“The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says: “It’s a girl.”
― Shirley Chisholm
I often think of a system of thought in which I can utilise to decide how I see our current reality. Even though believers of this current dominant socialised convention may doubt ideas sprout in a sense of being planted, developed and maintained in this status quo – I hope this article can show why the detriment of what we are stems as far back to our beginning. The above quote is an idea which has similarly been discussed on Social Media. Although that does not mean it is a recent discussion, likewise with Feminism these ideas stem back. I find it disgusting that in witnessing these ideological battles there is no victor or rather outcome, just a circularity which dances around notions, invigorates emotion and invites new perceptions of those bothered to entertain. Why is our logic so ingrained? As the quote implies, maybe we find ourselves determined by the moment our gender is decided.
Leaving your home or room feels like wearing a suit. This suit captures an identity which you want others to see and believe, even without the capacity to care I would not dare to leave my home naked. Hence we apologise for our awkwardness or “wrong doings” when our actions harm the suitability of scenarios. I see impressions of how we should behave on gender, a forever altering and adapting idea which contains no must. I just watched an inspiring TED Talk, which pointed me toward the idea of evolving gender. Although it seems so sudden and daunting to be presented with a variety of different classifications for gender when you only recognise two it is true there is unawareness, we have not attempted to understand how it is for some. Why the complexity? Is it not absurd? An argument to be heard in this gender debate, but with an honest face I feel Society is an inherently awkward place for difference not intertwined with the fine workings of it. Masculinity breathes and heaves onto the impressionable boy as femininity welcomes a girl into the World of Sexism.
So let us go to the beginning. April 20th 1993 I was born, given the name Jude – inspired Biblically but usually associated with the Beatles. Sequels of the moment of my birth to sentience, awareness of my surroundings, ideas, fears or rather anxieties – ranges from the blissful time of childhood with an innocent mind, until I was eventually memorably infected by gender socialisation in Year 3. I remember the turn because my attitude stank and my effort sank. Life became more like a jail sentence where I could only dwell on repetitiveness and perfecting my approach. In and out of School, a Sunday morning of Church and an array of Homework. This is an ideal beginning, for I cannot tell you what I knew before this moment with ease except the niceties of life. It was around this time, aged 8 that I would make an effort to stand by my “masculine” tastes. Or at least, what I realised it by. From then, not allowing my annoyances to be debts, threats and young violence tested everyone.
Annoyances were not purely social, academically life was a competition. Effort for me was not about simply achieving, progressing or epitomising development. It was another way for my skin to burn if a great grade wasn’t earned. Disappointment and failure mirrored loss, and manliness seemed to be a victorious path. That is why I believe it intensifies a natural competitiveness we already have alongside the glorified standings of life. Abiding by the strictness of imposing pressure from peers, who mocked and reminded me – they felt inclined to adore certain behaviours. A fight was not simply a spat, it was a battle for an age and I had countless. Rage was usual, built by a hate for disrespect and releasing it to put it right or simply to reward myself for retaliation. Femininity infuriated me from an early age as it remained a sign of weakness or something I only knew how to appreciate as beautiful, attractive. I used to claim to be homophobic with my peers, until I realised I did not care about sexual orientation. A grievance then was another man slipping into femininity, damaging what we associated with women. Looking back at that, it is rather silly. Wherever I turned a damsel in distress, a girl or women praised for her fancifulness. Beauty, slim tender look or captivating sexualised features, demanded elegance by personality. TV shows, Stories and Games, representations offering examples of women who worked tirelessly at home but receive no praise for hard work, a useless presence in the story reinforcing gender roles. It seemed such was in a women’s roots, but you do realise – as if one day the Sky turned a bloody red from a calming blue, such ideas women have been accustomed to and what you live by is a convenient lie.
My ego does not allow me to be in the wrong, so strong I dance around the idea of being right within myself. Maybe even concentrating on myself instead of the whole idea is an example of that ego. Such an attitude born from subscribing to masculinity does evolve, and I developed into a branch of it. My behaviour in Secondary School was worse. I would like to say the violence, rage and bad times were moments of madness but it was truly part of myself – as it still is today to a different degree. That madness carried on to a point I was no longer wanted, targeted but offered means of help which I denied as such therapy desired discussion about my emotions. One step too far, I do not allow people to dive in and attempt to realise why I have this propensity for anger. I even hate the idea of dismantling what I am, to be more suitable for others even though it being claimed to be personally beneficially. It is truly incensing. I wonder if this same anger or intense feeling my fellow men feel. One thing I will say is I often move away from using the word emotion, I do not live periodically by it in a sense of seeking happiness or claiming sadness, always identifying my mood to alter it for the better. In many ways I feel devoid of emotion, detached and removed. I have no complaints about being beaten to tears as a misbehaving child or teased, encouraged to stop crying by the doers. I did not want to cry. Crying felt like weakness and still does. It was something I used to do when I felt blocked, unable to have an effect. Otherwise I keep on trying, but now the waterworks are so rare and I like it that way.
