27 votes

Men have no friends and women bear the burden

17 comments

  1. [11]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. [3]
      onyxleopard
      Link Parent
      Your problem is that you are framing traits as gendered. The article does this too, and I think its a cognitive trap. Intelligence, empathy, and nurture are positive traits, period, whoever...

      At this point what is considered a positive male trait?

      Your problem is that you are framing traits as gendered. The article does this too, and I think its a cognitive trap. Intelligence, empathy, and nurture are positive traits, period, whoever possesses them.

      Apparently my stoicism is a burden on the women in my life.

      Real stoicism is not a burden. If you repress your emotions and then dump that on the women in your life, that may be perceived as a burden by the women in your life. If you are managing your emotions yourself, though, I don’t think that’s a problem.

      I think the article glosses over the fact that many men are proficient at managing their emotions in a personal way that doesn’t negatively impact their partners, friends, or family. And that is a positive trait (at least I personally consider it so). The other side of this is that our societal norms encourage girls and women not to be stoic, and women, just as much as men, can be emotional gold-diggers, and I think are even encouraged to do so, esp. with other women.

      Or is the only solution a sort of neutralization of masculinity?

      The solution is to not classify positive or negative traits as inherently gendered. I don’t like the label of 'toxic masculinity' (or 'toxic femininity' for that matter, but you hopefully won’t encounter that terminology outside of the men’s rights movement which I consider about as misguided as third-wave feminism). It is conflating concepts that needn’t be conflated, and they become simpler when separated. If we recognize that heteronormative masculinity and femininity are different, but neither inherently bad nor good, then we can consider toxicity on its face, and work to inhibit it.

      34 votes
      1. [2]
        Comment deleted by author
        Link Parent
        1. onyxleopard
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          It’s important to distinguish gender and sex—testosterone, as a steroid, is a matter of biology, not gender. Genders are social constructs—steroids are chemical constructs. Western society has...

          But the reality is the genders do lean towards specific traits, whether genetically (testosterone and aggression for example) or social pressures abd upbringing.

          It’s important to distinguish gender and sex—testosterone, as a steroid, is a matter of biology, not gender. Genders are social constructs—steroids are chemical constructs. Western society has historically had binary masculine/feminine genders, but if societal views on gender shift, that won’t change our biology. But, I don’t believe our behavior is totally predetermined by our biology, nor society, so as individuals, if we can recognize specific traits and classify them on a moral scale, then we must be careful to distinguish between traits and individuals. If collectively, society discriminates against aggression, we must be careful not to discriminate based on gender even if there is a correlation between genders and traits. I.e., even if aggression is considered a negative trait (I think there are situations where it can be a positive), it is wrong to discriminate against the male gender due to a preconception that all men are inherently aggressive. An individual who identifies as male might not be biologically or individually predisposed to aggression, either because they are biologically female, they have XXY syndrome, they are older, or they simply are an outlier.

          Edit: And it would be equally wrong to not admit that generally young males do have a tendency towards aggression.

          11 votes
      2. NaraVara
        Link Parent
        Oh my God yes. My wife’s friends, her mother, her sister, et al all have extremely unhealthy emotional codependencies on each other. Any minor frustration and they can’t help but dump it all on...

        women, just as much as men, can be emotional gold-diggers, and I think are even encouraged to do so, esp. with other women

        Oh my God yes. My wife’s friends, her mother, her sister, et al all have extremely unhealthy emotional codependencies on each other. Any minor frustration and they can’t help but dump it all on anyone who will listen. And then they will ruminate about it for hours and get themselves more and more worked up over nothing.

        I’ve told my wife to stop participating because it just makes her internalize all her friends’ stresses, but she thinks just listening and not solving anything is the way to be a “good friend.” In fact, suggesting actual solutions to deal with the sources of their frustrations is likely to get you told that you’re “unsympathetic.”

        Lately some of them have started coopting feminist rhetoric about emotional labor as a way to dodge having to take action or exercise agency about anything at all. They’d prefer it if the world would just conform to their wishes through the sheer force of their complaining.

        5 votes
    2. [2]
      kfwyre
      Link Parent
      I wrote about this very concept recently in the context of my students. Speaking for myself, "man" is the hardest identity of mine for me to buy into because I genuinely don't know what...

      I wrote about this very concept recently in the context of my students.

      Speaking for myself, "man" is the hardest identity of mine for me to buy into because I genuinely don't know what constitutes it. I know that I am one... and... that's it, I guess?

      All my other identities are straightforward. I'm definitely gay, and I know exactly what that means (and doesn't mean) and how it affects (and doesn't affect) my life. Being a teacher is remarkably straightforward, if draining. The word bookworm fits me easily. Husband too. And brother.

