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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Gender Issues » Who's the Man?

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Author Topic: Who's the Man?
Executive Director & Founder
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Another user's topic at the boards here, in which she stated that her boyfriend's controlling, abusive behaviour was about him being "the man" in the relationship made me want to make sure we had a topic about this here, especially for our male (and male-identified) users.

So, how do you deal with these attitudes: as a young man, if and when you counter them, how do you deal with defining your own masculinity with ideas like this floating around? How hard do stereotypes like this make it for you to find your own male identity?

In that same vein, what HELPS you to be able to define your own gender identity positively; what helps you feel best able to counter these attitudes and find a "male" role that is healthy and feels good for you?

Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Great topic, I started writing a reply earlier but then had to go.

I think there is allot of social pressure put on men and women to fall into gender roles, that women are soft and delicate and men are strong, dominating and protective. And it is difficult to deal with. Especially when it is often women that I hear, complaining about their partners being soft (there's not much in the way of same-sex relationship-conversation with this sort of topic).

I understand that abuse or being controlling is something that comes into the equation, and maybe "being the man" could be used as an excuse.

I've never been particularly very good at getting into a gender role, so I don't know how to react to becoming abusive as a direct result... but I have caused myself self-esteem problems, which could potentially have lead to worse things.

I have had to put "being myself" above "being attractive" and putting myself first and realise that I don't need someone to be attracted to me, if the reason for them being so is that I force out alpha-male vibes, even if I really am attracted to that person.

Hearing women say that they want a "Real Man" and not a sensitive crybaby, can be extremely hurtful when looking inwards and realising that I have as many emotions and tear ducts as a female. But coming to realise that in fact all men have the same, makes me feel somewhat lucky that I am able to express myself, and not have to worry about how manly my expression is.

What helps me the most is trying to be confident. Doing creative things especially art, music and poetry(that's manly) have helped. They are a very personal form of expression and a search for individualism which builds confidence by giving me a clearer understanding of myself. Having this knowledge of my own thoughts lets me work through myself and work out what in my behaviour is based on what I believe, and what is a result of my being a man, and what is a result of trying to be manly.

I believe I may have somewhat given up trying to define my masculinity! I must say I feel a degree jealousy, of men who manage to put themselves forward as knights in shining armour as the ladies swoon. But it's important to be strong, not be spiteful, maintain my own personality and continue correcting people and their stereotypes if I disagree with them.

What it is to be male, really comes down to the body; physical differences between us and women. It is helpful to be fully acceptant of my own body and proud to be a man and the interesting differences that it gives me. But all the perceived psychological and social differences, aren't in my opinion necessarily true at all of men, but only of a minority and people who apply THEMSELVES to the stereotypes.

Assuming that I don't want to hurt people, but want to be happy, my role as male, is the same as my role as a person and in relationships, I will not even think about gender when I ask myself what my partner needs, what I need, what we want, what could be harmful for my partner and indeed for me.

It's healthiest, to completely avoid using gender as a basis for any decision especially as I see many people use it for an excuse for their behaviour, disowning their responsibility.

(PS: I don't mean to imply that the only cause for these stereotypes are women's enforcement of them, only that they have the biggest impact on myself.)

[ 03-29-2007, 05:17 PM: Message edited by: PenguinBoy ]

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Posts: 633 | From: Bedfordshire, UK | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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its a load of crap. its giving men the power and rights over women and i don't agree thats right. its an attempt to pander to men's fragile ego and i don't believe in that either [Wink] men need to be men on their own terms, not by being told or pampered to to get it
Posts: 94 | From: london | Registered: Apr 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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