Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Working on being a man pt.6

This is one of many parts in the ongoing series of working on being a man.

Haven't touched on working on being a man in a while. I've been trying to start working towards not just pointing out things that need to be removed from the current state of manhood but also things that need to be included. Well LorMarie reminded me of another that needed to be removed and I think its a big one.

You see with the way The System has things set up men are often pitted against each other in constant contests of dominance. And in order to dominate we are led to believe that actively tearing down other men is the way to display that one is "the better man". And let me tell you the ways that we try to tear each other down can get down right ugly. Take a look at this image from Von's Black Consciousness (where LorMarie was linking in her own post):

I have to admit that I have made commentary like that before about white guys. He jokes about having better credit and I joke about being able to please women better with my larger dick (which truthfully its only average). But its not just a simple dick comment. And even though Von and LorMarie talk more about the "boy" part there's more to it than that as well. As you know with the way things are today a man's manhood is tied to his penis and his penis supposedly indicates his ability to perform sexually (and before you try to get into trying absolve women of perpetuating this let me just answer that by saying that some women really don't perpetuate while others are among the worst offenders). Also we are taught that being properly identified as a man is a crucial part of our identity. Therefore if you insult a man's dick you or if you refer to him as something other than a man (and as you can see its not just a matter of being called a girl/woman, its about matter being called something other than a man) insult his manhood and thus assert your superior manhood and dominance over him.

It shouldn't be that way.

First off as I've said before the body parts don't make the man. Its not as if one can measure his penis to get a measure of his manhood. If you are in the company of women (or anyone for that matter) that puts that much stock in the size of your penis then to the devil with them. If you are in the company of men that think insulting your penis is the way to assert their masculinity then to the devil with them.

Second while I can understand the strong identification with the label of man having that label insulted is not worth the things that some men have done in retaliation or have done to assert their manhood over other men. Number of women one has had sex with? Doesn't matter (besides I'm sure there are a lot of lesbians out there that don't call themselves men). Physically assaulting someone because they were called a boy? Not worth it. And some would argue that avoiding such a confrontation is more of a mark of being a man. The trick is valuing the label for yourself by yourself and being comfortable enough with how you identify as a man that attempts to poke at it such as bragging about sex or bragging about how tough you are in a fight will simply not matter.

And even beyond that there is still no good reason for men to be in contest over who is the better man. We're all just men trying to do our thing and live life. Whether the measure is penis size, the amount of money we make, the car we drive, or whatever. Its not that serious.

This is one of the many internalized things that men must get past in order for us to free ourselves. The few Elite Joes that the run The System (yeah I refuse to call it Patriarchy, what kind of shit is it to label a system as if its working for the benefit of men when its not and the few Elite Joes that benefit sure as hell aren't looking out for us Average Joes) thrive on us Average Joes going at each other. It saves them the trouble of having to actually do something with us as we are destroying each other in the hopes of getting that brass ring that will grant us access to Elite status.

No job is worth it. No woman is worth it. One's own self esteem and sense of worth are not worth it. There is simply no good reason for men to be cutting on each other in order to elevate themselves and it must stop.


DaisyDeadhead said...

I wish yall would not get all hung up on the word "patriarchy".... if its Elite Joes running things, its a patriarchy. If it was Elites Janes, it would be a matriarchy. It means the world and language (HIStory, MANkind) are in the Elite Joes' image, not the Elite Janes' image.

Thats all it means. I don't see the term as denying the truths of non-elite Joes. It's descriptive... i.e. Christianity is patriarchal. But certainly, in my observation and according to most stats, the majority of practicing and devoted Christians (not simply those who give lip service) are women, like 75% of those who attend church services/Mass regularly. So its patriarchal, but that doesn't mean lots of women aren't involved in it.

I hope that was a sensible example!

elementary_watson said...

History has nothing to do with "his"; it's the same word word in French "histoire", and the French word for "his" is not "his" (spoken with silen "h"), but "son" or "sa" ... which doesn't specify the gender of the person owning, but to the (grammatical) gender of the thing talked about (which means that "her" in french is also "son/sa". Talking about "Herstory" was a feminist pun, but it doesn't mean that the word "History" is gendered about men.

That said, you have a point about women often forgotten when speaking about people. As Schiller wrote in his "Ode to Joy", "Alle Menschen werden Brüder" (i.e. all human beings become brothers), which was amended later to "Alle Menschen werden Brüder, nur die Esther, die wird Schwester" (all people become brothers, except for Esther, she becomes a sister).

That also said, happy new year to you, daisy, and of course to you, danny :)

Danny said...

I wish yall would not get all hung up on the word "patriarchy".... if its Elite Joes running things, its a patriarchy. If it was Elites Janes, it would be a matriarchy. It means the world and language (HIStory, MANkind) are in the Elite Joes' image, not the Elite Janes' image.
The problem isn't the word itself. I know that there are patriarchal forces at work. My problem is when that word is tossed around to describe damn near everything under the sun. And considering how much damage this system does to men I find it almost offensive for it to be named in such a manner that denies that damage (or least the people who use the word use it as a means to deny that damage). You calling Christianity a patriarchy holds because (as far as I can tell) Christianity is extremely one sided in terms of gender. Society at large is nowhere near that unbalanced.

Thats all it means. I don't see the term as denying the truths of non-elite Joes.
Maybe its because you aren't a man and therefore don't think so but frankly with the way that word is used yes it does come off as denying the truths of non-elite Joes.

When I'm told that the fat hatred I take on has nothing to do with my gender, that's denial of my non-elite Joeness.

When I'm virgin shamed (told that I'm not a man because I don't have a sex life) and told I have the privileged side of sexual discourse, that's denial of my non-elite Joeness.

When I see abusive men have the abuse they suffered written off as excuse while at the same time seeing abusive women having behavior excused because they were abused in the past, that's denial of my non-elite Joeness.

Danny said...

Happy New Year EW.

As you say there are certainly plenty of examples in which women do indeed get the short end of the stick and to deny that would be very hypocritical of when I'm doing here. On the other hand I refuse to act like being a man is a cake walk just to make feminists feel good about themselves or whatever damn reason they want to act like men don't have any problems or think they already have it all figured out.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Yes, good replies all. I guess I am just clarifying what I *personally* mean when I use the word, which is also great "shorthand" for everything we are talking about.