Masculinity, so fragile

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Re: Masculinity, so fragile

Post by Jennifer » 03 Sep 2019, 14:09

Mo wrote:
03 Sep 2019, 05:46
Also, punching down doesn't really work for the Stephens situation. He thought he was punching down, but it turned out he encountered someone who is a better communicator and whose job is more secure.
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Re: Masculinity, so fragile

Post by Hugh Akston » 29 Oct 2019, 16:33

A little old, but I don't think this has been posted here: What is it like to be a man?
“What is it like to be a cis-gendered, heterosexual man?” a friend, a trans man, asks on Facebook. “What is it like to feel at home in your body?” The only answer I can come up with is that I never feel at home in my body.
Both Mansfield and McAllister are utterly conventional in seeing manliness as a deep-seated biological necessity threatened by modernity. But human nature and male nature, if either exists at all, are Kantian unknowables, apprehensible only secondarily in their manifestations as culture. Our species’ single most predictable characteristic is our refusal to be defined by instinct, to let evolutionary history answer all our questions.
The other inescapable problem with the idea of Man as Protector, even more fundamental than its propensity toward hierarchical violence, or its empirical falseness, is this: Protectors always fail. Stare far enough down the corridors of time—as men do in the watches of the night, in the interstices of the day, while driving, praying, holding a baby—and all you’ll see are threats. Every car is a murder weapon, every bruise a malignancy. The world is the sort of place in which statistical probability reaches down like a giant and swats us and our loved ones away. You cannot be a protector any more than you can be a changeling or a fairy princess.
Many of my male friends cannot disclose even a fairly serious personal problem to another man, even in a private conversation, without first offering up a short litany of the categories of human beings whose oppression is undoubtedly worse. It is as though they feel they must apologize for claiming the human prerogative to hurt—for admitting that they are people, and not flesh bags containing mostly privilege and water. Other men, especially white and cis men, long, or tell themselves they long, for the dignity of having something real to worry about.
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Re: Masculinity, so fragile

Post by JasonL » 29 Oct 2019, 17:01

There were some interesting bits there. I don't really understand much adult people obsessing about roles with names on them but I certainly see it in the world enough. Women as nurturers. Men as protectors. Etc. I completely agree with his comments about Jordan Peterson - I think the project to define a necessarily male masculine role is kind of goofy. I have no interest in trying to preserve gender or sex assignment to roles that have utility.

Take something like a protector role. I am 100% neutral about which sorts of people should take that role seriously - there is no obvious benefit in the modern arena, holding socialization and potential psychology aside, in assigning the job to dudes. Where I would take issue in in some kind of claim that the role is a myth, that there is no modern use for it, that traits of making yourself run toward dangerous stuff is passe and chest thumping and nothing else.

That is, I don't care who takes aggression, competitiveness, and yes violence seriously, but I would submit that it is better for good people if someone is doing that. Aggression and competition, not the physical kind but more generally, are motive forces in society at large. They matter to outcomes. I have no interest in saying men should be the aggressive people, but I do have an interest in preserving societal acceptance of good aggression, good competition, and just application of force and not wrapping all that stuff into some "toxic masculinity' BS label.

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Re: Masculinity, so fragile

Post by Jennifer » 29 Oct 2019, 17:28

This is kind of weird, I thought:
In Self-Made Man (2006), her memoir about cross-dressing as a man for a year, Norah Vincent immediately notices the way men don’t meet each other’s eyes: how we pointedly refuse to look at each other. “There was something more than respect being communicated in their averted gaze.… It was more like a disinclination to show disrespect. For them, to look away was to decline a challenge, to adhere to a code of behavior that kept the peace among human males in certain spheres just as surely as it kept the peace and the pecking order among male animals.”4 To put it simply: Every social encounter between men is potentially a fistfight.You learn this in elementary school and never forget it. No wonder, as we age, that we ignore each other, let our friendships wither, cancel plans. No wonder there are recurring expressions of concern about a “male bonding crisis.” (Why spend your precious leisure hours among possible enemies?)
Among men considered "trashy" or "criminal," I suppose fistfights are commonplace -- but then the same holds true among women. (Some of my colleagues from strip-club days were just as bad as the worst Jerry Springer or Cops episode... and there are some real-life women just as bad as the fictional "Bitch Stole Mah Man" I encountered in a few of my vanity novels, back in the day.)

