Modern Masculinity: A Guide for Men  

____ _   Web pages in Spanish
The following are excerpts from Modern Masculinity, which can be previewed at Amazon.

Preface Modern Masculinity seeks to help you build a strong identity as a masculine man. We have all heard about the sorry state of modern men and the “crisis” in masculinity. This isn’t a book about how we got here. It’s a book about where we go next.
This book describes the basic elements of modern masculine life. It explains how you can get respect for masculinity in a culture that constantly devalues it. It also outlines ways to have productive conversations in which men are treated with respect.
Part I assesses the state of modern masculinity and outlines three steps to help you develop confidence in yourself as a masculine man.
Part II is about walking the walk. These chapters outline short-term and long-term strategies that will remind you of your masculine identity and help you strengthen it.
Part III is about talking the talk. These chapters suggest ways in which you can participate in discussions that build masculine identity and promote respect for men.
Part IV takes the form of a Q & A. These chapters relate masculinity to traditions and trends, asking questions about modern masculinity about modern masculinity and questions you might be asked.
Part V includes a summary, acknowledgments, and references (which are given in the text by author and page number).
Modern masculinity is a big topic, and this is a short book. It has been designed as a guide, not a comprehensive account. It provides handy references to a wide range of recent posts, articles, and books about men and feminism. Modern Masculinity aims to help you stand up for men in the modern world by standing up for yourself.
Part I. Getting started
1. Modern masculinity In the old days—before 1990, let’s say—you could say you weren’t a feminist and nobody noticed. You sounded like a moderate. If you say it today, you sound like a reactionary.
It’s not the old days any more. The world has become what blogger Rollo Tomassi calls a “feminine primary” environment in which men are subject to a “feminine imperative.” As Tomassi puts it, “a woman’s existential imperative, her happiness, her contentment, her protection, her provisioning, [and] her empowerment,” are “encouraged socially” and even “mandated by law” (“Fem-centrism”). It has become a man’s responsibility to ensure a woman’s happiness.
This is a form of climate change for which many men are not ready, even though it has already taken place. Luckily, a few men have been paying attention, including Warren Farrell, who published The Myth of Male Power in 1993, and Roy F. Baumeister, author of Is There Anything Good About Men? (2010). Baumeister once called himself a feminist. He believes that feminism has changed since the 1970s, when it promoted equality and challenged “entrenched wisdom.” He writes that feminism today is “promoting women at the expense of men” and even “deploring men.” He concludes that feminist views have now “become the standard, conventional wisdom” (pp. 8-9). Farrell and Baumeister, among other authors, have taken a close look at men in the age of feminism. Modern Masculinity is written in the positive, forward-looking spirit of their work.
2. First steps Here are three ways to move forward to modern masculinity.
1. Take the Red Pill.
2. Take pride in masculine skills: compete.
3. Take up a martial art.
Part II. Walking the walk
3. In the short term, GYB This chapter and the next take up short-term and long-term moves that can build awareness of your manhood. The first one is a simple gesture that can help you every day.
Many people claim that we, as men, resist emotions and live in our heads. They put us down as remote and distant, not in touch with ourselves. Masculine men live in their bodies, not only in their heads, and we need to remind ourselves that we inhabit men’s bodies. Forget the usual advice to “man up.” My suggestion is that you get in touch with yourself with a bold physical gesture: GYB. Grab your balls.
Some people will find this expression vulgar and the gesture crude, uncool, even primitive, and certainly not modern. Sorry about that. “Man up” is meaningless. Women say it to each other and laugh about it all the time. GYB gets to the root of what makes a man male. The Vagina Monologues is a staple of modern theater. It’s time to get over feeling squeamish about balls.
The GYB male knows he has a pair. He also knows he needs to protect them, not only from attacks by others but also from his own carelessness. But when, where, and how? 1. Put your manhood first.
2. Put sex in second place.
3. Affirm your manhood every day.
4. In the long term, ROP GYB is a gesture you can perform often, a quick and private way to affirm yourself as an embodied man. Rites of passage—ROP—are long-term strategies that help you chart your growth into mature masculinity.
