Thanks to Kobukson for posting this:
Masculinity is a more fundamental concept. There’s a really simple test for it. It’s called the “hand test”. You see, you take your hand, reach between your legs, and if you notice something that feels like a sac with two balls in it, then Nature has ordained that you need to be masculine.
It is clear the discussion has devolved to a point where now we have to define what “masculinity” really is. But that’s part of the bigger problem, isn’t it? No one is clear what it is apart from our bastardized, poop culture understanding of it.
I realize using the word itself can push a few psychic buttons in the Asian-American male psyche. Because the rallying cry in the oppressed Asian American male ethnic studies department is “emasculation”. Emasculation means that your balls have been cut off. By whom? The official dogma states that it is the evil conspiracy of Hollywood, the white male power structure, and Asian women.
I propose that much of this emasculation originates within our own families, communities, and is even self-inflicted.
As is often the case, this topic comes from an IR discussion, and in this case, IR and PUA. As nottboy says, I’m truly the godfather of PUA; every time I want to leave, people won’t let me. That being the case, IR continues to be a problem, so let’s talk about what masculinity is. And per kobukson’s statement, let’s also talk about what emasculation is.
The best book I’ve read on masculinity is a book on raising boys: The Wonder of Boys by Michael Gurian. In the intro, Gurian talks about Walt Disney’s Pinnochio, masculinity, and how masculinity was co-opted during the cultural changes of the fifties and sixties. Gurian doesn’t define masculinity in the first few pages, but he talks about what boys need to learn–they need to learn to be brave, truthful, and good. This is a simple but accurate way of describing what I think masculinity is. If you’re brave, truthful, and good, you are a man’s man. A few days ago I described Sherman Alexie’s writing style as being “masculine,” and I think that this definition fits his style. It’s brave because he doesn’t flinch from important issues, truthful because he speaks truth about life, and good. This doesn’t mean that feminine is the opposite of brave, truthful, or good; indeed masculinity and femininity are not opposites but rather two parts of a whole.
Within this definition, a man can be brave, truthful, and good in any field he chooses. You can have a masculine investment banker who thumps his chest and makes millions of dollars a year, but you can also have a masculine writer, a masculine rock star, or a masculine construction worker. As Gurian says, men need a tribe, and when we all work together and a man finds a place in society where he can be brave, truthful, and good, he finds his manliness, and people typically respect his manliness.
Not everyone is going to be masculine. Some people simply fall short. One reason I stopped listening to the PUAs is that I saw sexual harassment, sexual coercion, lying, and all kinds of other behaviors that were not brave, truthful, or good. People who’ve read my blog for a while know that in my Asian American activism, I came across two local incidents in Portland where Asian American men fabricated lies about being the victims of hate crimes. The perpetrators of these lies were acting in a way that wasn’t brave, truthful, or good. But that’s life–people come in different flavors. Not everyone is going to meet the criteria of that masculine ideal. That’s the way the world is.
The problems come about when we discuss masculinity in a society that doesn’t recognize different kinds of masculinity. In American society, the default human being is White, and people often rely on stereotypes when thinking of non-White people. For Asian men, people often don’t recognize masculinity, even when we have it. In our American society, there is only one young Asian masculinity that gets ample recognition–the rich young businessman or the rich young lawyer who is courageous, truthful, and good–which he demonstrates with his generosity and interactions with others. Remove the money, and people don’t respect his masculinity. Indeed, that is why PUAs always advise each other to “demonstrate that you’re a person of value” and to either show how much money you have or how much earning potential you have. It’s all about the green. No other form of Asian masculinity gets much respect. And even then, it’s not perfect sailing for the rich Asian man either because above him at the highest levels, there still exists a hierarchy. If the rich man has other masculine traits or endeavors, people refuse to recognize them.
This is emasculation. Not everyone is guilty of it, but the problem is widespread. It’s a refusal or inability to recognize masculinity or to allow a person’s masculinity to develop in a way that contributes back to society. It doesn’t help the poor Asian artist, but neither does it help the rich Asian investment banker. If an Asian woman approaches a rich Asian investment banker and says, “Hey, baby, you got bling, so let’s date,” most likely the rich Asian investment banker will tell her what to do with her search for gold. More to the point, this discrimination stifles people’s natural abilities and talents. We don’t achieve what we could as a culture because we only recognize one form of “masculine” power.
So there it is. Kobukson may be right about it being self-inflicted. Do you like this definition? Either way, sound off like a WOWO!