The Modern Idea of Masculinity

I just went through an article in Mail Today (The Soft Side of a MAN…) discussing the idea of masculinity in our day and time. Well, when we talk of modern day man’s masculinity we are actually defining civilization in terms of primitive notions, which hits a discordant cord at time because the two ideas do not have a soothing common thread running across them. We are actually attempting to snip and chisel an idea that does not belong to our day to fit into our idea of how things are and should be. There are two words that define ‘masculinity’ in very certain terms – power and control. The means of power and control have changed today, so has our understanding of masculinity. But at the centre of masculinity the hint of brute force and coercion is always there. Without this underlying threat of brute force the idea of masculinity would ring hollow, whichever way you take it. Power is about dominating the will of others and control means being able to seize one’s own mind and reactions in times of extreme provocation. The reason for this confusion is that power today is not the same as it was in the Stone Age while our collective subconscious still harks back to the lost world. So, we think one way and feel the other way.

And yes, masculinity can only be defined contextually and only against the larger nurturing backdrop of the feminine. While it is true, that male perception is paramount when it comes to deciding whether or not a certain trait is masculine, it is equally true that the idea of what is masculine and what is not largely comes from the female perception of it. If a crying Shahrukh was not liked by his female fans, he would have fewer male fans.

Masculinity, as I indicated above, is a prehistoric idea buried deep in the subconscious. So, the man who sheds too many of tears is seen as someone who has somehow lost control over himself. It is logically correct that even males are human being and ‘should’ be allowed to be weaken and to breakdown once in a while, but this is not about the logical correctness of a situation, it is more about a subconscious reaction to an event. Being in control of one’s self and exercising control over other (power) is what a man is traditionally supposed to do, as he is the provider and the protector. The more powerful and the more in control he is, the better provider and protector the man is; and, therefore, more masculine.

Too judgmental, too soon?

To err is human. And to judge too is equally human. We stand beside the grave of a person and tell other what a good man he was or what good deeds he did. That’s his post-mortem report card announced allowed. And in this report card he would always get full marks, for the last report card must look good. Judging comes naturally to us. We often forget that to judge we need a standard and we all seem to carry our own set of standards. And we also have the guts to apply it anywhere and everywhere. Recently, Saudi Arabia punished a lady for “being in the car of an unrelated male at the time of the rape.”  And it created a ruckus everywhere. So, much so that a website compared the judiciary in Saudi Arabia with the US judiciary (Saudi Arabia and US judiciaries: Are they similar?).What is right in the US may not be right in Saudi Arabia and vice versa. The same goes for wrong also. I said as much on the website that hosted the debate.

But it’s nice to know that people at least care to voice their opinions. That’s the beginning and the basis of a democratic culture. I am not implying that democracy is desirable, I am just saying that if it considered desirable, let’s practice it in its truest form.

Indebted to words

Sometimes — no, actually very often — I think about who is reading the words I am putting here. I am feeding into my computer and burdening the inexhaustible internet. Is there really anyone reading all this? Or am I just shouting aloud in the eternal blackhole, in which everything is absorbed and nothing returns? Truly, I don’t know whether a single person has ever ready my blog here. I don’t anyone has so far. But I am still writing because I want to communicate. Not communicate something important but just communicate. Shooting arrows in the darkness is fun enough and any seasoned archer would tell you that.

I am neither an acher, nor ‘seasoned’ in the least. However, I still write. I still shoot in the darkness perhaps I love the way these words appear here, springing from nowhere like little cute things. They are small creatures at my command. They perpetuate what I am thinking at the moment in a way that even my mind cannot. They would retain my passing thoughts, preserve them forever. These little things are my archive of thought, the archive of my being. Even if nobody reads these words ever they would still stand bravely like solitary warriors at the end of the battle.

I feel indebted to my words in a way. They are mine and they are yours but when they are put in a string like this as I am doing now, as I do almost everyday, they represent me in particular. Words belong to everyone but they are also unique in their construction. They are the living shrine of my thought process. What more could I ask for from a creation of man?

Am I a competent blogger?

I doubt that very, very much. It took me over half an hour to write the last post. That’s because most of the time I was so very unhappy with the way it looked. A little bit of gap between the paragraphs, a capital letter here and a typographical error there were things I was looking at and correcting.

And that’s when I did not read back what I wrote. In fact, you can read my last post simply because I did not read it or it would have already been in the dustbin (the electronic replacement of it).Orhan

I do love writing and communicating but reading back what I wrote is not for me. Too many of corrections. I never seem to express anything in the way it should be expressed. And I am still not unhappy with myself. Ask why. Well, because I can’t help it and what you can’t help you should be happy about because the other option is being ‘sad’ about it, which seems a sadder option to me.

Is Pamuk laughing? The joke, Mr. Pamuk, is not mine, it’s me. Now laugh.

Orhan Pamuk

Orhan PamukOrhan PamukNo, I am not a Pamuk fan. Not yet. Just got his famous book My Name Is Red and I am yet to start reading it. And no, I did not know the book was famous, I only knew that the author was. A Nobel laureate has to be famous. Without being famous enough to be known, he could not get a Nobel and after receiving, he couldn’t help being ‘famous’ in the real and the most jealousy-inspiring way.

But it seems writers spend so much time in poverty that they find it difficult to even spend money when they get to have enough to actually ‘spend’ and not just to fill up and drape around. I found an interesting statement that Pamuk made. Here it is:

In response to the question, “What impact did winning the IMPAC award (currently $127,000) have on your life and your work?”, Pamuk replied:

“Nothing changed in my life since I work all the time. I’ve spent 30 years writing fiction. For the first 10 years, I worried about money and no one asked how much money I made. The second decade I spent money and no one was asking about that. And I’ve spent the last 10 years with everyone expecting to hear how I spend the money, which I will not do.”

That’s a wonderful way of putting it.

Hello

It’s always nice to be able to communicate and to put across all that you wanted to share with someone, anyone. But it’s not always that you have an important subject in mind or you are moved to write or have an important to make about a significant issue. Sometimes you just want to reach out and say ‘hello’. So, here is a ‘hello’ to all.