A man is just a man. So the saying goes.
With their beefy biceps, their powerful pecks and victimless voices shouting the innocent question from the kitchen “Where’s the cheese, darling?” it would seem women have, for the past 100 years or so, been battling not to rise to the bait.
Upon hearing this question, irritatingly and without just cause, the woman of the house scrambles from her chair, where she has already cozied up with her bubbly and chocolate while in the middle of a magical RomCom, to retrieve the mouldy blue for the imbecile she agreed to marry that day when he knelt on one knee and made her heart skip two thousand steps ahead of her multi-tasking brain.
The trouble is, while this irritating act of stupidity chokes the throat of most oestrogen-fuelled women, this behavior is not a deliberate ploy to ruin his lady’s day.
You see, he really is that stupid.
But not in the way you might at first believe.
He obviously doesn’t want to be seen as a useless lump, unable to find a tasty morsel from one of the white goods he bought as a gift with his first pay packet from the money he earned while forcing down on a vibrating digging machine that mashed up the freeway and ruined most drivers’ days. But, because of biology. Yeap. The inconvenient biology card is raised again and again when the discussion of gender bias is mentioned.
Men have always loved women. That’s a fact. Sad or not, whichever way you prefer to look at the tons of evidence unearthed on this rich subject up for debate. Of course, they’ve also hated them too. Constant referrals to ‘her indoors’, ‘ball-breaker’ and ‘breeding machine’ appear to be insults but, in his warped way of viewing things, they really are terms of endearment indicating to their mates the one he’s tied to ‘til death do them part.
For thousands of years, men have had enough intelligence to understand the need for their counterpart. The one with the womb, the boobs and the sparkly eyes that draw them like Jason was to those pesky Sirens. Men are frustratingly frank about acknowledging the fact that there is absolutely no procreating without them. There’s certainly no survival of their precocious seed without the natural nurturing nature of the female kind.
Wandering the online web or outside world, you can spot them stuck in a desert hole in army fatigues, confronting violent offenders in a policeman’s blues, and even drilling for fuel, salt, oil or gas in a dirt-stained fluorescent jacket on a dangerous rig somewhere in the back of beyond. If you search hard enough, you’ll find them collecting rubbish direct from your door in the pouring rain, dressed in a white coat while focussed intently on your exposed brain, and picking up rubbish the revellers left in their wake the night before. Of course, there are places where men have been shown to be violent, vicious, aggressive, depraved, brutal and blinkered, they’ve been held responsible for gruesome acts of rape of the innocent, the weak and the defenceless, horrific torturing of sentient beings and even caught in sadistic acts of violence against their own families.
Even so, men are not as clear-cut as our society would like them to be. The men in our lives are not simple creatures to be put down and demeaned, to be crushed or be put away in some corner and told to be quiet. The men in our lives are larger than life itself. They can be logical and spiritual, they can be pro-active and protective. They can also strive to achieve whatever goal they aim for and normally seem to secure their aims by controlling situations that appear way beyond anyone’s comprehension.
While the world (quite rightly) strives to be all-inclusive, there appears to be a danger looming in the guise of men being forced into the back-seat of obscurity. This isn’t logical. It isn’t fair. It most certainly isn’t right. For men, too, are spiritual. They are sentient beings that live amongst the rest of us. They are a part of the family too. Just because they’ve had it good for most of our known history, doesn’t mean we have the right to swing in completely the opposite direction and squash their ambitions, their desires or their dreams.
Why do I feel there is a desperate need to put such statements in black and white? From several years working amongst a majority of oestrogen-fuelled females and feminine men, my life took a turn and forced me into a world that contrasted greatly with it – to a world surrounded by testosterone-driven men and masculine women. Then, latterly, I was consulted largely by people transitioning from their natural born state of being to a gender of their choice. They simply wanted someone neutral to talk with and found an ally in me. I had also taken a particular interest in the ‘gender game’ by studying it intently for an MA in psychology. Combined, these experiences have enabled me to observe all sides of this changing world.
Now I want to probe the possible questions and to offer an evocative précis of what it is to be identified as a man, a woman or an other in this new world that is quickly springing up around us. I want to be able to confront the meaning of the versions of reality we see, of the worlds, we construct about us and attempt to make visible the confines we live within. I would like to be able to explore, debate and invite you to converse about whether you think a man is just a man.
What I want to offer in this series of articles is a range of possible answers and to tempt you to explore the kinds of worlds you want to create for the betterment of humankind.