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MBSUD00ZBeginning about a year ago, I became obsessed with the question of whether a universal masculinity exists or not. Are the traits which we consider “manly” hardwired into us as a species? Or are they socially constructed for some specific purpose? Or maybe some combination of both? And how does this relate to being attractive to women as well as psychologically sound as men?

You may think this is a funny thing to start obsessing about. But in hindsight, it wasn’t odd at all. For one, much of my social experience the five years prior, and this very website, were rooted in my experiences within the pick up artist (PUA) movement. One could easily argue that a large component of the PUA experience, if not the defining component, is helping men discover and get in touch with their masculinity in order to attract and sleep with more women.

The movement focuses on cultivating conventional masculine behaviors: being socially dominant, leading, establishing strong boundaries, pushing one’s will onto others, objectifying and achieving progress. Non-coincidentally, adopting these new behaviors often leads these men to greater success with women.

Therefore within the PUA movement, it is tacitly accepted that men are supposed to behave one way and women another. When men deviate from this defined behavior, they’re referred to as pussies or “AFC’s”. When women deviate they’re derided as bitches or feminists. (I kid, I kid… OK, not really.) PUA’s justify these gender roles by butchering one evolutionary psychology theory after another. Now, I’m not disagreeing with the idea that there may be some sort of biological basis for gender behavior. I’m just saying the PUA’s butcher the hell out of it.

But, I too, took these gender roles for granted as predestined fact. After all, back when I was meager, passive-aggressive and whiny, women were repelled from me. When I began to behave in a dominant, assertive and pushy manner, women began sleeping with me, people began listening to me and internally, my behavior felt right on a deep level.

Then in late 2009, I began to travel all over the world. And within a few months it became impossible to ignore: masculinity and dominance are culturally relative. In America, most women consider me to be cocky and aggressive. In some Asian cultures, women even found me to be brutish and intimidating. Yet in many countries such as Argentina or Ukraine, I came across to women as sensitive and respectful. Hell, many of the women in Brazil are more sexually assertive than I am. And in Russia, when I told a girl I was seeing that most women in America find me to be too aggressive, she began to laugh in my face.

“You? Are you serious? The reason I like you is because you’re so sensitive and attentive compared to Russian men.”

Well shit. Not only was my conception of masculinity not even that masculine in many parts of the world, but I was attracting women because they perceived me to NOT be masculine. In Latin America, a girl I dated said she loved my lack of machismo and how well I listened. Great… Yet, back home women wanted to date me because they perceived me to be so crass and aggressive. What’s going on here?

One of the beautiful yet horrifying aspects of traveling all over the world is that every time you step off the plane you set yourself up to have your assumptions shattered. It happens regularly. This was one of them.

The first lesson of this experience was what is known in social psychology as assortment theory, or what I refer to in my book as “Demographics.” The concept is a scientifically observed phenomenon where behavior by one person will naturally screen out and only attract people of that similar behavior.

For instance, a recent study found that men with misogynistic beliefs (women belong in the kitchen, women shouldn’t talk back, etc.) naturally attracted women with similar misogynistic beliefs (I belong in the kitchen, I shouldn’t talk back, etc.) and turned off most other women (for obvious reasons).

Assortment theory can be subtle and hard to notice. But when you travel it’s impossible to ignore. If you walk into a room and only 10% of the women there speak English, then you’re immediately going to be at a major disadvantage with the 90% who don’t, and a major advantage with the 10% who do (they’ll find you exotic, interesting, etc.) Back home this plays out in less obvious ways: behave like a crazy party guy and you’ll attract crazy party girls; behave like an intellectual snob and you’ll attract hipster intellectually snobby girls; dress like crap and stop showering and the only women willing to overlook it will be women who dress like crap and don’t shower.

In my case, back when I was a meager, passive-aggressive, whiner, I only attracted women who corresponded to those traits: i.e., not very attractive women. When I began behaving in a dominant and assertive manner, I began attracting women in the US who sought out those dominant and assertive traits — which tended to be the hot, feminine women who were sick of dealing with wusses all the time. But then, when I went to Russia and was suddenly considered passive and sensitive, I attracted women who sought out those more passive and sensitive traits — who coincidentally also were hot, yet well-educated women who were sick of the Russian men acting like drunken pigs.

The point of assortment theory is that there are no (or very few) absolutes: no matter how you alter your behavior, that behavior is always going to naturally attract one subset of people and repel or simply not interest the majority.

(Sidenote: I would say that perhaps the only absolute for men in dating is that they’re expected to initiate. Whether you’re passive or aggressive, intellectual or ridiculous, casual or fun party guy, the responsibility is still going to almost always fall on you to initiate.)

I toyed with assortment theory a bit when I returned to the US. I decided to be more sensitive and vulnerable around women. And sure enough, I began attracting sweet, sensitive girls who appreciated those qualities in me. Crazy. And even though my PUA instincts thought that I’d be attracting far fewer women by acting this way, it turns out that wasn’t the case. In fact, it seemed like I was attracting the same women, just instead of them behaving in a crazy party girl way around me, they were behaving in a sweet and vulnerable way around me.

(Sidenote: this was not merely a social experiment on my part but a conscious desire as well. I had been getting tired of the typical aggressive, overly-sexual one-night-stand-type interactions I had been having regularly and was looking for something more intimate and substantial.)

Throughout all of these experiences was the implication that not only may there not be a universal masculinity, but that conventional masculinity is not universally attractive, something feminists have been saying for decades.

In fact, when I posed this question to a feminist writer earlier this year, she responded with exactly that: it feels like typical masculine traits are universally attractive because every woman I’d been with had been attracted by my masculine traits. It doesn’t mean that women couldn’t be attracted to me for other reasons. In short: assortment theory.

But if masculinity is culturally relative, then why are so many people (both men and women) lamenting the seeming loss of masculinity in our culture? Why are sociologists putting out books about how we’re losing generations of men to “guy culture?” — men who don’t want to commit themselves to anything but playing video games and drinking beer? How does that explain the disaster that’s become the dating and marriage market in the US?

And cultural relativism can’t completely explain it. If it did, men would simply adapt with new norms and move on. To a degree we are. But developmentally, we’re not. We can’t ignore that we ARE biologically different. Men have ten times the amount of testosterone pumping through us, which makes up bigger, stronger, urges us to take more risks, be more violent, less empathetic, want more sex, and achieve greater feats. This all on average of course, and there are exceptions. But the point remains. Everyone seems to agree with the sentiment that western men have lost something in the past few generations.

I saw, and still do see, a lot of the nascent men’s trends (everything from PUA to Maxim-type magazines to shows like Mad Men) in the west as a struggle to reclaim some sort of lost masculinity of the past 50 years. But what is the nature of that struggle? Is retaking a masculine identity a matter of shifting cultural norms? Or is it biological destiny?

The answer it turns out, is a little of both (as usual). And I’m not the first person to ask these questions. Anthropologists and psychologists have been digging into this one for decades.

Rites of Passage

Camille Paglia once wrote, “A woman simply is, but a man must become. Masculinity is risky and elusive. It is achieved by a revolt from woman, and it is confirmed only by other men.” Say what you want, but both Freudian psychologists and many anthropologists back this up. Whereas a woman’s femininity is implicit by simply being and birthing, a man’s must be proven through action.