A rite of passage is a test of character, strength, skill, endurance, or a combination of these attributes, that must be passed before a child can be seen as an adult. Some people associate rites of passage with milestones. The difference is that a rite of passage is a test; a milestone—your thirtieth birthday, let’s say—is an event, but it is not a test. More than physical challenges, ROP mark the development of new self-awareness and a new level of maturity. Such rites are ancient and important. They are also rare in the world of modern masculinity. 1. Rites have long been a basic resource for building masculinity.
2. Rites have lost their force because many cultures have devalued competition.
3. Each of us can create rites of passage that are meaningful to ourselves and to other men.
Part III: Talking the talk
5. The frame Once you start to walk the walk—once you GYB, that is—you need to talk the talk. Don’t just talk like a man, in a forthright way, but talk as somebody who is a man, not a person. Talking about men and masculinity might be harder than you think. A woman says “speaking as a woman” and commands deference. A man says “speaking as a man” and might be accused of sexism. For some people, Rollo Tomassi says, “It’s laughable for a man to consider himself a man” (“Remove the man”). The woman is rewarded for speaking as a woman; the man is mocked for speaking as a man. Both are evidence of Tomassi’s “feminine primary” environment.
When you to speak as a man, you will meet resistance, if not ridicule. Even though your arguments are well-informed and reasonable, they won’t necessarily be persuasive. It’s important to know your opponents. Kim R. Holmes has analyzed the new “illiberalism” of the American left, a group that includes many feminists. Postmodern progressives do not seem interested in facts or data, which they seem to regard as outmoded and prejudicial. The progressives seem chiefly interested in getting their way, Holmes says, and in forcing others to accept, or at least live by, their views. Their moral relativism values only “its own freedom,” Holmes writes (p. 45), certainly not anyone else’s, and definitely not other people’s freedom of speech.
Your goal is not to win an argument with a person whose mind is closed. Your aim is to stand up for what you believe in with confidence and conviction. In order to do this, you will need to take charge of your conversations. Some people don’t think a man should take charge, but so what? Modern men—GYB men—don’t live in the realities created by other people’s expectations. I suggest that you take charge by framing. 1. Learn about frames and framing.
2. Use data, not judgments, to frame and reframe discussions.
3. Try using the idea of “non-feminist” as a framing device in gender-related discussions.
6. Framing masculinity Masculinity is difficult to define, but everybody seems to know what it is, and often what is described as masculinity is tough, taciturn, and unresponsive. That’s not modern masculinity, just an immature version of it, what we can call its shadow side. Framing masculinity as an aspect of maturity will help others expand their definitions of masculine manhood.
Masculinity is not a label or something you can wear to signify that you have money, or muscle, or an impressive sex life. It is a process that spans a lifetime. We grow and change during our marathon of manhood. By talking about masculinity in constructive ways, we create opportunities for growth for others and for ourselves. 1. Reframe the view that masculinity is negative; stress its competition and creativity.
2. Offer “mature / immature” as an alternative to “positive / negative” masculinity.
3. Stretch the frame of masculinity by promoting awareness of androphilia, which refers to affection for men, and misandry, which means hatred of men.
7. Reframing words that shame men We often hear words that shame men by comparing men to women. They include “effete,” “effeminate,” “emasculated,” and “feminized.” Some people seem to think that these four words simply point to a weak or weakened man, but they all frame men’s humanity in disrespectful ways and also disrespect women. Each time you hear those words applied to men, you can reframe the discussion. The words look back to an old model called “the battle of the sexes,” and there’s nothing modern about that. It’s a battle men always lose. 1. Discussions that set men against women carry on gender warfare, a form of dualism that both shames men and disrespects women.
2. Essentialism wrongly associates strength with men and weakness with women; this is unfair to both sexes.
3. Words used to shame men, including “effeminate,” “feminized,” “effete,” and “emasculated,” are based on essentialist claims and denigrate men who try to live emotionally complete lives.
Part IV. Q & A: Masculinity and related topics [each developed in a separate chapter] 8. Compulsory feminism
9. Disposable men
10. Patriotism
11. Patriarchy
12. Civil rights
13. Men’s studies >
Part V. Wrapping up
14. Review and conclusions
15. Acknowledgments and Author
16. References