      But I struggle to identify with the idea of "man" because it just feels completely amorphous and intangible. I mean this not in a dysphoric sense, as it's not that I experience any discomfort, and I'm definitely not questioning my gender. I'm simply questioning how it gets defined.

      Being gay let me see behind the curtain of "toxic masculinity" and I quickly tore that down and tossed it in the trash where it belongs. Unfortunately, I have nothing else to put in its place. Toxic mascilinity said I couldn't be vulnerable, so I discarded the restriction, but it doesn't come with a replacement positive identifier. We don't go from "men can't show weakness" to "men must show weakness." If anything, we shifted a bunch of "men can't ______" to "men can _______ if they want to, but they don't have to." While that's certainly liberating and has opened up the doors to previously verboten acts like crying, it's also unrestrictive and ill-defined in its permissiveness.

      If we remove the parameters of toxic masculinity, it effectively gives us an infinite possibility space for what men can be, which can be as disorienting as it is liberating and empowering. Despite identifying as a man, being comfortable as a man, and living my life every day as a man, I am still fundamentally unable to answer the question "what does it mean to be a man?"

      10 votes
      1. Akir
        Link Parent
        Personally speaking, I think that we as individuals should avoid these kinds of labels. If it were not for areas where genders are segregated (changing rooms, bathrooms, etc.), these labels aren't...

        Speaking for myself, "man" is the hardest identity of mine for me to buy into because I genuinely don't know what constitutes it. I know that I am one... and... that's it, I guess?

        Personally speaking, I think that we as individuals should avoid these kinds of labels. If it were not for areas where genders are segregated (changing rooms, bathrooms, etc.), these labels aren't really helpful. I don't think of myself as "Akir, the man", I simply see myself as me. I would like to think that most people see themselves the same way.

        You're having an existential crisis in a way. You are worrying who you should be because you have so many possibilities. But you shouldn't fell that way because you cannot define what a man should be. You should simply be yourself. It doesn't matter who that person ends up being because the only one who gets to decide who you are is you.

        5 votes
    3. dubteedub
      Link Parent
      One thing I read that resonated with me is that a lot of areas of toxic masculinity are just positive aspects of masculinity that have gone to a toxic extreme. For example, being emotionless is...

      One thing I read that resonated with me is that a lot of areas of toxic masculinity are just positive aspects of masculinity that have gone to a toxic extreme.

      For example, being emotionless is extreme and toxic, but being independent and emotionally resilient can be a very positive trait.

      The stereotype of men feeling like they can never be vulnerable is toxic as it can prevent men seeking help when they need it, but being confident and secure in yourself is a positive trait traditionally coded as masculine.

      I think strength is another masculine trait. Using your strength to protect / standing up for others is positive. Using strength to bully / hurt others is toxic.

      I would use the example of the Gilette Ad earlier this year as a way of showing both side of the masculine coin and encouraging positive masculinity.

      There was a very lengthy discussion on these issues when that topic was oroginally posted if you want to check it out.

      https://tildes.net/~misc/9pa/a_new_short_film_by_razor_company_gillette_has_called_for_men_to_be_the_best_they_can_be_sparking_a

      10 votes
    4. NecrophiliaChocolate
      Link Parent
      I agree with what you are saying. At some point this just becomes a way of people just talking about traits they personally find undesirable. Of course there are so many people in the world where...

      I agree with what you are saying. At some point this just becomes a way of people just talking about traits they personally find undesirable. Of course there are so many people in the world where you are bound to have people who agree with you. It kind of leaves men who are perfectly content with their lives suddenly insecure about themselves and that they need to change, they are are the problem etc.

      6 votes
    5. Whom
      Link Parent
      I'm going to link two short videos from Beau of the Fifth Column, a person I really respect...he talks a lot about masculinity and what it can mean outside of toxic masculinity, and I really think...

      I'm going to link two short videos from Beau of the Fifth Column, a person I really respect...he talks a lot about masculinity and what it can mean outside of toxic masculinity, and I really think these are helpful:

      Let's talk about examples of masculinity.... (as much as I don't like the people in his examples for other reasons, if you take the mythologized versions of these people or just the aspects he describes that's fine and the point still works)

      Let's talk about what a concept of Japanese art can teach us about masculinity....

      I don't think we should be looking for a checklist of things that make femininity or masculinity good. They should be amorphous and personal...we all know any positive trait can exist regardless of your gender, so what's really important is figuring out what it all means to you. One thing I never did until I was put in a position where I was forced to was really examine what my own gender means to me. That's a deep-ass thing that you can pick at and uncover new parts of forever.

