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Old 07-20-2011, 09:36 AM   #1
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Are Men Being Feminized or Humanized?

Here's an essay from the Huffington Post about today's men:

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Dr. Warren Farrell, the author of the book Father and Child Reunion, points to the growing desire of dads to be a bigger part of their children's lives. This new paternal involvement, he writes, "is to the twenty-first century what women's desire to be in the workplace was to the twentieth century."
A 2007 survey by the employment website Monster.com found that 70 percent of fathers would consider being a stay at home parent if money were no object. Almost 50 percent of dads of school aged children took paternity leave when their employer offered it.
The evidence is also accumulating in smaller increments. Men are free to hug more, they help with homework, they listen more, and -- especially with daughters -- are part of their lives in ways long denied to fathers of earlier generations. Is it feminization that has brought fathers so far from the distant, silent providers of the past?
Pick any organization, and you'll find awareness, backed by shifts in culture, that the days of the my-way-or-the-highway manager are past. Is it feminization to realize that leadership by brute force of title must be replaced by the so-called "soft skills" of communication, cooperation and engagement?
While some wail over the declining state of manhood implied by the statistics, there is also the very real possibility that men are evolving from swaggering through life in some cartoon interpretation of what men are supposed to be -- to becoming more fully-formed human beings free to find out what they can be.
Dr. Peggy Drexler: Are Men What They Used to Be?

I think its cool that more men are more interested in being involved fathers. That could help children, especially girls, grow up feeling more secure with themselves.

I have to admit I still will like to see men keep their traditional traits. Meaning, I wouldn't want to be involved with a guy who is emotional, overly sensitive, etc. But at the same time, I wouldn't want someone is really macho. Somewhere in between is good.

So, is it best that men and women balance masculinity and feminity between each other, instead of one being masculine and the other being feminine? Do you think women will become the masculine ones in the world in the future, being the breadwinners, career focused, emotional distant? Or do you think men and women embracing their male and female traits is here to stay? Would the world be better this way?

Thoughts welcome!
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Old 07-20-2011, 10:35 AM   #2
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Great thread

I like to think of it as more humanized, and I hate the idea that the "feminine traits" are somehow automatically defined as negative. You can most certainly be very manly and have those more humanized traits. To me that is the ultimate in manly. I wish more than practically anything that I had a father who was like that, the way that article described it.

I think it's very important that men be sensitive, empathetic, and in touch with their emotions.
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Old 07-20-2011, 11:37 AM   #3
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Very interesting.

I think it's important to differentiate between feminine traits and historic feminine roles.

In my relationship with my wife, I clean, I cook, I do the grocery shopping and I pick-out and buy clothes for my wife. I'm not feminine, and my wife is not masculine despite being our company's boss and owner, and sales schmoozer-in-chief. We have broken-up traditional roles, but we are both clearly a man and a woman.

I know being raised by a single mom helped me identify that there are daily necessities that need to be accomplished, but this is just practical, not effeminate. My wife is a first-child who had an extraordinary number of responsibilities as a child. That made her more of a leader. I'm glad society enables us to fill the roles that make sense for us despite history.

I hope that traditional gender roles can continue to be broken while gender traits are not. I like being a man, and I like feminine women (I like all women, but you get it.).
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Old 07-20-2011, 11:55 AM   #4
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Very interesting.

I think it's important to differentiate between feminine traits and historic feminine roles.

In my relationship with my wife, I clean, I cook, I do the grocery shopping and I pick-out and buy clothes for my wife. I'm not feminine, and my wife is not masculine despite being our company's boss and owner, and sales schmoozer-in-chief. We have broken-up traditional roles, but we are both clearly a man and a woman.

I know being raised by a single mom helped me identify that there are daily necessities that need to be accomplished, but this is just practical, not effeminate. My wife is a first-child who had an extraordinary number of responsibilities as a child. That made her more of a leader. I'm glad society enables us to fill the roles that make sense for us despite history.

I hope that traditional gender roles can continue to be broken while gender traits are not. I like being a man, and I like feminine women (I like all women, but you get it.).
I think those are all great points. But I also think that some stereotypical gender traits, well it's good that they can be broken. I think we can all continue to be masculine and feminine while still embracing those non traditional traits. You can still be very clearly a man or a woman.
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Old 07-20-2011, 12:01 PM   #5
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I think those are all great points. But I also think that some stereotypical gender traits, well it's good that they can be broken. I think we can all continue to be masculine and feminine while still embracing those non traditional traits. You can still be very clearly a man or a woman.
Oh, I know. I just worry because I know a few people that think it's wrong to be a gender-trait stereotype, like a muscular type-A man or a demure curvy long-haired made-up woman.

