5 Ways Disavowing Masculinity Changed My Life

men's fashion, men's style, men who break rules, Man Code

Robert Reece has found that ignoring the Man Code has improved his life enormously.

Not only does traditional masculinity oppress women but it also severely restricts the agency of men (a topic, I’ve written about in the past in the context of straight man love and hip-hop), often in simple, taken-for-granted ways. Straight men go to extreme lengths to perform masculinity. They avoid a wide variety of activities that they arbitrarily deem feminine or “gay” without analyzing the detrimental effects of this type of gender policing. Often mundane, seemingly inconsequential activities are heavily policed, inhibiting men’s ability to live freely day-to-day. While it’s also important to show men the macro level benefits of feminism and disavowing traditional masculinity, I thought it would be fun to reveal the little ways that my life changed when I stopped trying to perform traditional, patriarchal masculinity. So here it is: the 5 MOST Mundane Ways Disavowing Masculinity Changed My Life.

5) I Admit When I’m Sad

Sadness is weak; it’s feminine. Men rarely admit when they’re sad or depressed because men are supposed to be strong and unemotional. Deciding not to avoid traditional masculinity allows me to admit when I’m sad and seek support and help. I’m not left to deal with my problems alone. I also recognize the healing properties of crying so I even cry occasionally (and not just about sports or death).

4) I Can Touch Other Men

The ways straight men are allowed to touch other men are very limited, often only to handshakes, man-hugs (which are already restrained), and violent expressions (eg. sports, wrestling, etc). Inadvertently touching another man is strictly forbidden so measures must be taken to avoid this: men must be careful when handing a man something lest their hands touch, skip a seat in the movie theater to avoid touching knees, and scrunch up in the back seat of a car so they don’t accidentally rub against one another. It’s all so unnecessarily stressful and homophobic, and I’d rather avoid the whole performance. If we happen to touch, so be it.

3) I Wear Women’s Clothing Accessories

Men’s fashion can be narrow, especially when on a budget, and as someone who enjoys fashion, I’ve found that one way to push the boundaries of color and patterns is to shop in the women’s section for accessories. Women’s scarves and pins are infinitely more diverse than men’s which often only come in black, greys, browns, and dark blues. To find an orange or blue that pops or a nice green and black pattern, the women’s section is the place to be. Unfortunately, my feet are too big to wear women’s shoes because I could certainly go for some inexpensive colorful loafers as well.

2) I Can Admit Another Man Is Attractive

I can’t count the times I’ve heard a man defiantly declare “All men are ugly to me!” in response to being asked whether he thought another man was attractive. Liar. Apparently, straight men think that finding another man attractive is akin to a desire to have sex with him, i.e. admitting that a man looks nice is gay. But we all find a wide variety of people (of any sex or gender) to be attractive and sometimes we seek to express it so I’ve noticed men use an assortment of semantic moves to maintain their masculine performance while complimenting the looks of another man: 1) they’ll compliment his clothes and focus on his clothes, carefully avoiding his general attractiveness, e.g. “I like that suit” as opposed to “You look nice tonight;” 2) they’ll give a backhanded compliment, e.g. “So you think you clean today, huh?” or pair a compliment with a feigned insult such as, “I like that suit, but you’re still ugly;” 3) they simply preface or conclude their compliment with a reminder that they are straight, e.g. “I don’t wanna fuck him or nothing but Johnny Depp looks good in Pirates of the Caribbean” or the infamous and endlessly homophobic “No homo.” I lack the time for this. If I think I’m an attractive man and expect to be told so, I see no reason to deny other men a similar compliment.

1) I Sit Down to Pee

Honestly, I suspect that many more do this than will admit it. Perhaps since it can be done privately, actually performing the act isn’t as important as admitting it, which few men do. But outside of public restrooms and urgent situations, I’ve never seen the allure of standing to pee. The appeal of it seems to be primarily based on its association with masculinity, but I’d much rather sit. Sitting is more comfortable and much neater, no risk of peeing on the seat or floor or dropping something in the toilet.


Discarding these seemingly small things also create healthier men who aren’t as stressed by the daily minutia of masculine performance. And though I call these things mundane, they are part of the gendering process that maintains our system of patriarchal stratification, and adopting these simple acts of subversion can go a long way towards dismantling the notion of “real manhood” and with it the idea that men should dominate women.


Read more Lists on The Good Life.

Image credit: mattjiggins/Flickr

About Robert Reece

Robert Reece is from Leland, MS and received his BA and MA degrees from The University of Mississippi. He is now a PhD student in sociology at Duke University where he studies race and racism and contracts as a NPO researcher. He blogs at Still Furious and Still Brave and tweets at @PhuzzieSlippers.


  1. Tim Goldich says:

    Well, I guess each man must decide for himself what of masculinity he will embrace and what he will reject—as fits his individual nature. Aside from the dubious assumption that masculinity “oppresses women,” the article did not offend me.

    That said, here’s my take: 50 years ago Betty Freidan described the Feminine Mystique only in the worst ways. To be feminine was to be a “victim” and there an end to it. But, as I figure it, there is an essential duality to all things and that duality makes characterizing something as fundamental as femininity in purely negative terms, imbalanced and lacking in wisdom. Fifty years later I see a faction of women now striving to retrieve femininity from the ashes. With all that was gained in disavowing the “Feminine Mystique,” something was lost as well.

    Now I see men poised to make the same mistake. Masculism has presented masculinity as trick, a “scam,” that society has perpetrated against men. And it IS! But only IF one chooses to look at it that way. Along with the negative, there are many positive aspects to masculinity.

    I went to college 1974-78. But even in highschool I got the message: ManBad/WomanGood. I judged my Dad and his masculinity in the worst way. I rejected much of my masculinity. But now, I wish I hadn’t and I’ve spent the last 20 years trying to retrieve my masculinity from the ashes. There’s good and bad about everything. We mustn’t let cultural messages drive us to “lose the baby with the bathwater.” Men are good. Mature masculinity is good.

