The Wickedness of the Masculinity Debate

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    Jun 24, 2009 8:06 PM GMT
    [[In response to two threads: about masculinity and "the" "scene"]]

    Homophobia and misogyny are inseparable. Both arise from long-dead monarchic absolute power in which society saw itself as a hierarchy and individuals as a public-private duality whose duty was to patron and lineage. The cult of male supremacy was sustained by an arbitrary and manifestly misogynistic division of attributes into positive and negative i.e. strength, weakness, ruggedness, softness, the sword, the arts, and their ascription to “male” and “female”. Homophobia in such a context is a perfectly coherent morality since same-sex attraction threatens the illusion around which society is ordered.

    The explosion of centralized power, due in no small part to the United States of America, collapsed the legitimacy of divinely appointed kings and state religions. Surely misogyny and homophobia, mantras of the discredited system, would die too? And they have done, slowly, leaving such curious paradoxes as Evangelicals who demand less government as well as state imposition of their paternalistic morality. Bereft of context, their moral arguments have been recast as scriptural arguments that reveal more about their prejudices than any interdiction.

    No less a curiosity is the phenomenon of gender-rhetoric, perhaps even gender-polemic, amongst gay men. Instead of a positivist or constructive description of their quite legitimate preferences–no one can rationalize attraction after all!–some seem all too quickly to resort to gender as a language to express them. That the binary language of gender and its characters, the “queen”, the “masc”, the “fem” are so inadequate to represent a human is why these terms are hurtful: their user implies that to him such people are not real. It is the un-reality of online identity that allows such language to be used at all.

    A brief example: I like snowboarding, and hence I say I am attracted to snowboarders, which is a positivist statement that involves a non-gendered stereotype. If I were to engage in gender-rhetoric I might say I was into “masculine” men by which I might have in my mind a picture of someone who snowboards. Gender is related only to the prejudices of society, not to snowboarding, and hence such language demeans the many women who snowboard. The positivist statement is not without the insurmountable weakness that attraction can be predicted by generalization only in the probabilistic sense: If you are a snowboarder, I am likely to be attracted to you. But it does not cause offence, and it does not exclude.

    The myth of male supremacy is dead and the societies that required it are gone. We as gay people however we conceive of ourselves need to silence the gender-rhetoric for it proliferates the misogyny and homophobia that make us the victims.

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    Jun 24, 2009 8:18 PM GMT
    I am what I am
    I am my own special creation
    So come take a look
    Give me the hook
    Or the ovation
    It's my world
    That I want to have a little pride
    My world
    And it's not a place I have to hide in
    Life's not worth a dam
    Till I can say
    I am what I am

    I am what I am
    I don't want praise I don't want pity
    I bang my own drum
    Some think it's noise I think it's pretty
    And so what if I love each sparkle and each bangle
    Why not see things from a different angle
    Your life is a shame
    Till you can shout out I am what I am


    I am what I am
    And what I am needs no excuses
    I deal my own deck
    Sometimes the aces sometimes the deuces
    It's one life and there's no return and no deposit
    One life so it's time to open up your closet
    Life's not worth a dam till you can shout out
    I am what I am

    I am what I am

    I am what I am
    And what I am needs no excuses
    I deal my own deck sometimes the aces sometimes the deuces
    It's one life and there's no return and no deposit
    One life so it's time to open up your closet
    Life's not worth a dam till you can shout out
    I am what I am

    I am I am I am good
    I am I am I am strong
    I am I am I am worthy
    I am I am I belong

    I am

    I am

    Who whoooo etc.
    I am

    I am I am I am useful
    I am I am I am true
    I am I am somebody
    I am as good as you

    Yes I am


    funny pictures
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    Jun 24, 2009 8:55 PM GMT
    I concur Dr. Atherton

    But that's based on the fact that you are not explicitly choosing to snowboard to express some instinctive masculine, aggressive traits of your personality.

    So you would be attracted to snowboarders based on what you perceive to be their masculinity and in fact are masc4masc.

    But then I believe that people aren't evolutionarily designed to live in the current social climate in terms of enforced gender roles and attempts to adapt to it causes a lot of the social problems
  • Delivis

    Posts: 2332

    Jun 24, 2009 8:59 PM GMT
    I agree with most of what you said.

