Fellow bloggers, what would you say to this reader?

Dear Readers,

I had a post written up and ready to go tonight.

However, I received a comment on one of my earlier posts that I feel merits attention.


Because the comment is regarding a subject I feel very strongly about.

Many of you might recall the post, “One Man’s Definition of Masculinity.”

Tonight, Greg, a new reader, added his two cents.

At first, I thought my reply to Greg would be enough, but then I thought this would be a wonderful chance for members of the blogging community to voice their opinions in regard to the subject.

Many of you will think I love to stir the pot (which I do), but in all honesty, it’s more than that.

I see this as an opportunity to educate our fellow human beings on the importance of gender equality.

If the spirit moves you, if you feel as strongly as I do, or if you agree with Greg, please share your thoughts.

Just remember, the purpose of this exercise is not to bash Greg if you don’t agree with him, but to share with him the reasons why you think differently.

You will find Greg’s comment and reply at the bottom of this post and you can click on this link to read the original post.

Greg said:

“Oh dear. Please read these words with the love that compels me to share them. As a man who was once like Son, I have realized denying my masculinity was keeping me from engaging in life and disabling me from my life mission. I felt guilty for being a man. I repressed my inherent masculinity, cultivating feminine characteristics to survive. I was taught masculinity is angry, masculinity is not acceptable, anger is not acceptable, feeling my true feelings is unacceptable, only feeling the feelings I am expected to feel is acceptable.

Of course we all have our own life experiences, and I don’t know you or Son. I can only speak of myself and how I read my experience into your posting.

I am only now learning to cultivate my masculinity and neglect the femininity I used to nurture myself. Like Son, I have a basic understanding of all people being equally deserving of being. It was a positive evolution in society, but what is next? Is post-equality society one where all are equally deserving yet still uniquely equipped?

I am a man. I have masculine traits that are necessary for me to live my life mission. I have desire and drive and ambition and muscle and stink. My mind, body and spirit need to work to exhaustion towards the satisfaction of my ambition. Fighting myself by cultivating femininity within myself only serves to sabotage myself. I am a man, passionately loving through my masculinity, with loving anger, loving rigor, loving physicality, loving aggression. It feels weird, but I’m getting used to it.

As a woman, you understand better than I will ever, how much you desperately want your son to live his life mission. As a woman you understand love like no man and you accept it as the nature of a woman.

Oh yeah, your kid didn’t do the assignment! Failed! Out of love for all existence, I sincerely hope he chooses to find his masculinity and demonstrates how to be a post-equality man, because equality is boring.”

Bella replied:

Greg, hello and welcome! I hope you will read my words with all the love that compels me to reply to your comment. First of all, I respect your opinion. We have the right to think differently and given you’ve taken the time to elaborate a response, I appreciate that. That said, allow me to let you in on a little secret–masculinity is overrated.

It never seizes to amaze me how much work many men put in, as members of the “boys club” say, to avoid appearing “gay.” Although this doesn’t surprise me given the importance that “real” men put in exhibiting their masculine traits. Beard stubble? Check. A rejection of anything feminine? Check. Stifling any sign of being compliant or in agreement with the feminine gender for fear of appearing whipped? Check.

Some men are so obsessed with embracing their masculinity that they fail to see the bigger picture and that is that we should not continue to be a society obsessed with gender. You say, ” I have desire and drive and ambition and muscle and stink. My mind, body and spirit need to work to exhaustion towards the satisfaction of my ambition.” Well, guess what, Greg? That’s not you being a man, that’s anyone, male or female who has the goal to get ahead in life.

In my humble opinion, there is no “post” or “pre” masculinity stage. Why? Because we’re more alike than you give us credit for. Biologically, we both have testosterone and estrogen. Granted, it’s in different quantities depending on gender, but we both possess these. Ambition, drive, and the desire to succeed? These traits are gender free. Sorry, Greg. I’m not buying into the “I have masculine traits that are necessary for me to live my life mission,” ordeal. As far as I’m concerned, our only mission as humans is to work together to save our planet, exhibit compassion, respect and kindness to others, and strive to reach our maximum potential as people; not as men or women, but as people.

I don’t know why you may have exalted your “feminine” characteristics but it might serve to ask yourself if this is where your resentment stems from. Like you mention, we don’t know each other and we each have our own life experiences. Thus, only you know why you feel this way or were made to feel this way.

As a woman, and more importantly, as a mother, it pleases me to think that the Son will continue to think the way he does. In my opinion, it speaks of a well rounded individual who doesn’t think one gender is better, stronger, or smarter than the other. It speaks of an individual who values equality and who doesn’t think being a man is composed of aggression, smelling badly, or being angry. And I certainly hope he never believes that equality is boring! For nothing could be farther from the truth.Because a person who believes that we all have the same rights, that we should all have the same opportunities, and that we should never look down at others–those are signs of an enlightened individual.

Sorry Greg, but if you ask me, it’s only the confused men who think they have to act out their aggression, smell like old socks, and thump their chests like Neanderthals, the ones who have truly failed.

Do you agree or disagree with Greg’s definition of masculinity?

Please share your thoughts in the comments section.



100 thoughts on “Fellow bloggers, what would you say to this reader?

  1. Bella-
    You have an amazing gift for language and answered Greg’s comment perfectly. I am adding my perspective – I recently attended an assertive communication class – for women. I learned humans regardless of gender are motivated by six factors. A positive or negative need for power, achievement or affiliation. I believe Greg operates from a negative need for power – this stems from growing up in a situation that was to sensitive to ask for it. I think you would like to motivate your son to operate from a positive need for power – where he is focused on empowering himself and OTHERS (regardless of gender). That is all.

    p.s. I would like to subscribe to follow-up comments from this post, but fear my email box will be bombarded.

    1. SWG,
      Thank you for insight. Where can I learn more about these six factors? I’ve never heard of a negative need for power, but I’ll look into it. Can’t comment on it without a knowledge base.

    2. Saavy, I know I can always count on you to provide us with valuable information regarding subjects like these. Thank you! I hope that I am being effective in motivating the Son to empower himself and others. I think it’s vital that we recognize not only our value, but that of others around us as well. Thanks for adding to the mix, lady! :)

    3. Thank you, I looked into negative need for power. There is a component to my personality I just fight to not be passive-aggressive or sarcastic.

  2. –OMgoodness, I do not know where to begin. So much to say–So little time.

    Mr. Liverpool does not have smelly socks…. & ABSOLUTLEY NO aggression inside his body, but he is def. Masculine, lovely, & a TRUE MAN.

    I did not know a **TRUE Man** was supposed to be sweaty, smelly, and aggressive.


    A man with AGGRESSION is NOT a True Man. He is an ASSHOLE. Of course, this is just my opinion ( but I’m right!!)

    And by the way….I know GAY men who are REAL, TRUE, beautiful MEN!

    ….it is not about masculine or feminine. It is about the PERSON, the essence, the human being….