  2. BobDarlin says:

    I am laughing at these comments. Everyone missed the point. This is satire against the castration of men in today’s society. It is mocking those who are trying to change us from what nature made us. Come on. Wear women’s fashion accessories? Touch other men? You think this is real? We are men, we are who we are, we shouldn’t apologize or change for that. It is just nature. Compare this to the women’s complaints of how fashion magazines give an unfair standard for how women should look. This is the same thing. Society is trying to recreate us into an something we aren’t. Be men, act like men, and don’t apologize for it.

  3. Millions of years of evolution, reflected in all species, have brought us alpha males and beta males. Alpha males are males in their species with a greater chance of survival and procreation. They are usually pack leaders or strong members of the pack that provide security and food for the entire pack. Beta males, if they survive past infancy, contribute little to the pack. They lack hunting ability or are too weak to hunt. They rarely have a chance to procreate. More often than not, beta males and the animal too slow to keep up with the herd and are targeted by predators. In that sense, beta males provide a service to the pack in they are the first victims of predators and thus, help the rest of the pack get away through their own weakness.

    Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce you to the the human version of a beta male.

  4. You lost me with 3 and 1.

  5. P4 of 4
    common ‘trad femininity’ enforcement experiences in men:

    Mark Neilsays:December 22, 2012 at 11:41 am
    As the man speaking to Brene Brown mentioned, it is my experience that women are the brutal ones regarding enforcing the vulnerable male = weak mindset. Examining the relationships of my friends parents, and other similar elders, as well as older TV shows and movies, you will see that men expressing emotion, being vulnerable, has it’s place. Yes, men are expected to hold it in at certain times, but vulnerability has always been accepted in the right times for the right reasons… among men. But we’ve lost that in recent generations. With this fatherless generation, the boys (and girls) growing up haven’t been taught when boys are allowed to be vulnerable, instead the demand for perpetual strength has been shoved upon them, and that is an unsustainable state.

    Thorsays:December 23, 2012 at 2:27 pm
    “it is my experience that women are the brutal ones regarding enforcing the vulnerable male = weak mindset”
    Experience has taught me to feel far safer being vulnerable with other men rather than women. Esepcially if it is a woman I am dating. The standard reaction from women to real vulnerability and real displays of weakness in men is contempt as long as it is in a sexual relationship. It is NOT by acident that pickup artists use the alpha male model to such great success and not the sensitive new age guy.

    regarding girly men, listen to the thoughts of what i consider to be a ‘girlyman’, a feminine man:

    SteveDelaney says: February 9, 2013 at 1:37 pm
    ‘This article contains many wise observations and concludes that gender stereotypes are rather ridiculous for men or women. Yet for me it was slightly unsatisfying. The author illuminated her partner’s many admirable characteristics but seemed to feel she had to back them up with sturdy boasts about his masculine attributes. It is as if she is saying “he is so masculine, he has room to be girly” which is surely not the point of her writing. Our society needs to realize how deeply these expectations for men are held, so deeply that they are rarely questioned, even rarely recognized. We are all aware of the repression heaped on women’s roles, but we are only beginning to question the repression forced upon men. This can be seen on any playground. A girl who exhibits traditionally male characteristics is given a kind of admiration and called a tomboy. “She is as good as a boy!” A boy who exhibits traditionally female characteristics is called a sissy and scorned by everyone, parents, teachers and schoolmates alike. I was one of those boys.’ http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/the-manliest-man-i-know-is-also-the-girliest/comment-page-1/#comment-452362

    prodomme: ‘I do like a partner (I’m bisexual) who’s stronger than me, but I’m not very physically strong so it’s more a convenience thing there (somebody has to open jars, and I’ve never managed to open one myself because I have absurdly small hands).
    I like a man who’s tough as I am…
    I like my men dominant in bed’

    given how the pro domme described the men she is attracted to,
    she does not even like feminine men herself. She thinks she likes feminine men when infact she actually likes masculine men. To be by her side have the trad masc traits of,’ being dominant in bed, tough, strong(sorry, he needs to be strong just to open jars for her…)’.
    Trad femininity that aint! It is not unreasonable to assume her eyelining, long haired husband is ‘dominant in bed, tough, strong’.
    She likes adorned beautified masculine men, not feminine men whether they are adorned or not.

    prodomme: ‘girly guys, glam rock dudes in heels, goth boys in dresses,’
    and what is the current degree of gender transgression regarding these groups?
    Now, in the uk
    ‘girly guys’ wearing eyeliner and lipstick with mens clothing would be seen as intersting selfexpression, slightly odd thats all. A bit of joshing from the lads.
    ‘Glam rock dudes in heels’, if she is talking about riding/cuban/cowboy heels – totally unremarkable.
    ‘Goth boys in dresses’, would be seen as, ‘well he is a goth, they do that sort of thing’
    rock and goth uniforms have been known to the public for 40 and 30yrs respectively.
    Infact these things, perhaps even the goth in a dress given goths well known alternative tastes, i would question whether they are seen as ‘womanly’ clothing. Very mild beer.
    All these things in the uk would certainly be less disconcerting, much less trangressive to the public than a man wearing a skirt and tights.

    The young prodomme asserts that plenty of women like feminine men. Fellas, does that comport with the experience of your eyes?
    She believes likes girly men, when infact she likes adorned masculine men.
    And the prodomme does not know what she is talking about, when it comes to the malecrossdressing world. Nothing at all.
    The consensus of many many different men, who wear ‘women’s clothing’ for different reasons is that wearing ‘women’s clothing’ greatly reduces a man’s chances of finding a woman partner.

  6. p3 of 4
    the young prodomme has a very limited understanding about the world of crossdressing men. That is clear to me from her language, from how she speaks on it. She is a fetishist, her frame of reference for crossdressing is mainly through fetish due to her work and sexual practice, which has skewed her understanding.

