The Free Dictionary  
mailing list For webmasters
Welcome Guest Forum Search | Active Topics | Members

Profile: Lotje1000
User Name: Lotje1000
Forum Rank: Advanced Member
Gender: None Specified
Joined: Monday, November 3, 2014
Last Visit: Saturday, April 4, 2020 4:40:49 AM
Number of Posts: 1,137
[0.12% of all post / 0.57 posts per day]
  Last 10 Posts
Topic: On Being a Man Today
Posted: Thursday, April 2, 2020 1:59:16 AM
FounDit wrote:
Lotje1000 wrote:

I can't tell you what it means to be a man, but I can tell you what it means to be a feminist and that feminism does not define masculinity as toxic. It describes "Toxic masculinity" and that's something completely different. Feminism doesn't seek to tear down or diminish men, it seeks to tear down the toxic expectations on gender (including the male gender). Where masculinity can embody all manner of men, toxic masculinity enforces only one type and is toxic because it doesn't allow men to be different.

That's not what is being taught here in the U.S., and btw, who is it that is defining "Toxic Masculinity"? Feminism. That being said, however, no man I have even known worthy of being call a "Man" in the traditional sense, approves of abusing anyone. Just the opposite. I was taught that a man defended those who found themselves in a weaker position. That was a real man, not the abuser. But to do so, one had to become strong enough to ensure that could be done.

I think a lot of things are being taught in the U.S. and the bit we each get to see depends entirely on those we surround ourselves with. I believe you when you say that's not what you were taught about feminism. But it is what I learnt about it and a lot of my sources are American.

Another example of the effects of toxic masculinity is the idea that only a man can be an abuser because only a man has power. This mindset ignores all the men who are abused by their partners, especially if their partner is a woman. They usually don't dare speak up about it because no one in their social circles would believe a man could be abused by a woman, especially if the abuse was physical or sexual.
Topic: On Being a Man Today
Posted: Wednesday, April 1, 2020 2:24:11 AM
FounDit wrote:

I wonder if the article wasn't written in response to Feminism as it has tended to diminish men, rather than celebrate both sexes. The current trend to define masculinity as "toxic" is an example. And no man is more "toxic" than a white man.

I can't tell you what it means to be a man, but I can tell you what it means to be a feminist and that feminism does not define masculinity as toxic. It describes "Toxic masculinity" and that's something completely different. Feminism doesn't seek to tear down or diminish men, it seeks to tear down the toxic expectations on gender (including the male gender). Where masculinity can embody all manner of men, toxic masculinity enforces only one type and is toxic because it doesn't allow men to be different.

As you say: "I agree. Artists and craftsmen are just as valuable, though it can be argued that they couldn't exist and practice their skills without a safe society in which to do that. And that requires the very kind of men who function as protectors. So both are necessary."

FounDit wrote:

On the topic of men, the expectations have always been a set of contradictions and conflicting traits. A man is supposed to be strong, yet also weak sometimes; he's supposed to be tough, yet tender at the same time; he's supposed to be independent, yet is supposed to sacrifice himself for others. I think it's little wonder so many men find it difficult to find the right balance. In nearly every area, they are pulled in two different directions, but such a set of contradictions hasn't been applied to women.

Those sound like very tough expectations to live up to and they can very easily turn toxic. I can't say that that exact set of expectations has been applied to women, but I can tell you we have our own set of contradictions imposed on our lives (the virgin or the whore).

FounDit wrote:

Today, he's told he's toxic, a member of a "rape culture", of no value, and as a class needs to be punished for past wrongs. Allowing half of our society to attack and denigrate the other half is foolishness in the extreme, IMO. The goals of Feminism should be to work with men to create a better society, not against men. That will have the opposite effect of creating a society that cannot function.

Luckily the goals of feminism are to work with men to create a better society, not against them. The goal is to fight against rape culture (which we allare part of, not just men), to fight against the toxic expectations placed on all gender (toxic femininity also exists).
Topic: On Being a Man Today
Posted: Tuesday, March 31, 2020 3:45:32 AM
I agree that the author wasn't going for a comprehensive examination of manhood. An article, even a long one, isn't going to be enough to fully delve into the subject. I suppose I'm personally a little disappointed seeing the same old narrative repeated. I understand the points of evolution that have led to this point and this understanding of what it means to be a man. I just also get bored of that narrative. That isn't to say it doesn't have value, but the more it's repeated the more it's reinforced. But it doesn't make it more true.

I worry when this narrative of men as protectors of society gets repeated ad nauseam, because it ignores the valuable contributions of men who took up other roles. As Y111 said, embracing diversity does not mean eliminating it. It's important to remember that men who follow this narrative exist, but so do others. Repeating the narrative is what causes the bias that lets us only see warriors as men and men as warriors, and makes us blind to the rich diversity of men.

I agree, FounDit, that society does not (often) permit men to be just people. I think that's a loss to everyone involved and, personally, I seek to change that. (And in my experience, feminism also seeks to change that, but this isn't a thread about feminism specifically, so I won't go into that any further.)

As for your discussion point that "that doesn't mean women weren't fighters, too, but that that was the exception rather than the rule". I would argue that is possible, however, because of confirmation bias we don't know what is true. It's only now that we're discovering these misinterpretations and that we can start to figure out what would be the exception or the rule.
Topic: On Being a Man Today
Posted: Monday, March 30, 2020 7:57:25 AM
Absolutely right, embracing diversity doesn't mean eliminating it. The problem I have with defining manhood is that it does have an eliminating effect where people don't just describe what it means to them to be a man, but also tell others how they should behave in order to fit the label. One very quickly leads to the other and that's worth thinking about.
Topic: On Being a Man Today
Posted: Monday, March 30, 2020 2:48:17 AM
Very interesting article. In my opinion, sex and gender is best treated like linguistics, by describing how it happens, rather than proscribing how it should be done. I thought the author was going to be more descriptive at the start, after all, it's supposed to be the anthropology, but he seems determined to find a definition that men can fit, rather than just a description of how people seem to need men to fit.

