„Sort your shit out for yourselves!“ – Thoughts on MASCULINITY

„If you are going to continue like that there are only two options: graveyard or madhouse!“ It was about 20 years ago when my grandma said that to my grandpa, demanding from him to retire from work – which he agreed on after giving some thought to it.
I‘m glad my grandma demanded from him to face the situation as it was and glad ma grandpa got to follow her advice – for I both like them being alive and as sane as possible.
So why am I telling this story?
Well, on one hand to say I am proud of them and their decision. On the other hand I want to state something else: It is 2014. I don‘t have a partner taking care about me not working too hard; and most of all, I reject being responsible for others_men not to be overburdened. People_men should be responsible for their well-being themselves.
Why is that? Hm, let’s have a look:

If you…

  • tend to judge yourself/get your self-esteem from what you achieve in matters of prestige
  • (e.g. paid work)
  • (or activist work)
  • always give “more than 100%”
  • (unless you need to take a break and therefore party “more than 100%” – or reject doing anything at all)
  • need admiration for every step you take
  • ignore the signals of your body (like tiredness, hunger, sickness, …) on a regular basis
  • have problems taking breaks (“just until the work is done”; “just until the project is finished”; “just until the next holidays”)
  • expect from yourself to have an answer to every question, being able to solve every problem
  • feel like you are always behind on what’s on your to-do-list
  • barely “celebrate” the closures of one thing/project/… before starting the following, because you never have enough time to do everything you want
  • rarely take the time and peace to think about what is important to you, your life, your needs
  • … or how to appreciate the people and relationships in your life
  • are only satisfied with something when you managed to do it “on your own”
  • can‘t sometimes just let things flow and put priority on what just happens, without having other things in mind
  • question everything you do about how it may pay off or if there is any (financial, idealistic, social) reward

THEN you might suffer from symptoms of *MASCULINITY* infection!
MASCULINITY, what’s that now?!
MASCULINITY (in this sense) is a concept of personality characteristics, concerning self-understanding, the image you perform, what you expect from yourself and others, what you value much or less … and it conducts behaviour patterns, of course.
The concept of MASCULINITY obviously is more complex than this (more or less) random list of ’symptoms‘ and is adjusted in varying contexts and situations. It also inflicts with other concepts that are built on performing strength, power and supremacy; similar patterns ‚help‘ to present oneself e.g. as ‚white‘, ‚western‘, ‚German‘, ‚healthy‘, … Plus the success of the economical_social system we live in is based on steadily increasing accomplishment: the ability of ignoring one’s own needs/boundaries, the constant will to reach for more and eagerness of individualistic achievement are necessary. Thus capitalism values ‚classical‘ male activities and treats them as universal at the same time. (’cause it can‘t ‚lose‘ half of the inhabitants to reproduction work. Yet it doesn‘t make them universal, cause it still needs people doing the unpaid reproductive work; and still women* are more ‚educated‘ into doing that than men* are.)

So; this is a tiny insight into the concept of MASCULINITY.
It ‚works‘ in a lot of society’s areas; it ‚works‘ in capitalism; it still ‚works‘ in lots, lots of relationships; guess what: it also ‚works‘ in leftist_alternative_whatsoever activism!
.. Anything of this sound familiar? …
Well, you are reading this, that might be a ‚good‘ sign already – cause you are probably doing that: without any declared aim/ to care about my ideas / because you don‘t need to use this time for getting credit elsewhere.

No one is born with MASCULINITY. Really, it’s not an organ.
The symptoms I listed don‘t need to be ‚bad‘. Yet following the concept as a whole might lead to distress, lacking vitality, feelings of emptiness, … It might lead to physical damage. You might uphold the system you want to deconstruct. You might miss a lot of things, moments and developments that can‘t be planned. You most probably will piss people off. You might hurt or even lose relationships – ’cause people need to take care of you (Make you tea? Listen to how hard work was?), do less rewarding work for you (Clean your dishes? Organise birthday presents for common friends?), cannot ‚bother‘ you with problems (Talking about your relationship? Getting support with their issues?) or feeling neglected (Taking time for their interests? Showing them you appreciate them?).

Well, maybe I am completely wrong.
You can think about it. If you take the time.
People. GUYS! I‘m not gonna sort out your shit for you.
You‘ll have to do it on your own.
And you‘ll not get any credit for it.
No cookies!

Unless you bake them on your own.
In this case: bring them around, I‘ll have some.