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Whither masculinity?

June 23, 2015

Conservatives – women’s rights gone too far, men’s rights needed

Masculinists – archetyal masculinity needs recovering e.g. Iron John

IJ IRON JOHN

Wild man had to protect the weak. Our natural role.

Cerne Abbas giant – club and penis.

Esau the hairy man.

Jacob has to put on fake hair.

Boys learned role:

C14 extended family meant boy worked alongside, grandad, uncles.

Boys no longer know what a man is

Now, man at work so with mum

CGFather absent workaholic. At home nagged, criticised.

So son takes grandiose road, high grades, the job THEY want. To please his mother.

Nature will out

Son reaches puberty – Hair – pubic and beard – wild. (David & Absalom – enmity yet ends up fighting like his father and hair in tree kills him)

Distrusts father – he is not real man – argues, slams door.

Goes into adult world determined to do better- but rebelling. If dad a conservative, he becomes a socialist. All is REaction.

Grows to be like his father

No longer aware of real wants.

Other people’s ways.

Falls in love with radiant woman – in fact it is the anima he has lost.

Really needs to go alone for some soul work.

Shaved head and cravat = taming of instincts.

So he becomes enlightened, disconnected from earth.

Gets older, goes through tussle with his own sons. (Abraham nagged by wife to disown first son and later thinks God wants him to kill his second)

Nature still tries to get out – pervertedly

His own warrior energy projected into false battles.

Power has become corrupt – office domination.

Project into false battles – against blacks, gays, the cold war

Gets sons to do the fighting for him.

In 1915 at Ypres one hundred thousand young men died on one day – all of them died without seeing the machine gunners who killed them.

anything left of the warrior vanished with the mass bombings of Dresden, Hiroshima, Vietnam

Then realises something is missing but it is too costly to change now.

mortgage, career, family.

The chance to change

Or he may have the guts to change. – mid life crisis

When can no longer ‘get it up’ – literal impotence, marriage failure, redundancy, younger men at work more effective

Baal Shem Tov of Poland C18 no man to study texts till 35.

Jung would not acept till established in another career.

Need to get nourishment from men instead of women:

Male initiation in tribe – Older man cuts arm, blood in bowl. Other men do same. Younger drinks. – nourishment comes from men, not just women (David and Jonathan – Jonathan strips off armour and stands naked – giving up father’s concept of masculinity)

Psychotherapy not enough – not enough to look at a wound, have to fight with it. Do outdoor manly pursuits

That’s what men are yearning for in soccer violence and drinking in the pub

Criticisms

Unaware of distortions of patriarchy which has put women down and which kills men. Lots of gynophobia about it.

The wild man of his myth is cruel – steals boy’s ball, takes hunter’s dog, frightens kids and adults, has no creativity or intellect

He sees boys as innocent up till age 8

Tells us to go out and do rough, manly things – avoiding solitude?

hot in channelling anger but little listening to women in right partnership.

FITBSAM KEEN – FIRE IN THE BELLY

The problem

Computer thesaurus: Men = army, battallion, brigade, force, gang, power, soldiers, troups – compiler could only think of men together in these terms. They sacrifice their individuality for sake of violence and domination. Why not brotherhood, guild, fraternity, friends, team members, comrades?

Learning to be a man

Devoid of manly attention – before WW1, men spent 4 hours daily with their sons, before WW2 2 hours, after it, 20 mins

Tribal initiation involved listening to lots of stories about heroes.

Now repressed and perverted

Instead of initation in tribe and rugged mountains, virgin forests, mountain lions, our youth in drugs, gang membership. New York newspaper described young men who went raping women joggers and beating other youths as ‘Wilding’. Also getting driving license, fast car racing, getting girl

Now we repress our fighting instincts and disown them.

Call contras in Central America fighters against communism instead of confessing our desire to dominate. Call nuclear weapon a peacemaker.

Repression leads to fight and flight instincts clogging adrenalin in arteries, stress, cut off from neck down, heart attacks.

Many men said despite horrors that wartime was only time they felt really alive.

Only 3% live off soil to feed other 97% – cut off.

Symbol of power is a chair – indoors, up high rise block.

Success equals drab clothes – grey suits

Army protects us so prove self in sexual conquest – locker room talks never boasts of how much pleasure they gave women but of how quick she was seduced &c. ‘Make love’ – productivity language

Need to change

Zen comment on Xianity: ‘God against man, man against man, man against woman, man against nature. Very strange religion.

2 most important questions: Where am I going? Who is going with me? We get them the wrong way round.

Need to wake up to who we are. Will mean living with questions – better than a triple heart bypass and no self-doubt.

Animals act without question, humans hesitate and think.

Boys told not to cry so men must learn to weep. Lose emotional numbness and remoteness from feelngs.

Regain sense of touch- real men do not touch, hence fear of gays yet rugby scrum. Vietnam men said they feared being called coward more than death.

Need to be prodigal son and go home. Go further, deeper inward and realise when we get nearer the core just how much of what we thought was our self is really other people’s masks.

Need solitude to do this. Require the same commitment as any other relationship.

Far from being threats to family life, gays are needed to enhance it. At present, men so scared of buddy-ness that they fall in love with woman who represents their suppressed anima and cling to her in claustrophobic relationship. She is more his mother than partner.

Body change – deep breathing, massage. Vehicle for your passion – one cause, eg. CND, not lots of committees. Express feelings. Practice art of loving (even masturbation) Join men’s group and go camping &c.

Radical – no such thing as masculinity

RTBAMJOHN STOLTENBERG: REFUSING TO BE A MAN

Instead of getting back to what a ‘real man’ is, get PAST gender to diversity

What makes you a man?

