What Is A Man?

The more I think about this issue I think – the role for the man in society is clearly diminishing.

We were once hunters, warriors, and competitiors. Now we live in a society that really is non-violent, has grocery stores, and competition is for leaisure. What exactly is left for the man – except reproduction and dishes?

No one can usurp the role of the woman in society, she is a natural nurterer…there’s no nanny waiting as soon as a kid is born to raise that child (or worse yet – the need for women birthing becoming severely lessened via some way to build children from dna).

If u think about, as men, what is it that defines you?

***Comment lifted from John T’s “Really, It’s a Man’s World…Yeah Right!

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23 thoughts on “What Is A Man?

  1. And we are debating what exactly? That women are moving a better political speed than men? That women can perform any job that a man can do and in many cases do it better. What is the point of the argument?

    We are non-violent? This is ridiculous and short-sighted when we live in a world that is in constant turmoil and war.

    We are no longer competitors? This is laughable. We live in a market economy where competition is the very essence.

    We only have reproduction to look forward to? Well, it is the basis of all life and it can be quite enjoyable if done right.

    No one can usurp the woman and her roles? What are her roles exactly? Are these “roles” not a social lie in the first place?

    What defines a man? I will give the best answer that was ever given: a penis and a pair of testicles. Everything else is based in a popular myth.

    “The more I think about this issue I think – the role for the man in society is clearly diminishing.” (SVS)

    What a crock of shit this statement is. First of all, what society are you referring to? Secondly, go and observe every single world leader in politics and in capitalist industry (CEO, ownership, management, etc) and you will see that the overwhelming majority of the power-base is male-centric. Women are allowed to work and compete in the marketplace, but they are not counted on as leaders. The power schism is apparent.

  2. Competition is real and useful. Both the role of women and men can be altered by TV, companies and your neighbors. Diligence in know what you value and conscious living are not easy to maintain.

  3. Johnny Bird

    My post the Jason was referring to was mostly tongue in cheek, though there are many truths to it. From our societal perspective the pendulum has started swinging the other way recently. You need look no further than the way most of the school systems are set up. It definately slants in favour of the female brain. Sabio makes a good point about TV also. I challenge you to find a good male role model on TV today. Predominantly they are portrayed as buffoons and losers. Very suble shift but a shift none the less. Im not saying that we are completely hard done by, but we are definately having to reevaluate who and what we are as men. Traditions do change, our physiologies not so much. Im not sure you have children but try telling a boy to sit still in class and just read. Im sure you can understand my drift.

    • I would seriously question if indeed that pendulum is swinging at all, or if the supposed ‘rise of the female’ is just total propaganda.

      Men are still hard labourers, essential workers found in every industry, and still are fathers. But this does not mean that they are “diminishing” in their social roles (which are based in a myth to begin with) and in their political-economic power – it would be ridiculous to argue that men are not at the top of most power-bases in every society.

      “You need look no further than the way most of the school systems are set up. It definately slants in favour of the female brain.”

      I would definitely need to see some concrete proof and documentation, i.e., scientific research, on this point before I would blindly jump up and say: “yes, this is the truth, males get the shaft in public school, let us all rally as men and out the woman in her place.” Again, all fields of modern science are dominated by male thinkers and male researchers, as are most academic fields at the university level. So, men are not all that hard done by in today’s academic world either.

      “I challenge you to find a good male role model on TV today”

      First, it would depend on what programs you are watching, not all television is a sitcom or a satire, in fact some programs are entertaining and even educational for both genders. Second of all women are not exactly portrayed as geniuses on every televised program either. Maybe your perception is the problem? The TV can be turned to the “off” setting at any time.

      Bertrand Russell once said something to the effect of: every society produces people that are intelligent and then some that are not so intelligent. This sentiment fits into our modern world nicely and it includes both genders.

      “Im not sure you have children but try telling a boy to sit still in class and just read.”

      I do not have to, because I am a full grown man (that was once a boy in school) and I read all the time, I have completed an Arts Honours degree, and I am working on an MA. I read voraciously as an adult, and as a child I was well adept at language and understanding it. Again, perhaps it is your perception that is skewed and not the entire male populous of the globe. Not all males are alpha-barbarians nor are they all natural leaders, men are all different and to generalize for 3 billion people is a logical leap I am not willing to make or even justify.