    While I do think there is some legitimate meaning to words like masculine and feminine as long as the people you are talking to have a similar conception of what is meant by those words, I would much prefer if we not used those words as much as they do tend to cause misunderstanding.

    Not every use of the word masculine is filled with mysoginy or some other implication of inequality between genders or sexualities. Not every use of the word masculine, in other words, is meant to put down femininity, whatever one means by either of those words.

    I am attracted to many different kinds of features both in people generally and in potential romantic relationships especially. Most of the ones to do with physical characteristics gravitate to masculinity. What do I mean by that? I am using the word masculine as short hand for multiple characteristics - strength, athleticism, and so on as well as some personal characteristics like forthrightness, aggresiveness, pragmatism, directness that are, on average, more ascociated with the male gender than the female. Even in women i am attracted more to the types that have these kinds of qualities. For some reason I like (though not sexually) strong female kick-butt characters in movies and TV.

    When it comes to intellectual and emotional values I am attractived to many feminine values, like the stronger need for social solidarity and cooperativeness.

    One can use terms of like masculinity and femininity without any suggestion, however subtle, of mysoginy, homophobia, or bigotry.

    And what is a dead turn-off to me every time is anyone, male or female, who acts like a stereotype. I dont care whether if it is a guy acting like an MTV rapper with the jewelry and the materialistic obsessiveness and the mysoginy and the childish lust for power OR the loud mouthed, high pitched, frenetic, fashion obsessed, shallow gay guy as we have see protrayed in the media oh so many times OR the macho, homophobic, bros-before-hos, straight guy who acts like the star jerk captain of hit football team and measures his self worth by a combination of his penis length and how many ninth graders he can belittle and bench press at the same time.

    I realize there is a type of person out there who objects to the very idea of ascociating certain characteristics with certain genders. What do you mean women are more cooperative or men are better at math or sports?! The sort of person who is still stuck in the sociological thinking of the 60s and 70s that led us to believe that a child, regardless of gender, plays with either barbies or toy guns not because of their gender but 100% due to socialization. We now know that is not true.

    Oh and just one caveat about your post Tim, and as we have chatted about this for horus on end before you will know where I am coming from. I object to the phrase "we as gay people", the gay qualifier is completely unnecesary..icon_smile.gif We as people is much better.
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    Jun 24, 2009 9:59 PM GMT
    yes, logical debate and ideas have always prevailed on RJ..
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    Jun 24, 2009 10:11 PM GMT
    lilTanker saidyes, logical debate and ideas have always prevailed on RJ..


    *snickers*
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 24, 2009 10:19 PM GMT
    GuerrillaSodomite said*snickers*
    Did you just SOL?
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    Jun 24, 2009 10:32 PM GMT
    I just skimmed Dr. Atherton's disquisition icon_lol.gif. He seems to be on the right path, though.

    What I don't get is why this issue even exists. What do individuals feel compelled to complain about "masculine" guys who only like other "masculine" guys? If you think you don't measure up to this "masculine" standard, ignore these "masculine" guys and go after guys with less restrictions/hang-ups. It's pretty simple.
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    Jun 24, 2009 10:35 PM GMT
    mickeytopogigio said
    GuerrillaSodomite said*snickers*
    Did you just SOL?



    ROFLMAO!!
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    Jun 24, 2009 10:41 PM GMT

    BlkMuscleGent, I asked a question to a group of Drag queens years ago. They were busily tearing apart several guys that fit their definition of 'a man' (think Minnie Pearl screaming it out loud).

    So I asked, "Why don't you guys just go out with each other?"

    Replies, "Honey, this gurl needs a reeel maaaaan."
    " I don do nuthin with my sistahs"
    "We're not lesbians."
    "That's positively incestuous, darling."

    It appears opposites attract.





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    Jun 24, 2009 10:44 PM GMT
    TigerTim said

    The myth of male supremacy is dead and the societies that required it are gone. We as gay people however we conceive of ourselves need to silence the gender-rhetoric for it proliferates the misogyny and homophobia that make us the victims.



    Nicely stated. We should be the ones continuing to challenge gendered consciousness, not squabbling amongst ourselves.
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    Jun 24, 2009 10:57 PM GMT
    mickeytopogigio said
    GuerrillaSodomite said*snickers*
    Did you just SOL?

