Positive Masculinity on the Blue July 4, 2018 2:15 PM   Subscribe

If people find them, I'd love to see FPP posts about exemplary masculine behavior (both in the sense of 'good' and 'being an example') on the Blue.

To clarify: not meant in any way as an either-or situation with regards to examples of negative masculinity being called out. Negative behavior must be called out and men are often blind to these problems.

But exemplary behavior can, at the same time, inspire and be useful in the struggle to address these issues. "Act like that guy" can be more easily kept in one's mind than "don't act like that shit," for those who wish to be good men and allies to women.

With regards to these stories, I'll also try to "be the change I want to see", i.e., post along these lines when I see them.
posted by WCityMike to MetaFilter-Related at 2:15 PM (49 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

I'd be especially interested in FPPs driven by women's perspective/judgment of good male behavior/allies/etc. (which by definition I can't provide).
posted by WCityMike at 2:20 PM on July 4, 2018


To get an idea of parameters for these sorts of posts, how would hippybear's dad joins daughter's dance post fit into the type?
posted by cgc373 at 2:26 PM on July 4, 2018 [3 favorites]


A couple of other recent nice dad posts:
laundry basket roller coaster
dads at Pride time
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:48 PM on July 4, 2018 [3 favorites]


cgc373: "To get an idea of parameters for these sorts of posts, how would hippybear's dad joins daughter's dance post fit into the type?"

Definitely. That kind of stuff -- stuff where men are not bound by or afraid to violate traditional chauvinistic views of what's masculine and what's not, where they're behaving like allies of and are supportive of women (including, in that case, little ones who want their daddy RIGHT! NOW!).

The kind of stuff where women see a guy do something and think, Hell, yeah, we need more men to act like that guy. That video's a perfect example.
posted by WCityMike at 2:58 PM on July 4, 2018 [2 favorites]


Please excuse the following question. Does anyone else have a small issue with the term masculinity. I've always connected that with muscle bros and... negative things. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
posted by Splunge at 3:22 PM on July 4, 2018 [2 favorites]


Splunge: "Please excuse the following question. Does anyone else have a small issue with the term masculinity. I've always connected that with muscle bros and... negative things. Please correct me if I'm wrong."

I will stop replying to every other comment, but to prevent a derail on this, masculinity intended in this sense as its literal definition with no cultural trappings intended, i.e., as in "the quality or condition of pertaining to male humans."
posted by WCityMike at 3:36 PM on July 4, 2018 [13 favorites]


I think there's definitely a tendency to associate masculinity with some of the performative aspects of stereotypical masculinity, for sure; it's often a metonymy for things like strong/square physique, for emotional stoicism, for valuing action over feelings, for treating thoughtfulness or reservation as weakness/cowardliness, for hewing to heteronormative expectations, etc.

Much of that lines up pretty directly with the things often described as toxic masculinity: not that stereotypically "masculine" things are bad in and of themselves (lots of folks have muscles or dig sports! lots of folks are emotionally reserved, or type-A or go-getters! etc.), but that the collapsing of those stereotyped expectations and What It Means To Be A Man into an inflexible and inviolable overlap creates some bad, toxic dynamics, limits what people find acceptable in themselves and others, and creates high-pressure demands on and ugly self-denial and self-loathing narratives for people that in turn produce bad outcomes, and so on.

That said, I think it's one of those things where it can be worth the effort to separate out the underlying general concept of masculine/masculinity from those specific associations, if nothing else to allow for ways to talk about the idea of working to be a good/healthy person in the context of what society tends to describe or categorize as masculine. "Toxic masculinity" gets all its useful descriptive power from being a compound phrase that recognizes the possibility of a contrasting, non-toxic approach to society's conception of masculinity.