I'm glad there are all types of people. It's just good not to expect someone to be a stereotype, but if they are, that's fine, too.
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Old 07-20-2011, 05:23 PM   #6
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It is happening in fish
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Study Confirms Estrogen in Water from the Pill Devastating to Fish Populations

ST. JOHN, New Brunswick, February 18, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A study by Dr. Karen Kidd, of the University of New Brunswick and the Canadian Rivers Institute, found that estrogen from birth control pills flooding into the water system through sewage adversely affects fish populations.

The researchers added estrogen to an experimental lake at a level commonly found in the treated wastewater from cities with about 200,000 people. The researchers discovered that one consequence is that exposed male fish become feminized, producing a protein normally found in females. Chronic exposure to estrogen led to the near extinction of the lake’s fathead minnow population, as well as significant declines in larger fish, such as pearl dace and lake trout.

Studies are also showing significant evidence for a link between environmental estrogens and estrogen-like chemical pollutants and the earlier onset of puberty in girls.
Study Confirms Estrogen in Water from the Pill Devastating to Fish Populations | LifeSiteNews.com
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Old 07-20-2011, 06:18 PM   #7
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I think it's important to differentiate between feminine traits and historic feminine roles.

...I'm glad society enables us to fill the roles that make sense for us despite history.
I really liked these points.

Being forced into inflexible family and social roles based strictly on sex can have the effect of warping individuals who simply aren't suited for them, resulting in "stereotypical" failings which then (questionably) become identified with "masculine" or "feminine"--e.g., draconian, harshly judgmental fathers who pervert the 'family patriarch' role because the truth is they can't handle that particular type of responsibility, or vain, catty mothers who were never cut out for the 'gracious lady of the household' role and just become petty when they try. Often when I hear people talking about the inadequately/excessively "masculine" father or "feminine" mother they had (and against whom they now define their ideal selves and partners), I'll think, "Geez, I don't really feel I'm hearing a 'too'/'not enough' masculine or feminine parent being described here--just a generally immature, resentful and selfish person who wasn't at all equipped to fill the ambitions towards others they'd set for themselves." Most of us do consciously aspire to some degree to improve on our own parents both as partners and as parents, and that may be natural enough, but it seems we rely so heavily on "what kind of (Wo)Man I want to be/marry" to help us conceptualize that distinction, when often that may not be the most illuminating or constructive way to think about it.

But, like you were observing with yourself and your own wife, obviously our individual family experiences inform our priorities and inclinations on this topic so strongly that it can sometimes be hard to see around them. I totally get why MrsS prizes sensitivity and affection in fathers so highly; at the same time, for me personally, I was lucky enough to have a very loving and sensitive father, so when I think of my own daughter in relation to her father, I don't so much worry about, "I hope she feels loved and listened to by him so she'll always know she's worthy of that," as I do about, "I hope he gives her the gift of what in my day was unfortunately considered 'male' social conditioning--lovingly but firmly challenging your child, repeatedly testing her with experiences she's afraid of or has 'failed' at in the past, asking of her to get up and keep going when she falls flat and to never settle for the sidelines just because she's not 'naturally good at' something." Because for me, although I did get some of that it was uneven, limited to certain arenas, and so I tend to prioritize it. But, I'm also very aware that she (and our sons) need it from me, too, and that it's not "a man's job" either to teach it or to be it.
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I'm not feminine, and my wife is not masculine despite being our company's boss and owner, and sales schmoozer-in-chief. We have broken-up traditional roles, but we are both clearly a man and a woman.
This was kinda interesting to me, because I wouldn't say of my own marriage that we spend much time thinking about ourselves in this light, or that we're strongly attached to the idea of each other embodying the essence of our sexes in some way. On the other hand, because we do have "broken-up traditional roles"--my husband is primarily a homemaker and father (though also a big-time handyman and sports fan); I work long hours and tend to dispense parenting time in scheduled doses (but am also the primary cook and somewhat the 'gentler' parent)--we do sometimes encounter annoying assumptions about/digs at how we complement each other. Which is galling because what you love about your partner, much like what you feel about yourself, is so deeply nuanced and personal and subtle, not at all easily summarized by schlocky girls'n'guys "truisms" OR their equally inane inverse forms (no, my husband isn't particularly macho nor am I particularly femme-y, but neither is he some cloying "pansy" nor I some hardass "broad," thankyouverymuch). It's the complementarity that's the beautiful thing, not what its specific components are.
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Old 07-20-2011, 07:18 PM   #8
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The current capitalist neo-liberal system is very much biased against natural instincts, in so far as it makes women feel guilty for choosing to fill their natural role of what is now disparagingly called 'stay-at-home' motherhood (with the offensive implication that women were subliterate breeders before the feminist revolution), and men feel guilty for filling theirs of sole or at least dominant provider (with the equally offensive implication that men were incapable of being loving and caring fathers also). Unsurprisingly, we have ended up with the current unsatisfactory situation of mass divorces, societal unrest, teen drug abuse, etc. Any system that goes against natural instincts can surely not prevail - nature will take its course, in the long run.

