The above pic is from MORNING JOE: Why men have turned to ‘awful models of masculinity’ and how to change it. ref


This is related to: Opinion in the Washington Post:  Men are lost. Here’s a map out of the wilderness. By 

“I started noticing it a few years ago. Men, especially young men, were getting weird. It might have been the “incels” who first caught my attention, spewing self-pitying venom online, sometimes venturing out to attack the women they believed had done them wrong. It might have been the complaints from the women around me. “Men are in their flop era,” one lamented, sick of trying to date in a pool that seemed shallower than it should be. It might have been the new ways companies were trying to reach men. “The average hoodie made these days is weak, flimsy … ” growled a YouTube ad for a “tactical hoodie.” “You’re not a child. You’re a man. So stop wearing so many layers to go outside…” ref

“Self-mastery is often defined as self-control, the ability to exert a strong will against our impulses to steer our future to one of our choosing. But this is only one aspect of the term.”

“What Is Self-Mastery? When you have developed self-mastery, you have the ability to control yourself in all situations, and you move forward consciously and steadily toward your goals.”

Gender gap in the perceived mastery of reasoning-for-complexity competency: an approach in Latin America

The results confirmed no statistically significant evidence to indicate differences between men and women in their perceived mastery of the reasoning-for-complexity competency in general. However, statistically significant differences were found in the perceived achievements of the sub-competencies of systems, critical and scientific thinking, which comprise the overall competency. Women presented a higher average perception of systemic and critical thinking achievement, and men had a higher perception of scientific thinking. The authors concluded that social and cultural elements influence the perception of achievement that men and women develop in thinking and solving problems.” ref

Self-Esteem and Self-Mastery Trajectories in High School by Social Class and Gender

Abstract: Using longitudinal data from 769 white adolescents in the Midwest, this research applies a social structure and personality perspective to examine variation in self-esteem and mastery trajectories by gender and SES across the high school years. Analyses reveal that high SES adolescents experience significantly steeper gains in self-esteem and mastery compared to low SES adolescents, resulting in the reversal of SES differences in self-esteem and the emergence of significant SES differences in mastery. Pre-existing gender differences in self-esteem narrow between the 9th and 12th grade because self-esteem increases at a faster rate among girls than boys during high school. These SES and gender differences in self-concept growth are explained by changes in parent-adolescent relationship quality and stress exposure. Specifically, boys and adolescents with lower SES backgrounds experienced steeper declines in parent-adolescent relationship quality and steeper gains in chronic work strain compared to girls and low SES adolescents, respectively.ref

Where Does Gender Fit in the Measurement of Self-Control (ie. Self-mastery)?

Abstract: Gender’s role in self-control measures has been largely neglected. Although studies show that males have lower self-control than females, rarely have researchers questioned whether items used to measure self-control should be used for both groups. This study uses a Rasch rating scale analysis to assess the item functioning of Grasmick et al.’s 24-item self-control scale for males and females. Using a sample of young adults, results indicate that 33% of the scale items showed differential functioning or item bias; that is, after controlling for self-control, females found one-third of the items to be either more or less agreeable than males. Once biased items were removed from the scale, males, on average, still had lower self-control (ie. Self-mastery) than females. In addition, after excluding biased items from the scale, the effect of self-control on criminal behavior and other outcomes was similar to the effect found with the full 24-item scale. Suggestions for future research on Grasmick et al.’s self-control scale are offered, and limitations of the current study are discussed.” ref

Meaning in life and adolescent self-control (ie. Self-mastery): Effect of perceived social support and its gender differences

The results obtained in this study have shown that meaning in life is a significant positive predictor of adolescent self-control and perceived social support. In addition, perceived social support partially mediates the relationship between meaning in life and self-control (ie. Self-mastery). Further, it has been found that gender moderates the second half of the pathway of the mediation model of meaning in life on self-control, specifically, perceived social support is a stronger predictor of self-control for females than for males. The results of this study suggest that enhancing perceived social support promotes self-control in adolescents with lower meaning in life, and this process is more pronounced in females.” ref

A Young Man’s Guide to Self-Mastery

A Young Man’s Guide to Self-Mastery is an invaluable resource for practitioners in mental health clinics, juvenile justice facilities, and residential and outpatient facilities who are working with adolescents who have a masculine experience of the world. This is designed for a wide range of youth, including those who are transgender or nonbinary. It is a trauma-informed, gender-responsive treatment program that addresses the impacts of socialization and adverse (traumatic) life experiences and how these contribute to impaired critical thinking, trouble in dealing with emotions, antisocial behavior, and substance misuse. This 14-session program helps participants to understand the effects of adversity and trauma in their lives, develop healthy senses of themselves, understand their emotions, increase their communication skills, better understand their sexual and gender identities, and build healthy relationships. It incorporates grounding techniques, experiential learning activities, discussion groups, and written assignments in an atmosphere of safety and of mutual learning. The comprehensive facilitator’s guide explains the theoretical foundation and real-life connection between trauma and substance use, and provides clear guidelines and strategies for conducting the program.” ref  

Christine Emba time 2:00

“Christine Emba grew up in Virginia, and attained a Bachelor of Arts in public and international affairs at Princeton University. Emba was raised as an evangelical Christian, but converted to Catholicism during her senior year at Princeton. In March 2022, Emba released her book Rethinking Sex: A Provocation, published through Sentinel. The book discusses sexual ethics, focusing on sexual consent, casual sex, and sexual liberation. In the same month, she wrote an opinion essay in The Washington Post titled “Consent is not enough. We need a new sexual ethic”, taking excerpts from her book.” ref

“In Rethinking Sex, Emba argues that the increased access to casual sex in our modern, sexually liberated society has left people—particularly women, but also men—feeling unhappy and unsatisfied. She criticizes the idea that sex can be meaningless, and further argues that sexual partnerships have been commodified through online dating applications and that women have been dehumanized through the normalization of sexual choking and anal sex in pornography, leading to a bleak romantic landscape. Emba states that while consent in sex is necessary, it is not enough; since even consensual sex can leave people feeling unhappy, she argues, consent cannot be “the only rule.” ref

Her Book Reception

Michelle Goldberg wrote in The New York Times that Emba’s book was “bold and compelling even when I disagreed with it”. In the progressive Christian magazine Sojourners, Jennifer Martin praised Emba’s identification of the problems in modern dating and her advocacy for a sexual ethic based on mutual goodwill, but criticized the book for “reiterating gender roles and differences, decrying kink culture and casual sex, and attaching the values of purity to our sexual encounters”. Martin, as well as Anna Iovine of Mashable, was also critical of the fact Emba’s book only discussed the sex of cisgender heterosexuals. Iovine wrote in Mashable that Emba “doesn’t discuss queer or trans casual sex at all. As a bi woman, that leaves out a significant chunk of my experiences and that of others.” In a review for the Chicago Review of Books, Ben Clarke wrote that while Emba deserves credit for the issues in sex and consent that she raised, she deserves less credit for her solutions: “there is an urgent need for a rigorous, nuanced feminist analysis of the problems she identifies. This is not it.”  ref 

Annual Crude Suicide Rates (rates per 100,000 population) in USA States, 1990-2019?

1990 the USA total: 12.4

2019 the USA total: 14.5

At around 3:45 Christine Emba states, Men are more likely to die from what she labeled deaths of despair which (actually describes rates of suicide). So, we know something is going on. And what she thinks is progressives and leftists don’t want to acknowledge this. Or at least don’t express that men may be a group that needs help. There is a sort of hesitance in talking about men as men, saying instead that we just need to be good people. But what does that look like specifically? The young men are asking for a specific path.”

Wrong, this is an old issue not new on suicides and males, and is well known and researched as the issue has always been this way and not connected to threats to current masculinity threats as she seems to imply. 

“Research shows that while women tend to experience more suicidal thinking, men are far more likely to die by suicide, because men choose more lethal means of suicide. Suicide is a leading cause of death, but it dropped from the top 10 leading causes of death in 2020. The suicide rate in men was highest among non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaskan Native men, followed closely by non-Hispanic white men. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that suicide represents half of all male violent deaths worldwide. Men over 75 are at the greatest risk of suicide of all age groups. In older men, suicide is most strongly associated with depression, physical pain and illness, living alone, and feelings of hopelessness and guilt.” ref

The most common risk factors for suicide are: 

  • Being bullied at school, college, or work
  • Divorce or relationship breakdowns
  • History of physical and sexual abuse
  • Imprisonment
  • Loss of a loved one through trauma or disease
  • Mental illness, particularly where this is related to depression and painful or debilitating illnesses or conditions
  • Not being able to form or sustain meaningful relationships
  • Social isolation or living alone
  • Unemployment
  • Using drugs and/or alcohol to help cope with emotions, relationships, the pressure of work, or other issues ref

Deaths by suicide per 100,000 resident population in the United States from 1950 to 2019, by gender

Republican Philosophy Leads to High Suicide Rates

“Death rates due to suicide among adolescents in the U.S. as of 2020, by state (per 100,000 adolescents). Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., imposing a cost of $69 billion annually.  A firearm is used in almost 50% of all suicides. Higher gun ownership rates are easily associated with higher suicide rates.  The top 10 stated for gun ownership have a 52.9% gun ownership rate and a suicide rate of 223 deaths per 10,000 people.  The bottom 10 states have a gun ownership rate of 14.4% and a suicide rate of 120 deaths per 10,000 people.  Those who live in the states with highest gun ownership are 86% more likely to commit suicide.”

“More than twice as many suicides by firearm occur in states with the fewest gun laws, relative to states with the most laws.”

“While women have spent the past half-century or so making massive advancements, men have simultaneously been falling behind on nearly every important measure — not because women’s success comes at their expense, but because they’re facing a distinctive set of challenges. Well, as scholar Richard Reeves explains in his book Of Boys and Men, one factor is likely the difference between how boys and girls develop. Specifically, when they develop. Here’s the issue: Girls (and their brains) mature earlier than boys. It turns out that girls see earlier development in the parts of the brain responsible for things like impulse control, modulating emotions, and, y’know … not lighting things on fire. The result: If boys and girls start school at the same age … the boys are a lot less likely to be intellectually prepared for it. In fact, 14 percentage points less likely. And those deficits only increase over the years. In the fourth grade, for example, girls’ reading proficiency is six percentage points higher than boys. By the time they reach the eighth grade it’s grown to 11 points higher. Men are also facing growing challenges in the job market. That’s in part because they’re overrepresented in fields like production, transportation, and construction — fields where jobs are more likely to disappear thanks to automation. So, education, jobs, struggles with addiction and depression: It all adds up to a pretty grim diagnosis. Which makes you wonder if there’s anything we can do about it. the Kalamazoo Promise. Yes, it sounds vaguely like the name of a doomsday cult, but it’s actually a charitable program that pays for free college for public school students in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Research has shown that the program is wildly successful, increasing the number of bachelor’s degree recipients by 45 percent … amongst women. For men, it did … basically nothing. The return on investment was actually negative. And no one’s entirely sure why. So, in order to help men, we’re probably going to have to find solutions tailored to men. And in his book, Richard Reeves offers a few suggestions. One proposal is surprisingly simple: Have boys wait an extra year before starting kindergarten so they’re better prepared for school. Research has shown that this approach tends to lead to boys who are more attentive, less likely to be held back a grade, and prone to get better test scores.xvi Another piece of evidence in its favor: Wealthy parents are already doing it — which is always kind of a dead giveaway. And when it comes to jobs, Reeves suggest that men take a page out of women’s playbook. In the same way that there’s been an active campaign to get women into STEM fields — science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — he suggests that we should focus more energy on getting men into HEAL jobs — health, education, administration, and literacy. Not only are those fields growing and less likely to be affected by automation, but they also give men a chance to be a positive influence on other men.” 