    When directly addressing my crossdressing post.
    Observe, how her first sentence associates crossdressing with fetish – certainly raised my eyes.
    ‘I used to beg my first boyfriend to dress up in a school girl outfit for me, plead with him to get him into dresses. (he did it sometimes but was very withholding about it)’ Wtf, i dont blame him for declining, i or most tv’s certainly would not wear a schoolgirl outfit either – it is, an er niche kinkysex fetishwear article.

    the fetishist that she deals with, cares less about dress, than about the symbolic meaning of the clothing and what they mean to him personally, so thats why she sees ‘I see a lot of crossdressers in my line of work and most are HORRIBLE with makeup and have the world’s worst fashion sense.’
    That she persists in equatintg her tiny small unrepresentative number of crossdresser fetisher clients with how the multitudes of men online describe their experiences, is a nonsense, and a special kind of arrogance.

    The overwhelming majority of crossdressers do not wear fetishwear(certainly not for the majority of their time ‘dressed’) as she would have you believe, just everyday ordinary women’s clothing in accordance with their personal taste, style, and demeanor – well dressed too. Those that go enfemme (to look as much as a woman as possible. Eg to paint their face as well as wear womens clothing) take great care in their makeup and if they choose to wear them, breast forms, hip shapers.
    On the forums, blogs and youtube, people share freely how to apply various makeup, deal with body facial hair, anything you can off with regard to crossdressing.
    Anyone is free to go to crossdressing forums, to register, and see our many many photos and of the profile pages, club nights, dinners, functions to confirm this

    prodomme: ‘Admittedly he’s not a crossdresser in the traditional sense (no falsies, no wigs… just his own gorgeous mane of long blonde hair).’
    an illinformed way to talk about going enfemme and the wearing of breast forms – ‘falsies’ indeed, and bodyshapers, hip pads etc. She would know the terms if she knew what she was talking about. This isnt about using language that laymen can understand, it is consistent with her ignorance about the male crossdressing world that she displayed throughout.

    prodomme: ‘I don’t want to see balding men in a prom dress from the worst part of the 80s…’
    again note the fetish lens thru which she views crossdressing men

    prodomme: ‘Basically it’s also that crossdressers (the kind who enjoy transvestism fetishistically in private) usually aren’t femme enough in public for the girls who like girly guys, glam rock dudes in heels, goth boys in dresses, these men have NO problem getting girls.’
    Basically the prodomme does not know what she is talking about. Both groups of men are wearing women’s clothing, however for very different reasons. The two reasons are distinct. ‘The kind who enjoy transvestism fetishistically in private’ – note again her main lens of fetish. She is only familiar with her cofetishists.
    The men who wear ‘little bo peep’ dresses or lipstick halfup their cheeks are doing so because of the symbolism, the clothes are imbued with a fetishistic aspect. They are not looking beautify themselves. It is a sexual practice.

    If they wanted to beautify to adorn themselves then they would, and could quite easily look like ‘glam rock dudes in heels’.
    ‘girly guys, glam rock dudes in heels, goth boys in dresses’are wearing ‘women’s articles’ primarily to beautify/adorn themselves (with goths it is slightly more involved than that)
    now, are these men being ‘femme’ as prodomme and others believes?

    The victorian era decided to encode beautifying oneself, was suitable only for women. Before that era, it was less gendered in the west and also in many other parts of the world until victorian domination stripmined men the world over.

    In November 1872. The Imperial court issued an ordinance that hence-forth Western clothing would he compulsory for government officials, and as the official ceremonial dress. The Emperor pronounced that,
    ‘The national polity is indomitable. But manners and customs should be adaptable. We greatly regret that the uniform of our court has been established following the Chinese custom, and it has become exceed-ingly effeminate in style and character….The Emperor Jimmu [660- 585bce] who founded Japan and the Empress Jingu [201-69 ce] who conquered Korea were not attired in the present style. We should no longer appear before the people in these effeminate styles and have therefore decided to reform dress regulations entirely’

    p109 to 118 ‘european or frankish’ dress being adopted by japan, iran, ottoman empire in 19th century ce. Clothing: A Global History By Robert Ross

    So now most think that to beautify, to adorn is to inherently feminise.
    I say that they are actually not being femme, but are adorning, beautifying themselves. That they are not feminine men, but adorned masculine men. I call it ‘adorned masculinity’, ‘flamboyant masculinity’, or ‘peacock masculinity’ seen in men in many different eras across the world. The last period of this in the west was 1965to90, the age of the peacock eg the rock stars of that glorious era ‘so masculine that they can wear this’

    this peacock masculinity has similarities, with ‘refined masculinity’ and its cultivation of, the refinement of: a mans beauty, his body, his mind, his fortitude. To bring them into a more perfect state of existence.

  7. P2 of 4
    Further, what the pro domme doesnt know as shes not part of the xdressing community is actually a prejudice against the fetishers she’s described and are her clients, and also against men who dont go ‘enfemme’ (to look as much like as woman as possible).
    Personally how I perceive the hierarchy, plus or minus points awarded to passing as a woman, and also whether one goes out in public ‘dressed’:

    At the bttm, Div4: men who just wear women underpants, they are seen as fetishers or not really trying to ‘dress’. Also men who are mainly fetishers eg mostly wear little bo peeb dresses, schoolgirl uniforms, french maid outfits, whipme wear.
    Div3: then men who wear women clothing but dont go enfemme, like me.
    No Div 2.
    The top tier, Div1: men who go enfemme, and also trans women.
    It is funny to see trans women come down from the clouds and beat sense into the tv’s that think being a trans woman is about being a tv enfemme 24/7. A tv and a trans woman are two completely different people

    some of the reasons i have seen listed for men wearing womens clothing.
    (random_stranger over a year ago, i saw you ask in post not addressed to me, why men would. I wasnt in the mood to write at the time. As its hours of writing and hunting through my notes for links this whole post)

    1. Like the look.

    The women of the 1920s bound their breasts and hips to look like men, madeup the eye area.
    Flappers defined their faces, women’s faces became more defined than men. Thus started this century long era of the female face being more defined than the testosterone defined male face. women cut their hair in then male styles – the bob was called the dutchBOY, the eton crop from eton public schoolboys. The flapper look was called the ‘garçonne ‘ [“boy” with a feminine suffix]

    youtube 1920/30s vid. at 59seconds, she turns around to the camera to reveal the short hair is on a woman, because then short hair was as masculine as our beards

    youtube vid, how men look in flapper clothing, from 2:04 to 2:54 men enfemme in 1920s gear

    from this ideal woman camille clifford 1906
    to this complete opposite ideal woman.
    Louise ‘dutchboy’ Brookes 1926

    seems to be brookes bare, without the eyebrows etc defined.