Perhaps the Marxist principle of "to each according to need, from each according to ability" could be applied to gender relations at this point?
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Old 07-20-2011, 08:15 PM   #9
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Any system that goes against natural instincts can surely not prevail - nature will take its course, in the long run.
"J'ai reçu, monsieur, votre nouveau livre contre le genre humain, je vous en remercie...on n'a jamais employé tant d'esprit à vouloir nous rendre bêtes; il prend envie de marcher à quatre pattes quand on lit votre ouvrage. Cependant, comme il y a plus de soixante ans que j'en ai perdu l'habitude, je sens malheureusement qu'il m'est impossible de la reprendre et je laisse cette allure naturelle à ceux qui en sont plus dignes que vous et moi." --Voltaire, letter to Rousseau, 1755

Seriously, almost everything about the world we live in is "unnatural"--literacy, agriculture, 'the workplace,' money, religious institutions, contraception, republicanism, media, nuclear families...you could probably make a serious (or not) argument that every one of these "developments" saps our native vigor and scars our souls. Too late now, got to work with what we have.
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Old 07-20-2011, 11:48 PM   #10
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This was kinda interesting to me, because I wouldn't say of my own marriage that we spend much time thinking about ourselves in this light, or that we're strongly attached to the idea of each other embodying the essence of our sexes in some way. On the other hand, because we do have "broken-up traditional roles"--my husband is primarily a homemaker and father (though also a big-time handyman and sports fan); I work long hours and tend to dispense parenting time in scheduled doses (but am also the primary cook and somewhat the 'gentler' parent)--we do sometimes encounter annoying assumptions about/digs at how we complement each other. Which is galling because what you love about your partner, much like what you feel about yourself, is so deeply nuanced and personal and subtle, not at all easily summarized by schlocky girls'n'guys "truisms" OR their equally inane inverse forms (no, my husband isn't particularly macho nor am I particularly femme-y, but neither is he some cloying "pansy" nor I some hardass "broad," thankyouverymuch). It's the complementarity that's the beautiful thing, not what its specific components are.
Nice.
That all sounds very familiar.
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Old 07-22-2011, 12:37 PM   #11
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i hope men will soon achieve the same freedom to choose their paths that women now enjoy. stay-at-home dads probably suffer from a greater sense of social stigma than do working mothers. it does seem to me that we have a bit of a double-standard about double-standards -- women seem to have wronged by these double standards and are victims, whereas men need to simply get over it. we need to do a better job of understanding that men are every bit the victims of sex-role stereotyping that women are, even if said stereotyping happens at the hands of other men.

as an aside, i also think we need to understand that testosterone and estrogen are very different chemicals, and there are *real* differences between the genders.