At around 4:40 Scott Galloway states, “Compassion is not a zero-sum game (ie. player one’s gain is equivalent to player two’s loss) that we can acknologe that young men are 3 times as likely to be addicted, 4 times as likely to kill themselves, 12 times more likely to be incarcerated, and acknowledging these statistics and addressing them in societal concerns. Also asking an important question, should a 19-year-old boy which has an education that is bias against him, on a behavior adjusted basis, because boys are twice as likely to be suspended, 5 times as likely if you are a black boy compared to a girl. Should that 19-year-old pay for the sins and advantages of his father and grandfather.  These young men are struggling.  And because of the good work of Christine Emba and this productive conversation because there are some really negative voices in this void and there was no discussion.”

Scott Galloway (professor) of marketing at the New York University Stern School of Business, and a public speaker, author, podcast host, and entrepreneur. Galloway self-describes as an atheist.

Scott Galloway adds, “Sex and companionship are huge motivators, and guardrails, for young men.”

34:25 Scott Galloway adds, “Men need to embrace some of the wonderful things to be a man, being aggressiveness is fine, be physically fit and strong.”

Traditional Masculinity and Femininity

“Every time a group of people is addressed as “Ladies and Gentlemen!” the pervasiveness of gender over all other social categories is demonstrated. Gender is also one of the first social categories that children learn in today’s societies, and thus knowledge of gender stereotypes is evident from early childhood on and into adulthood.”

What “Barbie” Gets Right About Male Psychology

Or, learning to be “Kenough.”

“Barbie shows how men often translate and funnel existential angst into anger, resentment, and sexual longing. The movie gives a nuanced model of male self-care and self-acceptance. Watching the “Barbie” movie, I was surprised by the relatively nuanced portrayal of masculinity, one which resonated with real issues and concerns that I have seen often in my clinical practice. Two aspects stand out in Ryan Gosling’s portrayal of the archetypal Ken.”

Where manhood is fragile, men die Young

“Men often do things to prove their manhood to others, particularly when they feel their manhood is under threat. It can include a range of country-level data on risky health behaviors (e.g., smoking, high-volume drinking, contact with venomous animals) and health outcomes associated with risk (e.g., drowning, death from accidents, liver cirrhosis deaths).”

How Men Get Penalized for Straying from Masculine Norms

“Research demonstrates that men too face backlash when they don’t adhere to masculine gender stereotypes — when they show vulnerability, act nicer, display empathy, express sadness, exhibit modesty, and proclaim to be feminists.”

“The premise of the volume is that social constructions of masculinity function simultaneously as foils for femininity and as methods of differentiating between “kinds” of men. In exploring scientific masculinities without taking the dominance of men and masculinity in the sciences for granted, we ask, What is masculinity and how does it operate in science? Our answers remind us that gender is at once an analytical category and a historical object.”

"Researchers have uncovered genes essential for learning, memory, aggression, and other complex behaviors originated around 650 million years ago."

Masculinity doesn’t have to be restrictive. Here’s how to redefine it for yourself.

“The “man box” refers to the strict expectations boys learn they must adopt in their behavior, aspirations, and perspective to be considered a “real man.”

The above writing comes from the article: The many faces of Masculinity

Toxic Masculinity vs. Healthy Masculinity

“Find out the differences between toxic and healthy masculinity. What Is Toxic Masculinity? The different expectations for what being a man entails can often leave someone feeling lost and confused about how they should act. Toxic masculinity is a term that has been gaining traction in the past few years. This term refers to the dominant form of masculinity wherein men use dominance, violence, and control to assert their power and superiority. In this article, we will define and explore toxic masculinity (unhealthy masculinity) versus healthy masculinity. Toxic masculinity appears in many different forms. A few examples include telling boys to “man up” when they feel upset or justifying abusive and inappropriate behavior with the phrase “boys will be boys.” Toxic masculinity can be defined as “the need to aggressively compete and dominate others and encompasses the most problematic proclivities in men. These same male proclivities foster resistance to psychotherapy.”

Masculinity and Femininity Perspectives

“Masculinities and femininities refer to the social roles, behaviors, and meanings prescribed for men and women in any society at any time. Such normative gender ideologies must be distinguished from biological ‘sex,’ and must be understood to be plural as there is no single definition for all men and all women.” ref

“Masculinity and femininity have been conceptualized as multidimensional constructs which include gender role stereotypes, adherence to traditional gender role norms, gender role conflict, and gender role stress. These constructs reflect stereotypes about the beliefs and behaviors typically attributed to males and females, which are acquired as they learn about the world and their roles in it. They also contain social norms that “prescribe and proscribe what males and females should feel and do.” The Western cultural view of masculinity and the masculine gender roles prescribed for males are very clear. Males need to be powerful, strong, and efficacious. The sporting context is one of the main forums that Western males have for demonstrating the various aspects of masculinity that are closely aligned with the pursuit of muscularity. These include athletic strength and superiority, competitiveness, toughness, endurance, leadership, status, power, and authority.” ref

Masculinity (also called manhood or manliness) is a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles associated with men and boys. Masculinity can be theoretically understood as socially constructed, and there is also evidence that some behaviors considered masculine are influenced by both cultural factors and biological factors. To what extent masculinity is biologically or socially influenced is subject to debate. It is distinct from the definition of the biological male sex, as anyone can exhibit masculine traits. Standards of masculinity vary across different cultures and historical periods.”

One of the harms of Toxic Masculinity in America seems to be seen in how “the Americas accounted for 273 of 327 trans and gender-diverse people reported murdered worldwide between 1 October 2021 and 30 September 2022.”

“Between 2015 and 2020, the incidence of depression reached 9% among Americans 12 and older. Women, adults who were not married, and folks with the lowest income had the top rates, the researchers reported.” ref

“Standards of manliness or masculinity vary across different cultures, subcultures, ethnic groups and historical periods. Traits traditionally viewed as masculine in Western society include strength, courage, independence, leadership, and assertiveness. When women’s labor participation increased, there were men who felt less comfortable in their masculinity because it was increasingly difficult for them to reconfirm their status as the breadwinner. The academic study of masculinity received increased attention during the late 1980s and early 1990s, with the number of courses on the subject in the United States rising from 30 to over 300. This has sparked investigation of the intersection of masculinity with concepts from other fields, such as the social construction of gender difference (prevalent in a number of philosophical and sociological theories). People regardless of biological sex may exhibit masculine traits and behavior. Those exhibiting both masculine and feminine characteristics are considered androgynous, and feminist philosophers have argued that gender ambiguity may blur gender classification.” ref

The concept of masculinity varies historically and culturally. Since what constitutes masculinity has varied by time and place, according to Raewyn Connell, it is more appropriate to discuss “masculinities” than a single overarching concept. Ancient literature dates back to about 3000 BCE or around 5,000 years ago, with explicit expectations for men in the form of laws and implied masculine ideals in myths of gods and heroes. According to the Code of Hammurabi (about 1750 BC):

  • Rule 3: “If anyone brings an accusation of any crime before the elders, and does not prove what he has charged, he shall, if it be a capital offense charged, be put to death.”
  • Rule 128: “If a man takes a woman to wife, but has no intercourse with her, this woman is no wife to him.” ref

In the Hebrew Bible of 1000 BCE or around 3,000 years ago, when King David of Israel drew near to death, he told his son Solomon: “I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man.” ref

“In his book Germania (98 CE), Tacitus stated that the men from the ancient Germanic tribes fought aggressively in battle to protect their women from capture by the enemy.

“It stands on record that armies already wavering and on the point of collapse have been rallied by the women, pleading heroically with their men, thrusting forward their bared bosoms, and making them realize the imminent prospect of enslavement – a fate which the Germans fear more desperately for their women than for themselves.” -Tacitus (Germania)” ref

“Tacitus presented the Germanic warrior Arminius as a masculine hero in his account of ancient Germany whose already violent nature was further heightened by the abduction of his beloved wife Thusnelda by the Roman general Germanicus. In his rage Arminius demanded war against the Roman empire.” ref

Jeffrey Richards describes a European “medieval masculinity which was essentially Christian and chivalric”. Courage, respect for women of all classes, and generosity characterize the portrayal of men in literary history. According to David Rosen, the traditional view of scholars (such as J. R. R. Tolkien) that Beowulf is a tale of medieval heroism overlooks the similarities between Beowulf and the monster Grendel. The masculinity exemplified by Beowulf “cut[s] men off from women, other men, passion and the household.” ref

“During the Victorian era, masculinity underwent a transformation from traditional heroism. Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle wrote in 1831: “The old ideal of Manhood has grown obsolete, and the new is still invisible to us, and we grope after it in darkness, one clutching this phantom, another that; Werterism, Byronism, even Brummelism, each has its day”. Boxing was professionalized in America and Europe in the 19th century; it emphasized the physical and confrontational aspects of masculinity. Bare-knuckle boxing without gloves represented “the manly art” in 19th-century America.” ref

“At the beginning of the 20th century, most families in the western world consisted of a father working outside the home as breadwinner and a mother as working homemaker in the home, often working together to raise children and/or taking care of elderly family members. The roles were often divided quite sharply between providing resources (considered masculine) and maintenance and redistribution of resources (considered feminine). Despite women’s increasing participation in the paid labor force and contributions to family income, men’s identities remained centered on their working lives and specifically their economic contributions. In 1963, social theorist Erving Goffman‘s seminal work on stigma management presented a list of traits prescribed as categorically masculine for American men:

In an important sense there is only one complete unblushing male in America: a young, married, white, urban, northern, heterosexual Protestant father of college education, fully employed, of good complexion, weight and height, and a recent record in sports.” ref

“Writing in 1974, R. Gould asserted that the provider role was central to adult men’s identities, as masculinity is often measured by the size of a man’s economic contribution to the family. Masculinity is also secured by denying any semblance of softness, emotion, femininity, or any characteristic associated with women. Overwhelmingly, the construction of masculinity most valued in the latter part of the 20th century and the early 21st century is one that is independent, sexually assertive, and athletic, among other normative markers of manhood. There is some evidence of this construction developing slightly, however. A 2008 study showed that men frequently rank good health, a harmonious family life, and a good relationship with their spouse or partner as more important to their quality of life than physical attractiveness and success with women.” ref

Social Construction of Masculinity

Scholars have debated the extent to which gender identity and gender-specific behaviors are due to socialization versus biological factors. Social and biological influences are thought to be mutually interacting during development. Studies of prenatal androgen exposure have provided some evidence that femininity and masculinity are partly biologically determined. Other possible biological influences include evolutiongeneticsepigenetics, and hormones (both during development and in adulthood). Scholars suggest that innate differences between the sexes are compounded or exaggerated by the influences of social factors. However, others have pointed to the fact that personality differences between the sexes are seen to increase with increased levels of egalitarianism.” ref

