There’s no doubt that today’s society seeks to emasculate men. The food, media, lifestyle, and norms are all designed to crush the male spirit. As this continues over many generations, we have seen men become increasingly feminized in both body and mind, so much so that we often don’t notice.
I was asked earlier tonight a question that brings this issue to light:
Do you ever find yourself doing something you feel is kind of feminine? And if so how do you stop it or correct it?
While this question seems pretty simple on the surface, it takes a bit of introspection and conscious effort.
What Is Masculine?
Before we can answer the question of whether we are doing something masculine or feminine, we must first determine what constitutes masculine and feminine behaviors. For these kinds of discussions, I like to view masculinity/femininity not as incompatible forces, but more like yin and yang.
Without one, there cannot be the other and within each resides a little bit of the other. A man who embodies pure masculinity without any of the feminine spirit is not whole and vice versa. For example, a man should be rational, confident, and decisive, but if he’s a father, he must also have some degree of nurturing and compassion (more feminine qualities).
Let’s take a second to review some basic masculine and feminine traits just to establish a baseline:
None of these traits are bad, per se, but a man with too many traits from the feminine category will typically be seen as effeminate or gay. This can cause problems in relationships as the masculine role is left unfilled, forcing the woman to fill in this void and, as we know, women make pretty poor substitutes for men (and vice versa).
A woman who must spend a lot of time fulfilling the masculine roles of a marriage/LTR will usually be stressed and unhappy.
To determine if you are embodying too many feminine traits, you must spend some time studying your behavior and actions. This is something best performed throughout the day instead of trying to analyze everything you did at night.
To help simplify the process, I like to break this down into a few basic categories: physical, social, and mental/emotional.
For physical, it’s simply walking and moving in a confident manner. Am I standing up straight, eyes looking straight ahead, and my shoulders back (not slouched)?
Do I slump in my seat at the office?
Do I try to make myself smaller to appear less imposing?
If you catch yourself doing any of these things, correct yourself and carry on. After a while, walking tall and confidently will become second habit. You won’t shrink into your seat (what feminists call manspreading).
The social category involves primarily speaking and mannerisms. Typical masculine traits for conversing is a low, even tone. This is something I have problems with when I get excited or passionate about a topic. Gradually my voice gets higher and I begin talking faster. I’m sure many of you have the same problem as well, but it can be worked on.
Another aspect of social masculinity is eye contact, again something I’ve had to work on. Holding eye contact for many is uncomfortable, but with some consistent effort, it becomes easier. I found that staring at the spot between a person’s eyes helped me get more comfortable with this until I could finally become comfortable enough to look people in the eyes.
Finally, and this is something the gentleman asked me specifically, there are hand gestures. This area of discussion is a bit grayer than the others with no “right” answer. Some people simply gesticulate while they talk. I would say that as long as you’re not doing any gestures clearly effeminate (like the wrist flicking thing you see a lot of women and gay guys do), then you’re fine.
Lastly, we’ll cover the mental/social aspect. When I was younger, I was a lot more emotional than I am now. In many ways, I’ve done a complete polar switch, but this wasn’t a natural occurrence. I had to force my emotions down whenever they threatened to boil over the surface and allow my analytical side to take over the problem that was presenting itself. I found that dissecting problems and creating a step-by-step plan to fix them kept me from becoming overly emotional.
At first, this is easier said than done as emotions can hijack your thought processes before you even have a chance to muster a defense. If this happens, take some time after the situation is over to review what happened and what things you could have done differently.
Embracing and cultivating your masculine traits has many benefits such as improved confidence and respect from your peers, but you shouldn’t completely discard the feminine side of the equation as well.
There are times where you may need to flip the switch on the feminine attributes in order to be a better father or more loving husband (see my series on Love & Respect to get a better understand of this).
At the end of the day, you need to be happy with who you are. If you have some feminine traits, it’s not the end of the world and doesn’t mean you’re a sissy, but it might mean you need to spend some extra time cultivating your masculine side. Instead of the phrase “just be yourself,” strive for being the best version of yourself.