(Another Sidenote: I realize that women struggle with their own feminine identity issues. I don’t mean to downplay them. But they’re different. And we’re talking about masculinity here, so deal.)

Modern Freudians believe the defining emotional struggle for men is of emotionally disassociating from the safety and care of the emotional (sexual?) attachment with their mother. This disassociation plays out sub-consciously through various life experiences that establish emotional and sexual independence. Men who succeed in establishing their independence are free to fully function as men, whereas the men who never completely escape their mother’s grasp flounder endlessly and ineffectually throughout their lives, struggling to act independently, eluding success, and many times failing to move on to establish a family of their own.

Examples of this disassociation process include masculine propensities for competitive achievement, sexual conquests, professional success and wealth, political power, etc. Anything from one man talking shit to the other guys in his bowling league, to two friends bragging about their car engines, to the middle manager who ignores his family to work 90 hours a week, to the nightclub promoter who sleeps with five new girls a month. These are all common, culturally-normal ways that men have expressed their emotional independence and masculinity in the past.

Anthropologists have found that this process of disassociation plays out in men in every culture. What changes is how the process plays itself out, and to what degree. For instance, indigenous tribes in Eastern Africa require adolescent boys to be tortured and maimed publicly to certify their masculinity, whereas Spanish men are forced out of the house at an early age and expected to become breadwinners early on. Japanese men are put through excessive schooling and expected to achieve a certain academic standing.

Manliness isn't as hardcore as it used to be.

What’s interesting though is that any one conventional expression of masculinity is not universal. Tahitian men lack any sense of machismo and are considered quite lazy by comparison to other cultures, but the men there still express their emotional disassociation in other ways, primarily through social groups and organization. In Trukese culture, it’s accepted that men will be come drunks and excessively violent with each other in their early 20’s. Many hunter-gatherer societies tie masculinity to the ability to hunt and catch food. Our society, up until recently, usually attributed manhood to a man’s ability to accumulate and provide wealth and resources.

So the conclusion is that the psychological development of masculinity is universal, but the way it manifests itself is different from culture to culture.

After surveying dozens of cultures on their beliefs and practices of masculinity, anthropologist David Gilmore came to many of the conclusions mentioned above: that there seems to be a universal drive of autonomy among men worldwide, but the way they express that autonomy differs from one culture to the next. Also, this autonomy seems to always be up for debate and has a need to be confirmed by other men in each culture.

But Gilmore went further. He wanted to know why masculinity is so hardcore in some places, and considerably tame in others. Why do some African tribes literally whip and cut young boys publicly to test their manhood, whereas other communities in Malaysia judge manhood by who can carve the coolest looking stick?

Gilmore’s theory, set out in his book Manhood in the Making is that the severity of masculinity in a culture — and the chasm between gender roles — is proportional to how treacherous the environment in which that particular society exists is. Cultures that are constantly warring over territory, who have limited resources and have to battle the elements or nature have some seriously hardcore conceptions of masculinity. And rightly so. When you’re constantly defending your only sources of food from invaders and wild animals, you need men to step up and be warriors and protectors. Men are more biologically suited for that, so deeper gender roles become established.

Meanwhile other cultures which are isolated, have plenty of resources, and not threatened, the men are usually comparatively passive and relaxed. Again, there’s a lack of economic need for diverse gender roles, so society adapts.

The idea that social norms and culture are influenced and created by environmental conditions and economic realities is not a new or controversial one. It’s an idea that the scientist Jared Diamond recently popularized in his acclaimed books Guns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. We don’t make up our ways of life in a vacuum. They develop and evolve out of economic necessity.

The Crisis of the Western Man

Stupid shit like this passes for manly these days.

If you’re reading this site or even remotely taking me seriously right now, you may be one of the many who has the sense that something’s amiss with Western men. Sociologists have been fretting about it for an entire decade now. Entire self help industries for men have sprouted up. Demand for men’s dating advice has surpassed women’s dating advice. Communities such as the PUA movement have formed and thrived. In a celebrity-scape of Justin Bieber, Kanye West and “The Situation,” there’s not a legitimate masculine role model to be found anywhere. Hell, even feminists began fretting about 10 years ago, with writers such as Christina Hoff Sommers and even Naomi Wolf lamenting that boys have begun falling behind in school at every level. US universities are currently 55% female. Girls are outperforming boys in almost every subject and have moved to being even with them in the math and sciences. In 2010, for the first time in American history, women out-numbered men in the workforce.

Feminism has often been blamed for these changes. And indeed, in a society where men used to derive their self-worth from making money and establishing good careers, suddenly having women as their competition (or bosses) can sabotage that search for meaning. After all, the point of men pursuing achievement and success so much was to assert their independence from women — now, with women as their peers, it kind of undermines the developmental effect.

But I don’t think feminism is the root cause for modern masculinity’s turmoil. In fact, I think it’s just another effect of a deeper underlying cause. Remember, Gilmore asserted that gender roles break down in societies which experience greater security and resources. They’re no longer as useful.

A lot of feminism’s triumphs can be attributed to just that. Beginning in the mid-20th century, technology had largely taken over the role of homemaking. Cleaning the house, washing the clothes and cooking dinner took 1-2 hours whereas in the past it had taken an entire day of hard labor. Women had access to pre-heated ovens, electric stoves, dishwashers, toaster ovens, vacuum cleaners, etc. There was no more need for them to stay in the home all day. In fact, one could argue that modern women went through this same identity-level crisis generations before the men did. What had defined them as a gender for centuries was suddenly rendered unnecessary. Between technological advances in the home and birth control, women were able for the first time in history to exercise complete control over their bodies and their time.

These same economic realities are now applying to men. Historically, men attached their entire identities to their careers and professions. That’s who they were. That’s where they derived their sense of self-worth. And that’s how they asserted their emotional autonomy.

But in recent decades, the career-man is almost a myth. People often spend only a few years at each job. Many jobs have been outsourced or automated. The economy has tanked a couple times. And now women (or the wife) are working just as hard (or even harder) than you. That’s no longer a very stable sense of identity. And not a reliable way to express emotional autonomy.

Take a man who works a standard corporate job and makes a decent living. Let’s say this man is totally reactive to his environment and the people in his life. He did well in school because others told him to. He got a nice job because his parents wanted him to. He did what his bosses said to get promoted so he could make more money to provide for his wife and family.

In 1950, this man would be considered a raging success. He’d actually be celebrated as a proper example of what a man should be. The fact that he doesn’t like his job is irrelevant. The fact that he’s his boss’s whipping boy wouldn’t matter. He brought home the bacon and had a proper, respectable identity.

But today, there’s a strong and powerful cultural under-current that this man is considered a jailed failure. He’s stuck working a job he hates for people he doesn’t like for money he doesn’t need, just to give it to a woman who doesn’t need it and is likely to divorce him anyway. Whereas it used to be enough to simply get a paycheck and bring it home, that doesn’t cut it anymore. That’s not good enough. Anyone can do that now, so it’s not a viable way for a man to disassociate, to declare himself independent and powerful. In fact, it’s the opposite. He’s taking the safe route. The route that no longer validates his masculinity or helps him assert his autonomy.