    Bella, get ready for a computer crash, babe. This is going to be fabulously interesting.

    Love you. xx

    1. You ladies are really responding to my mention of ‘stinky.’
      I’m looking for definitions of masculinity in an ideal world where equality is old news. Right now we’re in the era of ‘man-hate.’ I’d love to read your description of an ideal man who is true to himself.

    2. Kim, I know how strongly you feel about this subject as well. I’m with you, sister. A person should never see an aggressive personality as a good quality. Man or woman, aggression is never acceptable. And thank you for adding to the definition of what makes a person beautiful. It’s all in the essence of being a good human being. Yeah, baby! Love you, lady! :)

  3. I’m going to offer a slightly sympathetic comment concerning Greg’s. I feel it is difficult for many men to know how to show emotion without appearing weak and feeling even weaker. I think the pendulum swings one way and then the other. Perhaps in a year or two it will all balance out for him and he’ll be back with another comment that will make us say, hmm.

    1. Renee, I agree that this might be the case for some men. That’s why I believe that as a society, we should stop associating emotion with weakness or with being a “woman’s thing.” To show emotion is a sign that a person has feelings, is empathic, and is in touch with the “humanness” that resides in all of us. Thanks for adding to the mix, lady! :)

  4. Bella you have answered Greg so well that there’s not much left for any of us to say. Personally, I see people as people – not defined by gender, race, color or religion. While all these things add to our personality – at the end of the day we are all unique and yet so similar. We all have dreams, hopes, ambitions and all strive to find ‘happiness’, however, we define it. We all want to be given a fair and equal chance to pursue these things.
    I’m wondering what life experiences made Greg feel guilty about being a man and now make him assert his masculinity. Perhaps Greg was deeply hurt by some experiences that make him believe that equality of genders doesn’t exist. That is for Greg to dwell on and work out.
    As for your son, I still remember that post and smile that there’s one more young man out there who has got it right.

    1. Thank you. Yes, man-hate, its permeated the culture so terribly, its how my parents raised me, to hate masculinity. They didn’t do it on purpose, they simply went along with the messages society is pushing. Somehow in the move to gender equality, the rights of the woman have superseded the rights of the man. Rather than deny it, look for it in the media for a day and tell me if you see messages that could be construed to validate my point-of-view.

    2. Greg, I don’t agree that the rights of women have superseded the rights of men. On the contrary, I believe women continue to fight to take back what is rightfully ours. Women continue to face the struggle of obtaining equality. I don’t pay much attention to the media. I feel it has a way of pressuring us to do and act in a way as to conform to societal ideals. As a parent, I have always raised my children in what I believe is the “right way.” I’ve never been much of a rule abidder and for the most part, I did not sucummb to societal pressures. If my boy wanted to wear pink, it was okay with me. I allowed him to make his own choices and taught him that the most important thing is to view others as people.

    3. Corinne, I couldn’t have said it better myself. Truly, I believe that we are influence in our thinking by our life experiences. Greg’s dynamic is his to own but that doesn’t mean he can’t be open to a new way of thinking. A way that allows for not only gender equality, but like you mention, equality for all. Methinks that when we embrace this concept as a society, we will truly now what freedom is. We will no longer be held hostage of societal norms, pressures from the media, or small minded individuals. Thanks for your input! :)

    4. Greg – I’m sorry that your parents taught you to hate any one gender – that is just not correct. However, the good news is that we don’t have to live with any of the stereotypes we inherited from our parents – neither do we have look for a completely opposite view. Is your view stemming from some deep-seated anger to your parents? In which case, my friend, I would suggest that you look at counseling as an option to correct your view of gender.

      I live in India and we have miles to go before women can be truly equal here, but we’re getting there. However, in no way have the rights of women superseded those of men in any part of the world. Equality is what we should all be working towards. Frankly, the media continues to portray women as objects rather than as equals. So let’s leave the media and society out of this discussion and focus on our own consciences.

    5. Corinne, thank you so much for sharing what the situation for the women of India is like. It’s wonderful to be able to learn what other parts of the world are like. And I’m totally in agreement with you–the media does objectify women. It’s simply unacceptable. I’m glad we’re doing something to change it! Thank you for contributing to our understanding of the subject, friend! :)

  5. Bella, I salute both you and Greg for having this conversation in an adult, articulate manner. You’re both brave to open this can of worms!!! The “aggression” thing worries me most; it’s never pretty, and shows up in women AND men–certainly nothing to aspire to. (And I think “loving aggression” is an oxymoron.)

    1. Oh, aggression has negative connotation, thank you.
      Imagine aggression carried out with love, for the purpose of truth and fairness, for the common interest. Motivation can be positive, right? Or is there some other better-suited word?

    2. When it comes to human relations, aggression shouldn’t have a negative connotation simply because it’s negative period. We can treat an illness aggressively but we cannot treat people with aggressiveness. Aggression carried out with love? Dear Lord, I’ve never heard of anything more absurd! Motivation and aggression have nothing in common. One does not have to be aggressive to motivate. We can offer encouragement through love, support, and empathy.

    3. Jann, “loving aggression” is indeed an oxymoron and the stupidest thing I have ever heard! As intelligent beings, we should never equate caring with aggression. Seriously. I’m so glad you added to the conversation, lady! :)

  6. Dang Bella, you’re getting all heavy over here. I don’t know if I should say anything. I’m not pro-woman or pro-man. Like you say, we just are and we are for the betterment of humanty and the space we occupy on this good planet. I don’t know about saving it though but that’s not the meat of the topic.

    Poor Greg, I think, has been pushed into a pile of boo-boo with that comment by society’s definition of what masculinity is and what’s it become to him. I dated a fella so filled with masculinity. What I see is, I think men folk are fighting for masculinity
    ’cause gender roles have changed so much. Women, you know, we want everything. We want men to be in touch with their emotions, especially ours, which the latter is a lot to keep up with by itself.

    I don’t find it appealing with somebody needing to always exercise their muscles as men. One can walk softly and still carry a big stick. Equality is boring? Can’t stand the heat, huh…

    1. Totsy, you know me, I love to get heavy every now and then! I feel it helps keep things interesting! You are right, lady–women have indeed added to the confusion that many men feel today. As you mention, we can be fickle creatures. However, it’s time we stop with the hot and cold and realize that we have to say exactly what we feel and what we want. It’s about time we, men and women, stop playing mind games. As for Greg’s notion that equality is boring, he obviously hasn’t met us, huh lady? hee hee! :)

    2. Okay, I don’t know what dynamic equality is, sounds impossible, but I’m open to the idea if anyone would like to describe it to me.

    3. Greg, this entire post treats the subject of equality. Different readers have given different perspectives and some have given examples. What exactly don’t you understand so that we can elaborate? Again, keep in mind that the comments offered by readers are meant to provide everyone’s personal view. However, I’m certain I speak for all when I say that while you may have brought up the subject, what we strive to do create a respectful discussion where everyone can voice their opinions. I trust you understand this.

