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What Makes A Man?

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The media storm about the wrestler Chris Benoit and the steroid-fueled waste of three lives, one a woman and one a seven-year-old boy, has haunted me. It begs the question, 'What makes a man?'

When a man becomes a father his testosterone levels naturally go down. Why? It is nature's way of saying, "You competed and got the woman, you have a child. You need to be a companion and help-mate now, a partner and protector – not a danger to them, not hunting for new mates, not abandoning them.

There is a cult of the testosterone-poisoned man in current culture. I see his face screwed up into an ugly mask of violent rage reflected on everything from boys' toys and games to movies, video games, body building magazines… and the mock-berserkers of wrestling, phony warriors that little boys think are as harmless as their Teddy bear while holding out the promise of phallic dominance; which has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with asexual power.

If you murder your wife in a blinding supernova of hormone-intoxicated rage, you can hardly be said to be a good lover. You didn't even enjoy sex yourself unless violence is what gets you off, which gets us back to the whole phallic dominator paradigm again. Emptiness, numbness, and a creeping fear, alienation, and a paranoid disassociation are the real end result.

Note to men: I love you guys, so I want you to get things right — when you are set on dominating women (and children) you are displaying weakness, not strength. You cannot be a lover, husband, or father of any quality from this paradigm. You can't even be a philosophical friend. The mask of testosterone rage is the image of a man 'out of control', 'out of his mind', unable to create, unable to think, or to contribute to society and civilization. All he can do is destroy in an infantile narcissistic rage that ultimately destroys him as well; if all it does is leave him abandoned, unloved, and alone.

There is no weaker state than this. It is total failure, as a human being, but specifically as a man. Injecting steroids and other substances is not the answer. I suggest a different paradigm, one that is more mature and fuller in the musky poetry of virile masculinity.

I suggest the Tantric paradigm of Shiva's role, and the Celtic Green Man, or horned Cernunus who operate in harmonic dance with the female whose truth of goddess-center then becomes something that enables his masculine flowering into the hero, or the Adonis; the conscious heroic man. Google and start your own explorations. Familiarize yourself with male archetypes that exist in harmony with nature. This is inner work. Nothing you do in the gym, and certainly nothing you inject, will give you this.

The potential of man is found by honoring the Primal Feminine in his woman, not by running in fear and seeking to dominate and destroy that which reflects the cosmic void of womb and tomb; the Shakti energy of raw creative force, coming back to her armed with injections of testosterone beyond which nature designed for his health. Read up on the philosophy of Tantra. It's about more than lasting longer in bed.

Health is defined as being able to function in nature, as all creatures are designed. The bloated raging cartoon man is advertising his extreme insecurity and fear of women, women of intelligence, women who are goddess-like in their spirits and will not be intimidated or dominated. It is like he is trying to create flesh armor and weapons to better go into battle against them, or defend himself against them. In any case, the insides always betray themselves, even if one manages to look like a brontosaurus with the charming temperament of a T. rex.

Too many men, and increasingly teenaged boys, are being sucked into a gym culture whose bible is found on the magazine racks, and whose gods are somato-narcissistic oafs who hold their extreme vanity which poses as a 'sport' over health, good sense, and healthy relationships. A 'sport' that necessitates injecting steroids, and juggling insulin and Tamoxifen is hardly a 'sport'. It’s pharmacology.

I have seen my husband gape at 'documentaries' of such steroidal characters. One in particular sticks in my mind because I am too often asked how he looks in comparison, and ‘aren’t I amazed?’ by him. (Quite frankly, no.) I looked over his shoulder as this fellow mumbled nonsense and kicked food he didn’t like off his plate. “Why are they filming this?” I thought. “There are nature documentaries that are more exciting, like ‘the mating rituals of Amazonian tree frogs.'” What was interesting to me was that panning around this man’s home I noticed there were no books, no art, nothing that showed a life of the mind.

There were only pictures of himself and his bodybuilding trophies lying around. There was nothing else in his life but the endless rituals of lifting, eating, injecting, with the occasional interruption for a pedicure or massage. This film could be marketed as a sleeping aid. "Are we driving back to 'Black Eyed Pea' again for more steak?… Oh, it's different… It's chicken now… ZZzzzzzzzzzz."

He lived alone, because his wife obviously could not live like this and was probably tired of being ignored or abused (and ignoring your wife is a form of abuse). There is actually more than one of these wonders. In one such 'documentary' I observed his mother cooking for him like a servant. In another it was his daughter, beleaguered at the stove with no care for her appearance, numbly catering to the all-consuming somatic narcissism of her father who ignored her and left no space for her to shine. There was room only for him. It was sad to watch.

Like Narcissus, such men fall out of the natural order, fall into the pool, or in their case, the mirror and lose… perspective, and often much more. The physical, emotional, and relational wreckage of steroids is quietly kicked to the side, or swept under the table until a case like Chris Benoit's explodes onto the stage of public awareness, because there are literally billions of dollars to be made brainwashing boys and men into believing that they are 'less than men' unless they do this, and that these bloated men with GH gut and nothing on their minds but primping for a beauty competition are to be their idols of manhood.

Men are lured in with the promise of women and sex, but it turns into something else that will ultimately exclude them both. Women like men to be fit and they appreciate muscles, to a point. There is the question of proportion, and looking good in your clothes. A man needs more than a loincloth or thong to be a well-presented man. Then, a man has to show himself to be a whole human being who loves and adores us and has our interest in mind, not just his own. We want a partner.