    ‘The claim of women to equality with men is understandable, but that so many of them should wish to imitate the appearance of the less beauteous sex is not so easy to understand. It began with bobbing, and reached its logical hirsute conclusion in the Eton crop. And, having lost her hair, many a girl is now making strenuous attempts to lose her curves. And concurrently with these changes the conquest of trousers had been steadily proceeding…although mere man may regret the lose of feminine furbelows more than he resents the theft of his trousers, he realises that it is useless to rail against the spirit of the age. Whether we like it or not, girls will be boys.’

    24 June 1931 Daily Sketch

    Within 20yrs western men accepted ‘enhomme’ (male body, male face) in women, certainly more easily than they accepted them in other parts of the then male realm. Given history, i actually believe that men who have an attraction to women would even accept a full beard and a 10inch clitcumpenis, as long as the vulva and vagina was kept. Contrast that to the rejection of enfemme in men by most western women.
    From the ‘traditional’ ie. victoedwardian perspective. While modern man be would considered softer than their own men, they would still be men. Modern woman is a female transvestite, or even a feminine man according to their world view

    2. Like the more expressive expanded choice available. ‘Drab’- mens clothing is limited. The greater range of fabric and cuts eg. Few mens clothes fit as tight as some clothing available for women.
    Eg. Women’s trousers have low crotch or high crotched variants, ‘woman hipped to ‘man’ hipped. And ‘wide thighed’ trousers – mine eyes popped out of my head 3yrs ago when i saw that range in mark n spencers. While i was there trying on a top, a young male and a woman retail assistant were laughing off their heads. I impassively turned my head towards them, and they walked off tittering away. The young man thinks the older woman was laughing at me, however both of them werent aware that she was laughing at how easily she ruled men, and the both of them were laughing at his own castration
    3. To allow them to access their ‘feminine’ side, ‘softer emotions’.
    4. Stress relief eg getting dressed, painting the face, hair removal or treating the face, body, etc. ‘Dressing’ is therapeutic in its time involvement and focus. Eg. For me it is more hassle to put on one crotch leggings, then another crotchless leggings or tights, then put on my boxer shorts(i dont like how my thighs rub together going commando, and how it generates sweat), then my pocketed bumlength mini underskirt, over which goes my kneelength skirt. Than it is to wear women’s trousers or skintight jeans, and a skirt.
    However for those that ‘dress’ as stress relief they would find the more involved process calming, meditative.

    5. Fetish eg. The prodommes clients
    6. To roleplay
    7. Sexual arousal
    8. To become someone else, to adopt a different persona
    9. To be themselves

    10. Like the feel of the fabric on their skin eg tights, leggings feel fantastic on my skin
    11. That the arbitrary binary in clothing is odd. In the belief that men can wear anything they want eg. Freestylers.
    12. To look beautiful/ adorn themselves
    13. Just like a particular item eg men on the ‘men wearing skirt’ sites

    In a man these reasons can be found singularly, or in various combinations

    • reason no. 14:
      i did not separate feeling desireable from beautifying themselves.

      can beautify to just look beautiful.
      or can beautify to become more desireable

  8. P1 of 4
    [apologies to the mods for the very very long post. it is too long then pls just part 1 and 2. i will post a link to the rest on my blog]
    I say again that on male crossdressing forums the consensus of many many different men, who wear ‘women’s clothing’ for different reasons is that wearing ‘women’s clothing’ greatly reduces a mans chances of finding a woman partner. That is the counsel given to men when they post asking what are the chances of finding a woman partner. And it is not uncommon to read of men with women partners saying they are only allowed to dress when their partner is out of the house, the partner does not want to see it, or want to deal with it at all.

    With regard to the men. These are masc through to feminine men, of differing political leanings etc. Gay, bi, and straight men. In discussions ive seen references to a couple of crossdresser surveys suggesting 10% are gay, 45% are bi, and 45% are straight

    They hold to what the public considers is masc or femme. They are not gender warriors, and have little understanding of gender issues and discussion eg if i was to say a stockings and suspenders can be worn by men or women, that they are a genderless item. Most xcrossdresser(except fashion freedomers), like the public, and most on here including feminists, would look at me like i was veryvery confused. These men are not feminist or feminist influenced.
    They are like sahd’s, sahp’s just ordinary men(like me) and women, who are deciding to live a different manner. Feminist men n women are underrepresented in living in those worlds, outside the victoedwardian manbox

    [which contrasts with the smashin of the victoedwardian (traditional)’female box’, where feminist women were certainly wellrepresented in the numbers going into victoedwardian jobs, mensdress, behaviour, role, bodies, faces and unisexing them.

    The West did not go to sleep one day and wake up the next day, with virtually all of the victoedwardian (‘trad masculine’) mensdress, behaviour, jobs, role, bodies, faces suddenly being unisex. Women, feminist women at the front, went out there into these fields and made them unisex.
    For all the talk about the victoedwardian ‘man box’ very few feminists actually do venture outside into the badlands outside it.
    And if the men are hetero they are ‘sensible’ not too, if they want a woman partner.
    When one young feminist man realised what climbing out the man box would entai. ‘the clothes wont fit, the clothes wont fit, the clothes wont fit’, he shouted while running his arse off back to the ‘dreaded manbox’. I left him as he was climbing over the barbed wire of the manbox with a size 16 stiletto heel on his unaware foot. When it comes to relationships as a regular feminist commenter here has noted hetero feminist women do not differ markedly from the general public when it comes to desired traits in their male partners)]

    So few men wear women’s clothing.
    Where else, (other than functions, dances, club nights, dinners) are men going to learn about the lived experiences of men who wear women’s clothing. Certainly not the nightly news, or the local pub.
    Male crossdressing forums are the best, the primary medium, and repository in which to find fellowship and understanding, in which to discuss their fears, and find answers from other men who wear ‘women’s clothing’.

