There is always some room left for quibbling when it comes to the definition of masculinity. Such is the problem facing men today. Post-feminism, we have no certainties left. The only solution then is to carve out our own certainty, one which recognises the experience of what it is to be a man.
Culture fails us. Post-feminism, which itself is simply a part of the natural revolution in cultures, has failed us, because it has effectively left us high and dry. Not that we should expect women to define us, of course, but as I say, in a post-feminist reality, the male experience is diminished.
In fact, the post-feminist would ridicule even what I am saying here. They think I am just being troublesome by saying that there is a whole field of human experience left untouched by their own sense of progress.
But there is, and it is causing as much bother for women as it is for men. The emotional fallout is real and it risks the integrity of human culture as a whole.
A hyperbolic statement? Not at all. Any psycholgist will tell you that the development of the human mind in a natural and effective way depends on a culture of parenting and nurturing that is itself healthy. Part of this, is a sense of solidity and clarity in each child's masculine role models, whether the child is male or female. We can boil it down even further, and say that a child's sense of otherness must be healthy, that their boundaries must be clear while at the same time, they must be grounded in respect and companionship.
What I am saying then, is that a healthy male culture is a psychological necessity for the health of our culture as a whole.
And here comes the slippery definition that everyone and their mother is going to want to pick apart and dismiss out of hand:
Being a man, means being a leader.
There I said it. Forgive my boldness. And no, I am not saying that women can't be leaders. I am not an idiot. But there is a special kind of leadership that men must manifest, and it is of crucial pyschological and social importance.
Childen need male validation. Girls, need a healthy and composed sense of the other in their lives. They need to experience a male energy that is at once secure and sensitive to their own existence and which recognises their femininity from the outside.
Boys, need their own otherness validated. Boys experience otherness from the get-go. They know they are different from their mothers, emotionally, hormonally and just physically. This sense of otherness is experienced in the womb.
They need to have this otherness channelled. It has the potential to be a very powerful creative energy, but it also has the power to create extreme pathology. If a child comes out of the womb experiencing himself as "other," this brings with it an existential tension in how he experiences himself and maps his own sense of self onto his environment. It is a practical and evolutionary challenge.
He therefore needs the validation, mirroring and protective love of a strong father figure, in order to manage this pervasive sense of otherness within and around him. No amount of mothering will do the job.
Without somewhere to neutralise his disconnect from the mother, the male child risks developing pathological dependencies on the mother, ones that the mother will never be able to provide for, or there is the risk of violence and rage born from fear and a loss of self.
Strong male figures are a necessity. But the character of this strength has little to do with our traditional Patriarchal idea of male strength. There is no emotional distance, no brutality of emotion or physicality. There is no need to exert power. Power is experienced automatically. All that is needed is the presence of an example of what the child experiences as other, and that this example is not governed by fear and emotional instability born from terror.
This is masculine leadership, and without it we will continue to play out the cycles of abuse and psychological dysfuntion that have come to characterise the modern family and therefore the crisis of the modern self.
This is what we are here to do. Here is my two-pennies. That the modern male must rise to a place of quiet and humble leadership, not in Patriarchal theatrics, but in his own sense of emotional resolution. We must, we absolutely must, sort out our own bullshit, and reboot masculinity. We do this not for a sense of ego, but a sense of duty and love (the two are the same) towards our future offspring, as well as for the sake of human survival, period.
Post-feminism, this task is as hard as it ever could be. We have no role models, save the contradictory messaging of our burnt-out ideologies. And our attempts to ground ourselves in our masculinity will be seen as an affront to female liberation, and will therefore be shot down at any available interval.
The reality is though, that this simple task is not some hippy-dippy quest, or yet another extension of the gender war. It is not the enemy of true Feminism, but our only logical and functional response to it. It is the manifestation of Feminism in its only workable masculine form.