    4. Perhaps I figured out what bores me about equality.
      I think of it as a stop sign. At the intersection of two roads there is a stop sign. As a driver on the road you know the rule and you follow it. Some people don’t obey the stop sign. Their reasons are various. They may not see it. They may roll-on-through. They may think the stop sign should apply to everyone but them. They may blow the stop sign to rebel again being told what to do.
      If the stop sign is not obeyed and no one knows, I guess its a non-issue. If not obeyed and police observe, a ticket may be issued. If not obeyed and an “accident” occurs, then the offender is responsible for the consequences.
      In my mind equality and stop signs are laws. Both are necessary to society, agreed by declaration of the law as the way we will operate freely in society. If we’re talking about people not obeying stop signs, its not interesting to me (there we go, the ME qualifier). What I find intriguing is how we will invent stop lights, turn arrows, on-ramps, clover leaf freeway intersections. The NEXT thing is interesting to me. How will we build on what we have to solve issues more effectively? What is the next step beyond this equality law we have that some people will always break?

  7. It seems like the struggle that Greg is going through is another version of the constant struggle that women go through. If she wants to get ahead she has to play tough (no crying in baseball) but then if she’s too tough she’s a b*&^%. But if she’s too feminine then men might take that as a come-on, etc. etc. We worry too much about cultural gender stereotypes.

    1. Um, there’s no fighting in home ec.
      I want to harness my masculinity.
      I encourage you to harness your femininity if it is not fully explored.
      I’m so glad I posted!

    2. In a gender free society, we wouldn’t have to harness anything, Greg. Besides, if something is or isn’t explored, why should we have to harness it? Methinks we already have enough societal limitations without self imposing yet another. I’m glad you posted as well. I find that this awards us the opportunity to share ideas, ask questions, and acquire knowledge and a subject we may not be familiar with.

    3. Julie, you’re spot on–we do worry too much about cultural gender stereotypes. That’s why I believe it’s important to create awareness of just how damaging they can be. If, as a society, we strive for equality for all, I believe we are doing something to eliminate discrimination and bigotry. Thank you for your feedback! :)

    4. Without gender would we just sit like lumps on the sofa, reproducing by budding? Doesn’t matter. We have genders. I can tell you use your femininity to your advantage. If you appreciate your femininity, then you can respect my endeavor to learn the full spectrum of my being.
      I don’t follow on the self-imposed and societal limitations. (I know about myself that I am capable of looking right through the obvious to seek the obscure, so tell me the obvious, its okay.)

    5. Greg, clearly you’re associating gender with genitalia. In his post, the Son said, “The way I see it, the only difference between both genders are the physical ones; those related to reproductive organs and hormones. Yet the fact that men and women have different reproductive organs should not have anything to do with their behavior or attitudes.” In other words, this post is not about our sexual organs and the ability to reproduce, but instead, it’s about the culturally defined concept of masculinity and how no trait should be assigned to men or women.
      And how would you know I use my femininity to my advantage? Have my words given me away? Clearly you are not reading the comments that readers are posting and that’s a shame. I feel like you’ve missed the point of this post. You say, “I know about myself that I am capable of looking right through the obvious to seek the obscure.” What in the world does that even mean? Color me clueless.

    6. Yes, gender is inherently related to genitalia. However gender is not inherently related to masculinity and femininity. Both genders have varying degrees of masculinity and femininity. There is an undeniable tendency for more masculinity in more men and more femininity in more women, generally, not in all cases, but in enough to notice the trend. I want to really enjoy the feminine and masculine aspects of myself.

      How about this? Women are empowered to be masculine and feminine, but I am feeling men are not empowered to be masculine or feminine. Men then must decide to be masculine or feminine in spite of the unacceptability. On one end of the spectrum are obnoxiously heterosexual and on the other end are obnoxiously homosexual, and everyone else is somewhere in between. Its confusing, right? Its useful to know, right?

      As for your questions.
      “And how would you know I use my femininity to my advantage? Have my words given me away?” Yes, you do cute, endearing things, they suggest you are girly. You know you do it, yes you do. you do. ;)
      “Clearly you are not reading the comments that readers are posting and that’s a shame. I feel like you’ve missed the point of this post.”
      I have in fact read every word of every comment and given them honest consideration. But my head is spinning from all this screen time and absorbing all of this negativity and evaluating its validity and trying to not be a victim yet not lash out. I think this post is about the general negativity our culture has towards masculinity, which you ladies are demonstrating, but I didn’t know that until right now. What do you think this post is about?
      “You say, “I know about myself that I am capable of looking right through the obvious to seek the obscure.” What in the world does that even mean? Color me clueless.” Oh, in my life everything I need is right in front of me, however I may overlook what I am seeking because what I am seeking is even closer that I was looking. What? Can’t see the forest for the trees. I am acknowledging I am not perfect, but you knew that too, yes you did.

    7. Greg, I disagree that women are empowered to think they can show what society deems masculine behavior. The minute a women is assertive, opinionated, or tough, she is labeled a “ball buster,” difficult, or forgive me, a bitch.
      I do cute, endearing things that suggest I’m girly? Oh dear. Color me amused at this nonsense. I hope you won’t read our comments as something negative, but instead as a way to expand on the subject.

    8. Bella, thank you, I agree with you. (let’s hear it from the crowd!)
      The problem is masculinity. Our society is refusing masculinity.
      Women are not allowed to be masculine, nor are men. Is this the trouble? Yes, there are a whole lot of troubles. Is the rejection of masculinity by our society a problem you might also be observing?
      Deprivation causes binging.
      Are we depriving our masculinity causing bouts of masculine binging? Or somehow creating masculinity addicts?
      This week I am observing the masculinity of women on this blog is demanding I “man” up and clarify myself, and I am glad! This is how I learn what I am made of. Thank you!
      And there is nothing wrong with being girly, a woman, gracious, feminine and radiant. These are, in fact, the qualities you embody as hostess of this post. My acknowledgement is a complement. You keep a lovely web log.
      Now that we are getting to know each other a bit, please allow me to observe there have been a great deal of negative male stereotypes here, assumed to fill in the details of my life. They are not valid. This is important because, were it assumed men are fair and respectful and dependable and amazing, the fantasies used to imagine my life story would by filled with positive attributes. (Note: I am not denying the fair appraisals of my life pain that can be read into my personal disclosures.)

  8. Yes, Bella, you are stirring the pot here! But this is a topic close to my heart and I can’t resist jumping in. I don’t really think Greg defined exactly what masculinity is, but in my opinion, masculinity and femininity are behavioral traits that either sex can have. Men can be nurturing and women can make hard decisions (or whatever masculinity and femininity are supposed to be) based on choice, temperament, or indoctrination. I think ito ignore one set of behaviors over another is to be less than whole.

    1. You’re good!
      I am trying to define masculinity, that’s what brought me to you.
      Because of cultural man-hate, I denied my masculinity, making me less than whole. I’d love to get a rundown of all the masculine and feminine behavioral traits you can think of or imagine or make up. A big list I can use to search for pieces of myself I might be ignoring.