    Ooops, I was trying to politely muffle it behind my hand. Sowwy.
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    Jun 24, 2009 11:09 PM GMT
    oh my god, are you kidding? it's well known that women cannot drive, park, or do anything electronic. how are guys not superior?

    bleh..
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    Jun 24, 2009 11:35 PM GMT
    tommysguns2000 saidoh my god, are you kidding? it's well known that women cannot drive, park, or do anything electronic. how are guys not superior?

    bleh..
    frikkin A DUDE.. let's bump chests (in a manly none gay, none effeminate way) to display our manlyness
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    Jun 24, 2009 11:40 PM GMT
    meninlove said
    BlkMuscleGent, I asked a question to a group of Drag queens years ago. They were busily tearing apart several guys that fit their definition of 'a man' (think Minnie Pearl screaming it out loud).

    So I asked, "Why don't you guys just go out with each other?"

    Replies, "Honey, this gurl needs a reeel maaaaan."
    " I don do nuthin with my sistahs"
    "We're not lesbians."
    "That's positively incestuous, darling."

    It appears opposites attract.


    That isn't always the case, meninlove. icon_smile.gif
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    Jun 24, 2009 11:45 PM GMT
    tommysguns2000 saidoh my god, are you kidding? it's well known that women cannot drive, park, or do anything electronic. how are guys not superior?

    bleh..


    lets not forget men had too fight, and die to make the workforce safe / safer, and now most of the hard work is done, women won't in, they won't our jobs, and won't too feminise em too.

    In many ways it's no diffrent to the battle the homosexuals have had in Oz. Since it was conceived women could not have sex in the way two men could, via sexual penetration, it was not outlawed to be a lesbian, as it was to be a homosexual, thus lesbians have not had the fight in Oz, that us homosexuals had, and since I come out in the dark ages when it still was not safe to do so, I was apart of that fight!

    So men have died, been imprisoned, been orphaned, and publicly shamed because of their sexuality in the past. But now the fight is mostly over in Oz, women won't to head the gay community, as they do the workforce, yet they have not endured the battle, but won't the rewards.
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    Jun 25, 2009 12:02 AM GMT
    lilTanker said
    tommysguns2000 saidoh my god, are you kidding? it's well known that women cannot drive, park, or do anything electronic. how are guys not superior?

    bleh..
    frikkin A DUDE.. let's bump chests (in a manly none gay, none effeminate way) to display our manlyness


    YA, MAN! Crazy bitches! (fist bump) check the tits on that one, bro! I'd like to get me some of ...

    hey..is that your penis, tank? wow, that's nice...let's go into the bathroom stall for a second.

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    Jun 25, 2009 12:13 AM GMT
    tommysguns2000 said
    lilTanker said
    tommysguns2000 saidoh my god, are you kidding? it's well known that women cannot drive, park, or do anything electronic. how are guys not superior?

    bleh..
    frikkin A DUDE.. let's bump chests (in a manly none gay, none effeminate way) to display our manlyness


    YA, MAN! Crazy bitches! (fist bump) check the tits on that one, bro! I'd like to get me some of ...

    hey..is that your penis, tank? wow, that's nice...let's go into the bathroom stall for a second.


    mmkay, but whyyyyyyyyy...... oh.. OH DAMN, DUDE... oh don't stop icon_razz.gif
  • danisnotstr8

    Posts: 2579

    Jun 25, 2009 12:16 AM GMT
    Timmo,

    I miss you.

    I'm too tired to reply right now but I love what you've said. More later.

    Cheers
    Daniel
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    Jun 25, 2009 12:26 AM GMT
    What about re-framing the question as one between Boy and Men? I think it's a lot more appropriate. A boy, being a dependent, immature person, has been given leeway by society to be less responsible, less serious, less competitive, more flaky, etc. Somewhat similar leeway is given to women in traditional paternalistic culture, as long as the husband is happy with her. Specifically, she doesn't need to be competitive in anything. And because she is dependent on the man, she takes shit from him without having much recourse. Therefore her sense of self-respect is compromised.

