion, without accusation or judgement, but try to stick to the rules of the topic at hand.
*We need to remember that most of the time, people mean well.
*We will always drift off topic, it's normal, but if the topic is important, we need to try to move back to topic.
*People of both genders, whether they regard themselves as feminist or not, don't vilify all men or even the characterisitics they regard as masculine.

Thank you all for your thoughtful comments and passion. Please regard this as being like a conference or television program, whose time is completed. Im sure we'll get back to the topic again, and build on the lessons learned.



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