    2. Greg, I don’t think you’re as open to discovering the definition of “masculinity” as you claim to be. My Son provided his take on the definition and you not only tore it down, you rejected it all together. I would suggest you work on being more receptive and open to the need or non-need of the term masculinity before asking anyone to add to the definition.

    3. Adriene, absolutely! We’re more alike than Greg thinks. Like you mention, both genders have the probability of showing the emotions that are typically associated with females or males. Hence, it’s important to destroy the myth that men have to act one way, while women act another way. Let us strive to be “whole” instead of divided by cultural gender stereotypes. Thanks for chiming in! :)

    4. I re-read it.
      This is an observation, not an opinion, but keep me honest.
      He didn’t answer the questions.
      He stated why he would abolish masculinity.
      He stated (quite astutely) observations of society’s assumptions of masculinity. It gives me hope for humanity.
      I hope the teacher/instructor/professor(?) recognizes that devastated condition of masculinity and femininity in our culture, and I hope he is trying to encourage young people to evolve.
      Maybe one day you’ll trust me to give opinions, we’re only just meeting.

      Okay, I’m going to yoga, I’ll check in later.
      This is brutal, but fun! I’ll commit to checking in all week unless you tell me to go away sooner.

    5. It seems to me masculinity is a core human trait, more than human, an animal trait. If I cease to exist, then I won’t be concerned about masculinity needing to exist. But as I exist, masculinity exists, that’s an undeniable truth. Denying it does not make it cease to exist. Its an important part of the human experience of life.

  9. Hey, I made the front page!
    I meant to just go away after reading the response to my comment.
    But I’m really glad I looked at the comments! And it seemed rude not acknowledge them. You were so kind to share our exchange, now I feel I owe you a point-by-point reply. I’m realizing this moment I am not a writer, so you might have to ask me questions to fill in the gaps. (wo)Man, that’s gonna be a lot of work…

    1. Greg, you don’t have to provide a “point-by-point” reply. Comment if you wish to expand on someone’s comment or respectfully challenge their position. I encourage interaction on my blog and the only rule is to be respectful of the opinion’s of others. We’re glad to have you on board! And yes, you have made the front page. Enjoy your rock star moment! :)

    2. Greg, you sure have a lot to say for somebody who doesn’t have a blog. Though, I hope you don’t go flaunting your “Equality is Boring” concept. You seem like a smart enough guy that you wouldn’t. While I say that in good humor, I sorta mean it. Well, I do.

    3. Totsy, while I fully realize the seriousness of the subject, allow me to say this comment of yours made me chuckle. I think you may be on to something! It might be a good idea for Greg to get a blog. I’m certain it would give him a platform not only to discuss issues related to masculinity but also to bond with other men who pursue the “men’s movement”! :)

    4. Totsy, thank you. I didn’t realize I had so much to say, and it certainly didn’t occur to me someone would read it! For my explanation of “Equality is Boring” search this post for “stop sign” I think its here somewhere. Perhaps if it turns out this post makes the world better, I’ll make time for a blog.
      When I hear “men’s movement” I expect it to be an unpleasant experience. See, I have the same expectations exhibited in what I call “man-hate.” And I suspect a “men’s movement” would really draw the woman-haters, though I must say the man-hater-women will viciously claw the eyes out of the woman-hater-men. My life is a social survey on speed. This week I’ve asked some men about “man-hate.” A few responses have been very bad, not a bond I want.
      I will take a look for men’s movements (wait what?) after you ladies make a man out of me. Maybe I can sway a dialog positively.

  10. Bella, very thoughtful post. My first thought is, how old is Greg? He sounds like he could use a little self-confidence. I say, don’t sweat the small stuff. Just live your life and don’t worry if you’re too masculine or not enough. Do you think I worry whether I’m too feminine? Frankly, who cares? Take my son. He is such a guy. Typical guy who, until he met his girlfriend, didn’t know a hill of beans about how to look good. He just didn’t care. He always shaved his hair off just because it was easier to maintain that way. No hair, no worries! He could watch sports all day if you let him, and also play video games, if it wasn’t for the fact that he has to go to work. But the point is, he does all this, which I guess means he embraces his masculine side–without even thinking about it. Now, that he’s been with his girlfriend for over a year, I can tell you that he’s finally taking care with his appearance, including letting his hair grow out (she’s taught him all about using product), and she has him working out. I can’t get over how handsome he looks. But, down deep he’s still the same. A guy. A nice guy at that, one that isn’t threatened by being surrounded by women (me, his sister, and his girlfriend). So, Greg should stop worrying about this and get on with his life. His masculinity will know what to do and fall in line. It’s not something that he or any guy has to “work” at.

    1. Sing it, sister! I love your boy already! I agree with you, Monica–masculinity is not something any man should have to “work at.” We are born male or female. The way we behave after that is defined culturally, by our life experiences, and even by how we are raised. I believe that as mothers, we have the responsibility to raise our children with an open mind; embracing equality and the belief that our gender doesn’t define who we are. I don’t “work” at being feminine either. I just am and “just being” my friend, should be enough for all of us. Thank you for sharing, amiga! :)

    2. Thank you.
      I’m generation X. I am dealing with my masculinity because it is the core issue in my life holding me back in many ways. Every problem I’m having links back to my fear of my own masculinity, so I am learning about it in order to feel through it and eventually live it.
      I suspect I am not the only one, and the generations coming behind me need someone to figure out modern masculinity, so I’m trying to move the conversation in a public forum.
      I was drawn in by “One Man’s Definition” and found it was not an answer, so I said something about it.
      Women are more comfortable with their sexuality.
      Male sexuality is relatively frail, maybe women don’t know that.

  11. Dear Bella,
    I still remember that wonderful post! I shared it with my son and he totally agreed.I hope the Son continues to believe in it in all walks of life. I want to agree with Adriene here. Masculine and feminine exists in all of us despite the gender. Talking from experience I think men who think they are masculine just because they are all muscles and aggressive are basically insecure men who hide behind this facade. I have known and lived with men who have tried to pin me down by their so called masculinity and I have also had the good fortune to come across men who are gentle and sensitive and they are MEN! I am sure Greg here has had some terrible issues growing up, hating his feminine side and now needs to be masculine to show he is a man. If we keep the masculinity and feminine in us in balance and work towards a better society without this gender stigma, the world will be so much a better place to live in. I
    I loved your reply to Greg. Always a pleasure coming here to read your post, my friend.