I have unusually long hair, which I always wear either loose or in a long ponytail, so anytime I interact with another person of either sex I suppose there's always the possibility that things will get violent and the other person will grab and pull a handful of my hair -- except this has literally never happened (excluding encounters with babies), and if it did that would be assault and I would not be shy about pressing charges ... IOW, I don't see how "any encounter between men is a potential fistfight" is any different from "anytime you're out on the street is a potential mugging," "anytime you're on the road is a potential fatal accident" or "anytime you eat is a potential case of food poisoning."

I mean, technically this is all true, but ... so what? Now that you have received this presumably useful information, what are you supposed to actually DO with it?
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Re: Masculinity, so fragile

Post by Hugh Akston » 29 Oct 2019, 18:09

JasonL wrote:
29 Oct 2019, 17:01
Take something like a protector role. I am 100% neutral about which sorts of people should take that role seriously - there is no obvious benefit in the modern arena, holding socialization and potential psychology aside, in assigning the job to dudes. Where I would take issue in in some kind of claim that the role is a myth, that there is no modern use for it, that traits of making yourself run toward dangerous stuff is passe and chest thumping and nothing else.

That is, I don't care who takes aggression, competitiveness, and yes violence seriously, but I would submit that it is better for good people if someone is doing that. Aggression and competition, not the physical kind but more generally, are motive forces in society at large. They matter to outcomes. I have no interest in saying men should be the aggressive people, but I do have an interest in preserving societal acceptance of good aggression, good competition, and just application of force and not wrapping all that stuff into some "toxic masculinity' BS label.
There's a reasonable conversation to be had about how valuable/necessary those attributes are and whether alternative values can achieve similar or better outcomes, but assigning them to a specific gender either descriptively or prescriptively ignores nuance and fact for the sake of a simple coherent narrative that legitimately has outlived its usefulness.
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Re: Masculinity, so fragile

Post by Eric the .5b » 29 Oct 2019, 19:57

Jennifer wrote:
29 Oct 2019, 17:28
I mean, technically this is all true, but ... so what? Now that you have received this presumably useful information, what are you supposed to actually DO with it?
Grab a weapon, a scrunchie, and some leather armor, and then go through life with this as your background music?




Myself, I'm trying to remember the last time I just encountered other men in a vaguely normal situation (as opposed to that drunk guy attacking my neighbor in the middle of the night, years back) and there seemed to be any possibility of a fistfight. That's some high school stuff, right there.
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Re: Masculinity, so fragile

Post by Warren » 29 Oct 2019, 20:16

Hugh Akston wrote:
29 Oct 2019, 18:09
JasonL wrote:
29 Oct 2019, 17:01
Take something like a protector role. I am 100% neutral about which sorts of people should take that role seriously - there is no obvious benefit in the modern arena, holding socialization and potential psychology aside, in assigning the job to dudes. Where I would take issue in in some kind of claim that the role is a myth, that there is no modern use for it, that traits of making yourself run toward dangerous stuff is passe and chest thumping and nothing else.

That is, I don't care who takes aggression, competitiveness, and yes violence seriously, but I would submit that it is better for good people if someone is doing that. Aggression and competition, not the physical kind but more generally, are motive forces in society at large. They matter to outcomes. I have no interest in saying men should be the aggressive people, but I do have an interest in preserving societal acceptance of good aggression, good competition, and just application of force and not wrapping all that stuff into some "toxic masculinity' BS label.
There's a reasonable conversation to be had about how valuable/necessary those attributes are and whether alternative values can achieve similar or better outcomes, but assigning them to a specific gender either descriptively or prescriptively ignores nuance and fact for the sake of a simple coherent narrative that legitimately has outlived its usefulness.
Biology disagrees.
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Re: Masculinity, so fragile

Post by Jadagul » 29 Oct 2019, 20:19

I have read a lot of men make comments about the "every interaction is a potential fistfight" thing. That's not at all my experience, but it seems to be a fairly common one.

