Masculinity Means What These Days?
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December 13, 2017
S. Callahan, Contributing Columnist

It used to be so simple; A baby boy was born. He was given a blue
blanket, blue room and a truck to play with. Later, when he was about
four or five, he was given his first toy gun.

Looking at the way that boys were socialized up until around 1970
seems quaint now and, in a sense, weird.  The last 40 years have seen
a sea change in attitudes about the "right" way to hep boys define
masculinity. If the 1960's through the 1980's were the decades of the
New Woman, then we can say that the 1970's through today saw the
emergence of a New Man.

New Woman, meet New Man.  Today, men come of age in a world in
which the question of gender itself is fluid.  The New Man may or may
not have been genetically born a male. The New Man is comfortable
sharing traditional female household chores such as child-rearing,
cooking and cleaning.

To see where we are going, as a society, we look to places with trend
setters. Hollywood still is that place. We find that stars like Pink have
declared that they are raising their children as gender neutral. Angelina
Jolie and Brad Pitt are applauding the gender choice of one of their
daughters to self-identify as male.

Self Identification Has Replaced Gender

Genetically, science defines a man as a human having both X and Y
chromosomes, while a woman has only X chromosomes.

But science no longer rules the day in terms of gender. In 1950, it
would have been unthinkable that a male baby born with a penis could
have been considered anything other than a boy. Today, some parents
are delaying the decision whether to raise a child as a boy or as a girl
until the child expresses a gender preference.

These decisions are profoundly affect the families that decide to raise
their children this way but they also affect the perceptions of all those
raised with the children. Whether or not you agree with the Smith
family's decision to raise a genderless child, the other children will have
the transforming experience of having been raised with a genderless
human in their midst.

They will grow up in a world where accepting genderless people is
normal. And that, inevitably, changes their own perceptions of the

The New Man Has Grown Up with Gender Fluid and Genderless People

How do define yourself as a man in a world in which some of your
friends are genderless or gender fluid?  

In this world, a man may define himself in any number of ways along a
gender spectrum.

In the emerging world, people will be able to assign themselves as male
for certain purposes and female or genderless for others. He may be
male for sex and reproductive purposes but female in terms of choice
of dress style.  

This is not entirely new. Ancient Greek and Rome saw many examples
of gender fluidity, from Emperor Nero opening marrying a man to Ovid’
s Tiresias transformation from a man to a woman. But that was then,
thousands of years ago. Today, the idea of men choosing to live as
women, Bruce Jenner/ Caitlan Jenner notwithstanding, is still shocking
to most.  And if you think differently, then I challenge you to walk in
clothes opposite your gender in even the most liberal streets of New
York, San Francisco London or Paris.  

Those notions of gender liberty are being challenged, and not just by
the lost recent migrants from Otherville.

What these experiences will teach you is that gender is something that
is resistant to cultural change.

People, we humans in our tribes, seem to hold on as a tenet of stability
to roles of masculinity and feminty. Perhaps we do ths because it's the
only way we have figured out to survive since the caves.

Who Will Fight the Wars in a Genderless World?

Men, like it or not, are responsible today for almost 100% of the
physical combat in the world. Men still do the soldiering, by and large,
in the West notwithstanding the many contributions of female soldiers
around the world.  We should also hasten to add that men also are
responsible for 100% of the origin of territorial and idealogical wars in
the world but that's a topic for another day.

What does genderlessness mean for defending the caves?  In a
genderless world, an men be asked to suddenly define themselves as
beings responsible for sacrificing their lives to defend the cave? Must
the consequence of genderlessness mean that all humans, whether
born genetically men or genetically woman, must be willing to fight

Or, put it another way, should a genetic man be able to avoid being
drafted into the armed forces if he has self-identified as a woman?

Call this the flip side of the liberty of self-identification.  The powers
that be are way ahead of the people on this one, as usual. Today, the
Pentagon allows transgender people to enlist as soldiers.

The day is not too far away when, no matter how you self identify, the
governments of the world will allow, then requite, you to enlist in their
armies; Welcome to freedom?

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