    1. Rimly, and I always love your insightful comments! I shared your comment with the Son this morning, and he just smiled! I love how you talk about the importance of maintaining a balance. And like you, I agree with Adriene–we all possess characteristics that have typically been associated with men or women. In the past, I have known men who equate being manly with being aggressive, foul mouthed, or being a bully. Fortunately, the Significant Other is soft spoken, a caring individual, and very respectful of my feelings and opinions. And that to me makes him a well rounded individual. Thank you so much for providing your feedback, lady! :)

    2. One thing I think it really funny, I’m really not a masculine guy. If you met me, I’m a nice guy, friendly, approachable, respectful. It means I’m a target for abusive people, but maybe it gives me an advantage in discussing difficult topics with people in person that doesn’t get conveyed by text.
      I don’t hate my femininity, it serves me well. I’ve only recently discovered I fear my masculinity, therefore I have repressed it with feminine characteristics to try to feel whole. Now I am interested in exploring my masculinity, which I suspect is powerful, I’m guessing that’s why I am apprehensive. I want to take it on gradually. Its scary, but life’s an experiment. I am done hiding my masculinity out of guilt.

    3. Greg, I feel that one of the reasons we might find it difficult to understand your predicament is because it’s usually the other way around. Generally, men are made to feel like they have to stifle their “feminine” side. I’m trying to understand why you would have to hide your “masculine” side but I gather that perhaps you were made to feel that it wasn’t acceptable to show emotions that are generally associated with typical male behavior. Forgive me if I don’t answer all of your comments but I want to allow other readers to offer their feedback as well. Nevertheless, know that I am reading every one of them!

    4. Hi Bella,
      I suspect my predicament is common and becoming epidemic. I know I am a trend setter. This isn’t a claim of self-promotion, simply an observation. Part of the reason I am posting this is, Bella’s son’s assignment is the 3rd link on the first page of google when searching “Definition of Masculinity.” They are going to show up, so after this weekend you may need to figure out a way to freeze this post. It may take years for them to show up, but they will be here.
      Right now I am trying to thoroughly wallow (“men are pigs” man-hate) in the viscera of the topic to feel all of the juicy connective tissues.
      I certainly don’t expect you to comment on everything, but please do when moved. This is your dinner party and I seem to have barged in and gotten involved in a fascinating dialog. Being a gracious hostess is exhausting, maybe grab a glass of wine and kick off your shoes (and make sure any fist fights are handled outside).

    5. Greg, I had no idea that the Son’s definition was so popular in Google! I’m sure he will be very pleased to hear this. I’m delighted that you have on some level found this dynamic stimulating and I hope that our different views have at least given you a clearer picture of where some of us stand. As you can see, our opinions, while similar in content, vary in some ways. Like we mentioned earlier, our significant and personal life experiences serve to mold who we are and shape our perceptions. Nevertheless, life is never static and it is within our power to seek more knowledge on a subject that has caused us or is causing us angst. I hope that you will find a way to clearly define where you stand on this subject and I thank you for participating in the discussion. Tomorrow I move on to a new post and you’re welcome to continue reading my blog if you feel so inclined. Thank you for your replies and comments. They have fueled our desire to come up with answers, ideas, and suggestions. And do let us know if you ever start a blog! :)

  12. Well Bella, my first thought is “must be nice to have a life mission!” Most of us muddle through, whether we admit it or not. But I agree with Greg in so far as his push-back against politically correct posturing. We surely do not need any more of that!
    We are all animals, are we not? So as receptacles for our genes, we inevitably “think” with our gonads, and act accordingly. So many of our beliefs, and our actions based on those beliefs, are simply intellectual justifications for behavior which is only partially under our control. Sound depressing? It doesn’t have to be. As the mother of two SONS, I know that raising them has left me with one overwhelming truth: If our children, male or female or xxx, are imbued by experience with SELF-CONFIDENCE and LOVE OF SELF, then all the dominoes in life will fall into place. No gender-based justification can trump that! …………Oh, and Greg should spend more time with us girls, he would have a new respect for what STINKY can be!!

    1. Hello, lady! It’s been a while and I’m happy to see your comment. I’m sure many will agree that our rationale differentiates us from animals. We shouldn’t have to justify raising our children in a gender-free society. We should simply be able to do what we please without having to cave to societal pressures. I agree with you that we should raise our children to be self confident and self accepting but I believe it’s also important to teach them the importance of accepting people as a whole. Corinne expressed it beautifully when she said, “people as people – not defined by gender, race, color or religion.” And I’m with you, sister–Greg should definitely be indoctrinated in what “stink” can really smell like! ha! :)

    2. Its too early in our relationship for me to sign up for the stink hazing you ladies are scheming, but if that’s an experience I need to wake up to some important truth, I’ll be there.
      I feel very fortunately to feel I have a life mission, unfortunately it requires I confront my fear of my own masculinity. I’m taking it on as fast as I can, faster than I’m comfortable, reaching beyond my edge.

  13. I think we’re talking about two separate things – masculinity and gender equality. Alpha Hubby is about as dominant a man there is, all the traits some women might take issue with. He also treats every person equally and with respect, male or female. If people took him at face value, they would assume he was someone he is not. He is like our son – who is rough and tumble, boy-toy overloaded – and has the biggest heart for the underdog. He hates injustice no matter what shape it takes.

    I also don’t see how anyone can comment on Greg’s comment unless they know Greg personally and know everything about him. To say, “I believe Greg…” or “It looks like Greg is…” is wrong and guesswork. We do NOT know Greg so how can we even think we have the right to comment? We don’t know his tone of voice, his history, his heart. We can guess and suppose, or assume. I would hate if someone did that to me.

    All that said, there is one thing I absolutely DETEST above all things in this life – labels.

    1. Nan, gender equality comes into play because it was included in the post where the Son argued why there shouldn’t be a definition for masculinity. I don’t know Alpha Hubby but from what I gather in your posts, I will respectfully assume that he is driven and motivated. While those traits might be associated with dominance, this is not always true. I think that more than inferring on Greg’s circumstances, readers are responding to his reaction; to his definition of masculinity. You’re right—in saying, “I believe Greg is…” or “I think Greg is…” is to assume that he is a certain way. However, in reading Greg’s words, we are provided with a picture of what he thinks of masculinity. I think it’s positive to reject the notion that it’s okay to exercise aggression when expressing love. I’d be disappointed if readers didn’t react this way. But again, more than judge Greg, I think readers are reacting to what he is saying in regard to equality, manhood, and aggression. I agree with you, Nan, labels have to be done away with. They cripple us as a society. Thanks for adding to the conversation, friend! :)

  14. How about just trying to be decent human beings, not lashing out in anger at people, being kind to each other, treating everyone with the respect we’d like for ourselves? Regardless of what’s between our legs and what our breast size is?

  15. Bella, I don’t know what to say to Greg or to you! However, I’m reading with interest all the wise words yours commenters are leaving, and I’m learning a lot. Thanks for tackling such an interesting, if somewhat controversial, subject — and keeping everyone level-headed in the process. You’re too good, my friend!