  9. Musashi says:

    Oh yes, more pressing concerns of the warm and well-fed. How fortuitous that we don’t actually have to fight for survival against a determined enemy….for now. This good fortune allows us ample time for so-called “men” to think of further ways to debase themselves and to grovel before the “feminist”.

    Well done.

  10. Hank Vandenburgh says:

    PS I like Bowie. He’s hot, and plenty macho enough to suit me. So probably a bad example.

    • Jameseq says:

      plus theres a reason comedians do jokes about the number of model hot women in their 20s with retired lowincome men in their 70/80s.
      bowie like the other names listed, is a star, a powerful man. a man of resources

  11. Hank Vandenburgh says:

    Nearly everyone is attracted to women. Research has shown this. That’s why women are frequently attracted to David Bowie. He uses feminine markers. That’s why many, many women identify as “bi” while carrying no particular genetic propensities toward lesbianism. I’m willing to bet that a sizable percentage of lesbians have no genes that incline them this way, too. We all just love women, and many of want to have sex with them.

    I’m in the generation that came after Hemingway and Mailer, so we weren’t so reaction formation-extreme about it as they were. But, as men, we had steady heroes– like James Salter, the fighter pilot writer. Or hippy David Harris who, on the other side, was a war resister. There are still guys like that around– like Pettraeus. Those are my role models. No the style before substance guys.

  12. Below is the one good reason why sitting down is a good thing…it does not mention the breaking down of masculinity as a side benefit though….

    “The Environmental Protection Agency in Taiwan carried out 100,000 inspections of public toilets and found that standing up causes urine splatter and a bad smell, which prompted this debate. Sitting could improve hygiene and ensure that men don’t step through puddles of pee.”

  13. Mariana Guerreiro says:

    As a woman (oh, here we go) and self-identified feminist I have to be bluntly honest and say: if I ever found out that the man I am dating sits to urinate, I would automatically doubt his ability to properly dominate(!) me in the bedroom. It’s simply not attractive and I don’t care what anybody else says. The only exceptions would be if he’s extremely drunk or has a physical condition.

    Would I say this in a social context? No. As a matter of fact I would applaud the author for his “courage” in defying conventional masculinity and so on. But that’s how we, women, evaluate who’s a “real man” (ugh.. I hate this term) and a whipped lapdog who will deny his nature in order to get laid.


    • Madeira says:

      You seriously care about how your partner pees? And you use the term whipped? You’re no feminist and I have my doubts about whether you’re a woman too… and even if you are anyone who thinks how their partner pees is a weirdo in my opinion. As long as they’re not hoarding their bottled urine I’m happy.

      • Mariana Guerreiro says:

        Do you not realize what you’re doing? You don’t, do you? Just because I have a different perspective from yours you automatically deny my identity as a feminist and, worse, as as woman!? Google “No True Scotsman Fallacy” because I’m 200% sure you don’t know what it is. Either that or you’re intellectually dishonest – I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, though. “You’re no feminist”. LOL. Are you freaking serious right now?! Who are you to decide who’s a feminist and who’s not?

        If you like YOUR men sitting down to urinate, that’s YOUR choice and I respect that (although I still think it’s ridiculous, tbh)! But allow me the CHOICE to have my own opinion.

        Also, you’re telling me it is weird to think about how my partner “pees” and in the exact next sentence you say “As long as they’re not hoarding their bottled urine I’m happy”?

        What a class act you are! 😉

  14. I can sympathise with where this article is coming from. I was a skinny geek growing up, so I’ve internalised a fair share of eye-rolling at what I’m supposed to do/want in order to be sufficiently “manly”. I don’t have a problem with those things themselves, I just hate when any subset of a group tries to enforce their preferences. If people like stereotypically manly things because they enjoy them – great – just don’t expect me to like them either. That said, I think there can be a bit of a backlash against stereotypically manly men who are just that way, and whether they enforce or not.

    To the points:

    5 is something I have a lot of problems with, not least because it feels like an admission of failure in some way. Often failure (particularly in a professional sense) is what really hits me hardest, and I hate having to own up to something that doesn’t make me feel either proud or like a fun person to be around. I’d like to think I’ve shucked a lot of masculine baggage, but recently I’ve realised that I’m rather behind on this one 😀

    4 I don’t have a personal problem with, I just don’t particularly need/want to touch other men either. I don’t feel threatened by it, it’s just that the desire to isn’t there. I do have a particular fondness for the man-hug and the firm handshake though. I don’t feel they’re particularly restrained or insincere. I think given that they’re the few forms of man-touching that exist, we put a lot of effort into them 😉

    3 – again, I just don’t have the desire to do this. Maybe I’ve never thought about it enough. I think the closest I’d come to is maybe using skincare products beyond the ol’ bar of soap, and occasionally getting jealous that girls get to faff about with make-up.

    2 – definitely. In fact, to my endless amusement, I’ve discovered that I have a type. To reconsider 4, I’d maybe want to touch them in more ways than just a handshake. 😀

    1 – standing to pee is in many cases the lesser of two evils! E.g. public bathrooms are disgusting, but I think toilets have FAR more disgusting potential than urinals.

  15. I liked this. Not sure why people are jumping up and down over it, but it was a good read 🙂

    • Martin Nash says:

      Take a look at the gener of the negative commenters, compare to your own, and then see if there may be a reason you are not as offended by this article as some of the others. Shouldn’t take you more than 5 minutes.

      Seriously though I can only talk from my perspective and as a man reading a site aimed at men I find blanket arguments on who I am and how I should act quite hard to take.

      As is popular around here these days, try recasting this article as “How disavowing femininity changed my life” it may well include similar stereotypes such as “stopped hoarding shoes” “quit moaning about the position of the toilet seat” – If you don’t find the idea offensive, then well done you are a far more tolerant person than me and many others. And please dont think I am implying anything other than what I have stated above.

