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View Diary: Threatening Traditions - Part II: Traditional Masculinity (240 comments)

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  •  An odd thought crossed my mind, comparing (10+ / 0-)

    the different definitions of traditional masculinity that were presented in Geenius at Wrok's excellent diary this morning, and also thinking about how variants of masculinity have been presented in the media over the last 50 years or so. From John Wayne's simplistic macho to the more and more complex male characters presented in television series in the present, there is an abundance of "masculine" roles available - more choice, perhaps, than at any previous time in our history.

    The example I'm thinking of, specifically, is the NCIS series. While it still very much tends to have a "token" woman, the variety of masculine roles that are portrayed among the core characters is enough to make a good ol' boy's head spin. Traditional just doesn't cover it any more.

    It may be that, in comparison to the variety of masculine roles that have been developed and publicized, male homosexuality is more and more just one fairly minor variant, and is in fact nowhere near as threatening as it used to be, except to men who are trying desperately to hold on to a single norm.

    Now women's status, and gender roles, are another question entirely - but that's not the direction of this diary so much, so I'll refrain from trying to point out the potential for them seeming to become even more threatening, as the masculine standard stretches out to include a wider range of lifestyles. ;)

    mouseover the bar (I'm practicing for DK5)

    by serendipityisabitch on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 05:15:52 PM PDT

    •  Yeah... (8+ / 0-)

      I agree with that direction of thought, especially this:

      except to men who are trying desperately to hold on to a single norm.
      As "masculinity" morphs, the people who cling so desperately to it are the conservatives protecting a purely imaginary ideal.  (Unfortunately, those conservatives make a lot of noise and get amplified in the media.)

      And I wonder if a cliche doesn't apply here:  If masculinity is morphing into so many shapes, changing to satisfy so many images, one wonders if it isn't just become an otiose category.  (The cliche I'm thinking of: If you like everything, you like nothing.  If you agree with everything, you agree with nothing.  If masculinity is SO many different things...then how can there be any sort of "threat" at all?)

      "It ain't so much the things we don't know that get us in trouble. It's the things we know that ain't so." (Artemus Ward)

      by Silencio on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 05:23:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Actually (5+ / 0-)

      I'd be curious to hear your thoughts about this:

      I'll refrain from trying to point out the potential for them seeming to become even more threatening
      What did you have in mind?

      "It ain't so much the things we don't know that get us in trouble. It's the things we know that ain't so." (Artemus Ward)

      by Silencio on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 05:35:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, when you reduce the number of levels (6+ / 0-)

        of status within one range of society, but you still have a group which is status conscious and spends a great deal of time in pecking-order games, other distinctions tend to be exacerbated.

        Except that it would be far too simplistic, I'd think about making the case that heightened discrimination against women might be one consequence of a greater acceptance of homosexuality.

        Which is to say, it was a throwaway line when I typed it, and I have no idea whether it might actually apply. If anything solid comes up, I'll add to this later.

        mouseover the bar (I'm practicing for DK5)

        by serendipityisabitch on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 05:53:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Missed Geenius' diary. Thanks for the link. nt (5+ / 0-)
    •  I found the diary confusing (3+ / 0-)

      for a similar reason.  I conceptualize masculinity differently than masculine-coded behaviors.  I think there is a critical and essential difference between the two that is lost here.  in the diary.  I think it's safe to say that there was a time when the two were inextricably linked (ie, masculinity was defined by adherence to a prescribed set of behaviors and responses), but this has not been the case since, perhaps, the days of John Wayne.  No longer is changing a diaper or soothing one's child an emasculating act.  Masculine-coded behaviors are expressions of castration anxiety- the fear of loss of the ephemeral and fragile masculinity.  Masculinity itself is not threatening, but the fear of its loss can lead to hostile behaviors.

      Oddly, the diarist's unintentional (I assume) recoupling of the two pushes us backwards, subverting the stated intent to move forward.  It rears its head, for me at least, in the assertion that masculinity is a "subtle threat" to gay men.  He tacitly reclaims masculinity for straight men.  As a gay man, I am not threatened by masculinity in the least.  Indeed, masculinity is a component of my affectional and sexual desire.  But I do not define masculinity the way the diarist does.  

      •  I don't think any two commenters have defined (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Silencio

        masculinity in the same way, over the entire thread. The interesting thing is that we all, I think, are aware of the general usage the diarist is highlighting - the one that is exemplified by the stereotypical John Wayne character.

        And I do think that is still a relatively common perception, even though it's not seen quite so blatantly on DK all that often - the PUA and MRM arguments (and those of a couple of users here), are still that males should of course have a higher status than women, because, well, masculinity. Leave it undefined, and it can mean damn near anything you want.

        mouseover the bar (I'm practicing for DK5)

        by serendipityisabitch on Mon Jul 07, 2014 at 06:28:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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