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  #1    
Old January 23rd, 2014 (08:48 PM).
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We often talk about what it means to be a woman, especially through the lenses of feminism - how traditional feminine traits had been defined and how they were limiting, and how what's "feminine" or "womanly" should be redefined. But rarely do we talk about what makes a man. Some people claim that masculinity is reinforced in society unconsciously, but I don't think that gets us very far in understanding what makes a man a man. That, or I'm socially clueless :x

Manly, macho, alpha. These are some of the words we use when we allude to a person's masculinity. What do we mean when we say those words? What do we celebrate about masculinity today? Are they good traits to value? Do you think these traits are changing?

If you're a dude, how do you feel being on the receiving end of these perceptions? If you're a gal, what do you make of it as an outsider?
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Old January 23rd, 2014 (09:13 PM).
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To me, other than the act of trying to find a partner, gender plays a largely nonexistant role in my life. Put simply, I think it's the lesser of us humans that regard arbitrary traits as defining of character.
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Old January 23rd, 2014 (09:28 PM).
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Oh boy. Trying to get more active and I browse around D&D and happen upon this thread. Here we go.

Keep in mind that I'm backing this up by an entirely feminist perspective. I've taken sociology and psychology courses as well if that supports my reasoning, too.

A lot of what perpetuates men's expectations in today's society is the concept of hypermasculinity. Essentially, that men need to always be rigid and dominant and aggressive and stern and unfeeling and strong and rigorous and powerful and pretty much robotic in their emotional quotients and everyday living. This, obviously, is not good. We teach men that they can not feel or have emotions.

Fortunately, women are progressing at a somewhat dramatic rate given the past sixty or so years. (Unfortunately our society is still extremely patriarchal and misogynistic, but that's for another thread).

You'll notice the change in Barbie dolls throughout the years. They have become taller and much slimmer, under the eye of much criticism by today's feminists. However, Barbie has made some accomplishments as many of her themed relaunches since the 1960s have focused on real world women's accomplishments like entering the work world and even astronaut Barbie was released 18 years prior to Sally Ride going to the moon.

Okay, now compare that to action figures that you see directed to boys. Do you ever see any nurses, nannies, teachers, or any other profession geared towards women targeted towards boys? I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure I've never seen G.I. Joe venture into professions outside of his unit. Boys are taught from a very early age that entering 'women oriented' work places isn't even an option.

From a societal standpoint, while men (particularly straight, white men) are sitting on thrones, that position also stresses them phenomenally in what's expected from them from society. Both men and women need advancements from a sociological standpoint, however men's need for advancements are swept under the rug to a sickening degree. A lot of men, particularly of the baby boomer generation) still hold the mentality that they are superior, the breadwinners, the head of the household, what have you. Men need to be able to show more emotion and express themselves in more creative ways that's healthy for their mentality without having to worry about being insulted as "girly" or "sissies" (which again, is extremely sexist but that's for another conversation). Men are afraid to be viewed as weak or "girly." And this is extremely problematic for both sexes.
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Old January 27th, 2014 (01:24 AM).
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This is an interesting topic and I agree that often it seems like manhood is often just being taken for granted and rarely discussed.

Growing up, I tended to like a lot of ”feminine” things: I liked My Little Pony, playing with dolls etc. and vice versa disliked a lot of ”masculine" things - all sports, cars and wrestling. The stereotypes about boys not being allowed to cry, that they love competition and are aggressive by nature felt very alien to me. Although my family was very "liberal" in the sense that they never really pushed any gender values on me, you did feel the pressure from the people around you to behave in a certain way. I was bullied a lot between the 4th - 9th grade and was called gay because I wasn't one of the "cool" guys that fulfilled their part of the stereotype….

Going a lithe bit ”off topic here”: one aspect I think is interesting is that when men tend to show more "feminine" attributes, we get reprimanded by society, but when women take on "male" attributes, they are rewarded. This of course is very generalist and naturally in the latter case the opposite might happen and people get labelled "tomboy" or whatever. However, I do feel that this rewarding of male ”attributes” is especially true with regards to leadership roles; women who want to advance "to the top" in business for example do seem to take on a more male inspired look and behavior, the same case for women who want to advance in science (another area ruled by the male attribute of ”logic”). My point is that it does seem like the male norm is being pushed on both sexes and people who manage to live up to that are rewarded and vice versa.

