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2. Masculinity: the male gender
"To understand men you have to understand it is nurture, not nature that rules their lives" ~ Dr. Stephen Whitehead
The masculinity with which boys are born, is natural masculinity. This is given by nature.
However, society has created a mechanism whereby it does not acknowledge this natural masculinity. It has instead created its own version, which we shall call 'social masculinity'. Social masculinity is not naturally endowed, but has to be granted by society. Society does not accept a person as a 'man' unless he fulfils certain pre-conditions of roles or expectations of society, referred to as 'male gender and sexual roles', or 'social masculinity roles".
'Social masculinity' or 'social manhood' can be described as the status of being a man socially, as against his biological maleness/masculinity. A person is not considered a man without social manhood. This social mechanism is designed to control male behaviour, especially male sexual behaviour. The result is silent severe oppression of men. It harms them in several ways. Its benefit to the society is also controversial. It only gives unlimited, unreasonable and undeserved exploitative social power to a handful of people.
Ironically, the things required from men to be socially masculine may be contrary to the essence of natural masculinity. Some may even be closer to femininity. These things are falsely propagated as masculine, to unethically influence male behaviour.
To be real men, men's goal should be natural masculinity and not social masculinity. Because only natural masculinity is real. A man needs to be in touch with his natural masculinity (and femininity) to live a happy and healthy life. Natural masculinity provides inner power and strength. It makes the person self-dependent. If it is removed or blocked, the man becomes dependent on the society for his masculinity.
Only social power that is earned through natural masculinity is stable and deserved and real.
"The freedom of authentic masculinity is an amazing thing to see." Bill Hybels
Although we are born with natural masculinity, it is originally in an undeveloped form: like a seed. It needs to be developed during the course of our life, especially during our adolescence/youth. For that, it needs to come out. Owing to social pressures, men are forced to imprison this natural masculinity deep within themselves. Consequently, it either remains underdeveloped, or develops into a negative unhealthy form, which is destructive for self and others.
The goal of this book is to help boys liberate their natural masculinity and cultivate it in a healthy manner, for health and happiness. It liberates a power which flows from the self and is not dependent on society. This process of liberation is called reclaiming and celebrating masculinity.