So what’s the result? Generations of financially successful men who are pushovers, who don’t assert themselves, can’t get a date, and end up obsessed with sex and/or embroiled with mommy issues. Sound familiar? Our society has evolved to a place of more luxury and security, and therefore the previous rites of passage men utilized to establish themselves have washed away and left a muddied, incoherent masculinity behind.

A New Masculinity

One thing that surprised me when I sifted through a lot of feminist writing this year was how often feminists would wish that men would step up, shake off the shackles of their failed gender roles and shape new identities for themselves. I have to admit, it bridged a lot of apparent gaps for me. I think feminists miss the fact that we’re trying; we’re just not trying to do it in a way that they expect or necessarily like. But they are right. Men need to step up and define a new masculinity for themselves. We need to stop floating aimlessly through our lives, and become reactive to the world and what’s happening in it.

I spent most of the last five years operating within a men’s movement full of men obsessed with asserting their emotional independence. Sure, the motivation and inspiration behind it was sex and women, but it had long been clear to me, that at the core of it, the PUA movement was a method for men to vicariously find that emotional independence and validation from other men that they had missed growing up — whether it be because they grew up without a father around, because their career path turned out to be stifling and unsatisfying, because their relationships consistently fell apart due to their neediness, or whatever.

Feminists were often (and still are) perceived to be “the enemy,” scapegoated for the tattered state of modern masculinity. But if you take the time and side-step past the rape culture paranoia, some of the patriarchy lunacy, and a lot of unnecessary soap-box speeches, then you get to the heart of that movement: economic and social realities forced women to confront and transcend what defined them as women, and now it is time for men to do the same thing. And right now we’re sucking at it.

Most current men’s self help movements are rife with “woe is me” pity parades, and bizarre forced rituals (drum circles, sweat lodges, etc.) that are painfully anachronistic and ineffective. The pick up and dating industry indirectly leads a lot of men to establishing powerful and independent identities, but it’s also weighed down by misogyny and men fixated on superficial sexuality. Magazines such as Maxim, GQ, FHM, and others prey on men’s most immature impulses by plastering half-naked, airbrushed women across their pages, while hocking overpriced shit down your throat in a constant attempt to re-establish the failed-state of masculinity’s past: that a real man buys expensive crap and fucks hot girls. Hit it or quit it… broski.

Television shows and movies have seen a throwback period of masculinity with powerful male characters in popular shows such as Californication and Mad Men. But men such as Hank Moody and Don Draper are caricatures — idealism sketched onto a screen, with deep flaws. Draper exhibits an independence and strength that leaves male viewers in awe and female viewers in lustful shivers, but at the end of the day, he’s ruthless and gutted of any deeper empathy. The sexual chaos and wit that permeates Hank Moody’s life would make any man envious for a moment (myself included). It’s impossible for a man to watch Hank and not immediately desire the same kind of boyish freedom he exercises around the women of Hollywood. Yet, Hank too, is a complete emotional fuck up: substance abuse, an ex-wife he can’t stop cheating on, a daughter he sucks at raising, a career scarred by underachievement.

Don’t even get me started on Jack Bauer.

The point is, as a culture, there’s a void where our masculinity used to be. Created by the absence of our fathers, the futility of conventional career paths, the inundation of a feminized pop culture, this generation of men is floundering and has been for a while. It’s no wonder we’re staying unemployed, single, having more casual sex and playing more video games than any generation of men before us. It’s no wonder that feminists are writing 20-page articles in places like The Atlantic freaking out that all of the single men are either “deadbeats or players” and that many women are actually consciously choosing to stop hoping for marriage.

So what are we supposed to do?

Remember, the key universality is defining an emotional independence for ourselves followed by validation from other men. Simply making money isn’t enough anymore. Buying nice things isn’t enough anymore. Achievements and conquests by themselves aren’t enough. Perhaps you’ve done many of these things, and you have felt it. Having money and nice things is nice, but it doesn’t make you feel like a man anymore. Something’s still lacking. We live in such a culturally relative post-modern world that all of these things are only as valuable and recognized as those around us make them.

What I offer is the idea of a post-masculinism, an idea of masculinity that includes conventional masculinism (dominance, achievement, sexual pursuit), but is not confined by social roles or expectations. One man’s rite of passage may be building his own boat and sailing across Lake Michigan. Another man’s rite of passage may be writing and publishing a novel. Another man’s may be living in on a beach in Cuba and volunteering with starving children. The common denominator is that we set out to establish ourselves as emotionally independent through our actions. The common denominator is taking action as individuals.

Since there’s no longer any socially universal norm for masculine achievement, we are the first generation of men that must create our own. And what’s more independent or emotionally liberating than that? It’s a true expression of your individual power and your masculinity.

But this isn’t easy. And in many ways, we’re ill-equiped for it. Just as women were ill-equipped to supersede their roles in society, we are as well, just in different ways. Striking out on your own path and creating your own rite takes courage, ambition, technical skill, all conventional masculine traits. But it also takes introspection, emotional awareness, vulnerability and a willingness to fail — traits most men are not accustomed to.

Entrepreneur and business writer Gary Vaynerchuk often speaks of the idea of personal brand. He claims that in the coming age of social media, our most important asset is going to be our own personal brand that we present to the world. I see the concept of post-masculinity in similar terms: it’s not enough to simply be a bread-winner, to be a provider, to be a walking paycheck anymore. It’s like Tyler Durden says in Fight Club (the perennial movie of post-masculinity if there were such a thing): “You are not your job. You are not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your fucking khakis.”

Our canvas is ourselves and we’re all artists. The developmental blueprint is that there is no blueprint. There’s an individuality and eccentricity that we must all cultivate and contribute back to society. Throughout human history, men always had a clear and concise path laid out before them. We’re one of the first generations that doesn’t. You can do or be anything you want in any capacity that you want. So create your own standard and then surpass it. Psychologically that’s where we derive our worth and our value. Right now simply following the path our fathers and grandfathers laid out before is not working. It’s time to blaze our own trail.

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151 Responses to A New Masculinity

  1. […] Lovers and Women Haters – A psychological look at men who obsess about their love lives. A New Masculinity – My overly long searching for the meaning of masculinity and what it means for us. The Pain […]

  2. […] / Transcending Our Gender Role – 19% of all responses – I shouldn’t have to say much more on […]

  3. Iamrex says:

    Yes. But perhaps traditional male roles were never really the only thing that determine a women’s attraction to begin with.

  4. MRDA says:

    Question: Can a man truly attain independence and autonomy if his frame of reference remains external to him (other men) ? You seem to be talking about individuation, yet still framing it in terms of what pleases others, as opposed to the individual man.

  5. Jesse says:

    I think this is true for women as well. We all need to begin crafting our own destinies and breaking free from antiquated gender-based ideas about success.

  6. Eric says:

    You kind of resolved one thing without resolving the other. The anthropologist quoted says that in all cultures men must prove themselves, and that they must achieve the approval of other men. I see how it is somewhat implied by your conclusion, but I think it should be more explicit. How, in a world where this standard has not yet shifted as you have suggested, do we find the approval of other men?