It's all also a little more complicated when taken in a social context with a burgeoning recognition of non-binary understandings of social and gender roles, where a zero-sum masculine vs. feminine framework seems less and less sufficient to characterize how people see themselves and fit into the world. But for all that, the concept of masculinity remains very highly visible and central to a lot of mainstream social models, so it's good to approach that with the idea of modeling and supporting the healthiest, most positive understanding of "masculinity" we can manage. Is my basic take, at least.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:41 PM on July 4, 2018 [8 favorites]


I'm not sure if this is exactly what you're looking for, but when I find myself getting depressed by all the examples of men behaving badly, I remember the two men on bicycles who came across a woman being raped, stopped what was happening, and then tackled the guy when he tried to run off and restrained him until police arrived. If it hadn't been for those two men, not only would the rape have continued, but also Brock Turner likely wouldn't have been caught. However, the focus of the FPP/linked article is more on Emily Doe's experience of her rape and the aftermath especially the trial and the inadequate sentencing of the rapist Brock Turner.
posted by litera scripta manet at 5:15 PM on July 4, 2018 [4 favorites]


There were two Fred Rogers-related FPPs this year, in March and in June.
posted by Iris Gambol at 6:16 PM on July 4, 2018 [7 favorites]


A few from me:

Eating from the Earth: Hank Shaw's Hunter Angler Gardener Cook blog Shaw is a thoughtful and reflective hunter.

"235 pounds of twisted steel and sex appeal": Sputnik Monroe. Wrestler for social justice.

The Soul of Attentiveness. Parker Palmer on men and depression.

Culinary Historian Michael Twitty on The Souls of Southern Food. Twitty is a man in search of his roots, and how to understand them through his cooking.

Message in a Bottle Cap: The Art of Robson Cezar. Just this guy nipping down to the pub so he can make gorgeous public art.

The Secret Life of Tim Hunkin's Personal Novelty Arcade. Just a guy tinkering in his shed and making amazing machines.

Combat Farming. A .mil-type promotes low tech, sustainable farming/gardening projects in Afghanistan.

An Illustrated Life: David Macaulay An example of turning personal mechanical knowledge into artistic understanding to be shared with all.

As I look over this list, a common theme seems to be men converting traditionally masculine (and somewhat solitary) pastimes/work/identities into projects of social connection.
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:43 PM on July 4, 2018 [11 favorites]


I’ve been thinking of posting a thread on positive masculinity. Not sure if I’ll have a chance, but it’s been on my mind.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 11:39 PM on July 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


I'm reading this as asking for "positive possibility models for men" type FPP's?
posted by nikaspark at 5:55 AM on July 5, 2018 [2 favorites]


Nikaspark: yes. Loving the links, but would love them on the Blue.
posted by WCityMike at 6:08 AM on July 5, 2018 [2 favorites]


Loving the links, but would love them on the Blue.

Which links do you mean, WCityMike?
posted by zamboni at 8:58 AM on July 5, 2018


I thought Brett Connolly's actions with respect to making sure a young girl got her damn hockey puck were an excellent example of positive masculinity--and as a bonus, his behavior was videotaped so that you can see it in action.
posted by sciatrix at 9:11 AM on July 5, 2018 [5 favorites]


dads at Pride time

Dammit, I'm in a pub and I started crying again at just the title. (It's an emotional day and I'm overtired and I don't know how I'd get my dad to treat me that way and I'm 40 and I only just realised that wasn't right.)
posted by ambrosen at 11:19 AM on July 5, 2018 [2 favorites]


I made a scarecrow that looks like Hunter S. Thompson.
and caught fireflys with my grandniece.

but a shout too my ole dad who was.

-Indian guide leader, which we quit because it was indian guides
-cub master
-boy scout master.
-baseball coach.
-little guys boxing couch at the Y.
posted by clavdivs at 1:42 PM on July 5, 2018 [1 favorite]


To me, there's nothing "masculine" about all these good examples. Yes, men are doing them, but there's nothing inherently male about the behavior. It's just human. I literally can't think of any masculinity that isn't toxic (I'm a cis man). Every bit of male-coded behavior (if posed to exclude female people) is a bad thing. So while there are men I look to (like Mr. Rogers) as paragons, it's more for the example of how they ESCAPED masculinity rather than how they inhabit it, if that makes sense. I struggle with how to behave and how to try to influence my son.