Across cultures, characteristics of masculinity are similar in essence but varying in detail, another shared pattern is that non-typical behavior of one’s sex or gender may be viewed as a social problem. In sociology, this labeling is known as gender assumptions and is part of socialization to meet the mores of a society. Non-standard behavior may be considered indicative of homosexuality, despite the fact that gender expression, gender identity, and sexual orientation are widely accepted as distinct concepts. When sexuality is defined in terms of object choice (as in early sexology studies), male homosexuality may be interpreted as effeminacy. Machismo is a form of masculinity that emphasizes power and is often associated with a disregard for consequences and responsibility.ref

“Some believe that masculinity is linked to the male body; in this view, masculinity is associated with male genitalia. Others have suggested that although masculinity may be influenced by biology, it is also a cultural construct. Many aspects of masculinity assumed to be natural are linguistically and culturally driven. Reeser argues that although the military has a vested interest in constructing and promoting a specific form of masculinity, it does not create it. Facial hair is linked to masculinity through language, in stories about boys becoming men when they begin to shave.  Some social scientists conceptualize masculinity (and femininity) as a performance. Gender performances may not necessarily be intentional and people may not even be aware of the extent to which they are performing gender, as one outcome of lifelong gender socialization is the feeling that one’s gender is “natural” or biologically-ordained.ref

“Masculine performance varies over the life course, but also from one context to another. For instance, the sports world may elicit more traditionally normative masculinities in participants than would other settings. Men who exhibit a tough and aggressive masculinity on the sports field may display a softer masculinity in familial contexts. Masculinities vary by social class as well. Studies suggest working class constructions of masculinity to be more normative than are those from middle class men and boys. As these contexts and comparisons illustrate, theorists suggest a multiplicity of masculinities, not simply one single construction of masculinity. Historian Kate Cooper wrote: “Wherever a woman is mentioned a man’s character is being judged – and along with it what he stands for.” Scholars cite integrity and equality as masculine values in male-male relationships.ref

Manly (Masculine) Woman

“Masculine or manly women are female-bodied individuals who possess qualities that are perceived to be masculine. These women are masculine in appearance, have masculine interests, prefer the company of men, and/or perform masculine tasks or jobs. Most generically masculine or manly women do not conform to feminine stereotypes. Social concepts of masculine women and effeminate men rely on the binary gender system that directly ties gender (masculinity and femininity) to sex (maleness and femaleness). In this system where activities, styles, bodies, behaviors, and even objects are all definitively gendered, females and males who exhibit characteristics of the opposite gender are seen as at best, gender variant and at worst, gender deviant. Because she is seen as a deviation from the feminine standard, the figure of the masculine (manly) woman helps to uphold the moralizing “normalcy” of traditional femininity, which itself confirms contemporary heterosexuality as the natural, default sexual orientation (McGann 1999).” ref

“Yet, the qualities that masculine women possess—confidence, assertiveness, independence, and daring—are not scientifically or biologically male attributes. Rather, these qualities are constructed as being masculine even though they are commonly found in women. Feminist initiatives have encouraged these values in women and girls. The term “female empowerment” refers to the transformation of power relations between men and women and advocates a redefinition of femininity that would expand traditional concepts of femininity and femaleness.” ref

“The observation and identification of a woman as “masculine” or “manly” is highly dependent on race and class. For instance, women of color and working-class women may be seen as more “masculine”—strong, independent, and/or self-reliant—because of the challenges and struggles particular to their racial and socioeconomic reality. The racialized division of labor in many Western countries allocates work that requires manual labor for women of color and working-class women. These women may also be identified in masculine terms because they do not reflect white female beauty standards that, aside from “whiteness,” require money and leisure time to attain. For that matter, women of color are often seen as being more masculine simply because of racist stereotypes. Historical discrepancy in the treatment of women’s sexuality according to class status also accounts for various embodiments and understandings of femininity that result in some women seeming more “masculine” than others (i.e., women of color are stereotyped as being more sexually aggressive, or “masculine,” than white women). Middle- and upper-class women may be afforded more or less range of acceptable behavior when it comes to gender. In the first sense, money, privilege, and whiteness can excuse the “eccentricity” of gender variance (as was the case with English author Radclyffe Hall [1886–1943]). On the other hand, affluent women may have “more to lose” when it comes to defiant or deviant gender expression.” ref

Masculine Women and HISTORY

“While masculine women have existed throughout history in reality and the cultural imaginary (in folklore or religion, for instance), several historical moments are marked by a greater attention to masculine women. Moments of global and sometimes national conflict, such as the Crusades or the World Wars, have encouraged as well as bemoaned the rise of women to positions of increased power or to the masculine, public sphere (such as the job force). The figure of Rosie the Riveter, created in the United States during World War II to promote women’s work in munitions factories, represents a masculine woman celebrated in a patriotic, if paternalistic, vein. As a cultural icon, Rosie the Riveter later became a feminist symbol that embodied woman’s strength, capability, and ambition.” ref

“Another important historical manifestation of the masculine woman is the “passing woman”—any woman who lived part or all of her life as a man. The term is usually used in an historical sense to describe women who passed as men to secure better wages, seek adventure, or fight in wars in the nineteenth century. Famous passing women include Jeanne Bonnet (1849–1876, leader and liberator of a San Francisco gang of former prostitutes), Deborah Sampson (1760–1827, a soldier in the Revolutionary War), Murray Hall (d. 1901, a prominent New York City politician), Lucy Ann Lobdell (b. 1829, hunter, minister, and author), Babe Bean (1869–1936, writer), Mountain Charley (1812–1879, stage coach driver), Billy Tipton (1914–1989, jazz pianist and saxophonist), and the legend of Joan English, who was said to have reigned as Pope John VIII in medieval times.” ref

“The formation of butch-femme identities in the twentieth century represents one of the earliest public lesbian cultures and, as such, has served a pivotal role in the solidification of the masculine (manly) woman in popular consciousness. While passing women were usually seen as curiosities rather than as social threats, sexology’s pathologizing definitions of female inversion made the “mannish woman” a visibly deviant typology that was to be feared, demonized, and discriminated against throughout the twentieth century. However, in 1950s lesbian subculture, butch or masculine women came to define a celebrated and eroticized lesbian style characterized in part by physical strength, chivalry, emotional reserve, and sexual expertise.” ref

“As Judith Halberstam observes in her recuperative work on “female masculinity,” turf wars that began in the 1990s between butches and transgender female-to-males have become a political preoccupation for lesbian communities that likewise push the concerns of femmes to the margin. Despite such discussions within queer circles, mainstream depictions of lesbianism underrepresent butch or masculine lesbians, in instances that reflect the simultaneous shame and phobia that accrues around the figure of the butch lesbian as a symbol of “the stigma of lesbianism” (Newton 1989, p. 283). Although the butch lesbian is occasionally seen as an “embarrassing” figure for gays, queer culture has an expansive vocabulary that recognizes the nuances of female masculinity. Some of these terms are soft butch, baby butch, hard butch, stone butch, tomboy femme, dyke-fag, boi, stud, soft stud, and aggressive.” ref

“As this historical sketch suggests, masculine women may be motivated by the exigencies of their circumstance, identification with men and masculinity, or female same-sex desires. Masculine women may feel they are born this way, or may see their “masculinity” as an extension of childhood interests or as a conscious rejection of the feminine role. Sociologist PJ McGann has observed that motivations for masculine behavior may shift as the individual develops. At an early age, a child may “choose clothing, toys, and activities based on their intrinsic interest” to her, whereas later tomboyhood may be a more pronounced reaction to “imposed meanings of femininity” and the “fusion of restriction and femininity” (1999, p. 111).” ref

What Toxic Men can learn from Masculine Women

Not being shaped by a conventional masculinity from birth means they have not been forced into suffocating stereotypes. Turn on the TV, watch kids’ cartoons or most films, and you won’t have to look hard for the message that nice guys finish last, while tough guys get the girl, and, more importantly, gain the respect of other men. In the heterosexual safari that is Channel 4’s latest Married at First Sight we saw a woman called Morag spend the whole UK season demeaning and berating her new husband, Luke, for being more of a boy than a man, lacking in muscle and not being aggressive enough. Did she perhaps hanker after more of a “toxic masculinity”, the experts queried, while reassuring her that a calm, attentive, and reliable man is the definition of masculinity. Maybe so, but we could well ask why that definition hasn’t become the norm.” ref

“Meanwhile, toxic masculinity is now a buzzword, and a term most of us will recognize – it describes a set of predatory, bullish and bullying, sexually aggressive, sexist, and homophobic behaviors in some heterosexual men. But, arguably, this is a misleading term, as it absolves society of taking responsibility for the everyday gender norms that form the bedrock of the messaging that some men take to extremes. If we want to divert that course, we need to look upriver, and change that messaging.” ref

“While there is rising public attention to men and masculinity right now, this is not a new phenomenon, nor a new field of study. Men’s search for masculinity is an old, and cruel, mission. The loss, gain, winning of it, or coming of age into it, dominates our culture; and always has, forming the basis of plays, poetry, and novels for centuries. While the control of women – particularly sexual ownership and control – are frequent measures of masculinity, women, in a way, are collateral in what is, ultimately, a quest for male approval. This is a kind of male gaze for men; it’s their imagined version of an ideal, more masculine man, who stands in judgment in their mind.” ref

“Masculinity, to put it simply, is whatever is considered appropriate and expected for men in your circle. It is a set of learned behaviours, easily taught and assumed easily adopted. Acknowledging that these behaviours are learned is not the same as saying they aren’t real, however, or that they don’t have real effects, or that they don’t form important parts of people’s sense of self or identity from a very early age. Indeed, they do. Gender, including masculinity, is something that is worked upon and it is hard work. In fact, if it came so naturally, then men would not increasingly spend so much time, money and effort on fashion, grooming, dieting, training, and exercise.” ref

“There are so many different recognizable types of behaviors, styles, and roles considered socially appropriate for men in different groups and communities; which is why the plural term masculinities is now used. For example, there are recognizable gay masculinities, urban masculinities, young masculinities, or working-class masculinities. Within this plethora of possibilities, there is another type of masculinity that is rarely represented, and that is female masculinity. If masculinity is a set of cultural expectations for men, which varies across history and around the world, and contains roles, styles, mannerisms, attitudes, bodily comportment, and appearance, then it does not necessarily follow that these would be the preserve of male bodies only. Anybody could do masculinity.” ref

“Women and female-bodied people have been doing masculinity for ever of course, from the historic female husbands and soldier boys with secrets, to butch lesbians, transmasculine queer people, gender non-conforming tomboys and Black masculine butches, known as studs. Masculinity as style and essence can be worn and embodied by those who had to make it their own, by those for whom it was never meant and so were never taught. Often there are still punishments for this trespass, for what is seen as a colonization of the realm reserved for one sex only. Masculine women, butch lesbians, and transgender people on the masculine spectrum are targeted for double glances at best, and for worse when those scrutinizing glances work out who is what, and who is not what was expected.” ref

For some, female masculinity is independent of men’s versions, with its own history, often rooted in lesbian identities and communities. It is another way of being a woman, and living that identity, as valid as any other. Others feel less of an affiliation to lesbian legacies, preferring to see their own sense of masculinity as just that, as a version of being masculine, rather than a version of femininity or a more unusual way of being a woman. In that sense, the familiar experience of being read by society as male or as a man, is not a misgendering experience, but one of mis-sexing; where the gender is read correctly, but a sex is incorrectly assumed to follow.” ref

