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masculinity

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Head and heart, left and right. Our ability to be and our ability to do, to receive and to create. Although considered opposites, how these transpire in our thoughts and behaviours are symbols of their strength, and can shape our personalities forever. The masculine and feminine divine are not gendered, one cannot exist without the other. These emotions are not gendered, but they align flawlessly.

The universe is created by both female and male energies, they are infused into everything we know. The feminine divine is circular, it flows seamlessly and is known to be the energy that controls our emotions. Where the masculine divine is direct, a straight line that has a beginning and an ending, a direct path and is in control of our minds. For some this may seem far-fetched, but when we start to think about the brain it can put things into perspective.

We know our brain is divided. The left side is analytical and rational, it controls our ability to make responsible decisions. The right side is considered intuitive and impulsive, in charge of our emotions and creativity. Our masculine and feminine energies are divided just the same. When one side of the brain is injured, it is often left disabled and alters the person’s life severely. When the two energies that exist within us are unbalanced, it can also be threatening to one’s wellbeing.

In western culture we are not taught how to respect this divide. We are raised in a world that is afraid to stop. Time and time again we become overworked and burnt out. This comes down to how afraid we are to connect to our feminine and how exhausted our masculine energy becomes.

The divine feminine is the purest form of female expression. She allows us to build trust within our relationships and care for one another. She helps us to be patient and intuitive and infuse passion into our day to day lives.

Our past experiences shape our energies. The divine feminine is the purest form of female expression. She allows us to build trust within our relationships and care for one another. She helps us to be patient and intuitive and infuse passion into our day to day lives. When we give birth to an idea, a friendship, a business, a relationship, it is our feminine energy that nurtures it, allowing it to grow.

Traditionally, we raise our sons to be competitive and dominate. That crying is a weakness and violence is a reasonable answer. To show any type of emotion will make you a “girl” and who wants to be a weak little girl? Comments such as these are what beat down the feminine energy and cause angry boys to grow up and be angry men. When young boys are told to repress their feminine energy, their masculine energy falls into a more dominant role. This is then called “wounded masculinity”

Wounded masculinity comes from a place of fear and is an emotion that is taught to us from a young age. The wounded side comes from struggling to prove worthiness and the fear of not being loved or welcomed. Instead those emotions are replaced by ego-stroking, over-powering displays of competition and violence.

He is confident but not arrogant, adventurous but not reckless. He is someone you want to follow, he makes you feel safe, supported and protected, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

When one’s masculine energy is wounded, they will never be enough. A constant yearning to have more and more. This kind of energy is not only damaging to one’s self, but can also create division in the relationships that surround them. It is not until the masculine becomes balanced with the feminine that the true and beautiful expressions of the masculine divine start to appear in its highest form.

The strong yet gentle nature of the masculine divine is such a powerful energy that when balanced within a person, has great potential of leadership and wholeness. He is confident but not arrogant, adventurous but not reckless. He is someone you want to follow, he makes you feel safe, supported and protected, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

But men are not the only ones becoming weighed down by these external expectations. When women first started to assert their authority and truly claim their identity, the first thing we did was burn our bras and start wearing pants. Abandoning the real essence of our femininity and instead decided to compete with men and prove that we could be equally.

We are encouraged to treat sex “like a man would” not to care, to avoid “catching feelings”. Although we are no longer burning our bras, we are subconsciously proving ourselves in other ways.

We are encouraged to treat sex “like a man would” not to care, to avoid “catching feelings”. Although we are no longer burning our bras, we are subconsciously proving ourselves in other ways. We are encouraged to ignore our feminine instincts of tenderness and love and instead adopt a rigged, nonchalant, “masculine” mentality.

Ann Friedman, author of the article,When Women Pursue Sex, Even Men Don’t Get It” says it best, “Women want sex, and in particular, they want sex with people who really want them. But socially, many straight men still find it a turnoff when women are sexual aggressors. Which means that, for women, assertively pursuing the thing they want actually leads to them not getting it.”

We all have the divine masculine and feminine within our own psyche. How they come out in our thoughts and behaviours are indicative of their strengths, and often shape our personalities and relationships. It is normal human behaviour to be stronger in some aspects than others. But when you emotionally exhaust yourself and manipulate your own behaviours to fit a cookie cutter expectation of what a man and a woman should be like, is when an excruciating internal battle begins.

The idea is not to be the perfect balance at all times, to be constantly happy and logical. Of course, there are times in everyone’s lives when you need to be more flexible, either emotionally or logically, but constantly being at war with ourselves to meet societal pressures can lead to a life of emptiness and perpetual “what ifs”.

Today, it is all about girl power. Heroes like Malala Yousafzai and Wonder Woman leave us in awe at just how far we have come. But what about our boys?

All around us, little girls are being empowered more and more – they are becoming more confident, more successful in school, and attaining more power and strength then ever before. But what about our boys?

