Evolution of Self

Advertising, Gender, and A New Masculinity

Man is comtemplation.jpg

A poem by a man, a mechanic by trade and  poet/writer  by vocation Jim Storm, his poem  says a lot about the month of October and the uncovering of the new masculinity within all people: “October is about leaves revealing colors they have hidden all year. People have an October as well.”

In a blog that I wrote (April 2018 - SOC) entitled “Masculinity Is It the Problem or A Programed Expectation?”   What is Masculinity? How is it measured? What are its demands? And how is that person meant to look, think, act, and feel? and should that be according to the mores of society?

This is a continuation of that conversation, and to somehow navigate  that  storm of debate on the subject of Masculinity successfully using a compass with an edge, and that edge is composed of paying attention, and preparation gathered from how the storms behaved in the past, there in is the edge.

 

We looked at how common nursery rhymes of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, from Europe and America had negative descriptors of Masculinity, and the male gender described as slugs, snails, snips, and frogs depending on where in the world the rhyme was told.

In today’s society, Advertising has played one of the important roles of carving out either negative or positive representations of gender and masculinity of late. But with a focus on women’s empowerment dominating the  cultural landscape, Producers keen on selling their brand and products are forgetting their role in shaping male identity as a consequence.

Suzy Bashford, international journalist in her article for the online European business  marketing website called The Drum (July 2016) wrote:

“A growing global ‘boy crisis’ suggests that we could be, in fact, empowering the wrong sex…. The difference is that we are all now familiar with the narrative around [women’s issues] and tackling these issues, thanks in no small part to groundbreaking campaigns such as ‘Like A Girl’ by Always, Sport England’s ‘This Girl Can’ and Dove’s ‘Real Beauty ’ [ad campaigns]…..

We are much less equipped to talk about the issues affecting boys. There’s an unconscious bias that males should simply ‘man up’ and deal with any crisis of confidence themselves…Yet, the reality is that men commit suicide more than women, and are more likely to drop out of education and get involved in crime, drugs and binge-drinking. Moreover, as women are increasingly empowered, many men feel increasingly dis-empowered, accentuating these social problems.”

Vintage Advert remixed

Vintage Advert remixed


Unilever known as Lynx, owner of “[Axe] deodorant brand who wants to become the number one male grooming brand in the world. Had to realize that their marketing strategy failed when sales slowed dramatically from when they’d first entered the market with the “alpha-male” concept. Lynx/Axe admits it had been relying on assumptions before its repositioning. It was only when sales growth slowed that the brand decided to invest in some proper research, leading to a 10-country study of 3,500 men, and consultation of experts such as neuroscientists, to find out what men are really thinking. The results shocked the brand explained Stephanie Feeny, head of strategy at 72&Sunny Amsterdam’s An Advertising Agency used by Lynx to research and reform marketing strategies. “Ideas of masculinity had changed and it recognised it wasn’t quite keeping pace with culture. Lynx/Axe found men are craving a more diverse definition of what it means to be a ‘successful’ man.”

One of the sectors most impacted by this insight is FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer daily used Goods). With analyst from FMCG buying practices, gender role assumptions were most challenged. It was found the person who wins the bread and the person who buys the bread isn’t down to gender these days, for example,

It is often now that the advertiser discovers that in some country’s men are doing 40 per cent of the supermarket shopping. That in the US men have been running household budgets. If producers of goods don’t recognised this, they are going to lose out because they’re increasingly ignoring their potential biggest audience. We hear a lot about women’s voices needing to be heard, but when it comes to men, it becomes strangely silent.

Campaigner David Brockway, who manages the Great Initiative’s Great Men project, urges the industry to be “more revolutionary”,

The Lynx /Axe global brand repositioning had been a “difficult”, steep learning curve admits Fernando Desouches, brand development director, he argues that he learned “men are actually more emotional than women” and that they need more empowerment than women. Desouches says, “you’ve got to ‘set the platform’ before you explode the myth.”

the Argentinian’s voice is tangible when he says” “Women have feminism. But men don’t even know they are sick. This is why we need to put men alongside women, not move them to the side to give room to women. Both genders need to be in the center.”

The Gender divisive issues are certainly at the center of the storm, and will subside through guiding principals of compassion and compass points like attention, and preparation to steer you through the storm. At the end a truly equal future, when sex becomes a far less defining characteristic than it is today.