  7. laureston says:

    Interesting article… enjoyed it very much and agree with most of it. You use “assortment theory” as a lead-in to your thoughts about masculinity and I think it works very well. Regarding your “dating” experiences and realization of assortment theory , however, I have only one word… confidence. Women perceive and are drawn to confidence in men. It’s as simple as that. Yes, you can act machismo and pick up hot chicks, or act like a brainiac and pick up hipsters, but it all boils down to being confident in who you are. The fact that you began as a sensitive wussie and couldn’t get a date, and then later in life act the same way and attract sweet and sensitive girls can only mean one thing. You were more confident after your varied experiences. Women can smell it.

  8. Owen Marcus says:

    This is a great manifesto for the new evolution of being a man. You are correct that for millions of years we defined ourselves in relationship to our environment. When we left the tribe 10,000 years go for the farm, then 200 years ago for the factory, then 25 years ago for the computer we progressively lost our traditional manhood.

    Yes women are ahead of us mostly because we freed them first from their binds. They also had us – the traditional macho male role model to fight against. Now that we are free and we don’t have something to fight against – how do we create a new masculinity?

    You are right; so much of our maleness is determined by how other men perceive us. We can’t be a kickass hunter and we don’t want to be the successful corporate man beating out our peers. Consequently we are lost. Getting women to acknowledge us never equals male recognition.

    For years I struggled with this dilemma, for the most part unconsciously. Then fifteen years ago decided to check out a men’s group. The first group was too weak, yet I felt there was something there. Over the years I’ve evolved my participation then leadership of these groups.

    Today I see them as micro-communities where men get to learn what they didn’t get to learn growing up in a male depleted society. I also see them providing what you speak about – a place to be acknowledged by other men. Not every man completes his own rites of passage via one of these ‘micros’, but the ones who do become their own man.

    These modern tribes are able to train and recognize men. I have not found anything come close to doing what these men’s groups do. Therapy sets up this issue as pathology, let alone is dominated by women. The self development movement makes it out to be more than it is. All the other remedies miss that Masculine Emotional Intelligence is more than general emotional intelligence and certainly different than the feminine version.

    You are so right, only other men can really give a man what he needs.

  9. Ryan says:

    Damn. Great article. Magnum opus.

  10. Corby says:

    LOVED this article, but at the end I think you missed the mark a bit — yes, we men can ‘blaze our own path’ and construct our own ‘rite of passage’, but what makes it COUNT is whether it is acknowledged by other men. Without that, it’s just more masturbatory fluff like the rest of the Bly-ian so-called “Men’s Movement”….

  11. Californian says:

    All this Pick Up Artist, David De Angelo, Alpha male type hooey in America is really a mask to cover up one huge blind spot in the American male’s psyche. Hey Men, hate to break it to you, but women have all YOUR power now. They’ve got you by the balls, fellas, whether you’re an alpha, beta or omega male. Checkmate.

    30 to 40 years ago in the USA, a guy didn’t front being an “Alpha Male” or “Pick up Artist” because American men and women were equal socially and therefore more naturalness in their sex roles prevailed.

    But men who are now in their 20’s and 30’s (and who don’t have international experience) have almost no chance of deprogramming themselves. The women and media and legal system and pop culture make you little boys. The women are laughing at you while you consider yourself some Alpha. In reality you’re being played – you’re her little gigolo, her male prostitute, and when you get snagged – her ATM and finally her annuity. Game, set, match. Next.

    • Jammer says:

      So I guess you’ve just given up on life, or else you’re simply a troll.

      After all, Dave Gilmour (coincidentally another) said back in 1973, “Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way. The sun is gone, the song is over, thought I’d something more to say”

      It seems odd you’re from California man.

  12. imbandit says:

    hi friend. Thankyou. That was a bloody good read, and it really got my blood pumping. Also, I just have to say, some of the best intimate experiences in my life have come in the setting of a sweatlodge. A real sweat is never ever ever forced, it’s not a maschiasmo thing about who can take the heat. Thats crap. It’s actually much more subtle and gentle, and social. One could write stories on this, but in short…the heat, the darkness, the moisture, it cuts off most of your sensory inputs, leaving a cohesive group of disembodied voices alone together. Singing, chanting, or using your voice helps you to appreciate it, and to find it. And creating a sacred, private, communal space allows you to open up and really talk to people like (for some of us) we had never ever done before. Sweat lodges may seem bizarre, but when you land in one with good people, it can be an overwhelmingly rejuvenating and heartening experience. Thanks for the good read, I really appreciate it.

  13. Jakemo says:

    Mark,

    What a refreshing trip this has been, blasting through your blog. I, too, was reeled in by the “America” post, and was hooked at the onset. Your perspective is fantastically realistic, and I align with a lot of what you say. This article in particular speaks to me. The meditation article also helped.

    I dove in head-first into PUA stuff in like 2005, and spent some serious time over a couple years listening to and reading all I could find. While there were some indirect benefits, it definitely left me more confused and conflicted than anything. I, too, had some deeper emotional issues I needed to sort out, and they never *really* got addressed through the PUA stuff.

    It was fun playing around with the techniques, some were entertaining, but most felt contrived and manipulative, so I really only experienced limited success, and most of it was with girls who were sincerely crazy. One of the good things to come was my continued interest in self-development. I did manage a reasonably good relationship with a girls who was *not* crazy, but in the end it self-destructed, probably mostly because of my neuroses at the time.

    Fast forward a few years, I lived in another city, worked 40 hours a week for a couple years, and had another long-term relationship which was headed towards marriage. Fortunately, a major divergence in the life path of me and that woman ended the relationship, and I was confronted with an opportunity to truly work through lots of the emotions that I had buried for years and years. Stuff from high school, middle school. Guilt, shame, anger, resentment, fear, self-worth stuff, etc. The breakup was a catalyst to deal with all this stuff.

    It also provided me with an opportunity to *really* reflect on how I interact with myself, and do some serious work on my relationship with myself. I read The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo, which pretty much jarred my entire being alive with excitement. Through doing what I thought I was “supposed to do,” I had become completely numb not just emotionally, but I had silenced my intuition, and lost touch with my personal desires and the things about life that excite me the most. Realizing this was HUGE in my massive tidal-wave of self-development this year. When you said something to the extent of “The relationships you bring into your life are a direct reflection of the relationship you have with yourself,” I laughed out loud in agreement. I’ve been having awesome insights along those lines all year, and like to call myself a “spiritual warrior” every now and then.

    So cheers to you, for getting the truth out there, that to be a MAN has nothing to do with working 40 hours for 40 years and being a discontent breadwinnner, and EVERYTHING to do with being in touch with yourself, your desires, your emotions, your intuition, and knowing and loving yourself deeper than you could ever expect anyone else to, and making no apologies for who you are. While everything else changes, you can always count on your own inner silence to be there. It is the only thing that will *always* be there, and embracing and nurturing it will resonate through your entire being.

    Find your path, and walk it. Walk it with confidence and conviction, devote your entire purpose and being to it, and everything else will come as a natural consequence. That, to me, is how I define myself as a man.

    Cheers.

  14. Ryan says:

    Some very good observations. It’s worth noting that during the feminist revolution and the rise of women, many women took on supposedly masculine traits. Women had to become ambitious, public, independent, assertive, etc.