  16. As a straight man, seriously I cannot understand why its so difficult for many men to find another men attractive. Finding another men handsome, cute, attractive doesn’t mean you wanna bang them or sexually attracted to them. Seriously, David Beckham? Hugh Jackman? Daniel Day Lewis? Marlon Brando? And not just celebrities, I can found thousand of attractive regular guys out there, without having sexual attraction at all. And I love saying ” you’re handsome” , “you’re cute” to my friends. And none of them seems annoyed, instead they are flattered.

  17. Another weak beta male with a Phd in soft science..just what society needs!.

    I imagine your Nancy Drew lunchbox will rust out from all the secret tears you weep into it.

    • Robert Reece says:

      Or, a former football player and streetfighter, who decided to not be defined by aggression. But, your description works too.

      • VryeDenker says:

        Which part of standing while you pee is a sign of aggression? It’s not like I make intimidating eye-contact while I drain my lizard. The same goes for your other four points.

  18. wellokaythen says:

    It’s hard to reject or disavow something like “masculinity” that’s a moving target and blurry even when it’s standing still. Maybe certain aspects that people associate with particular subcultural stereotypes of a certain time and place, but you can’t really give up all masculinity, because it’s not something with universal or discreet definitions. It’s probably logically impossible for anyone of any gender to have absolutely no masculinity. This is “traditional masculinity” as evident in society ____, in time period ____ and among culture ____. (This is mostly in reaction to the title, but also to the concuding paragraph.)

  19. ZimbaZumba says:

    I don’t need anyone to tell me how to a man, and my maleness is only a vast range of factor I take into account when evaluating myself. You are taking the stereotypical female as the acceptable norm then evaluating men relative to that. Your basic premise is thin as is the rest of your article. I am not sure there is even such a thing as ‘traditional masculinity’, it is a cliché. Your comment on sitting down for a pee is utterly absurd.

    Frankly the whole piece read like declaration of group membership of some metro-sexual subculture or another. Your list is contrived and sounds insincere. Live that way if you wish, but my bet our evolutionary imperative will disabuse you of it fairly quickly. Listen carefully, you have a list of things women really really dislike in men.

    • “Listen carefully, you have a list of things women really really dislike in men.”

      lol bullshit, women love this kind of men

      • trey1963 says:

        As a friend maybe, as a romantic partner…. no so much…….Men perform masculinity for the approval and acceptance of women.

    • Tom Brechlin says:

      Zimba, I’m with you on this one. It seems that at every turn, someone somewhere is criticizing men for doing something or NOT doing something. I don’t feel inhibited, I am who I am and have no problem being who I am. Flashy bright clothes is nothing new. Nero jackets were popular back in my day. How about the flower child clothes? Psychedelic colors …. Hell, even some cars were painted with them. Fast forward a couple of years to the “Disco” scene …. All this crap about expanding manhood is a crock. Men have given into fad for years and I know of no men that ever felt inhibited about what they wear.

      Y a wanna talk about inhibited?? I grew up in a time where guys being buck naked in a locker room was no big dea. Now-a-days ya’d think that men’s privates were only to be seen by the men that own them.

      In so far as peeing standing up … hell of a lot easier. And by the way, when will women learn to put the damn seat back UP???

  20. I wonder, is the article good, because I stopped reading after this.

    “Not only does traditional masculinity oppress women”

    Women are not oppressed in western society, a woman can do anything a man can do, both legally and in reality. When they make a choice to NOT do something, this isn’t because some man or masculinity is oppressing her, it is because she is making a choice. I really wish people would stop treating women like little kids who have to blame everything on someone else.

  21. #5 – I admit to my friends when I’m bummed or sad. They listen and I do open up to my partner otherwise it’s nobody’s business how I’m feeling.
    #4 – I don’t touch other men for the same reasons I don’t touch other women. Most people don’t like having their personal space invaded. I’d hug all the time but not everyone is into it.
    #3 – I wore earrings ,necklaces, cowboy boots with a tall slanted heal, and my daughter uses my black nail polish. I was in a BAND! Not good to wear at the office.
    #2 – Clint Eastwood was HOT in those cowboy movies! There I said it, happy? If I run into one of my friends and he’s dressed real sharp I tell him. It’s no big thing. The real mystery to me was why certain girls, I had a crush on, slept with the ugly village idiot who treated them like dirt.
    #1- I prefer to stand when I pee. It’s not a conscience choice I make, it just happens. There have been drunken episodes where it was much easier to just park it. Standing to pee does not make a man of me. I’m sure if women had a choice, they’d stand too.

    • Tom Brechlin says:

      David …. Not too long ago someone did invent a device that would allow women to stand and pee.

  22. AnthonyZarat says:

    If you let me do whatever I want with my masculinity, I’ll extend you the same courtesy. Beyond that, I have nothing to say about your “list”.

    • Pretty much what I came in to say. If you don’t want to be a manly man, thats cool. I’m not exactly a buffet of manliness myself.

      However, this sounds strangely in tune with a common theme here and among certain woman centric groups that masculinity is a bad thing, the root of rape and violence, etc. Which as we all should know by now is a steaming crock.

  23. Hank Vandenburgh says:

    Certainly not three and one. And being male does not mean that you should be light in the loafers necessarily. I think the testosterone is there for some good reasons. At my age, as well, sitting down while peeing means that the bladder does not evacuate fully.

  24. 1- when I sit on a toilet my scrotum gets soggy, if I squat outside I risk poison ivy, my hips don’t move well enough to write my name in the snow unless I’m standing. And my blog would be lacking it’s catchy name.
    2- no problem for me
    3- uh no… But then argyle is my favorite color
    4- hell I kiss other men regularly- guess it’s partially an ethnic thing.
    5- not as often as I’d like.

  25. They (str8 men)avoid a wide variety of activities that they arbitrarily deem feminine or “gay” without analyzing the detrimental effects of this type of gender policing.
    not arbitrary. how couldyou miss that most str8 women’s groins go drier than the sahara, if a man does a ‘firmly femme’ thing.