“Such assumptions come from our strict binary system, where male is supposed to equal masculine heterosexual, and female is supposed to equal feminine heterosexual. Clearly not everyone fits into such binaries; but those lives are obscured in a society that struggles to recognise them. For those creating their own female masculinity, there is more room and fewer rules; not being brutalised into a conventional masculinity from birth brings a freedom to explore masculinity without so much of the suffocating, negative baggage that men are increasingly openly talking about. In this new wave of public focus on men and masculinities, men are rightly identifying the expectations of gender as contributing to poor mental and physical health, social isolation, addiction problems, and violence.” ref

“Let’s hope that this critique can be extended to the dominant representations of masculinity in our media and culture, too, which sets those expectations in the first place. We should all remember that boys will not be boys: they will be adults and will become partners, fathers, carers, friends, lovers, and colleagues, with the capacity to be as humane as the next woman. As the king of butch scholarship and female masculinity, Prof Jack Halberstam, has pointed out, transmasculine people, butch lesbians, and queer masculine women have more of a chance to think very carefully about what kinds of masculine people we want to become. Maybe men, in this climate of change, could learn from that, too.” ref

Feminine Men

What women find attractive in a man is changing. According to recent studies, guys with more feminine traits could be more attractive than those that ooze masculinity. Being a feminine guy could mean a lot of things. Some women might describe a well-groomed man as feminine. At the same time, others might define feminine as wearing floral scents and pink. Ultimately, there is no concrete definition of ‘feminine’ when it comes to a man’s style. In the 70s, guys would have long hair and wear skin-tight clothing – at the time, it was considered attractive and masculine.” ref

“If we’re talking about traditional masculinity, body hair plays a big part. Guys that shave their whole bodies appear far more feminine simply because women are less hairy than men. Your average guy has at least some body hair, so getting rid of it all is a sure-fire way to decrease your masculine appearance. However, that doesn’t mean you should grow a beard if that’s not what you’re into. A well-groomed man is not necessarily a feminine man! If you prefer the clean-shaven look, don’t be afraid to shave every other day; no one will judge you for that!ref

“In fact, a clean-shaven face can reveal one of the most masculine parts of a man’s face – the jawline. A strong jawline is considered one of the most attractive and masculine traits a man can have, so keep this in mind when considering whether or not to grow your facial hair to increase your manliness. I don’t want to be too prescriptive here. However, floral patterns and pastel colors are typically more feminine than masculine. Once again, this has changed throughout history.ref

“In the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Persia, and India – flowers were seen as gifts from the gods. Men of high social status could wear them or smell them to become closer to their gods. Greek and Roman men also wore flowers (traditionally in the form of wreaths/garlands). The Romans would use them for religious ceremonies. But they specifically valued roses – which eventually became a universal symbol of love and romance. However, in the 21st Century, floral patterns and scents have become associated with femininity. A man who wears a floral shirt or smells of a floral fragrance is likely to be seen as more feminine than a guy who smells of cedar and wears dark-colored clothing. Does that mean you should avoid floral clothing? Absolutely not! In fact, many women explicitly prefer a guy in a floral print. They believe it shows he’s easygoing, doesn’t take himself too seriously, and is more emotionally mature.ref

Effeminacy is the embodiment of traits and/or expressions in those who are not of the female sex (e.g. boys and men) that are often associated with what is generally perceived to be feminine behaviours, mannerisms, styles, or gender roles, rather than with traditionally masculine behaviours, mannerisms, styles or roles. Effeminacy and other gender expressions are independent of a person’s sexuality or sexual identity and are displayed by people of all sexualities and none. Effeminacy is seen in some societies as something embodied by some in the homosexual male community. The embodiment of effeminacy by people in some societies has resulted in prejudice, discrimination, antagonism and insults towards those who display it.” ref

Effeminate comes from Latin effeminātus, from the factitive prefix ex- (from ex ‘out’) and femina ‘woman’; it means ‘made feminine, emasculated, weakened’. Another Latin term is mollities, meaning ‘softness’. In ancient Koine Greek, the word for effeminate is κίναιδος kinaidos (cinaedus in its Latinized form), or μαλακός malakoi: a man “whose most salient feature was a supposedly ‘feminine’ love of being sexually penetrated by other men”.

“A cinaedus is a man who cross-dresses or flirts like a girl. Indeed, the word’s etymology suggests an indirect sexual act emulating a promiscuous woman. This term has been borrowed from the Greek kinaidos (which may itself have come from a language of Ionian Greeks of Asia Minor, primarily signifying a purely effeminate dancer who entertained his audiences with a tympanum or tambourine in his hand, and adopted a lascivious style, often suggestively wiggling his buttocks in such a way as to suggest anal intercourse….The primary meaning of cinaedus never died out; the term never became a dead metaphor.ref

“Other vernacular words for effeminacy include: pansy, nelly, pretty boy, nancy boy, girly boy, molly, sissy, pussy, tomgirl, femboy, roseboy, baby, and girl (when applied to a boy or, especially, adult man). The word effete similarly implies effeminacy or over-refinement, but comes from the Latin term effetus meaning ‘having given birth; exhausted’, from ex- and fetus ‘offspring’. The term tomgirl, meaning a girlish boy, comes from an inversion of tomboy, meaning a boyish girl. The term girly boy comes from a gender-inversion of girly girl.ref

“Greek historian Plutarch recounts that Periander, the tyrant of Ambracia, asked his “boy”, “Aren’t you pregnant yet?” in the presence of other people, causing the boy to kill him in revenge for being treated as if effeminate or a woman (Amatorius 768F). When Aeschines was accused of treason by Athenians Timarchus and Demosthenes in 346 BC, he brought a counter suit claiming Timarchus had prostituted himself to (or been “kept” by) other men (Against Timarchus). He also attributed Demosthenes‘ nickname Batalos (“arse”) to his “unmanliness and kinaidiā” and frequently commented on his “unmanly and womanish temper”, even criticising his clothing: “If anyone took those dainty little coats and soft shirts off you… and took them round for the jurors to handle, I think they’d be quite unable to say, if they hadn’t been told in advance, whether they had hold of a man’s clothing or a woman’s.ref

“Demosthenes is also implicated in passive homosexuality and the prostitution of youth: “There is a certain Aristion, a Plataean…, who as a youth was outstandingly good-looking and lived for a long time in Demosthenes’ house. Allegations about the part he was playing [lit., ‘undergoing or doing what’] there vary, and it would be most unseemly for me to talk about it.ref

“The late Greek Erôtes (“Loves”, “Forms of Desire”, “Affairs of the Heart”), preserved with manuscripts by Lucian, contains a debate “between two men, Charicles and Callicratidas, over the relative merits of women and boys as vehicles of male sexual pleasure.” Callicratidas, “far from being effeminised by his sexual predilection for boys… Callicratidas’s inclination renders him hypervirile… Callicratidas’s sexual desire for boys, then, makes him more of a man; it does not weaken or subvert his male gender identity but rather consolidates it.” In contrast, “Charicles’ erotic preference for women seems to have had the corresponding effect of effeminising him: when the reader first encounters him, for example, Charicles is described as exhibiting ‘a skillful use of cosmetics, so as to be attractive to women.ref

“Over-refinement, fine clothes, and other possessions, the company of women, certain trades, and too much fondness with women were all deemed effeminate traits in Roman society. Taking an inappropriate sexual position, passive or “bottom“, in same-gender sex was considered effeminate and unnatural. Touching the head with a finger and wearing a goatee were also considered effeminate. Roman consul Scipio Aemilianus questioned one of his opponents, P. Sulpicius Galus: “For the kind of man who adorns himself daily in front of a mirror, wearing perfume; whose eyebrows are shaved off; who walks around with plucked beard and thighs; who when he was a young man reclined at banquets next to his lover, wearing a long-sleeved tunic; who is fond of men as he is of wine: can anyone doubt that he has done what cinaedi are in the habit of doing?ref

“Roman orator Quintilian described, “The plucked body, the broken walk, the female attire,” as “signs of one who is soft [mollis] and not a real man.” For Roman men masculinity also meant self-control, even in the face of painful emotions, illnesses, or death. Cicero says, “There exist certain precepts, even laws, that prohibit a man from being effeminate in pain,” and Seneca adds, “If I must suffer illness, it will be my wish to do nothing out of control, nothing effeminately.ref

“Emperor/philosopher Julian the Apostate, in his Against the Galileans, wrote: ”Why are the Egyptians more intelligent and more given to crafts, and the Syrians unwarlike and effeminate, but at the same time intelligent, hot-tempered, vain and quick to learn?” In his Commentaries on the Gallic Wars, Julius Caesar wrote that the Belgians were the bravest of all Gauls because “merchants least frequently resort to them, and import those things which tend to effeminate the mind”. Emperor Marcus Aurelius evidently considered effeminacy an undesirable trait, but it is unclear what or who was being referred to.ref

Masculinity: Gay and Lesbian People

Gay men are considered by some to be “effeminate and deviate from the masculine norm” and are sometimes benevolently stereotyped as “gentle and refined”, even by other gay men. According to gay human-rights campaigner Peter Tatchell:

Contrary to the well-intentioned claim that gays are “just the same” as straights, there is a difference. What is more, the distinctive style of gay masculinity is of great social benefit. Wouldn’t life be dull without the flair and imagination of queer fashion designers and interior decorators? How could the NHS cope with no gay nurses, or the education system with no gay teachers? Society should thank its lucky stars that not all men turn out straight, macho and insensitive. The different hetero and homo modes of maleness are not, of course, biologically fixed.ref

“Psychologist Joseph Pleck argues that a hierarchy of masculinity exists largely as a dichotomy of homosexual and heterosexual males: “Our society uses the male heterosexual-homosexual dichotomy as a central symbol for all the rankings of masculinity, for the division on any grounds between males who are “real men” and have power, and males who are not”. Michael Kimmel adds that the trope “You’re so gay” indicates a lack of masculinity, rather than homosexual orientation. According to Pleck, to avoid male oppression of women, themselves, and other men, patriarchal structures, institutions and discourse must be eliminated from Western society.” ref

“In the documentary, The Butch Factor, gay men (one of them transgender) were asked about their views of masculinity. Masculine traits were generally seen as an advantage in and out of the closet, allowing “butch” gay men to conceal their sexual orientation longer while engaged in masculine activities such as sports. Some did not see themselves as effeminate, and felt little connection to gay culture. Some effeminate gay men in The Butch Factor felt uncomfortable about their femininity (despite being comfortable with their sexuality), and feminine gay men may be derided by stereotypically-masculine gays.” ref

“Feminine-looking men tended to come out earlier after being labeled gay by their peers. More likely to face bullying and harassment throughout their lives, they are taunted by derogatory words (such as “sissy“) implying feminine qualities. Effeminate, “campy” gay men sometimes use what John R. Ballew called “camp humor”, such as referring to one another by female pronouns (according to Ballew, “a funny way of defusing hate directed toward us [gay men]”); however, such humor “can cause us [gay men] to become confused in relation to how we feel about being men”. He further stated:

[Heterosexual] men are sometimes advised to get in touch with their “inner feminine.” Maybe gay men need to get in touch with their “inner masculine” instead. Identifying those aspects of being a man we most value and then cultivate those parts of our selves can lead to a healthier and less distorted sense of our own masculinity.” ref