To end this post, for me, I do believe that men and women might be different in some aspects, but that should never be any reason to divide and judge. What it means to ”be a man” is for me an interesting question but one that every man has to answer for himself. While ”being a man” is of course one of the attributes I can use to define myself, it’s only one along a lot of other categories, like having two nationalities, growing up in a city environment or whatever - and I don’t believe that you can ever find ”me” in any one of those or should try to rank them in any special way.

What happens to/the circumstances surrounding an individual is one thing, but how that individual choose to react to those circumstances is far from given and of equal if not greater importance for character building.
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Old January 30th, 2014 (07:20 PM).
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Before I start, I just want to clarify that I tried my best not to sound derisive or offensive; if my comments do offend you, please PM me and I will try my best to change my words. (or you can give me suggestions)

I touched upon the issue of masculinity in sociology last semester. Society's expectation of masculinity is to be strong, independent, and generally superior. While it seems almost contradictory to think that being "superior" to women can be a bad thing, it is a burden that pressures males not to deviate from the social norms.

What I've listed are pretty much anything that's not considered to be "feminine" by the society - weaker, dependent on others, sex "object" (I really hate putting it that way but I can't find any other way to say it). I believe that this problem rises from the concept of gender binary, that you can't have the same attribute of being "masculine and feminine" (which is not pre-defined in the first place), and I believe it's a wrong way to think about gender. I know there's more to it than that, and our way of thinking about gender has evolved, but I really believe it's still a core problem in our society. (and a major problem facing LGBT community but that's going on another tangent)
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Old January 30th, 2014 (09:32 PM).
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Its hard to explain where I stand on the matter of "what it means to be a man".


I was never really concerned with being 'feminine' or 'masculine'. I've played with dolls before, I've watched violent/bloody shows on TV, and I've done plenty in between. To me, gender and sex are unimportant. Making a big deal out of them is just a waste of time and only slows things down.
You're a girl but you like a 'masculine' look? Go ahead and take the look then. You're a boy but you wanna dress like a Japanese schoolgirl? I say go for it.
All of the stuff people place on others, all of this stuff about "men are strong, independent, brave, hard-working, badasses" or "Men are jerks, sex-hungry(sorry for putting it like that), violent, and worthless" or "girls are pretty and petite and sweet and obedient" or "women are just tools, things to be used and whatnot, they should stay in the kitchen" and blahblahblah. I find it all just stupid and I feel like it should just stop.
Don't discriminate against one sex/gender or another. Don't force all the norms on people/yourself. Just wake up and realize its pointless to be sexist and all that.


Why worry about "being a man"? Why worry about "being a woman"? I say take up whatever you feel your gender/sex truly is and enjoy it. Be as cute/sweet/tough/whatever as you want. In my opinion, just be human. Don't divide, unite instead.




Okay, I feel like I went in a sorta loop there and didn't accomplish anything. Or maybe I did. I dunno but I'm too tired to worry about this haha. (if this offended anybody or anybody has a super-personal comment to make about this, PM/VM me if you want. If you VM though I might not reply since I kinda derp and forget VM exists )
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Old February 5th, 2014 (07:59 AM).
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Society tends to have unrealistic masculinity expectations for men. I've been made fun of because I didn't like either soccer or rugby, preferring to do swimming instead. (This was before Free! Iwatobi Swim Club was around.) I've gotten a lot of flak for preferring pop music over rock music. People have accused me of being gay many times, even though I'm dating a girl and would NEVER date a guy. Not to mention the girl who was offended by me wearing a speedo...she thought I was a twink.

In my family's culture, unfortunately men are expected to be macho. My family is quite liberal and allowed me to express myself in the way I wanted. But a few men at my family's mosque were fiercely angry about me. One man was fuming when I debuted my long hair. Many of them feared that I was gay.