Cortex, I love how you worded "a zero-sum masculine vs. feminine framework seems less and less sufficient to characterize how people see themselves and fit into the world." It's having such smart articulate people around that keeps me coming back here.
posted by rikschell at 2:04 PM on July 5, 2018 [6 favorites]


I’ve been thinking of positive masculinity in terms of things that are unique to men’s experience in modern society, which may be rethought or expressed differently so as to overcome the negatives. Some men, myself included, appreciate seeing how other men navigate their masculinity without being drawn into behaviors and attitudes that will hurt them or the people around them. I don’t think positive behavior is inherently gendered at all, but I identify as a man, and my identity as a man isn’t irrelevant in how I navigate the world. I respect and support people who reject that, but I’d feel untrue to myself if I saw myself differently. Since male identity is in some ways a core part of my self-identity, it is important for me to learn more about how to experience and express my male identity in a positive way. That’s where I’m coming from, anyway.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 2:34 PM on July 5, 2018 [19 favorites]


rikschell, thank you for saying that. Despite cortex's well written comment, I kept having trouble with the whole concept of masculine behaviour. I mean, what even is that? If I do these things, are they still masculine behaviour, or does that make them feminine behaviour? (I'm mostly female. But not feminine.)
Stereotypically/traditionally masculine behavour, now that concept I get. But yes, much of that appears toxic to me.

(It's not the first time that the concept known as gender confuses me.)

Is it OK if I read it as "FPP posts about exemplary behavior by men"? Or is that something else?
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:39 PM on July 5, 2018 [1 favorite]


cf.
posted by WCityMike at 2:57 PM on July 5, 2018


It may help if you choose to consider gender, as I usually do, as something of an identification with a class of people who also reciprocally identify as people like you. When men are often singled out on this site in the context of criticism, I can understand why someone might want to look for examples of men specifically who are behaving well as a kind of how-to-act-well guide. It's easier to shoot for "act like X" than "don't ever do Y," and probably better for your mental health in the long run. Different people think about gender differently, but I know that I for one seek out stories of historical people with genders in spaces similar to mine because it's affirming to feel like I am part of a cultural continuum.

It's also useful to consider that gender-blindness isn't necessarily any more likely to achieve parity than color-blindness, not while people still use the concept--and there are an awful lot of people who do feel strongly about their gender, irrespective of their desire to be good and ethical people. This is doubly true when there is a particular group that is often conflated with 'default', as men are: the upside of that is that just about everything could apply to you, but the downside is that you often don't get to talk about experiences and spaces that are specific to you without people reacting to them as though you are trying to talk about universal, unmarked human experiences. Because of that, it's really hard to carve out spaces in which to focus on that particular experience as a marked experience, not a default--especially when people react out of habit as though you are excluding all other experiences from a default whenever you do try to create a space specifically to center your group! I notice this a lot when men post about masculinity on the Blue, and I wish we could collectively be a little better about creating spaces that can just be about the one topic instead of consistently absently pulling the conversation away from what appears to be an "open" "default" space.

Failing that, we could just go "I don't know why someone on Metafilter would like more examples of men behaving kindly, ethically, and well, but it's not a bad thing to want, so... huh, I might not understand it, but good on him!"
posted by sciatrix at 2:59 PM on July 5, 2018 [13 favorites]


On the current front page:
- Les Paul playing a bunch of guitar
- A dad singing to his daughter
- A dad making a home roller coaster ride

I realize most here see the subjects’ masculinity as detracting from the positivity of those posts, though.
posted by michaelh at 3:30 PM on July 5, 2018


shapes that haunt the dusk totally nailed how i'd relate to this idea of masculinity. thanks for that.

beyond that, the links that are being offered as examples of OP's request are all links that I have mightily enjoyed and would love to see more of, especially rollercoaster dad and daughter's dance recital dad!
posted by lazaruslong at 5:24 PM on July 5, 2018


My cousin is a trans man. Being a man as a default state saved his life. I want him to have positive role models in the same way I look to Laverne Cox and Janet Mock.
posted by nikaspark at 5:43 PM on July 5, 2018 [6 favorites]


sciatrix: we could just go "I don't know why someone on Metafilter would like more examples of men behaving kindly, ethically, and well (...) "

I have no problem understanding why someone would want that. Dog knows we see enough examples of the opposite. I have trouble understanding the meaning of "masculinity intended in this sense as its literal definition with no cultural trappings intended", but I don't think that is something we need to talk about in this thread.