“A study by the Center for Theoretical Study at Charles University in Prague and the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic found significant differences in shape among the faces of 66 heterosexual and gay men, with gay men having more “stereotypically masculine” features (“undermin[ing] stereotypical notions of gay men as more feminine looking.”) However, other studies with larger sample sizes have found that homosexual men were seen as significantly more feminine and less masculine than those of heterosexual men Furthermore, a 2017 study utilized neural networks to see whether artificial intelligence would be able to differentiate accurately between more than 35,000 images of gay and straight faces. The results showed that the “ classifier could correctly distinguish between gay and heterosexual men in 81% of cases, and in 71% of cases for women.” Supporting the idea that men’s faces are perceived as more feminine, analysis suggests that gay men have more “gender-atypical facial morphology, expression and grooming styles.” ref

“Gay men have been presented in the media as feminine and open to ridicule, although films such as Brokeback Mountain are countering the stereotype. A recent development is the portrayal of gay men in the LGBT community as “bears“, a subculture of gay men celebrating rugged masculinity and “secondary sexual characteristics of the male: facial hair, body hair, proportional size, baldness“. Second-wave pro-feminism paid greater attention to issues of sexuality, particularly the relationship between homosexual men and hegemonic masculinity.” ref

“This shift led to increased cooperation between the men’s liberation and gay liberation movements developing, in part, because masculinity was understood as a social construct and in response to the universalization of “men” in previous men’s movements. Men’s-rights activists worked to stop second-wave feminists from influencing the gay-rights movement, promoting hypermasculinity as inherent to gay sexuality. Masculinity has played an important role in lesbian culture, although lesbians vary widely in the degree to which they express masculinity and femininity. In LGBT cultures, masculine women are often referred to as “butch.” ref

“Although often ignored in discussions of masculinity, women can also express masculine traits and behaviors. In Western culture, female masculinity has been codified into identities such as “tomboy” and “butch“. Although female masculinity is often associated with lesbianism, expressing masculinity is not necessarily related to a woman’s sexuality. In feminist philosophy, female masculinity is often characterized as a type of gender performance which challenges traditional masculinity and male dominance. Zachary A. Kramer argues that the discussion of masculinity should be opened up “to include constructions of masculinity that uniquely affect women.” Masculine women are often subject to social stigma and harassment, although the influence of the feminist movement has led to greater acceptance of women expressing masculinity in recent decades.” ref

“Women who participate in sports, especially male-dominated sports, are sometimes derided as being masculine. Even though most sports emphasize stereotypically masculine qualities, such as strength, competition, and aggression, women who participate in sports are still expected to conform to strictly feminine gender norms. This is known as the “female athlete paradox”. Although traditional gender norms are gradually changing, female athletes, especially those that participate in male-dominated sports such as boxing, weight lifting, American football, rugby, ice hockey, and motorsport, are still often viewed as deviating from the boundaries of femininity and may suffer negative repercussions.” ref

“Women face a similar paradox in the business world, as corporate leadership roles are widely associated with stereotypically masculine characteristics. Women who adopt these characteristics may be more successful, but also more disliked due to not conforming with expected feminine stereotypes. According to a study in the UK, women with stereotypically masculine personality traits are more likely to gain access to high-paying occupations than women with feminine personality traits. According to another study conducted in Germany, women who fit the stereotypical masculine gender role are generally more successful in their careers.” ref

Gender, on the other hand, is a Social Construct

“Gender, on the other hand, is a social construct that is defined by individuals/groups within different societies, cultures, and areas of the world. Moreover, gender consists of a number of different dimensions that may change over time, such as:

*Appearance preferences (e.g., clothing, makeup)

*Mannerisms and behaviors

*Emotions and other psychological aspects

*How a person perceives and feels about themselves

“As adults, we may have more agency in terms of how we define and express our gender in different spaces (e.g., school, work, with family); however, from birth and throughout our childhood, each of us tends to be socialized into specified gender roles (i.e., boy/man or girl/woman). For instance, when caregivers learn that they are having a boy (i.e., biological sex), they will begin to select names (e.g., Henry, Jeremiah, Louis), clothing and paint colors (e.g., blue, grey), and toys (e.g., fire trucks, footballs) that are stereotypically aligned with boyhood/manhood/masculinity, and are also often perceived as antithetical (or “opposite”) to girlhood/womanhood/femininity. Unfortunately, this contributes to a dichotomous/binary perception of gender. Yet, each of us occupies both “feminine” and “masculine” attributes to varying degrees each and every day of our lives, regardless of our respective genders.”

Analysis: How ‘Toxic Masculinity’ Fuels Transgender Victimization

“Straight male anxiety” and “toxic masculinity” are helping to fuel the epidemic of violence against transgender women.”

Trans Manhood:

The Intersections of Masculinities, Queerness, and the South (Southern area of America)

“The key finding in this study is that trans men, despite not being assigned male-bodied at birth and despite not being socialized as boys/men through childhood, understand and do masculinities and manhood in similar ways to their southern cis counterparts. Through three primary mechanisms, southern trans men uphold Southern gender ideology and performances of masculinities. These mechanisms include (a) understanding gender as binary and essential; (b) performing stereotypical versions of southern manhood; and, (c) maintaining mastery, honor, and independence.”

What does it Mean to be a Man? Trans Masculinities, Bodily Practices, and Reflexive Embodiment

“Although multiple, the journeys of trans-masculine individuals demonstrate how bodily experiences shape and redefine masculinities in ways that illuminate the nexus between bodies, embodiments, and discursive enactments of masculinity. Rather than oppositions between bodily conformity to and transgression of the norms of hegemonic masculinity, often encountered in idealizations of the medicalized transsexual against the genderqueer rebel, lived bodily experiences shape masculinities beyond linear oppositions. Tensions between natural and technological, material and discursive, or feminine and masculine were keys for understanding trans-masculine narratives about the body, embodiment, and identity.”

Trans Masculinity: Comparing Trans Masculine Individuals’ and Cisgender Men’s Conformity to Hegemonic Masculinity

“Results exhibit that trans-masculine individuals showed higher scores than cisgender men on the dimensions of emotional control and self-reliance, whereas cisgender men showed higher endorsement of norms such as heterosexual self-presentation and power over women.”

Masculinity Inside Out: The Biopolitical Lessons of Transgender and Intersex Studies

“Transgender and intersex studies seem to pose especially tough, challenging questions for masculinity studies, questions that are ultimately about the categories and concepts we use, about the kinds of knowledge masculinity studies has produced, and about the kinds of knowledge, it can produce. The researcher suspect that most scholars who practice masculinity studies believe, for example, they have come to terms with the old distinction between socially or culturally constructed gender on the one hand and the physical materiality of biological sex on the other.”

Masculinity In Intersex

“The Greek Historian Diodorrus Siculus wrote in the first century BCE: Hermaphroditus, as he has been called, who was born of Hermes and Aphrodite and received a name which is a combination of those of both his parents. Some say that this Hermaphroditus is a god and appears at certain times among men, and that he is born with a physical body which is a combination of that of a man and that of a woman.”

Reclaiming masculinity in an account of lived intersex experience: Language, desire, and embodied knowledge

“This paper applies a queer lens to one person’s account of an intersex body and self in order to examine the ‘intersections’ of masculinity with constructions of biologically grounded innateness. Its application reveals the limitations of the social category ‘man’ as a location for masculinity. Through narrative and talk in interaction the informant strategically mobilizes normative discourses of masculinity, appropriating these dominant discourses and constructing a subject position as intersex while drawing upon binary terminology (both biological and social) in order to construct a non-binary body and self.”

Intersex Men, Masculinities, and ‘Disabled’ Penises

“Intersex individuals who identify as men actively negotiate pluralized masculinities, and this is especially pertinent for those who were originally assigned ‘female’ and raised as ‘girls’ and now living in their affirmed gender as men. These men navigate masculinity/ies while possessing ‘feminine’ bodies and/or ‘inadequate’ penises. Subsequently, some intersex men are ‘disabled’ and undertaking journeys of healing; reclaiming lost gender identities, masculine bodies, and (re)negotiating their lives as men.”

“People born with intersex variations have many different gender identities; what we share in common is being born with atypical and stigmatized sex characteristics that do not meet stereotypical expectations for men or women. In very many cases, defining intersex as a gender identity misgenders people born with intersex variations: it wrongly treats actual gender identities as invalid or suspect. In some cases, of course, being intersex may also inform an intersex person’s identity.”

Male or Female? Brains are Intersex

“The underlying assumption in popular and scientific publications on sex differences in the brain is that human brains can take one of two forms “male” or “female,” and that the differences between these two forms underlie differences between men and women in personality, cognition, emotion, and behavior. Documented sex differences in brain structure are typically taken to support this dimorphic view of the brain. However, neuroanatomical data reveal that sex interacts with other factors in utero and throughout life to determine the structure of the brain, and that because these interactions are complex, the result is a multi-morphic, rather than a dimorphic, brain.”

Gender as a historical kind: a tale of two genders?

“Most of us live in a culture in which gender is understood as a binary matter: you are either a woman or a man; you are either a girl or a boy. Gender is also a rich category, in which to belong or identify with. It cuts across a wide variety of dimensions: personal characteristics, clothing and bodily aesthetics, work, and relationship roles are all marked in a gendered manner. What is gendered as belonging to men (or boys) and what is gendered as belonging to women (or girls) also vary considerably across both time and cultures.”

“Hundreds of distinct societies around the globe have their own long-established traditions for third, fourth, fifth, or more genders.”

Exploring the History of Gender Expression

“Although contemporary culture likes to position gender non-conforming people as a new phenomenon, history shows otherwise. Anthropologists have long documented cultures around the world that acknowledge more than two genders. There are examples going back at least 3,000 years to the Iron Age, and even further back to the Copper Age.”

Humans in Prehistoric Central Europe may have viewed Gender through a Non-binary lens, according to a new study

“In a new article published in the peer-reviewed Cambridge Archaeological Journal, researchers from the University of Göttingen noted that while theoretical research on prehistoric gender rarely tests its models against quantifiable variables, archaeologists tend to default to binary models of gender without considering the ongoing theoretical debate. The researchers analyzed a sample of 1,252 individuals from seven burial sites in central Europe from the Early Neolithic and the Late Bronze Age (about 5,500-1,200 BCE or around 7,500 to 3,200 years ago). The researchers advised that biological sex and archaeological gender should be addressed as two separate concepts. The researchers found that 10% of the sampled individuals do not fit a binary model of gender, but also that the gender and sex of only about 30% of the total sample population can actually be determined, meaning 70% of the population lacked either sex or gender determinations or both of them.”

The Elusive Minority: Non-binary Gender in Prehistoric Europe

“People tend to think that the idea that biological sex is linked with one’s role in society belongs in the past. But was it even the case in prehistory? Archaeologists at the University of Göttingen have investigated the representation of gender in Neolithic and Bronze Age graves (around 5500 BCE to 1200 BCE), in order to understand if the idea of gender in prehistoric Europe was really as “binary” as might be expected. The researchers found that the role of prehistoric individuals was mostly – but not solely – determined by their biological sex.”