    Some gay men, lacking motivation to work for a better future (due to social stigma and prejudice, no doubt), focus on the hedonistic here and now. They're used to lack of self-respect, therefore taking on the socially accepted roles for boys and for women are natural to them. They use this to avoid responsibility, and also to justify their lack of self-respect. If they're no longer young enough to pass as immature boys then they try to use the feminine angle. It's as if as long as they act like women, they don't need to do anything well and still should be accepted and excused, much like what spoiled children expect from their parents. Considering that gay men don't have the duty to raise children which is the primary social expectation of real women, this is really an easy cop-out. Poor behavior disguised behind "femininity" is still poor behavior.

    Some drag queens look and behave like real women. These are the true artists. Looking feminine is an art form, but it's really more appreciated by straight men or lesbians. Some other drag queens do not look feminine at all, but they believe that just by adding glamorous women's clothing to themselves they now deserve to be treated with deference like real women, that she can be excused to be emotional, get sympathy for telling sob stories, or make snide remarks. Respectable women or drag queens do not behave this way. Trashy women, prostitutes, etc. have always been ostracized socially precisely because of this. They don't keep their word. They have no self-respect. They're irresponsible.

    That said, every man has a feminine side, even straight men. Accepting it and letting it flourish makes an all-round person. Repressing it makes for a miserable life and boredom. A man will also be more successful in today's job market if he develops the "feminine" skills of compromise, communication, etc. What we need is a better language to distinguish those "feminine" qualities that are positive and constructive from those bad qualities that should never have been called "feminine". For example, cowardice is not a feminine quality, but it's long been attributed to be "feminine" by a misogynistic culture. Making snide remarks, a way of masking verbal aggression, is also not "feminine". It's a learned bad behavior.
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    Jun 25, 2009 12:39 AM GMT



    BlkMuscleGent said, "That isn't always the case, meninlove. "

    Good grief, no! lol, Bill and I are very much alike in a lot of ways.

    There is a lot of opposites attracting out there, though, and sometimes we think that when it ends in rejection of one kind or another and topics like these come up the results are flame-wars.....
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    Jun 25, 2009 12:42 AM GMT
    Caslon11000 said I am what I am and I so agree. Lets allow our community to be who we are rather they are butch or fem or somewhere in the middle, lets just work together and treat every w/ respect.
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    Jun 25, 2009 1:00 AM GMT
    In a nutshell, whenever I hear the word masculine It think of it as box containing other adjectives that the person talking deems worthy of including in that box and I usually assume such criterion has a strong correlation with that person's particular preferences and values. After all, do we not keep hearing "Such or such person is a REAL MAN" (And what do women think about that?)

    I have some things in my "masculine box" and will only throw the word into a conversation in which the person I'm talking to knows what I mean by that. Otherwise is just faulty communication and potentially an offensive one given the sensibiiities around those themes.

    I second TigerTim about unpacking what we have in our masculine box and don't assume that everyones shares our definition. Failing that, please, please use your sense of humor! icon_smile.gif

    As for the social issues around this and the perspective of women... I'm not jumping into that discussion just yet. I still think there are simple biology facts together in the mix with things that are just ideas, but differentiating that is heavy discussion to have over some cups of coffee and a whole afternoon to spend icon_smile.gif
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    Jun 25, 2009 3:40 AM GMT
    TigerTimThe myth of male supremacy is dead and the societies that required it are gone. We as gay people however we conceive of ourselves need to silence the gender-rhetoric for it proliferates the misogyny and homophobia that make us the victims
    .

    I'm in about 100 percent agreement with you. In fact, my profile mentions that the thing I like about the androgynous is their subversion of the binary axis of gender around which everything in our culture seems to be organized.

    I'm not so sure, however, that I agree that the myth of male supremacy is dead. I've worked with quite a few trans clients and I've frequently been surprised how cookie-cutter their ideas about gender are, typically reinforcing stereotypes. The notion that they might be a "third sex" or happily occupy the middle range of the gender axis is not something they typically welcome.

    Usually they make the argument that, for example, David Bowie could be Ziggy Stardust, but always return to his more conventionally masculine identity. Above all, most of them seem to want to "pass." There are a couple of trans men here on RJ. Perhaps they will address this.