    You seem to be suggesting that men take on some supposedly female traits. I like this advice but I think that the masculine role model is unsuited to help us. I think that modern men need good female role models. Women have a lot of experience in areas like “emotional awareness and vulnerability” and we would do well to let them teach us a thing or two.

  15. Erika says:

    May I suggest another perspective?

    I don’t believe this is a man problem or a woman problem. You have seen that cultures vary, and that is because they all have different belief systems. Your experience arises out of how your belief system intersects with theirs.

    Yet there is something that is universal, and it does not happen at the level of language or customs. It happens at the level of belief systems.

    May I suggest that your experiences with different cultures have more to do with your subconscious beliefs than with the actual “reality” of those cultures?

    May I suggest that there IS a Universal way to create magnetism and that it is not at the level of behavior but at the level of belief systems?

    And may I suggest that women and men need to work on these issues together, because women are just as much not living in their power as men are. I believe healed people have a perfect balance of masculine and feminine energy, and that all of us are meant to be empowered. Much of the confusion arises from focusing our attention in the wrong place (i.e., at the level of behavior and customs and language rather than at the level of beliefs and universal consciousness).

    Does what I’m saying make any sense at all? It’s much too long a discussion to have here.

  16. aeloch says:

    I didn’t read all of the comments, so my apologies if this was already brought to your attention, but one thing I think is seriously lacking among men is some sense of sincerity in their being. It’s exhausting to have to feel like you are constantly sifting through a presentation of who someone thinks they ought to be, and have to see past the actions that men think they ought to do to come off as masculine and strong and “emotionally independent”. I agree, this is a staple of masculinity, and I can confirm that men who are overly emotional are not attractive to (most) women. But what I am constantly hoping (and failing) to find is someone who knows who they are, understands their flaws, appreciates their strengths and doesn’t give a shit about superficialities that seem to dictate the good ‘ol US of A. Hell, even sensitive men seem to present themselves as sensitive, thinking women will find it refreshing…but the air of presentation makes it annoying and repulsive. You say you were successful when both aggressive and more sensitive, and it all came down to sincere confidence. The blueprint for a post-masculine man will have to come not from a confidence that he is making money for his wife, but a true confidence in himself and a drive towards something meaningful. It’s harder than just helping the homeless, you have to help because you found in yourself a passion for charity and the confidence to pursue it. Passion and confidence are the two missing variables in most men today. And if you all want to reinvent masculinity, unfortunately that will mean some soul searching in the paradoxical quest of emotional independence. Luck to you all!

    • mdavid says:

      The missing link in this article is children.

      The current family structure is not conducive to raising children, and when one looks at who is having all the children these days they are not players nor even modern folk. They are traditionalists.

      Every era has genetic winners and losers. Sure, this social wasteland is history. But don’t mistake those genetically unfit for what the future will look like. The future belongs to those who show up for it. Postmasculine types are merely a failed genetic path and will soon disappear. Don’t mistake the dying trees in a single area for the entire forest.

  17. […] article, A New Masculinity, provides some fantastic food for thought about the crisis of the Western man and what we can do […]

  18. IceyHotdog says:

    Fascinating article! Thanks a lot for writing this, really.
    I would be very grateful if you could answer a few questions about the article.

    1) Did you have your own rite of passage? If no, why?

    2) Do you think rites of passage are healthy? From what I’ve studied, historically rites of passage are (at least partially) about cutting off a part of your identity, a childish identity. You are not longer a boy, and you no longer permit yourself to behave as such. Do you think this may be contradictory to some of your main ideas, like allowing yourself to be whoever you are, and being okay with being “soft”, emotional or vulnerable?
    Moreover, rites of passage also look a bit like a “magic pill”, as opposed to a continuous never-ending process of growth. Is it a journey or a destination?

    3) While I was fascinated with the article for the most part, there was one recurring theme that triggered discontent in me. Why do we have to look for other males’ confirmation of our masculinity? How is that reconciled with being on our OWN path?

  19. Retcofsky says:

    I think what you’re getting at is the effect that hyper-individualism in this US culture has been leading to for decades. The bad thing is one can only be so individualistic before one starts to run into other individuals that happened upon the same line of thought and then boom, you’re in a community again.

    I see what you’re saying and I think the rite of passage needs to come back, especially for those of us in the US but I don’t think it needs to be so damned individual, I think that is another side-effect of post-modernism, the idea that everything is independent and yet equally beautiful and unrelated to everything else.

    People, no matter what time they find themselves in or what culture, need an authoritative body over them that sets a standard that all must arrive at or else everything a person does, like what you said in the article, is only as good as the validation he receives from the people around him.

    Who cares if I bang 100 girls this year if no one ever finds out? Would that make me less inclined to do so? If I won a $1 billion lottery but nobody knew it, nobody cared and I had no one to share that joy with, would it be as sweet of a victory? I don’t know. You bring up a lot of really great and interesting points. You leave me with something to ponder.

  20. […] had had the effect that it did, why men seemed to be straggling behind in many arenas, and why masculinity seemed to be on its death bed, I realized that I couldn’t come up with very informed answers. […]

  21. jAMES says:

    e-high-five!

  22. mark says:

    You bother with a thing like “how many men and women finish universities” while within 30 years bachelor degree will be another high school. It’s just showing that boys do worse at school in general, without anyone willing to help them out. My solution was to help my own boys and I didn’t even realize this fact when I started doing it.
    my hat goes down to my wife who stayed with me for 12 years and only death had separated us, she was a real role model, unlike those today’s women. Not because “they’re educated”, since we both had university degrees, but because of today’s women’s attitudes.
    The thing is the triumphalism of pushing the man out of his family, ridiculing men and boys by every media and organization, and using any chance to shame all men and boys by the media, all done by supposed “feminists”.
    Those “feminists” took over the movement’s name to further their own agenda – world where man is unnecessary and pushed out of society as a whole, unless a woman needs some of his money. Movement was overtaken by minority of mad people in the mid of former century and was promoted well enough to become a mainstream, pushing into legislation, politics, into every single part of this society. Real feminism was about equality and treating anyone, regardless of gender, as a human being, having both man and woman helping each other to build a better family and community, but as you can see, new generations falsify the fact that ww2 and changes that occurred afterward are main reason why women entered in such numbers into workforce and broke the barrier, NOT some man-hating people who overtook the movement some decades later. You can see it clearly in Eastern Europe where women progressed even faster than in the West in every regard, but they got this man-hating “feminism” organizations only recently, after communism collapsed.
    In the USA they’re present for a long time and they did all to destroy a family unit, or to tell it bluntly, to get as many women on their side of thinking that man is unnecessary, to continue with the shaming policies. Just imagine telling 1/10 of what they say towards the other gender and you’ll get the picture.

