men

All posts tagged men

Men

Published June 24, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

I recently had correspondence with @GoodMenProject  a magazine site whose stated aim is to start a conversation about what it means to be a good man. The site seems open to feedback from readers however, the content seems mainstream with increasing number of articles relating to minority masculinities. You could call it a work in progress however the name confuses me good men, what does this value-laden label infer to the reader.  All I can go on is site content, which reflects a mainly white, middle-class, heterosexual, able-bodied version of manhood.

In my opinion for what it is worth this conversation is long overdue however, I find this goal both exciting and intimidating as others may.  My enthusiasm for these types of opportunities is to engage with men in making sense of what it means to be a man. However, what often happens is that a minority hijacks these occasions to promote and perpetuate their political agenda either to reinforce the idealized masculinity or stereotype  and/or men’s rights rubbish. These situations are not conducive to a frank conversation, as men learn from birth not to question masculinity even if they spend the rest of their life trying to make sense of it.

This is why men rarely speak with each other about meaningful issues and are more likely to hide behind the stereotype or to engage in combat. Men do not talk to men about men’s business because they should already know the answers to their problems. A number of articles on Good Men demonstrate this with sensitive issues written by women and general articles by men have stereotypical themes like politics, sport and virility. The question here is where this conversation starts with a critique of masculinity, discussion of issues men face in their life, sharing stories of their lived experience to demystify what it means to be a man or something else.

In the Shed

Published June 5, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.”

John F. Kennedy

This is a cautionary tale of conformity by men to the narrative of the idealized masculinity, which requires some to find sanctuary in the closet or shed, As men, we seemingly adhere blindly to this myth as if some article of faith and in turn readily impose it on all. It is the root of all oppression, discrimination and subjugation in society.  The previous post concluded by drawing an analogy between the closet representing the oppression of queer men, and the shed of heterosexual men. This post provides some reflections the premise here is that one man’s closet is an others’ shed and sometimes you might find a closet in the shed. While both represent a prison, they also provide a sanctuary through a weird sense of anonymity.

The issue to free men from these sanctuaries or prisons means we have to challenge the need for their very existence. During the 20th century, masculinity faced a crisis its status as a sacred cow downgraded through critical inquiry by its detractors i.e. cultural diversity, women, and queers. The outcome of this inquiry masculinity is found wanting, more bravado than substance that actively seeks to maintain Anglo-European heterosexual able-bodied male individual, collective and institutional privilege.  Even in the diverse reality of their lived experience, men and their allies still hold doggedly to the fraudulent idealized model of manhood.

The question here is

Reform or Revolution

Coming out of the Shed the road towards a new way of

Knowing and Doing Manhood?

The Shed

Published May 30, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

Men’s shed focus is on promoting men’s health and wellbeing through engaging them various actives including information provision, socialisation and handicraft.  All good and well, as I support the need for men to engage in men’s business however, I am not convinced that the men’s shed concept is the most appropriate vehicle for this to happen. My reservations come from the perspective culture of this organisation dominated by mainstream concepts of masculinity; it seems to be more about reinforcing stereotypes rather than starting a new conversation. This is no more evident than the men’s rights spectre you catch glimpses of in the language used.

Men need to have an open and frank conversation with each other, one about the very nature of masculinity at this time in history. Men have an opportunity to engage in a conversation using the Feminist critique to help them make sense of their experiences .It is time to stop smarting about the social changes of the past 60 years that shock the heteronormative Anglo-European model of masculinity to its core. This is about men acknowledging and celebrating the rich diversity of their gender identity rather than adhering blindly to some idealized model. It is time to come out of the shed and start that conversation with each other.

As a man I know the fear of social sanctions for those who do not conform to the model, as a queer I know the sanctuary of the closet. It seems heterosexual men also share these same fears and security as men confined to the shed. This might be the first challenge for men who find sanctuary in their shed or in their ways of knowing and doing masculinity to venture out. I never thought in my whole life that I would be offering words of encouragement to heterosexual men to come out of shed and claim their masculinity. However, that is exactly what my plea is here for your own health and wellbeing to join the conversation so boys can become healthy self-confident men without the anxiety and guilt of previous generations.

Masculinities

Published May 30, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

Boy stands in front of mirror and asks what man am I

Mirror mists over and a voice responds

You are son, brother, father, uncle and grandfather

You are student, sometimes & teacher other times

You are friend, worker, professional, colleague, & team member

You are Black, Brown, White

You are bi, gay, straight, same sex attracted, pan & asexual

You are trans

You are leader sometimes & follower other times

You are athlete sometimes & spectator other times

You are Wise sometimes & foolish other times

You are brave sometimes & cowardly other times

You are caring sometimes & insensitive other times

You are giving sometimes & mean other times

You are committed sometimes & apathetic other times

You are joyous sometimes & sad other times

You are well sometimes & unwell other times

You are innocent sometimes & guilty

You are a dreamer sometimes & realist other times

You are friendly sometimes & violent other times

You are tolerant sometimes & narrow-minded other times

You are spontaneous sometimes & serious other times

Your creative sometimes & destructive other times

You are spiritual sometimes & secular other times

You are strong sometimes & weak other times

You are curious sometimes & indifferent other times

You are industrious sometimes & indolent other times

You are everyman & every human

You are you a man shaped through your life experiences

The vanilla 1950’s narrative

Published July 26, 2010 by Michael C Leeson

The origins of modern Australia heavily shape its institutions, traditions and worldview. This timely narrative has its roots in an Anglo-Celtic English speaking Christian tradition whose ancestors settled/invaded this great southern land. A perspective grounded in heterosexism and reinforced through an adherence to a conservative sexist misogynistic functionalist dogma. This sees the primary social unit as a married couple and their offspring living in apolitical suburbia. Men perform the role of provider through outside employment, women as unpaid family carer in maintaining the home and caring for the family. While increasingly, women have careers and undertake outside employment often as an addendum to their traditional role. The total sum of the family’s efforts goes towards the fulfilment of the Australian dream and hence a contribution towards the maintenance of society.

One egg don’t make an Omelette

Published July 10, 2010 by Michael C Leeson

Eggcitement

Today an individual decided he would egg Gillard, the assailant being a man may explain his juvenile behaviour. However, why would one do such an act otherwise, if you have a problem with public policy then become politically informed and active in seeking change. One of the most common mistakes made being that politicians have some insight on the issues faced by working class people, they don’t. Rather coming mostly from ruling class backgrounds by birth or through personal achievement, these pseudo demigods live in la la land where others do the menial tasks of life. While they (politicians) preoccupy their day with double speak, looking good and being seen to do good deeds. Politics seems to be a popularity contest for ugly people and their obsession with power over others. Sadly, representational democracy seems to be the best form of government and a Constitutional monarchy the most stable but don’t look for equity here.

What are the alternatives?


Queers United: Word of the Gay: “Hundred and Seventy Fiver”

Published August 14, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

Queers United: Word of the Gay: “Hundred and Seventy Fiver”

The inverted pink triangle, originally intended as a badge of shame, has become an international symbol of gay pride and the gay rights movement.

the Nazi amendments to Paragraph 175, which turned homosexuality from a minor offence into a felony, remained intact  until 1969.

In 2002, the German government issued an official apology to the gay community for this discriminatory policy.