Don’t Worry, You Can’t “Emasculate” A Man

 

Hi everyone! I’m Jenny Hale and this is one of my truth bomb series of short videos about relationships. In this series I’m looking at things which are commonly said that are actually rubbish, why they’re rubbish, and what the truth is.

Today what I’d like to address is this widespread myth that it’s somehow possible for a woman to “emasculate” a man. Now, this idea comes from a number of different places. It’s mentioned in Allison Armstrong’s books. It’s mentioned in various Neo-Tantra circles. Again, like all of these things, if you pick it apart you can find a nugget, but the wrapper that it’s in is so harmful that I really need to address this one.

So number one, if you’re a man, you’re a man, period. There is nothing that can happen in your life that makes you suddenly not a man. You are a man. You always will be a man. You always were a man  – even if you are born in a female body, even if people teased you and called you gay or whatever.

If you’re a man, you’re a man. That’s it.

So where does this weird ass idea come from that there is something that a woman might be able to do to “emasculate” a man, to make a man not a man?

Where this comes from, it’s because we are in a culture which is damaging to men. When a woman does something that resonates with the way our culture damages men it makes a man feel less of a man. Not because of anything inside his human being, but because that’s what our culture has told him.

If you just step back and think about it you’ll be able to identify all of these horrible, horrible messages that we give little boys and men about what it is to be a man.

A man is always strong and confident. If you’re confused, if you have to ask for help well then you’re a pussy, which means you’re not a man.

It’s the culture which is constantly emasculating men. It’s not individual women who are emasculating men.

If we didn’t live in a culture that told men but being confused was unmanly, then when his woman said “you’re confused, you’ve made a mistake,” he would be “okay I’m a man that made a mistake”.

But no, no, it’s not manly to admit that you made a mistake. You have to always be confident. You have to always be right.

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You can see that this idea about what how a man should be is just incredibly damaging. It’s damaging to men. It’s damaging to relationships, and therefore damaging to women, all the men who are in relationships with men for that matter. It’s damaging to children. It’s damaging to everybody.

So what’s the nugget of truth in this?

Because there is one, and it’s this.

It doesn’t actually matter whether you’re in a male body or a female body. If you put someone down, if you criticize them consistently, if you refuse to trust that they are a competent adult and they can do what they are good at, you will make them feel really small.

This is true of women as much as it is of men. If you constantly nag a woman she’s also going to feel completely inadequate.

So the take-home is – be awesome to one another.

Build one another up. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a male body or a female body. Be kind. If you have feedback to give someone make sure that they’re in a good space, it’s a good time, that you’ve phrased it in a completely neutral way. You’ve given them the information. You’re trusting them to do what they need to do with the information.

If you need to draw a boundary for yourself, you do that without blame or accusation. You say look, for example, if you’re not willing to get directions before we leave and know the route then I’m going to drive myself. Or whatever it is.

You take care of yourself, and whatever you need to take care of yourself, so that you don’t need to change your partner’s behavior in any way. Give them the feedback and let them make the choice.

So this is a truth which applies that whether you’re in a male body or a female body, whether your partner is in a male body or a female body. It also applies to your relationships with children, to your relationships with work peers.

It’s a natural human phenomenon. If you put shit on somebody they will feel like shit. So just don’t. That’s it.