Saturday, 19 September 2015

Being a "man"

There's so much around these days about what it means to be a man.

There's this image of the prefect man, who creates an environment for women to become perfectly "whole", kids to become perfectly fulfilled and for society in general, to be blessed by their masculinity.

Men must be men! We have a blueprint for the perfect man and if we don't fit that blueprint then we are a failure, not only creating dysfunctional families but even worse, mocking God, who created very clear boundaries for what a man is supposed to be.

Reality check!

There is a gender/sexuality continuum.
There are two types of "psyche" (for want of a better word) that define certain characteristics as masculine or feminine.

The masculine is described as strong, decisive, objective etc...
The feminine is described as emotional, sensitive, empathic etc...
We are very familiar with these concepts.

However, to associate these characteristics with particular genitals is nothing more than a social construct. Sure, lots of humans with penises like football and are strong and aggressive. And lots of humans with vaginas are soft and caring.

But here's the glitch - countless humans, irrespective of their genitals and hormones, display a broad mix of masculine and feminine traits. Many humans with penises are emotional and sensitive - they love to support others with compassion and empathy - they are nurturing, and empathic... And lots of vagina and breast endowed humans love to rough it up, take charge, be confident and assertive, and play football. In fact most humans have a completely random mix of these qualities in various quantities.

But society/culture and especially religion, consistently creates stereotypes that force the "psyche" attributes to fit the physical attributes. This is probably one of the most tragic things society has suffered!

Humans are supposed to deny who they are at the deepest level, in all its amazing and beautifully unique complexity, to become stereotypes, as defined by religious definitions.

Our genitals DO NOT DEFINE US. We are who we are!

If you have a penis and experience "feminine" traits, then guess what - you are a perfect human! If you have breasts and like "masculine" things, then you too are a human - perfect just as you are.

I am a gay man. I love having a penis and have no desire for anything physically feminine (I mean breasts are just yucky). But I have a few feminine qualities, and definitely lack the "macho" needed to enjoy footy.

So why do I need to be anything different? Why does anyone need to adopt a gender based role to be a "whole" and fully functional human? Why is some perfect balance of masculine/feminine the ideal that all humanity must strive for to create a perfect society that pleases god?

If all of us are free to simply be who we are in every way - and by free I mean that we are accepted as equal, valued and valid members of society - then we  will also be free to contribute all we are to the richness of humanity.

To demand that "men" be masculine and women be "feminine" is to deny the very character of god and all that we are as unique and wonderful creations.

I've seen first hand the tragic damage caused by forcing men and women into gender stereotypes. It's time to grow up, and become exactly as we are created to be.