Suzy Bashford puts it this way:  “After all, you cannot fully empower either gender if by empowering one you are creating divisions and disempowering the other.

As Nobel peace prizewinner Malala Yousafzai puts it ‘we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.’ A statement that is equally true of women, as it is of men.”



A Conversation On Masculinity, Society, and Change Neither is Static

THE KEYS TO WORRY-FREE CHANGING NOTION OF GENDER, MASCULINITY, & SOCIETY -  THE EDGE COMES FROM KNOWING 'What’s Behind the Curtin'. By Calvin Harris H.W., M.

The Life and Age of Man: The Stages of Man's Life from Cradle to ... FAMSF Explore the Art - Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

The Life and Age of Man: The Stages of Man's Life from Cradle to ...
FAMSF Explore the Art - Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

 

This post is written to give a ‘Breathing space’ or a broader view to men when issues come up in the matter of Gender identification, the notions of your sexuality vs gender or in the matter of having to defend or change in a time of Societal change. I will start with the comment that if changes are demanded of you and you did not instigate the change, then make note someone else has an agenda or profit to be gained by it.  

The impetus for writing this post began with a call. I got this phone call about an article that was to appear in the March 1st or 2nd, 2018, edition of TheNation.Com, in its SOCIETY Blog Column. A post titled: "Do We Need to Redefine Masculinity—or Get Rid of It?", written by one Collier Meyerson, a Knobler Fellow at the Nation Institute, where she focuses on reporting about race and politics, as well as an investigative fellow at Reveal. Even before the articles came out a call came to me to be on the lookout for it and a request for my reaction to the article. Since its release, I have had a barrage of calls with hot opinions about it, more than any article (to date) generated from any posts that I had written myself. (Well, it is my own fault for encouraging you all to read more, and then to dig deep for understanding.)

I feel, to meet a storm successfully you will need an edge, that is, a preparation and / or history of the behaviors of the storms and how they behaved in the past: that is where the edge to success is found. So for all of you who are ready to Take Action one way or another, let me play devil's advocate here and let’s start with the meaningful action of an investigation. This investigation may seem a bit around the bend but hold fast, for the future is at stake.

Be pre-warned this article, may have intellectual and emotional undercurrents for some; those of you that take the time to digest and discern what is being offered will find it well worth the read. I welcome your comments and for those of you having regular scheduled session with me, I welcome your phone calls regarding personal issues brought up by this post.  

Also, contain at the end of this article is a link to Ms. Meyerson's article for your perusal and consideration.

I am a believer in having a shameless array of ‘Conscious’ emotions, considered in this conversation when the goal is to lead to a compassionate solution. Yes, even the emotion Anger, if that anger is self-possessed within an idea. The goal then, as Thanissara Mary Weinberg expresses it, is to have - “Anger . . . traditionally thought of to be close to wisdom. [To be used], When not projected outward onto others or inward toward the self, it gives us the necessary energy and clarity to understand what needs to be done.”
Now, I, in fact, was happy to see an article on masculinity in a publication like ‘The Nation,’ in light of my post last year in SOC on 30, June 2017, titled “A Man Is Expected - New Pathways of Being.” Yet, I was surprised by the title implications to Redefine Masculinity or get rid of it. Let’s face it, there are not too many women nor men that really want to get rid of Masculinity. So let us knock off the nonsense of getting rid of it and try to reason to the core of the matter.

Nude Man Serious Thought.jpg

It's clear when you look out into society that masculinity is a tough subject to approach for many people, regardless of gender, but it seems it is popping up in one form or another and therefore it wants to be addressed.

 I'm afraid beliefs about male and female, that is humans and their rights are being turned upside down and that some of the discussions of the new masculinity reflect more theory first than any real consideration of human progress or history on the subject. I don't think it's the wisest move to redefine what it means to be anything beyond Conscious Beings right now. Radicals could easily turn beliefs about humans and unalienable rights they possess upside down especially in a climate demanding change. 