anyone who has undergone hormone therapy as part of gender reassignment will testify to just how shocking a change it is to be injected with either hormone. FTM are usually shocked at the increase in their sex drive, in the intensity of their temper, and the volatility of their emotions when they begin testosterone shots.
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Old 07-22-2011, 08:13 PM   #12
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Seriously, almost everything about the world we live in is "unnatural"--literacy, agriculture, 'the workplace,' money, religious institutions, contraception, republicanism, media, nuclear families...you could probably make a serious (or not) argument that every one of these "developments" saps our native vigor and scars our souls. Too late now, got to work with what we have.
I always feel a slight tinge of Human arrogance when it's claimed that our mannerisms or ways of life aren't natural. As if at some point along the line, mankind divorced itself from the natural evolution of the planet and became its own sovereign entity. Was it unnatural for prehistoric man to draw on the walls of caves? Or for chimpanzees to manipulate their environment to make tools? Or for dolphins to develop a language? Everything we do is the result of trillions of tiny progressions in species that came before us. We do what we do because evolution built us that way. It makes me itch to hear us described as unnatural
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Old 07-22-2011, 08:19 PM   #13
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i hope men will soon achieve the same freedom to choose their paths that women now enjoy. stay-at-home dads probably suffer from a greater sense of social stigma than do working mothers. it does seem to me that we have a bit of a double-standard about double-standards -- women seem to have wronged by these double standards and are victims, whereas men need to simply get over it. we need to do a better job of understanding that men are every bit the victims of sex-role stereotyping that women are, even if said stereotyping happens at the hands of other men.
One point that would back you up here is that even in those few countries where legally mandated paternity leave is available, many new fathers choose not to avail of it.
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Old 07-22-2011, 08:32 PM   #14
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"J'ai reçu, monsieur, votre nouveau livre contre le genre humain, je vous en remercie...on n'a jamais employé tant d'esprit à vouloir nous rendre bêtes; il prend envie de marcher à quatre pattes quand on lit votre ouvrage. Cependant, comme il y a plus de soixante ans que j'en ai perdu l'habitude, je sens malheureusement qu'il m'est impossible de la reprendre et je laisse cette allure naturelle à ceux qui en sont plus dignes que vous et moi." --Voltaire, letter to Rousseau, 1755

Seriously, almost everything about the world we live in is "unnatural"--literacy, agriculture, 'the workplace,' money, religious institutions, contraception, republicanism, media, nuclear families...you could probably make a serious (or not) argument that every one of these "developments" saps our native vigor and scars our souls. Too late now, got to work with what we have.
And that's all true. Of course practically everything is a construct. I completely recognise the validity of postmodernism. But, in politics, even the micro-society of FYM, we put our views forward in the public domain, we try to persuade, and sometimes we win people over and sometimes we don't - and my viewpoint is coming from what is now seen, I suppose, as a moderately conservative framework (but which would have been seen, certainly in my parents' lifetime, and probably even in my own lifetime in historically conservative Catholic countries like Ireland, as a far out liberal framework.) And, it is a fact that, since the 1950s, in all Western societies, literally without a single exception that I am aware of, murder rates are up, violent crime is up, drug abuse is up, suicides are up, teen pregnancies are up, abortions are way up, anti-depressant prescriptions are way up (particularly for women, incidentally). And yet it is also a fact that we, collectively, are wealthier by any reasonable measure. I am not saying that any of these things are linked to issues around social reform to do with womens' rights, and if I were I would be a fool. But, I am suggesting is that where we're at right now, actually, maybe isn't all that great or admirable. Something somewhere, it seems to me, has gone wrong in the matrix. There is conceivably some room for improvement, at the very minimum.

Now, to me, there's an interesting debate around this one - if it is true that society until recently was this hateful women-oppressing environment, then how can it be, that just after just a few generations at most of equal rights for women, that women emerge as prime ministers, successful academics, top level research scientists, industry leaders, etc (and certainly, today in Britain and Ireland, it is common to hear the complaint from teachers that the girls study too hard if anything, and the boys cannot be made to sit still for a few minutes and just don't give a f***)? Does it suggest, intriguingly, that women are more innately intelligent than men? Well, that would be interesting. Or does it suggest that even if your gender is oppressed for generation after generation after generation - thousands of years of oppression and degradation - it makes not a whit of difference to your inherited brain development, IQ, etc? As I understand it, evolutionary Darwinism would suggest otherwise. Or does it suggest, that while paternalist societies were by no means a picnic for women, that they also weren't quite as repressive and hateful as modern day liberals believe and suggest? That actually, women and men fulfilled different roles at historical points in societal development because it was the most rational segregation of labour between the genders for those particular periods of time and state of societal development and not because of some crazed scheme on behalf of paternalists to oppress women?
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Old 07-23-2011, 02:23 AM   #15
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And, it is a fact that, since the 1950s, in all Western societies, literally without a single exception that I am aware of, murder rates are up, violent crime is up, drug abuse is up, suicides are up, teen pregnancies are up, abortions are way up, anti-depressant prescriptions are way up (particularly for women, incidentally).


This is untrue for pretty much all of those except maybe anti depressant prescriptions (which has nothing to do with the rates of depression)
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