Why be a guy?

I think about masculinity and gender a lot, no surprise there.  With Butch Voices approaching, that thinking is gaining a little focus since I need to work on the workshops I’m going to be doing there.

Now that I’ve secured space for both of my workshops, I can confess that one of them is only half-baked.  My Intentional Masculinity workshop is an outline in my head, and so I’ve been thinking of how to fill in that outline.

Also, I’ve been mulling a lot of things that I’ve read in discussion groups and blogs around trans issues,  masculinity and gender expression.  It’s got me thinking about my own motivations in claiming my maleness.  Am I moving toward masculinity because I want to benefit from male privilege?  Am I doing it as a statement against femininity?  Is this authentically me, or am I acting under the power of a cultural assumption that to be male is to be superior?  Am I doing this to be superior to those who express femininity, who strive to be feminine?  Am I at war with my own femininity?

As I said, I’ve been thinking a lot lately and I haven’t come to any conclusions yet.  I do know that some of the things I read on discussion boards and comments on blogs make me a bit embarrassed to be embracing masculinity, because of the way it’s defined by a lot of other people.  I see chauvinism, sexism, misogyny treated as synonyms to maleness, as the assumed characteristics of a person embracing their masculinity, whether those people are cis-males or trans men or butch dykes.  That assumption makes me sick, to be honest.  Those are not characteristics I choose to embrace or reinforce.  They are not part of my intentional masculinity — my consciously chosen expression of the male within.

So, even though I haven’t answered all those questions I’ve directed at myself, I’m definitely working on them.  What about you?  What characteristics would you choose as your top 3 or 4 ways of expressing masculinity (and you can have any gender identity, I’m sure you’ve got an opinion and I’d love to hear it).  If you are a person who expresses masculinity in some way, do you feel intentional about it?  Do you feel like you’ve made conscious choices about hair styles, clothing and body language, verbal language and behavior, or do you feel like the choices were made less intentionally?  Only share if you feel comfortable with this kind of disclosure.  I’ll be grateful if you do, you’ll be helping me develop the guts of my workshop.  At the very least, you’ll be giving me more to think about.

And, lord knows, I need more of that 😉

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