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Kim (basement variety!)

Fantastic post, Happy. On first read, I agree with you on all accounts.

Richard Ames

(1) "I truly think that we as women have the power to make our men feel like men and we also have the power to take their masculinity ..." You know, I've heard this from women before, and for the life of me I don't know where the idea comes from. To be honest, when I hear it, I think that the woman saying it must be dealing with men who have not fully developed. You know the type. Big trucks, action movie overload, power tool obsessive, Gold's Gym membership, and pin-up girls. Pullease.

(2) "To me, masculinity, in its most positive sense, is the grace with which a man handles the fact that he is (or is expected to be) significantly larger and stronger than most women." Okay, so I can beat my Mom and sisters up, separately or at the same time. And so if I "graciously" don't pound them into the floor boards when they disagree with me, I am somehow showing grace? I don't get it. I never think about how strong (or weak) I am physically, nor do I think my male friends do. I never noticed (until this moment) that I could whip most women I come in contact with on a daily basis. It's just not on my radar. Who do you know who thinks like this and why would you volunteer to be in their presence?

(3) "He does not think that he has a right to be in charge of everything just because he can overpower his wife or his mother or his female colleagues." Again, who do you know like this and why would you volunteer to be in their presence?

(4) "As a woman married to a man ..." Hmm. Interesting phrasing ;)

By the way, kudos on your openness to let other views in here. Last week I posted to "Alas, a blog" which is a "moderated" site, meaning comments are screened (think, "censored"). Yes, my comment was direct and provocative, but I used no profanity, called no one names, and (thought) I had something worthwhile and intelligent to say. Outcome: I was banned by Alas from comments! When I asked the moderator why, I was told I had a bad attitude (and that I wrote some words in ALL CAPS, which I was told was, quote, "generally not good bets for respectful, intelligent blog conversations"). I pointed out that I was advocating a position and I yes, I was passionate about it, so yes, the comment was not dull. It was meant to be provocative on a site that professes to discuss provocative issues. No go. Banned from a website for the first time in my life because of my "attitude." I'm still quite tickled by this, and somewhat astonished. So I wanted to commend you, HF, for the open manner in which you run your blog. Three cheers!

aspazia

Marvelous post!

chipmunk

I wouldn't feel threatened by my wife bringing home a larger paycheck than me. In fact, I wish she would. The interesting thing is, she's upset by the fact that she earns less money. Her reaction is due more to her own insecurities and need to compete with me.

Jade

Enjoyed the post Happy! Please ignore the troll above. He doth protest his innocence too much.

The Happy Feminist

Congratulations to Richard and chipmunk: you are fully evolved 21st century men.

I certainly didn't mean to imply that men who don't beat up on or lord it over women deserve a gold star. Ideally, we SHOULD be able to take it for granted that men don't act that way and, in many quarters, we can take it for granted.

Unfortunately, there are too many men who feel some sort of cultural pressure to prove themselves and all too often proving themselves comes at women's expense. Here are three examples I can think of just off the top of my head:

-- Richard's own example of the power tool wielding, Gold's Gym guy with the mudflap girls on his pick up truck.

--http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/asiapcf/12/28/pakistan.honor.ap/index.html?section=cnn_latest (The latest "Honor Killing" in Pakistan)

-- http://www.visionforumministries.org/sections/hotcon/ht/womeninmilitary/boysprotectgirls.asp (Article from Vision Forum Ministries web site in which the author opines: "Feminism does not set women free from the tyranny of men. Rather, it imposes on women the tyranny of men. The truth is that 'Boys protect girls' is not just a moral imperative. It is an ontological reality. That is, men will always lead women.")


The Happy Feminist

Chipmunk, I think your comment illustrates that men don't have any monopoly on competitiveness and insecurity.

I felt a bit uncomfortable when I earned less than my husband because it seemed sort of unfeminist to be supported by a man. Over time, I have come to realize that each partner's strength and contribution in a marriage waxes and wanes. One partner may be the breadwinner for a time, but then maybe he gets sick or he wants to try his hand at writing or working for a non-profit-- that's when the other partner picks up the slack. It's not about who is doing more or playing what role -- it's about being able to depend upon each other.

Zan

Richard,

I was banned by a concervative Christian site. I was not rude or anything. I simply disagreed and had evidence to back up my thoughts. I was simply deleted (repeatedly without explanation) and then told by the girl that ran the site that she thought I seemed "frustrated." Whatever that means. She just didn't like to be questioned by someone she couldn't refute because she felt threatened. I feel that she lied to me and has a real pride issue. There are wolves in sheep's clothing all around but I never had anyone delete anything I said.

HF,
I asked my husband if he ever thought he should beat up his mother or me because he can. I got a very dumb look for an answer.

I have said before that men are instinctivley leaders and protectors. Look at all the examples nature gives us. I don't have a problem with that and I probably never will. I also don't have a problem with my husband bringing a paycheck home that is bigger than mine. I have enough things to worry about like having a baby in two months.

I do have the power of making my husband feel more masculine just like he does having me feel more feminine.

This is a little off the subject but my mom's house is full of all different kinds of toys for boys and girls. I decided I would give George some girl toys to give him a chance to see if he would play with them (is t all nurture?) George took the doll, banged her head against the table to see what kind of sound it made, and then threw it across the room. He then went back to his trucks where he began to make engine noises with his lips. (None of us have ever made the engine noises. He picked those up himself. He is only 1 1/2.

Spitfire

My husband worked for a female boss (in the military no less) AND had a wife who made considerably more than he did (before the kids came along anyhow). I won't say that he dealt with it graciously, but only because he didn't think he had anything to 'deal with' at all. His boss was a woman, so? His wife made more money, all the more for him to buy goodies with.
I fell even more strongly after reading your post that my husband is indeed a manly man, even though he is not the strongest or fastest. Certainly not as fast as you beating those Marines for sure ;) Great post!

drumgurl

I read from Cathy Young (and somewhere else I can't remember) that about 1/3 of humans exhibit traits typical of the other sex more often than traits of their own sex. I found that interesting, because I obviously have a more "masculine" personality. I am willing to accept that men are more likely to be masculine (which is why it's called "masculine"), but it is not true for every individual. I have personally tried to be more feminine and have always failed. (I was a doll-beater too, unfortunately.) So I just quit trying to be feminine and am much happier now.

I think it is more important that you and your significant other complement each other, rather than have both people stick to a narrow role based soley on gender. It doesn't matter if you're masculine or feminine, as long it makes you both happy.

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