masculinity, mass noun –  possession of the qualities traditionally associated with men.

I must argue that the above is one of the most useless dictionary definitions of all time.

There’s an ongoing struggle in society: it’s subconscious, and pervades nearly all of our interactions between both sexes, and all ethnicities and genders. It has been birthed partly from contemporary history, the technological revolution, and, additionally, the sexual revolution. It affects the perceptions of men and women in society, and furthermore affects not only their self-value, but their value of other people. It’s lead to mass uprisings of feminists, who traditionally fight for the equality and representation of women in society and other related spheres. It has lead to partial change, and great discrepancy.

The problem I’m outlining is not one centrally of sexuality nor social status; it extends far further than those two  concepts.  The issue we deal with in our time is not the fault of femininity – it’s the fault of masculinity, it’s inability to change, and, centrally, the difficulty of defining what the term masculinity actually represents.

Recent developments in humankind’s brief existence has more or less rendered men redundant. Biologically, we no longer truly need to fulfil a physical purpose as strong, athletic defenders or hunters beyond reproductive purposes.  Sociologically, we’re on equal par (in ideal nations) with women – we’re both capable of performing the same tasks or work.

Humankind, essentially, has evolved past – or is evolving past – the use for what we presently define as a masculine presence.

As a result of this, there’s huge friction between an up and coming generation of men who’ve grown without clear role models to facilitate their function in this new society. Some adopt (consciously or not) the attitude of an “alpha” male – the persona of expressing dominance over their fellow men and, especially, women, as argued by feminists the world over. Feminists have even come to define masculinity thus as the sexuality of “exerting dominance over and consuming female sexuality.” Feminists traditionally don’t have too many close friends in popular culture, but let’s give them a trophy here – they do have a point which describes at least more than half of traditional “masculine” society.

Traditionally, the counter persona to this, the “Nice Guys” or “beta males” as they are derided, haven’t been met with nearly as much success. “Alpha” males, traditionally exerting at least the basic confidence, physique or social power that’s associated with attracting feminine interest, have had a leg up. This is partly due, if you consider, to how human evolution in society has taken place; women have at least traditionally been forced into a role where they are subservient to men, and have come to rely on a masculine presence for both reproduction and protection. Hence, a man who can exert confidence, physical power, or deft control over social spheres becomes an attractive interest to what is perceived as feminine vulnerability.

There have been and are, of course, outliers to this. However, in traditional Western capitalist society, this is at least a general disposition.

Nice Guys, hence seeking to counter ‘alpha’ male behaviour, act as kind, gentle, intelligent, or are well-mannered. While men of this calibre are traditionally valued, they aren’t met with as much success as their ‘alpha’ counterparts due to contravening their expected evolutionary purpose. Often, “Nice Guys” adopt this persona due to feelings of inferiority, which is often furthered by a lack of success in society, culture, or with feminine interest. This becomes a vicious cycle in which both groups inherently are flawed conceptions of masculinity which, to greater or lesser degrees, serve no real purpose in an evolutionary and progressive society. One group is a regurgitation of caveman mentality, while the other is a social persona produced from the ashes of a changing structure in society.

Hence, these broad and vague definitions of masculinity are often what young men either fall into, or attempt to emulate. With no clear guidance from either a lack of a masculine presence, or a male role model who cannot hope to prescribe guidance to ensure success in a world that has changed unrecognisably from his adolescence, young men are often conflicted as to a clear path forward in clarifying and establishing their own identities and personae. This, in society today, has created what we’ll term as the problem with masculinity.

While the full solution to the issues created by this quandary are impossible to narrow down while Western society undergoes drastic social, technological, and cultural change, there is at least a path forward.

What is evidently needed, and will no doubt develop with its own time, is what we could define rudimentarily as technically ‘post-masculinism’ – a radical new definition of what it means to be male in a progressive, equal, and successful society. The successful synthesis of man’s past role in human progression, and what is needed of men in the future, would ultimately cultivate societies and cultures for thousands of years to come. The society of the future does not require cave-man ‘alpha’ brutality nor dominance, nor does it require the vulnerability of ‘beta’ nice guy mentality, forged from a feeling of social or romantic discontent.

Ideally, then, a new definition of masculinity would require men who are able to invest confidence of themselves – not of conscious decision, but of unconscious origin. Men who are assured, confident, respectful to their feminine equals and who practice their beliefs and morals would ultimately counter the failures experienced by what could possibly be the final generations of traditional masculine society. It as clear that in as much breadth as the whole of humanity moves into a scientific age directed by progress and vision, that men must adopt those values as pillars of belief to once again act in a role that co-designs a mutual human future.

Men, hence, to overcome the problem with masculinity, must be prepared, regardless of their sexuality, culture, ethnicity or citizenship, to once again peaceably become the co-designers of a changing society, rather than it’s victims.