Just Merveilleux?

Life at № 42

Standards of Real Manhood™

Segurem suas cabras que meu bode está solto

That’s a traditional Lusophone saying that means tie up your does because my buck is free. Get it? Keep your females locked up because my male is roaming free. This is usually said about a son, with a laugh, sometimes a pat on the back. Certainly always with pride.

It’s part of a construct. A standard of masculinity men in many parts of the world have been expected to live up to for much of history. Men of my generation (or older), or born in a Latin country, or in a conservative religious environment, or to the working classes, or to any variety of authoritarian political regime – most probably know what I’m referring to.

At a certain point in my youth some of these regulations were made clear to me (as apparently they didn’t sink in naturally). Men keep their hair short, Men don’t cross their legs, Men don’t talk about fashion or art, Men don’t use words like fabulous. Men don’t cry because Men are never victims. Men never complain, also because Men are never victims. Take it like a man. Men don’t use cosmetics (an exception can be made for aftershave.) Men don’t do women’s work. Men always pay the bill(s), and always open doors.

Oh yes, and men like team sports.

I memorised those things, all of them. Alongside them I made note of all the others. All men are the same. Men only want one thing. A man’s home is his castle. Man-up. And then there’s the other side of the same ideology. Bitch, pussy, slut. Don’t run/jump/talk/catch/fight like a girl. Behind a great man is always a great woman. Mujer al volante, peligro constante (that one also exists in French: Femme au volant = accident!) Gallina que al gallo espanta, córtale la garganta. Les femmes se prennent comme des lapins… par les oreilles. She was asking for it. That’s girly, and girly is bad. Boyish good looks, boyish charm, a manly voice, a manly man, a real man – that’s what you want to be.

All these things are the result of one very basic dynamic: dominance/submission = male/female. So basic, so animal, so simplistic, and yet the primordial schema of mankind. 0 and 1. One and zero. How are we not past this yet?

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58 comments on “Standards of Real Manhood™

  1. Carmen
    July 21, 2017

    We are not past it yet because many, many men want it that way. 😦

    Liked by 4 people

    • The Pink Agendist
      July 21, 2017

      Indeed. I think the way the whole discussion has been framed has helped that. I think many men don’t quite understand that patriarchy isn’t all about “winning”. It’s also behind suicide being the number one killer in men under 50.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. darthtimon
    July 21, 2017

    A very pertinent article! Sadly society at large still favours old, out-dated notions of masculinity (and femininity). To dare to play a part that we weren’t meant to play is to invite all sorts of criticism. You should see the pitfalls that await within the MRA and MGTOW movements.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. darthtimon
    July 21, 2017

    Reblogged this on Coalition of the Brave and commented:
    I find this quite pertinent in light of recent events.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Tish Farrell
    July 21, 2017

    The Wodaabe men and women of Niger have a fairly original take on masculine expression:

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Pink Agendist
      July 21, 2017

      That’s amazing. I’d never heard of this culture – or to be honest, of a Muslim group where a woman can change husband of her own accord.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Carmen
        July 21, 2017

        Note that she could change husbands, not get more than one, though. 🙂
        (and what woman would want more than one??) 😉

        Liked by 3 people

      • makagutu
        July 21, 2017

        Haha Carmen.
        On this question, I will take my chances with Mark Twain in his letters from the earth, and paraphrase him that the laws we live by were written by the wrong group that’s why it allows men to have 4 wives while in truth he can’t satisfy one.

        Liked by 4 people

      • Tish Farrell
        July 21, 2017

        Fascinating, isn’t it.

        Liked by 1 person

    • acflory
      July 22, 2017

      Wow…apart from the heat, flies, sand and general misery…I could live with that system, especially the bit at the end where the wife talks about choosing a /new/ man and staying with him. If. She. Wants. 😀

      Liked by 2 people

      • Tish Farrell
        July 22, 2017

        Isn’t it good to know that some communities can organise things so differently from ‘civilisation’ as we know it. I agree one could do without the flies and heat, but I suspect that the Wodaabe don’t do too much on the misery front. I mean, just look at the hats!