    1. Debbie, I’m so glad you’re finding this post to be helpful in helping us understand a subject such as this one. I am ever grateful for your support and your kind words. Thank you, lady! :)

  16. Wow, a lot went on while I was busy canning tomatoes!

    If I were chatting with Greg, I would ask things like: What does masculinity mean to you? How did you short-circuit yours? What are you gaining back? What does aggression mean to you? Why do you feel that women’s rights have superseded men’s? In other words, tell me more. Tell me what this blog post triggered for you. Tell me how it feels. He’s not the only guy who has expressed these feelings…there’s a whole “men’s movement” that’s been afoot for some time.

    As a woman, I can say that there were years when I denied certain qualities that are considered feminine, and it hurt me to do so because I wasn’t being true to myself. Is it really about masculine or feminine, or is it about a human being trying to grapple with the limits of language to describe a loss of authenticity?

    Too many questions, I guess…I think I’ll go back to the tomatoes.

    1. Nan, don’t go back to the tomatoes just yet, please! :) You’ve brought up some excellent questions that I hope Greg will answer since they might provide him with the answers he is looking for. A men’s movement? I love it! Now it’s my turn to say, “Tell me more!” hee hee! I think you’ve touched on an important topic regarding how we lose our sense of self when we have to stiffle who we are. Yet, isn’t this a result of the constraints imposed by society? By the way, I want to can tomatoes with you! My aunt brought some out this summer that she had canned during last winter and they were wonderful! Thanks for adding to the conversation, lady! :)

  17. I think the comments are amazing. It’s hard to know if Greg is young and still looking for confidence, or older, and locked in the dark ages. I disagreed with him regarding the life mission necessity. I suppose if he is a gun for hire or a renegade and lives the life of the mythical bad guy, then yes, he might need that super guy power to knock heads around. However… should be interesting to read what follows. Well done, Bella.

    1. Brenda, amiga, so happy to see you again, love! How have you been? It’s been too long! With my summer trip to Spain and all, I’ve been slow to catch up on my blog reading. I owe your blog a visit! That said, your comment made me laugh. Gun for hire and renegade…hee hee! I’m still chuckling! Macho man tactics would be required in those type of professions, wouldn’t they? ha! Maybe Greg will reveal his age to us. Stay tuned, lady, and thank you for dropping by! :)

  18. I went back to read the other post, and this post, so I don’t have time to read the other comments. But I think some of what Greg said was taken out of context. He wasn’t complete in his thoughts, and I didn’t like the failed comment at the end. First of all the was Son’s way of describing what he was feeling.

    I think Greg was trying to say that denying one or the other would be denying ourselves also. That in his life he denied his masculinity. (Which is weird since it is usually the other way around. Something women have done forever to try to fit in.)

    In some ways, masculine and feminine aspects of each of us ought both to be embraced. Either extreme does nobody good. He needed to be corrected on his second comment that we all agree we are equal, so many still don’t agree or agree only cognitively, but in practice still feel entitled to get their way.

    You are on it!

    1. Jodi, from Greg’s comments, we can assume that he was instructed to stifle anger. Hence, he now wants to express said emotion. I believe that there is no worse thing than suppressing anger. I encouraged my children to channel their anger creatively and reprimanded them only if they lashed out at others. Perhaps not being allowed to express an emotion can have as consequence the desire to do so when we’re older and in control of our lives. I don’t know. I’m not a medical health professional so it would be irresponsible of me to state this as a fact. However, regardless I think it merits to say that anger can and is shown by both males and females. Society tends to excuse anger in males and condemns women who dare express this emotion and that’s not okay. I’m just sayin’. I’m so glad you provided us with your feedback, friend! Thank you! :)

  19. I am exhausted, but invigorated.
    I’m feeling good about this generally and hopefully Bella’s son isn’t too damaged by my oblivious insensitivity.
    Tomorrow I won’t be able to check in, so I hope I come back Wednesday to some thought provocation. And sometime soon I will try to smooth out Bella’s response to my initial post. Thank you for sharing your forum and observations and volleying some rants. I makes me feel more alive!
    And if there is a good way to locate new postings on this page, please do tell! The scrolling is making me motion sick.

    1. Greg, the Son doesn’t damage easily, so no worries there! He’s conscious of the fact that everyone is entitled to an opinion and something tells me that while he may not agree with you, he’s not going to tear down what you have to say. You can read new postings by subscribing to comments. The box should be located at the bottom of the blog. I hope that helps! :)

  20. Bella,
    One thing you mentioned in your response to Greg struck me:
    “Like you mention, we don’t know each other and we each have our own life experiences. Thus, only you know why you feel this way or were made to feel this way.”

    I wonder what Greg’s childhood experience was, and what he was taught with regard to equality. My childhood was very slanted – men first, women second. Men worked, women didn’t. Men had bank accounts, women didn’t. I had to hide my belief in equality from my parents. It sounds to me like he was taught that masculinity should be diminished in order to be a good person.

    On a larger scale, I believe that we are still in a period of transition, one in which some children are brought up to believe that fairness and equality are what matter, while others are brought up with the hidebound notion that men are at the top of the heap. Then, there are variants, such as denying masculinity – or femininity – to prove, or be supportive of, equality.

    In the real world, we are not yet equal. I think it will take another generation, maybe two, for that to happen. The old guard and old way of thinking has – to put it bluntly – die out before that can take place.

    Greg’s comments seem to imply that it’s necessary to drop one set of feelings – the feminine, empathetic side – in order to embrace the other – masculine – side. He states that he will sabotage himself by continuing to cultivate his feminine side.

    That does not have to be the case. It is possible to live with, and balance, both sets of feelings. I hope we’re all trying to get away from the old definitions of masculinity and femininity and replace them with a blend of both.

    I don’t agree with his definition of masculinity – the masculinity that he feels he needs to get back to, the muscle and stink and abandonment of his feminine understanding. I think the problem sentence is this one:
    “Fighting myself by cultivating femininity within myself only serves to sabotage myself.”

    Yikes. I cannot agree with that.

    He does go on to say:
    “I am a man, passionately loving through my masculinity, with loving anger, loving rigor, loving physicality, loving aggression. It feels weird, but I’m getting used to it.”

    This gives me hope that he is trying to blend in some of the feminine feelings with the masculine ones – loving masculinity, loving anger, etc.

    I hope Greg rethinks this abandonment of the feminine characteristics he has learned thus far – if in fact this is what he literally intends to do – but learns to blend masculine and feminine. Frankly, I think he will miss the feminine understanding and bring some of it back in if all of it is ditched; it’s hard to “unlearn” some things.

    The blending is the key; in it lies the path to harmony and equality.