When somatic narcissism becomes a disease that swallows a man's life, there could be no one left but the man in the mirror. Sadly for many of these men, that becomes enough. They are lost. Those women who stay have tales of abuse. Mrs. Benoit does not even have this anymore. Her story is done. Unfortunately, she too bought into the paradigm that ‘a real man’ is a raging dominator and not a loving partner.

Many of these fellows do not realize that when you take testosterone, your body stops producing its own. It also throws your estrogens off balance. And yes lads, you need your estrogens too. It makes a total mess. The old margarine ad cliché 'It's not nice to fool with Mother Nature' was never truer.

I am not against the use of hormones for replacement therapy, far from it. This is the difference between a 'physiological' dose though and a 'pharmacological' dose. For a man experiencing andropause, testosterone can improve mood, and help age-related muscle loss. In contrast, Mr. Benoit's 'doctor' was enabling him to take the dose equivalent of ten months of testosterone therapy every three to five weeks, thereby turning him into a monster, not a man – a monster who hogtied and strangled his wife and then used the very choke holds kids cheered him for on his seven-year-old son.

Then, being the real man he was, he went into the garage and hung himself.

What is a man?

If you are male, you will need to find the courage to look into the heart of darkness and ponder this yourself. Your future, health and happiness and that of your family will unfold upon the way you can answer this question, and the 'paradigm' of masculinity you choose to ascribe to. Philosophically speaking, the paradigm forms the scaffolding of your self-consciousness, and your choices spring naturally from that. It's the primal operating program, the root. It will affect the way you see yourself, the world, and the way you see women.

It pays to examine it, question it, and tweak it if necessary, especially if you are being led down a bad path by some glossy presentation challenging you to live at the gym and take their products 'or be a less of a man', even more so if you are considering taking steroids or already do so. You need to be able to hold your masculinity 'disembodied', or you will never hold it at all. You may even lose it. As Chris Benoit learned, it is literally a matter of life and death.

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About Ashtoreth Valecourt

  • zingzing

    don’t steroids shrink yer… mmm… manhood? i mean literally?

    i’m too much of a little girl around needles to consider steroids anyway.

    plus, the only type of girl you’ll get if your some musclebound oaf is a brainless twit who likes guys on steroids who beat women.

    sigh. it’s a circle.

  • JC Mosquito

    Tantric paradigm of Shiva.. Celtic whatever…. too over my head to understand today. The narcissistic obsession with self I could understand, and I suppose you’d be OK with a “normal” health regime for system self maintenance. I can’t answer for any of these bodybuilder, wrestler, sports types, not being one myself, but I take exception to being told I need to have courage to define my own gender needs. I mean, do women need courage to find themselves? Perhaps both genders do – or perhaps I’m getting hung up on the word “courage,” which implies some sort of fear. I recognise my gender, but define myself as a person. And I’m self aware enough to know what things within me are worth worrying about – my gender ins’t one of them.

    You might be thinking that’s easy for me to say -yes it is – but I really don’t think that’s based on my body parts. All I really want to say is I feel your article might apply to certain people, both male and female, but not all, or maybe not even the majority.

    Anyways – on behalf of no one but myself – welcome to bc! (And be nice to zingzing – she writes some good stuff).

  • A Concerned Citizen

    who operate in harmonic dance with the female whose truth of goddess-center then becomes something that enables his masculine flowering into the hero

    The potential of man is found by honoring the Primal Feminine in his woman

    I agree with what you’re trying to say, but I think that both genders develop in relation to one another — neither role can come to fruition without the benefit of the other (in a good relationship anyway)

  • Ashtoreth

    Well, it’s great to be on BlogCritics. I just walked in and found mail – from you guys. Cool. :) Please feel free to think and speak.

    Zingzing, per your question, yes it can have very bad affects on a man’s ‘hydrolic system’.

    It’s ironic that what gets them a bloated cartoon image of a masculine body often makes them unable to function as a man in bed, which is sad. Your last point was right on. I touched on that about how when women’s paradigm of ‘what makes a man’ is a dominator model as opposed to a partner model she can attract/choose abusers with little brains, a lot of insecurity and too much steroids.

    I remember reading about the ex-wife of another wrestler. She spoke out after Mrs. Benoit’s murder by her steroid-intoxicated husband, and said that the wrestling federation had wanted her to be silent on the steroid-rages of her husbands, the intolerable dangerous aggression he expressed in the home, and the savage beatings he gave her.

    It is from this shocking functional imbalance that I examine ‘What makes a man’ because in light of tragedies like this and countless others that go unreported it needs to be discussed, and men really need to think about this.

    Also, from what I’ve noticed from what is discussed on bodybuilding forums, the message of the dangers of steroids has been completely ignored. If anything, I am amazed to hear about 17, 18, 19 year old guys taking Testosterone (as if they need it LOL!) and growth hormone. Then they post in terror that their jawbone is growing like they are getting acromegaly. This is irreversable bone growth due to overstimulation of the pituitary. It’s is just crazy.

    These guys operate like they have blinders on with no regard to the dangers to themselves or others. In their minds this is a necessity in order to embody their idea of what makes ‘a man’. Like JC who was very honest, the most scary thing they could do is to question why and look into the pit – but I didn’t leave you there! :) I gave you other paradigms you could examine, paradigms which have been a part of our human history; and since they allowed for peaceful collaboration between men and women and other people, you had the opportunity for culture and technology to develop.