Apparently it is OK if I read it as "FPP posts about exemplary behavior by men". Asked and answered, tagged as resolved.
posted by Too-Ticky at 11:08 PM on July 5, 2018


I don't want to trample on anyone else's lived experiences, but I'd like to share a bit of mine in the hope of adding a bit of clarity, or insight, or, hell, just the release of sharing my story with someone.

I am a cis, white, straight, woman. However, there are moments in my experience that point to something interesting. I remember a moment when I was quite young, somewhere between 8 and 10, sitting out in the yard, thinking, playing, when it suddenly dawned on me that I would never grow a moustache or a beard like my father's, and this was pretty devastating. I remember having a quirky sense of fashion and experimenting with wearing a tie- only to be told by my very upset mother to not.
I was accidentally called a boy multiple times. I had short hair, and my ears were not pierced- (a fairly standard gender identification practice in the place that I lived.) It didn't upset me.

I didn't want to be a girl. Girls didn't seem to have as much fun or like the things that I liked. Girls were the ones that picked on me the most. (I was picked on quite a bit in primary school, probably for being a 'weirdo' more than my gender presentation!) I didn't want to be a woman. I hated my period (heavy, gross.) I didn't shave my legs for a long time, until I was over 25. I didn't want to be a boy, either.

My teenage years/early 20s were a struggle for identity- not only in myself but in my culture- my passport country is Australia and yet I grew up in South America, not fitting in perfectly with either place.

Part of my story is that I had a moment, a spiritual moment, where I decided to embrace being a woman. I won't go into details, but this was quite a profound moment in my life. Something that helped was seeing awesome women, strong women, kick-butt women in real life and also in the media. Metafilter was part of that journey.

In watching Nanette recently (fanfare, blue) what resonated was Hannah's internalised homophobia- except mine was misogyny. I had to see positive representations of femininity (in all its forms) to appreciate myself.

So yes, in a world where toxic masculinity is fighting for air space, I think it is fair to seek out the positive representations out there. The examples that give you hope in yourself.
posted by freethefeet at 12:26 AM on July 6, 2018 [15 favorites]




I'm pretty anti-gender, and have a hard time finding examples of positive masculinity, or not-toxic masculinity. I have trouble even supporting the concept of masculinity (or femininity), but the reality is they still exist so it's better to try and improve the notions of masculinity, in hopes that men will feel less pressure to conform to toxicity.

That being said, I just posted an fpp to the blue that i think is an actual example of positive masculinity, and not just examples of men being good people. A trait attributed to men is the need to be providers, and the post is about a guy who holds an "open-to-all" BBQ every 4th of july for firemen, friends, homeless, strangers, etc.

Thinking about that now, there's definitely been a cultural focus on positive masculinity recently. But we're not calling it masculinity, we're calling it "dad" shit. Dad jokes, memes, stories have definitely been really popular in the past year. I do find it interesting that we're shying away from outright calling it masculinity. Anyway sorry this comment is a bit scatterbrained, I'm at work
posted by FirstMateKate at 9:59 AM on July 6, 2018 [4 favorites]


I may be in the minority, but I'd like more than just examples of men doing well. I'd like to see more discussions of things related to the masculine experience: navigating one's place in society as a man, understanding the specific challenges that arise when one identifies with men, living in a male body (however one defines that), and so on. I feel like there's not a lot of space for men to talk about being men besides ads for trucks and beer, and examples of dads doing great stuff won't speak to everyone (I can't relate to dads). I'm not saying positive examples are bad, just that I'd like explicit discussions on top of that, if possible.

Note too that I want to hear from and about anyone who identifies with men to any degree, whether in terms of identity or in terms of qualities or attributes that you yourself may feel are associated with men or masculinity. I have spent many years working on how to accept and appreciate myself as a man, born in a male body, but by no means do I only need to hear from or about people who are just like me. I think gender has no biological basis, but it's a social reality, and I'd like to read more and see more discussion about what it means to navigate the world with anyone whose social reality may give us a sense of common ground.