Abstract: It is notable how little gender archaeology has been written for the European Neolithic, in contrast to the following Bronze Age. We cannot blame this absence on a lack of empirical data or on archaeologists’ theoretical naïveté. Instead, we argue that this absence reflects the fact that gender in this period was qualitatively different in form from the types of gender that emerged in Europe from about 3000 cal BCE onwards; the latter still form the norm in European and American contexts today, and our standard theories and methodologies are designed to uncover this specific form of gender. In Bronze Age gender systems, gender was mostly binary, associated with stable, lifelong identities expressed in recurrent complexes of gendered symbolism. In contrast, Neolithic gender appears to have been less firmly associated with personal identity and more contextually relevant; it slips easily through our methodological nets. In proposing this “contextual gender” model for Neolithic gender, we both open up new understandings of gender in the past and present and pose significant questions for our models of gender more widely.”

“The Sacred Band of Thebes, a troop of soldiers that consisted of 150 gay male couples, formed the elite force of the Theban army in the 4th century BCE. The rationale behind the Band’s composition was that lovers would fight more fiercely and cohesively than strangers with no ardent bonds. Theban general Pelopidas formed these couples into a distinct unit – the “special forces” of Greek soldiery – and the forty years of their known existence (378–338 BCE) marked the pre-eminence of Thebes as a military and political power in late-classical Greece. The Sacred Band fought the Spartans at Tegyra in 375 BCE, vanquishing an army that was at least three times its size. It was also responsible for the victory at Leuctra in 371 BCE that established Theban independence from Spartan rule and laid the groundwork for the expansion of Theban power. Their only defeat came at the Battle of Chaeronea (338 BCE), against Philip II of Macedon and his son, Alexander the Great. It is written that Philip, after the fight, took a view of the slain; coming upon the place where the three hundred that fought his phalanx lay dead together and, understanding that it was the band of lovers, he wept. Around 300 BCE, the town of Thebes erected a giant stone lion on a pedestal at the burial site of the Sacred Band that still stands today.” ref

Personal relationships of Alexander the Great

According to Athenaeus, Callixena was employed by Olympias out of fear that Alexander was “womanish” (γύvνις), and his mother used to beg him to sleep with the courtesan, apparently to no success. Some modern historians, such as James Davidson, see this as evidence of Alexander’s homosexuality. However, the ancient sources report Alexander as sexually active with women throughout his life and how in adulthood he brought concubines to bed every night. According to Carystius (as quoted by Athenaeus), when Alexander praised the beauty of a boy at a gathering, probably a slave belonging to one Charon of Chalcis, the latter asked the boy to kiss Alexander, but Alexander refused, to spare Charon the embarrassment of having to share his boy’s affections.” ref

“Alexander had a close emotional attachment to his companion, cavalry commander (hipparchus) and childhood friend, Hephaestion. He studied with Alexander, as did a handful of other children of Ancient Macedonian aristocracy, under the tutelage of Aristotle. Hephaestion makes his appearance in history at the point when Alexander reaches Troy. There they made sacrifices at the shrines of the two heroes Achilles and Patroclus; Alexander honoring Achilles, and Hephaestion honoring Patroclus.ref

“According to Robin Lane Fox, Alexander and Hephaestion were possible lovers. After Hephaestion’s death in Oct 324 BCE, Alexander mourned him greatly and did not eat for days. Alexander held an elaborate funeral for Hephaestion at Babylon, and sent a note to the shrine of Ammon, which had previously acknowledged Alexander as a god, asking them to grant Hephaestion divine honors. The priests declined, but did offer him the status of divine hero. Alexander died soon after receiving this letter; Mary Renault suggests that his grief over Hephaestion’s death had led him to be careless with his health.ref

“Alexander was overwhelmed by his grief for Hephaestion, so much that Arrian records that Alexander “flung himself on the body of his friend and lay there nearly all day long in tears, and refused to be parted from him until he was dragged away by force by his Companions”. Some have suggested that they shared a homosexual relationship together. Others, such as the conservative author and politician Adonis Georgiadis, have challenged that claim, stating instead that Hephaestion was “his closest and dearest friend.ref

Homosexuality in the Militaries of Ancient Greece

Homosexuality in the militaries of ancient Greece was regarded as contributing to morale. Although the primary example is the Sacred Band of Thebes, a unit said to have been formed of same-sex couples, the Spartan tradition of military heroism has also been explained in light of strong emotional bonds resulting from homosexual relationships. Various ancient Greek sources record incidents of courage in battle and interpret them as motivated by homoerotic bonds. Some Greek philosophers wrote on the subject of homosexuality in the military. In Plato‘s Symposium, the interlocutor Phaedrus commented on the power of male sexual relationships to improve bravery in the military: he would prefer to die many deaths: while as for leaving the one he loves in a lurch, or not succoring him in peril, no man is such a craven that the influence of Love cannot inspire him with a courage that makes him equal to the bravest born.” ref

“According to tradition, the Greeks structured military units along tribal lines, a practice attributed to Nestor in the Homeric epics. The Theban military commander Pammenes, however, is supposed to have advocated military organization based on pairs of lovers: Homer‘s Nestor was not well skilled in ordering an army when he advised the Greeks to rank tribe and tribe … he should have joined lovers and their beloved. For men of the same tribe little value one another when dangers press; but a band cemented by friendship grounded upon love is never to be broken.” ref

“One such example took place during the Lelantine War between the Eretrians and the Chalcidians. In a decisive battle the Chalcidians called for the aid of a warrior named Cleomachus. Cleomachus answered their request and brought his lover along with him. He charged against the Eretrians and brought the Chalcidians to victory at the cost of his own life. It was said he was inspired with love during the battle. Afterwards, the Chalcidians erected a tomb for him in their marketplace and reversed their negative view of military homosexuality and began to honor it. Aristotle attributed a popular local song to the event: Ye lads of grace and sprung from worthy stock, Grudge not to brave men converse with your beauty, In cities of Chalcis, Love, looser of limbs, Thrives side by side with courage.” ref

DeSantis defends Pentagon proposal purging ‘woke’ policy from military 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday defended his Pentagon plan in an exclusive interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, which would address recruiting woes by stripping the military of so-called “woke” policy. “You clearly have a problem with recruiting,” DeSantis told Tapper. “And at this level, everybody has acknowledged these recruiting levels are at a crisis.” ref

“Why is that the case? I think it’s because people see the military losing its way, not focusing on the mission, and focusing on a lot of these other things,” the 2024 presidential candidate said. DeSantis earlier Tuesday unveiled a plan that would eliminate diversity initiatives, punish former military leaders who engage in politics, and end programs designed to ready the country’s national defense system for a climate change future.” ref

“He would also revoke a policy that allows transgender personnel to serve in the military in their preferred sex, reinstate personnel who were dismissed for refusing a coronavirus vaccine, and end Department of Defense efforts to combat extremism. The plan would also put in place gender-neutral standards for women and men who serve in the armed forces, and he would oppose including women in a military draft.” ref

“Research conducted by the Army and obtained by CNN, however, ranks “wokeness” in the Army below concerns over discrimination against women and racial or ethnic minorities as a barrier to entry to enlisting. The research, used by the Army’s marketing arm, asked respondents to evaluate potential barriers to entry into the military branch – putting aside worries over the possibility of injury or death, emotional or psychological harm, and leaving friends and family, the top three barriers to entry.” ref

“Without those three worries on the list, concerns over the Army placing “too much emphasis on ‘wokeness’” ranked ninth, while concerns over discrimination against women and minorities ranked second. According to the research, “putting the rest of my life on hold” ranked as the most important barrier, with a “preference share” of 21%.” ref

“The report says that metric “indicates the relative importance of a barrier compared to the others.” Concerns about racial, ethnic, and gender discrimination had a “preference share” of 13%, while too much emphasis on “wokeness” had a “preference share” of 5%. Pressed by Tapper on the research numbers contradicting his stance that “wokeness” was having a stronger effect on recruiting than diversity worries, DeSantis demurred.” ref

“Well, but I think there’s an issue about, like, not everyone really knows what wokeness is,” he said. “I mean, I’ve defined it, but a lot of people who rail against wokeness can’t even define it.” The Army’s report, however, clearly defined “wokeness” as “diversity/equity training, marginalizing those with conservative views, etc.” DeSantis’s anti-woke policy proposals mirror similar actions he has taken as governor of Florida, where he banned universities from spending on diversity and inclusion programs, prohibited training related to privilege in society, and eliminated certain teaching about race.” ref

“Go to a [Veterans of Foreign Wars] hall, go to an American Legion. There’s a huge amount of concern about the direction– that the military is going with all this. And here’s the thing, things like DEI and all that stuff, it hasn’t worked in other aspects of society,” he said. Senior enlisted US military leaders in a March congressional hearing pushed back against GOP lawmakers’ assertions that the force is being politicized by “woke” initiatives and said such claims are hurting recruitment and distracting from the military’s mission.” ref

“Army National Guard officer, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael Grinston in the hearing also referenced research the Army did on barriers to service among potential recruits, saying diversity and inclusion efforts were “not the number one, two, three, four, five reasons” young Americans were not joining. “I think the narrative that we are focused on that more than warfighting is what’s perhaps hurting us,” Air Force Chief Master Sgt. JoAnne Bass said, adding the Air Force “does not have pronoun training. And … where we could use your help is by sharing that message that your services are not focused on any of those such training more than we are on warfighting.” ref

How Capitalism Redefined Masculine Virtue

“One of the main fronts in the current culture war in the United States is the debate over “masculinity.” Certain corners of the Left tell us that “toxic masculinity” is a terrible thing. Yet, it’s often unclear whether masculinity is itself necessarily toxic, or if toxic masculinity is just one type of masculinity. How masculinity is defined is essential to the debate, and every pundit wants to define it his or her own way.”

@DamienMarieAtHope Careful, that’s the Ludwig Von Mises Institute. But this sounds like one of the better articles. I wasn’t aware they still did this.” –

Re-Marking Men: Masculinity as a Terrain of the Neoliberal Economy

“Neoliberalism is produced on and through the terrain of gendered meanings. Gender naturalizes capitalist relations and addresses and constitutes subjects across economic arenas. As the unmarked side of the pair, masculinity is too often overlooked in these processes, thus obscuring both the masculine character of elite performances and the growing relegation of non-elite men to the margins of the economy.”

As Capitalism Fuels Toxic Masculinity, Time to Call Ourselves Out

“Toxic masculinity is the reason for a number of crimes globally, including domestic violence, writes Sagar Galani.”

Masculinity and Capitalis

“Recent decades have brought about a striking increase in inequality among men across many scales. Within the regime of globalized financialized capitalism, manufacturing has been relocated to low-wage regions, and many of the jobs have simply disappeared because of automation. At the same time, in the upper echelons of financial capitalism, elite men continue to predominate, simultaneously fueling profitable market “bubbles” through rhetorics of masculine performance and excusing market crises through narratives that reference uncontrollable male hormones.”

Martial masculinity and authoritarian populism

“Some states recently accused of threatening democracy and the rule of law are embraced. But authoritarian populism has been growing in Europe for a long time in the midst of liberal democracy. Authoritarian-populist and illiberal forces build on the constitutive inequalities and domination patterns of modern liberal democracy. One of the key aporias of liberal democracy is that democratization processes are able to occur without changing this form of democracy in its basic masculinist, bourgeois and exclusive form.”