Today, boys are dying earlier, performing worse in school, and committing more violence.

From birth, boys are emotionally short-changed. They are taught to suppress emotions such as fear, grief, and shame, as this would be a sign of weakness. They must always be tough and strong. ‘Real men’, after all don’t cry – they rage. As established author and sociologist Professor Thomas Scheff explained, boys learn from an early age to hide their vulnerability by acting out in anger or remaining silent. Despite our best efforts, these hyper-masculine messages are still being passed on to young boys, from friends, parents and the media.

And this of course has dire consequences. Today, boys are dying earlier, performing worse in school, and committing more violence. Studies have indeed shown that this toxic masculinity is a root cause of these problems. By teaching our boys, whether intentionally or not, to suppress their emotions, we are inadvertently setting them up for a tougher life.

And that all starts from the moment they are born.

Where does it start?

 

 According to best-selling author and family therapist Terry Real, boys are emotionally short-changed from birth. Studies have shown that “infant boys are spoken to less than girls, comforted less, nurtured less.” This is because parents, perhaps unintentionally, believe that boys are born with an innate ‘manliness’. Boys are supposedly born tougher, and do not need as much affection.

In reality however, boys and girls start off equally emotional and expressive. In fact, infant boys are slightly more emotional than girls, says Real. Studies have shown that they “cry more easily, seem more easily frustrated, appear more upset when a caregiver leaves the room.”

As boys grow, however, their emotions are dealt with more negatively. Studies show that while girls are encouraged to talk and express their frustrations, emotive boys are more likely to be physically restrained or threatened. Their insecurities are more likely to be ignored. Boys, after all, need to be trained to become ‘real men’.

Studies have shown that “infant boys are spoken to less than girls, comforted less, nurtured less.” …. Boys are supposedly born tougher, and do not need as much affection.

Despite our best efforts, we still, perhaps subconsciously, believe that men must act a certain way in our society. According to anthropologist David Gilmore, who specialises in cross-cultural masculinity, gender roles are still seen as an important social organising tool. Men and women are given particular parts to play, so that society and life itself can go on smoothly. In essence, if ‘boys will be boys’, then everything will be all right.

But is this really healthy for our boys? By teaching boys to be ‘real men’, we are arguably setting them up for a harder future. Here then are three consequences of teaching boys not to cry:

Health

 

By suppressing their emotions, men are more likely to die first. According to Rutgers psychology professor Dr. Diana Sanchez, men are more likely to ignore their medical problems as “they have a cultural script that tells them they should be brave, self-reliant, and tough.” They are far more likely to avoid going to the doctors, or lie about their symptoms so as to not appear weak.

Men are reportedly three times more likely to commit suicide, even though depression is more prevalent among women. In 2015 alone, 2,292 men took their own lives in Australia, as opposed to 735 women.

This applies to depression as well. Men are reportedly three times more likely to commit suicide, even though depression is more prevalent among women. In 2015 alone, 2,292 men took their own lives in Australia, as opposed to 735 women. It is believed that this is due to men’s reluctance to seek help for their depression, as ‘real men’ must be self-reliant and strong. ‘Real men’, after all, cannot reveal their emot

School

 

 This idea of a ‘real men’ can make school much harder for boys. In the past few decades, boys have been performing worse than girls in school. In Australia itself, boys are five times more likely to be expelled. They average lower grades then girls, particularly with writing and reading. 60 percent of Australian university students today are also women.

According to Dr. Michael Kimmel, a renowned sociologist who is today considered one of the world’s leading experts on masculinity, boys perform poorer in school largely because of how they have been socialised as men. “Boys acknowledge academic disengagement as a sign of their masculinity,” says Kimmel. ‘Real men’, in this sense, must be stoic and disinterested in general.

“Boys acknowledge academic disengagement as a sign of their masculinity.”

As Kimmel explains, “This isn’t natural to us humans – if you ever watched a two or three year old, we are naturally, unbelievably curious.” It is only when they get older, Kimmel says, that they are taught by their male role models – fathers, brothers and friends – that apathy is a true hallmark of a ‘real men’.

Violence

 

By suppressing their emotions, boys are inadvertently gearing for a more violent future.It is now a well-known fact that men commit more violent acts then women. In Australia, men are more than three times more likely to commit a violent crime. They are also more likely to be a victim of homicide or burglary, usually at the hands of other men. There are 12 times more men then women in jail right now. Simply put, you are more likely to experience violence from a man.

Indeed, violence is oftentimes the only language that does not bring them shame.

As psychology professor Dr. Arthur Markman explains, “people may become more aggressive after they have to control themselves.” Many men also feel that anger is the only emotion allowed to them – they may be in fear, or in pain, but repress this and act out in anger, for rage is strength, and strength is what makes a ‘real man’. Indeed, violence is oftentimes the only language that does not bring them shame.