Even in the fandoms I follow there is this attitude. People have expressed revulsion for a few of my guy friends for cosplaying bishonen instead of rugged characters. My friend Frank got called gay when he cosplayed Solomon from Blood+. He told the person (in exact words) "apparently it's okay for guys to dress as pink catgirls, but not pretty boys." (The same convention had two guys dressed as Ichigo and Mint from Tokyo Mew Mew - and the same jerk didn't say anything about them.)
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Old February 5th, 2014 (08:28 AM).
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Thanks to the modern wonders of feminism, thankfully it now means just being another human being and a member of society. Unfortunately elitism for both genders is now on equal ground, and everyone has to be "perfect" so that they can meet their significant "perfect" other.
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Old February 5th, 2014 (08:34 PM).
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As a female, an outsider looking in, and from a personal standpoint, gender/biological sex shouldn't matter when it comes to defining masculinity/femininity. People still maintain these traditional ideals where men and women are supposed to act a certain way to satisfy their perspectives on gender roles.

For example, my mother has a strong sense of what a guy should/should not do when they're playing the boyfriend role. She's quite traditional when it comes to dividing up the actions and behaviours of men/women. Even before she questioned why I was not as "lady-like" as I should be. I try to be as gracious and lady-like as possible, but still maintaining my identity and self-image with my preference for video games, computers, etc. Though she now has grown to accept that I do have a sort of "masculine" vibe, but still maintain a "feminine" appearance/personality, both to a certain extent.

Basically, it's all in the society's view of what constitutes as being "masculine" based on traditional values. We've made progress in trying to give equal rights to everyone regardless of sex, gender, etc., but the fact of the matter is that there are those who still follow the conservative path and are resistant towards seeing that change.
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Old February 6th, 2014 (08:58 PM).
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From an outsiders perspective as a female, it definitely seems like men get a lot more hate for not being masculine than women do for not being feminine. I have never really been anything close to "girly," but I have never had anyone say anything negative about that aspect of me. When I was little I hated the color pink, barbies, my little pony and pretty much anything "girly." While nowadays I am a little more willing to indulge in things that are considered feminine, like My Little Pony, I would still much rather play video games than go shopping.

Men, from what I've seen, cannot do this. If a younger boy plays with dolls, he is derogatorily called "gay," which is unfair both to the young boy and to the LGBT community. It seems like if a male deviates even the slightest from the masculine stereotype he risks being bullied both verbally and physically. Sometimes a boy doesn't even have to act more feminine, it can just be a physical attribute, like their voice, being more feminine and they are mocked for it. I feel like while the focus of sexism is predominantly on that against females, there should be a lot more focus on sexism against males.

In an earlier post it was mentioned that in a way girls are rewarded for breaking from their stereotype whereas boys are punished for it, and I think this is a very interesting point of discussion. If a woman is a nuclear engineer, people will think, "Wow, she's an independent, strong women who managed to elevate herself above the sexist stereotypes. You should look up to her young girls, because she is an amazing person." While this is a good standard for society, the contrast to the opinion society adopts when a man takes a more "feminine" job makes it seem almost derogatory towards men. If a man were to become a ballerina, then societies standard viewpoint is, "Don't be like that boys, you want a more manly job, like something in engineering or construction." Now not all of society is like this definitely, and I like to think that a large percentage of it is more accepting than this, but this seems to be the general vibe I seem to get from the society around me.

I apologize if anything I say has offended anyone. If anything I have said seems inaccurate, this may be a result of my living situation, because I have spent my whole life in a highly conservative, highly religious state and in a highly religious, highly conservative family, so any views on society I have presented may not be an accurate depiction of society as a whole, but rather of the society I live in.
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Old February 6th, 2014 (09:28 PM).
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Welcome to D&D! What would offend somebody other than a compelling comparison?