I think one thing going on is that not all fistfights are meant to seriously injure? Like, the idea is that every interaction could turn into a non-lethal fight where you just get your ass beat. In a lot of social environments "give the dude a broken nose" seems to be a reasonably accepted conflict resolution strategy.

(I teach at a fairly elite school, and I had a pair of guy students get into a big fight a couple years ago over one dating the other's friend, and this lead to a fistfight where one went to the hospital and the other got suspended for a semester. So we're not totally free of it even here.

I wonder how much this isn't my experience because most of my friends are women.)

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Re: Masculinity, so fragile

Post by JasonL » 29 Oct 2019, 20:26

There’s a class element to be sure. There’s another element of inside/outside a tribe who sees things that way. Oh, and alcohol.

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Re: Masculinity, so fragile

Post by Hugh Akston » 29 Oct 2019, 20:33

Warren wrote:
29 Oct 2019, 20:16
Hugh Akston wrote:
29 Oct 2019, 18:09
JasonL wrote:
29 Oct 2019, 17:01
Take something like a protector role. I am 100% neutral about which sorts of people should take that role seriously - there is no obvious benefit in the modern arena, holding socialization and potential psychology aside, in assigning the job to dudes. Where I would take issue in in some kind of claim that the role is a myth, that there is no modern use for it, that traits of making yourself run toward dangerous stuff is passe and chest thumping and nothing else.

That is, I don't care who takes aggression, competitiveness, and yes violence seriously, but I would submit that it is better for good people if someone is doing that. Aggression and competition, not the physical kind but more generally, are motive forces in society at large. They matter to outcomes. I have no interest in saying men should be the aggressive people, but I do have an interest in preserving societal acceptance of good aggression, good competition, and just application of force and not wrapping all that stuff into some "toxic masculinity' BS label.
There's a reasonable conversation to be had about how valuable/necessary those attributes are and whether alternative values can achieve similar or better outcomes, but assigning them to a specific gender either descriptively or prescriptively ignores nuance and fact for the sake of a simple coherent narrative that legitimately has outlived its usefulness.
Biology disagrees.
About which part specifically?
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Re: Masculinity, so fragile

Post by D.A. Ridgely » 29 Oct 2019, 20:38

I've been in three fistfights as a kid, none after 9th grade, and they all stopped after both of us got hit two or three times. The first rule of Fight Club is that no one really want to fight, they just need to prove they're not afraid to fight.

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Re: Masculinity, so fragile

Post by Warren » 29 Oct 2019, 20:50

Hugh Akston wrote:
29 Oct 2019, 20:33
Warren wrote:
29 Oct 2019, 20:16
Hugh Akston wrote:
29 Oct 2019, 18:09
JasonL wrote:
29 Oct 2019, 17:01
Take something like a protector role. I am 100% neutral about which sorts of people should take that role seriously - there is no obvious benefit in the modern arena, holding socialization and potential psychology aside, in assigning the job to dudes. Where I would take issue in in some kind of claim that the role is a myth, that there is no modern use for it, that traits of making yourself run toward dangerous stuff is passe and chest thumping and nothing else.

That is, I don't care who takes aggression, competitiveness, and yes violence seriously, but I would submit that it is better for good people if someone is doing that. Aggression and competition, not the physical kind but more generally, are motive forces in society at large. They matter to outcomes. I have no interest in saying men should be the aggressive people, but I do have an interest in preserving societal acceptance of good aggression, good competition, and just application of force and not wrapping all that stuff into some "toxic masculinity' BS label.
There's a reasonable conversation to be had about how valuable/necessary those attributes are and whether alternative values can achieve similar or better outcomes, but assigning them to a specific gender either descriptively or prescriptively ignores nuance and fact for the sake of a simple coherent narrative that legitimately has outlived its usefulness.
Biology disagrees.
About which part specifically?
It is useful to assign attributes to sex as a descriptive. Men and women are useful categories as most adults fall squarely into one or the other.
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Re: Masculinity, so fragile

Post by Shem » 29 Oct 2019, 21:05

JasonL wrote:
29 Oct 2019, 20:26
There’s a class element to be sure. There’s another element of inside/outside a tribe who sees things that way. Oh, and alcohol.
Also age. Fighting gets less attractive when you have stuff worth suing over and a back that might get thrown out on you.
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Re: Masculinity, so fragile