        Like

      • acflory
        July 22, 2017

        -blush- I was too busy looking at the guys to notice the hats. Sorry. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      • Tish Farrell
        July 22, 2017

        🙂

        Like

  5. Clare Flourish
    July 21, 2017

    I joined the Territorial Army to make a man of myself. This only fits a few men, who can make a success of it. The others find it varying degrees of painful.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The Pink Agendist
      July 21, 2017

      Trying to fulfil that stereotype is exhausting, and such a waste of time. Which is why I don’t back down from these discussions on the definition of real womanhood/manhood. It’s just ridiculous that they’re still going on.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. foolsmusings
    July 21, 2017

    Horrible systems of education mostly.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. makagutu
    July 21, 2017

    Because technology changes faster than cultural norms.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. tildeb
    July 21, 2017

    Patriarchy hurts all of us.

    Like

  9. dpmonahan
    July 21, 2017

    This is a pile of prejudice and cliché. Not saying there is no grain truth to it, but reality is more complex.

    Like

    • The Pink Agendist
      July 21, 2017

      How so?

      Like

      • Carmen
        July 21, 2017

        I have found that people seem to experience different ‘realities’, Mr. M.

        Liked by 2 people

      • The Pink Agendist
        July 21, 2017

        Apparently so 🙂
        I wonder where exactly is this reality where boys are encouraged to be more like girls, where the word gay is a compliment, and where the majority of positions of power are occupied by women.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Carmen
        July 21, 2017

        Nowhere near me. .

        Liked by 1 person

      • dpmonahan
        July 21, 2017

        There is a nature/nurture dynamic you seem to miss. Humans have their natural (you might say evolved) tendencies that need training if they are to function socially. It is good for a boy to be trained to be a man. The model of manhood he is offered may be more or less adequate, and some boys might find the model more or less difficult to conform to (might be a problem with the model, maybe the boy) but in the long term it does not matter so much because his transition from adolescence to adulthood inevitably involves adjusting the models he was taught to his real insights and circumstances.
        You strike me as picking on some inadequate models and attacking the idea that there should be a model at all by way of caricature.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Pink Agendist
        July 21, 2017

        From needing training to being trained in the way I describe in the post there’s a very long way. There’s no reason one should lead to the other if the model we’re discussing is fatally flawed.

        The model of manhood boys are pushed into (not offered) is highly problematic. Not good psychologically and actually, unhealthy. Men commit suicide at a rate of 2:1 to women, for example. When the financial crisis struck that number went up dramatically(for men). So we’re talking about a model that’s got tremendous pitfalls.
        Adjusting at some point doesn’t obviously magically fix the sense of self-worth based on things like money making ability and status which we’re told is the measure of male value. That’s not a caricature.

        Liked by 2 people

      • dpmonahan
        July 21, 2017

        That is “a model”, not “the model”. There are hundreds of such models, though perhaps they have much in common. The problems you point out seem to be more a matter of exaggerating something good at the expense of other values.

        Like

      • The Pink Agendist
        July 21, 2017

        I did specify in the post in which communities the model I mention is most prevalent. And let me clarify that for those groups, what I say is not exaggerated. I personally grew up in a world where these were the standards for men.

        Like

      • dpmonahan
        July 21, 2017

        I grew up in a religiously conservative home where dad was unquestionably the boss, and experienced none of that. The worst “imprinting” I received was the unconscious conviction that all men should be nicotine addicts.

        Like

      • The Pink Agendist
        July 21, 2017

        How did you test it? Were you encouraged to do traditionally feminine things? Wear pink? Play with dolls? Dance ballet? Not open doors for girls? Were you encouraged to depend on other people? Be a stay at home father?

        Like

      • dpmonahan
        July 21, 2017

        Of course not, I was raised to be a man. That was my point, you are saying there is no point to raising a boy to manhood. You are conflating obvious deformities with a normal upbringing and calling it all wicked.

        Like

      • The Pink Agendist
        July 21, 2017

        I see. So you’re denying patriarchy and then not only admitting to it, but justifying it. All in the same breath. You’ve got a serious mathematical problem there.

