Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Joanna Schroeder - Is Masculinity Like Fight Club?

In this brief article from The Good Men Project, Joanna Schroeder looks at the ways men talk about masculinity when they are given the chance to do so. The post is inspired by an article in the The Independent and the responses she received from her readers.

Is Masculinity Like Fight Club?

 How would you describe masculinity? What does male desire look like? One British researcher set out to hear what guys had to say about these and other topics.

This article about male sexuality from The Independent has a lot of really interesting things to say about what male sexuality actually looks like. Not what we see in porn, or even in movies. But real-life down-and-dirty (or not so down-and-dirty).

Author Laurie Penny says this:
The changing role of women, in and out of the bedroom, is one of the greatest cultural anxieties of our age. Male sexuality, by contrast, is assumed by most people to be a constant: hard and emotionless, often violent, focused on the conquest of women, on penetration, on dominance. Public money is poured into protecting girls from early “sexualisation”, but for boys, sexuality is always assumed to be empowering. “Masculinity” is only ever discussed, as with those pesky inner-city rioters, when it gets “out of control” or is “in crisis”, which is usually code for “social unrest” when the polite press doesn’t wish to speak about class and poverty.

The first rule of masculinity is that you don’t talk about masculinity, much less ask questions about it: it’s a bit like Fight Club, but extended to a significant part of the life experience of half the human race. I want to hear men talk about what it means to be one. I suspect I’m not the only one. So, partly out of pure curiosity, and partly in the name of research for a book I’m putting together, I decided to ask some of my internet followers what masculinity, sex and gender meant to them.
And she got a massive response.

Of the multitudes of answers she got to her questions about sexuality, desire, identity and whether guys thought there really was a crisis in masculinity.

She got really heart-warming responses, such as this one:
“To me, being a man is about outrageously loving my wife”
And many from men who said they wanted to identify as feminists but were concerned about how they’d be seen by men, women and feminists.

Another man said this:
“Patriarchy controls male behaviour in similar ways,”… “Society pushes men to live up a construct of alpha male behaviour: being sexually aggressive, emotionally detached, competitive with each other.”
But most of the men seemed to marvel at the fact that someone was even concerned about masculinity, and was wondering what men felt and thought.

Wish we could direct them all over here to the GMP!

What do you guys think? Do you agree with some of the quotes I have here?

How do you define male desire? How do you “feel” your masculinity? What makes you feel like a man?

Photo of young man on city street courtesy of Shutterstock.

1 comment:

Odax said...

Masculinity is a big question in today's world. The girls went all girl power on us and now the guys are struggling to redefine, and perhaps reassert, our place in society.

This book by David Deida just changed my whole perspective on manhood.