Men Fathers and Masculinity - Parents Quietly Succeeding

Men Fathers and Masculinity

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Through time there has been much written about; masculinity and patriarchy and in this post we’ll look at the role of men fathers and ask how does fatherhood differ from motherhood and why? And masculinity what is it’s function and why (if) is it, a needed and vital force to be celebrated.

Let’s go and at first a quick gamble through some familiar territory…controversial!


The great deal that has been written about men and masculinity has not all been flattering.

Of course, this can be said for women, however by virtue of child birth and motherhood, women for the most part are spared overly critical scrutiny.

This is perhaps due of the halo effect created by motherhood. That is, motherhood produces an associated set off qualities that are diffused past mothers to women generally.

The ‘special’ status the feminine gender…engenders, creates the dictum, ‘women and children first’.

Now by contrast fatherhood, does not confer any special quality, comparable or equivalent effect. A man’s identity up until very recent times in ‘fatherhood’ was not separated from a base masculinity self.

So how and why the imbalance?

Well, seeing it as an imbalance might be the wrong way to look at it.


Classically, women were the vessel through which both sacred and earthly power flowed.

And we can debate how much of ‘nature or nurture’ is responsible for the ‘diffused’ nature of this halo, now enjoyed by women but by implication, all women had the potential the carry children.

The discussion rages as to whether there is a biological or otherwise basis for this difference.

Some argue it is a wholly social construct while others believe there to be a deep inherent divide, an identifiable feminism essence. This however is a topic for another post.

For now let’s continue with a slightly reductionist point of view, as this may not be an imbalance but more like: natures trade off with itself.

We can see both motherhood and fatherhood, describe a role born out of both biology and functional need.

The Old Days

For instance, pre-industrialisation, much of what was done relied heavily on muscle – sheer brute force (animal and human), to get things done.

It was the premiere force in the universe that led to the creation of any number of past and current civilisations and men generally more masculine than women tended to have more; wealth power and resources.

The question then arises, what does one do, with one’s more?

This question gave rise to the concept of, inheritance through lineage, the idea of leaving your ‘more’ to your off-spring.

To satisfy this issue men would seek women to produce children…heirs, a generational line through which, what you accumulated would travel with you, through time. 

Without this system there would be instability where anything from pocket watches to considerable fortunes would contested and perhaps lost to competitors.

Though there may be other reasons, this biological function provided women with the core basis of the aforementioned halo.


War is the mechanism through which ‘more’ is obtained: farming land, living space, minerals, resources, (include here people), coastlines and markets.

For this society calls upon masculinity energy; to compete, to mine, to subdue, to progress, to build, to bare and if need be, die. 

Yes, what we see around us is the result of invention and creativity but it is further due to brute force and the capacity to withstand pain. This cost is borne by masculinity and primarily men.

This has always been the cost of progress.


There has always been conflict but since the 1800’s industrialisation give us, big war.

And in the aftermath of big war events society appeared genuinely shocked by the ease, scale and utter waste of life, these conflicts brought.  

In the context of the 80 – 100 million dead courtesy of World War I, II and the Vietnam War, world consciousness rallied against violence. 

This of course is understandable.

However the outward symbol of such ‘mindless’ violence was man the biological animal who was now seen as a threat — a liability to the social order, women and children.

And in response, society set about the task of recasting man.

This took the form of an intellectual criticism of patriarchy and concepts like ‘hyper’ and ‘toxic’ masculinity were heard.

In households already stripped of men and masculine energy, young boys were raised with a distaste for conflict and an unresolvable aspect themselves, their masculinity. 


From this, ‘metro-sexuality’, emerged. This was ‘man-lite’ all the form very little function or at least less aggressive.

This new identity was to be the ticket price men would have to pay for entry into society. Men were urged to get in touch with their ‘feminine side’, to talk more, weep when needed, look good, smell good and empathise.

There is, let’s be clear, nothing wrong with this, to be more rounded, balanced individuals, regardless of gender, should be the aim for us all.

And if nothing, this has laid the foundation for a massively successfully male grooming market but provided little by way of understanding the complex nature of masculinity and perhaps, indirectly undermined male health and self care. 


The failure to: fund, promote and protect, the health of men has produced truly shocking health results, such as sky high male suicide rates.  

We explored this in our blog post Love: Why Your Self Care Matters so here we’ll take note of cancer rates and 2016 in the UK the Office for National Statistics states…

‘More cancers were registered in males (155,019) than females (148,116) and across the majority of cancer sites, more males were diagnosed with cancer than females; this is a persistent feature of the data, as reported in previous cancer registration years’. 

Likewise in the US, as reported in Harvard online magazine, more men are generally affected by cancer than women.

OK, here’s an important bit…


We are war like for sure, we are apt to kill one another individually and as a collective, which we do in the form of war. All animals do it, in as much for the same reason…more, we of course do it far better.

However, when it appears uncomfortable masculinity becomes a convenient hook on which we can hang the worst excesses of our being, our collective ‘shadow’, if you will (C. Jung).

Without question other men women and children have been horribly mistreated by masculinity but masculinity per se is not the issue, masculinity subject to an unchecked ego is the problem.

‘Ego is the Enemy’ Ryan Holiday.

Masculinity subject to ego becomes dark and malevolent…anything subject to an ‘unchecked’ ego is apt to become a gross version of itself.

And it is the ‘unchecked’ part of the equation that is the real issue, not the ego, which of itself is quite useful.

An unfettered, inflated ego or sense of self; of one’s own importance and role in society, of one’s race, of one’s gender, nation, class, clan, tribe, inevitably produce base violations. 

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Yes it could be said that todays society (and the world itself for that matter) is dominated by men.

However this is not the whole, in a very complex story. The death rates and illness among men should lead us (men especially) to question the price of such dominance.

If we fail to celebrate masculinity i.e. develop critical arguments, fund research and promote health care, in place of a in a knee jerk reaction, that emasculates young boys and men, we will emasculate and retard the forward creative inventive thrust of society and civilisation itself. 

Of course it’s going to be important for men to find their voice and write their story, something men are notoriously bad at.

Perhaps, as we’ve hinted, this is how it should be, natures trade off with itself, impartially probing forming and collapsing. Taking on new and varied roles and forms and varying these forms infinitely, cross unimaginable time.


Men fathers and masculinity is a huge area and in one blog we couldn’t possibly hope to do it justice so we’ll be returning to this issue in further posts.

We want to hear from you on so let’s start a conversation, comment below. 

If you’re a man reading this, be happy you’re part of a vital dynamic power. See our blog post Love: Why Your Self Care Matters for our men’s health checklist and guide and our blog on Goal Setting. Also don’t forget to download our free habit tracker to help you track, build and maintain masculine energy.

Use this link to let us know your general thoughts via our contact page.

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Ego is the Enemy – Ryan Holiday

Harvard online Magazine

Office of National Statistics UK

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