  4. Well Johnny

    I guess my perception is skewed. Im glad to see yours is not. Im not talking about the world’s society, Im talking about ours. There’s more than enough evidence to show that the balance of power is equal in many areas and greater for women in some. Though men do control some also. We labour mostly because are bigger and stronger. Even Intellectuals such as yourself can be Alpha-barbarian. Thats not just a physical thing. Its not too hard to generalize many things when it comes to gender. Most guys have balls….some dont.

  5. “What defines a man? I will give the best answer that was ever given: a penis and a pair of testicles. Everything else is based in a popular myth” (Johnny)

    My point is about the ‘role’ of men in society…I am not sure of their role anymore…namely beginning in the home but working out towards work. And for some reason, we are supposed to know what to do when we become married adults. But the lines of what a man is and does is so skewed I am not sure what their roles truly are anymore.

    Sure there is a lot of war (globally), agreed…and in most cases the army is almost all men…not exactly a good use of what a ‘man’ is (if u ask me). Are we just warriors and when there is no war we cease having a use? Likely not, in fact I would say this is a side of man (his physicality) that always has to be brought into check.

    The biggest issue is the home life of the man now. We seem to have no clearly defined role there as was once understood. Maybe aspects of this are for the better (as you point out) but then again parts are for the worse.

    I think men used to hunt for the tribe. In other times this became the main bread-winner idea. Now it is not that way, it’s usually a dual income…sometimes with the wife being the main earner. I am not saying this is bad, but it is something ‘new’ (not something we would be used to).

    I think men of this generation have a hard task – finding their place and vice versa for women – who have gained much more autonomy than ever seen before. I am starting to find this role problem is becoming an actual problem for home life. I actually think this very issue can be linked to variety of the problems we find in many marriages (for the guy and the girl).

    The problem of the incomes is one that is daunting for some men…they feel a real role identity issue. Once they were proud men that use to bring home and make their women happy, but this is not the case in these situations…their wives do that. It can leave a man with a real issue as to what they should be doing and their usefullness.

    Women also face a similar problem with dual income…it’s an equality issue. Women are equal in every way, shape, and form in this society…so why should a man feel he has to do anything for a woman with equal or more income concerning chivalry? It kind of seems weird to go out of one’s way for a woman to but them a $2500.00 engagement ring when they make more money than you do? Do you see what I am saying there?

    I am not neccesarily saying this is ‘bad’ – just new and different and we seem to be a society on the sdjustment.

  6. My definition of manhood is distorted by always trying to redefine misconceptions. I guess my thought to this question from a “outside the box” type of person: Why we men or women try so hard to be defined? I think by defining we limit ourself and get into trouble if mislabeling. Of course, men and women have a difference in phyiscal appearance but I don’t define myself by a “penis and two balls”. I think society will be more accepting of each other if we fight to drop labels and consider you, me, and us as HUMANS and leave it at that.

  7. i’m really sick of the “feminization of men” talk. there has been a diversity of gender expression and the move to create rigid gender roles is bullshit. my mom was a mechanic. i do the cooking and cleaning of the house. i’m not too terribly competitive in sports, as i find good sportsmanship better than arrogant warrior styles. why the drive to be all Clint Eastwood and less Woody Allen?

    i’m with Johnny on this one.

  8. jeff and Ghost

    Its not about creating rigid gender roles. Its about acknowledging the fact that generally(mostly), male and female view the world from a completely different lense. To deny that physiological fact is somewhat naive. We learn differently for the most part. The school systems for the most part are presently not addressing this predicament.

    http://www.ottawasun.com/comment/columnists/mindelle_jacobs/2010/06/28/14551226.html

    Written by a woman. Dont blame me.

  9. “i’m really sick of the “feminization of men” talk. there has been a diversity of gender expression and the move to create rigid gender roles is bullshit” (zero1ghost)

    I also do many of the household chores at home, including laundry being solely done by myself. I love sports and I am competitive, but to a very limited and easily defineable degree – I wouldnt want to hurt anyone in a single sport I was involved in nor take it that serious.