I've been trying to seek out links that present a positive discussion of what I'm calling the masculine experience (which for me is shorthand for a whole cluster of things surrounding one's identity as, or self-association with men or maleness), but most of what I've found has been calling attention to the challenges and pitfalls of masculinity. I think that kind of thing is valuable, but it's not exactly what I'm looking for. I'll post something if I find it. I'm a little concerned about how the discussion might go here, but I'd be willing to take that risk if other people would appreciate it.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 10:31 AM on July 6, 2018 [7 favorites]


(I contradicted myself by saying in the first paragraph that I want a discussion of challenges, and then expressing frustration in the last paragraph that I keep finding stuff about challenges; there's a distinction in my head between what I've found and what I want that makes sense, but I don't think I could describe it.)
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 10:39 AM on July 6, 2018


so kinda the problem is that whatever we're referring to as positive masculinity has for so long been defined as a) the default and b) that collection of creative/constructive/protective forces that exists in opposition to and superior to femininity, in a very literal sense of being necessary to create the conditions that allow femininity to exist (cf. just scroll through your Facebook until you see your asshole cousin posting a "my hands look like this so hers can look like this" meme).

so it's really hard to point to good masculine stuff without raising the entirely valid and correct objection that assigning those values to males/masculine people is bullshit, that they should be seen and celebrated as universally positive values, and that absolutely no one benefits from having those traits disassociated from whatever we're imagining femininity to be. it's easier to highlight the toxic stuff that's better left behind.

of course, a lot of us have very deeply internalized ideas about what it means to be a Real Man that we're completely unable or unwilling to subject to dialectical processes. sometimes I'm able to work on unpacking that stuff, but I dunno if I'd be up for doing it on the blue.
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:02 AM on July 6, 2018 [4 favorites]


The flipside is when masculinity is only ever associated with negative traits. It can end up feeling as though your own masculinity is something that needs to be denied in order to be a functional human. Someone in this thread has already expressed the sentiment that doing well means rejecting masculinity. I imagine that there must be something in between "exalting masculinity as superior" and "rejecting masculinity altogether" that allows people to inhabit their own masculine identities in a positive way. Even embracing universally positive traits can be done in a specifically masculine context, in a way that's relatable and understandable for men. Like, I am a skinny dude with long hair, and people always thought I too effeminate to be a "true" man. In other words, I don't embody the masculine stereotype, but it is because of this that it has been empowering (and sometimes humbling) to think of myself as a man. Not a qualified identity, but as a man. A lot of men have to work very hard to claim their identities as men, for various reasons, and for many men that involves pushing back against tons of messaging about what "real" men are or should be. I don't want self-improvement to rest on rejecting masculinity altogether and placing that label solely in the domain of the toxic. We're fortunate not to be on a site where people say their hands look like this so hers can look like this, so it is my hope that we can be able to have a nuanced discussion of gender for men that looks at how to express ourselves positively without feeling as though we need to write off a part of ourselves.

Anyway, I'm threadshitting so I'll back off, but this is important to me, again, because of how long I've spent feeling as though I didn't deserve to refer to myself as masculine.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 11:45 AM on July 6, 2018 [5 favorites]


so kinda the problem is that whatever we're referring to as positive masculinity has for so long been defined as a) the default and b) that collection of creative/constructive/protective forces that exists in opposition to and superior to femininity, in a very literal sense of being necessary to create the conditions that allow femininity to exist (cf. just scroll through your Facebook until you see your asshole cousin posting a "my hands look like this so hers can look like this" meme).

so it's really hard to point to good masculine stuff without raising the entirely valid and correct objection that assigning those values to males/masculine people is bullshit, that they should be seen and celebrated as universally positive values, and that absolutely no one benefits from having those traits disassociated from whatever we're imagining femininity to be. it's easier to highlight the toxic stuff that's better left behind.