Some say prenatal hormones determine gender specific behaviour.

Or is it the way you are brought up (cf. bouncing blue baby and cuddling pink)

Aristotle noted masculine traits thus:

unfailing belief in own goodness regardless of others’ thoughts

rigorous adherence to male behaviours

belief in one’s own consistency

Female = hesitancy, qualms, uncertain she is doing right

In rape, man certain he is right and women wonders if she led him on

Biology proves more complex

Amazing – genitals come from same tissue

Are their 2 sexes? Or as many sexes as there are people?

Narrowing down – ironing out diversity

Nazis sought to exterminate all but Aryan type. Narrow down diversity of God’s creation.

Masculine body sensations narrowed down to tip of penis while women orgasm all over

‘Sons or fathers, poor men or rich men, sacred or secular: all are homosexual in their worship of everything phallic. A sexual revolution might destroy what men do so wel together, away from women: the making of his-tory, the making of war, the triumph of phallic will’ – Phyllis Chesler – talking about war, dehumanising machine work, worship of technology, rape of planet earth, adversarial politics and legal system

‘This country’s superfathers want to make certain that the United States will have the biggest cock in the world – that is, the greatest potency for sadism, euphamistically referred to as ‘deterrent’ capability.’

Sexual politics

Methods

Arms race cannot be dismantled without sexual revolution. CND marchers use masculine chants and fists.

False biology

To say women don’t have rights, don’t belong (men owned their daughters and ‘gave them away’ in marriage) – from view of Aeschylus that mother is not a parent but merely receptacle for the seed.

Gays not necessarily the great hope

Term ‘sexual orientation’ suggests some sort of aim for target practice.

Gay male sex in porn is ‘straight’ in orientation: no past – coupling is history-less, no future – relationship is uncommitted, no present -, physically functional but emotionally alienated.

The cure

See diversity – as already said

Men seen as doers – need to learn to be passive (cf. cross – Jesus laid aside garments, allowed himself to be arrested – passive verbs lead to victory of cross)

TLOMTHE LIMITS OF MASCULINITY: Andrew Tolson

The personal is political

Men’s liberationists – personal change requires political change.

Pro-male but also pro-gay and pro-women

The problem

Boys admire and copy father – unreal as they are absent from home most of the time.

Aim to get on, be self-reliant rather than asking for help. Serve some higher good.

security of a good job (fear of vulnerability and risk)

Learn masculine language which proscribes certain topics – sport, machines, competitiveness

ways of speaking – banter, jokes, bravado

Role models – footballer, man of action, fighter

Break up of life into compartments – leisure has to be earned. Work comes first and you get paid so you can be your real self afterwards – so work is unreal

All this is socially constructed.

The cure

1st step to cure is men’s groups – consciousness raising.

Men’s liberation – after women’s.

Liberation from competitiveness, hierarchies, work and leisure split – in short, socialism where all co-operate

Some theology

TICTHE INTIMATE CONNECTION – James Nelson

It depends on your theology

God the super zapper

Doctrinally incarnation – God above skies – comes down into mess and sorts out like superman then retreats back above heavens

Image of Jesus – God zapping our world from outside – penis-seed-Mary, not in sacraments from male priests.

Prayer – asking for a zap or thy will be done?

Prayer is not asking for something and getting it. It is passivity, tuning into God’s will – contemplation not intercession.

God in flesh

rather, statement that God is in flesh – ascension means that en- fleshment is permanent.

Flesh/spirit dualism not from Paul – for him, sarx was people without the spirit

Need rather to see God within all already – Jesus uniquely vulnerable and alive to the God inside him.

Belief in resurrection of body means belief in need for males to allow God to love in and through them.

yet men out of touch with bodies – something we have rather than are

Divine eros is fundamental energy of universe.

God in depths – flow of desire

God is centre of all desires – he yearns, savours, plays, needs, pleasures, confirms, confronts, celebrates. Males need same instead of competing and hiding true selves.

Fear of emotions mean men never bare depths to one another

To experience sexual pleasure, need to let go of control.

Cut off from full repertoire of human beings, defined as only one thing and project on to others everything else, e.g. communists, gays, females.

Yet Kinsey suggested nobody entirely hetero or homo.

Straight lines – progress rather than cycles of women’s periods. Straight line = erection.

Inner deadness leads to kicks – brutalizing women in war, Vietnamese ‘gooks’ with testicles stuffed in dead mouths

Awakening myths

Male myth of sleeping beauty who needs kiss from male hero to bring her to life. She is passive, dependent on male for life.

P Alternative is Pinnochio – he is wooden until fairy godmother’s touch brings him to life.

But most of his body still not alive – nose grows when lies – erection. Needs whole life, not penis-centred only.

New life through submission – going with flow

erection – bigger is better, progress, competition, arms race.

Need surrender, softness, vulnerability as symbolised by soft penis – being is enough, trusting God. Without retreat into desert, no way forward, without flaccid state, sexual. energy dead. So men need both/and.

Cf. Jacob:

He works for Laban so he can marry Rachel –

early adult male works for heart’s desire only to discover he has been tricked

– he gets Leah. His work was satisfying and served others but not motivated from deep inside but from older generation’s manipulation.

So works another 7 years and gets Rachel

– starting a new quest through spiritual direction or, psychotherapy and so finds feminine.

Last 7 years Jacob works to build up wealth – old age in which we accumulate personal growth as preparation for heaven.

In Greece 2500 years ago – no one comes of age until age 42

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