Masculinity Removes Humanity

Here is an excerpt from a powerful blog post about toxic masculinity.  Enjoy the full read at the link-back below.

Unlike the maleness of a body, manhood is a standard that defines and measures the man, as a status to be deserved, achieved, and conferred. And because we cannot confer it on ourselves, we must look to other men to see if we qualify or not. And all it takes to be unmanned is for some men to decide that you’re a pussy or a girl or a queer or a fag or their bitch. And then, until you find some men willing to recognize your manhood, you are not a man.

But there is more, because manhood, unlike the body, is only an idea, which means that, outside our imagination, it does not exist.

Only an idea, and yet, a powerful one, the foundation on which patriarchy and male privilege are built, its purpose to distinguish the man not from the boy, but from the woman. To make real the fiction that ‘men’ are fundamentally different from and superior to ‘women,’ that men are smarter and stronger and braver and more of anything else that matters, elevating them above the woman and her womanhood.***

Manhood is the roadmap for what a man is supposed to be and how he is to live, inside and out, and what holds it all together is an obsession with control by which men must never appear weak or vulnerable or otherwise not in command.

A real man is one who knows, who decides, who makes things happen. He is expected to be tough and logical, dispassionate and detached, decisive and never wrong. He never quits or backs down or admits to doubt. And he does not display, or even feel, any emotion that might interfere with that impression.

And if violence is needed as an ultimate instrument of control—whether to keep ‘his woman’ from leaving him or get the football across the line or control another country—the capacity for violence becomes manhood’s ultimate test.

Every man knows what it’s like to have his manhood put at risk, how quickly it can happen, how impossible to see it coming, this occasion for shame and humiliation—all the ways to get it wrong, not have the answer, a show of doubt or fear or tenderness, a lack of toughness, a display of tears, being accountable to a woman.

Any situation, no matter how small, can become a test of manhood, with control or the lack of it always at the center, making a lens through which everything appears as an object of control.

But an object is a thing, and a thing has no feelings, no inner life to imagine. An object does not invite empathy, or compassion.

It is here that the man and his manhood separate from the human being.

Because the absence of empathy and compassion is the bedrock of an indifference that makes cruelty and violence possible, by contradicting the core of what it means, and what enables us to be, human beings.

It is why appeals to our ‘humanity,’ to be ‘humane,’ are never made in terms of manning up. To be human calls upon the very qualities that manhood would discourage, if not deny, in any man worthy of the name. 

Amnesty Wants Teens to Be Raped

Couple of quick excerpts from a scary story shared in the NY Times… As always, link-back at the end.

The Amnesty vote comes in the context of a prolonged international debate about how to deal with prostitution and protect the interests of so-called sex workers. It is a debate in which I have a personal stake — and I believe Amnesty is making a historic mistake.

I entered the sex trade — as most do — before I was even a woman. At age 14, I was placed in the care of the state after my father committed suicide and because my mother suffered from mental illness.

Within a year, I was on the streets with no home, education or job skills. All I had was my body. At 15, I met a young man who thought it would be a good idea for me to prostitute myself. As “fresh meat,” I was a commodity in high demand.

For seven years, I was bought and sold. On the streets, that could be 10 times in a night. It’s hard to describe the full effect of the psychological coercion, and how deeply it eroded my confidence. By my late teens, I was using cocaine to dull the pain.

I cringe when I hear the words “sex work.” Selling my body wasn’t a livelihood. There was no resemblance to ordinary employment in the ritual degradation of strangers’ using my body to satiate their urges. I was doubly exploited — by those who pimped me and those who bought me.

I know there are some advocates who argue that women in prostitution sell sex as consenting adults. But those who do are a relatively privileged minority — primarily white, middle-class, Western women in escort agencies — not remotely representative of the global majority. Their right to sell doesn’t trump my right and others’ not to be sold in a trade that preys on women already marginalized by class and race…

There is an alternative: an approach, which originated in Sweden, that has now been adopted by other countries such as Norway, Iceland and Canada and is sometimes called the “Nordic model.”

The concept is simple: Make selling sex legal but buying it illegal — so that women can get help without being arrested, harassed or worse, and the criminal law is used to deter the buyers, because they fuel the market. There are numerous techniques, including hotel sting operations, placing fake ads to inhibit johns, and mailing court summonses to home addresses, where accused men’s spouses can see them…

Please read the rest at 

Never Violence

When I was about 20 years old, I met an old pastor’s wife who told me that when she was young and had her first child, she didn’t believe in striking children, although spanking kids with a switch pulled from a tree was standard punishment at the time. But one day, when her son was four or five, he did something that she felt warranted a spanking–the first in his life. She told him that he would have to go outside himself and find a switch for her to hit him with.

The boy was gone a long time. And when he came back in, he was crying. He said to her, “Mama, I couldn’t find a switch, but here’s a rock that you can throw at me.”

All of a sudden the mother understood how the situation felt from the child’s point of view: that if my mother wants to hurt me, then it makes no difference what she does it with; she might as well do it with a stone. And the mother took the boy into her lap and they both cried. Then she laid the rock on a shelf in the kitchen to remind herself forever: never violence. And that is something I think everyone should keep in mind. Because if violence begins in the nursery one can raise children into violence.

Astrid Lindgren, author of Pippi Longstocking, awarded a peace prize in West Germany in 1978 for her books, excerpt from her acceptance speech titled “Never Violence.”

Find a Sense of Self

“Figure out who you are separate from your family and the man or woman you’re in a relationship with.

Find who you are in this world and what you need to feel good alone. I think that’s the most important thing in life.

Find a sense of self because with that, you can do anything else.”

–Angelina Jolie, humanitarian and award-winning actress

Any Infringement

“A man’s natural rights are his own, against the whole world; and any infringement of them is equally a crime, whether committed by one man, or by millions; whether committed by one man, calling himself a robber, (or by any other name indicating his true character,) or by millions, calling themselves a government.”

— Lysander Spooner

Words Can Literally Change Your Brain & Perception Of Reality


Wow. Here are some powerful thoughts about the misanthropy (and corresponding self-loathing!) of religion, spoken from the perspective of someone who got away from religion to reason and science.

Originally posted on Victoria N℮ür☼N☮☂℮ṧ:

In 2011, on New Year’s Eve, I started thinking about all the years I spent in church listening to preachers talk dirt about humanity. I recalled the years I had a negative self-image. I knew why.

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Alejandro: Layers of Gender Expression and the Counter-hegemonic “New Man”


Interesting take on masculinity.

Originally posted on Brandon in MFA-land:

In 2009, Lady Gaga released what would become a smash hit of that summer; the danceable, mid-tempo track with an infectious melody and subtle latin groove–Alejandro.   Released on her third EP, “The Fame Monster,”   The lyrics, with only subtle references with any sort of specificity, are sufficiently vague to allow for multiple interpretations.  Aside from two short verses, the lyrics use the pop trope of heavy repetition.  Meaningful lines such as: “She’s got a halo around her finger; Around You”–which supposes a marriage (halo as wedding ring) interrupted by tragic death (also seen in the opening funeral scene in the video); and “But her boyfriend’s like her dad, Just like a dad”–which suggests a controlling patriarchal romance, are in limited company with the bulk of the writing staying much more superficial.  Like the lyrics, the strong imagery, production design…

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