23 Aug 2009

Not male enough !

Last week in a conversation with a friend I was told (in jest) that I was not “male” enough. Of course this friend was a woman. A person of the darker sex would have used the word “man” instead of “male”.

Of course several adjectives and phrases have been attached to me over the years – “the bullshit detector”, “not having artistic angst”, “boring” and “boyish” (not in looks but behaviour). Each one describes some aspect of a personality that someone zeroed in. I would go through the usual cycle with each – surprise, horror, anger and then ignoring it.

In the last two decades there has been much criticism about the "male" attitude and this rightfully had resulted in some men turning the mirror inwards. That time in most of our discourses in college canteens and personal relationships when it was pointed out that you are behaving like a “typical man” it meant “caveman” behaviour.

And most of us believed that and tried to change. Believe me. It was tough to erase the collective memories of being on top of the pile. It was like being part of a sci fi novel where they erase your memory so that you can start afresh. But it never happens. There are some remnants of your earlier life that come back. In a fight, for example. ☺

This conversation comes at an interesting point where I thought I had resolved my maleness and found my comfort zone with a help of dozens magazine articles and surveys on the New Male, metrosexual, technosexual – or other words that are used to make us feel comfortable as we try to reinvent ourselves.

So what does it mean to be not “male” enough in today’s world? I had been pretty secure in the thought that this was a thing of the past. But apparently there are some aspects of “maleness” that are OK women.

What are they? Can anyone help me here?

Cartoon by Lucien

12 comments:

Simran said...

s please!
anything i said to anyone before the 4th of july 2009 is not to be taken seriously. so strike boring off've your list.

ifnotme said...

ha ha you remembered !

Life@60 said...

Chivalry , Chivalry ! It is never outdated !

Aditi Prakash said...

has your friend seen you fight with parking attendants!

Lopamudra said...

When you hit the road and god forbid, if there are any wayward drivers, the volley of choicest words that spew out of the Mallu fountain don't qualify for "male enuf" or what??? Gosh!

Simran said...

generosity, kindness, expansiveness, smiling, courage, enthusiasm, confidence, energetic.

ifnotme said...

@simran -
i guess you are describing some ideal which you will never find

mona mishra, jarina tingbo said...

Sudesh, what this 'friend' possibly meant was that she maybe relates to you in a way that she does not with her 'more male' (if there is such a thing) friends. And this could well apply to her as well (!!) - when she is more a 'feminine' with some people than she is with others.

No, its not complicated!Its just that...how male and female energies are exchnaged between people in a given setting.

But in absolute terms - male factor in you is high, i agree with yr other admirers who have written in!! Should we talk a bit more about this, one evening?

ifnotme said...

@mona - this seems fun ! we keep discovering new things about ourselves !

manythoughts said...

We can't seem to rid ourselves of stereotypes, can we? I guess the more inclusive and open to influences we try to become, towards those who are different from us, the more our '(whatever)ness' gets diluted. Now is that good, bad, or simply something that is inevitable?

ifnotme said...

@many thoughts -
i do not think this is about being inclusive and open, more about how we see ourselves and how others see us...

manythoughts said...

exactly...and aren't many of those perceptions based on stereotypes? What is being 'more male', for instance? Is eveteasing 'more male' and protesting against it 'less male', or vice versa? My point was that if we could get away from stereotypes, what would happen to perceptions? If influences change you as a person, and you don't fit any stereotype any longer, is that good, bad, both or none?