Post by Warren » 29 Oct 2019, 21:15

I understand there are cultures where fist fighting takes place sans alcohol. I've never observed any myself. Even in the military, where machismo was very much embedded, I never saw a punch thrown save they guy had a couple beers in him first.
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Re: Masculinity, so fragile

Post by JasonL » 29 Oct 2019, 21:18

Shem wrote:
29 Oct 2019, 21:05
JasonL wrote:
29 Oct 2019, 20:26
There’s a class element to be sure. There’s another element of inside/outside a tribe who sees things that way. Oh, and alcohol.
Also age. Fighting gets less attractive when you have stuff worth suing over and a back that might get thrown out on you.
Oh man tell me about it. I've had a few hey that guy's being a dick over there maybe I should ... man my hips hurt and if something goes south legally I'm fucked and he's right at the same point. So I started out wanting to always be able to do the right thing even if it involves something heavy confrontation wise. Now it's more like - yeah same but only for people I really like probably.

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Re: Masculinity, so fragile

Post by Hugh Akston » 29 Oct 2019, 21:51

Warren wrote:
29 Oct 2019, 20:50
Hugh Akston wrote:
29 Oct 2019, 20:33
Warren wrote:
29 Oct 2019, 20:16
Hugh Akston wrote:
29 Oct 2019, 18:09
JasonL wrote:
29 Oct 2019, 17:01
Take something like a protector role. I am 100% neutral about which sorts of people should take that role seriously - there is no obvious benefit in the modern arena, holding socialization and potential psychology aside, in assigning the job to dudes. Where I would take issue in in some kind of claim that the role is a myth, that there is no modern use for it, that traits of making yourself run toward dangerous stuff is passe and chest thumping and nothing else.

That is, I don't care who takes aggression, competitiveness, and yes violence seriously, but I would submit that it is better for good people if someone is doing that. Aggression and competition, not the physical kind but more generally, are motive forces in society at large. They matter to outcomes. I have no interest in saying men should be the aggressive people, but I do have an interest in preserving societal acceptance of good aggression, good competition, and just application of force and not wrapping all that stuff into some "toxic masculinity' BS label.
There's a reasonable conversation to be had about how valuable/necessary those attributes are and whether alternative values can achieve similar or better outcomes, but assigning them to a specific gender either descriptively or prescriptively ignores nuance and fact for the sake of a simple coherent narrative that legitimately has outlived its usefulness.
Biology disagrees.
About which part specifically?
It is useful to assign attributes to sex as a descriptive. Men and women are useful categories as most adults fall squarely into one or the other.
So which sex is the aggressive one? Which sex is the competitive one? Which sex is the violent one?
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Re: Masculinity, so fragile

Post by Shem » 29 Oct 2019, 22:15

Hugh Akston wrote:
29 Oct 2019, 21:51
Warren wrote:
29 Oct 2019, 20:50
Hugh Akston wrote:
29 Oct 2019, 20:33
Warren wrote:
29 Oct 2019, 20:16
Hugh Akston wrote:
29 Oct 2019, 18:09
JasonL wrote:
29 Oct 2019, 17:01
Take something like a protector role. I am 100% neutral about which sorts of people should take that role seriously - there is no obvious benefit in the modern arena, holding socialization and potential psychology aside, in assigning the job to dudes. Where I would take issue in in some kind of claim that the role is a myth, that there is no modern use for it, that traits of making yourself run toward dangerous stuff is passe and chest thumping and nothing else.

