Masculinity in the age of incel

I am a single nearly 30 year old man who has yet to figure out everything I need to about how to get by in the world. Seeing my friends get married and have children can sometimes be happy and sad at the same time. I think that sometimes we put unrealistic expectations and timetables on ourselves and can be our own worst critics. I always had difficulty making friends and would always be more concerned about my social life than academic work in school. But there was no reason I couldn’t do both. I had difficult doing two things at once. I wanted a girlfriend and would often catastrophize rejection. We all get rejected but  I ended up making it harder for myself. My expectations and low self-esteem would create self-fufilling prophecies. This is why the incel stuff is so personal to me. This is what I could have been had I not, from day one, had the values that were important to me and never even considered otherwise. I feel for the socially anxious dude in today’s age. It can suck to feel unwanted by women and it certainly makes you feel awful about yourself. Men often hold themselves to impossible standards and yet the idea of not doing that, is seen as weakness and unacceptable. Men and women help perpetuate it. But men often are their own worst enemies. Women have always had better social instincts and better socialization throughout their lives. It isn’t all nature or all nurture but a combination. Men are made to feel like their accomplishments are their entire self-worth. The uncertainty of a changing world can add to the anxiety and it makes people clutch even closer to their own personal worldview. I empathize with socially isolated and angry young men, but I don’t overempathize. I think it is up to them to figure their shit out. It isn’t easy and I would never trivialize that. My contempt for the non-feeling taciturn male stereotype often gets in the way of my own empathy sometimes. Because that isn’t me and never was me. But masculinity has many layers and is not that simple. Being a man isn’t defined by a single type of person or even slight variations on one thing. Sometimes it isn’t easy to be yourselves and the problem with presenting endless options is that it sometimes seems too scary. The number of genders argument is partly silly but I think that perhaps there is something much simpler underneath. The idea of more than two genders is scary because it makes people question their identity more and more. It isn’t easy as an anxious person, not knowing who you are. Uncertainty for men, is seen as weakness and is intolerable. But uncertainty, when it comes to making big judgements, is a sign of character and rational thought. Yes, I think we should encourage it but also recognize that for many people, there needs to be certain things that anchor them. I think society cannot have a limited number of anchors that it is impossible to deviate from. An example of an anchor would cultural protestantism. I don’t think we all should have to use that. Especially when it is limiting to many people. The ability to set limits while exploring is something that I feel we all must do. This is, what I would like to coin, being moderate without being unreasonably rigid. It means being a critical thinking, without letting endless contemplation prevent you from living.

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