      6 votes
    6. stephen
      Link Parent
      Men are men. You don't have to act a certain way to prove it to people. Be a good person and don't give thought to masculinity. That's what I got from this article. Historically masculinity is bad...

      Men are... What? Is there a way for men to be "men" and remain in the good graces of society?

      Men are men. You don't have to act a certain way to prove it to people. Be a good person and don't give thought to masculinity. That's what I got from this article.

      Historically masculinity is bad for men since it puts them into a box. There are toxic sides to what American society deems to feminine as well and they are just as deserving of deconstruction. The traits we as men choose to embody are our choices. Some men will be more sensitive and grow their beards out and that's fine as long as it doesn't get back into the territory of "men need to be x, y, and z to be seen as men." The problem is as much the existence of a set of rules as much as it what the particular rules are.

      It would need to be pretty extensively proven to me that there is social utility is strictly defined gender roles even if they are limited to positive traits.

      4 votes
    7. unknown user
      Link Parent
      I am a heterosexual male person, and IMHO it is the "male person" part that makes me a man. I don't really assume that role with all the network of adjectives it brings about, though. It's heavy...

      We often see posts about the "crisis of masculinity" but rarely do these editorials actually broach the subject beyond ticking off a list of undesirable traits. What does it mean to be a man in modern society? What traits remain desirable? Is there a way for men to be "men" and remain in the good graces of society? Or is the only solution a sort of neutralization of masculinity?

      I am a heterosexual male person, and IMHO it is the "male person" part that makes me a man. I don't really assume that role with all the network of adjectives it brings about, though. It's heavy baggage.

      My general outlook is that slowly but steadily concepts like "man", "manhood", "masculinity", and many other sorts of social categories including but not limited to feminine counterparts of those listed and those like race, ethnicity, religion are becoming obsolete. We're, as a species, embracing complexity. And I'm enjoying that. What will remain of the "man" of the past centuries? Hopefully not much other than "person of a specific sex", and hopefully the same will happen to "woman" too.

      There has been an exponential increase in the visibility of others' realities to almost every subjective observer. Just like every black person is the same only to those who don't really see black people in their life, categories are only clear to those who are less exposed to those unlike themselves. Internet single-handedly breached all the walls of such isolation, which IMO leads to the situation above.

      Is there a need for "masculinity" or similar in such setting? I don't think so. Because, in any form it may come in, should it be something narrower than "like a male person", it excludes people for no apparent reason. It'll possibly become an archaic synonym for "human-male-like".

      2 votes
  2. [3]
    NecrophiliaChocolate
    Link
    Interesting read, I dont know how much of it is relevant to my generation. I do have some thoughts on it though. Which one is it? Extreme or common? Definitely not the case as I was growing up....

    Interesting read, I dont know how much of it is relevant to my generation. I do have some thoughts on it though.

    Kelly’s story, though extreme, is a common example of modern American relationships.

    Which one is it? Extreme or common?

    For generations, men have been taught to reject traits like gentleness and sensitivity, leaving them without the tools to deal with internalized anger and frustration.

    Definitely not the case as I was growing up. Frustration was heavily criticized in my family, and we were always told to find a way to communicate properly. I understand this is anecdotal and I know of some people who have been told to internalize all their issues. I would like to see some evidence of this though, stats or wtv.

    Meanwhile, the female savior trope continues to be romanticized on the silver screen (thanks Disney!)

    Hasn't Disney made it a point to against this? Pretty much all new Disney movies go against this trope. Obviously there are other things e.g. unrealistic bodies or wtv, but that's off topic.

    It has gained more traction recently as women, feeling increasingly burdened by unpaid emotional labor

    Huh interesting, I wonder how many men feel the same way about their significant other. Still the author brings up a valid point.

    The guys at work are the only people other than me that my husband even talks to, so when some of these men retire, they expect their wives to be their source of entertainment and even get jealous that they have a life.

    This says a lot about the culture in America, especially in older generations where work life is not balanced.

    But unlike women in our mothers’ generation, Gen X’ers and millennials are starting to hold their partners accountable—or they’re simply leaving.

    Oh ok the author does acknowledge this. Still i would love to see some proof!

    Shepard's story is interesting, but I don't see what this has to do with toxic masculinity. But yea, it is normal, if you dont have friends (besides from ones you only see for watching sports, I guess?) it makes sense that you only rely on your family. It doesn't have anything to do with gender, women would do the same thing.

    men become consumed with shame for showing signs of weakness. Since vulnerability is, unfortunately, still perceived as a weakness instead of a strength

    Ok look, I can understand that some men feel that way, but saying that women don't feel this is kinda weird, is this article really suggesting that women (in general) do things even if it leaves them vulnerable? If this was true why is it considered normal for a guy to ask a girl out and not the other way around?