‘Strongmen’: How a Crisis in Masculinity Paved the Way for Fascism

“The new current global rise in authoritarianism seems not that different that the past. The Great War led to a profound crisis in maleness. “It created this entire class of men who were damaged, many were killed, and it created this huge crisis of masculinity,” she said. “So fascist rulers came up during this crisis period of unrest and instability in their individual countries and Italy was first.”

The Fascist State of Mind and the Manufacturing of Masculinity A psychoanalytic approach

“Fascism as a product of certain forms of masculinity and focuses on the dynamics of masculinity as a mode of psychic functioning.”

The model of masculinity: Youth, gender, and education in Fascist Italy, 1922-1939

“Youth and masculinity are keys to understanding Italian Fascist culture. The Fascist regime used educational institutions to enforce binary gender roles to encourage boys to grow into heroic soldiers and girls to become dutiful wives.”

Why We Need To Teach Boys About Positive Masculinity

“You might be surprised to discover that school is a place where many boys feel unsafe. They are afraid they won’t live up to the rules of manhood—they won’t be cool enough, popular enough, or tough enough. The rules of manhood are making our youth feel unsafe, resulting in behaviors associated with an increased risk of substance abuse, suicide, and other mental and physical health problems. The solution, it seems, lies in undefining and redefining what it means to ‘be a man,’ and helping young boys to create their own healthier version of masculinity.”

Manning up: Men may Overcompensate when their Masculinity is Threatened

“Men have long faced pressure to live up to ideals of masculinity. Societal norms dictating that men should be masculine are powerful. And the University of Washington research finds that men who believe they fall short of those ideals might be prompted to reassert their masculinity in small but significant ways.”

Masculinity is long acquired, and quickly lost. International research by a scientific team

“Masculinity is not the same as being a man. The results of an international research project carried out at the Institute of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Gdańsk, indicate that in most cultures masculinity is understood as a social status that is difficult to earn and easy to lose. Additionally, it requires repeated proving through specific behaviors, gestures, or actions.”

Americans’ views on Masculinity differ by Party, Gender, and Race

“New guidelines from the American Psychological Association warning against “traditional masculine ideology” and a viral Gillette ad have sparked a national conversation about men and masculinity, with some saying concerns about masculinity should be taken seriously and others denouncing what they see as an attack on masculinity.”

How to Fight Toxic Masculinity?

“The code of toxic masculinity requires that men are dominant over everyone else, have no needs, show no emotion, and are always #winning. To fit in the man box of toxic masculinity, a man must live by a particular set of beliefs and behaviors: Suffer pain in silence, Have no needs, Never lose, Show no emotions other than bravado or rage, Don’t depend on anyone, Don’t do anything that could be construed as weakness, and Never snitch. The man box also requires that men buy into a rigid hierarchy in which straight men are dominant over everybody else. Furthermore, among straight men, the man box decrees that hypermasculine men are dominant over men who reject or find themselves outside the box.” 

How Performative Masculinity has played a role in the COVID-19 Pandemic

“Performative masculinity, also known as toxic masculinity, has played a big role in the way men have reacted to the pandemic. Performative masculinity is a socially-prescribed set of ideas around what it means to be a man, whereby men must act (‘perform’) in certain ways in order to appear masculine. As performative masculinity can assume male sexual entitlement to women, and perpetuate the need to appear physically strong and ‘brave’ around other men, these behaviors can be harmful (e.g., male violence and sexual assault). The need to appear physically, mentally, and emotionally strong, has interacted with COVID regulations in negative ways.”

Masculinity molecule, Debunked

“Challenging stereotypes, two scholars unpack the social and cultural contexts of testosterone Rebecca Jordan-Young and Katrina Karkazis style their new book, Testosterone: An Unauthorized Biography, as a daring push from outside the world of testosterone science, challenging long-held assumptions about the hormone. At the heart of the book is a hope of replacing readers’ beliefs that testosterone is merely biological with a nuanced understanding of how both social interactions and internal physiology affect levels of testosterone and its effects.”

Both Males and Females can perform Masculinity and Femininity

“Examining masculinity from a psychological standpoint provides an opportunity to isolate factors that contribute to sexual and gun violence and men’s poorer health. Psychology distinguishes biological sex (being male, female, or intersex) from socio-psychological gender (referring to masculinity, femininity, as well as various non-binary identities). Masculinity is often considered to be a set of beliefs that individuals hold, which are based on socio-cultural ideologies regarding gender. Masculinity is, therefore, a social construction distinct from male biological sex. Definitions of masculinity vary across different cultures and historical periods. Both males and females can perform masculinity and femininity. As a result, masculinity is not “hard-wired” due to genes and hormones, and it is not essential nor inescapable for boys and men.”

“Traditional Masculinity Can Hurt Boys, Say New American Psychological Association (APA) Guidelines”

Dominant forms of Masculinity: men justify or excuse their violence

Research on men who have been violent against women has often shown how these men justify or excuse their violence, minimize their responsibility, as well as construct dominant forms of masculinity. A study of convicted rapists in the USA, “Sexually violent men need not search far for cultural language that supports the premise that women are responsible for, or at least provoke, rape.” However, this “cultural language” is under transformation in many contexts. There is evidence that around the world, intimate partner violence is undergoing a process of de-legitimization.”

Toxic Masculinity is Unsafe… for Men

“The belief that “real men” must be strong, tough, and independent may be a detriment to their social needs later in life. A study co-authored by a Michigan State University sociologist found that men who endorse hegemonic ideals of masculinity — or “toxic masculinity” — can become socially isolated as they age, impacting their health, well-being, and overall happiness.”

Science: a Masculine Disorder?

“Patriarchy is based on male control of dominant social structures and the exclusion of women from positions of power through means such as direct discrimination, socialization, and the gender division of labor. Patriarchy within the scientific community is manifested through male control of elite positions and various exclusionary devices. The scientific method incorporates masculine features such as the objectification of nature. Scientific knowledge is masculine in its neglect of women’s experience and its adoption of paradigms built on assumptions of competition and hierarchy.”

Masculinity, Social Connectedness, and Mental Health: Men’s Diverse Patterns of Practice

“Overall, the findings suggest that patterns of social connectedness among men are diverse, challenging the social science literature that frames all men’s social relationships as being largely instrumental, and men as less able and less interested than women in building emotional and supportive relationships with others.”

Masculinity – an overview

“Masculinities and femininities refer to the social roles, behaviors, and meanings prescribed for men and women in any society at any time. Such normative gender ideologies must be distinguished from biological ‘sex,’ and must be understood to be plural as there is no single definition for all men and all women. Masculinities and femininities are structured and expressed through other axes of identity such as class, race, ethnicity, age, and sexuality. Thus some definitions are held up as the hegemonic versions, against which others are measured. Gender ideologies are more than properties of individuals; masculinities and femininities are also institutionally organized and elaborated and experienced through interactions.”

“Gender roles have changed over centuries but they have always had to be reinforced. “Pink is not for girls, it’s for boys!” – “Pink is not for boys, it’s for girls!” – 

@DamienMarieAtHope Look, I am not an expert on anything, but for me, the fact that people have had to rigidly enforce gender roles for hundreds of years tells me they are artificial.”

@WhyNotZoidberg @DamienMarieAtHope This but isn’t it also cultural… What I mean is in ye’ oldie days they would have a profoundly different culture than say one influenced by people who *wanted* strict rules to follow and live by when the ancestors had no time for that… they were just trying to survive?”

@DamienMarieAtHope The way I see it, sex is scientific, while gender is an experience. Sometimes our experience of gender lines up with our assigned biological sex, and sometimes it doesn’t. And even people who are cisgender don’t necessarily experience their own gender the way others do (like a girl who’s a “tomboy”; they may still see themselves as female but they don’t experience it the same way a girl who is or was raised to be hyperfeminine does).”

“Reading ‘Ain’t I a Woman’ by bell hooks and I’m blown away by how obviously true the things she’s saying are yet they remain unsaid when people discuss feminism and even antiracism. I’m still early on but the way she’s describing the specifics about how black women were doubly victimized during slavery because they were expected to do the work of men and women while also being exploited and abused sexually.” – Cory Johnston(he/him) @Skepticallefty

“So apparently there’s this thing where men claim that it’s unmasculine to raise children who have a different biological father. I’m shocked at how fucking fragile and pathetic these men must be. How fucking weak are you that you won’t take care of children? When I was married there was a time I became the neighborhood dad. I cared for and fed and helped all the kids in our area. I raise my stepdaughters proudly knowing that when they grow they will be a force for good in the world and I’m partly responsible for that. When I hear about these fragile men who won’t date single mothers or won’t help raise their children it just shows me what losers they are. If you put your fragile masculinity above the well-being and future of children then you are a loser. But go off, be a solo dude, who never raises kids. The world is probably better off without you perpetuating your shitty ideas.” – Cory Johnston(he/him) @Skepticallefty 

“If right-wingers actually knew what leftists believe they might think some of our ideas aren’t so bad. If they actually knew what communism or anarchism was then they would know that the so-called liberal parties of many states are far from communists or anarchists. If right-wingers actually understood their own ideology they would realize that they have more in common with Trudeau than anyone on the actual left does, it still wouldn’t make them any less racist, sexist, or LGBTQ-phobic. It’s a truly bleak view of humanity that says we need police to keep our communities in order. They build fortunes on the backs and lives of workers and claim it’s human nature for them to be on top.” – Cory Johnston(he/him) @Skepticallefty

“It’s hard to watch some shows after learning a certain amount of leftist theory. I’m watching season 4 of Supergirl and episode 3 is a study in blaming the wrong people for your hardships when a bit of class consciousness and anti-hierarchal thinking would go a long way. It’s hard not to get frustrated when (as in real life) people turn to the racist blaming of an exploited minority when the real problem comes from the systems of power that dominate everyone and pit us against each other. Nobody even questions the power of the state being used to oppress or the power of corporations to exploit and toss away those they can’t profit from. Again, much like real life. And of course, they had to go with the old trope of not wanting “to descend into anarchy” Except the solidarity that comes with class consciousness and mutual aid are exactly what they need (and we need it). I’ve been working so much I thought I’d find watching a superhero show relaxing but all it did was remind me of the entrenched hierarchies that exist and how much work needs to be done to change things.” – Cory Johnston(he/him) @Skepticallefty


Hatshepsut (c. 1507–1458 BCE) was the Great Royal Wife of Pharaoh Thutmosis II and the fifth Pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt, ruling from c. 1478 or 1479 BCE until her death in 1458 BCE. She was the second female Pharaoh after Sobekneferu Nefrusobek.” ref

Hero in Greek mythology

Hero and Leander, two lovers celebrated in Greek legend. Hero, virgin priestess of Aphrodite at Sestos, was seen at a festival by Leander of Abydos; they fell in love, and he swam the Hellespont at night to visit her, guided by a light from her tower. One stormy night the light was extinguished, and Leander was drowned; Hero, seeing his body, drowned herself likewise.” ref