    Unfortunately, my feet are too big to wear women’s shoes

    you can buy women’s shoes in sizes for men online, sometimes twice or thrice as much.
    in maturity women have larger waists than men from what ive seen so skirts are no problem for men. dresses and top might be though, again these can be found either in plus-sized women’s store. or online, again sometimes for twice or thrice as much.

    The appeal of it seems to be primarily based on its association with masculinity…
    not for me, personally i find it more convenient to pee standing up

    • The appeal of it seems to be primarily based on its association with masculinity…
      not for me, personally i find it more convenient to pee standing up

    • not arbitrary. how couldyou miss that most str8 women’s groins go drier than the sahara, if a man does a ‘firmly femme’ thing.

      This is a good point. We talk a lot about how men enforce the “man code” on each other, but theres less talk about how women enforce it on men. Even some of the most independent, self proclaimed feminists women I know will still talk about how they want men to “act like men”. Some women try to get around this by saying they want a man with “confidence”, but thats often just code for “a man who displays traditionally masculine traits”. They’ll wrap it in nicer language so they can still sound enlightened and “modern”, but the attitude remains the same.

    • Madeiira says:

      Why is it SO many men think women find femme-y dudes, unattractive? David Bowie was a heart throb, so was Brett Michaels. Everyone thinks Justin Bieber looks like a girl… and he seems to have a lot of female fans, and then there’s yaoi (gay porn for women, which you will find a LOT of women are into. Women write lasciviously of Kirk and Spock going at it.

      Personally I like girly men, makeup, long pretty hair, bitchy and flamboyant and artsy. I like a man who’s confident enough to wear heels and I sure as hell am not the only woman like that. I like my men dominant in bed, and egalitarian in the relationship. I like a man who’s tough as I am and has my back (and thinks me tough and competent enough to have his). I like a man who doesn’t feel emasculated when I insist on coming with when there’s a noise downstairs (if it is a criminal or something, there’s no way in HELL I’m not going to be there to protect my mate). I do like a partner (I’m bisexual) who’s stronger than me, but I’m not very physically strong so it’s more a convenience thing there (somebody has to open jars, and I’ve never managed to open one myself because I have absurdly small hands).

      Zac Effron seemed to be a big deal and people were always saying he was effeminate. Russell Brand is fey as they come and women ADORE him, ditto Noel Fielding, ditto Eddie Izzard.

      There are lots of women into girly men.

      • I’m going purely off personal experience here, but I’ve found that while a lot of women will fawn over singers and actors who are not traditionally masculine, they don’t necessarily have the same taste when it comes to the men they meet in everyday life.

        Of course women have varying taste just like men do (I’ve especially found this to be true with women who are into counter-culture), but I think its worth noting that women often enforce the so-called “guy code” on men just as strictly as they do on each other.

      • Jameseq says:

        i spoke about women’s clothing, because i am a bi(masc, top) crossdresser.
        on crossdressing forums, straight male crossdressers report great difficulty finding female partners, or acceptance from female partners. that is the consensus view ive seen expresssed by those who are organisers in my community – no problem for me to find a male partner. none at all.

        there are alot more men who want to be sahd’s, or sahp’s than women who will marry them.
        what you write does not accord with what men who do firmly femme things report. why would these men reading believe you over the evidence of theireyes, and men like me who do firmly femme things

        • Madeira says:

          I used to beg my first boyfriend to dress up in a school girl outfit for me, plead with him to get him into dresses. (he did it sometimes but was very withholding about it). My husband takes great pleasure in being pretty, and wears dresses and I’m happy as a clam. Admittedly he’s not a crossdresser in the traditional sense (no falsies, no wigs… just his own gorgeous mane of long blonde hair). I think basically you have to commit to it and look good doing it. I see a lot of crossdressers in my line of work and most are HORRIBLE with makeup and have the world’s worst fashion sense. I don’t want to see balding men in a prom dress from the worst part of the 80s… Iggy Pop or my husband in a nice little black dress however… GIMME (I also only like tops, I dominate men for a living, I don’t want to do it at home too… I’m a professional dominatrix)

          • Madeira says:

            Basically it’s also that crossdressers (the kind who enjoy transvestism fetishistically in private) usually aren’t femme enough in public for the girls who like girly guys, glam rock dudes in heels, goth boys in dresses, these men have NO problem getting girls. If crossdressing is a private hobby/not part of a guy’s every day attire, he’s too part time for me.

            Eyeliner on a regular basis and long pretty hair are mandatory for me.

          • Jameseq says:

            My husband takes great pleasure in being pretty, and wears dresses and I’m happy as a clam
            does he wears them out the house too. i too dont go enfemme. i find trousers and skirt people can just about tolerate. but skirt and leggings or tights, thats when the fun starts.

            I see a lot of crossdressers in my line of work and most are HORRIBLE with makeup and have the world’s worst fashion sense.
            what of type of women’s clothing are your clients wearing. sissy dresses, pvc fetishwear?
            perhaps you are only seeing a particular type of crossdresser, who are fetish driven. i note the ‘fetishers as i call them’ tend to overpaint their faces and wear ‘fetishlike clothing’.
            there are however plenty more men wearing everyday women’s clothing, not fetishwear. who are not necessarily wearing the clothes for sexual or bdsm reasons. those that go en femme, take great care with their makeup from what ive seen in their many many many photos and clips

            I don’t want to see balding men in a prom dress from the worst part of the 80s…
            what does their fashion sense have to do with you, who are you to dictate to them what they can and cant wear (outside of their session with you). if you dont like it – too bad. women can wear what they want. men can too

            I’m a professional dominatrix
            then you know that few women accept men in women’s clothes, or ‘trad femininity’ in men unless buttressed by a good degree of ‘trad masculinity’ – like say, ‘being dominant in bed’.
            ask your clients, about female acceptance.
            and on a different but related note, why do sub men have to come to you. because not many women like sub men.
            there are loads of sub men whether sexually/relationship or bdsm-wise, and few women who want them.
            youll be saying next that plenty of women love sub men