    1. Eloise, I know I can always count on you to enrich my posts, sister! Thank you for the wonderful analysis of this post! I wholeheartedly agree with you–we are still in a period of transition. There is still much to be achieved before we can say that we’ve reached equality. We still live in a patriarchal society and one, where like you mention, has both parents that educate their children in equality for all, and others still exercise the gender bias. I find it’s crucial to abandon the stereotypical roles of women and men. Nevertheless, the reality still stands that some men believe that to engage in an activity that is typically considered a female activity is a threat to a man’s masculinity. On the other hand, women who dare to engage in activities that are considered male are considered difficult, unladylike, and defiant. Thank you for adding to the conversation, lady! :)

    2. Thank you for giving me a Tweet poke, if poke is the right word. This is a great topic and post.

      There is still a long hill to climb toward equality on so many fronts…

    3. You’re welcome, sister. I know how busy you are but I do value your input. I thought I’d “holler” and ask that you please join our discussion. Hugs! :)

  21. To each, his or her own, right? Greg is definitely entitled to his own opinion, and perhaps will not be convinced of others’ because he sees things differently, in ways other people who are not him understand. And I accept that. It’s OK. I think you’ve responded elegantly to his comment, Bella. You always do.

    1. Laura, thank you! And may I say that you are spot on? Something tells me that no matter what we say on this post, Greg is not going to be convinced. He has manifested seeing this issue differently and doesn’t seem receptive to what is being discussed. Although, in some of his later comments, he did seem to ask questions and ask to be provided with more information. Perhaps there is hope! Thank you for adding your two cents, my friend! :)

  22. What a tough subject. I love the tone of the commentary, though. Everyone is so respectful and civil. We could use a lot more of this in the world. Kudos to you, Bella, for creating this environment!

    In my opinion, people often confuse the issue. They seem to fear that they will lose themselves if we acheive gender equality. Equal pay and equal access don’t prohibit people from being who they are, although masculine and feminine stereotypes just might. We all have to find our own path and it would be easier if we didn’t think we “should” be one way or another simply because of our gender.

    1. Shary, in one short paragraph you have managed to beautifully express what this conversation is all about. No further explanation is needed. Indeed we shouldn’t be made to feel that we have to act one way or another because of our gender. Thank you for explaining it so simply and perfectly! :)

  23. Sorry I keep saying I’m going away and then not.
    Making time right now because this just fell out of my pen and its in my way.
    I’ll read comments tonight and make time to whittle out responses tomorrow.
    I sure came to the right place to have my vulnerable insecurities tested.

    Deep breath, here I go:
    Being in my masculinity requires I defend my right to masculinity. My masculinity cannot be a victim of your abuse. its healthy for abusive masculinity to be halted, just as it is important for all abusive behavior to be halted.
    I believe it is possible to knock a man out with love. As an example, suppose a buddy is in a rage and he is about to make a bad decision that I can see will have negative effect, but his rage blinds him to his own best-interest. Suppose I see a moment where I can eliminate the threat he poses to himself by “knocking some sense into him.” It brings him awareness. To punch a buddy through love, aggressive love, I have to be able to tap into some masculine rage and then I have to deal with his rage directed at me. Since I’m not as big as any of my buddies, it requires I have better access to my masculine tools than someone naturally bigger. Its weird, but a reality.
    It used to be one would slap a woman (stick with me) to bring her awareness. Only a slap to a woman because her rage is typically not as severe. Now, there is no touching allowed in any form without consent (good) and consent may be revoked at any moment (good) or retroactively with law enforcement, attorneys, human resource departments (bad). And the general level of rage towards masculinity by (some) women (and some men) is so high on a continuous basis, any perceived thought of indiscretion is crushed by uncontrolled rage. This squelching of man’s masculinity is violence of femininity occurring this moment throughout our culture destroying it right before our eyes and this moment, right now, is a slap to your face to awaken and see you are programming this into our children in blind rage and you must stop!
    Only women, mothers, can fix this!
    Now wipe your eyes and go show and tell everyone.
    You want a life mission, you got it.
    Can you believe this is the most important moment of your life? How did that happen? Your life mission is to love all, more than you ever imagined, fighting by love for the truth you desperately give your life to channel all of your radiant feminine magic so all god’s children may evolve into love beyond any imagination.

    Okay, time to double time it with the lawn mower.
    Bella, thank you for providing this venue, I am blown away by this whole experience. If you’ve heard enough, if I am a lost cause, its okay to send me away.
    I keep telling myself its only words, but whew, intense!

    1. Greg, I mentioned this in an earlier comment but I think it bears repeating–I think it would be great for you to continue exploring this issue. A blog is a great platform for you to receive reader feedback and explore the many meanings terms like these can have. It appears that you have much to say and who knows, you may just find the answers you are looking for, or at the very least, someone who relates to your particular situation.
      Radiant feminine magic? I’m afraid if I even go near that one, this post shall drag on forever! :)

  24. Wow, there is much to jump into in this conversation. As others have said, I do appreciate you, Bella, providing this venue for a conversation in civility and you, Greg, for hanging in the conversation and sharing your opinion (though your last post is a bit troubling in what sounds like to me an attempt to justify aggression as a right to masculinity).

    My simple response to all of this is that so many people feel the need to continue to place gender ownership on traits, actions, “life missions”, etc. No one gender owns the good — nurture, wisdom, love — or the bad — aggression, rage, anger. Fortunately (and sometimes unfortunately), both genders are more than capable of all of these. And I’m not sure what this “radiant feminine magic” is but I wish I could harness it to cook dinner tonight! :)

    1. Caryn, you made it! I’m so happy to have you here! Greg’s last post left me scratching my head, I’m afraid. You have clarified it for us by reiterating how both genders have the capability to exhibiting many or all of these traits. And that’s all she wrote! ha! Thank you for joining us, sister! :)

  25. I simply am so pleased to read this post, Bella and Greg and all of Bella’s followers..and I completely agree with Shary above at how the tone of this post is respectful, informative, smart, and held with a compassion. Bella, I thank you for sharing this with us, and Greg, thank you for sharing your views. I remember Bella’s previous post of her son’s words…I hope that he reads this as well. We should all learn to pause….read….and HEAR one another instead of the instantaneous reactions that happen in this new world. As for my opinion of this, it is quite interesting to read of Greg’s personal views of his having to hold back his masculinity. I have always held myself to a standard of a bit of social conformity depending on what situation I am in..whether it be work or at school to “fit in” and am only now really being true to who I am as well. This may simply just be due to aging! Thank you for such a smart, smart post and conversation..I continue to learn when I visit here, Bella!! : )

    1. Shirley, love, how are you? I’m so happy to see your comment! Your “aging” remark made me chuckle. I too feel that the aging process has helped me acquire a certain degree of ahem, wisdom, that was absent when I was younger. (Or so I hope!) :) I’m delighted you like the post and I’m tickled pink you added to the conversation. Thank you! :)

  26. This really is interesting and hot. It’s worth commenting on. Well, everybody is unique and, whether male or female, has the potencial to either fail or succeed. Trampling on others or intimidating others to have a feel of accomplishment and fulfilment is obviously an aberration. Authority supercedes might and wisdom supercedes strength. This simply means that calmness can be more effective than agression and approach may produce more than brut force. Courage is not aggression authotity is not bullying. There are lots of delicate thin lines in these deliberations and I think that Greg innocently is expressing what he feels is right. Well, everyone can choose any approach irrespective of gender but to be gentle and temperate is far better than to be harsh. When the brain works hard, energy is conserved but when we resort to brut force, we achieve less and create more problems. Hope I’m not too out of point, I just think gender does not count. Keep up the heat, good points are erupting.