    I am not only addressing the feminization of men, and I am doing that quite sparingly to be honest, but the role of the man in this society. I know a lot of it is generalizations, granted, but I am trying to figure out what is clearly defineable about being a male and being a female; my brother Johnny is way off when he mentions its just one’s anatomy.

    I can clearly see their are differences between men and women, both physically, mentally, and emotionally. The denial of any of that can only come from someone not willing to take the time to study any of this and remain ignorant.

    Men are physically stronger and their bodies are actually built that way (one can make any easy comparison here – statistically concerning men and women’s heights and weights). Men think differently then woman, this is also easily proven – do studies on what men and women read or watch. Men are also not as emotionally connected as a women, not sure why, just the way it is I think. Not that we don’t have emotions, just that we cry a lot less than a woman (as an example).

    To me it is obvious there are huge differences between men and women and we need to understand each others strengths to help marriages (for one thing) succeed.

  10. “my brother Johnny is way off when he mentions its just one’s anatomy.” (SVS)

    Thanks for the shout-out but since men and women are so radically different as genders (as you want/need to believe), then what is it that intrinsically separates men from women? Other than the true example that I have given, i.e. – anatomy. We are addressing the mind and I ask anyone to define exactly how all men and all women, in North America, are different in their minds. An impossible task.

    Even the aforementioned examples Jason has given are not only short-sighted, and display a truly “ignorant” argument, but they actually reinforce the anatomical argument. A great example being: physical differences (Jason’s example). We know that ‘testosterone’ (which male testicles create) leads to several male qualities: larger physical frames, deeper voices, more aggressively violent attitudes, etc. Whereas the hormone ‘estrogen’ can lead to breast growth and several differing ‘feminine’ characteristics – opposite to the ones that testosterone creates. These perceived “huge” differences are mere matters of differing chemical reactions created from our hormones that stem from our own (you guessed it) anatomy.

    But in terms of social roles, society has a great way of putting people into their “roles” but this in no way has anything to do with intrinsic mental-differences between the genders. Rather these “roles” are perceived differences based on what the forces of mass-socialization will normalize and recreate among the genders throughout generations. In other words these perceived social differences are plainly based in mythology and ideology, but not in an actuality of difference in the mind.

    We are all taught to believe that genders are radically different (women wear pink and men wear blue, etc.) but are we different in anything other than anatomy? No! There is no concrete proof that men are less emotional, are mentally stronger in a specific area/field, that men think differently, and so on. Again I will reiterate (and if our gender-ized minds will permit it then perhaps we can allow it to be examined and not just overlooked): any “role” that a man can perform/do in a society (other than those things performed by his anatomy) a woman can do just as easily, if not better in many instances, with equal time and training; and vice versa.

  11. Again I will reiterate (and if our gender-ized minds will permit it then perhaps we can allow it to be examined and not just overlooked): any “role” that a man can perform/do in a society (other than those things performed by his anatomy) a woman can do just as easily, if not better in many instances, with equal time and training; and vice versa.(Johnny)

    Remember Johnny, everything we do is done by our “anatomy”. So if the “anatomy” functions slightly different in the genders, I think its a safe bet to say we wont do everything equally.

  12. “display a truly “ignorant” argument, but they actually reinforce the anatomical argument” (Johnny)

    I am ignorant, you need to get your labels and definitions correct first off. Anatomy is the physical characteristics of the human body (internally and externally). Testosterone is a part of the chemistry of the human being (chemical make-up and reactions). They are both biology but different aspects of biology and clearly not the same thing (connected but not the same).

    For example, one could lose their genitals and would testosterone stop? Would one still be a man without that piece of anatomy? So, what you are saying about anatomy was pure myth, if there is a single myth being portrayed here today.

    “These perceived “huge” differences are mere matters of differing chemical reactions created from our hormones that stem from our own (you guessed it) anatomy.” (Johnny)

    Here’s a generalization that is usually true, since you desire one: men are created for testosterone and woman for estrogen. Ain’t it kind of funny how this seems to be the case. There are 2 drastically different chemicals in 2 people (man and woman) we think are ‘so alike’. Logically, one thing is true, 2 very different chemicals will not produce the same exact outcomes. Agreed?