It may surprise some to know in a very short number of years it will be a moot point.  The rage and outcry in the courts, will be about abuse in the use of Robots and Inanimate Objects and there again the consideration for redefinition.  This time for Robots being Sentient Beings, that means beings with consciousness, or in some contexts life itself. Sentient beings for the longest time where considered primary a state belonging only to Humans.  To be Sentient you needed to possess five aggregates: matter, sensation, perception, mental formations, and consciousness. As technology and science progressed as rapidly as it has identification of sentient beings have been extended to animals and plant life and will in time move to our machines. At some point, regulated behavior in the use or misuse of Robots and inanimate objects as Sex objects will prevail. 


What it means to be a man or a woman can be reduced to just saying  ‘Human.’ We have the capacity to think, feel, perceive or experience subjectively and with empathy.  When we go beyond that, then we start to get into trouble when like the Eighteenth-century philosophers used the concept to separate, distinguish as it were the ability to think from the ability to feel and maybe where we start some of the modern divisions of men and women. Humans are carbon-based communal societal creatures that have empathy and justice called Love within their somatic DNA and within their shared blood, they as for now, come with a knowledge of an expiration date.

Photo by Jason Beamguard

Photo by Jason Beamguard

 The Blade Runner movies and the book that they were adapted from,  “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” by writer Philip K. Dick, first published in 1968, explored issues of “what does it mean to be human.” The fallacy the book tried to point to was the belief that Androids, unlike humans, are said to possess no sense of empathy or compassion in the future, and the question did humans still contain humanity. I would start the conversation here because for some folks The concept of masculinity mis-seen is the belief that masculinity in the male gender has no empathy or compassion. And thus masculinity in the male gender is a mechanical apparatus that can be turned on or off at will. Rather than it being an evolutionary engineered process once geared to the benefit of family,  community or humanity and has historically been manipulated but yet is always evolving.

Man as Machine

Man as Machine

There is a book mention in Ms. Meyerson blog by Gail Bederman: her seminal book is on the issue, "Manliness and Civilization: A Cultural History of Gender and Race in the United States, 1880-1917." Author Gail Bederman writes: “I don’t see manhood as either an intrinsic essence or a collection of traits, attributes, or sex roles. Manhood—or ‘masculinity,’ as it is commonly termed today—is a continual, dynamic process.” The first thing we need to do, according to Bederman, is stop arguing that masculinity has traits that are inherent. “Gender,” she writes, “is dynamic and always changing.”

Book Cover of Gail Bederman  Book

Book Cover of Gail Bederman  Book

Between 1820 and 1860, according to Bederman, more and more white men were beginning to identify as middle class: entrepreneurs, professionals, and managers. And with that distinction, there came about a new and important gender identification for men, one that centered around civility. As opposed to brutishness or violent tendencies, manliness during this period was focused on a civilized character, holding off on marriage to accrue wealth. And then a man should focus on providing a good life for his wife, his children, or his employees.

Between 1879 and 1910, the number of middle-class men who were self-employed dropped, from 67 percent to 37 percent, prompting another a shift. “Middle-class Victorian men were obsessed with manhood at the turn of the century,” writes Bederman. They became “obsessed” with cowboy novels, and hunting and fishing. At the same time new epithets, like “sissy,” “pussy-foot,” “cold feet” and “stuffed shirt, ” emerged, indicating “behavior which had once appeared self-possessed and manly but now seemed over-civilized and effeminate,” writes Bederman. Around 1890, a noun defined as “the essence of manhood” took hold for the first time—now, manhood was called “masculinity.”

The idea, Bederman says, was that being “manly” had a “moral dimension,” and was defined by a dictionary at the time as “possessing the proper characteristic of a man; independent in spirit or bearing; strong, brave, large-minded, etc.” But then, when the economy tanked between 1879 to 1896, and with it the whole middle-class white-male “civilized” identity, the concept of “manliness” shifted again. After that, Bederman says, when men wished to invoke a male power they used “masculine” and “masculinity” to describe it. “The adjective ‘masculine’ was used to refer to any characteristics, good or bad, that all men had,” she wrote. The element of morality had been left behind.