    The more warlike a culture is, the less they can focus on these things. The arts, literature, philosophy, these need a stable social framework in order to exist, thrive and develop.

    Per the defensive comments from JC, don’t be afraid to be afraid. I said it’s scary to look into the dark. You’ve been conditioned since boyhood in the dominator paradigm as part of what makes a man in our culture. Push past the fear, including the intellectual fear. You’re a smart guy or you wouldn’t be here reading essays on culture and discussing it. Give yourself more credit.

    In the case of women, it’s more about the terror of looking into the dark past the ‘little miss smiley people pleaser’ into the roiling pit of anger and disowned power that is there from being voiceless and stifled in a culture that expects sublimation and voicelessness because they are female.

    You don’t have to read whole libraries to have an ‘Aha!’, a simple Google search will take you to websites and articles to give you and overview from which you can begin to ponder and from there explore in your experience.

    The Tantra book I suggested, I own, and I chose it because it is very simple, practical and down to earth. It gives an understanding of the paradigm it flows from which would then make things a lot less threatening and more clear. It’s a great primer. The goddess oriented cultures were not dominator cultures, but partnership cultures.

    The common assumption is that if a culture is not ‘male dominated’ it must be ‘female dominated’ – but you’re still hooked into the dominator paradigm. There is something else – but you’ll have to explore and dare to experience for yourself. :) And you can do this. Anyone can.

    The Tantric paradigm later travelled from India through Iran and up into Europe becoming the tenants of ‘Courtly Love’ celebrating the ‘Heiros Gammos’ or sacred union. This was later supressed (often violently) by the Roman Catholic church who thought courtly love gave ‘too much’ to women and harkened back to the goddess honoring cultures they had crushed. Neither men nor women benefitted from this.

    Think of the men of the Arthurian legends and the honoring of Gueneviere, and the Lady of the Lake for an example of what I mean by the potentials of man. These are all parables expressing the same paradigm and how indeed, this is the path for men to transcend a base and beastial nature (glorified by the likes of Paul Benoit) for a more refined conscious ecstatic – truly powerful man – embodying the virile male principle in nature.

    This takes us back to the Celtic ‘The Green Man’ – who appears in the Arthurian Tales as ‘The Green Knight’. These are very allegorical stories.

    Go get ‘em tiger. :)

  • JC Mosquito

    Arturian Legends – the Green Knight’s Tale, etc., yep, I’m there. And thanks for giving me some credit for my discourse. But I was hoping I wouldn’t come off as defensive – I’m not. I think I’m a pretty much equal opportunity employer, as it were. To sasy this has been a male dominated society is to state the obvious – I’m attemmpting to make the point that not all men have acted this way, nor do all continue to do so.

  • Ashtoreth

    This is very true JC.

    Another Excellent book you might enjoy is ‘The Chalice and the Blade’ by Riane Eisler.

    Throughout history due to conquests we passed from a more partnership oriented civilizations to more dominator oriented ones. You are right. There have always been men who danced to a different drummer, who were ‘non-conformists’ to the dominator paradigm, and I celebrate such men. They are our hope.

    In fact, believing in the basic goodness of men, I hope that by the application of reason, I might encourage more to think beyond the dominator paradigm which enslaves them as well, cutting them off from the fullness of their emotions, pleasure, their bodies, and their partners and see that there are other possibilities whose exploration will not harm them the way taking steroids or punishing oneself, feeling like less of a man than those who do. Those men may not even be able to experience pleasure or please a woman in bed. They may act like beasts and beat their woman.

    The interesting thing is to realize that this is a paradigm, and that there are other paradigms available. Given our evolutionary, technological and ecological present place in time this is something that men need to explore and choose for themselves, for that is power in itself, that there is a choice. It’s rather Matrix-like, actually.

    According to Eisler who draws from much post WWII field research and bringing in even chaos theory where small changes have big effects, the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods were partnership oriented which laid the grounds for development of crafts, metallurgy, architecture, engineerinig, philosophy, religious thought, etc. etc. etc.

    The ancient people of Crete and the Eutruscan civilization were not ‘cretins’. They were a technologically advanced culture who had running water which seperated drinking and cooking water from bathing or sewage water. This was not standard in Europe until almost the nineteenth century. Also, people bathed back then, which is something later Europeans, including the Sun King of France did not.

    Bringing in chaos theory… while it is assumed that technological progress happened in a linear path. Scientists are finding this is not so. There have been periods of advancement followed by periods of great regression – and it could happen to us! It happened in the Middle East. Compare ancient Babylonian civilization to Modern Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The burning of the great Library of Alexandria is another great example. This is part of what plunged civilization into the ‘dark ages’. Much scientific and technological information, philosophical thought and literature was lost – for a thousand years, before it began to be groped for again. Do we want this to happen to us? It is a choice rooted in the paradigm we make the bedrock of our self-concept extrapolated into society.

    I was talking with a friend recently about the story of a woman ‘Hypatia’ who was brutally murdered on the steps of the Library as the Christians were coming to burn it. Hypatia was an astronomer and a philosopher. The good Christians saw her as an example of that which needed to be dominated and destroyed and she was brutally murdered. She was probably called ‘whore, witch’ etc. etc. as they bludgeoned her body and tore it limb from limb. The fellow who led this was later made a saint, or a pope, I forget which. Dominator culture is enforced by violence.