Why is that a useful objection, unless you're anti-gender in general (which is fair)? Consider some positive traits that are typically considered feminine, like empathy, intelligence, or altruism. I could equally well say that those should be seen and celebrated as universally positive values, but that doesn't make them not feminine values.
posted by value of information at 1:01 PM on July 6, 2018 [1 favorite]


Anyway, I'm threadshitting

More as a public service announcement than an actual response to your comment, but n.b. you are if anything (and I think you're probably fine in this case) threadsitting, no h, which while it has issues isn't quite so bad. It's one of the weird little quirks of MeFi history that we ended up with two common terms for problematic but basically totally orthogonal behaviors that are so tremendously orthographically similar.

posted by cortex (staff) at 1:15 PM on July 6, 2018 [4 favorites]


yeah, I honestly cannot see any upshot to promoting the idea that showing empathy, intelligence, and altruism makes one appear feminine. people who want to lean strongly into one form of gender presentation shouldn't feel dissuaded from exhibiting traits like those.
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:23 PM on July 6, 2018 [1 favorite]


I think the underlying idea is something like, How can a man be strong without being overbearing? How can a man provide for his family without being controlling? Etc. Basically, how can traditionally "masculine" traits be divorced from patriarchal nonsense that's poisoned some of their expression? I can picture in my head how a "manly man" could still not be trading in toxic masculinity. That seems a worthwhile distinction and discussion.
posted by lazuli at 1:51 PM on July 6, 2018 [1 favorite]


I feel like if you replace "masculinity" with "whiteness" you get a sense of my standpoint. Whiteness is a social construct built around oppression and accumulating privilege. So is masculinity. Patriarchy is so bone-deep in our culture that it can be hard to see, but I seriously don't see what is potentially celebratory about choosing the M box instead of the F (or X in the places that are breaking out of the binary). I do understand and sympathize with folks who are assigned a gender against their will that doesn't fit them, and I DO think it's worth celebrating when they find one that fits. But my hope for the future is that gender will just be another unimportant detail like hair color. I think it's so painful to be misgendered because our culture makes such a huge big deal over gender.

Over the last year or so I've become more and more convinced that somehow we have to attack gendered pronouns before we can make any real progress. I don't know how to make that happen or how to replace them with something linguistically useful but benign, but having to determine quickly what box to tick for everyone you see in order to refer to them later is a terrible habit to instill.

And cortex mod-bombing in to use "orthogonal" and "orthographically" in the same sentence... that lucky bastard is living the dream, right?
posted by rikschell at 2:12 PM on July 6, 2018


I totally get that, and I've been thinking about the race aspect, too. I guess what I'm thinking is that for an attribute like "strong," there are gendered consequences to being strong that men have to deal with and women don't (and vice versa). Because we live in a patriarchal system, a man being unthinkingly "strong" is likely enacting some toxic patriarchal bs, but a man being thoughtfully "strong" may be using that same attribute to fight against a patriarchal system. It's not that women can't (or shouldn't) be strong; it's not the men can't (or shouldn't) be strong. It's that "strength" has historically been something men have used to dominate others -- are there other ways to take a traditionally masculine attribute that has in many ways been toxic and find a different way to envision what "strength" is.

I think of it as trying to take the "toxic" out of masculinity.
posted by lazuli at 2:26 PM on July 6, 2018 [2 favorites]


I feel like if you replace "masculinity" with "whiteness" you get a sense of my standpoint. Whiteness is a social construct built around oppression and accumulating privilege. So is masculinity.

I do get that sense. See also: my critique of your approach comparing it to colorblindness, which does not actually work as a way to deconstruct racism. Empirically, we know this. We also know that colorblindness further erases the experiences and identities of people who inhabit marginalized spaces while allowing historically centered/privileged identities to ignore and deny their history and obligations rather than grappling with them, understanding them, and taking a step down to find a place in the world as something other than an unmarked default. It's a seductive idea for people who have always been centered--who wants to wrestle with that guilt and sorrow?--but it doesn't actually bring us justice.

