Since I can remember there are three subject that when I talked about , that unleashed an unimaginable amount of chastisement and extreme reactions. I will list them for you here, and the responses I got 95% of the time:
- The Israel Palestine conflict / If you don’t agree with what Israel does you are anti-Semitic
- The Whole Black Experience in America / You have it better than during slavery, your ungrateful and lazy
- Talking about the struggles of men nowadays / Men have destroyed the world for centuries, your struggles don’t compare to that of womyn*
*according to a feminist friend of mine, women is spelt differently (womyn) to emphasis the differences between the sexes.
The issue I have with every movement,(bowel movements excluded) well from what I have seen, is that after focusing so much on the differentiating the follower from those who would oppose them there is never a plan to integrate the various factions, to unify them as much as possible. From what I have read about the different waves of the feminine movement I have never seen any attempt to integrate men or other other perspectives. I feel that both sides at some point have to come together and put it all on the table like I did on a date once, actually that’s how I test to see if the tables are clean; any itchy or burning sensation more than usual tells me the table isn’t clean enough.
A lot of my friends (Caribbean-Black & Hispanic) grew up old school, which for us meant:
- No time outs
- Behavioural modification through verbal abuse and leather belt savagery .
- Living in apt buildings with hundred of people a handful of languages being spoken.
- Had to man-up real quick because of living in really rough neighbourhood and frequent sightings of the NYPD
I think that my approach to masculinity was very different than a lot of my friends from prep school (who were mostly Caucasian), because of my Haitian heritage. I have seen that among my friends and acquaintances from post colonial or third world nations issues like body dismorphia, and gender identity for instance are not as prevalent as in the US and Western Europe. Of course I am basing this on a limited subset of people and my own personal observations.Nevertheless I felt that this quote would be a bit apropos
In the late twentieth century we face a crisis in masculine identity of vast proportion. Increasingly, observers of the contemporary science – sociologist, anthropologists, and depth psychologists – are discovering the devastating dimensions of this phenomenon, which affects each of us personally as much as it affects our society as a whole. Why is there so much gender confusion today, at least in the United States and Western Europe? it seems increasingly difficult to point to anything like either a masculine or a feminine essence.
Ok Getting Right into it
I thought I would put out another Iron John Quote, that is related and pick up this thread later. This book was an interesting read but while I have seen a lot of what Bly depicts in my daily life, there are added dimension that of course he cannot comment on since he hasn’t experienced. I think post-colonial literature offers a real interesting counter image about masculinity and femininity. I think personally judging from the multicultural friends I have this issue has many deeper dimensions. Anyway here is the quote
During the fifties, for example, the American character appeared with some consistency that became a model of manhood adopted by many men: the Fifties male. He got to work early, laboured responsibly, supported his wife and children and admired discipline. Reagan is a sort of mummified version of this dogged type. This sort of man didn’t see women’s souls well, but he appreciated their bodies; and his view of culture and America’s part in it was boyish and optimistic. Many of his qualities were strong and positive, but underneath the charm and bluff there was, and there remains, much isolation, deprivation, and passivity. Unless he has an enemy, he isn’t sure that he is alive. The Fifties man was supposed to like football, be aggressive, stick up for the United States, never cry, and always provide…. During the sixties, another sort of man appeared. The waste and violence of the Vietnam war made men question whether they knew what an adult male really was. If manhood meant Vietnam, did they want any part of it? Meanwhile, the feminist movement encouraged men to actually look at women, forcing them to become conscious of concerns and sufferings that the Fifties male laboured to avoid.
There’s something wonderful about this development – I mean the practice of men welcoming their own ‘feminine’ consciousness and nurturing it – this is important – and yet I have the sense that there is something wrong. The male in the past twenty years has become more thoughtful, more gentle. But by this process he has not become more free. He’s a nice boy who pleases not only his mother but also the young woman he is living with…. but many of these men are not happy. You quickly notice the lack of energy in them. They are life-preserving but not exactly life-giving. Ironically, you often see these men with strong women who positively radiate energy. Here we have a finely tuned young man, ecologically superior to his father, sympathetic to the whole harmony of the universe, yet he himself has little vitality to offer…”