As we do when cooked with the masculine taste we oppose ideas maybe out of fear that it will turn us away from the strength of self we propagate through it. At moments being manly is admirable to masses; a working man with a great physique, height and no capacity to be weak. A feat of the collective masculine way plays with hyper sexualisation, an idea which holds me dearly. One I cannot simply remove. It damaged how I see a woman, my mind played on the idea of her beauty or undressing her before we really interacted. Respect would hardly stay intact and such a way presents a brick wall before them. As if we are not gelling as people, Human beings socialising and acknowledging each other’s stances on life. I could sit with another man and the idea of him being a man who regularly acts refined by masculinity rarely arises and if it does it is realising the uniqueness of him. That uniqueness in persons I never realised to the same regard in women until my late teens, even then it still feels like a new learning curve. Like going to a new institution and meeting people for the first time. Unlearning, mentally removing ideas which have us stuck in the mind finding the time to learn another solution or way. It can be dangerous, but in Today’s Society arguably it would be immensely progressive.
That being said are we all ready to lift the stone that weighs us down from social freedom? It feels so set in stone, I have grown accustomed to this masculinity and parts of my personality has compounded with it. Does it not make sense to take something, live and feel glorious by it? Despite calls against it, at times my masculine apt has saved me from a greater fall. Braveness, unwillingness to cease a desire by withdrawing confidence from being tough. Even when I felt that was not enough, I attribute the knack to get things completed efficiently done by fear of failure and inadequacy. Masculinity in this sense is like a ball, increasing in size as it rolls on collecting more to add on. This is not to suggest we suffer from similar masculine ideas in childhood in our adulthood. Nevertheless, it is not the latest toy or game desirable amongst peers and expected by Society – or even the brilliant physique. I find myself today tossed around by financial and career expectations, having a car or hosting enough decorum to pay for a Lady.
How that plays out in the World
Let me present to you a scene, one which at that moment was banter and if it occurred again I doubt I would be there to save the day. I am just not cut out to be socially interactive like that, can we blame masculinity for that? At a restaurant with a few friends, one allowed his girlfriend to tag along. The usual banter of gathered friends was comforting. Until suddenly, that one friend’s girlfriend assaulted him. Hitting him twice in the side of the head, we were stunned as this was the first time we were meeting her and it was also too unexpected. The men that I know, all of them would have reacted in such a way where either they exerted dominance or at least retaliated. Though he did not, and this infuriated me. Not a word, just after flinches of impacts. This was a case of domestic abuse but alongside that willingness to commit harm to protect myself, such a reaction I see with many others, I thought not of the Law or how my friend felt but awaited a reaction. To see none I was more frustrated with him than her. Coming to realise how peaceful and resilient to such he was over the next few years I shouldn’t have expected such, we all have our different ways.
Each year 2.1 million people suffer from some of domestic abuse – 1.4 million women and 700,000 men. I do not think the gender role divide contributes to undoing domestic abuse. I am not knowledgeable on this area of life but such emotional detachment and propensity to violence that masculinity inspires can cause so much harm. A usual point is the admittance, many cases go unreported of abuse at men, also with rape – due to being immobilised by masculine concerns. Questioning whether it is manly to suffer in such a way, not retaliate or what others will think of you. Or keeping emotion within, as someone who has never been an over emotional person I can imagine changing in your youth to suit such a way, stepping into manhood to destroy your previous doubt of it. It must be murderous to try and turn back and open up the can of worms hidden within. It is great to express and subject that to your will, opposed to fear of expressing which has been a lifelong lesson for most. Another statistic I want to show is that of suicide rates. I have realised this but not really thought about it, in 2013 in the UK 6,233 people committed suicide. 4,858 were male and 1,375 were female. Another area of life I have no knowledge or concern with.
A theme with many men, as one I feel I can sense their subscription and the depth of it to masculinity, is that social awareness is associated more with women. A womanly thing to show concern about such issues, especially since most of them are addressed by feminism. The ego of masculinity in most cases makes such offensive, especially if it is against the idea of the manhood they venerate. I have seen the most reasonable men succumb to bickering about feminism, thinking to myself I know why. That disposition that feels against what makes you, a hard pill to swallow – it is easier to deny it than admit the loss and question your own behaviour. I even see people claim, “Feminism is just about Women and not equality” – which may be true for some, since that is the angle they are tackling it from. Although from what I have seen from the Feminists I know, and those by Social Media, they do bring awareness to these issues. They are mostly ignored by men, the same men who question their alleged lack of concentration on men’s issues. It shows how much they do not personally care, I mean wouldn’t you endeavour to realise that yourself? Most of these Feminists I know are also self-studied, I do not know any guys who have studied into such areas.
I hope this explains my personal take on masculinity, in part anyway. Before the post turns into a dissertation I will split it up into two, hopefully finishing the next part tomorrow where I dive into the ways of masculinity worldwide. If there is anything you wish to talk about if not via the comment section you can contact me in other ways. Via Twitter with an open DM: @judiniho or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.