We do not attain equality by erasing our differences. We attain equality by honoring our identities and our diversity, and by destroying the idea that there is any such thing as an unmarked human. To do that, you need to make room for whiteness or masculinity as marked states, which means finding something positive for these to stand for. That does not mean dropping the legacy of colonialism, for example; it might mean identifying and building a concept of whiteness based around atonement and stepping down to create justice for others, a going-forward concept instead of a wistful-nostalgia one. But it does mean acknowledging that, say, the White American experience is not the only American experience that has existed and continues to exist, and that that experience has its own set of cultural markers and shared traits that distinguish it from other experiences.

So too with masculinity and men.
posted by sciatrix at 2:32 PM on July 6, 2018 [8 favorites]


But I don't see how you can take the toxic out of whiteness. Whites are supposed to be smart and great leaders and explorers, but I would be horrified by someone trying to build a new white identity out of just the positive things white people have told ourselves about ourselves. Does whiteness have any real culture of its own except hegemony and oppression? I feel like the best we can do is create diverse cultural groups where whiteness isn't centered. I know color-blindness is not a solution, but I don't see the concept of whiteness as redeemable. That does put white people in a terrible position vis-a-vis what we do with ourselves, but if you've got better ideas, please do keep sharing.
posted by rikschell at 2:41 PM on July 6, 2018 [2 favorites]


There are a lot of good examples found by searching the Blue for awesome.

I guess that means I think “awesome” is a positive masculine trait!
posted by michaelh at 3:47 PM on July 6, 2018


This thread is about finding possibility models for men.

If you want to deconstruct gender, post articles about that. If you want to deconstruct whiteness, post articles about that. In the intervening 500 years that it’s going to take to achieve large scale reconstructions of our gendered and racial norms, let’s also look for some good role models for people see themselves in an effort to reduce the gendered and racial violence along the way.

Wholesale reconstruction of social norms and looking for representational possibility models along the way aren’t oppositional. Identifying possibility models is one of the tactics we can use in our lifetimes that align to reconstruction strategies where the outcomes outpace our lifetimes by a considerable margin.
posted by nikaspark at 1:49 AM on July 7, 2018 [16 favorites]


Yes! What nikaspark said.
posted by lazaruslong at 3:14 PM on July 7, 2018 [2 favorites]


I am a parent of a child who is not gentle or quiet like Fred Rogers and I have said this before in the Facebook parenting group that *I* need to see positive examples of masculinity and men in the world, as a parent to a child who will probably grow up to be a man. *I* need to see it because almost everything I see about masculinity in this world these days are how masculinity is toxic. And that is not healthy for a parent to only see negative future outcomes for their small burgeoning human child.

Thank you for this request.
posted by jillithd at 12:38 PM on July 9, 2018 [4 favorites]


We do not attain equality by erasing our differences. We attain equality by honoring our identities and our diversity, and by destroying the idea that there is any such thing as an unmarked human. To do that, you need to make room for whiteness or masculinity as marked states, which means finding something positive for these to stand for.

I cannot agree more. I understand the desire to evolve fully to a core, central identity of 'human being' unmarked by qualifiers. But we cannot deny our reality and diversity. We are not carbon copies of one another, nor can we arrive suddenly tomorrow at an ideal future. I feel like we are in the time of carefully (and very painfully and angrily) acknowledging and deconstructing our accepted cultural dehumanization of so many who don't fit into the tight stricture of 'normal.' And this includes tearing down, bit by bit by tiny, tiny bit, our patriarchal and misogynistic past and present.

Our inherent diversity is an enormous, incredible gift for us not only to acknowledge but to embrace, as in difference we are able to learn from one another in order to evolve into a more compassionate and 'other'-accepting world.

That was all to say I am one billion and a half percent in favor of more positive FPPs about beautiful men being beautifully manly. In fact, I will try to post about that on the blue myself, because I LOVE it. Thank you for this discussion.
posted by bologna on wry at 4:12 AM on July 11, 2018 [3 favorites]






I want to call out standardasparagus' The power and politics of the black barbershop on the blue. I won't claim it's not without issues worth discussing, but it stands out as a too-rare oasis from the bleak landscape of toxic masculinity.
posted by sapere aude at 9:39 PM on July 28, 2018 [2 favorites]


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