It seems that we all agree more or less on what masculinity "is". Do you feel that the standard is changing? I remember "metrosexual" used to be "in" a few years ago, not sure about where it is now, but it was if anything a break from the stereotypical macho male. Is the macho man disappearing?
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Old February 7th, 2014 (02:15 AM). Edited February 7th, 2014 by Brendan14.
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To me, there's no "being a man" or "being a woman". I'd prance around in a female nurse's outfit if my friends are behind me. I know society has norms, which are beautifully highlighted by the above posters, but I disagree with them. If we take gender out of the equation, gender inequality is just a statistic left over from previous masculine-driven society. Of course, gender is the main issue here, but trying to solve gender inequality by swapping the men and the women around and by all means making everything have a 50:50 gender ratio... that's not going to solve anything in my mind. We have to disregard gender as contributing factor in your role in society.

So "being a man" should be no different from "being a woman". Gender should not be the driving force of our society, but it is. Biologically there's differences, perhaps even mentally due to hormonal differences, but that's where the difference stops. Dolls and cars. Does it matter which gender plays with which category of toys? If we remove the masculine and feminine categorisation of toys, no one would care if boys played with dolls and girls with cars.

Orogenes (I think) brings a good point for this. Girls can play with the cars and good for them, but if the boys play with the dolls it's bad and they need to grow out of it. I believe this viewpoint in society has come from the misunderstanding of what feminists strive for.

Feminism is not "females > males". It's about equality, and frankly that part of it has been cut out of the mainstream media. We're told feminism is females taking the roles of males and vice-versa. I believe because of this, society has accepted women partaking in previously male-only roles in society, while the other way around is still problematic and not widely accepted. I think this has stemmed from women rising up from being oppressed to pretty much being the dominant gender.

While going into further detail is blissfully off topic, I believe that as it stands now, we're in a feminine society. Women can be placed in both male-dominated industries and female-dominated industries. Society accepts this. Men cannot be in female-dominated industries without having a significant proportion of society not being okay with it. So to "be a woman" is pretty much doing whatever you want, regardless of what gender usually dominants that industry. But "being a man" is doing exactly what society wants. You could say things have been flipped, since now men are oppressed in a way and woman are not.

However, there's still innumerable situations and societies where women are considered inferior. This goes back to what I said about removing gender from the equation: Without gender hardly any social issues would exist.

I'm just going to stop talking now, since I could be here for a long while, dragging this one for longer than it should be. xD
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Old February 7th, 2014 (05:10 AM).
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I can feel the pressures of living up to be a man every day... Even if i'm not inclined to like incredibly feminine things like My Little Pony and ballet it's still difficult to be the "perfect" male.

Quote:
Thanks to the modern wonders of feminism, thankfully it now means just being another human being and a member of society. Unfortunately elitism for both genders is now on equal ground, and everyone has to be "perfect" so that they can meet their significant "perfect" other.
This, 100%.

Quote:
From a societal standpoint, while men (particularly straight, white men) are sitting on thrones, that position also stresses them phenomenally in what's expected from them from society. Both men and women need advancements from a sociological standpoint, however men's need for advancements are swept under the rug to a sickening degree.
In between my spurts of ruling the civilised world and oppressing minorities it can be really tough being a man. Discouragement from "feminine" activities, aggressive and domineering personalities between themselves, muscular, fit, stoic/tough and yet almost servile when in the pursuit of women. It's hard to live up to this. Whilst there is value to being a "gentleman" (an interesting contradiction to typical values) women are so encouraged to follow any ideal while men have just been neglected and even subjugated to a point. Even though males are not dominant and women are no longer property we are still a long way from equality...

I don't think genders can ever be treated neutrally but I think it's more important to encourage individuality with as little discrimination from stereotypes as possible.