    1. Teecounsel, I love your distinction between the thin lines in the process of deliberation. Indeed wisdom and kindness are the right tools to have in one’s belt for most aspects in life. I shall strive to keep my brain working so as to conserve energy. The good Lord knows that on most days I am exhausted, though it’s not from the use of sheer force alone! I too believe that gender is not a consideration when it comes to analyzing the characteristics that make for an intelligent, caring being. Thank you for your feedback! :)

    2. Hi, running through, trying to flow with the way this series of revelations has completely transformed my life this week. Tomorrow I hope to summarize this fascinating experience you have facilitated. I feel like my life barely survived this post, I can’t imagine managing an entire blog, certainly not with strength and elegance you exude, Ms. Bella.

  27. This is such a tricky subject.

    I loved Son’s original post, but I have some sympathy for Greg. I think it’s hard for quite a lot of decent men in today’s world to know how they should be a man. The world’s culture has for so very long been male-dominated that for a lot of people it is difficult to imagine how a world that is more equal should look. We want to reject a world view that reduces women to chattels, and elevates men to masters or which see men and their way of seeing as the norm and women as abberations, or wrong. But in doing so it can be easy to reject, or seem to be rejecting, everything about men at the same time.

    I don’t believe men and women are the same. In equality of status, in capacity for love, in drive, in ambition, in strength, they certainly can be and in the case of the first one, should be. But in ways of thinking and seeing and being in the world, I think it is possible to see characteristic differences. Not as many, or as extreme as our culture would have us believe, but there.

    However for every characteristic one thinks of as ‘male’ or ‘female’, one can find examples in the opposite gender of that characteristic, either in an individual or circumstance. So, as a practice, I believe it is better to allow people to characterise themselves by their behaviour. To try, as much as possible – because we are all products of our environment, at least to some extent – to let people be as they choose to be as individuals, without imposing our perceptions of gender roles or characteristics on them.

    Most important of all though is avoiding making ANY characteristic ‘wrong’. This is the tragedy of Greg’s experience, from what I can see. He was told that the characteristics that felt natural to him were both characteristically male and – apparently consequently – wrong. This is a terrible thing to do to a child or, for that matter, an adult. And those who did it did no service to women either. A world-view that says men and boys are all noise and fury and ugliness requires a flip view that women are all sweetness and light and prettiness, which is as limiting, inaccurate and damaging to women as it is dismissive and crushing to men.

    We all, men and women, have strength and weakness, hardness and softness, anger and love in us. Learning to be a well-rounded human being, to manage our individual mix of those and other characteristics is a life-long task. Managing the dictates of our hormones, personalities, upbringing and experiences into a good person could reasonably be called the most important job of our lives. i wish Greg nothing but the best in finding his own way to do that.

    I hope that he can heal from the damage that was done to him and find a way of being a man that satisfies his need to express his masculinity without having to discount or destroy the parts of him that he sees as ‘feminine’.

    i appreciate his raising of the issue, and Bella for responding and inviting the rest of us to. I think it’s something we need to talk about and I hope that Greg and all the commenters will take my contribution in the spirit in which it is offered.

    1. Imelda, I will take your contribution with gratitude that you have not only actively engaged in the discussion, but have also given us a lot to think about. It would defeat the purpose to elaborate on anything you’ve said. I agree that transitions such as these can be extremely difficult. I also agree that society gives men a mixed message of what is expected of their gender as a whole. I believe that women and men are different both physically and in the characteristics they possess. Nevertheless, it’s important that we be treated with equality. No characteristic, physical or otherwise, should give society leeway to believe one gender is better than the other, or that by virtue of these, one can have better opportunities or status.
      “…to let people be as they choose to be as individuals, without imposing our perceptions of gender roles or characteristics on them.” I love this. And I agree wholeheartedly. We are indeed victims of our environment and sadly, many people are brought up to stifle their individuality. Fortunately, we have the power to change that; to see the world around us differently from what we were led to believe. It is not necessary to condemn and reject any part of who we are.

      I am so glad you decided to join the conversation, Imelda. Thank you so much! As always, you make us think and ponder other possible ways to see the issue. :)

  28. Thank you for inviting me Bella. I’m sorry it took a while to respond. I read the post immediately, but I needed to think about the response!

    I agree wholeheartedly with you, too. We DO have the power to change our own attitudes and when we can change ourselves, we DO change the world!

    1. You’re welcome, lady! I really wanted you to add your feedback to this post and I’m grateful that you did so. Have a great weekend! :)

  29. Wow. I am dizzy from all the fascinating comments and now need to step away to collect my thoughts. You are a much better hostess than I am. I instantly get by back up when I hear men talking about needing to defend their masculinity. Too many connotations of Iron John wearing animal pelts and beating drums in caves. I find it interesting that men find femininity threatening and feel the need to assert their masculinity in response. ( Of course, I am PMS-ing right now!) Thanks for a great discussion and fisty pumps to Son!

    1. Kristine, it’s been quite the journey to see how two sides react differently. You had me chuckling with the comment of Iron John. I had a distinct visual of the animal pelts and the drum beating. hee hee! In my humble opinion, only weak men find assertive women intimidating. At the risk of sounding cliched, it takes a strong man to appreciate a strong woman. I’m just sayin’. Thanks for adding to the mix, lady! :)

  30. Hi Bella,

    I can’t read all the comments for fear that my eyes will fall out lol. Besides, I’m still hyperventilating from reading that post. I totally loved your response and believe that you said all which needs to be said. For what it’s worth, let me, belatedly, add this:

    In the 21st century, it should be a generally accepted opinion that men and women are equal. Even with differeing areas of strength, the sum totality of our humn propensities, even when ascribed to a specific gender, are equally wonderful and powerful. It is the steretypical belief that one set of gender attributes is greater than the other which continues to dog us in our careers, relationships, economic sphere etc. It is divisive, unenlightened and very, very wrong.

    The ideal man, IMO, is one whom accepts the truths above as (mostly) gospel. I allow for the unenlightened Cro-Magnon man who still beats within the heart of most males I know. An enlightened man understands that to reach his optimum potential he must embrace both of his feminine and masculine characteristics – that is balance. All things in nature seek to achieve balance, not to falsely manufacture, or uphold a specific set of traits, deemed by society as superior. It’s false and it’s limiting.

    Great post and a great comment. I respect Greg for putting it all out there even while I vehemently disagree with him.



    1. Coco, I am delighted that you added your two cents to this post. I wholeheartedly agree with you regarding how equality should be an accepted fact in this day and age. Like you mention, it is something that impacts not only our personal lives, but our professional one as well. I yearn for the day when all women will be able to meet “enlightened” men wherever they go. The idealist in me hopes and prays that I will see this become the norm and not the exception before I die. ha! Thank you for dropping by, my friend. I so enjoy reading your comments! :)

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