Why do men need to be brave? Why do they need to pass an 'avalanche test', why do they need to fight an enemy? The author seems keen on looking at evolution for a reason, citing that down to our biology we haven't really changed much in the last thousands of years. In my opinion, that's a very limited view of the human race. We've undergone many biological changes in our evolution (and I'm particularly interested in the part epigenetics seems to play). Biology and evolution play a part, sure, but so does society. And even when the author speaks of the impacts of societal changes, he only talks about how society messes with the clear evolutionary design of men as protectors. Can't men be more than that? Can't they just be people? Just because they generally have an easier time to develop muscle mass, doesn't mean they automatically have to be protectors.

The author seems to have some predefined concepts in mind and doesn't stray from them very far. He starts from the definition of men, and he takes it as a given rather than try to question it. Similarly, he starts from a common interpretation of evolution, but he doesn't look past it. Men = physically fit = protector. Women = womb = choice of protector. That completely ignores the possibility that, for instance, while men were out hunting woolly mammoths, surely women would have had to stay home and protect the cave. So why aren't women the protectors? Or while men were out hunting said mammoths, they would have had to work together very closely and be away for a long time. So why not look into men as communicators and cooperators? And why, for the love of god, do we automatically assume there would never have been women joining the hunting party or men staying behind?

In broaching the subject as he does, he erases a whole measure of people, such as men who aren't physically strong, women who don't want children, people who don't fit a binary gender divide or heterosexuality. I understand the author doesn't focus on that because it doesn't fit into his neat history of evolution. Presumably, lesbians won't have children and physically unfit men don't get chosen by women wanting a strong protector, so they can be ignored in this mental process. But that's not how society develops and it's limiting (and toxic in its own way) to ignore those influences in society. Society is far more complex than who is physically stronger. Power is more than muscle-mass, and that's where (in my opinion) the interesting point of identity and the need to fit some ideal of "manhood" comes in.

I think it's useful to look at our expectations of people, at how individuals try to fit society and how society imposes expectations, both explicitly and implicitly. But I don't think it's useful to describe masculinity and only look at how it fits an old definition of it. I'm personally much more interested in why it's so important to define manhood in the first place. Why can't men just be people, why do they have to be men? Then we start looking into why people need to belong and identify.

Like most of us, the author looks at gender and manhood through a very common pair of glasses. It's the same pair of glasses that archaeologists wear when they find a warrior's grave and assume it's a man's. But recent discoveries are starting to show that we're suffering from serious confirmation bias. If we could just take off those glasses and start seeing people as people, no expectations.
Topic: Donald Trump
Posted: Friday, March 27, 2020 3:18:08 AM
Donald Trump thinks the US can get by on the normal number of ventilators in a hospital:

Honestly, the whole thread highlights some very worrying points about Trump's priorities in his presidency. Doing this kind of thing out of ignorance is one thing, doing it while having so much warning from the rest of the world is criminal.
Topic: Useless
Posted: Sunday, March 22, 2020 10:30:16 AM
This video on Twitter summarizes Trump's approach/downplaying of the virus:
Topic: Hapless Sick persons.
Posted: Sunday, March 22, 2020 4:11:15 AM
Ashwin Joshi wrote:
To contain and cope with Covid-19, a number of new labs, hospitals, isolation centers, the creed of volunteers, philosophers, and philanthropists have emerged. New Religious places? How many?

I am not an atheist.

Honestly, in a time when social distancing is encouraged if not enforced, creating new religious places where people can congregate for worship/prayer seems a little counter-intuitive.
Topic: COVID-19
Posted: Tuesday, March 17, 2020 2:57:48 AM
We're getting regular updates about the truths and hoaxes around Covid-19 as a lot of fearmongering is being spread on social media. There I've learned that there is no medical proof that vitamin C slows down or cures Covid-19. While it's important for our bodies, it has no impact on this specific virus. You can find more about that in this article.

Important to note, if you do have Covid-19, try to avoid taking Ibuprofin. While there are no medical studies yet, but there are cases in which non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids can lead to complications. The Belgian federal agency for medication and medical issues recommends using paracetamol first.

Topic: Donald Trump
Posted: Tuesday, March 10, 2020 4:30:02 AM
I thought this article from the BBC was an interesting analysis on how Trump responds to the spread of Covid-19 and where his priorities are.

The critique is that the reason Mr Trump is contradicting Vice-President Mike Pence (who has been put in charge of the nationwide response) and the public health professionals reporting to him, is that the president needs the markets to remain buoyant - they are vital to his re-election strategy.

At the same time, the American healthcare system offers no safety net for people affected by the virus. People without a safety net and without money to spare will be confronted with the choice of staying home to contain the virus but not making money, or working to receive pay but potentially spreading the virus. It strikes me as an unfair choice people should not be forced to make.

The Financial Times estimates the cost of the coronavirus testing to be borne by individuals could cost thousands. If you're barely subsisting and living "pay cheque to pay cheque", where do you find the money for that?

Or what if you are simply feeling unwell, or you may have been exposed to someone who has contracted the virus? The current advice is that you should self-quarantine for two weeks. Two weeks? That is two weeks without pay. Two weeks where you are sitting at home and you may develop nothing. It might be two weeks that will need to be repeated at a later date.