Having a penis is great, but it’s no excuse to be a dick.

Hi guys. Let’s talk. Specifically the guys, males, blokes, dudes, men, and fellows. I know the word has generally come to cater to a large group of people regardless of gender (like how we group our collective species as mankind, humanity for some reason. Whatever, gendered language isn’t the point right now. Let’s table that for another day), but I’m specifically talking to those male identifying people. Ladies and non-gender binary folks, you’re welcome to listen in, I’m just not sure how much you need to hear this.

Let’s talk about being a guy, some things we do and say and how we could perhaps do and say less of these things without being less of a guy. It is great to be a guy and society lets us know this. Whether we want it or not, it pushes us towards believing that we’re at the forefront of everything, that our role is to stand up and take charge, that our voice counts. We’re strong, commanding and important. This is great, you should believe in your own capacity to excel, your ability to take charge and lend your voice when it’s needed. We all should. Thing is, for some reason we believe it’s almost always that time. Spoiler: It’s not.

There are times when the situation doesn’t call for using your big, boomy, bassy voice to trample over the words of others. Like wise teachers often like to teach grasshoppers, listening is often its own reward. By all means, being paralytic and refusing to act won’t get you particularly far, but listening often leads to learning, equipping you to handle future scenarios more effectively. Knowledge is power, right? It’s awesome to have an opinion and enthusiasm often means you want to share your opinion so others can admire that opinion you have. That’s fantastic, but keep in mind that everyone has an opinion and while I know you’re just bursting to share yours, other people have equally important opinions that you won’t be able to hear if you’re always verbally stomping over theirs. If you keep doing this, it stops you from hearing those opinions that don’t come attached to a resonant foghorn voice. That’s a bummer, because you’re missing out on all that knowledge and learning you might’ve had. Instead, your eagerness to share your views all the time and help others see your magical version of society gets in the way of sharing in those others’ societal views.

Another thing that happens when we’re told that we’re commanding, important and that our voice matters is that we truly believe it. We believe that our views hold more weight and importance than all those other views. We believe that our opinions just matter more. As we buy into this idea, bit by bit we feel justified in imposing our views over those of the less visible parts of society. We think if their views were that important, we’d hear themNaturally, people should want to listen to us, because we are the gatekeepers of the important views. We’re told this, so we enforce it. Society stops becoming a utopian paradise composed of all the things that make each of us special and instead caters to the more limited stream of things that please the more dominant majority. Of course it does, we’re not listening to anyone else. It’s ok though, right? Because at least the important views are getting through. Wrong again.

Why am I saying all of this? Because I own a big, boomy voice honed by years of theatre (and the gifts of puberty). Because I love the way I see the world and almost always want to share it with others (coming from the guy who has written close to 900 pieces on the way he sees things). Because I’ve spent years talking over others. Because I still have a habit of running my mouth off before I think. I’m saying this because I want to be accountable to myself by getting other guys to help call me out on this kind of thing.

It’s ok though, all hope isn’t lost. We’re still capable of changing, even an opinionated loudmouth like me. Sometimes it’s as easy as doing a quick check before opening your mouth and thinking is what I’m saying going to benefit others, or just me? Instead of responding instantly to the group with your super important opinion (and I know full-well how tough it is to resist that temptation. Not even being sarcastic right now), maybe throw it to someone who doesn’t get the chance to speak up as often. They’ve probably been listening and learning a bunch, so they likely have something interesting or informed to say. I’ve been trying this when I can over the last little while. You know what? I’m learning. I’m hearing things I’m not used to hearing and it’s helping me see things I never would’ve considered. I don’t know everything. I know so much less than anything. At a stretch I maybe know 0.00000000000000000000012% of everything, so why would I talk over 50+% of the population? That’s just terrible math.

This was a good chat. I think. I hope. Thing is, I’m far from an expert on anything. Maybe for some niche cross-section of the population I’m relatable and that helps the message get through. Excellent. Fortunately there is the internet and an endless sea of voices that aren’t mine. Here are some places you can find some:

  • If you like the relatable aspect of hearing this stuff from other guys, I found that The Good Men Project often has some quality words (also this video was just posted and is relevant to what we’ve been talking about. If you’ve got 3 minutes, I thought it was spiffy).
  • If you’re not scared of the word “feminism” and all the dumb stigma society attaches to it (try just replacing it with “equality”), Everyday Feminism has a heap of great stuff.
  • If you like excellent content that primarily comes from female voices, The Hairpin regularly has a ton of great stuff.
  • If you just want to feel bad about yourself (but a good “bad”, a learning kind of “bad”) and how your maleness is like a cheat code in this current societal configuration, this Male Privilege Checklist was something I found pretty informative a while back.

If you do want to talk about any of this stuff with me knowing full well that others are far more informed, that’s fine. I’m happy to have the conversation with anyone who thinks it could be useful. Just don’t be surprised if I divert you to someone smarter on the subject.

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8 responses to “Having a penis is great, but it’s no excuse to be a dick.

  1. Thank you for posting this! I’m afraid that, as a woman, I am not in a position to carry out your advice, but I think it’s really super totally cool that you are so attentive to your own actions and how they impact those around you. That is a very inspirational and necessary quality in today’s world!

    • I’m lucky. It’s surprisingly easy to shut up and listen when you’re surrounded by an overwhelming number of intelligent and clever women.

  2. Pingback: Having a penis is great, but it’s no excuse to be a dick. | carpeanimus

  3. LOL You sound like a mafia boss ‘chatting’ with a ‘fellow’ restaurant owner ‘man to man’, discussing how great it is to run a successful business, the pride, the joy, the satisfaction of having your customers enjoying their food in a restaurant with unsmashed windows. The deep sleep you must have knowing your restaurant is not burning down after a gas leak. What? No I’m just saying…. that’s good right?