The shift in white middle-class American male identification at the turn of the 19th century was also a way to justify white supremacy. “Linking whiteness to male power,” Bederman wrote, “was nothing new.… during the first two-thirds of the nineteenth century, American citizenship rights had been construed as ‘manhood’ rights which inhered to white males, only…Negro males, whether free or slave, were forbidden to exercise ‘manhood’ rights—forbidden to vote, hold electoral office, serve on juries, or join the military. The conclusion was implicit but widely understood: Negro males, unlike white males, were less than men.” But once “masculinity” came around at the end of the 19th century, and black men were fighting for “manhood rights,” a new idea had emerged. White middle-class men were starting to see themselves as maintaining a universal male quality: savagery. But the way they separated themselves from their black counterparts, was to articulate that they had evolved more. Bederman uses the example of National Geographic, which was first published in 1889 and gained popularity “by breathlessly depicting the heroic adventures of ‘civilized’ white male explorers among ‘primitive tribes in darkest Africa.” Similarly, she writes, “Anglo-Saxonist imperialists insisted that civilized white men had a racial genius for self-government which necessitated the conquest of more ‘primitive’ darker races.”

America’s new definition of masculinity was cemented during the 20th century. Though black men gained the right to vote, under Jim Crow laws, which last well into the mid-20th century, they continued to be subjugated by white men, who restrained black men’s economic possibilities and frequently portrayed them as uncontrollable rapists. From early westerns to the action films we watch today, white cis men overwhelmingly were cast as leads in the mass entertainment our culture consumes; guns became a rite and plaything of young white men in our country. And masculinity became a made-up excuse to dominate.

In his essay, Michael Ian Black. an American comedian, actor, writer, writes: “I believe in boys. I believe in my son. Sometimes, though, I see him, 16 years old, swallowing his frustration, burying his worry, stomping up the stairs without telling us what’s wrong, and I want to show him what it looks like to be vulnerable and open, but I can’t. Because I was a boy once, too.”

Black can’t show his son what vulnerability looks like not because he is biologically incapable of doing so. The block is one formed by habit, culture, and American history predicated on white male domination—which produced a masculinity predicated on white male domination. Who says we have to hold onto that? It is only with the understanding that gender identification is moveable, malleable, and worth undoing that we can begin to make the boys all right.

A change of Role

A change of Role

Tim Marshal & Son

Tim Marshal & Son

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Father & Son.jpg

Modifications to masculinity should be a personal and individual choice, to be made by the male or female in their own exploration of their life. Based on their journey to discover their innate self and to get their answer to the great question Who Am I. No one should decide but that individual themselves. They will need of course historic and scientific facts, to be able to look behind the curtain, as well as support both for their spirit and their bodies by their communities. To find that innate self and then to offer their unique contribution to family, community, society and the world.  

This would mean no more expectations of a  cookie cutter assembly line version of masculinity, or of what it should look like or do. No more of a one version fits all.  More of a self-made version of what I call male on man(kind). In my work, I look for the essence in each person I interact with, people to engage their individual merit, on a person by person basis. I have found it seems to work better than applying labels - at least for me.

Freedom to be You

Freedom to be You

See the Nation article by Collier Meyerson

A hiki i kekahi manawa  =   Until next time
 

Expanding Your Limits

HOW TO GENTLY EXPAND YOUR LIMITS

submission by ROBERT MCEWEN, H.W., M.

Robert McEwen I am happy to introduce to SOC blogs pages. He is a longtime friend, fellow Prosperos Mentor, and a nationally known Astrologer.

 

 

“Your mind will answer most questions if you learn
to relax and wait for the answer.” 
–William S. Burroughs

 

All of us have an “inner limit”, a point where we stop our advancement and say “that’s as far as I can go.” Our minds cannot realistically imagine certain things being possible, and so they are relegated to the realm of fantasy. Sometimes it’s things we never thought of as possible, such as becoming a multi-millionaire, and sometimes it’s things we once thought would be easy that have become a chronic struggle, such as a rewarding career or good physical health.This inner limit is partly our comfort zone, and partly our pain zone. It is our comfort zone because it’s within the realm of what feels safe and familiar. It is our pain zone when the thing we hold back from is something we deeply want and suffer in its absence.

The inner limit comes from beliefs about who we are and what we can do. Such beliefs can be viewed as navigation tools, the same way our proprioceptors signal where we are in a room in relation to other objects. The beliefs that compose our inner limit give us a base sense of self to refer to as we encounter the world and we need them in order to orient to our environment.

Because these beliefs are so essential to our identity, trying to change them can feel very threatening to our survival mechanism. If you try to talk over your beliefs, such as by saying affirmations, you will find yourself pushing against an impenetrable inner wall and encounter anxiety as your unconscious perceives it as a life or death struggle.

