Of Masculinity and Me

I don’t know how to drive. I generally don’t like cars, and I derive no pleasure of looking at their picture or collecting information about them. I don’t enjoy football, or most sports. I’m not into physical activities. I’m not into physical fights, although I can be the meanest bastard in verbal ones. I’m a bookworm. I do enjoy porn, but I don’t like talking about it with people, I rather keep it secret. I don’t care about my penis size, and I still don’t know if it’s average or small. I speak in a manner which sounds a bit girly (I speak very slowly because at the most quiet times I’m thinking about 5 or 6 things at the same time). All this might sound like inconsequential bullshit, but these were the traits that defined me for my classmates from elementary to high school, and it was the main point of contention, and it made me feel like an outcast.

I’m also not interested in making vulgar comments about women and to partake in sexual harassment, and that has brought me also a degree of being outcast, up to this day.

I never cared. By nature I was a child who never respected authority, was rebellious in nature, and had no problem with being an outcast. I have never felt this feeling of a “community”, and I have no fucking idea what people are talking about when they talk about it, and never had. I never felt the need to be accepted, so I did fine. This had serious effects – good ones and bad ones.

But the problem was, I was bullied. Or ridiculed. My classmates were aware that I’m different, and didn’t tolerate it. (Although the situation was much better in high school, worst in guidance school). I didn’t appreciate being bullied and ridiculed, and I retaliated, and this retaliation got me into trouble from time to time. I was more abusive than all of them in verbal arguments, and I knew their sensitive points and weak points, and this caused them to beat me or to break into tears, and then I would have to answer to the principal.

As you can see, I wasn’t blameless. But I insisted that I never acted unprovoked, and the fact that most bullies decided to stop abusing me encouraged me in a wrong way. Many wise people tried to show me the right way of dealing with bullies, but as a child I only listened to myself (as I’ve said, good things and bad things).

My teachers thought this was a problem too. They frequently told my parents that I’m “different”, and that needs to change.

And all of this was about masculinity. It was never a question. I was frequently called “girl”, “girly”, “gay”, however the majority of insults were “trans”.

Remember, I wasn’t radically opposed or different from masculine stereotype. I loved video games (well, our tastes were different, but whatever). I wasn’t a minority. I wasn’t even consciously a feminist (that came later), [although I was never an anti-feminist either]. But I wasn’t masculine enough. I was firmly a member of the privileged majority, yet I wasn’t majority enough. And that was enough to ostracize me.

And then I went ahead and became atheist and completed the picture.

Of course, by no means I mean to equate my experience with actual minorities, women and LBGTQ people. Point is, look at what a oppressive thing masculinity is, it doesn’t even spare heterosexual men.

So, when Miri writes this:

The type of masculinity that young boys are taught is not compatible with mental health and with ethical behavior. Full stop. We’re fortunate that so relatively few will take it to the lengths that Rodger did, but I don’t know a single man who doesn’t suffer as a direct consequence of it. I know few who have never made others suffer as a direct consequence of it. We need to inoculate boys against this harmful and maladaptive thinking rather than teach it to them.

I completely agree, and feel it’s the story of my life.

I could be a perfectly happy child, I could be a friendly chap who wants to get along with everyone, which is how I was at university and among like-minded friends. My childhood was traumatic and painful, defined by abuse and isolation, and I grew up to be someone unwilling to socialize with anyone, cynical about relationships and others, and it was a tough endeavor to learn to make friends and realize some people do appreciate me. And what ruined it was masculinity.

So, in conclusion: fuck masculinity.

About Kaveh Mousavi

Kaveh Mousavi is the pseudonym of an atheist ex-Muslim living in Iran, subject to one of the world’s remaining theocracies. He is a student of English Literature, an aspiring novelist, and part-time English teacher. He is passionate about politics, video games, heavy metal music, and cinema. He was born at the tenth anniversary of the Islamic Revolution of Iran. He has ditched the Islamic part, but has kept some of the revolutionary spirit.

  • atheist

    So, in conclusion: fuck masculinity.

    I’m not a fan either.

  • atheist

    Like religion, masculinity is less oppressive when people don’t take it super-seriously. It seems like a kind of performance. While I can appreciate well-performed masculinity, that seems like a rarity.

  • atheist

    I am sorry to hear of the way you were bullied for being different and perceived as effeminate. I must say that some of what you say echoes what I experienced as a youngster, and also what my father told me about his upbringing. I think you’re right in your assessment that masculinity even oppresses heterosexual men. I think there are a fair amount of men who come up feeling alienated from the “masculine” role, perhaps simply because we like books more than sports, or, we are different in other ways.

  • StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Totally off topic sorry but what do you think about this news please :

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/dispatches/2014/05/30/iaea-iran-nowhere-near-a-nuclear-weapon/

    Is there any chance you could blog about this?

    Also & more relevantly if not especially productively – bullying and misogyny sucks. Well written and agreed completely.

  • abear

    Bullying and misogyny does not equal masculinity just as bitchiness and cattiness does not equal femininity.

    There are people out there that paint all men and masculinity as evil and in my opinion they are on the same track as misogynist Elliot Rodger was, they are just pointing their hatred in a different direction.

    Don’t be one of those hatemongers.

    btw, I you read his manifesto, http://www.scribd.com/doc/225960813/Elliot-Rodger-Santa-Barbara-mass-shooting-suspect-My-Twisted-World-manifesto it is full of insight about why he did what he did.

    He was a mentally ill man with antisocial tendencies that hated women, men, children, and most of all he loathed himself. Just blaming this on masculinity and men in general is really just simple minded gender politics.

    • Kaveh Mousavi

      I didn’t mention Elliot Rodgers at all in this post, I don’t know why you bring him up. I strongly disagree with you, but this post was not about Rodgers.

      About the rest:

      Masculinity doesn’t equal “all men”. So, hating masculinity is not hating men. I hate femininity as well.

      About masculinity, it is a standard I had to live by, and I refused to, and I was bullied for it. Both masculinity and femininity equal misogyny, and patriarchy. Only individuality matters. To say there is some image that men and women should be like it, it’s authoritarian. All people should be free to live free of stupid cliches and norms and models. Masculinity and femininity are cliches and norms.


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