    Thats all I have time to read for now. I enjoyed the read though.

    11 votes
    1. [2]
      Elronnd
      Link Parent
      Perhaps they meant representative rather than common?

      Perhaps they meant representative rather than common?

      2 votes
      1. NecrophiliaChocolate
        Link Parent
        Hmm I dont think that would change anything, why would it be an extreme circumstance if it was representative of relationships? Thats an oxymoron, just like common. Unless the author means extreme...

        Hmm I dont think that would change anything, why would it be an extreme circumstance if it was representative of relationships? Thats an oxymoron, just like common. Unless the author means extreme in the sense of what happens in Kelly's story is crazy/vile/something that should never be allowed, but I don't think so.

        2 votes
  3. unknown user
    Link
    Ugh. If talking to your SO is "emotional labour" to you, then that relationship is dead. Break up. IDK the US, but here in Turkey there is a phenomenon where men are pressured by their wives to...

    Ugh. If talking to your SO is "emotional labour" to you, then that relationship is dead. Break up.

    IDK the US, but here in Turkey there is a phenomenon where men are pressured by their wives to stop seeing their unmarried friends, and this even happens during dating sometimes.

    9 votes
  4. [3]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. [2]
      nacho
      Link Parent
      Girlymen, dandies, sissies. As an observation, I think this is more about the antonyms to stereotypical male gender roles not being gendered than the concepts not being clearly defined: The...

      Plenty of men are attracted to tomboys (women who buck their gender role), but a non-pejorative synonym for men doesn't exist (the closest is the word sissy).

      Girlymen, dandies, sissies.

      As an observation, I think this is more about the antonyms to stereotypical male gender roles not being gendered than the concepts not being clearly defined:

      The opposite to a jock isn't sissy, but nerd.
      The opposite of being manly isn't womanly, but cowardly.
      The opposite of being macho is being timid.
      Even the opposite of being masculine isn't being feminine, but being meek.

      With terms like tomboy being 500 years old and coined by men, it's no wonder that the men determining acceptable words didn't use female perspectives to define unmanly things; the negative would do.

      (Similarly, being right-handed [dexter] is about being dexterous, and left-handed [sinistra] is about being sinister. Etymology shows how ancient men thought)


      I disagree with the point on men having to be manly guys to have successful dating lives.

      To the contrary, sensual/effeminate/metrosexual guys can be extremely successful in the dating world.

      • The guy who took dancing classes as a kid gets swarmed when he's out on the town.
      • The instrument-player always gets approached even though he's uncharismatic.
      • The guy who cries during an emotional event/movie/happening be that from happiness or the opposite often does well with the ladies.
      • The cook reaches the heart by way of the stomach.
      • Caring about your appearance and dress? That's a plus.
      • Being caring/thoughtful/supportive/whatever obviously a plus.

      I believe it often boils down to having positive qualities/skills/some thing to offer rather than just embodying the absence of "male good traits". You don't have to be that life-of-the-party guy, but in the absence of that there a difference between being quiet and being a good listener, the latter will be more attractive to many than the bloke who's the center of attention anyway.

      2 votes
      1. unknown user
        Link Parent
        While I do agree, it may be the case that for the former, i.e. the macho type the dating market might be more approachable. Note that I'm talking about approachability, not success once the guy...

        I disagree with the point on men having to be manly guys to have successful dating lives.

        To the contrary, sensual/effeminate/metrosexual guys can be extremely successful in the dating world.

        While I do agree, it may be the case that for the former, i.e. the macho type the dating market might be more approachable. Note that I'm talking about approachability, not success once the guy does get a date. It may stem from sex appeal, or just that because it is a more external trait it is easier to notice. IDK. I am a heterosexual male, and I'm more attracted to style and charisma, yet I observe that a fit, stereotypically hot woman will often more easily begin to attract me, and first impressions are really strong (tho it's changing as I slowly sail along towards my 30s, I feel).

        3 votes
  5. nonesuchluck
    Link
    This article is so bizarre to me. Does that description align with anyone else's experience? In my friend group (men, mid to upper 30s), all of us get together regularly to play board games, go...

    This article is so bizarre to me. Does that description align with anyone else's experience? In my friend group (men, mid to upper 30s), all of us get together regularly to play board games, go swimming/boating, and generally eat/drink together. All of their wives are friendless beyond family, spend all their time watching TV, and get jealous that their husbands have hobbies besides sitting on the couch and watching dramas with them. It's... a real point of contention that we have to consider when planning anything.

    5 votes