    Now let’s put some more blame on the man for a society that crumbled because of “me, myself and I” mentality that pushed for “no fault divorce” in a situation where laws and those same judges are out there to strip a man from his children and even the house that he bought. And all that is somehow acceptable and fair, because someone will push a million reasons for such system. But there is only one, they hate men and consider that they don’t or shouldn’t have rights to children, they’re second class, and that’s it. Now you ask why more and more men don’t believe in marriage, I really avoid discussing this with my boys. And I don’t even want them to read or watch the stuff those “feminists” spew, it’s only there to make other men depressed and feel ashamed for simply being men. When they get older, they should face it with their own independence, not now when they’re still not earning for their lives, that may simply crush their emotions to see in what kind of world do we live today.
    I.e. being batterers, rapists, being ridiculed, being failures, being called unnecessary. I’d rather continue making them as independent as possible just like I did before I realized how poisonous this society became over just a few decades. And tell them to seek really wisely for a woman of their lives, because we live in a society where divorce is very, very common.
    One can realize when you have some divorces, there are lots of drug addicts, alcoholics, gambling addicts, cheaters, murderers, and so on. But how big is that treshold. 5%, 10, or even 20% would be understandable. But with divorce rates that go over 30,40, even 50%… that tells another story. There’s no way this is because so many men and women are non-marriage material. It’s just the attitudes of some people who enter marriage and break out of it, thinking of it lightly and thinking about themselves only.
    You don’t realize it, but I do, since I was at my son’s school event when I first time realized what they teach the girls at schools. I felt ashamed myself and then talked with him. When you have organizations and so many women that, when given five words do describe men, use words like batterer, rapist, child abuser, unnecessary, etc, you realize something is wrong. What about this, A HERO TO HIS CHILDREN. Five words. No mention. Ask every child of his dad. It’s always “strongest, fastest, smartest, bravest” etc. But no, we live in a different age. And then you say it’s boys who are at fault.

    You will probably see a backlash when this society invents a machine that can emulate woman’s womb, that’s when millions of men will probably rather want to get a child from an artificial womb than to go with a woman who finds him unnecessary. We’re soon beyond any way to fix this society, millions of people had lost their houses and children because courts found them unnecessary and awarded them to their wives, even though you can argue that most of them didn’t do anything wrong to deserve that.

    You ignore the fact that more than half of the children today are born out of wedlock and had women pushing their fathers out of the family after “no fault divorces” and similar stuff. So if you address someone being responsible for children’s behavior in general, especially boys’, you should address the mothers first, single mothers the most, since so many families had children without father, and a whooping 90% being result of separation, not abandonment.
    People forget to mention that.

    Here’s the thing. Little girls are taught for 50 years that MEN ARE UNNECESSARY. This continues through their whole lives, and that’s how moer and more women behave. They’re not only taught that way by the society, but by their family, especially in case of single mothers. and then you ask where the problem is. They won’t teach that to the boys, right?

    Maybe fathers and mothers should tell and teach their boys that doing housework is not a girl job and have them do it, many of them in fact do it themselves since a low number of both men and women are taught to cook or even use washing machine. they are left to learn it when they get married or when they move on to their own independence. Maybe single mothers ARE producing unnecessary men, because they just don’t care.

    Thing is that girls and boys work on different way and whole education system is more oriented towards girl behavior. Bring a small boy and a girl and let them build a castle out of cards, girl may generally expect you to help her and she tries to get you help her. I don’t know, i have no girls in family. But i do know one thing, a boy will probably try to “do it on his own”, and if you let him go on his own without using an adequate way, you’ll make him fail. This applies in any life situation where they may simply neglect to work or will be demotivated to succeed in the end.
    If you start supposedly “hiding” your own card castle or techniquest on how you build it (but intentionally calling him to see it when he tries to quit immitating you), or if you employ certain methods to motivate him and to earn his attention, you’ll soon get him interested and he’ll even accept your help, not just then, but for every future task. And your son will compete to use all the cards that he has to make it as big as possible.

    it’s all about motivation and approach, simple as that. more girls are motivated by the education system and teacher’s behavior towards them than boys are. But that doesn’t change the fact that education becomes more of a quiz show with each year.

    Women can do all things men can. Men can do all things women can, and that’s how boys should be raised. If you motivate them well enough they’ll be even better at cooking and cleaning than a woman. It’s all about discipline.
    If you have any doubt in this, I advise you to seek for functional families, not the ones breaking apart, when you compare how well do boys achieve.
    I’m a single father of 5 boys who never remarried after my wife died in a car accident and I had to adapt to such situation. It’s past 14 years now, and I see I did my job well.
    I managed to get them all on right path with my will to dedicate myself to their success. One of my boys attained masters degree, another three are on their way, and youngest is about to finish high school. all of them were impressive in maths and physics, winning awards in fact. It took a consistent work with them, it’s not a coincidence when you teach them and motivate them by yourself. It’s as if you’re back to school again, and you enjoy when you see that they obtain knowledge that surpasses yours, and then you try to keep up with their new knowledge to keep them motivated. Then they in fact teach you while they study for their exams, and it once again motivates them.

    This society blames man for everything and shames him for everything. And it gives man nothing, but demands. If you don’t see it as a man, you’re blind.
    Problem of your boy is all yours, nobody’s else, so make sure that he overcomes it by yourself. Don’t expect those guys who shame boys and men to help you because they despise you.
    If you teach your boys no discipline, they’ll fail more miserably than a girl, because the system is less likely to help them. It all comes down to that motivation and discipline. 90% of your children’s success is based on your success in your family life.
    All families should look at themselves first. Families with a single parent should always be alarmed NOT to let their children being “taught” by society and their friends. They need to make sure they are the ones doing all they can for their children, especially boys because of how society works. Nobody could or should have better intentions towards your child than you yourself, and you just need to make your child realize that. They will, when they get older.

    • isom.adam says:

      What a scary wall of text
       
      TLDR

    • andrewed says:

      So, back in the good old days, did they also teach you that paragraphs are unnecessary? How about complete sentences? How about a succinct argument as befits a comment rather than your own article? Christ on a crutch, dude.

  23. JakE says:

    Only had time to read a third of this post so far, but wanted to comment before I forget. I’m loving it. Already looks like a good an thorough analysis. Can’t wait to read it all. Scrolling down I saw somebody said it relates to the Misandry Bubble manifesto–haven’t read all of that either. You, Leap of the Beta, and artofmanliness give refreshing takes on masculinity that seem to be beyond “be more Alpha, Bro”. KrauserPUA actually referred to you in a video interview (it’s how I found your blog) saying “he’s further along than me and in the ‘maturity phase’ of pick-up”. He briefly plugged your “Models” book too.

  24. […] been a lopsided amount of research done into women over the past few decades and in a lot of cases masculinity and what defines it has largely been based on assumption. Men, in many cases, have been lumped into […]

  25. […] Up and Kiss Her Minimalism Self-Discipline A New Masculinity Power in Vulnerability 10 Things Americans Don’t Know About America A Dust Over India The […]

  26. […] Camille Paglia once wrote, “A woman simply is, but a man must become. Masculinity is risky and elusive. It is achieved by a revolt from woman, and it is confirmed only by other men.” Say what you want, but both Freudian psychologists and many anthropologists back this up. Whereas a woman’s femininity is implicit by simply being and birthing, a man’s must be proven through action. [källa – läsvärd] […]

  27. spirit_chaser says:

    Hi Mark. I post it here, becuase I can’t on http://postmasculine.com/start page. You describe happiness, wealth, courage, honest communication, relationships, responsibility and mastering emotions in a clever way. You propose men to assume (or maybe strive for) this thinking frame. But this is exactly the thinking frame also women should follow, isn’t it? Isn’t mature, healthy woman’s happiness should be self-directed, her communication honest, her emotions mastered, and so on? How exactly these traits are supposed to differ men from women? And if they aren’t, why are they called “useful behavior for men”, rather than just “useful behavior for people”?