    “Again I will reiterate (and if our gender-ized minds will permit it then perhaps we can allow it to be examined and not just overlooked): any “role” that a man can perform/do in a society (other than those things performed by his anatomy) a woman can do just as easily, if not better in many instances, with equal time and training; and vice versa.” (Johnny)

    I agree, I am not even debating the role and diversity of women to adapt to the societal times, they can and do. I don’t believe I am doing a job a woman cannot do equally as well, in fact in my profession there is one male to every 10 or 11 females (in this province). Obviously they can, and this includes every area a man works in – including higher leadership positions.

    What I am saying is that the differences in men and women do produce different skill sets that make one or the other sex stronger in a certain area than the other. I am merely pointing out the obvious here, and then relating that to history and the role of men.

    I know everyone thinks I am referring to a time when women were second class citizens and men practically abused them in relationships that would not end. Like everyone else here, I agree change needed to occur for women to be equal citizens, have equal rights to work, and be a more major piece of recognizable society (heck I even agree women should be co-pastors with their husbands in church to fully represent a women’s viewpoint on society). I am all for women’s equality – not the issue so let’s not pretend that is where I am going with this.

    What I am saying is the role of men, and women, are convoluted and tricky at best. I am noticing these changes are making it easier and easier for men, and women, to pull away from their marriages and responsibilities to their families (51% divorce rate)…which has risen since the 70’s. Something is telling me all the changes in society have not exactly benefited us – and this loss of roles (or role reversal) plays a part.

    For example, once upon a time the whole family was important and for anyone to leave could mean failure for the farm or for the community (First Nations villages). The amount of dysfunction and easy out’s we’re given in this society would decimate most of our ancestors…the same people that made it possible for you to even be born. I am not sure were paying a good homage back in some ways with the destruction of the family?

    I think of a typical farming community that would work hard, includes the whole family, and what they made they also put on the table…which was rewarding and meaningful. This included food, clothing, and trade for other items….and everyone played their part/role in that household and smaller community. Sure times were tougher, but they made a living where everyone in the household was partitioned a meaningful piece of their overall existence (including grandparents).

    I don’t think this is the case anymore. Food, we go to ‘Superstores’ or even ‘fast food’ places. Clothing, we have many malls and places that specialize in every type of clothing we could ever want. Trade, the money you earn – there is no real trade anymore…which helped tear a hole in society/community. Work, we work for big faceless companies and we are not sure of our importance as a cog in the machine. Grandparents serve much smaller roles in this information age. Marriages have less weight, since anyone can make it almost anywhere without much help.

    Times have changed, I am just not too sure if it’s all ‘for the good’. I see a loss of role for the man in basic marriage structure. In fact, I am starting to contemplate why people are getting married in the first place when statistically 51% (1/2) will not succeed anyways (in this society). It seems, men don’t need women and women don’t need men.

  13. “I am ignorant, you need to get your labels and definitions correct first off.”

    Oh please, we all know that I was referring to genitalia in regard to differing anatomy. I made this abundantly clear.

    Yes, testosterone will decrease if the testicles are removed from the male (a neutered male dog is a great example). Yes, the testicles produce high amounts of testosterone that females can never achieve unless they get injections of testosterone, i.e. – in a sex change. All this proves is that our only real difference is genitalia-based (reproduction, hormonal, etc), and again your arguments (if you read them) only reestablish this truth.

    “Would one still be a man without that piece of anatomy?”

    The better question is this: would one be a male if they were BORN without that piece of genitalia? No they would not be male, because they would be born with a vagina.

    “There are 2 drastically different chemicals in 2 people (man and woman)”

    The levels of these hormones are drastically different in the male and female but that does not mean women do not have testosterone and vice versa. Natural selection plays its “role” in this process. Makes no difference though, since only gender specific genitalia and reproductive organs produce different levels; again, reinforcing the anatomy proof and in no way demonstrating an intrinsic societal difference between genders.