    I hesitate to mention her name, but I do think Judith Butler's analysis of gender is right-on in many respects. She demonstrates the way gender is created through the gestural body, clothing, etc. -- factors that add up to what she calls "performativity." She doesn't mean this is undertaken with intent, but that, in a way, cultural notions about gender "perform" us. One can become self-conscious in this respect and play with gender with intentionality. (Thus Butler's fascination with drag.) But I'm not sure that we can actually transcend the linguistic and gestural cues that fashion gender.

    Actually, it seems to me that gay men are now more preoccupied with passing as gender-normative than ever. Most of the people I knew in the late '70s and early '80s who adopted the hypermasculine clone look knew they were playing with gender, not really "passing." (Cowboys don't really carry tambourines.) Now, with broader acceptance and sodomy legal, we don't function as outlaws, so there is less impetus to stress our difference or engage in a critique of patriarchal norms.

    I'm not saying I don't agree that it would be ideal to purge our language of constructions that equate desire and markers of gender, but it seems to me that the opposite is happening among many gay men. On the other hand, I do observe an indifference to sexual orientation among many younger straight men that is pretty mind-blowing to those of us who committed a crime whenever we expressed our love. So maybe this all a last gasp of the myth you say is dying.

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    Jun 25, 2009 5:29 AM GMT
    TigerTim said[[In response to two threads: about masculinity and "the" "scene"]]

    Homophobia and misogyny are inseparable. Both arise from long-dead monarchic absolute power in which society saw itself as a hierarchy and individuals as a public-private duality whose duty was to patron and lineage. The cult of male supremacy was sustained by an arbitrary and manifestly misogynistic division of attributes into positive and negative i.e. strength, weakness, ruggedness, softness, the sword, the arts, and their ascription to “male” and “female”. Homophobia in such a context is a perfectly coherent morality since same-sex attraction threatens the illusion around which society is ordered.

    The explosion of centralized power, due in no small part to the United States of America, collapsed the legitimacy of divinely appointed kings and state religions. Surely misogyny and homophobia, mantras of the discredited system, would die too? And they have done, slowly, leaving such curious paradoxes as Evangelicals who demand less government as well as state imposition of their paternalistic morality. Bereft of context, their moral arguments have been recast as scriptural arguments that reveal more about their prejudices than any interdiction.

    No less a curiosity is the phenomenon of gender-rhetoric, perhaps even gender-polemic, amongst gay men. Instead of a positivist or constructive description of their quite legitimate preferences–no one can rationalize attraction after all!–some seem all too quickly to resort to gender as a language to express them. That the binary language of gender and its characters, the “queen”, the “masc”, the “fem” are so inadequate to represent a human is why these terms are hurtful: their user implies that to him such people are not real. It is the un-reality of online identity that allows such language to be used at all.

    A brief example: I like snowboarding, and hence I say I am attracted to snowboarders, which is a positivist statement that involves a non-gendered stereotype. If I were to engage in gender-rhetoric I might say I was into “masculine” men by which I might have in my mind a picture of someone who snowboards. Gender is related only to the prejudices of society, not to snowboarding, and hence such language demeans the many women who snowboard. The positivist statement is not without the insurmountable weakness that attraction can be predicted by generalization only in the probabilistic sense: If you are a snowboarder, I am likely to be attracted to you. But it does not cause offence, and it does not exclude.

    The myth of male supremacy is dead and the societies that required it are gone. We as gay people however we conceive of ourselves need to silence the gender-rhetoric for it proliferates the misogyny and homophobia that make us the victims.




    After reading this highly complicated explanation several times over as to what is or is not masculine I still couldn't make any sense of what you are trying to convey!? call me ignorant or what not but I am one who prefers to get to the point without being too wordy!!! that being said I don't see any correlation between misogyny and homophobia with those of us who prefers masculine men or more so masculinity!


    I consider myself masculine because I don't talk, walk, or act like a woman, but not because I don't like those who act like one!!! yet I don't hate nor fear a woman's femininity! quite the contrary I have a great deal of respect and admiration for how natural and well they fit into their gender role! I personally think that woman unlike men are more genuine and ten times more natural at expressing femininity then any effeminate guy on the planet!! and for the record just because an effeminate guy acts like a woman that doesn't mean he is in better touch with the feminine side of being human then a masculine guy would be! that is not to say that effeminate guys aren't worthy, they just aren't even close of being or in acting out femininity as genuinely and as natural as women do!



    ♥ Leandro ♥