I was having a chat with a female friend the other day about personal empowerment, and one particular social misbelief 'elephant in the room' came to light again. (Some people can identify with masculine/feminine in relation to gender, and some people cannot. Neither is right or wrong. It's all about personal preference and choice.)
There's a bit of a hidden fallacy floating around, that the masculinity represented in our culture is an authentic model of what it means to be male. The many wonderful movements towards female empowerment that have been arising for the last decade or so can sometimes seem to be measuring themselves against the patriarchal 'power-over' competitive model, as if these two things were somehow potentially related in some way.
I see that comparison as something of a red-herring. Basically looking at the authentic feminine and the inauthentic masculine. The authentic masculine was buried long ago. Some say it happened when the Romans and other straight-line cultures introduced or enhanced concepts such as land ownership, slavery, and the 'single judgemental god' model as a way of making sure ordinary people lived in fear of their own power and toed the line of conformity.
I really enjoyed being a key member of the Evolving Man (www.facebook.com/evolvingmen) crew when that was active for a few years a while back. It introduced a transpersonal/shamanic element to the menswork model that I haven't seen replicated since. This approach was one that matched in my experience the new female empowerment movements, since it was about men finding their centre and acknowledging their shadows (both the empowering fun ones and the hideous ones).
In short I often remain saddened by the deep cultural stereotypes around masculinity that people of all genders, and both those interested in deep personal empowerment and those who are not, still unconsciously perceive as being what masculinity is all about.
Finding the authentic masculine is not a classic model of any kind. Men can be soft, gentle, strong, wild, centered, artistic, lovers, warriors... in many combinations and styles - none of which is the definitive 'right way' to be 'a man'. The diverse and magical nature of the authentic masculine has sadly been as lost as the Green Man archetype that represents it so well.
Learning more and more about this has been an extremely valuable journey for me, and although Evolving Man is no longer active I still incorporate all of the powerful perspectives I learned at that time into every event I am part of as well as into my shared Tantric practice (both the more accepted and the shadow aspects).
Arven (19 Feb 2016)
Arven Alexander is a self-development enthusiast, currently residing in Melbourne, Australia.