    Think about dominator cultures like the church and in modern days the ‘charming lads’ of the Taliban, who would be black comedy were it not so serious. These men are a degredation of what men are capable of being. They embody the dominator paradigm – and look what it gets them. This is what happens when men do not honor the goddess, the Divine Feminine both in nature and embodied in women. Is there any man more ridiculous and pathetic than a Taliban? Is there anything less heroic?

    I’m glad you were able to connect with what I was saying though the archetypes of the grail myths.
    This makes me think of a wonderful story from the tales…

    Arthur and his knights were in search of the Holy Grail. They came upon an ogre who was going to make mincemeat of the lot of them unless one of consented to sacrifice himself and marry his sister.

    Sir Gawain stepped forward and declared he would do this to save Arthur and the other knights. Arthur did not want him to do this, but Gawain insisted, and the marriage took place with much feasting.

    Later that night in the marital bed, Gawain spoke with his bride and she revealed to him that both she and her brother had been transformed into their present shapes by an evil magician. She could be a beautiful woman by day or by night – but not both. “What is your pleasure, my husband?” she asked.

    Gawain thought on this. If she was beautiful during the night, it would be wonderful, but he would suffer the pity-filled lookes of the knights during the day. And if she was beautiful in the day, he would be the envy of all the knights, but face the horrors of hell at nightfall. His brain swam. Overcome, he put his head in his hands.

    “Whichever you prefer, my love.” he said.

    At that very moment, the spell was broken, and she could be beautiful both during the day and during the night, and her brother was released as well.

    I always thought this was a wise and delightful allegory. It also functions sexually as well as you will see if you read that basic Tantra book. The man who sees to his woman’s pleasure first will recieve much pleasure and benefit. Happy wife, happy life. ;)

    I think you would enjoy ‘The Chalic and the Blade’. This is a fertile road with much to explore and enjoy and with a harvest of much growth and pleasure. In contrast to the paradigm which splits man from woman and mind from body and spirit from body – the philosophy of Tantra or the Sacred Marriage addresses this, heals this and creates an alchemy which exalts both the man and the woman. It also give a blueprint for actually doing this in your relationship. The sacred marriage also relates to healing and uniting the masculine and feminine aspects of yourself so that you can be whole.

    In goddess honoring cultures (which never excluded the male principle) the goddess is both one and many aspects. She is transcendent and immanent, meaning – in you – in your body – as connected to the tapestry of nature and the cycles of nature.

    A man who faces down his fear and goes into the darkness of the unconsious wherein lie all archetypes can be a true conquerer of his fears, of his limitations to connection and power. Power here is defined as the elevation of the man from beast to evolved and conscious man. Such a man can be a philosopher and a warrior in defence of truth. He can be the Shiva to his woman’s Shakti, the Arthur to his lady’s Guenevere/Lady Du Lac – because it is the feminine which inspires, enlivens and gives the spark to his potentiality as a man.

    Think of the paintings of goddesses or queens doing the ceremony of ‘girding of arms’, annointing with sword, etc. You see them on ancient coins – first with Aphrodite, then of Athena. There are many Authrian legends which show this allegorical image. Then, relate this back to Tantra and you see what I’m saying.

    Find the archetype that speaks to you and then you can begin to explore and link from there. May it bring you much pride and pleasure in being a man.

  • JC Mosquito

    Well, I can’t say you didn’t try to give me a complete answer!

    I think the bigger question is simply the lack of literacy in the modern world and the loss of culture. For instance, your story of Sir Gawaine marrying the enchanted woman can certainly be seen as allegorical. I believe Gawaine had dealings with the Green Knight and his wife, too – something about stolen kisses or something. And Gawaine was responsible for getting Lancelot in trouble with Arthur over Guinnevere, thus bringing down the final end of the round table. These too can be seen as allegories.

    But what purpose do allegories serve in a society that isn’t literate enough to understand them – a society that pays lip service to education but revels it the person who made it big without having done well and coming up through the system as it were?

    Interestingly, recent studies show othat women are succeeding in ways previously unheard when it comes to education. Too long to cite everything, but google “failing our boys” for a quick overview. This is further compunded by the fact that schools were concerned about “fairness to girls” just a few years before that.

    Sorry – lost track of it there, but I’ll leave it up – what I was TRYING to get at here is that in a literate society, metaphor is part of the common language, the gold coin in the currency of words. But we’re no longer on the gold standard in the West, and appealing to men/women/people to seek out these paradigms is a message that falls mostly on deaf ears. I think that pop culture books like “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” (or whatever its called) assume to start from a position of equality in gender relationships and discusses strengths and weaknesses of both in a humourous way. But to assume that men are in self denial as to their feelings or their possibilty of having a feminine side is to assume a similar and not altogether different mirrored reality for women, too.

    In conclusion, it seems to me that in the modern world, we need to make sure that people are literate before we ask them to self analyse, or else we’re just exchanging one blind way of thinkng with another.

    Greatgawda’mighty – all over the place this AM – sorry – I usually stay out of the culture section – not my strong point as it were. But I’ll look some of that stuff up you mentioed – only recently, a friend of mine said something about becoming a Tantric Priest, which I didn’t pursue inconversation because I was still trying trying to figure out whern the temples to the 42 pieces of the Goddess were located in the Middle and Far East – another story for another time.

