Mature and Authentic Masculinity Is Not Machismo

By: Phoenix48

“The scripture is filled with examples of authentic masculinity; you could mine David’s story for probably a year by itself. And we have to get the masculinity of Jesus back. Not the pale-faced altar boy, but the man that made a weapon and cleared the temple, who boldly cast out demons and calmed the raging sea.”

–John Eldredge

“Masculinity is kind of a toxic curse, isn’t it? The expectations of it were hard on me.”

–Luis Alberto Urrea

Much has been made of masculinity of late. There is widespread agreement that men are mired in difficulties. Because the struggles of men as a microcosm of society are entwined with the struggles of Western culture, those topics will be discussed in the Society section. Here we will discuss what we can do as individuals to better understand what it means to be constructively masculine in contemporary society and to develop and internalize masculine characteristics and psyche. Mature and authentic masculinity need not be feared nor is it mysterious.

The talking heads would have us believe either we have too much masculinity or too little or it’s not the right kind. It’s toxic and we need to embrace our inner feminine – or it’s virile and empowering, enabling us to fight wildfires and save less manly civilians. Either we must retreat from hegemonic masculinity entirely or should eat raw meat with blood dripping down our chins. As a result, masculinity is ground zero in every sense, or nonsense, depending on how one views it.

Authentic Masculinity Qualities

Rather than begin defensively by further dignifying stereotypes and objections, let us instead start with obvious, unassailable qualities that masculine men possess:

  • Competence
  • Confidence
  • Assertiveness
  • Responsibility for himself and others
  • Composure
  • Resilience
  • Integrity
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Courageousness
  • Strength, social and physical
  • Standing up for yourself and your principles
  • Being comfortable engaging in conflict
  • Hesitation from introspection as opposed to fear
  • Modesty
  • Benevolence
  • Interdependence
  • Internal locus of control
  • Goal oriented, purpose driven psychology

Authentic Masculinity Anti-Qualities

Likewise, let’s list some unmasculine qualities:

  • Lack of personal control
  • Avoidant of difficulty in favor of pleasure seeking
  • Accepting second-class behavior from himself or others
  • Whining / complaining
  • Gossiping
  • Expecting special treatment / entitlement
  • Blaming others
  • Insecurity
  • Kissing up to those in authority
  • Feeling inferior
  • Submissiveness
  • External locus of control
  • Appearance driven psychology

What is immediately apparent is that masculine men are mature men. Which begs the question: Are all mature men masculine? If not, then what are the secret ingredients that separate the authentically masculine from the merely mature? What sets them apart?

The Male Rite of Passage

Many men feel an intangible barrier blocking them from becoming an authentic man and a burning desire to achieve it. Mature manhood – the traditional role of protector, provider, and procreator – is something that has always been taught to boys by men who have successfully made the transition. It is our belief that authentic masculinity goes against the grain; that lacking the appropriate initiations, challenges, and a process for earning our manhood, we arrive at adulthood missing a critical set of vital components.

A woman simply is, but a man must become. –Camille Paglia

Primitive cultures without fail practice a formal maturation process boys must traverse on their journey to manhood. In contrast, we inhabit in a culture where the vital rituals of male transition at the appropriate age, which had existed since the dawn of time, are no longer present in an adequately effectual form. Consequently, men are stunted psychologically, emotionally, and developmentally.

Authentic masculinity boy standing before fire holding burning stick
The male rite of passage

Failure to Launch

The boy who does not grow up lives a life fighting the demons of childhood rather than actualizing into a man capable of self-determination, setting goals, achieving emotional durability, and ultimately leading a fulfilled life.

Life Purpose

An essential element of masculine maturity is finding and pursuing a life purpose. While this is relevant for both sexes, for men it is vitally important. A man who finds his purpose and begins to align his life with it will necessarily and increasingly live at cause. Conversely, a man who fails to find his purpose will remain adrift and be continually reacting to life rather than living responsibly. Key to masculinity is how we discipline our lives to support that purpose, minimize distractions, and reframe setbacks.

We’ll be writing about these and many other important topics for men in this section. Stay tuned.

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”

–Khalil Gibran
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