            Basically it’s also that crossdressers (the kind who enjoy transvestism fetishistically in private) usually aren’t femme enough in public for the girls who like girly guys, glam rock dudes in heels, goth boys in dresses, these men have NO problem getting girls.
            dont have to be femme nor present in a femme manner to wear women’s clothing.
            you reinforce women’s clothing as being ‘femme’, reinforce the arbitrary binary in clothing – you are not as openminded, or as right on, or progressive as you believe yourself to be, while wearing those trousers(i note they are no longer gendered)

            as to getting girls – in their subculture, i have no doubt.
            and girls??how old are you? im 38. sounds like you are talking about young men max mid20s.
            and you also are talking about microgroups. to pretend that those practices in those subcultures are found in the culture at large is as wholly false as your claim that because women like the powerful men, the stars that you listed or yaoi, that that impacts in their selection of their male partner. or, your reason for your adherence on the most fundamental level to finding ‘trad masculinity’ in men desirable,’
            I do like a partner (I’m bisexual) who’s stronger than me, but I’m not very physically strong so it’s more a convenience thing there (somebody has to open jars, and I’ve never managed to open one myself because I have absurdly small hands).

            uh huh, sure.
            together with I like my men dominant in bed
            these are the unconscious signals that ‘enlightened’ women give these men reading that ‘only real men get women’. no hope for the sissymen, they have to pretend to be sufficiently ‘real man’. reminds me of bdsm sub men pretending to be doms, just to find someone

            where are the missing femme straight men. why do they hide behind a mask of masculinity to find a woman.
            I do like a partner (I’m bisexual) who’s stronger than me, but I’m not very physically strong so it’s more a convenience thing there (somebody has to open jars, and I’ve never managed to open one myself because I have absurdly small hands).
            I like my men dominant in bed

            thats why. no sissies need apply.
            the main driver of what feminists call femmephobia – women’s choices in their men

            • Jameseq says:

              Basically it’s also that crossdressers (the kind who enjoy transvestism fetishistically in private) usually aren’t femme enough in public for the girls who like girly guys, glam rock dudes in heels, goth boys in dresses, these men have NO problem getting girls.
              men are just more openminded. those same men who arent ‘femme enough’, if they are into men, could find a man the same night.
              ive seen profile of men like youve described, and they report having a most active sex with men

            • Madeira says:

              …I certainly don’t regard men who aren’t as strong as me to be sissies, however I do happen to be very physically small and have a condition that makes it especially difficult to build muscle mass, so basically it’s nice to have someone who can help me with things that I can’t do due to physical issues, man or woman.

              I don’t think that dominance and masculinity are connected anymore than skirts and femininity are connected (however a man in a skirt is going to be viewed as effeminate by society). Trying to erase things that belong to femme identity is femmephobic and seriously problematic.

              I like a man who’s style of dominance is “feminine coded” (bitchy humiliation or seductive control) so I think the idea that I enforce traditional masculinity is flawed there too.

              I’m 23, my husband is 30. Iggy Pop is in his sixties and women still drool over him in a dress.

              Of course they cam wear whatever they want, I’m just saying that it’s significantly harder to find someone who finds balding men in 80s prom dresses erotic than someone who finds not balding men in less… polyester-y dresses erotic.

              There’s actually a really good post on why there are fewer female doms in kink culture (and a lot of the guys who see me are either too busy to find someone, too closetted about kink to go and meet someone less discreet or too married to see someone who’s not a pro)

              • Madeira says:

                Oh and yes, darling husband goes out in dresses and heels.

                I’m not saying it doesn’t suck that femme men are held to “prettiness” standards (in much the same way women are) but they are, so basically, yeah women like femme men, but the women who like femme men tend to have prettiness standards for those men.

                As for subcultures, there are a whole lot of artsy ladies out there, it’s not a microcosm at all.

          • Jameseq says:

            Admittedly he’s not a crossdresser in the traditional sense (no falsies, no wigs… just his own gorgeous mane of long blonde hair)
            i also question the degree of yr understanding of the crossdressing world. as here you did not use the term well known to dressers, ‘en femme’

          • Hmm… how to put this… you’re full of sh**.

      • I think you’re making a mistake by only focusing on the appearance aspect. Women are a lot more liberal towards men’s appearance than men’s behavior. If you’d been able to pass as a man and seen the look a women gives you if, when shaking her hand you wait for her to introduce herself first maybe you’d understand.

        Also it’s not such a good idea to look at celebrity heartthrobs, people are looking for relationships, not to be admired from a distance, and women’s tastes might differ from one to the other.

        But I admit that if you only look at appearance Jameseq statement isn’t really true, but appearance is only a small part of gender standards.

        • Jameseq says:

          But I admit that if you only look at appearance Jameseq statement isn’t really true
          then where are these men who are dressed as women, or like women. women can look like men or women

  26. OK I’m happy for you buddy.
    I am not a touchy feely guy that fits with today’s culture though.
    I’m what you would call a real man from what you say above and I don’t have a need to dominate any woman.
    Not my wife of 25 years or my 13 year old daughter.
    I open doors for women and they like it.
    I protect my family as a real man should …not saing you metrosexuals or maybe you are gay …can’t.
    Men and women are very different but it seems the drive in our main stream media and culture don’t think that.
    Sorry that garbage does not fly in my circle of freinds.

  27. FlyingKal says:

    Re: standing to pee.
    “The appeal of it seems to be primarily based on its association with masculinity”
    If that is so, then what is the allure to standing up to pee in public restrooms and urgent situations?

    • FlyingKal says:

      Oh, and to check of your points 🙂

      5) Sometimes, if there happens to be someone around who may actually give a dam.

      4) Avoiding to touch other men in the cicumstances you mention here, doesn’t make much sense to me.

      3) I’m not much of a colour person, and Iäve never had the slightest sense of fashion.

      2) I can see what men most probably are attractive to (most) women. But if I as a hetero-male doesn’t find them “attractive” per se, I don’t see much of a point in “admitting” that they are attractive.

      1) I sometimes sit down to pee. Mostly when I wake up in the middle of the night or earlyin the morning, and I’m either too tired to stand up or don’t want to turn on the light. Wearing an absolute minimum of clothes then also helps the decision process in that direction. 🙂


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