    TTFN,

    Sk.

  • Ashtoreth

    JC, you make an excellent point, though a sad and frightening one. This is what makes a society ripe for being taken over. It rots from whithin and has no intellectual life, then becomes weak. Like with the Romans, they just wanted their bread and circus – Paris Hilton anyone? Who shaved their head or flashed their coochie today in a desperate attempt for attention because they have nothing else to give at that time?

    You’re right.

    We do not have as literate a society as we did even fifty years ago. People are more literate in pop culture than the mytho-poetic language of symbols which has run like a thread through human culture, and it does make it more difficult to communicate sometimes. One has to be willing to share knowlege and if not teach, then point the way to sources of knowlege for them to drink for themselves and start their own processes of building a philosophical garden from which to reference – and choose, not be a sheep.

    But I disagree that we must rely on the schools for this. Our school system today functions more to get people into slots in a job force than to create thinking citizens. Perhaps there is a reason for this. It’s easier to control such people.

    Even in art, this is true. Due to the oppressive nature of the Roman Catholic church who had the money to be your patron, but the power to strip you of your property and kill you if you were declared to be a ‘heretic’, artists (always an iconoclastic lot of romantic rebels) would lace their paintings with symbolism which when read would turn a Catholic painting on its head and make it an allegory of the goddess and nature with mysteries of sex, death, and rebirth.

    So, they were being true to themselves and saying what was truth for them, but keeping their heads, making some money, and getting a chuckle at a Cardinal to boot. This poetic language was virtually lost with the advent of modernism in the early 20th century.

    Also, as art became more oblique and more commercial you had situations like Jackson Pollack slinging wall paint on canvases, maybe giving it an esoteric title, maybe not. Did you know that there are paintings modern museums have paid millions for which are now flaking off onto the floor?

    It had no meaning in the first place. The only literacy was of attracting a wealthy patron. He was boinking the fabulously rich Mrs. Guggenheim who ‘made him’.

    You make me feel like ‘a voice crying in the wilderness’. ;)

    Oh well… From a pop culture/basic human perspective though, people ARE interested in SEX and from all permutations, that leads them into this discussion. Also, they really don’t want train-wrecks of relationships or families like with Paul Benoit. So at that point, the information is out there and it’s a lot easier (and more pleasant) to read on things and think, maybe try, instead of going through the appalling effort of trying to get/inject/manage steroids or to pick yourself up after getting involved with such a ‘real man’ because the ‘nice ones’ were too ‘boring’. – These are the same women who then see such boring men with women who appreciate them and whine that ‘all the best ones are taken’. *sigh*

    I remember a very smart girlfriend (math whizz) of mine who was painfully aware in the second grade of the inequities in gender approach to education. We had this serious discussion high up in a tree.

    How many girls are good in math, only to later feel that ‘this is for boys’ and that ‘they are not good at math’. Lump in science and computer technology and you can see why these areas are dominated by guys. I noticed that the Ad counsil and the Girl Scouts of America are trying to change this self-perception because increasingly, to function in this society, one must be tech-literate.

    I was always an arts and culture English lit whizz as an urchin, so I both admired the math whizzes (I married one) but sought to humanize them with my more right brained perspective. I do remember my mother coming home from a high school parent-teacher meeting where she had been told that I was ‘very nice and very pretty, but that I was too opinionate and had the answer too many times in class, and that maybe she should have a talk with me to sit back more’.

    My mother went for his jugular. When I heard about this later, I felt incredibly betrayed because I liked this man, and (as he was very cute);) had a bit of a crush on him. I went for his jugular too, especially when I learned that my three best guy friends in class had been given the same comments – that they were full of ideas and had the answer many times – but they were all put in a positive light and encouraged. I got the full report from them and we all were just agape at the injustice. I gave this man hell and never flirted with him again until he made himself a champion of my intellectual life. ;)

    He ended up encouraging my writing and recommending me for AP English. Still, I never forgot that. Boys are not failed in this culture because girls are not being as squashed in school as part of their social conditioning to be nice submissive easily controlled and dominated cows.

    The only reason males might feel failed if things are not being set up for them to be dominant. Lift that paradigm structure and they can focus on their own passions and interests without feeling like they are less because the brightness of the girls around them is not being put out.

    Society needs the gifts of the minds of both men and women. The dominator paradigm is destructive to men, women, children, society, the environment, and an evolving cultural and technological civilization. One can enjoy one’s bread and circus, as long as one also feeds oneself with real intellectual nourishment – which is your responsability. We are so privileged that the information is available to us in libraries, online, in bookstores, through Amazon and that we can think and discuss freely as we are doing here.

    In a true dark ages, or a place like Afghanistan, Iraq, or even modern China, people do not have access to information or to such freedoms. It is our responsability to educate ourselves, and it is an enrichment, and investment in yourself and your own ability to function consciously and appreciate life.

    My saying is ‘Live Life As Art’. Live it consiously, as if it mattered. Have you visited my website? I’d invite you to do so. http://www.deviarts.com

    It’s been a real pleasure thinking with you. I hope to run across you on this page again, because if you notice the writing section and my articles, this is rather my ‘beat’. ;)

    Best,

    Ashtoreth

  • Curiepoint

    The whole point of this article is flawed. She uses a steroid abusing slab of meat who made a living beating people up as a standard for maleness. Ms. Valecourt would do very well indeed to not try and base her opinions of all men on this extreme and exceedingly rare instance. What gives her the right to define what a man is anyway? Has she lived as a man, or attempted to understand men in any way? Or, more likely, is she bringing her pre-conceived notions (or should that be prejudices?) of maleness to her arguements.

