Men, Society and Emotions


Men & Liberation
Author Paul Whyte

In his first article for Manhood Online, Paul Whyte, Special Adviser on Men and Emotions, takes a historical look at the place of man. He maintains that society today has been built as a reflection of the damage that men carry and not as a reflection of our deep inherent masculinity. He calls for men's emotional work which is based on the person-by-person winning of warm close safe relationships.
We cannot see the place of a man with his emotions until we take a step back and look at society historically.

Until modern times the human condition has been focused on survival. Men's role has been to provide that material survival. Most of human history has been hard and mean.

Humans are the first species on the planet to have invented and organised societies. This has given us an enormous increase in survival value. However, we have not learned how to organise in a way that gives respect for free choice and support to humans and protection for the environment. In particular, we have not learned how to care about men in any culture at a social level.

The hard, mean tone of human societies is still focused on men personally. This state of things is at the heart of how we feel about ourselves. Much of what we feel is a result what of what fell on us because we were male. The current societies have been built as a reflection of the damage men carry not as a reflection of our deep inherent masculinity.

For the first time in human history we are able to look at men with generosity towards the past and care. Considering everything that has happened, every man has done the very best that he possibly could and does not deserve any blame or criticism from anyone, including one's self.

As a result of what has happened in my own support groups, I am proud of men. There is not a man that I can think of that I am not proud of as a man and as a person.

This is not the general attitude that is presented to men. We are supposed to be the gender that has all the power and privilege that this society has to give. In terms of the finest of human characteristics, the ones that are the deepest to a man, we are given nothing.

Many of us, if we are lucky, may have some friends that think about us with pride and caring. Many men would give everything that they had to have just one person truly like them.

Men's emotional work is based on the person-by-person winning of warm, close, safe relationships. The last warm, close safety most of us had before we started doing men's work was before we were weaned. Most of us have accepted working or fighting as who we are and what we do.

The lives we lead, what we think and feel are the product of not only our choices and our nature as a man but mostly the attitudes and expectations society presents to us as men. I expect that there is a deep, innate masculinity that is hidden by the tensions of our socialisation. The personal journey of finding one's self and really knowing who you are as a man is the work of resolving tensions and really living well now.

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