I find it hard to focus on strictly masculinity issues when we are in the midst of the unprecedented virus pandemic. However, listening to the many health professionals and politicians I detect a message that sounds like as a society we need not to panic, not to ignore scientific advice and essentially to “man up.” Have we evolved sufficiently to understand that man up is not short hand for emotional denial nor is it synonymous with toxic masculinity?
When we man up in the light rather than the shadow following Moore & Gillette’s archetypes we are expressing the best of masculinity. Although the archetypes have traditionally focused specifically on masculine behavior they also provide a useful model for understanding what a more gender neutral man up can look like that also applies to women. The four archetypes, king, warrior, lover and magician are operational singly or in combination and relate to how we handle ourselves in our daily lives.
The King – reasons, plans, focuses, manages, uses logic, seeks vision.
Light (I am) – empowering leadership, facilitator, generative, value driven
Shadow (I want)– dictatorial, egotistical, amoral, grandiose
The Warrior – takes action, confronts, commands, motivates.
Light (I do)– change agent, protector, disciplined, assertive, leader
Shadow (I take) – violent, bully, uses aggression as primary strategy,
The Lover – nurtures, sexual, connects, passionate, joyful.
Light (I feel) – intimate, sensual, emotionally expressive, compassion
Shadow (I need) – exploiter, selfish, emotional blackmailer, victimizer
The Magician – creates, solves problems, makes it happen, transforms, intuitive.
Light (I fix) – win-win, creative, applies acquired wisdom
Shadow (I con) – manipulator, hustler, cheater, means always justifies ends
Compare the actions and words of our political leaders, the media, government officials and the scientific community of both genders and ask yourself are they “man upping” in the light or the shadow as we confront the challenges of the coronavius pandemic. .