That is, I don't care who takes aggression, competitiveness, and yes violence seriously, but I would submit that it is better for good people if someone is doing that. Aggression and competition, not the physical kind but more generally, are motive forces in society at large. They matter to outcomes. I have no interest in saying men should be the aggressive people, but I do have an interest in preserving societal acceptance of good aggression, good competition, and just application of force and not wrapping all that stuff into some "toxic masculinity' BS label.
There's a reasonable conversation to be had about how valuable/necessary those attributes are and whether alternative values can achieve similar or better outcomes, but assigning them to a specific gender either descriptively or prescriptively ignores nuance and fact for the sake of a simple coherent narrative that legitimately has outlived its usefulness.
Biology disagrees.
About which part specifically?
It is useful to assign attributes to sex as a descriptive. Men and women are useful categories as most adults fall squarely into one or the other.
So which sex is the aggressive one? Which sex is the competitive one? Which sex is the violent one?
Some dead Brit told me it's the Female of the Species.
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Re: Masculinity, so fragile

Post by Painboy » 29 Oct 2019, 23:10

JasonL wrote:
29 Oct 2019, 20:26
There’s a class element to be sure. There’s another element of inside/outside a tribe who sees things that way. Oh, and alcohol.
I think the fist fight thing is very much more about tribe and it's also contextual. IIRC Jared Diamond in one of his books talked about how when two aboriginal males from different tribes would meet in the wild. They would talk about their families and who they were related to to each other usually while at a cautious distance. Basically what they were doing was trying to find common ground with each other enough so the other guy wasn't going to hit them on the back of their head and take their stuff as soon he turned around or ambush him later.

Our brains are still very much wired for a tribal view of things. If a stranger walks up to you during the day in a public setting we don't think much of it because we feel we are in the safety of the tribe. We might feel a little weird or irked by being disturbed but otherwise it's no big deal.

Encounter that same person at night with no one around in a dark alley that sense of safety is gone. Now the hackles go up and the stranger is seen as a potential threat because we're effectively back out in the wild.

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Re: Masculinity, so fragile

Post by dead_elvis » 29 Oct 2019, 23:37

Hugh Akston wrote:
29 Oct 2019, 18:09

There's a reasonable conversation to be had about how valuable/necessary those attributes are and whether alternative values can achieve similar or better outcomes, but assigning them to a specific gender either descriptively or prescriptively ignores nuance and fact for the sake of a simple coherent narrative that legitimately has outlived its usefulness.
There was always a tension in feminism- one side saying women can do men's roles, and the other that says that even stating the issue that way is bad because it acknowledges roles and labels at all. I think the the latter might be in the lead at this point. The former has a very 70s and 80s feel to it at this point.

And speaking of feeling the need to define masculinity, and speaking of fist fights, Letterkenney sure has a weird fetish about it. Sticks out all the more that as the series goes on and explicitly addresses liberal social issues in a conservative rural context, the "manly" violence is always left out of that, as though Jared Keeso imagines rural society can make progress on any number of issues except the idea that it's ok to beat the crap out of someone for insulting your girl, your family, or running your goalie(or, in the series, just generally being annoying or from the wrong clique).
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Re: Masculinity, so fragile

Post by Warren » 30 Oct 2019, 10:12

Painboy wrote:
29 Oct 2019, 23:10
IIRC Jared Diamond in one of his books talked about how when two aboriginal males from different tribes would meet in the wild. They would talk about their families and who they were related to to each other usually while at a cautious distance. Basically what they were doing was trying to find common ground with each other enough so the other guy wasn't going to hit them on the back of their head and take their stuff as soon he turned around or ambush him later.
Color me skeptical. I'm thinking more often than not, instead of finding common ground that conversation ends with "Oh ho ho! So your second cousin to Ole Ran'l McCoy eh? Well my wife is the niece of Devil Anse Hatfield!" [Throws rock]
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Re: Masculinity, so fragile

Post by Hugh Akston » 30 Oct 2019, 11:48

dead_elvis wrote:
29 Oct 2019, 23:37
Hugh Akston wrote:
29 Oct 2019, 18:09
There's a reasonable conversation to be had about how valuable/necessary those attributes are and whether alternative values can achieve similar or better outcomes, but assigning them to a specific gender either descriptively or prescriptively ignores nuance and fact for the sake of a simple coherent narrative that legitimately has outlived its usefulness.
There was always a tension in feminism- one side saying women can do men's roles, and the other that says that even stating the issue that way is bad because it acknowledges roles and labels at all. I think the the latter might be in the lead at this point. The former has a very 70s and 80s feel to it at this point.
I'm definitely closer to the latter. People exhibit attributes on a spectrum too complex to be captured by biological essentialism. Even in lower animals there is enough behavioral variation among and within species that defining male and female attributes feels reductive. And even if defining attributes as male or female wasn't just difficult, even making broad observations descriptively would lead to them becoming prescriptive, to the detriment of people who fall outside those parameters.

