We Have Yet To Define What Truly Drives Men

What It Means To Be a Man

Probing the meaning and origins of patriarchy proved utterly fascinating. At once there is a focus on power and the abuse thereof. Then another issue creeps in. Is there something about insecurity which is conditioning the system. It really should not surprise anyone that men often may be uncomfortable with their masculinity and be insecure. It is easy to overlook this question because of who tends to wield power. It is a rather large group of older white men. Being a part of that group but not the power elite led me to raise even more questions along with some recollections.

Assertive Males

It seems it is often taken for granted that men are assertive if not just plain aggressive. That is, until we look around. Even on either of these issues there is an observable bell curve. Some men are very assertive, some not. And some men are aggressive and some are not. No matter what issue we look at there are typical bell curves. Even on these issues women have their own bell curves. We are finally learning that in military service. Women can be excellent, even superior pilots if they are given the opportunity and can serve on the battlefield although there may be fewer interested than men in such service.

Insecurity and fear

In fact there are image problems and it is more than conceivable that many, many men suffer insecurity about their masculinity—whatever that is. That may be the point. Other than having male physiology, what is it that makes a man? A lot of things and many of those may serve for women as well. But generally we are not permitted to question these issues. Discomfort and insecurity is problematic in many places and represents a battle to be fought and won especially now that we are examining the role of women.

Shortly we will get to the matter of fear.

Making Decisions

We tend to assume that there is something unitary about our sexual identity which is quite curious since it obviously is not the case. In fact, we have lately opened our eyes to the differences as we have admitted homosexual and transgender people (among others) to open positions in our society. In fact, people are complex but we often seem to deny that fact.

Whether you are a man or a woman or “other”, what decisions have you had to make about your role?

To be Continued.

Please let me hear your thoughts. roger.burt@earthlink.net

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

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

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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.


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