        Either it doesn’t exist or is rare, as you first implied. Or it’s the standard and “good” because that’s the way you were raised, you know, to be a man.

        Liked by 1 person

      • dpmonahan
        July 21, 2017

        I have no idea how you define patriarchy. If you mean the necessity of men to be formed in sex specific roles and virtues (with some variation depending on social circumstances in different times and places) then sure, I celebrate it. If you mean abuses of authority or a destructive machismo, then no, I don’t.

        Like

      • The Pink Agendist
        July 21, 2017

        Is this a make it up as you go along exercise? First you denied men were trained to live up to the standards I describe in the post, then you justified said standards. Now again you’re trying to have it both ways. Machismo is destructive. There isn’t some great form that works fantastically well, found somewhere around Lake Maggiore.

        Like

      • dpmonahan
        July 21, 2017

        I said men were trained to live up to standards, and that that was a good thing. I distinguished that those standards may be more or less adequate, within “less” I include the destructive things you find sometimes – substance abuse, sexual libertinism, gross materialism/careerism. You are conflating all specifically male cultural norms as being bad.

        Like

      • The Pink Agendist
        July 21, 2017

        Not conflating; those things are the backbone of Alpha-Male-hood. From Trump to OJ, to tv depictions by actors like Donnie Wahlberg or Christopher Meloni. Men being “tough”, crossing lines, portraying a form of masculinity that’s harmful to themselves and others.

        Like

      • dpmonahan
        July 21, 2017

        And we come full circle: clichés.
        Screwing over creditors and violence against women are not “manly” behavior where I come from, rather the inverse: a sign of a boy who never grew up.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Pink Agendist
        July 21, 2017

        Yes, but the question is: Which model is the most common pattern?
        Have you see the shows on Italian or Brazilian television?

        Like

      • dpmonahan
        July 21, 2017

        I don’t know Portuguese beyond the lyrics of some old Bossa Nova. I didn’t watch a lot of Italian TV, just the news and this show about an old man trying to raise his granddaughter that was kind of ridiculous but I just couldn’t stop watching.
        I imagine in every country you can find competing models, some intentional, some implicit. For example, in my home I was never taught to identify manliness with being good at sports, but I picked that up in grade school, probably to my detriment.
        In a lot of Latin cultures religion is considered a woman’s thing, but in other countries it is seen as a male thing. In my early 20s I belonged to a young men’s catholic group that had a lot of Hispanics – they were mostly mama’s boys, not that they were effeminate but in the sense that the parent they identified with was the mother. A surprising number had alcoholic fathers, especially the Mexicans. We Anglo-Americans were all daddy’s boys, and almost without exception our fathers were practicing Catholics. So we saw religious duties as a male function, whereas the Hispanics were often driven to identify with mom’s religion based on an obviously flawed model of manhood.

        Like

      • The Pink Agendist
        July 22, 2017

        I know you like appealing to confusion, to make a mathematical analysis seem unreasonable – except that doesn’t really work.
        There are clear differences between majority, minority and exceptions; and there are differences between incidence and promoted ideals. Brazilian and Italian media include the objectification of women as an identifiable pattern in their programming. Not as an exception, but as a standard occurrence. The same is true of the promotion of machismo.

        Like

  10. Hariod Brawn
    July 21, 2017

    Aren’t most of us past this antediluvian stuff? I don’t really know, as I hide myself away a lot these days, but I thought we dropped a lot of all this back in the eighties. I was in London then, and that’s why I think that, as those attitudes were sardonically dismissed, even then, 35, 40 years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carmen
      July 21, 2017

      Wouldn’t it have been lovely if it had, Hariod? But check out the two organizations mentioned by darthtimon and you’ll see that, sadly, another kind of nastiness has emerged. Must. Keep. Women. In. Their. Place. 😦

      Liked by 2 people

      • The Pink Agendist
        July 21, 2017

        Even setting the extremists aside, I’ve sat next to enough groups of young men over the years to know what the conversation sounds like.

        Like

    • The Pink Agendist
      July 21, 2017

      Edouard Louis is around 22, and his book is about his teens. And the story the quote links to is from 2015, so although some places have evolved – that’s by no means the rule.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. acflory
    July 22, 2017

    Isn’t the whole point of patriarchy to own one’s offspring and thereby to ensure that any power one accumulated during life would be passed to the right person at death? Therefore the patriarch must own the vessel from which the offspring emerge.
    By contrast, in a matriarchy, the ownership of offspring is direct and physically observable so the matriarch has no need to own any of the males that may have contributed to the process. Nevertheless, power of a sort does accrue to the matriarch because the choice is /hers/ not his.
    Biologicially speaking, a successful male is one who can pass his genetic material on into the next generation…as often as possible so that his /offspring/ have the best chance possible of also passing those particular genes along.
    The only way humans will ever have a hybrid system in which the power is equally balanced and extreme stereotypes are no longer necessary is if the environment in which we live no longer includes the need for warriors. Generations, nay, millenia without wars of any sort.
    I’d like to believe it’s possible but… 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  12. john zande
    July 22, 2017

    Probably something in the water, but you try and act all macho/patriarchal in Oz and you’ll lose your head before you can say, “Wait, no, I didn’t mean…”

    What I can’t understand is the sheer volume of perfume men (the macho-type) wear down here… and they call it perfume, too, which seems to me at least to negate that whole “I am man, hear me roar” thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Pink Agendist
      July 22, 2017

      And how pungent (and awful) it is! That’s one thing I think I’ll never get out of my head, the smell of Brazil’s perfumed poor.

      Like

      • john zande
        July 22, 2017

        Tell me about it. I once caught a bus to Praça da Sé and was left dry-retching with the soup in the air. Literally, I had to stick my head out the window to breathe.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Pink Agendist
        July 22, 2017

        There is history to it, though. There have been various waves of creating a national identity in the post colonial period. One that aimed at distancing Brazilians from Europeans. In this mythology, Europeans were dirty while Brazilians were clean. Brazilians were poor, but honest. Europeans might be educated, but they weren’t clever like Brazilians. The Portuguese were targeted in particular as prototypical fools.

        Liked by 1 person

      • john zande
        July 22, 2017

        Ah, I didn’t know that part of indentity-making. Interesting. Makes sense, too. And you’re right, the Portuguese jokes are merciless.

        Liked by 1 person

    • acflory
      July 23, 2017

      lmao – I think the metrosexual movement struck a chord. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  13. You know, I spent a lot of time in Russia – which is obviously culturally patriarchal, but has had real feminism since the 1920s, and in Ireland – which up until recently has been very traditional but women had a pretty important role. I never once was made feel bad for being a girl in either place. And if anyone said something like you ought to have long hair, be nice, cook etc, I kind of just brushed it off.

    The first time I seriously considered the thought was when I heard Madonna’s single features this narrative: “Girls can wear jeans and cut their hair short and wear shirts and boots because it’s okay to be a boy; for girls it’s like promotion. But for a boy to look like a girl is degrading, according to you, because secretly you believe that being a girl is degrading.” It’s called What It Feels Like For A Girl… Scary to think it’s 17 years old now!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Pink Agendist
      July 22, 2017

      Russia and Ireland both have very complex relationships with women’s right, don’t they? Ireland still struggling with the abortion matter, and Russia oscillating between Soviet ideals and a Royalist soul. Women must be educated and work, but they also must be married and have children. A lot of pressure.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Indeed! I suppose nowhere is simple. One thing I did notice any time I was in France is that men are far more gallant with women then in the UK or Ireland

        Liked by 1 person

  14. smazzygrl
    July 23, 2017

    My Dad was busy working so hard to provide that I, a girl, was a gentleman to my mother and little sisters. So, while a feminist standing for the respect and dignity of women, I still prefer to be a lady but will man-up for my ladies when the situation calls. In metropolitan areas where there are more people and more understandings you can witness a very broad spectrum of how people relate to each other. I tend to let others take the lead and be receptive towards the realities they perpetuate while recognizing, it’s not the only existing paradigm.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Bela Johnson
    July 27, 2017

    How in-fucking-deed?

    Like

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This entry was posted on July 21, 2017 by in activism and tagged , , , , , .
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