  14. Johnny

    No offense, but what planet do you come from? I have a daughter and I more than played rough with her but let me tell you when her Nephews up’d the ante and started going really rough, she stepped back like they were slightly nuts. Sure there are some women who are physically more like men and vice versa, but to honestly believe that your physiology doesnt make your view of the world different and NOT the same is just plain…..well you get my point. Equality means being treated equally when doing the Same jobs. But guess what, we all CANT do the same jobs and much of that is based on our physiology. The problem is when the system alters the requirements so that we “Equalize” things for the genders. Somehow I dont think you want my 115 pound daughter trying to pull you out of a burning building when your on the 15th floor. Me thinks you’d be praying(atheists included) for the Big strapping Neanderthal. Have some kids, Im sure your outlook may be slightly altered.

    • i agree, my nephews play rough and my nieces don’t. these seem to occur naturally with no conditioning from the parents. there are subtle differences though. the biggest guy, Max, is the most empathetic guy.. whereas the littlest one, Will, is the feistiest, “my-way-or-the-highway” dude i know. so while Max is bigger, i would want Will on the ladder pulling me out of the building. I would want Max to patch me up later.

      ain’t the size of the dog in the fight, after-all. i know a few women who i would choose to do the same. so i would answer, i would want you 115lb daughter pulling me from a building if she had the guts and natural traits to do it. i would want the Neanderthal to treat my burns if his personality suited it. can’t judge a book by it’s cover, after all. but i see the point you’re getting at.

      there are differences, and we must honor them. but at the same time, we can’t state that we’re completely different either, like men are from mars, women are from venus… that’s crap. it’s how we’re socialized HERE, on EARTH that counts. that includes whether we believe the glass-ceiling or not, or women are just baby-factories who take on hobbies until they decide to have kids. not true every where and every time. maybe they would rather skip the kids part and pull other ppl’s kids from burning buildings 😉

  15. there are differences between men and women, no argument there. what i chaff at is the notion that different means bad. different yet equal works better. many said my mom could not be a mechanic, yet she was the best there was in our small town. did she have trouble lifting heavy stuff? you bet, but she adapted and found ways around them. she was different than the others in her profession, yet she was equal if not better.

    i like Jay’s question “but I am trying to figure out what is clearly defineable about being a male and being a female;” so the trouble here isn’t what one gender should DO, it is about what that gender MEANS! that we must turn to society because no individual person can say what it means to be a male or female.

    the trick part about this path is that you have to deal with the religious fundamentalists as well as the yuppie-liberal types and all the definitions in between. there’s no good way to try to figure out how to define gender. it’s best to live and see what comes naturally to oneself. it is a very Taoist take on the issue, but it’s what works best for me, my wife, and my 14 month old daughter.

  16. “All this proves is that our only real difference is genitalia-based (reproduction, hormonal, etc), and again your arguments (if you read them) only reestablish this truth” (Johnny)

    Nonetheless, a woman and a man, due to this radical chemical difference are quite different…no? Are do both chemicals, testosterone and estrogen, produce the same outcomes?

    Now it is clear the chmicals make a lot of the difference, that’s part of being a human in general, however what about with old age when both chemicals decrease…so we have studies that show men and women become more and more similar or are the differences still there?

    As for anatomy having everything to do with the differences – I don’t think this is so – this is putting too much weight into the single chemicals each produce. Do you think if a woman was born with lower levels of estrogen and higher levels of testosterone she would think and act like a man? Or would their still be marked differences accounted for by something else?

    “would one be a male if they were BORN without that piece of genitalia? No they would not be male, because they would be born with a vagina” (Johnny)

    Good point, still doesn’t account for the differences between the two – you only boil it down to sexual organs…I am not sure there is a sole biologist that would agree with your contentions on this subject.

    In fact, I cannot think of one study that actually proves what it is you are contending about the only differences being in anatomy (which is a product of dna) and the resulting chemistry that follows along as the ‘ONLY” difference. EVEN IF THIS WERE THE CASE, what does it matter, it’s only point (a) ‘we were born this way’ – and still does nothing to dealing with differences between men and women (qualitatively) on issues like thought, feelings, and physicality.

    So your point is noted, men and women are differentiated prior to birth by the dna. That says what about the human species or the issues at hand (which or social issues) is beyond me.

    Now back to the issue at hand, men and woman ARE different – FACT. We can boil it down to chemical changes that occue throughout their lifetimes – likely also a FACT. However, this does not account for the changes in societies from age to age – also a FACT (since men and women have always produced their relative chemicals for time immemorial). So what accounts for the changes in society and the way roles were assigned and chosen by men and women? This is a social science and not one of biology alone.

