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Principles for a Model of Positive Masculinity

The article above point out how society is currently lacking a model of positive masculinity. One tricky aspect is that we don't want either feminity or masculinity to have exclusive ownership over any virtue, but to acknowledge that some values "cluster" statistically more in one than the other. So in trying to define such a model, we need to acknowledge that lack of exclusivity. The article points out that it is difficult to define a positive model without controversy, indeed, it not only shies away from the attempt itself, but shows how many other experts are scared to.

Nevertheless, I'm going to give it a shot.

    1. Integrity/Moral Code

    The modern world is complex and nuanced, so the answer to most questions can be "It Depends". I do believe, however, that having a small set of one's own principles that are constant can help a man navigate through his life.

    Mean what you say and say what you mean could be an example.

    2. Actions Speak Louder Than Words

    The strong silent type is an underrated archetype in my book. Further points in this list will discuss stifling emotions and lack of communication, but in a world of panels, committees, meetings and outright navel-gazing we need to remember that we are judged by our actions. Similarly, we should judge others by their actions.

    3. Stoicism

    This can refer to both the common usage of the word - to be unreactive and unemotional, or the philosophy of the Stoics (Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, etc.). Having males suppress emotions has led to poor outcomes for men - mental health issues, addiction, and suicide. I've tried to steer clear of raising my sons with a "boy's don't cry" philosophy.

    There is, however, a time and place for tears and other outbursts. If you're crossing a busy street, and you trip and skin your knee, you can't cry about it there and then. Get out of the road first.

    As a philosophy, Stoicism is more about actually recognizing your emotions, and knowing they are separate from facts and reason. The more you are in touch with your emotions, the healthier and more successful you can be.

    4. Protection: Creating Safe Spaces

    Being a protector has been part of most models of masculinity that we record in history. We hope for a modern, civilized society where violence and other forms of oppression are not daily concerns - but protection might still be an important task for the modern male.

    Friends, families or any members of inner circles should be provided with space (emotional, temporal, physical) to be vulnerable, to be free from judgement, and to express those feelings they had when they were outside of the safe space.

    5. Strategist: Knowing Ones Own Weaknesses

    Insomuch as we like to emulate the great generals of history, maybe every man needs to know his weaknesses. These can be triggers, phobias, inadequacies (whether real or perceived), or any other vulnerabilities. A good strategist will work to shore up these weaknesses and ensure they can't be exploited by adversity (a similar word to adversary).

    6. Builder: Creating Relationships

    My father told me a saying that he heard somewhere that said you're not a real man until you

    1. Drive a V-8

    2. Father a Son

    3. Build your own house

    These are pretty ridiculous measures, especially nowadays.

    1. Where are you going to find a V-8 engine?

    2. You have no control over the sex of your child

    3. It never seemed that realistic to have to build your own house

    Still, the aspect of being a builder can strike a chord in terms of masculinity. If we placed emphasis on teaching the elements that go into building relationships (trust, communication, compromise? Even I'm not sure, meaning figuring this out is long overdue...) then the houses for men to build would be metaphors for their friendships, marriages and bonds with their children.

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