    Another thing that Ms. Valecourt would do well to understand is that men do not exist for the purpose of being a servant and pack mule to women and children. A man’s role in any child’s life is to provide sustenance and most importantly of all guidance in the realm of being a decent human being of morally upright character. I don’t know what kind of men she is regularly interacting with, but her condescension of and projection onto men is more than a little galling. Real men do not tolerate that kind of thing.

    We aren’t all troglodyte thugs, Ms. Valecourt. Your example of Chris Benoit is, I suspect, only used to reinforce misandrous prejudices.

  • Ashtoreth

    My, my, my… aren’t we a little tetchy.

    Where did you get the idea reading my article that
    I defined all men as ‘Troglodytes’?

    How dare I contemplate the subject of maleness? What? What? I need more tea here. Where is my battle axe?

    First of all, gentle reader with the nervous and aggressive temperament of a blue centipede, I can contemplate and write about any subject I wish. And since men are a subject I know well and which is near and dear to my heart I will hold forth at will.

    ‘An exceedingly rare incidence?’ What? Do you have any idea how many women are victims of violence and abuse in this country and around the world every year, every month, every day from men who felt ‘challenged in their maleness, their presumed male entitlement, or rather their paradigm of assumed male dominance and authority over them’?

    It is this paradigm that is the problem in our society. It not only alienates and destroys men’s connection with women and nature, it is damaging to both women and nature!

    How dare I contemplate this? Girl, you are making me mad!

    The taking of steroids to beef up and be even bigger and more threatening is examined from the paradigm which it springs from – a dominator rather than a partnership frame of reference. It is important for this to be examined and challenged by both men and women.

    Open any body building magazine and read the advertisements which taunt men that unless they buy into the gym/dominator paradigm, that they are less than men. The irony is, it is men who are selling this paradigm to other men, and men who react with the same knee-jerk compliance as when they were boys on the playground and someone yelled, ‘Don’t be a sissy!’. Men dominate men all the time.

    Your whining and winging about ‘men as pack animals’ made me laugh – because the only gender who have been systematically devalued, demeaned; bought, sold and traded like broodmares and pack animals for almost 5,000 years have been women!

    You seem to think I have stepped out of my place as a woman; that I cannot dare to think or speak – but you can! Enough said. By your own admission you have defined yourself as a troglodyte who would never make it to coffee with me.

    I suggest buying and reading the two books I suggested. The one on male archetypes had been suggested by a poet/philosopher friend of mine and the book on Tantra is excellent and very easy to understand, where other books can be more technical and confusing to start with.

    That being said, you are entitled to stew in your bat cave and remain unenlightened if you choose. Just don’t be surprised if you are one of the many middle aged men who find their formerly domesticated ‘step-and-fetch it’ wife files for divorce, claims her freedom and takes up with a man who is younger and more flexible in both mind and body than yourself. Perhaps he would be her new Tantric partner.

    It’s up to you. I have pointed out the problem and the way out to a more comfortable harmonious existence that is founded in the paradigms which proceeded the violent toxic one of today, which is in conflict with nature and woman.

    I may challenge you to wake up, or merely give you a bad case agita. I am happy with either effect. :)

    I wish you all the best.

  • Curiepoint

    So much for the policy against personal attack and invective. Unlike you, I won’t stoop to the level of name-calling and shaming language in the face of cogent arguement.

    What conclusion can I draw from your using a homicidal freak of nature like Chris Benoit as a strawman for your arguements? Most men are not this way, if you would but open your eyes. Personally, I find men who worship their bodies to the level found in Muscle-Bound Monthly to be every bit as vain as any woman who desperately tries to match the standards of beauty as presented by Madison Avenue. Again, most men do not think in these terms.

    I will grant you this…anyone can opine about anyone or anything. Actual knowledge and understanding need not be pre-supposed in order to do so. Nowhere did I say or even imply “get thee to your proper place, woman”. I said that you don’t understand men, rendering your opinions without substance or real knowledge.

    To the point about women and their victimization, again I cannot argue with this. It does happen, and anyone with a lick of sense would see it as tragic and unnecessary. This unfortunate set of circumstances does not represent anything at all typical of women as a majority. These women are not victims of masculinity, or maleness or whatever label you choose. They are victims of violence, and like it or not, it impacts people regardless of their gender.

    With regards to women blighted with being demeaned, devalued, et cetera, that is absolutely untrue in Western civilization. Women have never had it so good. The following certainly applies:

    Disproportionate allocations of funding for women-only medical conditions when compared with male-only conditions. Prostate cancer kills just about as many men as breast cancer does women, but only one quarter of the funds are available for curative research and treatment that are endowed to breast cancer. Both need to be equally funded.

    Gender specific laws that benefit only women. To pass any law specific to helping men is attacked as sexist. VAWA, IMBRA, EEOC come readily to mind.

    Systematic regard for men in general being considered nothing but a threat to women and children, despite that more domestic violence is perpetrated by women against their own kids. A man doing so gets life in prison or death row. A woman doing so gets five years and a free pass with PMS as a defense.