  17. “or women are just baby-factories who take on hobbies until they decide to have kids” (Zero1Ghost….Luke?)

    Obviously a stereotype your pointing out, however it does also reveal something about one of the intrinsic differences between men and women…child rearing and need.

    Women have what they call a biological clock (literal – kidding) that sort of happens to their bodies almost demanding they have a child of their own at some point in time. Not sure why this exactly happens but for some women this phenomenon changes their whole focus on the future of their life and may not be something they considered seriously until later in life (ie: 30’s – even 40’s).

    It’s a really strange idea, when considered by a man, since we cannot for the life of us understand why a woman would want to go through the pain of labor (which people used to die from once upon a time)…and is excruciating. I mean we love pain as men, we just don’t get why that amount of pain would be something a women would want to willingly subject themselves to later in life. It’s really an odd idea on many levels to a man.

    I also find women are more nurturing then men when it comes to kids, like an inherent connection and capacity to relate ‘better’. This is not to say we don’t love our kids as men, we obviously do, but not the way a woman does (in fact this same nurturing is also clear in relationships between a man and a woman). It frankly puzzles me, if homosexuality were actually an option, why they don’t just switch sides more often (relationally)?

    Men are brutes (in many ways). But that ‘was’ a good thing, and sometimes still is. Prior to having much of the established law and order we now have in society, men used to protect the village community. They also used to hunt (in vicious conditions sometimes). They also risked their lives by travelling into parts unknown to secure a place for living or hunting. This bruteness we see in men, used to be very useful…and women didn’t mind it then.

    Move forward to modern times, those same qualities are the same things being blamed for many divorces. Irony is, this same quality is one of the high priorities for a woman to find in a man (why is quite beyond me)…but it was coined as ‘security’. It’s really a double edged sword, damned if she don’t, damned if she does.

    Sense of humor is also a huge one. Women seek it, men seem to have it in spades. In fact, ask any women what the most endearing qualities about a man or their man is and oddly enough this one always comes up. Well humor is really a show of one’s ‘wit’ or ‘mental stretching/thinking’ about the reality of life aorund them. Are women in fact saying they seek this in a man…this mental ability they seem to inherently contain? Funny, because humor is not something that sustains a relationship, in fact, women tend to grow tired of it 1/2 the time.

    And these and many more observations are all clearly seen in any normal relationship between a man and a woman in this era in time. Why I mention the role of the man is because it is the one that is diminishing more and more as the years move forward….or a ‘what is my place in this society?’. Women can never lose theirs, they will always have motherhood as a pure and simple fallback position. But what can a man fall onto?

    • is my style that recognizable? keep it on the DL. this be my psuedo. but i don’t think the role of ” is diminishing more and more as the years move forward….or a ‘what is my place in this society?’. Women can never lose theirs, they will always have motherhood as a pure and simple fallback position.” women don’t have motherhood as a given. some don’t have a bio-clock. some men do. i know i have one, my wife, kinda does, but not really as strong as mine. two of my gay buddies just were talking about how badly they want kids, which is ironic considering. my older lesbian friend states that she has never had an urge to have kids, and she’s in her early 60s.

      i think we are where we started, that we must define our own identity, no one can define it for us. that means what we make of gender and morals and such. yet we must have the communal feedback, that is key.

  18. “But what can a man fall onto?” (SVS)

    I may be off, Johnny did mention this world is ‘run/created by men’. Maybe the man is exactly all the things in society we both enjoy and hate. I love sports, I hate war. I love our inventiveness, I hate our pride/ego. I love our creativity, I hate our captivity. I love our drive and motivation, I hate our use of that for greed.

    Maybe a man is all these things, and more. And change is occuring and we are now allowing women to play where only men dare tread (ie: politics, sports, war, etc). Maybe my missing the forest for the trees was because it looks we are losing our trees. And maybe I am just losing my mind.

  19. i’ve been thinking about this still… and a good distinction to make is between gender and sex. gender is a construct, sex is biological. that’s about as close to a conclusion as i can get.

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