    > It is great to be a guy and society lets us know this. Whether we want it or not, it pushes us towards believing that we’re at the forefront of everything, that our role is to stand up and take charge, that our voice counts. We’re strong, commanding and important.

    Yep. Men have less legal rights than women! Hurrah for men! Men still do not even have the right to genital integrity. Throughout history men’s role has been to sacrifice himself working down mines, out in the fields, out at sea, and on the battlefield in order to provide resources and protection to women…. for this men have been labelled as systematic oppressors of women.

    Men have always had to jump through a variety of expensive hoops before women allow them to their social circle, and traditionally a boyfriend had to agree (in a legally binding contract!) to financially support his girlfriend for life before she would even allow him to get into bed with her or see her naked. For this men have been accused of oppressing women.

    Even today men do the remaining manual labour jobs (which is why 95% of workplace deaths are men). Men are given 60% longer sentences for the same crimes as women. Men’s sexuality is defined as inherently rapey, men’s intent as inherently criminal and natural boy behaviour is now defined in the educational system as being a problem which requires forced medication. Boys are now essentially being defined as ‘defective girls’.

    In keeping with men’s lower status (as society’s manual labourers, infrastructure builders and maintainers and financial supporters of women) men serving women (He for She) is now defined as ‘gender equality’.

    But despite being kicked in the nuts every day men persevere. They refuse to define THEMSELVES as victims, cleverly shifting this burden onto women’s shoulders! Making women feel depressed and insecure instead (despite having more rights, more privileges and more of a voice than men).

    This eschewing of the label ‘victim’ is what gives men the energy and the vigour to excel and to innovate and to be productive in society. The only downside is that a lot of women exploit men’s clever psychological trick by playing the role of victim so convincingly that society ends up actually believing women have it worse than men…. which these women then use to justify demanding special treatment and free stuff – most of which is paid for by those carefree productive men!

    Thus men are – in their bid for freedom – ending up further enslaved to women. Their strategy only worked in the age before women had the use of big socialist governments with the legal right to control men by force and confiscate their property by force.

    And now for feminist joke of the day.

    A young woman with no particular qualifications to speak on gender / social issues walks into a UN conference room and announces to the whole world – via an overwhelmingly pro feminist media – that women have no voice and are not listened to. Boom Tsh!

    The joke is she was not even being sarcastic.

    Emma Watson is a joke. But Emma Watson plus the UN is serious business. You traditional patriarchal men better watch out because modern feminism IS patriarchy, but on steroids!

    Patriarchy = women and children first
    Feminism = He for She

    It’s the same thing (minus the concern for children).

    Feminists are using men’s patriarchal psychological trick against them by playing the burdening role of the victim for their own benefit, in an aggressive way that is the furthest thing from actual victimhood.

    • This reminded me of a Bo Burnham joke.
      “For every dollar that a man makes, a woman makes 70 cents. That’s not fair. The man’s only left with 30.”

      Thing is, it’s a joke playing on the fact that real inequality does exist. Bo knows this, I’m not sure that you do.

      I don’t want to get into a protracted debate with an MRA/redpill denizen, because I don’t know if you’re actually capable of seeing things outside of your entrenched myopic scope. I feel like you want to see things a certain way, so you eschew any evidence to the contrary. It’s a pity, because you’re the exact archetype of person that this post could most benefit.

      There’s not much that can be done with someone who’s not willing to learn, and while I suggest that despite your bias you go and read that male privilege checklist (even though the word “privilege” probably raises your hackles), you probably won’t.

      I don’t know how you were hurt by a woman at some stage in your life (given your above example of the “legally binding contract”. Did you also know that in your example the women were traded like property and had next to no legal rights?). Maybe your advances were spurned, causing you to adopt an “it’s not me, it’s her” position that extended to everyone who shared her chromosome configuration. Maybe the pervasive media narrative told you that as the hero of your own life’s story, you “deserve” a woman and you bought into that.

      As someone who professes to the value and integrity of hard work though, you probably understand that nothing is necessarily “deserved” and things don’t just come to you. That’s not how life works. In this case, it seems like the hard work you need to do is to examine why it is you think the way you do and whether that’s actually making you happy. Googling your name very quickly showed a couple of comments on other people’s blogs with angry pro men’s rights rants. That doesn’t sound like the behaviour of a person who’s happy with their lot in their life. Maybe instead of placing the blame on roughly half the population (sorry trans-folk. You matter, but I’m not sure of specific numbers), you look at how you behave towards the rest of the world and think about whether that’s actually doing you any good. Try listening instead of talking for a little bit and see if you learn anything.

      Or stay angry and see where that gets you.

  4. You’re a really swell guy, Leon. Just swell. All the Little Ladies should pat you on the back for being so chivalrous and sensitive.

    You’re the one truly good man amongst a bunch of crappy men who don’t do what they are supposed to.

    • I’m not, but there’s nothing stopping me from trying to be better (like the idea of writing every day to try and be a better writer). Also I have the internet so I can use it to point towards much more intelligent, educated people who can say things better than I can.

      You MRA/redpill dudes know that all of these comments come up for moderation, right? I have to approve each post, so unless it appeals to my narcissistic need for attention, it probably won’t make it on here. Just letting you know so you don’t waste your time.

  5. Pingback: If a picture is worth a thousand words, what portrait does a thousand entries paint? | I have my doubts

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