Alls I know is that Sheryl Sandberg, Ronda Rousey, or any given member of the US Women's National Soccer Team is way more competitive, aggressive, and violent than a wiener like me will ever be.
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Re: Masculinity, so fragile

Post by tr0g » 30 Oct 2019, 12:18

Hugh Akston wrote:
30 Oct 2019, 11:48
Alls I know is that Sheryl Sandberg, Ronda Rousey, or any given member of the US Women's National Soccer Team is way more competitive, aggressive, and violent than a wiener like me will ever be.
Yes, but you recognize that because they are competitive, aggressive and violent in stereotypically male ways. Females are no less prone to competition, aggression, and violence but it manifests differently primarily (as I understand it) due to culture. The culture of aggression and competition among teenage girls has received a lot of study due to bullying and suicide and it's a different thing than it is for boys. It's fucking brutal, and as Y members of the gene pool we'll never see it because a lot takes place in female only settings.
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Re: Masculinity, so fragile

Post by nicole » 30 Oct 2019, 12:21

dead_elvis wrote:
29 Oct 2019, 23:37
Hugh Akston wrote:
29 Oct 2019, 18:09

There's a reasonable conversation to be had about how valuable/necessary those attributes are and whether alternative values can achieve similar or better outcomes, but assigning them to a specific gender either descriptively or prescriptively ignores nuance and fact for the sake of a simple coherent narrative that legitimately has outlived its usefulness.
There was always a tension in feminism- one side saying women can do men's roles, and the other that says that even stating the issue that way is bad because it acknowledges roles and labels at all. I think the the latter might be in the lead at this point. The former has a very 70s and 80s feel to it at this point.
Hmm, I would have said the latter is very much out of style at this point. Not acknowledging roles and labels means not recognizing the lived experiences of people with marginalized identities, women have other ways of knowing like astrology, and liking nail polish and high heels is how you know you're a woman.
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Re: Masculinity, so fragile

Post by Warren » 30 Oct 2019, 12:29

nicole wrote:
30 Oct 2019, 12:21
dead_elvis wrote:
29 Oct 2019, 23:37
Hugh Akston wrote:
29 Oct 2019, 18:09

There's a reasonable conversation to be had about how valuable/necessary those attributes are and whether alternative values can achieve similar or better outcomes, but assigning them to a specific gender either descriptively or prescriptively ignores nuance and fact for the sake of a simple coherent narrative that legitimately has outlived its usefulness.
There was always a tension in feminism- one side saying women can do men's roles, and the other that says that even stating the issue that way is bad because it acknowledges roles and labels at all. I think the the latter might be in the lead at this point. The former has a very 70s and 80s feel to it at this point.
Hmm, I would have said the latter is very much out of style at this point. Not acknowledging roles and labels means not recognizing the lived experiences of people with marginalized identities, women have other ways of knowing like astrology, and liking nail polish and high heels is how you know you're a woman.
Right. Drawing the line between men and women seems foundational to 21st century feminism. How else would you know what to fight about?
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Re: Masculinity, so fragile

Post by Hugh Akston » 30 Oct 2019, 12:31

tr0g wrote:
30 Oct 2019, 12:18
Hugh Akston wrote:
30 Oct 2019, 11:48
Alls I know is that Sheryl Sandberg, Ronda Rousey, or any given member of the US Women's National Soccer Team is way more competitive, aggressive, and violent than a wiener like me will ever be.
Yes, but you recognize that because they are competitive, aggressive and violent in stereotypically male ways. Females are no less prone to competition, aggression, and violence but it manifests differently primarily (as I understand it) due to culture. The culture of aggression and competition among teenage girls has received a lot of study due to bullying and suicide and it's a different thing than it is for boys. It's fucking brutal, and as Y members of the gene pool we'll never see it because a lot takes place in female only settings.
Agree. The fact that attribute x manifests differently in different age and cultural groups is one more wrinkle that makes it problematic to assign any attribute primarily to either gender.
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