Thursday, November 11, 2010

Graham Phoenix - Personal Masculinity

Nice post from Graham Phoenix at the Masculine eXperience on how men can develop their own personal sense of masculinity. His approach is slightly different than mine, but we both agree that authenticity and presence are crucial to a mature sense of masculine self.

Check out his site for a free ebook download on Male Energy.

Personal Masculinity

Apparently masculinity is out-dated and in decline. The world has moved on from the old ‘ideal’ of a ‘tough’ masculine man. We are told that in today’s modern society that is no longer appropriate.

Equally the concept of the ‘new man’ is out-dated and in decline. The world no longer wants the house husband who prepares lunch for his power wife. This is condemned as just another type of power structure and is no longer appropriate.

We now have men being strong but worshipping women, men apologising, in their power, for the oppression of women. The culture of apology for men’s past mistakes is over-taking the Men’s Movement.

‘Let’s be hard and gentle! Perhaps women will love us now!’

Surely just another archetypal approach to masculinity, another idea for us all to conform to.

The greater power is in a personal approach to masculinity and male behaviour, what I call ‘Personal Masculinity‘. This rejects the single approach to being a man in favour of one that gels with our own personality and energy. This is a new approach for me, one that I am just beginning to explore. It feels more right than much of what I have said in the past but, importantly, it incorporates what I have already talked about.

‘That seems fine’, you might say, ‘but that means you can be anything, what’s masculine about that?’

OK, fair point, but there is a crucial element missing, authenticity. Being masculine, for me, is about being sure and certain in yourself and of yourself, and then showing that to the world.

This means Awareness, Acceptance and Authenticity.

The first step is awareness. You need to know who you are, what you are. What is your personality and what are your core beliefs. How has your upbringing affected you and developed you? What is your work, how are your relationships? What are you passionate about and what affects you deeply? Are an ‘away from’ or a ‘towards’ type of man, what motivates you. How are you around women, what is your sexuality? You need to be something and you need to be aware of what that is.

Knowing what you believe you need to know what you are prepared to live and die for. This requires the ability to make a stand on what you believe. What’s important, today, is that this can be anything from macho man to new age man. But for this you need the second step, acceptance. You have to like who you are and want to be that person, that type of man. It is important that you can support your position and fully understand it, and it must be one that is in line with your life and your passions. The acceptance is critical, this requires you to examine your life and like it.

The third step is authenticity. You need to live the life you identify openly and honestly. This tests the depth of your awareness and acceptance because it relies on you shaping your life to your ideas. It requires you to examine your life, again, in a different way. How do you act, how do you behave? Do you, for example, profess a support for the equality of women and oppress them in your sexuality, do you profess a belief in the power and strength of men and fear your sexuality? How do you live your life? What is your truth?

I have talked a lot, here, about the power of masculine presence and certainty. The concept of ‘Personal Masculinity‘ is absolutely based on this. There is a sense of focus and direction in the way a man who knows himself operates. This sense comes from the strength of his presence and certainty. This sureness of foot is what women see in men and love. It is this knowledge of themselves and their, subsequent, ability to know and understand their woman, that creates the power of a man. This power is not a macho oppressive power but a quiet, knowing power. It is the power that lights up a room when a man enters it. He doesn’t need to do anything he just is. If this power is not laced, however, with compassion and love, it descends into arrogance and becomes negative. The man’s awareness disappears and his authenticity becomes questionable.

On ‘Male eXperience’ I talk a lot about a particular style of masculinity, that is my masculinity, the model based on my life. I know it works because I live it. I offer it to men because I see it as a powerful and valid way to live and be a man. It is not, however, for all, and I don’t propose it as such. Try it on, see if it fits. Perhaps change it here or there, fit it to your life. But don’t just adopt it as THE WAY, it isn’t. I have met many men who I regard as masculine men and their lives are very different from mine. They know who they are and what they want, they have awareness, acceptance and authenticity.

Be bold in your life but make sure it is an examined life, one that you stand by and are willing to defend. But don’t put it forward as the only answer, it is just a way, a direction. In helping men to become more masculine in their lives my aim is develop their awareness, test their acceptance and help them find their authenticity.

Where are you in this?

Image by drewkam


Anonymous said...

No one has commented so I will. I am a women, so this comes from my perspective on life always being told "That's not lady like" directly or indirectly. I am in agreement that we need to stop generalizing masculinity and femininity (if I have spelling errors forgive me). Every time I hear somebody say "you should act more feminine I think to myself "By what definition? mine, or yours or societies?" I am glad that some men feel the same about masculinity. I follow this blog to see what the male side thinks of their own masculinity. And I am pleased to say I like what I read.

william harryman said...

Hi Anon,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts - and I am pleased that you like what you read here. As the "curator" of this blog, for lack of a better word, I try to write and find material that brings awareness and opens the possibilities for men to step outside the traditional (and failed) model of masculinity and be themselves, however that works for them.

As well, I hope to hear from and sometimes share the female view on men and how we are doing in our efforts to be more authentic, more aware, more present.

Men exist in relationships, not in isolation - we are in relationship with ourselves, with other men, and for the majority of us, with women. We need to hold all of these as crucial to who we are and who we can be - as well as acknowledging our relationship with culture, the environment, other cultures, and everything else.

OK, sorry, got on my soapbox for a moment.

THANKS for reading - we need to hear your perspective too!

Anonymous said...

You need to know
You need to be
you need to be aware
you need to know
This requires
You have to
it must be
this requires you to
You need to
this tests the depth of your
It requires you to
absolutely based