    The list goes on…

    Additionally, my post was addressed to you specifically, Ms. Valecourt. Not women in general, and certainly not in anywhere near the insulting tone you decided to approach my comments with.

    My, how “enlightened” of you.

    Finally, if my wife, even if I wanted one, were to exhibit the utter lack of civility and incapability of logic that you display here, the younger stud can have her…until he sickens of her ever-burgeoning sense of entitlement. He then of course is free to find someone younger than even he.

  • A Concerned Citizen

    Curiepoint

    In fall fairness, I think you came across a little hostile in your first post.

    Ashtoreth

    Curiepoint does have a point, although I do not believe he expressed it well. Throughout your article and within your posts it appears (note,appears) that you feel men draw their ultimate value from women.

    the female whose truth of goddess-center then becomes something that enables his masculine flowering into the hero

    The potential of man is found by honoring the Primal Feminine in his woman

    This is what happens when men do not honor the goddess, the Divine Feminine both in nature and embodied in women.

    But then again, you later said

    Marriage addresses this, heals this and creates an alchemy which exalts both the man and the woman.

    I cannot claim to know what you believe, but the general tone and phrasings came across to mean what I suggested. I think all Curiepoint meant to say was that although men and women are different, they represent two halves of the same whole and are absolutely equal — neither has more or less value than the other. Neither is more “primal” or more “divine” than the other.

    But I do agree that the ideal of a muscle bound “badass” man is just stupid. Believe me, I am an 18 year old guy with first hand witness to the stupidity it entails. LOL Seriously, one of my friends doesn’t even smile for pictures because he’s so insecure about being a badass. It’s a shame and frustrating. Insecurity and cultural indoctrination does 100% drive such nonsense.

    I do posit that man’s role throughout time did help give rise to this ideal. The dominator persona was probably a personality development that enabled cavemen to survive in those harsh conditions. Still, I think it’s time for evolution.

    Anyway, I had a couple other things I wanted to say but simply can’t remember. LOL It’s late where I am and I’m tired. I’m curious to see your response. You’ve already proven yourself to be intelligent and articulate, so if you have anything to make me rethink my position, please respond.

    All the best :)

  • Ashtoreth

    The answer to the ancient riddle that challenges a man: Behind this door, is it ‘The Lady or the Tiger’…?

    It depends.

    The truth to the riddle, is ‘both’. She is both the lady and the tiger. Women are more like cats than like dogs.

    Funny that it takes the words of a babe to know that to lure such a creature back, one must speak in dulcette tones of supplication, one part diplomacy, one part seduction. Carrying on like a martinet will only get you “Lalalalalalalalalala… I am going to take a bath!”

    But then, I think Curiepoint would actually be happiest with a dog not a wife. It will not challenge him intellectually, it will look up to him as its master, roll over, fetch, and bring him his slippers on command.

    I really must give my appreciations, though. This thread would not be nearly as interesting or as much fun without him… my cosmopolitan bombardier… although calling me Ms. Valecourt sounds like he is addressing his neighborhood dominatrix.

    Curiepoint, you need a spanking! ;)

    Makes me think of the famous interchange between Winston Churchill and Lady Astor…

    Lady Astor – “Winston, If you were my husband, I’d poison you!”
    Winston Churchill – “Lady Astor, if I were your husband, I’d drink it!”

    Actually, his ravings made me think of a news story I read online recently. A man in Africa had caused a furor for having relations with a farmer’s goat. The farmer was incensed and presented the case to his local tribune.

    After much deliberation, it was decided that the man in question should have to ‘marry the goat’ and pay a sizeable sum of money as dowry to the farmer. The article ended by quipping that ‘man and goat were doing very well’.

    A goat! I have it Curiepoint! It would be suitably passive, stupid, and completely unentitled – although I’m afraid It’s also incapable of logic. ;)

    And now to the young Adonis…

    How charmingly you write. Thank you for your sweet comments. You definitely have potential. You have already seen that your friend who suffers so much trying to be a ‘badass’ is really terribly afraid, feels precarious in his manhood, and probably much more insecure than you might feel yourself at times. Why don’t you suggest the books I noted for him to read? I have a special one for you.

    You communicate and seek to learn and understand, and I appreciate this. I realize now I should have included this book in my suggestions. CC, if you get only one book, buy ‘The Chalice and the Blade’ by Riane Eisler. Find it on Amazon. You may have to get a used copy, but this also costs less.

    This is a scholarly book that brings in post WWII science to go back over old finds to sometimes shocking effect, turning old assumptions on their heads. It also brings in chaos theory, how small things can have huge ripple effects.

    By your understandable comments pondering the society of the Paleolithic ‘cavemen’ and the origins of dominator cultures, you would find this book full of interesting ‘aha’ moments. Neither the Paeleolithic, nor the Neolithic period were dominator cultures like our own today.

    Read this book, and when this thread is but a memory, you can write to me and discuss it if you want. If you go to my website (There should be a link) http://www.deviarts.com you can contact me and we can talk about this.

    I asked my husband last night how he could be married to a goddess-worshiping woman of a priestess-like nature who initiated men into the idea of the goddess being immanent in nature but most profoundly in women, and not be spluttering like Curiepoint. He smiled and said that when he married me, he knew he was marrying a goddess.

    He said he defined his masculinity as something strong and quiet inside himself and that he had neither the need nor desire to try to dominate me because ‘he had nothing to prove’ and if anything my feral strength was something he valued, something undomesticated like his Mustand GT, something not everyone could ‘handle’.

