Men! Who Are We?

 

It Seems I’ve Missed Something

For decades now we’ve heard of Women’s Liberation and the end of the subjugation of women but I hear precious little of exploration by men about what it means for men. By that I mean, who are men and who are they to become? Are they to simply accept the changing place of women but not explore themselves? If it is being discussed, it seems to be in a whisper with a whimper.

That does not mean I’m an advocate of a roaring fight against the liberation of women by men. It quite simply means such monumental change in human history suggests there will have to be monumental changes by men and certainly more than whimper.

Fundamental Reexamination of Self

Without men’s role assessment or self examination it is impossible to make a meaningful adaptation and response to this change. It is hardly a sudden event. It has been coming for many decades even if we just look at the fight for the vote by women. But the movement is growing and I would contend that men should see this as an opportunity for them.

An opportunity to yield power? Probably, but there’s a lot more to it. As a man I must say that I see us having a constricted identity. I won’t even begin to try to delineate who and how we are because it’s not up to me. It is up to us as a whole and must indicate a productive commitment to change. Instead we seem to see resistance of various kinds. Even if there was no challenge, it is time for us to examine ourselves.

Meanwhile Back at Identity

What we are seeing is a long overdue movement to diversify identity which is causing confusion. There is considerable resistance when people present themselves as homosexual, bisexual, multisexual or whatever. The fact of the matter is that we are complex and there is place for all of our various iterations.

But a prominent focus seems to be on limited acceptance of women being liberated and gaining power. Granted some of it may be resistance to yielding power by men but as it is being done we are failing at self examination.

This Is An Opportunity

Dare I use the word liberation when it comes to men? Is it possible that we need to face that there has been some form of subjugation by our own sex even while we concentrate on restraining women? We might actually gain a great deal if we focus on what men might gain rather than what they might need to yield. At base perhaps we all need to take on liberation and an end to subjugation. Who are we as men and what possibilities might we open for ourselves?

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

Discovering How Life Really is

 

Where Our Identity Comes From

Establishing an identity is a complicated process. It has to do with who is available for us to identify with, our ability patterns, intelligence, and our personality. And I think you can probably come up with other factors.

Given my dissatisfaction and lack of interest in many things which are supposed to interest and enthrall boys meant I sought other things. I chose to explore science, looked at the world as my family traveled, and sought to experience the world in general. That is hardly a comprehensive list because opportunities were always presenting themselves. For me I think personality was central. I wanted to seek out possibilities and unique opportunities.

My Father and I

Naturally my father played a role. I was closer to him than my brother was. Even as a surgeon he liked to get his hands dirty in the yard. He never got entirely away from his early years in rural Mississippi. We went deep sea fishing off Montauk on Long Island, he taught me to shoot which I liked as a hobby but not when it involved killing animals and he took me to ball games which I endured until the day when we went to a Yankee double header. The first game was 26 innings. Enough was enough. He was handy around the house and built furniture. Those things interested me.

Doing a Good Job

One thing that was particularly important to me was doing a good job. Power was not of interest. Getting things done especially in new ventures was of considerable interest. Too often though I saw men of power who lacked vision. When I took the job in the inner city Baltimore I was stunned.

The heads of the psychiatry department were utterly lacking in vision and the psychologists were no better. The latter group invited me to join them and in the first meeting they spent the entire time talking about how they could try to seem more important to the psychiatrists. I never went back. There was substantive work to be done. And even worse there were no women in the central halls of power. Oh yes, there was a nursing department but what I saw out in the programs on the street was their frustration as they did battle with the men in power. At basic levels there were women nurses and social workers who contributed to diversity of viewpoints. But at the top levels there were men only.

Closed Systems

Because of the import of the job I had to face a closed male system. And it was inevitable that I would come to view the men as struggling with their image of themselves and the threat involved by the women struggling for recognition and a say in a new enterprise. As it turned out this was just at the cusp of the Women’s Liberation movement of the 1960s and their meaning and substance utterly engaged me.

Masculinity

What kept emerging over time was seeing in men a central problem in their discomfort with masculinity. They often seemed to feel they did not measure up but when you stepped back it was essential to wonder why there had to be a universal code of masculinity.

But it seemed that fear was a core element and that also surfaces in discussions of patriarchy. It seems likely that progress in our various intersexual relationships may require clearly facing the issue of fear. And honestly I think this will be a monumental task. Men have financial interests in league with the matter of power which is an impediment to change. But at base I think the most important issue and the one which will relate to a turning point is the matter of fear.

What issues do you feel will be crucial? Please let me hear from you at: roger.burt@earthlink.net

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt