The Heterodox

The Heterodox


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Man Up

November 29, 2010 , , , , , , , ,

Today’s article will be yet another preview into the ideations contained within my first book of essays. The first half of the book contains essays devoted to subjects that are of innate interest to men regardless of sexual orientation, all of which are argued rhetorically and/or polemically. Of the five essays which comprise this section, two of them involve different aspects of today’s topic which is an examination of the ostensible variances of inherent masculinity with its relation to male sexuality. If I qualify this topic a little further, then it could be said that I am arguing for homosexual masculinity being intertwined amid the varied manifestations of male fraternity all within the scope of the human androsphere. Considering that these two essays comprise about ten thousand words of a forty thousand word book, it becomes rather pronounced that this issue is one that is fundamental to my overall philosophy; this is undeniably true. Before any asseveration can be made though, we must first distinguish and contrast the scientific realities of this topic with the more discretionary cultural archetypes which are erected around the idea of gender.

This distinction is of extreme importance due to the fact that a majority of people consistently confuse or fail to recognize that there is an intrinsic difference between the biological verity of sexual corporeality and the constructed facades of culturally conditioned gender roles which is not merely semantic. If one is unclear about these differences, then a productive conversation about sexuality is unattainable. Sex, as a biological concept is defined by the different and distinct somatic materializations of the human body which are delineated by the possession of either an XY chromosome set or an XX chromosome set. The only difference between these two chromosomal sets, which should be self evident, is the appearance of a Y chromosome whose sole purpose is to induce an embryo to manifest glands which in turn produce androgens, androgens being the male hormones. The ultimate outcome of these endocrinological inducements is the creation of a male body which as we know is somatically distinguished from a female body by the possession of a penis and testicles, greater musculoskeletal development, greater distribution of body hair, etc. When it comes to these realities of the male body, how much do they inform on the intimations of what it is to be a man and not just a human male? I would argue that they have everything to do with what we mean when we utter the word man. I hope as well as assume that there will be little if any conjecture with this assertion, but I believe it to be important to keep this thought in mind when we consider what it means to be a masculine man.
Steven Pinker
To better illustrate the rest of my assertions, I feel it is more effective for us to focus on the neurological and psychological makeup of the male brain than purely relying on the proclivities of the penis. The most influential thinker on my philosophy in this regard would have to be the psychologist Steven Pinker. As much as I enjoy all of his books for their ease of reading and effulgent prose, the one book which has been the most useful to me and my inquiries has been The Blank Slate. This book has become one of the most indispensable to the modern philosopher. Not only has the work of Dr. Pinker utterly destroyed any remnant which was lingering of the concept of Cartesian Dualism, but it also has best illuminated what it is to be a member of the species Homo sapien in the twentyfirst century. To get more specific about The Blank Slate, it is in the section entitled Hot Buttons in which we find a chapter (chapter 18) that is the most germane to my argument. The chapter is simply titled Gender.

Dr. Pinker quite rightly feels that this area of inquiry is one of the more contentious which is involved with any discussion of human nature. As he explains in his introduction to this chapter, ever since the inchoate days of the feminist movement in this country, our culture has become accustomed to think that there is no real distinction between the male and female brains, and what difference there is has more to do with conditioning within a patriarchal society than genetics. But what modern cognitive science has definitively shown us is that there is in point of fact structural differences in the male and female brain which augment and inform on the way in which men and women view the world and their existence within it. Returning to the nucleus of my argument, the behavioral manifestations of a brain which undergoes incessant ablutions of testosterone has a direct corollary to what cultures characterize as masculine; this term being that which informs on our notion of male gender. Salient examples of this behavior can be found in the male exigencies of and appreciations of competition, aggression, violence and the need for unabated sexual release. If you consider any particular male mien, you will find that their antecedent can be found in one of or combination of these four categories of behavior. It should also become arrestive that these male verities can be noticed among homo and heterosexual men, a point which takes me to the next part of my demurral.

For me personally (and for many of my friends and acquaintances), the most egregious feature of heterosexual elitism is in the way that society continues to portray gays in any form of media as axiomatically feminine in constitution and mentality based solely on their sexuality (yet we do not encounter straights being labeled solely on their sexuality, do we?). This opprobrious view of homosexuality stems from a patriarchal and misogynistic contempt for the feminine. Also, this antipathy is further exacerbated whenever a man admits to his homosexual nature because he is seen by patriarchal eyes as abnegating his manhood in favor of the feminine. This kind of rational is absurd on its face and also denigrates male sexuality overall. Because of this, those of us who are masculine and gay by nature find ourselves existentially negated within both society and gay culture. But not only do we exist, there are more of us than you might think. Due to patriarchal societies penchant for feminine hatred, many men who are innately homosexual elide their sexuality because they fear the loss of their masculinity if they were to admit to the truth of their nature. There is nothing more disgraceful or pathetic to me than this kind of male sadomasochism, and I say this as a man who once thought like this. It is in this mentality in which we find the notions of being on the DL or Rough trade which are attempts at actualizing male sexuality into a perceived feminine lacuna. I must admit I can sympathize with this mentality along with the yearning for an existence within an androsphere, but this can not be achieved or pursued at the expense of the considerations of women, this existential view being the main derogation put forth by all patriarchal societies. The final point of these postulations is that a man’s sexuality does not have a deterministic effect on his masculinity or effeminacy which are instead predicated by other genetic and environmental factors.

So if you consider yourself a cosmopolitan individual and have experience with meeting many types of people then you are already quite aware of the fact that there are not only masculine gay men and feminine lesbians, but that there are also patently effeminate straight men and masculine straight women. This contingency alone illustrates that the existential phenomena of gender is more related to the cultural constructs and expectations of which society has for Men and Women, (not of male and female Homo sapiens) than pure genetic influence. This reality is to be expected if one considers the infinitely permutable evolutionary makeup of not only our species, but of all life on this planet of which we are apart. If I was to continue with this line of thought, then my argument would next flow into the contention that there is in fact no demarcations of male sexuality extant and that is supererogatory to use the designations of Gay, Straight, or Bi when describing male sexuality. It is within this contention where I most disagree with Gore Vidal’s notions on this subject who would have us believe that we are all bisexual with only an exiguous amount of us being exceptions. Yet instead of going further into this topic, I would prefer to leave you with some piqued interest for my book where I go much more into detail with all of the assertions just made.

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