  28. MarkW999 says:

    You’ve got some interesting ideas on your site here, you just need some more life experience, especially with women and feminism. And Freud was a coke-head fraud, FYI.
     
    There’s a reason you have different experiences overseas and you have to be extra assertive in the U.S. – that reason is demographics (the real kind, not your definition). The U.S. is a sausage fest, plain and simple, with 105 men born for every 100 women.  And with women’s obesity rates toppping 50% (and about 30% for men) and if you take out the single moms who have F’d up their lives, and account for immigration – almost all male – and take out the celibate women and sex workers, you get, conservatively, something like 2 single guys for every single slender woman. You don’t think that might affect the market do ya?  This puts an ENORMOUS premium on young, fecund, healthy-weight women, and their attitudes reflect it. Be honest, do you have to pass many “shit tests” overseas? Encounter many bitch-sheilds in E. Europe? It’s like 50 hounds after a rabbit. WAY different demograpic environment in E. Europe, thus your varied experiences. I’ve seen several young, bright, socially aware guys, mid 20-s, good jobs, end up with older single moms in their 30’s where I live. Happens all the time because of the market dynamics at play. Ends badly every time, btw. I’m in my 40’s, look like I’m in my 30’s, and get approached by women pushing 60 all the time. Watched a guy probably 5 years younger than me leave the bar with a woman pushing 60 – and she looked it – a while back. I had more of less politely passed on her, but she had no problem snagging that guy even though she was wearing polyester “granny pants” and had turkey waddle going on. Don’t believe still? Look at dating sites like Match.com – do a search for men in any zip code and then the identical search for women in the same zip. You’ll return at least 30% more men than women. There’s just too many of us.
     
    Layer feminism, the most succesful hate movement in history, on top of these horrible demographics and it’s downright fugly out there for a guy. When you’ve got mainstream fems touting the benefits of early castration for boys, you know you’re dealing with a serious pathology, not a social movement. And that’s not even the ugliest crap that comes from that camp.
     
    You’re an interesting kid though, like your stuff in general. Treat western women any way you want, just don’t get ’em preggers or stick around more than a short while if you know what’s good for you. They’re poisoned and have way too high a value attached to them.  I’m personally headed back south soon, Colombia looks good. Buenas Dias.

  29. MrEndorphine says:

    As MarkW999 said: a lot of interesting ideas. and on first sight a very convincing story.
    However upon reflection I have to disagree most of it.
     
    1. “Masculinity as being culturally constructed” Here you take female attraction as a proxy for masculinity saying that in some cultures, overly dominant behavior is valued and attractive to girls, while in some it is not. Implying that masculinity was altogether different. I tend to disagree. As some guys have said there is a core. There are just some differences to the relative importance of money, showing respect to the woman, being independent and so on. Each of these factors is always a positive. However in some countries money is more important (Russia) and in some respect (USA). It has a lot to do imo with the axis of the “World Values Survey”
     
    2. I do not get this whole rite of passage thing. You say it gives guys an identity and makes them less dependent of women’s approaval. Like being “made a knight” in a way, right? How does this help to get back the masculinity that is lost in the eyes of women – as you pointed out. You are mixing attractiveness and masculinity here. You say, being a breadwinner and being wealthy does not cut it any more (in terms of being attractive to women).
     
    True. My pov: While it IS actually enough to get male approval, it does not get women approval. Why? Because it does not give high status, because this is something that only rockstars, celebrities have nowadays. Since a lot of women are dreaming about a guy of this status (+ they have attained high status themselves, being doctors, lawyers, …), being somehow successful is not enough anymore.
     
    But this has nothing to do with not having the respect of the dudes. As another guy pointed out, many guys are completely at comfort with themselves. It is just the lack of affection by women that makes them feel like a loser. And makes them look like a loser, in the eyes of naturals. You see: if the recognition of men towards other men is based on the success with women a guy has. then rites of passage cannot be “emancipatory” at all. 
     
    Apart from that, I seriously doubt that having mastered a rite of passage and approval of men can compensate for the affection of women. It always needs BOTH! (An exception are maybe some buddhist monks, but I do not buy this story of being 100% self-aware.)
     
    Next thing: For a rite of passage to be valuable, it must be tough, giving pride and status. but if it is tough, there must be people who succeed, and those who fail. How do atavistic tribes do it? I guess the losers are just thrown out of the tribe or made member of a very low caste, (like lady-boys 😉 or whatever. Do you really want such a mechanism in a modern society. I doubt that this could work.
     
    My hypothesis: The problem is that the standards women have have become so high, that only very few guys can really live up to them. But probably this is nothing new. 500 years it was probably the same. There were 5% considered by women “winners” and “real man” (namely the nobility) and 95% losers.
     
    Why can girls be that picky? The whole dynamic has got a lot to do with the demographics as MarkW999 points out. Plus women do not need men anymore and have a lower sex drive I am sure (or are at least better in surpressing it). Plus the STAR CULTURE. 5% guys superstars (very handsome, celebrities,”Alfie”,  …) can easily satisfy 20% of women, because many guys have no scruples to fuck around. And there is probably an equal amount of women that are fantasizing about these guys, so the are off the market as well. The same does not go the other way round, since most hot girls still like to be in a monogamous relationship. The most attractive girls I know have been in reallllyy long term relationships and are just off the market.
     
    This star culture thing is an idea of my own, but I believe it makes some sense. Any comments?

    • MrEndorphine says:

      I forgot. YOHAMI made a great point when saying that prevailing culture demeans drive, strength, endurance, … I would summarize: Demean the picture of the “male hero”. I do not know about the US, but in some respects this is certainly true about Germany, which has to do with history. In the 3rd Reich, the male alpha was idolized: brave, idealistic, strong,  a fighter, loyal, standing there with a flagg, crushing his enemies, …
       
      Substract racism and community values and add individualism and money-oriented values and you have the traditional alpha (in a traditional and an Ayn Rand way).
       
      There are some similarities, which is the reason why this old male model of being a Hero has been
      discredited. I guess the same happened in the States after the Vietnam War.
       
      But what about all the hollywood films, Schwarzenegger and stuff … ? Good question. I would say these films are so unrealistic that they do not really matter. See the film:  “Last action hero”.

      • @MrEndorphine I disagree with this completely. Sports, military worship, gyms are more popular than ever, guys are getting bigger and stronger than ever, more superhero flicks than ever… I really think this is a skewed perspective. 
         
        As per your original comment. You make some interesting points. I don’t agree with all of them. But I will say that my thinking since the article was written has evolved a bit and I’m going to address most of this stuff in the new book.

  30. TDOM says:

    I don’t necessarily agree with your assessment, but I can accept it. In the first portion of your article where you define the problem, I think you hit the nail square enough to drive it home even if you were a bit off center. Your “new masculinity” is where you go awry.
     