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Is the macho man disappearing?
No, if anything it's intensifying. Macho men aren't necessarily cowboys with big beards, big guns and a wife at home while they ride off into the sunset. Even meterosexuals are just as aggressive and macho, minus the body hair.
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Old February 7th, 2014 (01:21 PM).
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Quote originally posted by O07_eleven:
No, if anything it's intensifying. Macho men aren't necessarily cowboys with big beards, big guns and a wife at home while they ride off into the sunset. Even meterosexuals are just as aggressive and macho, minus the body hair.
Just based on observation, I feel like a generous number of metrosexuals are "macho," despite their characteristic trait of being well-groomed. Obviously this doesn't apply to every female out there, but I feel like a good percentage of us want someone (not necessarily a significant other) who is able to communicate with us on an emotional level. Majority of females are quite sensitive and that is the underlying factor in why we act the way we do. So in answering the question of whether "macho" men are disappearing, it's entirely theoretical. It's had to determine whether or not a certain demographic group is changing/obsolete because we're unable to extrapolate what we know in our culture and society to the rest of the world.

Quote originally posted by Karzahni:
While going into further detail is blissfully off topic, I believe that as it stands now, we're in a feminine society. Women can be placed in both male-dominated industries and female-dominated industries. Society accepts this. Men cannot be in female-dominated industries without having a significant proportion of society not being okay with it. So to "be a woman" is pretty much doing whatever you want, regardless of what gender usually dominants that industry. But "being a man" is doing exactly what society wants. You could say things have been flipped, since now men are oppressed in a way and woman are not.
The term you used, feminine society, can have another meaning. This was from one of my culture classes where cultures around the world can be either masculine or feminine. Feminine describing a culture valuing relationships and overall value of life, whereas a masculine one would refer to aggressive behaviours, competition, etc.

Additionally, being a woman can have constraints as well. I mentioned in my previous post about the traditional gender roles that men and women are apparently supposed to follow such as being the breadwinner and taking care of children, respectively. We are living in an era where societal values are changing and it's becoming more accepting that men and women can do each others' assumed roles.
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Old February 7th, 2014 (02:32 PM).
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You have a penis. That's the only qualification needed.

If you're someone like me, you don't see man or woman. Gender binaries, skin color, sexual orientation... it's all invisible to me. I just see people. If a girl wants to be "manly" then who are you to stop her? I bet there are a good number of women in this world who would exhibit said traits at a higher degree of prominence than any man could.
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Old February 7th, 2014 (03:37 PM).
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Quote originally posted by ANARCHit3cht:
You have a penis. That's the only qualification needed.

If you're someone like me, you don't see man or woman. Gender binaries, skin color, sexual orientation... it's all invisible to me. I just see people. If a girl wants to be "manly" then who are you to stop her? I bet there are a good number of women in this world who would exhibit said traits at a higher degree of prominence than any man could.
Having said that, what about the men who have the unfortunate event of their penis being removed? There have been instances where people "accidentally" lose their genitalia. And in ancient times, it was a way of showing dominance.
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Old February 7th, 2014 (10:31 PM).
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Quote originally posted by Vanille Sky:
The term you used, feminine society, can have another meaning. This was from one of my culture classes where cultures around the world can be either masculine or feminine. Feminine describing a culture valuing relationships and overall value of life, whereas a masculine one would refer to aggressive behaviours, competition, etc.
Lol, I can see where I used the wrong terminology, or just didn't clarify. Apologies. I meant a female-dominated society.
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Old February 7th, 2014 (11:10 PM).
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Quote originally posted by Karzahni:
Lol, I can see where I used the wrong terminology, or just didn't clarify. Apologies. I meant a female-dominated society.
Haha, it's not a problem, I was just putting that out there for future reference (: And to add substance to this post, feminism is about equality, not superiority. Of course females would like to have the power and authority that men do. Take businesses for example, there are few examples where the CEO is a woman. We are still living in a male dominated society regardless of the progression of gender equality.
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Old February 7th, 2014 (11:28 PM).
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Yeah, most of the time the word "feminism" is used wrong. I derped and used it wrong. xD

