The Secret of Masculinity: Combine Traditional With Modern
Why is James Bond’s masculinity attractive?
James Bond’s masculinity is attractive because he is strong, lethal, good with women, driven, and never loses his cool. He is comfortable in every social situation. He is witty. He is confident. He is assertive with authority. He remembers details and he remembers people’s names. James Bond’s masculinity is the epitome of a man who is always in complete control of every situation. More, though, he looks like he always has been in control and always will be. This model of masculinity is an enduring model of traditional masculinity. At Authentic Masculinity, we call this traditional type of masculinity Robust Masculinity. Make no mistake—Robust Masculinity is very difficult.
But what does James Bond get wrong about masculinity?
James Bond’s masculinity—Robust Masculinity– is missing something important, though. He doesn’t fail enough to be approachable. He doesn’t fail with women and doubt himself. He doesn’t fall short of career goals in any meaningful way and have to improve. He doesn’t panic or get anxious, and if someone were to spill something on his suit when he was out with a woman he loved, he wouldn’t get embarrassed. He doesn’t look awkward or shy or nervous. He doesn’t forget names. He doesn’t make mistakes in blog posts! All of these experiences and sensations make us human. They require humble, confident masculinity. At Authentic Masculinity we call this more realistic masculinity Resilient Masculinity.
Only the Mediocre Man is Always at His Best
Have you ever worked with someone who says he’s always doing great? Not someone who is always up-beat and positive. Not someone who knows nobody likes a complainer. I’m talking about a man who is desperate for you to believe he is always up. If you encounter someone like this, remember: only the mediocre man is always at his best. The rest of us, who are trying to improve, will reach and fall short every day. This is good, because one secret to success is to accelerate your rate of failure. The worst thing that can happen to you is to have an uninterrupted string of successes. If you don’t have setbacks you’re not growing. To grow you must have the confidence to reach, but also the courage to face your setbacks. Your masculinity must be both robust and resilient.
Avoid Masculinity Extremes—That’s Where Danger Lies
Robust Masculinity is effective, confident and strong. We know we need it, but by itself it makes for a mechanical kind of boyfriend, husband and father. Women and children can’t get close to a man like that and, in an extreme example, may even fear him. He’s like a machine. Resilient Masculinity is flexible, self-deprecating and gentle. We know we need it, but by itself it makes for a weaker kind of boyfriend, husband and father. Women and children can get close to a man like that, but, in an extreme example, may not respect him. He’s like a baby.
The Good News: You Don’t Have to Choose
The good news is that the best masculinity is both. Authentic Masculinity is both robust and resilient.You can be Robust Masculine and Resilient Masculine. Robust Masculinity is strong, healthy and vigorous. Resilient Masculinity is able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions. Robust and Resilient Masculinity work together. Whereas Robust Masculinity may be assertive, Resilient Masculinity bends, accommodates and then re-asserts. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you must be one or the other. Be strong and gentle. Be assertive and protective. Encourage and seek counsel. You’re a man—you can be both.
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