    If men become men by disassociating themselves from women, going through rites of passage, to finally have manhood bestowed upon them by other men, and this is universal, then a man who creates his own rite of passage can never achieve manhood because the rite of passage must meet with the approval of other men. Further, if establishing independence from women is part of the process, the fact that feminists and some other women do not approve of the way today’s man behaves is irrelevant. In some ways that disapproval could be taken as a sign that today’s man is actually succeeding (not failing) at defining a new masculinity. If masculinity is conferred to men by men, feminine approval is not necessary.
     
    Certainly I believe that men can no longer define themselves by their jobs. It is insufficient qualification for manhood to merely be a good provider and protector of a wife and family. I have stated for years that the industrial revolution made feminism possible. Many have claimed that so it is nothing new. Technology has drastically changed the role of women in society. But it has not necessarily changed womanhood or femininity. While many women want to enter what was once the realm man, very few wish to abandon the traditional role of women. Most eventually want to become mothers. What they want is “to have it all” and they lament that this ideal is nearly impossible.
     
    You also minimize the role of feminism. It is more of a cause of the crisis of masculinity than you think. Feminism is responsible for removing fathers from their children. Feminism is responsible for the demonization of the male. For the feminist, there is no acceptable male role. A man who abandons the traditional male role should please the feminist. But he doesn’t. No matter what role he assumes for himself, the feminist will not permit him to escape the curse of masculinity. He may find himself more attractive to women as a sexual partner, but he will not find himself acceptable to women as a member of society. To the feminist every man is Patriarchal by virtue of being male and can therefore never be fully accepted as a human being.
     
    The reason there is a crisis of masculinity in the West is because men have allowed feminist to define masculinity and they have defined it as evil and will always see it as such. The only way to resolve the crisis is to refuse to allow feminists to define masculinity. Men need to take back their manhood. That is what the phrase “man up” should really be about. Quit defining themselves by how much sex they get or how many really hot women they can attract; quit defining themselves by their jobs; quit defining themselves by how well they can provide for or protect women and children. If men really want to “man up” they must look at themselves by who they are and who they want to be instead of what they do and other men must make this acceptable by helping to develop new rituals and rites of passage tailored to fit each and every man.

  31. […] Source: http://postmasculine.com/a-new-masculinity […]

  32. Nissar says:

    I have been looking for a site like this for a long long time. Great article

  33. Quora says:

    Is nerd culture an attempt to construct an alternate masculinity that is less violent and more cerebral than “traditional” masculinity?…

    Absolutely… well, in some ways. Sociologists have long argued that there are multiple masculinities or masculinity sub-cultures which are constructed by men who fail to live up the standards of “hegemonic masculinity” or what is perceived as tradit…

  34. J says:

    Nice that you’re working so hard on this. Many of us (men and women) active in the fight against sexism get pissed off about how fighting the oppression of rigid gender roles/expectations too often turns out to be another form of ‘women’s work.’ So yeah, nice to see a man step the fuck up :)

    Thing is, I re-read your article and substituted all the masculine nouns and pronouns with feminine nouns and pronouns and totally identified with it. Men and women are different, but difference doesn’t mean mutually exclusive or diametrically opposed. One of the biggest gripes feminists have is that men try to monopolize ‘achievement’ and ‘leadership’ and ‘conquest’ as if these urges were reducible to a hormone. That’s the kind of thinking that brings on all sorts of derisive laughter. I see this as a variation on a constant theme in the old masculinity, as you call it, which defined itself in opposition to femininity. It seems to me that if the new masculinities you are forging here, and encouraging others to forge, can steer clear of this pitfall, you will have done something truly powerful, transformative, and new.

    • Mark Manson says:

      Yeah, I’m more aware of this these days than when I was when I wrote the piece. I do think that a “new masculinity” and “new femininity” will look very similar. Thanks for commenting.

      • J says:

        Yeah, I agree. I hope we head quickly in that direction because I think that’s totally awesome. Everyone will have way more fun. Thanks for your reply.

  35. Alex says:

    “whereas Spanish men are forced out of the house at an early age and expected to become breadwinners early on” – I’ve lived in Spain 7 years and can tell you that this is the complete opposite of how Spanish men are, they live with their families until their mid 20s…

  36. Robert says:

    Your analysis is good but incomplete.

    When you say “initiating is probably the only universal”, you have inadvertently hit the nail in the head. Feminism hasn’t been as liberating as you claim it has. If it was, in sexual matters women would be taking the initiative equally as men, and they would not be restorting to physical beuaty as a way to “marry up” and achieve economic security. When you say “feminism want us to man up”, it still means they want men to take initiative while they don’t risk any rejection. Furthermore, nowadays, sexual male impulse has been vilified to insane lenghts in the culture and in the legal system.

    • Jamez says:

      @Robert. It’s not the sexual male impulse that’s ‘vilified’ but the abuses that come from it. They’re two different things. One is great, the other is terrible. Don’t you think its counterproductive to complain about people taking measures to protect themselves and others against brutality? Or to blame the people who are trying to change the unequal cultures that play themselves out in the dating and marriage scene, rather than taking on the unequal culture itself? Be a part of the solution, man. If you want to enjoy more sexual freedom (and don’t we all!), maybe you should refocus on people who abuse that freedom in a way that ends up hurting people (mainly women and children) and therefore ruin it for everyone else. When I say everyone else, I mean both men and women who just want to have fun without all the hostility and terror.

  37. AGirl says:

    When we try to find out a set of universal values, it becomes hard too when things vary across cultures. So maybe we can stop worrying too much about set of rules on face value, but look deeper on which set of rules can generate the most values. Most of the time, the set of rules which generate values in the long run can sustain as the most desirable( My insight towards values after reading Hume’s moral treatise.)

    And maybe regarding masculinity, it shares something similar to how morals are defined across cultures too?

  38. AGirl says:

    I also read two social science papers with contrasting views on assortment mating. The first says assortment mating is the norm out of their conducted surveys/experiments’ results. The second paper says in speed dating scenarios, people do NOT do assortment mating, but they mate to maximize reproductive potentials instead.

    Assortment mating means, rich men prefer rich women, and beautiful women prefer beautiful men etc. While the opposite suggest that, rich men prefer beautiful women, where the maximization of reproductive potentials is the prominent factor.

    I am a woman and I am wildly attracted to intelligence in men. I think that is very sexy. So, do intelligent men prefer intelligent women more or do they prefer beautiful women more? If I want to attract them, shall I focus on my achievements/intelligence more or shall I focus on my physical looking and sweetness more?

    • Mark Manson says:

      Assortment mating depends on the variable being measured. From my understanding, personality traits tend to attract opposites. Values, beliefs and lifestyle choices tend to attract one another.

      • AGirl says:

        I guess that may be what makes across cultural stuffs hard — talking about values, beliefs and lifestyle choices.

        I actually have seen guys who would pretend whatever values/beliefs/lifestyle they have as if they share similar stuffs on this with a girl if they see someone attractive, like they don’t really care. But of course this would not last long. So it can become reasons (as well as excuses) for things not to work out eventually.

        • Mark Manson says:

          Yes, but men who alter their own values/beliefs just to get a girl are shooting themselves in the foot as well. Like you said, ultimately it never works out.

  39. […] ran across what I consider a wonderfully insightful article on the state of the het male human experience in this day and age. Factual?  I don’t […]

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