My last blog asked, whether it is possible for a man to be proud of his masculinity as separate from being proud of being a decent person?  In other words how can a man be a “better” person with a masculine spin?    I answered, rather glibly, that if a man expresses his archetypes  –  King, Warrior, Lover, Magician – in the light he can be a feminist and still have pride in his masculinity.

Upon reflection I realize that I did not fully answer my own question.   My response was incomplete.  The following question remains unanswered.  Can a man feel pride in his masculinity while advocating gender equality?   I will begin by defining gender equality simply as non-discrimination in any arena and equal pay for equal work.   With that as a starting point I will attempt to highlight what masculine energy brings that is different and value added, but not necessarily superior, to feminine energy.  One example is parenting styles.   Research supports the notion that fathers are more likely to engage in physical play with their children and encourage risk taking.  Mothers tend to stress safety and social skills.  Children thrive when they receive both male and female parenting energy.  In addition there is strong evidence that girls who have solid relationships with their fathers have a better handle on their sexuality and are less likely to become pregnant as a teen and less likely to be involved in an abusive relationship.

In a previous blog, I presented data on occupational choices by gender.   It appears that men will continue to  gravitate towards the trades and generally to occupations that are physically demanding and hold a higher potential for risk.    As long as these occupations exist men will seek them and derive satisfaction that is not based on gender discrimination.    As an aside, unfortunately, in our modern economy, these type of jobs – especially in manufacturing – are in decline and men will also need to seek opportunities in so called “pink” job categories (health care, elementary and middle school teaching social work).

Confidence in risk.   A trait that is more pronounced in men than women and most likely a byproduct of testosterone is an asset to our economy and to our technological progress.  For example most venture capitalists and those involved in high risk exploration are men.  Despite recent decisions by the Department of Defense to open combat related military roles to women few women are applying to the most  risky assignments like the Navy Seals and Army Rangers.

The particularly male trait of seeking power, especially in hierarchical  arenas is a bit more problematic.  Hierarchy assumes dominance.   Therefore, how a man expresses his need for power can either be at the expense of women or with greater awareness that achievement can be secured by accomplishment rather than just by winning.

Another example of the best of male and female energy working together an be found in organizations that combine achievement of goals with employee satisfaction.   These organizations thrive as a result of the male energy to focus on tasks – at times too singularly – combined with the female energy to make sure attention is given to teamwork and personal relationships.

As the discussion continues I will continue to explore with practical examples how a man can take pride in his masculinity and still call himself a feminist.


In the last installment I ended with, “The challenge remains, how can a man be comfortable as a man while accepting the reality of a gender equal world?”   The question has become even more timely since the unearthing of the explosive Trump tapes.   There has been an outpouring of  editorials, media talking heads, elected officials  and tweets commenting on how Trump’s behavior and language represents or misrepresents masculinity.   Some, including Trump himself,  have minimized the impact of his remarks by attributing it to just talk that is common in a male locker room.   Obviously if what he said was more than talk we would be dealing with criminal behavior and that can never be justified.  However, for the sake of discussion let’s assume that what Trump said was just talk and fantasizing.  The so called locker room attribution is an attempt to normalizes the notion that when men are in the company of men, especially when juiced by competition infused testosterone, they objectify women and share both real and imagined stories about sexual conquest.  Many men, including professional athletes have weighed in on the topic sharing their own locker room experiences.   Most, including myself, label this type of banter as somewhat familiar but far more common among adolescents rather than among adult men.   One editorial on the subject stated.

The aggression that characterizes Mr. Trump’s words and behavior is both a reflection and a cartoonish exaggeration of traditional masculinity. That very idea of what it is to be a man has been under assault for generations. Feminists would argue – contrary to the emotional experience of many of Mr. Trump’s supporters — that reimagining the role of women does not demean  or constrain men. Rather, the feminists say, it liberates them.”

A men’s movement spokesperson, championed by many, suggests that there are new ways to define being an American man — most notably by acting against sexual harassment but also by freeing men from the emotional straightjacket exemplified by  the John Wayne western character.  The thinking is that we will be “better” men when we actively support non-violence towards women and when we are more in touch with our emotions.   Nothing wrong with either of these suggestions but the problem is that it does nothing to help a man have pride in being a man different than having pride in being a decent human being.   Aspiring to be a thoughtful, tolerant and moral person is a commendable goal for both men and women but it does not speak to any particular masculine attributes.

I again return to the fundamental question of whether it is possible for a man to be proud of his masculinity as separate from being proud of being a decent person?  In other words how can a man be a “better” person with a masculine spin?   In previous blogs I often wrote about the difference in expressing the masculine archetypes in the light instead of the shadow.  If a man values his King, Warrior, Lover and Magician aspects of his manhood and chooses to make sure he acts in the light he can be a feminist but still have pride in his masculinity and be respected by women.