There is, however, a very simple way to avoid this exhausting fight and to help your beliefs evolve without struggling.

Ask questions. Your brain is a vast power source at your disposal. It will do whatever you direct it to do, but only when it feels safe. The way to preserve the feeling of safety while reaching beyond your limits is to ask questions. Questions employ the mind and give it a job, statements confront the mind and fight whatever constructs are already in place.

It’s the difference between asking, “How can it be easy?” and stating “It’s easy” when addressing a challenge. One is a conversation that proactively engages the situation, the other is an argument that ignores contrary evidence.

Useful questions are a gateway that opens the mind to new perceptions and beliefs on their own. You give your mind a job and send it on a quest to find an answer. You might not immediately know the answer, but just asking a question implies that one exists and it is merely a case of solving a puzzle to figure it out. You are now giving your brain a job that engages its creativity and intellect, areas that induce the feeling of fun.

Depending on the situation it’s often better not to try to find the answer when you ask the question, but to use it as a prod to move your mind in a different direction. Simply asking how it can be easy will tune your mind to find ease in the situation, without you having to try and think of an answer which might not have obvious solutions. For example, I asked this question often when house hunting in a difficult market and ended up effortlessly getting my dream house. I could not have planned how things came together, only prepared for them by aligning myself with the sense that it could be easy despite all rational evidence.

“How can it be easy?” is one of my favorite questions to use when addressing a difficult situation. Other excellent questions are:

How can it be fun?
What is the most useful thought I can have right now?
What is the most useful thought I can have about this difficult situation? (e.g., my relationship status, my job, my kids, etc)
What am I not seeing?

I also like “what if” questions for situations where there is no additional action to take. Asking, What if it’s easy? What if it’s fun? can help center the mind in a different direction when preparing for a job interview or other anxiety-inducing task.

When you notice your mind start to spin about something in your life or the world, say, “thank you”, and ask a question from the above list. This way you acknowledge the worry and redirect your mind, as one redirects a toddler having a tantrum by introducing a game.

You don’t have to believe something will work to ask if it can, yet asking the question will lead your mind to convince itself it’s possible. This way you work with it as a friend and ally toward your dreams.

ReImaging 2017 the Evolution of Your Goals and Resolutions

2016 has been a year of growth, a year of solutions and a year of change. Not in that particular order, As we start moving towards our New Year's resolutions and goals, three tips I would like to pass on to you in reimaging 2017, with success where it may not have been before. Needless to say, you will need to be resolute to your goals and resolutions, to help with this endeavor you may want to make a commitment to a plan to help create a solution to those detractors (yourself included) such as tuning out the noise and diversions both internally as well as externally that would steal your focus and vision.

  • Trust your conviction: It could get very lonely when everyone says you're going to fail. You just got to trust the power of your own conviction.  That does not mean that you have not consciously dig deep to examine and figure out what you truly believe in, what you truly are passionate about, and when you have, then is when you trust your gut and move towards your conclusions.
  • Be practical: practical meaning being frugal with your spending both with currency and time. Take a hard look and get help if needed to really understand your goals be it personal and or business and or both. Get a handle on the cost structure be it in time money, patience, and endurance. Be willing to pay the price of focused attention to eventually turn a profit. Make sure you’re very focused on your time and currency flow so that you’re in control of your own destiny and can create balance where needed.
  • Stay focused: Know what you're trying to attain, solve or accomplish will be reach because you are applying a flexible conscious focus.  That is adaptive insights, making changes or corrections to your plan through fly efforts. Don’t get distracted by the big picture, trying to solve too big a problem at one time, instead you work on a segment of the project until you’ve really done it well, then build on that success.

All success is working the process, your outcome may morph and change but that is because you have embraced the infinite possibilities of the Unknown and your life in turn will surprise you. 

You see what a man does for pay is of little significance. What he allows himself to reveal and manifest along the way, such as being a sensitive instrument to direct and respond to the world's beauty, is profitable.

Fortunately what cures stupid and broke is not turning from failure, but continually learning from your mistakes and making the corrections, rectifications and then having the courage to do the next thing. That’s all you have to do. Regret of the past or anxiety of the future are the thieves of the present and your success. Welcome to reimaging you.

- Calvin