Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Am I Just Going Off On One?

Most people will write off an examination of masculinity like this by trying to dismiss the project. They will try to say that the act itself is creating problems where there are none, making mountains out of molehills.

This can be very convincing. On more than one occasion I have found myself confronting my own reasons for writing what I write here.

I often go through periods of doubt as to whether all this meta-talk is worth it. And I ask myself frequently if I am not just constructing another aspect of male ego in the process. I wonder whether my critics are correct, and if I am not really just offloading a boyish frustration, articulated in pretty words and high-minded dialogue.

I know this is what people say.

However, I always find myself back at square one. And square one is really just my own confusion, my own sense perplexity in the face of the facts and how the facts relate to my cultural heritage – be it my male role models or what the women in my life have told me about my masculinity.

The facts being the simple needs and desires of men, the testosterone, the aggression, the sexuality and conditioned behaviours that we are born with and which we can't do anything about, at least in the immediate consciousness of them.

My need to write about it then, comes from this confrontation between these facts of masculinity, and the cultural ideology that surrounds them. In much of my own experience I have found the two to be in complete conflict.

What I mean is that what I have experienced about my masculinity, and what others have told me about my masculinity, whether through direct engagement or cultural messaging, has nearly always been contradictory.

The post-feminist milieu is very resistant to this blog, and its dismissive posture can be convincing. It will try to persuade us that our dialogue is just another form of masculine dysfunction. And in our present self-sensitive state as men, we are probably all too willing to believe that this is true. We have been bred to question our own masculinity, and this is good, because it is Feminism in action.

Post-feminism, however, doesn't want us to draw any conclusions. It wants us in this state of confusion and frustration. It does not want us to find clarity about ourselves as men, because post-feminism is about power, and there's great power in uncertainty.

So square one is really just this constant mix-messaging of our current culture. People will try to tell you that the problem I am talking about does not exist. They will try to reduce it to something else, explain it away and dissolve the issue. They will tell us there is no confusion, there is no uncertainty, there is no need to dialogue at all. They will try to say that what I am doing here is really just covering my own masculine tracks, dressing up my own inherent masculine pathologies while cutting myself a piece of the Feminist pie. How typically male – always trying to make the issue about himself rather than the woman.

You can't win.

This blog has nothing to do with Feminism. It is not bothered one way or the other, though I myself have a lot to say on the issue, and I choose now to keep it in my heart.

What this blog is trying to do, is bring out this disparity of experience and culture and kick-start a creative process whereby the messaging for future men can be a better reflection of the needs and sensitivities of that experience, rather than a structure of mixed ideas focused on repressing its true nature.

I am sick and tired of being told that the problem I am addressing does not exist. It exists because I have experienced it and I know other men have as well.

Our culture has done nothing for men. Patriarchy has created pathological humans, it has not created men. And by men, I mean human beings who can negotiate their biologies and their sexual impulses, their hormonal identities, in functional and effective ways, rather than through repression and emotional denial.

My biggest beef with our post-feminist culture is that it pretends to have reached some glorious, Hegelian, end of history moment in light of genuine Feminism, but actually does nothing to address the problem I am talking about. In fact, it creates a cultural background in which it is too easy to avoid dialogue about masculinity altogether.

Can you really blame me for being pissed off as a result? Is my anger petty sexual frustration, or is it perhaps what I say it is - a creative and sensitive reaction to the continual denial of the complexity of the male experience?

Maybe I am making the whole thing up. Maybe I am just being impertinent by putting “complexity” and “male experience” in the same sentence and passing it off as intellectual dialogue. But maybe, just fucking maybe, I am onto something, and this disparity of experience and culture is at the root of all the problems that Feminism itself would like to see solved.

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