    The Zen in ‘handling’ such a woman is much like trying to ‘handle’ a cat. You don’t. He said he saw himself as my faciliatator and my ‘stud’. He is my handsome younger man.

    You can imagine, I adore my husband, but it is because he kneels before me as a knight before his courtly lady/Morgan le Fey; the way an artist makes himself supplicant to the Muse, both embodied and disembodied, that I cherish him as my partner and Adonis. Only such a man would I take and love, nourish and protect.

    There is no sacred sex without this understanding, that the man as the male principle of the godhead is coming to the goddess as embodied in his woman.

    We have the gateway of life guys – the coochie. We represent the womb and the tomb, something even the Paleolithic people ‘got’ as they buried their dead in the earth with cowrie shells which come from the ocean, which nourishes or drowns, and which are shaped like a woman’s sex.

    The dead were also marked with red ochre, symbolic of birthing blood. The hope was that the dead who had entered the world through the gateway of life, would in being returned to the womb of the earth, be reborn again through woman. These are mysteries of sex, death and rebirth.

    In the caves, vulvas were predominant. Penis structures were not central. They WERE represented though, either around the vulva structures or in a holy place in another part. This is very unlike patriarchal cultures which have denigrated the vulva to such a degree that where boys grow up proud of their genitals, girls grow up cut off and disassociated. It’s just the dark ‘down there’, to be avoided at all costs. I grew up further discombobulated by the perverse sexual anachronism of the ‘virgin mother’. This was never the case before.

    Think of all the witch trials where a beautiful spirited woman could be accused of witchcraft just for ‘being’. This is hardly ‘equal’.

    Curiepoint is thinking here:

    “Those were the good old days! I would have been warming my hands at the bonfire of Ms. Valecourt!”

    Probably so.

    Don’t tell me that men and women are seen as equal in this culture! It is not built into the social culture for at least 1,000 years, the economic structure, and not in the religious structure of any of the current major religions though all have their roots in earlier structures of thought.

    I actually had to read text in World History when I was fifteen (this was in a text book!) that quoted Aristotle’s mysogeny, saying that “Woman is inferior”. That turned me right off of Aristotle.

    The fact that I bring up the goddess and Tantra to relative shrieks and discomfort of emasculinization from you, and even you, sweet prince, proves my point of the rabidly guarded paradigm of a dominator cultural paradigm with men on top. You know nothing else. Open your minds a chink and see what else is out there. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose but your disconnect from body, woman and the whole of nature.

    In the ancient days of Sumer, it was told that the priestesses of Inanna (and as told, Inanna) brought many gifts of civilization to mankind; among them were the art of cosmetics and the art of lovemaking.

    In those days, and even recently per the story of the man and his goat, men finding women a mystery, often satisfied themselves physically in the most expedient way, which often meant goats or sheep.

    There are tales of priestesses bringing men from the fields in to the temples and by extension into the towns, training and taming them to be civilized men who could appreciate and celebrate the goddess in women and thereby become the embodiment of the male principle in creation, the strong and virile bull; the Adonis.

    Yes, men are shaped and refined by women, generation after generation. Men are not initiated into the mysteries of the goddess by other men, literally or figuratively.

    I feel for the lads who among other things post on my husband’s forums begging for answers to questions about women and their anatomy that they should not be finding out in this way. My husband chuckles and shakes his head. From the stories recounted to me, men teach each other bad habits, bad pick up lines that don’t work, and how to mess up relationships and marriages.

    Since you are a young wild bull, I will leave you with this thought for now. The best way to be attractive to women is to be yourself, your best self. Talk with them the way you are talking to me. Forget your pick up lines. They don’t work because they are unnatural and based in fear.

    Let your bafflement by their beauty show. Tell them they have beautiful eyes. Pick up a detail of what they are wearing and compliment them on it. Cool boots? Cool hat? Rocking eye-shadow? Tell them. Women want to know you are slayed by their beauty wit and charm when they are 18 or 80.

    Connect with them intellectually to improve your standing and set yourself apart from others who might ignore this. Nothing is so sexy as a man who is interested in what we think and what we dream. Improve your relations with and understanding of felines. This is much better practice than with dogs. Cats and women are a lot alike.

    Listen to girls/women and talk to them as interesting people with unique perspectives. If you look at them through the often crass dehumanizing filter of your guy friends – and I think you know what I mean here – they will pick this up and filter you out. See the goddess embodied in them.

    You are not the goddess. You are the bull, the horned one (as in bull and stag- Cernunus). You can be fully man through embracing the way of the Goddess (read your Tantra) because only in goddess worship is the body sacred, the vulva sacred, woman sacred, and sexuality in the union of a man and woman sacred – not just for procreation, but for their mutual pleasure and enlightenment.

    Reread the stories of the Arthurian legends to get a European model of this paradigm. See how they honored women and the feminine embodied in such archetypes as, Guinevere, The Lady of the Lake, and Morgan Le Fey. See how this is what elevated and made them knights.

    In contrast to this, are the soldiers of the Taliban. They do not honor the goddess. They do not honor the goddess in women. They would be better off with sheep and goats. In truth, that is all they deserve.

    “Well, I blew a bunch of people to bits. I’m here in paradise! Where are my 72 virgins?

    What? What? What is this? What are all these sheep and goats?

    Best,

    Ashtoreth