Ideally, a truly feminist society would be perfect, and things like "being a man" would not be relevant.
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Old February 8th, 2014 (06:15 AM).
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I had to skip over a little bit of this thread. Men and women were created equal. Please note: I'm not married. In marriage, the husband is the head of the household. He loves his wife, and she loves him. The women submits to the man. I could go into more detail. Ephesians 6:22-33 And yes, guys ( more like teens and stuff) are afraid to cry. I remember in pe class a long, long time ago, we were playing hand ball inside the gym. There was this speaker thing (a large metal box with switches and stuff in it). The ball landed under it, so I sprinted to pick it up. But, as I picked it up, I slammed my head on the box. It was extremely loud, and it hurt worse than anything. I didn't cry, even though I could have bawled. Why would a feminist society be better?
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Old February 8th, 2014 (06:31 AM).
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The way I see it, there's two parts to being a man: having a sense of responsibility, and having a sense of honor. The most important one is responsibility. If a guy can't take responsibility for his own life or his own actions, he's not a man in my eyes. And there's nothing less attractive than a guy who blames his circumstances on other things or other people.

Second is a sense of honor. That is, he does the right thing even when there's nothing in it for him or there's no one looking. The way I see it, a man will do it for the sake of his own integrity.
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  #22    
Old February 8th, 2014 (11:04 AM).
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ANARCHit3cht ANARCHit3cht is offline
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Quote originally posted by Vanille Sky:
Having said that, what about the men who have the unfortunate event of their penis being removed? There have been instances where people "accidentally" lose their genitalia. And in ancient times, it was a way of showing dominance.
I was speaking of the genitalia that you are born with. Even if they were mutilated beyond recognition. But actually, now that I think about it, I don't particularly agree with that statement of mine. A FTM trannsexual who hasn't undergone bottomside operations is still a man. So I guess what makes you a man is your own admission to being one. The idea that men have certain criteria to meet is utterly ridiculous. And if you're like me and don't fit nicely into either gender binary, then that idea is all the more unfathomable. I would not call myself a women, although I probably display more traits typically associated with women rather than men. If you have ever heard of "Challenge Day" (It was on MTV for a bit) such a program came to my school. It was a remarkable experience. Even the "tough guys" cried their eyes out.

I don't agree with things such as "having responsibility" or "providing for your family" as those are both things that could very well be the female's job in many situations. I sure as hell know that none of these definitions describe my dad. Most of them describe my mom, actually. And I can assure you that she is no man.
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  #23    
Old February 8th, 2014 (09:20 PM).
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King Goodra King Goodra is offline
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Quote originally posted by BadPokemon:
I had to skip over a little bit of this thread. Men and women were created equal. Please note: I'm not married. In marriage, the husband is the head of the household. He loves his wife, and she loves him. The women submits to the man. I could go into more detail. Ephesians 6:22-33 And yes, guys ( more like teens and stuff) are afraid to cry. I remember in pe class a long, long time ago, we were playing hand ball inside the gym. There was this speaker thing (a large metal box with switches and stuff in it). The ball landed under it, so I sprinted to pick it up. But, as I picked it up, I slammed my head on the box. It was extremely loud, and it hurt worse than anything. I didn't cry, even though I could have bawled. Why would a feminist society be better?
That's very idealistic of you to believe, but men and women are not created equal, and you can see that in every piece of fabric that holds our society together. Read a history book.
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  #24    
Old February 9th, 2014 (02:25 PM).
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Togfan Togfan is offline
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In Norway a man is expected to do everything a woman does (cooking, taking care of children, cleaning, laundry, show feelings etc) as well as some other traits not particularly being "woman-ish" (like training, being fit, etc). A woman on the other hand isn't really "expected" to do much, but it is quite common that a woman is capable of the same tasks as a man (fixing the house and the car, practical stuff like that, as well as working).
Of course not everyone follows the same pattern, and this doesn't apply to everyone.

I'd say roles here are pretty slack (you can pretty much do whatever), but being a "real man" (macho and such) is relatively approached by... negativity.
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  #25    
Old February 9th, 2014 (06:49 PM).
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BadPokemon BadPokemon is offline
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Quote originally posted by Aerial Ace:
That's very idealistic of you to believe, but men and women are not created equal, and you can see that in every piece of fabric that holds our society together. Read a history book.
We were created by God equal. We may not treat each other as equal. I get what you mean, though.
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