“Hero and Leander is the Greek myth relating the story of Hero (Ancient Greek: Ἡρώ, Hērṓ; [hɛː.rɔ̌ː]), a priestess of Aphrodite (Venus in Roman mythology) who dwelt in a tower in Sestos on the European side of the Hellespont, and Leander (Ancient Greek: Λέανδρος, Léandros), a young man from Abydos on the opposite side of the strait. Leander falls in love with Hero and swims every night across the Hellespont to spend time with her. Hero lights a lamp at the top of her tower to guide his way. Leander’s soft words and charms — and his argument that Aphrodite, as the goddess of love and sex, would scorn the worship of a virgin — convince Hero, and they make love. Their secret love affair lasts through a warm summer, but when winter and its rougher weather looms, they agree to part for the season and resume in the spring. One stormy winter night, however, Leander sees the torch at the top of Hero’s tower. He attempts to go to her, but halfway through his swim, a strong winter wind blows out Hero’s light, and Leander loses his way and drowns. When Hero sees his dead body, she throws herself off the tower to join him in death. Their bodies wash up on shore together, locked in embrace, then subsequently buried in a lover’s tomb.” ref

Medusa in Greek mythology

In Greek mythologyMedusa (/mɪˈdjzə, sə/Ancient GreekΜέδουσαromanizedMédousalit.‘guardian, protectress’), also called Gorgo, was one of the three Gorgons. Medusa is generally described as a human female with living venomous snakes in place of hair; those who gazed into her eyes would turn to stoneWhile ancient Greek vase-painters and relief carvers imagined Medusa and her sisters as having monstrous form, sculptors and vase-painters of the fifth century BC began to envisage her as being beautiful as well as terrifying. In an ode written in 490 BCE, Pindar already speaks of “fair-cheeked Medusa.” ref

“In a late version of the Medusa myth, by the Roman poet Ovid, Medusa was originally a beautiful maiden, but when Neptune (the Roman equivalent of the Greek Poseidon) had sex with her in Minerva‘s temple (Minerva being the Roman equivalent of the Greek Athena), Minerva punished Medusa by transforming her beautiful hair into horrible snakes. Although no earlier version mention this, ancient depictions of Medusa as a beautiful maiden instead of a horrid monster predate Ovid. In classical Greek art, the depiction of Medusa shifted from hideous beast to an attractive young woman, both aggressor and victim, a tragic figure in her death. The earliest of those depictions comes courtesy of Polygnotus, who drew Medusa as a comely woman sleeping peacefully as Perseus beheads her. As the act of killing a beautiful maiden in her sleep is rather unheroic, it is not clear whether those vases are meant to elicit sympathy for Medusa’s fate, or to mock the traditional hero.” ref

There Is More to Life Than XX and XY

“In addition to the chromosomal options of XX and XY, mutations in the 23rd chromosome set may also make them XXY (Klinefelter syndrome), XYY, a single X (known as XO or Turner syndrome), or XXX (Triple X syndrome). Some humans may also be categorized as intersex, which could be a combination of male and female biological structures (for example, a person who is male-assigned at birth but internally possesses ovaries); there are multiple categories of intersex.” ref

“As noted earlier, some have argued that surgically altering one’s genitalia does not change their XX, XY, XXY, XYY, X, XXX, etc. chromosomal structures, which is true. However, this argument ignores the strong genetic influences on one’s gender preference. It is important to remember that sex assigned at birth and gender are different terms, and each has a heritable basis. Claims that all XX or XY people should act like women or men because of this chromosomal basis is an affront to the science of sex and gender and misses the scientific evidence that there is a difference between sex and gender and their biological heritabilities.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

While hallucinogens are associated with shamanism, it is alcohol that is associated with paganism.

The Atheist-Humanist-Leftist Revolutionaries Shows in the prehistory series:

Show one: Prehistory: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” the division of labor, power, rights, and recourses.

Show two: Pre-animism 300,000 years old and animism 100,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism”

Show tree: Totemism 50,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism”

Show four: Shamanism 30,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism”

Show five: Paganism 12,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism”

Show six: Emergence of hierarchy, sexism, slavery, and the new male god dominance: Paganism 7,000-5,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” (Capitalism) (World War 0) Elite and their slaves!

Show seven: Paganism 5,000 years old: progressed organized religion and the state: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” (Kings and the Rise of the State)

Show eight: Paganism 4,000 years old: Moralistic gods after the rise of Statism and often support Statism/Kings: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” (First Moralistic gods, then the Origin time of Monotheism)

Prehistory: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” the division of labor, power, rights, and recourses: VIDEO

Pre-animism 300,000 years old and animism 100,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism”: VIDEO

Totemism 50,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism”: VIDEO

Shamanism 30,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism”: VIDEO

Paganism 12,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” (Pre-Capitalism): VIDEO

Paganism 7,000-5,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” (Capitalism) (World War 0) Elite and their slaves: VIEDO

Paganism 5,000 years old: progressed organized religion and the state: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” (Kings and the Rise of the State): VIEDO

Paganism 4,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” (First Moralistic gods, then the Origin time of Monotheism): VIEDO

I do not hate simply because I challenge and expose myths or lies any more than others being thought of as loving simply because of the protection and hiding from challenge their favored myths or lies.

The truth is best championed in the sunlight of challenge.

An archaeologist once said to me “Damien religion and culture are very different”

My response, So are you saying that was always that way, such as would you say Native Americans’ cultures are separate from their religions? And do you think it always was the way you believe?

I had said that religion was a cultural product. That is still how I see it and there are other archaeologists that think close to me as well. Gods too are the myths of cultures that did not understand science or the world around them, seeing magic/supernatural everywhere.

I personally think there is a goddess and not enough evidence to support a male god at Çatalhöyük but if there was both a male and female god and goddess then I know the kind of gods they were like Proto-Indo-European mythology.

This series idea was addressed in, Anarchist Teaching as Free Public Education or Free Education in the Public: VIDEO

Our 12 video series: Organized Oppression: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of power (9,000-4,000 years ago), is adapted from: The Complete and Concise History of the Sumerians and Early Bronze Age Mesopotamia (7000-2000 BC): by “History with Cy

Show #1: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Samarra, Halaf, Ubaid)

Show #2: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Eridu: First City of Power)

Show #3: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Uruk and the First Cities)

Show #4: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (First Kings)

Show #5: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Early Dynastic Period)

Show #6: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (King Lugalzagesi and the First Empire)

Show #7: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Sargon and Akkadian Rule)

Show #8: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Naram-Sin, Post-Akkadian Rule, and the Gutians)

Show #9: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Gudea of Lagash and Utu-hegal)

Show #10: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Third Dynasty of Ur / Neo-Sumerian Empire)

Show #11: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Amorites, Elamites, and the End of an Era)

Show #12: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Aftermath and Legacy of Sumer)

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

The “Atheist-Humanist-Leftist Revolutionaries”

Cory Johnston ☭ Ⓐ Atheist Leftist @Skepticallefty & I (Damien Marie AtHope) @AthopeMarie (my YouTube & related blog) are working jointly in atheist, antitheist, antireligionist, antifascist, anarchist, socialist, and humanist endeavors in our videos together, generally, every other Saturday.

Why Does Power Bring Responsibility?

Think, how often is it the powerless that start wars, oppress others, or commit genocide? So, I guess the question is to us all, to ask, how can power not carry responsibility in a humanity concept? I know I see the deep ethical responsibility that if there is power their must be a humanistic responsibility of ethical and empathic stewardship of that power. Will I be brave enough to be kind? Will I possess enough courage to be compassionate? Will my valor reach its height of empathy? I as everyone, earns our justified respect by our actions, that are good, ethical, just, protecting, and kind. Do I have enough self-respect to put my love for humanity’s flushing, over being brought down by some of its bad actors? May we all be the ones doing good actions in the world, to help human flourishing.

I create the world I want to live in, striving for flourishing. Which is not a place but a positive potential involvement and promotion; a life of humanist goal precision. To master oneself, also means mastering positive prosocial behaviors needed for human flourishing. I may have lost a god myth as an atheist, but I am happy to tell you, my friend, it is exactly because of that, leaving the mental terrorizer, god belief, that I truly regained my connected ethical as well as kind humanity.

Cory and I will talk about prehistory and theism, addressing the relevance to atheism, anarchism, and socialism.

At the same time as the rise of the male god, 7,000 years ago, there was also the very time there was the rise of violence, war, and clans to kingdoms, then empires, then states. It is all connected back to 7,000 years ago, and it moved across the world.

Cory Johnston:  

The Mind of a Skeptical Leftist (YouTube)

Cory Johnston: Mind of a Skeptical Leftist @Skepticallefty

The Mind of a Skeptical Leftist By Cory Johnston: “Promoting critical thinking, social justice, and left-wing politics by covering current events and talking to a variety of people. Cory Johnston has been thoughtfully talking to people and attempting to promote critical thinking, social justice, and left-wing politics.”

Cory needs our support. We rise by helping each other.

Cory Johnston ☭ Ⓐ @Skepticallefty Evidence-based atheist leftist (he/him) Producer, host, and co-host of 4 podcasts @skeptarchy @skpoliticspod and @AthopeMarie

Damien Marie AtHope (“At Hope”) Axiological Atheist, Anti-theist, Anti-religionist, Secular Humanist. Rationalist, Writer, Artist, Poet, Philosopher, Advocate, Activist, Psychology, and Armchair Archaeology/Anthropology/Historian.

Damien is interested in: Freedom, Liberty, Justice, Equality, Ethics, Humanism, Science, Atheism, Antiteism, Antireligionism, Ignosticism, Left-Libertarianism, Anarchism, Socialism, Mutualism, Axiology, Metaphysics, LGBTQI, Philosophy, Advocacy, Activism, Mental Health, Psychology, Archaeology, Social Work, Sexual Rights, Marriage Rights, Woman’s Rights, Gender Rights, Child Rights, Secular Rights, Race Equality, Ageism/Disability Equality, Etc. And a far-leftist, “Anarcho-Humanist.”

I am not a good fit in the atheist movement that is mostly pro-capitalist, I am anti-capitalist. Mostly pro-skeptic, I am a rationalist not valuing skepticism. Mostly pro-agnostic, I am anti-agnostic. Mostly limited to anti-Abrahamic religions, I am an anti-religionist. 

To me, the “male god” seems to have either emerged or become prominent around 7,000 years ago, whereas the now favored monotheism “male god” is more like 4,000 years ago or so. To me, the “female goddess” seems to have either emerged or become prominent around 11,000-10,000 years ago or so, losing the majority of its once prominence around 2,000 years ago due largely to the now favored monotheism “male god” that grow in prominence after 4,000 years ago or so. 

My Thought on the Evolution of Gods?

Animal protector deities from old totems/spirit animal beliefs come first to me, 13,000/12,000 years ago, then women as deities 11,000/10,000 years ago, then male gods around 7,000/8,000 years ago. Moralistic gods around 5,000/4,000 years ago, and monotheistic gods around 4,000/3,000 years ago. 

“Animism” is needed to begin supernatural thinking.
“Totemism” is needed for supernatural thinking connecting human actions & related to clan/tribe.
“Shamanism” is needed for supernatural thinking to be controllable/changeable by special persons.
Together = Gods/paganism

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

Damien Marie AtHope (Said as “At” “Hope”)/(Autodidact Polymath but not good at math):

Axiological Atheist, Anti-theist, Anti-religionist, Secular Humanist, Rationalist, Writer, Artist, Jeweler, Poet, “autodidact” Philosopher, schooled in Psychology, and “autodidact” Armchair Archaeology/Anthropology/Pre-Historian (Knowledgeable in the range of: 1 million to 5,000/4,000 years ago). I am an anarchist socialist politically. Reasons for or Types of Atheism

My Website, My Blog, & Short-writing or QuotesMy YouTube, Twitter: @AthopeMarie, and My Email:

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